"No Gassing in Dachau"
By Dr. Martin Broszat
The following letter appeared in the Hamburg weekly Die Zeit under
the headline "Keine Vergasung in Dachau." It appeared in the German edition of
August 19, 1960, and in the US edition of August 26, 1960 (p. 14). Dr. Broszat
writes in the name of the prestigious Institute for Contemporary History (Institut
Neither in Dachau nor in Bergen-Belsen nor in
Buchenwald were Jews or other prisoners gassed. The gas chamber in Dachau was
never entirely finished or put "into operation." Hundreds of thousands of
prisoners who perished in Dachau and other concentration camps in the Old Reich
were victims, above all, of the catastrophic hygienic and provisioning
conditions: according to official SS statistics, during the twelve months from
July 1942 through June 1943 alone, 110,812 persons died of disease and hunger in
all of the concentration camps of the Reich. The mass extermination of the Jews
by gassing began in 1941-1942 and occurred exclusively in a few facilities
selected and equipped with appropriate technical installations, above all in the
occupied Polish territory (but at no place in the Old Reich) (aber nirgends
im Altreich) in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Sobibor on the Bug, in Treblinka,
Chelmno and Belzec.
It is at those places, but not in Bergen-Belsen, Dachau or Buchenwald, where the
mass extermination facilities, spoken of in your article, were built and
disguised as shower baths or disinfection rooms. This necessary differentiation
does not, of course, change anything regarding the criminal character of the
facility that was the concentration camp. However, it may perhaps help eliminate
the annoying confusion that arises from the fact that some ineducable people
make use of a few arguments that, while correct, are polemically torn from the
context, and that, rushing to respond to them are other people who, although
they have the correct overall view, rely upon false or mistaken information.
Dr. M. Broszat
Institute for Contemporary History
Reprinted by permission from The Journal of Historical Review
Vol. 13, No. 3, May / June. 1993.
Post Office Box 2739
Newport Beach, California 92659
Subscription rate: $40 per year, domestic. $50 per year, foreign.