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CHGS

Essential Definitions & Myths Associated with the Holocaust

Definitions

Origin of Word "Nazi"

1930, from Ger. Nazi, abbreviation of German pronunciation of Nationalsozialist (based on earlier Ger. sozi, popular abbreviaton of "socialist"), from Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei "National Socialist German Workers' Party," led by Hitler from 1920.

Full entry of the defintion: Online Etymology Dictionary
Organization of the Nazi Party and State: The Nizkor Project

"The Evolution of Tattooing in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp Complex" by George Rosenthal, Trenton, NJ, Auschwitz survivor, based on documents obtained from The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Myths

The "Problem" of 11 Million Holocaust Victims

As of 2007, there have been seen more references, or a return to references that there were 11 million victims in the Holocaust. As far as CHGS understands this issue from documents and analysis, this number is fictitious and actually can serve to undermine the teaching of the Holocaust/Shoah. It can even be a form of denial that occurs out of the best intentions. "11 million Jews" is the population census that is mentioned in the 16th copy of the Wannsee Protocol, notes taken by Eichmann (January 20, 1942), only about Jews.

The issue seems to be the differentiation between victims based on NSDAP (Nazi Party) race policy versus civilian deaths during the war. If the latter, the correct number is probably between 30 and 35 million deaths, maybe more (the death toll on the territory of the former Soviet Union is generally regarded to be about 27 million including Soviet military).

If only racial and biological related categories, it should encompass only the Jews, Roma and Sinti (Gypsies)  and victims of the T-4 program. This is not to belittle other victims of war and political policies, but the other groups had some choices regarding compliance with Nazi domination or resistance, and some, like Jehovah's Witnesses and Homosexuals have a history of persecution even in democratic countries, although not the end being in concentration camps and death.

The historiography about the ultimate fate of the Poles, if a 1000 year Reich would have lasted (rather than 12 years) is leaning toward an a wider understanding of extermination policy under the doctrine of resettlement of inferior peoples and German lebensraum ("living space")

However, the "11 million victims" issue has been brought to attention again in Eli Wiesel's And The Sea is Never Full (pg.129) Wiesel recalls his last meeting with (Simon) Wiesenthal:

"We move to a more serious topic: Whom should we remember? He (Wiesenthal) preaches the universality of suffering. More precisely: Since Hitler exterminated not six but eleven million human beings in his death camps-Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, German, and others--my guest considers it our duty not to forget any of them. And here Wiesenthal uses a striking image: Since Jewish blood was mingled with their blood in Auschwitz, all victims should be 'reunited' within the same remembrance.

"I answer him that I don't know where he obtained the figure of eleven million. To my knowledge, no historian has ever cited such a figure. Indeed, the only place I can remember seeing that figure was in Eichmann's report on the Wannsee Conference, where leaders of the Third Reich decided on the Final Solution. But even there, Eichmann referred to eleven million JEWS, only JEWS--those of Europe and elsewhere--all of whom were targeted. Moreover, did he, Wiesenthal, really believe that there were five million non-Jews brutalized, killed, and burned in camps? If that is what he believes, let him bring proof. Whereupon he accuses me of Judeocentrism: "You think only of the Jews....For you they are all saints....As for me, I can prove to you that among them were the worst kind of scoundrels, worse than non-Jews....' I am stunned by this outburst, and saddened. His face is red, he apologizes. He didn't express himself properly, he didn't mean it. In fact he wanted to say something else, but...So be it. I explain my position to him, the very same I set forth before president Carter and Congress: Not all the victims of the Holocaust were Jews, but all the Jews were victims."

Wiesel goes on to describe an orchestrated negative campaign against him by Wiesenthal.

The heart of the matter is the "11 million victims" issue. From the perspective of CHGS, all organizations that teach the Holocaust who adheres to the 11 million number will eventually have trouble maintaining the integrity of the Holocaust as a subject.

It is incumbent for local and national/international conferences and meetings have academic, not polemical discussion of this issue. The figure of "11 million" has become an accepted "fact" seen in literature and even films, DVDs, put out by reputable organizations. The debate between Wiesel and Wiesenthal raises a serious question, meaning that if Jews were not persecuted, and other were, what would we call the event? In any case, a consistent record by all Holocaust teaching centers makes sense, lest deniers seize this issue.

Stephen C. Feinstein

On the Question of Holocaust Victims being made into Soap.

After the war, there were many rumors about Holocaust victims having been made into soap. Tom Segev's "The Seventh Million" reports that Holocaust survivors arriving in Israel after 1948 were sometimes derisively referred to as "soap." However, almost all evidence of human fat being used for soap has been proven untrue.

A new book published in England, "Anti-Semitism:  From its European Roots to the Holocaust" by Roberto Finzi, mentions an SS Colonel named Dirlewanger who cut up Jewish women and boiled them with horse meat to make soap.

Julius Ancer, a survivor from Konin, testified that he attended a funeral of a grayish soap that had been collected around his former Polish town and buried in the Jewish cemetery. The presumption was that it was made from human fat.

Jud Newborn, however, has noted that soap was never produced regularly and officially in the manner that hair was processed or dental gold melted down for the Prussian mint.  There were, of course, a wide range of "hobbyists" who did obscene, unofficial arts-and-crafts with inmate body-parts, particularly that of Jews.  Indeed, the utilizing and recycling of the Jew (his belongings, his religious objects, his body-parts) was a fundamental part of the Nazi cultural dynamic and practice of anti-Semitism and genocide, as I demonstrate in my forthcoming cultural anthropological analysis ("Work Makes Free: The Hidden Cultural Meanings of the Holocaust"). For this reason we should not be surprised that experimentation with the processing of human fat for soap was apparently undertaken at the Danzig Anatomical Institute.  Captured British POWs were employed in parts of this undertaking, and testified to the effect that a formula for producing soap from human fat was developed and experiments to this effect performed.  This comment, again, is in no way to be taken as support for the understandable but inaccurate "folk-knowledge" that soap was regularly produced--and the so-called "RIF" soap is not of human origin.

Further citations.  Nuremberg Blue Series, XXXIX, p.463ff.  Hilberg, Vol. III, pp.966-967.  His footnote 27, p.967, quoted from Friedman, "Oswiecim," p.64, contains a statement that Poles liberating the Danzig Institute discovered 350 bodies which they believed were used for experimentation.  I haven't found the British testimony yet.  The fact remains that regular processing of human fat for soap was not done.  There may have been some experimentation, if one accepts the testimony above, but so far as educating the public is concerned, the most important thing is to stick to the documented facts.  Processing hair, dental gold, as well as personal effects, was indeed a regular part of the Nazi mass murder in the death camps.  Other kinds of body-processing was done by individuals, not as an official policy or undertaking, but is in keeping with the broader cultural dynamics of genocide.
A Division of the Institute of National Memory in Gdansk INM (IPN) : Soap from Human Beings was Manufactured in Gdansk (Danzig)

During early 2007, an article appeared in a Gdansk newspaper about experiments with the making of human soap. The newspaper article reads as follows:

By Roman Daszczynski, Gdansk
July 10, 2006
(From Gazeta Wyborcza)
Translated from the Polish by Prof. Arie Galles

INM: This wasn't an invention of communist propaganda. A German scholar in Gdansk manufactured soap from human cadavers, in order to maintain laboratory cleanliness.

Thus show the results of an investigation just completed by the Gdansk INM.

In the investigative process there were found samples of soap kept safe (impounded) in 1945 for the needs of the Nuremberg Trials. Over the years it was thought (considered), that they have been lost, but they are kept in the International Justice Tribunal in The Hague. They come from the laboratory of Prof. Rudolph Spanner who was the Director of the Anatomical Institute of the Medical School in Gdansk during the war.

Samples from The Hague were tested by using, among other means, the innovative method of identifying fats created by Prof. Andrzej Stolyhwo from the Main School of Farm Enterprise in Warsaw. - This soap was made from human fat - ascertains Stolychwo.

Prof. Spanner who was interrogated by the crime police in Hamburg in May of 1947 confessed, that he manufactured in Gdansk, a substance, which may be called soap.

Supposedly it was a byproduct resulting from the boiling human bones for anatomical exhibits. He claimed, that he used the substance only for saturating (making waterproof) the specimens. Spanner lied. There exist statements from students, who had the responsibility to remove fat tissues, in the process of dissecting the cadavers, and to collect them in pails.

By the end of the war he brought great numbers of cadavers from places of execution in Krilewiec, Gdansk, Stutthof and the Hospital for the Mentally Ill in Kocborow, states prosecutor Piotr Niesyn, who was in charge of the investigation.

It can't be asserted that he was a genocidal. The cadavers were simply brought to him.

The Crime was based on the desecration of bodies, but those who committed the crime are no longer alive, adds prosecutor Maciej Szulc, Director of the Investigations Department at the INM in Gdansk.

Why did Spanner do this? By the end of the war animal fat was completely used for the manufacture of glycerin for the Nazi Armament Industry. Spanner needed soap to maintain hygienic conditions in the laboratory, among others, to wash the dissection tables. He decided to help himself, (solve the problem), and produced not more than a few tens of kilograms of soap for his needs. The soap never found its way to the market.

The INM investigation lasted four years. It was started after articles in Dziennik Baltycki (The Baltic Daily), from which it was concluded, that soap from people was not made, and that the statement from the writer Zofia Na kowska in "Medallions" was the result of a game of communist propaganda.

The text of a commemorative tablet, which for decades has hung on the building of Spanner's Institute doesn't conform to the truth, because it suggested genocide in order to manufacture soap -states Gerhard Olter, leader of the German (National) Minority in Gdansk.

We want a new text, which will consider (reflect) the determination of the INM.

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza

Professor Yehuda Bauer replied to this article as follows:

"This whole story was presented at the Nuremberg Trials of blessed memory, and there simply is absolutely nothing new about it. We have known, and published, for 60 years now that Germans used fat of bodies of Polish slave laborers (not Jews) in order to produce this fat, as an experiment, in early 1945.

The very fact that this was an experimental station at such a late stage disproves all the theories about making soap from Jewish bodies. If they had done that, they would not have needed an experimental station with one "expert" in Gdansk, in 1945. The issue was, at that time, in the air, because of the stories (invented) of Germans in World War I making soap out of dead German soldiers' bodies. German guards in Auschwitz and elsewhere used the story as a means of psychological torture of Jews. There is absolutely no truth whatsoever about soap made of Jews, or anyone else, except for this Gdansk thing. What I am saying here one can read in the Nuremberg Trials proceedings." Letter dated 27 July 2007

Women in the S.S.

According to German scholar Johannes Schwartz, who was recently a Revson Fellow at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, most women guards in German concentration camps who are listed as being members of the SS actually were not.

According to Schwartz, No female SS guard could become member of the SS. Even Irma Grese, the infamous wardress from Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen, was not a member of the SS. Women who have been labeled as SS guards could not get any rank in the SS, like Obersturmbannfuhrer, etc. The SS was an entire maleorganization, which included women only in the so called SS-Sippengemeinschaft, the SS clan, if they married an SS man. Female camp guards were members of the so called female auxiliary of the Waffen-SS (weibliches Gefolge der Waffen-SS). That is why they were subject to the SS and Police Courts for infractions as were SS men. Simultaneously they were Reich employees and they could get three different Reich employees grades.

After a three-month probation period, a Reich eagle was sewn on the left sleeve. This sovereign insignia showed that they were employees of the Reich. Their grade as simple camp guards was indicated by a black triangle with a bar on the lower part of the sleeve. If they attained a higher service grade, then a star was added. In March 1944, the service grades were further differentiated. Thus female superintendents, chief camp guards (Oberaufseherinnen) could be recognized by three aluminum-colored stripes on the sleeve and silver-gray piping on the edge of the cap. Although the female camp guards had no SS rank, but their service grades were based on a military hierarchy.

Courtesy of Johannes Schwartz

The King of Denmark Did Not Wear a Yellow Star

There is a great mythology about King Christian X of Denmark wearing a Yellow Star after the occupation of Denmark. The king did ride his horse every day in public, but the Yellow Star was never introduced by the German occupiers in Denmark. The myth of this probably comes from the novel by Leon Uris, EXODUS.

In the book QUEEN IN DENMARK (1989) Anne Wolden-Raethinge includes a quote by the Danish Queen Margrethe II about the mythical story: "It is a beautiful and symbolic story, but it is not true. The myth about the King wearing the star of David ... I can imagine that this could have originated from a typical remark by a Copenhagen errand boy on his bicycle: 'If they try to enforce the yellow star here, the King will be the first to wear it!' To me, the truth is an even greater honor for our country than the myth."

The Museum of the Danish Restiance in Copenhagen has a full display entitled "The King of Denmark did not wear a Yellow Star," and tells the full story. The Museum does note the following: "The Germans never attenpted to introduce the yellow Star of David in Denmark, and it is a myth that such an attempt was frustrated by the Danish King, Christian X. Those Danish Jews who were deported to Theresienstadt were, however, forced to wear the star."

For information on this see National Museet - Museum of Danish Resistance 1940-1945.

 

The Frequently Quoted Myth that Adolph Hitler had "Jewish Blood"

About possibility is that Adolf Hitler's grandfather was Jewish:

"Rumours to that effect circulated in Munich cafes in the early 1920s, and were fostered by sensationalist journalism of the foreign press during the 1930s. It was suggested that the name 'Huttler' was Jewish, 'revealed' that he could be traced to a Jewish family called Hitler in Bucharest, and even claimed that his father had been sired by Baron Rothschild, in whose house in Vienna his grandmother had allegedly spent some time as a servant. But the most serious speculation about Hitler's supposed Jewish background has occurred since the Second World War, and is directly traceable to the memoirs of the leading Nazi lawyer and Governor General of Poland, Hans Frank, dictated in his Nuremberg cell while awaiting the hangman."

"Frank claimed that he had been called in by Hitler towards the end of 1930 and shown a letter from his nephew William Patrick Hitler (the son of his half-brother Alois, who had been briefly married to an Irish woman) threatening, in connection with the press stories circulating about Hitler's background, to expose the fact that Hitler had Jewish blood flowing in his veins. Allegedly commissioned by Hitler to look into his family history, Frank reportedly discovered that Maria Anna Schicklgruber had given birth to her child while serving as a cook in the home of a Jewish family called Frankenberger in Graz. Not only that: Frankenberger senior had reputedly paid regular instalments to support the child on behalf of his son, around nineteen years old at the birth, until the child's fourteenth birthday. Letters were allegedly exchanged for years between Maria Anna Schicklgruber and the Frankenbergers. According to Frank, Hitler declared that he knew, from what his father and grandmother had said, that his grandfather was not the Jew from Graz, but because his grandmother and her subsequent husband were so poor they had conned the Jew into believing he was the father and into paying for the boy's support."

"Frank's story gained wide circulation in the 1950s. But it simply does not stand up. There was no Jewish family called Frankenberger in Graz during the 1830s. In fact, there were no Jews at all in the whole of Styria at the time, since Jews were not permitted in that part of Austria until the 1860s. A family named Frankenreiter did live there, but was not Jewish. There is no evidence that Maria Anna was ever in Graz, let alone was employed by the butcher Leopold Frankenreiter. No correspondence between Maria Anna and a family called Frankenberg or Frankenreiter has ever turned up. The son of Leopold Frankenreiter and alleged father of the baby (according to Frank's story and accepting that he had merely confused names) for whom Frankenreiter was seemingly prepared to pay child support for thirteen years was ten years old at the time of Alois's birth. The Frankenreiter family had moreover hit upon such hard times that payment of any support to Maria Anna Schicklgruber would have been inconceivable. Equally lacking in credibility is Frank's comment that Hitler had learnt from his grandmother that there was no truth in the Graz story: his grandmother had been dead for over forty years at the time of Hitler's birth. And whether in fact Hitler received a blackmail letter from his nephew in 1930 is also doubtful. If such was the case, then Patrick -- who repeatedly made a nuisance of himself by scrounging from his famous uncle -- was lucky to survive the next few years which he spent for the most part in Germany, and to be able to leave the country for good in December 1938. His 'revelations', when they came in a Paris journal in August 1939, contained nothing about the Graz story. Nor did a number of different Gestapo inquiries into Hitler's family background in the 1930s and 1940s contain any reference to the alleged Graz background. Indeed they discovered no new skeletons in the cupboard. Hans Frank's memoirs, dictated at a time when he was waiting for the hangman and plainly undergoing a psychological crisis, are full of inaccuracies and have to be used with caution. With regard to the story of Hitler's alleged Jewish grandfather, they are valueless. Hitler's grandfather, whoever he was, was not a Jew from Graz."

Ian Kershaw, Hitler: 1889-1936 Hubris
ISBN: 0-393-04671-0
W. W. Norton & Company; American edition (April 2000)
pp. 7-9