The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania
© 1978, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
 
 
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The eighth of June, 1942, the SS-Sturmbannführer Hans Gunther of the RSHA ordered him to procure a hundred kilograms of prussic acid and to transport it to a place known only to the driver of the lorry. On August 17, Gerstein, accompanied by Professor Pfannenstiel, arrived in Lublin (Poland) where they were received by the SS-Gruppenführer Globocnik, Chief of the SS and of the Police of the District of Lublin. They had a conversation with him in presence of a certain Dr. Herbert Linden, director at the Ministry of the Interior. Two days later, they left for Belzec where Gerstein, escorted by the SS-Hauptsturmführer Obermeyer, of Pirmasens, was able to visit the gas chambers. He returned there the next day and was present at the arrival of a convoy. Its forty five railway cars contained 6,700 persons of whom 1,450 were already dead upon arrival. Remaining where he was, Gerstein followed everything that went on afterwards under the command of a certain Captain Wirth: brutal unloading of the cars of their live cargo, undressing of everyone, the column conducted towards the gas chambers where men, women and children were forced to crowd together and, finally, their atrocious and interminable agony of three hours and twenty one minutes by the clock, for the Diesel engine of which the exhaust fumes were intended to kill the unfortunate people did not work; and two hours and forty nine minutes were necessary to repair it, then thirty two minutes to finish the killing. Gerstein was present at the opening of the gas chambers, at the evacuation of the bodies and their quick burial "in big pits of about 100x20x12 meters, located near the death chambers." Professor Pfannenstiel was present at all that with him.

The next day Gerstein and Pfannenstiel went in Captain Wirth's car to Treblinka, where they visited installations identical to those of Belzec, but bigger.

Leaving Poland, Gerstein in the train from Warsaw met the Secretary of the Swedish Legation in Berlin, Baron Göran von Otter. For lack of sleepers, the two men remained in the corridor where Gerstein, overwhelmed by what he had seen at Belzec, recounted his terrible visit to the diplomat, asking that the latter transmit his account to the Swedish Government and, through its intermediary, to the Allies at war. Following this, he again met the diplomat on two occasions and was told that the latter had sent a report to his government. Moreover, Gerstein presented himself to the Papal Nuncio in Berlin who, learning that Gerstein was an SS, refused to receive him. He was, however, able to relate his journey to Poland to the Secretary of the Episcopate of Berlin, Dr. Winter.

Here is a very succinct résumé of his "report."

What is known is that in April 1945, in the midst of the Nazi defeat, Gerstein was in Bade-Wurtemberg. He crossed without difficulty the front line near Reutlingen, occupied by French troops, then proceeded to Rottweil, also occupied by the French. He was arrested, freed the next morning, but assigned to house arrest in a room of the Hotel Mohren, which had been requisitioned. It was in this room that he wrote of his visits to the extermination camps in Poland in 1942. Two
    
   

 
The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania
© 1978, The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation
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