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Auschwitz. A Gruelling Story Of Germany's Worst Hell-Camp

Auschwitz. A Gruelling Story Of Germany's Worst Hell-Camp

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Auschwitz. A Gruelling Story Of Germany's Worst Hell-Camp

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184 pagine
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Jan 18, 2016


“There were in reality three Auschwitz camps…

Auschwitz I...with its two ovens and the mild death rate of a thousand or so per day.

Auschwitz II...where the death rate was stepped up to six thousand per day, with a world record of twenty-two thousand deaths in twenty-four hours.

Auschwitz III was the labor camp....”
In the labor camp, they had a grim motto: “Labor unto death.” But all three camps were dedicated to the “problem of extermination.”

Fedor Schellenberg, too familiar with all three camps, was dedicated to the problem of survival....

This book tells of the horrifying tortures and deaths in the most notorious of the Nazi extermination camps.
Jan 18, 2016

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Auschwitz. A Gruelling Story Of Germany's Worst Hell-Camp - Otto Kurst

This edition is published by PICKLE PARTNERS PUBLISHING—

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Text originally published in 1959 under the same title.

© Pickle Partners Publishing 2015, all rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted by any means, electrical, mechanical or otherwise without the written permission of the copyright holder.

Publisher’s Note

Although in most cases we have retained the Author’s original spelling and grammar to authentically reproduce the work of the Author and the original intent of such material, some additional notes and clarifications have been added for the modern reader’s benefit.

We have also made every effort to include all maps and illustrations of the original edition the limitations of formatting do not allow of including larger maps, we will upload as many of these maps as possible.



























FEDOR SCHELLENBERG could see the glow from the crematoria furnaces.

I am nothing but a sausage, waiting my turn for the frying-pan, he used to think

Every night he watched the glow, without observing the fires. He was like an usher in a movie, who could stare at the screen without seeing the pictures; and, if he saw the films at all, his brain did not register their meaning.

Life itself had no meaning at Auschwitz, nor at Birkenau—the annex, or extension, more generally known as Auschwitz II. Life was of less value than a two-pfennig ticket to nowhere.

A row of trees, thick-stemmed and tall, stood between the furnaces and the inmates of Auschwitz II. Prisoners were not supposed to understand what went on behind those trees.

I suppose that is a campfire for boy scouts? the lunatic Dollman had asked once.

Yes, of course, you insolent pig! answered the guard, nearly splitting Dollman’s skull open with a single blow from the butt end of a rifle.

The really funny thing about that was that Dollman was not being insolent. He was asking a harmless question. Most of the time he was being cunningly innocent and getting away with it; but this was one of the occasions upon which he really was innocent.

To sit and watch the crematoria fire-glow was like looking at a kitchen fire through a window. One day, the window would open and the warm draught would suck the observer inside—like an insect which, passing a chimney, may sometimes be swept up in the sparks.

The tall trees cast black shadows; and it seemed to Fedor that they were the shadows of living men, keeping sentinel on the evil deeds of Himmler’s massive organization.

It was said that even Himmler had been sick on one of his visits to the crematoria; but the worst fiend of all was the Camp Commandant, Rudolf Hoess, son of a religious sadist, once a frustrated farmer, and convicted murderer, now in charge of death.

Hoess was a frightened man. He was unable to kill people quickly enough and was behind in his program of extermination. Even the building of the annex to the crematoria was insufficient.

Every day, four trainloads of prisoners arrived at the camp and only two trainloads could be disposed of. The result was that prisoners were piling up faster than the furnaces could cope with them.

It was rumored that mass-shootings would follow, with bodies being tipped into open pits. Hoess did not want bodies lying around for incoming prisoners to see. He could not risk such prisoners taking fright and causing trouble.

This death-dealing was an uneconomic business. Staff had to be found at the ratio of one man to every twenty prisoners. Even when prisoners were put to work, only one-third of them could be successfully employed at any one time.

The furnaces were fed twenty-four hours per day and still the consumption was below estimates. At night, the ovens cast their dull red shadow against the dark trees; and, in the daytime, thick black smoke pervaded everything.

The sweet smell of death clung over the area. The inhabitants of nearby Oderberg were unique people. They lived happily in the shadow of mass-extermination and thought no more about it than if they had lived close to a large factory.

The villagers mixed with the camp guards, ate with them, drank with them, slept with them. As wagons, filled with Jews on their way to the ovens, rolled past, children called out in jeering tones:

Yah! Yah! Dirty old Jews! Off to the ovens—and good riddance!

The children who were brought up in Germany within the area of the dozens of Nazi concentration camps are adults now. This is one of the misfortunes of the world.

A greater misfortune is that most of the adults who were passive witnesses to the horrors of the concentration camps are still roaming about Germany as if they had no taint on their souls.

The greatest misfortune of all is that many of the guards, the staff and the doctors who were in control of these camps have slid back into civilian life, resuming their places amongst Germany’s decent citizens.

Doctors such as Dr. Wilhelm Stroop and his colleague Doktor Obersturmbannführer Krampnitz of the S.S. special division, who committed the worst recorded crimes against humanity.

If an army medical officer were asked to organize the extermination of ten thousand mosquitoes per day, or ten thousand bugs, fleas or other vermin, he would be hard put to it to dispose of so many insects in the time allotted, even supposing that the victims were supplied in mass cages.

If he has a normal human being and had the task of killing these pests day after day for months on end, his conscience would trouble him at the thought of taking so much life.

A man may occasionally tread on a beetle, or swat a fly. If he were forced to tread on ten thousand beetles per day, or swat ten thousand flies, he would end up by committing suicide rather than go on with his way of life.

Men like Hoess killed ten thousand human beings per day and thought nothing of it. In truth, they thought a great deal of it, their greatest worry being how they could step up the rate of killings.

If a Hoess succeeded in killing more men than his rivals in other extermination areas, he would ring up Himmler and report that fact, proudly, jubilantly and in the expectation of praise from his master.

This was the measure of the type of man who ruled Germany in the halcyon days of the Third Reich.

And, night after night, Fedor Schellenberg sat and watched the furnaces glow, wondering when his own turn would come.

But for the fact that the S.S. wanted information from him, he would have gone long since. Somehow though, he managed to hold out. Had he been asked why he suffered the tortures of the damned rather than seek the easy release of the ovens, he would have replied simply:

Because of Cato.

Cato was his fiancée and, through all his misery, the thought of her was the gleam that kept him with the will to survive.

His broken body was barely capable of sustaining his own weight; yet there was a massive strength within him which, so far, had proved stronger than the S.S.

In the months that he had been a prisoner of the S.S., Fedor had learned to understand his enemy. This was where he scored over his persecutors, for they had never learned to understand Fedor and his like.

The Gestapo was one branch of the S.S. In many respects, they were the worst branch of an evil organization. As Fedor understood the Gestapists, they were a group of moron-like men who had been trained to outwit the spiritually weak, but who were incapable of intimidating prisoners who were morally and spiritually strong.

They could beat them and persecute them, devise the most incredible tortures, yet they could never break the will of men who were determined to defy them.

Fedor, from the moment of his capture, had willed himself not to be defeated; and, so far, he had remained true to his decision. For how long it could continue, he did not know. He knew only that death would be a release, and a triumph.

If the Gestapo had to kill him, it would be an admission of defeat.

Fedor had noticed many a time during interrogation that he had driven the investigator to the point of absolute despair; and he was able to gain a certain slight satisfaction from the knowledge that the official was more frightened than he himself was.

On such occasions, the officer had to exert the maximum self-control in order to refrain from shooting his prisoner. He did not dare to kill, nor to torture beyond the limits laid down; therefore he was, to some extent, as much a victim of the system as the man whom he was investigating.

The investigator was always grateful for the slightest progress that he was able to make against a prisoner; and he would be well satisfied if he gained one small piece of information out of a grueling session.

Having learned this, Fedor was able to control the officer more than the latter could control him. By rationing his information, he not only prolonged his expectation of life, but also increased the tension on the examiner.

To play this game required the highest degree of moral courage. This was a trait which Fedor had not expected of himself, but which he had discovered in the cruel school of Gestapo investigation.

Now that he knew what he could endure, he was master of his own fate. Long experience of interrogation had taught him several useful tricks.

The first was to look his interrogator straight in the eye at all times when he was being directly questioned. This cold hard stare had a disconcerting effect upon the officer in question. Few of them could look their prisoner in the eye; and they hated to be looked at brazenly, with a coldly contemptuous glare which seemed to bare their craven souls.

All Gestapists were recruited from the dregs of German pre-war society. They were poorly educated thugs, raised from the gutters, often ex-reform school boys, or convicted criminals.

Thus, they began with a sense of inferiority. It was this feeling of inferiority that had led them to join the Gestapo in the first place. The organization was a refuge for men of similar type. To join the Gestapo was often the last hope of a thwarted, underprivileged moron who already had a grudge against society.

When a Gestapist found himself questioning a well-educated German, his sense of inferiority bubbled over; and it was then he had to be most careful not to overstep the bounds of his briefing.

The prisoner with the wit to understand this situation could exploit it to his own advantage, getting his own back by making the officer feel his inferiority.

Admittedly, the officer was physically the master, but however much he might storm and rage, no matter what torture he might inflict, he was still the inferior person.

A man who was scum when he joined the S.S. was no less scum because he held the rank of Oberstgruppenführer, which was the highest rank in the Schutzstaffeln. And, deep down, he knew that he was no less scum; and this was the bite that gave him the urge to maltreat his prisoners.

The strong-willed prisoner can take all the punishment that is meted out to him, but will never lose his superiority; and so he is still a better man than his tormentor. And the torturer knows that he is fitted for nothing more than the dishing out of punishment.

When the officer is made to feel that he is nothing more than a low-grade warder, then the prisoner is really on top.

The Gestapo system of punishment is based upon this principle of humiliation, so as to weaken the feeling of superiority which the prisoner must have. Just as the man who kicks a dog proves himself to be inferior to the dog, so does the Gestapo official who slaps a prisoner’s face because he cannot get the answer he wants.

Their system is based on three primary moves before investigation begins.

1. Weakening of physical resistance.

2. Weakening of spiritual resistance.

3. Humiliation.

A prisoner is first starved to the point where he is ready to submit to any humiliation for the sake of food. He is then humiliated, but given no food.

Thus the prisoner, hungry, and physically weaker than when he came in, begins to weaken spiritually—unless, that is, he is of very tough moral fiber.

He is then fed with pre-interrogation data of punishments suffered by other prisoners, of brutalities committed under interrogation and of torture following upon defiance.

At this point, he is prepared for the interrogation by being subjected to a series of petty humiliations. He is made to stand in the corner, with his face to the wall.

Sometimes, his face is thrust into the brickwork and screwed round until the skin is torn from his nose. He suffers pain that is only a mild foretaste of what is to come when he appears before the interrogator.

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