Scrapbookpages Blog

July 26, 2012

Why did the Commandant of Auschwitz confess to the gassing of millions of Jews?

Filed under: Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:57 am

A British blogger has written an outstanding blog post about how Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, was tortured and intimidated in order to get him to confess to the gassing of millions of Jews.  The title of the blog post is The British Catholic, Rudolph Hoess, and torturing children; you can read it in full here.

The blog post is quite long, but it is a must read for anyone who is interested in the history of Auschwitz and how the number of deaths was determined by the Allies.  Included are photos of Rudolf Hoess, showing him with a bloody nose after he was beaten, and a photo of British Major Gerald Draper confronting Hoess who has an expression of fear on his face.

What was Draper saying to Hoess at that moment, that induced Hoess to confess that millions of people were gassed at Auschwitz?  Was Major Draper threatening to torture the children of Rudolf Hoess?  I always thought that Hoess confessed because the British threatened to turn his wife and children over to the Russians.

Read what my fellow blogger wrote:

My photo taken in 2000 in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC

On May 14, 1946, the former Commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Rudolf Höß, also known as Rudolf Hoess, signed a sworn affidavit (shown in the photo above) 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 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 photo that is displayed at the USHMM, 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.  What happened to all those sacks?  Did the Jews march past the barracks, nicknamed Canada, where the clothing taken from the Jews was sorted?

The spot where the clothing warehouse at Birkenau was located

Krema IV was located just north of the clothing warehouses, which were in a section that the prisoners called Canada. Across the road from Canada was the Central Sauna which had a shower room and disinfection chambers where the prisoners’ clothing was deloused. Krema IV had a fake shower room which was actually a gas chamber.

The caption underneath the photo in the USHMM 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.

Was this confession 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.

Despite the confessions of Rudolf Hoess, the number of victims killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau is now officially given by the Auschwitz Musuem as 1.1 million, of which 900,000 were Jews.  This does not change the figure of 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust.  That number is sacrosanct and the penalty for denying it, in 19 countries, is 5 years or more in prison.

You can read more about the confessions of Rudolf Hoess on my website here.

August 9, 2011

Noor Inayat Khan subjected to torture as other prisoners watched

Filed under: Dachau, World War II — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 8:02 am

The Huffington Post has an article about torture: Does Torture Work? Ask the Nazis Who Interrogated Noor Khan? You can read the full article here.

This quote is from the Huffington Post article:

On September 13, 1944, in front of other prisoners who witnessed her final hours, Noor Khan was stripped naked and then savagely beaten by SS guards at Dachau.

I have blogged about the tragic story of Noor Inayat Khan several times, including my posts here and here.  I blogged about the prisoners who were tortured at Dachau here.

The Huffington Post has a completely different take on the story of Noor Inayat Khan:

To begin with, Noor Khan was placed in solitary confinement on a starvation diet, chained hand and foot, and frequently denied even a scrap of clothing. She was subjected to barbaric beatings and water torture, and that was only the beginning. Survivors of Pforzheim recall often hearing her cries of agony, as Noor was subjected to all the refinements created by man’s capacity for inventive inhumanity. The Nazis would subject their most recalcitrant security prisoners to having their bodies suspended until their joints were dislocated, piercing and burning their flesh, ripping out fingernails and crushing the digits of their hands. Female prisoners, in particular, were subjected to electric shocks being applied to the most sensitive regions of their bodies. What Noor endured during those ten months at Pforzheim can scarcely be imagined. It must have been beyond human endurance. Yet this cultured, delicate woman endured the unendurable. She never broke. Noor Khan would not even reveal to the Nazis her true identity. Finally, her captors admitted defeat and sent Noor to her final destination on earth, Dachau concentration camp.

Water torture? Really?  Who knew!

What information did Noor Inayat Khan have that called for such extensive torture?  The Huffington Post doesn’t tell us.  Read more about her torture and execution here.

November 27, 2010

What really happened at Dachau?

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , — furtherglory @ 9:15 am

I must get back to the Dachau Memorial Site and take a guided tour so that I can learn about what REALLY happened at the Dachau concentration camp.

A recent visitor who took a tour of Dachau wrote this on a blog post here:

Dachau was the first concentration camp and some say it was not a “killing camp”, which is also not true.  Dachau was the first stage of creating the entire system of concentration camps.  All the training for all personel who worked at all the concentration camps was conducted here.  It was where torture techniques were developed and perfected.  It was where all of the psychological warfare techiques that were conducted throughout the nation of Germany and occupied territories were perfected.  They had a gas chamber and it was used, more for testing various combinations of gases to see how they killed, but it was used nonetheless.  Many many people died in Dachau, both from disease, deliberate gassing and torture.

Visitors to the Dachau Memorial site can also learn a little about German culture, such as this information on the blog cited above:

We have the impression that the Aryan race was supposed to be an entire populace of blonde haired, blue eyed ppl.  Such is in fact not true.  The Aryan race was simply people who could trace their Germany ancestry back 3 generations.

September 23, 2010

Did the Nazis really use human skin to make handbags and purses?

The charge of making handbags from human skin was made at the American Military Tribunal held at Dachau in November 1945, when Martin Gottfried Weiss, the former Commandant, and 39 others were prosecuted as war criminals.   The star witness at these proceedings was Dr. Franz Blaha, a Communist who had been a prisoner in the Dachau concentration camp.

Dr. Blaha testified that he had worked as a surgeon in the Dachau concentration camp, but after he said that he didn’t want to do any more operations, he was punished by being “sent to the death chamber where autopsies were performed.” Dr. Blaha claimed that he had performed “six to seven thousand autopsies” at Dachau.

During the AMT proceedings at Dachau, Dr. Blaha gave testimony regarding the bodies upon which he had performed autopsies. The following is from the trial transcript of Dr. Blaha’s testimony, as quoted in Justice at Dachau by Joshua M. Greene:

We took the skin from the chest and back, then used chemicals to treat the skin. Then the skins were placed outside in the sun and parts were cut for saddles, breeches, gloves, house slippers, ladies’ handbags.

In answer to a question about what had happened to these items, Dr. Blaha said:

They were prepared and sent either to SS schools or given to some of the SS men.

According to Dr. Blaha’s testimony, these items were made from human skin while a man named Bruno, and then Willy Mirkle, were in charge of the autopsies. Neither of these men were on trial and no items allegedly made from human skin were ever presented as evidence, nor was any forensic report introduced by the prosecution. Blaha’s testimony was corroborated by a confession obtained by Lt. Paul Guth from Dr. Wilhelm Witteler, one of the doctors at Dachau who was among the accused.

Dr. Witteler testified that he had been forced to sign this confession, but Lt. Guth testified, under direct examination by the prosecutor, that no coercion had been used on any of the men that he had interrogated.

Here is the testimony of Dr. Witteler from the trial transcripts, as published in Justice at Dachau:

A: During my interrogation I had to sit in front of the desk of Lt. Guth. A spotlight was turned on me which stood on the desk. Lt. Guth stood behind the spotlight and the interrogation started. “We know you, we have the necessary records about you…” I started to make an explanation. I was immediately stopped. I was yelled at. He called me a swine, criminal, liar, murderer, and that is the way the interrogation continued. I couldn’t give any explanations. I was only told to answer “yes” or “no”… I was interrupted immediately and told that all I had to do was answer “yes” and “no”. I couldn’t even explain it. I was told to shut up and to answer “yes” or “no”… since it was not like he thought it was, I had to get up and stand. So I stood up until 1:30 in the morning – seven hours.

Q: … at the conclusion of the drafting of this statement you signed it?

A: No, I answered that it is not correct… this statement was not written in my presence. It was written in another room. The reporter was with me in the room all the time, but the statement was written in another room. After I couldn’t stand up any more this statement was put in front of me at 1:30. And then when I said that this testimony… is not by me, that is the testimony of Dr. Blaha — who was present for several hours that night… so that I didn’t want to sign it. Lt. Guth said he would interrogate me until tomorrow morning, that he had other methods…

Q: How many people were present at the time you were interrogated?

A: Altogether, three: Lt. Guth, Dr. Leiss, and I, and, for a short time, Dr. Blaha.

Q: This writing in your own handwriting. Was that dictated or did you make it up?

A: When I found that the interrogation would end that way, I wrote down this last part and signed my name to it.

Q: Was it your own words or was it dictated to you?

A: Lt. Guth dictated those words…

So now you know.  It was proved at the American Military Tribunal at Dachau, by a signed confession, dictated by Lt. Guth, that handbags were made from human skin at Dachau.

The gassing of prisoners at Dachau was not included in the charges against Martin Gottfried Weiss and the 39 others, but in spite of this, Dr. Franz Blaha was allowed to testify that the gas chamber at Dachau was used. Under the rules of the American Military Tribunal, any and all testimony was allowed, even if it had nothing to do with the charges or the men in the dock at Dachau.

The reason that Weiss and the 39 others were not charged with gassing prisoners at Dachau was that the names of the gassed prisoners were unknown.  Only crimes against Allied nationals were prosecuted at the American Military Tribunal, and since the names of the victims were unknown, there were no charges of gassing at Dachau.  The American Military Tribunal did not make use of the ex-post-facto law known as Crimes Against Humanity, which included the crime of gassing prisoners.

September 11, 2010

“Peiper actually volunteered for classes in torture at Dachau”

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, World War II — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 10:18 am

The title of this post comes from a quote on a blog which you can read here.  Here is the full quote:

During his SS officer training, Peiper actually volunteered for classes in torture at Dachau inside the infamous Jewish concentration camp.

Joaquim Peiper in his SS dress uniform

Peiper was SS-Standartenführer Joachim Peiper, 1st SS Panzer Division, Leibstandarte-SS Adolf Hitler; he was prosecuted as a war criminal in the infamous Malmédy massacre case.  A caption under a photo on the blog cited above identifies the proceedings against Peiper as “The Nuremberg Trials 1946,” but Peiper was actually prosecuted by an American Military Tribunal  held at the Dachau garrison, next door to the the former Dachau concentration camp.

Tour guides at the Dachau memorial site routinely tell visitors that  prisoners were tortured at Dachau, but neglect to mention which prisoners were tortured. In June 1945, the former Dachau concentration camp became War Crimes Enclosure No. 1 where 30,000 accused German war criminals were held while they awaited trial by the American Military Tribunal. Most of  the Germans were never put on trial, but many of them were tortured at Dachau to obtain confessions before they were prosecuted.

The tour guides also tell visitors that  Dachau had a “School of Terror” where SS men learned how to torture prisoners, but neglect to tell visitors that it was the SS men, who were accused of being war criminals, that were tortured by the American interrogators.

Kurt Framm was accused in the Malmédy Massacre case

The photograph above shows Herbert Rosenstock, an American military interpreter, seated next to 2nd Lt. Kurt Flamm, an SS man, who is answering questions put to him by the prosecutor, Lt. Col. Burton F. Ellis, who is standing. Note the marks on the face of 2nd Lt. Flamm.  It looks like he might have cut himself shaving.  Or maybe he had just come from the torture chamber where he was worked over to prepare him for his testimony.

The Malmédy Massacre, which was the name given to the shooting of 84 American soldiers who had surrendered, took place on December 17, 1944, the second day of the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, during the summer of 1945, the US occupation authorities rounded up over 1,000 former soldiers in the 1st SS Panzer Division and interrogated them. Seventy-five of them were originally charged as war criminals in the Malmédy case.

The accused in the proceedings included General Josef “Sepp” Dietrich, commander of the Sixth Panzer Army, who was a long-time personal friend of Adolf Hitler.   Peiper was the commanding officer of “Kampfgrüppe Peiper,” the armored battle group which spearheaded the German attack in Hitler’s Ardennes Offensive, better known to Americans as the Battle of the Bulge. Peiper’s rank was the equivalent of an American Lt. Col. when he was assigned on December 16, 1944 to lead the tank attack, but after the battle, he was promoted to Colonel. Peiper preferred to be called by his nickname, Jochen, rather than his real first name, Joachim.

One of those who were charged was 18-year-old Arvid Freimuth who committed suicide in his cell before the trial started. Charges were dismissed against Marcel Boltz after it was learned that he was a French citizen; France had made a law that no French citizen could be tried as a war criminal.  That left 73 men who were ultimately prosecuted by the American Military.  America had no law against prosecuting American soldiers who committed war crimes in World War II, but no American “war criminals” were ever prosecuted.

My favorite photo of Joaquim Peiper

The proceedings in the Malmédy Massacre case started on May 12, 1946 and the verdicts were read on July 16, 1946. All of the 73 men on trial were convicted and 42 were sentenced to death by hanging.

None of the convicted SS soldiers were ever executed and by 1956, all of them had been released from prison. All of the death sentences had been commuted to life in prison. As it turned out, the Malmédy Massacre proceedings at Dachau had become a controversial case which dragged on for over ten years, and had resulted in criticism of the American Occupation, the war crimes military tribunals, the Jewish prosecutors and interrogators at Dachau and the whole American system of justice.

Before the last man, who had been convicted in the Dachau proceedings, walked out of the Landsberg am Lech prison as a free man, the aftermath of the case had involved the US Supreme Court, the International Court at the Hague, the US Congress, Dr. Johann Neuhäusler, a Bishop from Munich, who was a survivor of the Dachau concentration camp, and the government of the new Federal Republic of Germany.

The accused SS men claimed that, before the court proceedings, they had already had a trial, which was conducted in a room with black curtains, lit only by two candles. The judge was an American Lt. Col. who sat at a table draped in black with a white cross on it. After these mock trials in which witnesses testified against the accused, each SS man was told that he had been sentenced to death, but nevertheless he would have to write out his confession. When all of them refused to write a confession, the prosecution dictated statements which they were forced to sign under threats of violence.

There was no question that these mock trials had actually taken place, since the prosecution admitted it during the investigation after the Dachau proceedings ended.

According to James J. Weingartner, the author of A Peculiar Crusade: Willis M. Everett and the Malmedy Massacre, Lt. Col. Peiper had presented to the American defense attorney a summary of allegations of abuse made to him by his soldiers. The SS soldiers claimed that they had been beaten by the American interrogators and that one of the original 75 accused men, 18-year-old Arvid Freimuth, had hanged himself in his cell after being repeatedly beaten.

A statement, supposedly written by Freimuth, although portions of it were not signed by him, was introduced during the proceedings as evidence against the other accused. As in the Nuremberg IMT and the other Dachau proceedings, the accused were charged with conspiracy to commit war crimes, as well as with specific incidents of murder, so Freimuth’s statement was relevant to the case, even after he was no longer among the accused himself.

An important part of the defense case was based on the fact that the accused were classified as Prisoners of War when they were forced to sign statements incriminating themselves even before they were charged with a war crime.

As POWs, they were under the protection of the Geneva Convention of 1929, which prohibited the kind of coercive treatment that the accused claimed they had been subjected to in order to force them to sign statements of guilt. Article 45 of the Geneva Convention said that Prisoners of War were “subject to the laws, regulations and orders in force in the armies of the detaining powers.” That meant that they were entitled to the same Fifth Amendment rights as American soldiers.

After being held in prison for an average of five months, the SS  men had been charged as war criminals on April 11, 1946, a little over a month before their case before the American military tribunal was set to begin. By virtue of the charge, they were automatically reduced to the status of “civilian internee” and no longer had the protection of the Geneva Convention.

Lt. Col. Rosenfeld, who was the “law member” of the proceedings against the SS men, ruled against a defense motion to drop the charges; he ruled  that the men, accused in the Malmédy case, had never been Prisoners of War because they became war criminals the moment they committed their alleged acts and were thus not entitled to the protection of the Geneva Convention of 1929.

On March 10, 1945, an order signed by General Dwight D. Eisenhower had reduced the status of all German POWs to that of “disarmed enemy forces,” which meant that they were no longer protected under the rules of the Geneva Convention after the war.

Moreover, as the law member of the panel of judges, Lt. Col. Rosenfeld ruled that “to admit a confession of the accused, it need not be shown such confession was voluntarily made….” Contrary to the rules of the American justice system, the German war criminals, who were prosecuted by the American Military Tribunal, were presumed guilty and the burden of proof was on them, not on the prosecution.

The prosecution case in the Malmédy masssacre proceedings hinged on the accusation that Adolf Hitler himself had given the order that no prisoners were to be taken during the Battle of the Bulge and that General “Sepp” Dietrich had passed down this order to all the  commanding officers in his Sixth Panzer Army. This meant that, in the eyes of the Americans, there was a German conspiracy to kill American prisoners of war and thus, all of the accused were guilty because they were participants in a “common plan” to break the rules of the Geneva Convention. Yet General Dietrich’s Sixth Panzer Army had taken thousands of other prisoners who were not shot. According to US Army figures, there was a total of 23,554 Americans captured during the Battle of the Bulge.  The alleged “Hitler order” to kill all the Allied POWs was never found.

The main evidence in the prosecution case was the sworn statements signed by the accused even before they were charged with a war crime, statements which their American defense attorney claimed were obtained by means of mock trials and beatings in violation of the rules of the Geneva Convention of 1929. The war crimes with which they were charged were likewise violations of the Geneva Convention of 1929, a double standard which didn’t seem right to their defense attorney, Lt. Col. Willis M. Everett.

Another double standard that bothered Everett was that there had been many incidents in which American soldiers were not put on trial for killing German Prisoners of War, but the defense was not allowed to mention this. Any of the accused men who inadvertently said anything about American soldiers breaking the rules of the Geneva Convention were promptly silenced and these comments were stricken from the record.  The killing of SS soldiers who had surrendered when the Dachau camp was liberated was unknown at that time because the US Army had kept this a secret for more than 40 years.

Following the defeat of the German Army in World War II, the Judge Advocate Department of the Third US Army had set up a War Crimes Branch which conducted 489 court proceedings in which 1,672 German war criminals were charged. This was apart from the proceedings against the major German war criminals before an International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. Most of the secondary proceedings conducted by the American occupation forces were held at Dachau, between November 15, 1945 and 1948.  No Allied soldiers were ever prosecuted for war crimes committed during World War II.

I would like to know what kind of torture methods Peiper learned at Dachau.  Water boarding maybe?  He certainly got a lesson in torture methods when he was a prisoner at Dachau before he was prosecuted by an American Military Tribunal.

The training school at Dachau was for concentration camp administrators; Peiper probably did not take any classes at Dachau, since he had nothing whatsoever to do with the concentration camps.

The photo above shows Lt. Virgil Lary in the courtroom, as he identifies  Pvt. 1st Class Georg Fleps, a Waffen-SS soldier from Rumania, who allegedly fired the first two shots with his pistol in the Malmedy Massacre.

Some versions of the story say that Fleps fired a warning shot in the air when several prisoners tried to make a run for it. Other versions say that he deliberately took aim and shot one of the Americans. Panic ensued and the SS soldiers then began firing upon the prisoners with their machine guns.

The exact number of American soldiers who surrendered to the Germans is unknown, but according to various accounts, it was somewhere between 85 and 125. After the captured Americans were herded into a field, they were allegedly shot down by Waffen-SS men from Peiper’s Battle Group in what an American TV documentary characterized as an orgy, motivated by German “joy of killing.”

Forty-three of the Americans taken prisoner that day managed to escape and lived to tell about it. One of them was Kenneth Ahrens, who was shot twice in the back. Seventeen of the survivors ran across the snow-covered field, and made their way to the village of Malmedy where they joined the 291st Engineer Battalion.

The massacre occurred at approximately 1 p.m. on December 17th and the first survivors were picked up at 2:30 p.m. on the same day by a patrol of the 291st Engineer Battalion. Their story of the unprovoked massacre was immediately sent to General Eisenhower, the Supreme Allied Commander of the war in Europe, who made it a point to disseminate the story to the reporters covering the battle.

The Inspector General of the American First Army learned about the massacre three or four hours after the first survivors were rescued. By late afternoon that day, the news had reached the forward American divisions. In his book , entitled The Ardennes, The Battle of the Bulge, Hugh Cole wrote the following:

Thus Fragmentary Order 27 issued by Headquarters, 328th Infantry on 21 December for the attack scheduled for the following day says: “No SS troops or paratroopers will be taken prisoners but will be shot on sight.”

In his book called The Other Price of Hitler’s War: German Military & Civilian Losses Resulting from WW 2, author Martin Sorge wrote the following regarding the events that took place after the massacre:

“It was in the wake of the Malmedy incident at Chegnogne that on New Year’s Day 1945 some 60 German POWs were shot in cold blood by their American guards. The guilt went unpunished. It was felt that the basis for their action was orders that no prisoners were to be taken.”

May 1, 2010

Prisoners tortured in bunker at Dachau

Filed under: Dachau, Germany, Holocaust — Tags: , , , — furtherglory @ 11:20 am

The tour guides, who show visitors around the former Dachau concentration camp, always mention how the prisoners were tortured in the bunker, which was a prison within the Dachau prison camp. Torture is usually a means of getting a person to confess, and according to testimony at the American Military Tribunal proceedings against the staff members of the Dachau camp, torture was, in fact, used to obtain confessions. But it was the SS men who testified that they were the ones who were tortured to force them to confess, not the prisoners who were tortured.

Room in Dachau bunker where prisoners were interrogated

A sign in the interrogation room in the bunker at Dachau tells visitors that this room had double doors and cavity walls to prevent cries from being heard as the prisoners were tortured. There is no mention of exactly how the prisoners were tortured.

This quote is from a blog about a recent tour of the Dachau Memorial site:

This picture is in the bunker, which was where the “worst” of the prisoners were tortured, often until they died or committed suicide.

I took this photo in the Dachau bunker, May 2001

And this quote from another blog:

The bunker was an area were the SS (protective squad) would brutally torture prisoners. The inmates would often be imprisoned in the bunker for up to eight months. They had little food and no interaction with the outside the world. The cells were extremely tiny and without windows. In the bunker, SS guards would brutally beat prisoners into false confessions or drive them to commit suicide.

Actually, the bunker was where the important prisoners were kept in individual cells at Dachau; they could leave their cells and walk around the camp during the day.  All the cells had windows, as you can see in the photo below.

Dachau bunker is on the right, Museum is on the left

AFIK, the tour guides never mention the names of the prisoners who were tortured. The most famous person who claimed that he was tortured at Dachau is Gustav Petrat, an SS guard at the Mauthausen concentration camp who was convicted of being a war criminal by an American Military Tribunal conducted at Dachau. Petrat wrote a last statement before he was executed at Landsberg am Lech; you can read his statement here.

Gustav Petrat claims that he was tortured by American soldiers at Dachau

Ironically, one of the accused at the proceedings against the staff members of the Dachau camp by the American Military Tribunal, who testified that he was tortured by American military officers, was Johann Kick.  As the head of the Gestapo office at Dachau, Kick was charged with the specific crime of torturing prisoners in the Dachau bunker between January 1, 1942 and April 29, 1945, during which time Allied nationals were imprisoned at Dachau.

Kick testified about being tortured by Jewish interrogators at Dachau on November 29, 1945, the same day that a film about the Dachau gas chamber was shown at the Nuremberg IMT.

The following testimony at the American Military Tribunal is from Johann Kick:

Q: … will you describe to the court the treatment that you received prior to your first interrogation anyplace?

(Prosecution objection as to whether beating received on the 6th of May could be relevant to confession signed on the 5th of November).

Q: … Kick, did the treatment you received immediately following your arrest have any influence whatever on the statements that you made on the 5th of November?

A: … The treatment at that time influenced this testimony to that extent, that I did not dare to refuse to sign, in spite of the fact that it did not contain the testimony which I gave.

Q: Now, Kick, for the court, will you describe the treatment which you received immediately following your arrest?

A: I ask to refuse to answer this question here in public.

President: The court desires to have the defendant answer the question.

A: I was here in Dachau from the 6th to the 15th of May, under arrest; during this time I was beaten all during the day and night… kicked… I had to stand to attention for hours; I had to kneel down on sharp objects or square objects; I had to stand under the lamp for hours and look into the light, at which time I was also beaten and kicked; as a result of this treatment my arm was paralyzed for about 8 to 10 weeks; only beginning with my transfer to Augsberg, this treatment stopped.

Q: What were you beaten with?

A: With all kinds of objects.

Q: Describe them, please.

A: With whips, with lashing whips, with rifle butts, pistol butts, and pistol barrels, and with hands and fists.

Q: And that continued daily over a period of what time?

A: From the morning of the 7th of May until the morning of the 15th of May.

Q: Kick, why did you hesitate to give that testimony?

A: If the court hadn’t decided I should talk about it, I wouldn’t have said anything about it today.

Q: Would you describe the people who administered these beatings to you?

A: I can only say that they were persons who were wearing the United States uniform and I can’t describe them any better.

Q: And as a result of those beatings when Lt. Guth called you in, what was your frame of mind?

A: I had to presume that if I were to refuse to sign I would be subjected to a similar treatment.

Dr. Wilhelm Witteler, who was accused by the American Military Tribunal of making leather goods out of human skin at Dachau, also testified that he signed his confession after being tortured.

Another torture that is always mentioned by the tour guides at Dachau is the standing cells.  The standing cells, which were in the bunker, were made of wood and they were torn down by the American military after Dachau was liberated, according to the Dachau Museum. Both Johann Kick and Martin Gottfried Weiss, the Commandant of Dachau, testified  that they had heard about the standing cells for the first time at the proceedings of the American Military Tribunal.

A drawing of the alleged standing cells in the bunker is shown below.

Standing cells in the bunker are shown in drawing

In the Dachau Museum, a whipping block, that was used to punish the prisoners, is displayed. Visitors are told that prisoners were given 25 lashes for such minor offenses as having a button missing from their uniform or putting their hands in their pocket.

One visitor wrote this on his blog:

“In the shower room they had set up a table where they used to whip people if they did anything against the rules. The rules included things such as having a dried spot of water on the bowl you ate out of.”

Former prisoner demonstrates the whipping block

The photo above was taken during the proceedings against the staff members  at Dachau by the American Military Tribunal, which started in November 1945.  Notice that the whipping block is an ordinary table, not the actual whipping block, which by that time was long gone because whipping had been discontinued in 1942.

Whipping block displayed in the Museum at Dachau

What visitors to Dachau are not told is that all punishments at Dachau and all the other concentration camps had to be approved by the WVHA economic office in Oranienburg; Rudolf Hoess was a member of the WVHA staff after he was removed as the Commandant of Auschwitz in December 1943.

At the Nuremberg IMT, on April 15, 1946, Hoess testified that punishment on the whipping block was seldom used and that this punishment was discontinued in 1942 or 1943 because Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had given a new order that the SS men were forbidden to strike the prisoners. Dr. Johannes Neuhäusler mentioned in his book entitled What was it like in the Concentration Camp at Dachau? that this order was given by Himmler in 1942.

Another thing, that the tour guides never mention, is that a section of the bunker at Dachau was reserved for SS men who were imprisoned for committing a crime.  This part of the bunker has been torn down, but you can see where it once stood in the photo below.

The SS section of the bunker at Dachau was formerly located in this spot

The tour guides at Dachau give visitors the impression that the SS men were allowed to abuse the prisoners in any way they wanted to.  There were actually two prisons for the SS men who broke the strict rules in the camps, and one of them was at Dachau.