Dark Side V
Architects of Annihilation Auschwitz and the Logic of Destruction Gotz Ally and Susanne Heim
1991 Phoenix London Allan Blunden (trans) 2002
(pg 3) Received history posits this mass murder of European Jewry as inexplicable in rational terms. This book will show the utilitarian goals behind these murders. Far from being barbaric bureaucrats, the Nazi hierarchy sought out the best scientific advisors and used their findings as the basis for their decisions. The heads of the armed forces and government ministries commissioned over 1,600 secrete reports from the Kiel Institute of World Economic Studies alone as an aid in planning the economic strategy of the war.
(pg 6) Many of these experts were initially cool to the new regime, joining the party only to further their careers when they saw the immense possibilities unfolding. They wanted to rationalize production methods, standardize products, introduce an international division of labor, modernize and simplify social structures, and reduce the number of “unproductive” people to an absolute minimum. The size and composition of the population were to be continuously monitored and regulated through government programs of birth controland birth promotion, resettlement, and extermination.
According to these experts, the new Germany, swallowing Poland and extending well into western Russia, was short several million workers, and had an excess of thirty to fifty million unproductive people. Lacking completely in these new areas was a middle class that could guarantee stable social conditions and promote the creation of an internal market. The solution was summed up by Heinrich Himmler: “The only way to solve the social problem was for one lot to kill the others and take their land.”
In Czechoslovakia and Austria the Nazis were able to use terror, expropriation and forced emigration to fulfill their plans. In Poland a second phase was instituted which necessitated the crushing, devastation and complete transformation of its demographic and economic structure, and its use as a testing ground for Nazi ideas. If the drive for a social utopia led necessarily genocide, then so be it.
The third phase envisioned a food shortage that could only be resolved satisfactorily, that is without undermining morale on the German home front, by the forced starvation of thirty million Russians. In this phase the European Jewish ghettos were to be annihilated as food shortages were to make even slave labor on starvation rations unprofitable.
(pg 8) Many of the decisions made were purely verbal understandings, or were to be read and burned immediately, or were burned in the last months of the war. In addition the express mention of mass murder was evidently taboo even in the reports drawn up by the security services. This led the authors of this book to focus on the middle levels of the intelligencia in this genocidal apparatus, both because it led them to documents that hadn’t been destroyed, and because the responsibility of this stratum has largely been whitewashed by the post war German Federal Republic because it “relied heavily during the reconstruction period on the old administrative elite who had previously served the National Socialist regime.
(pg 9) After 1945 this stratum of the intelligentsia obviously had an interest in portraying National Socialism as a period in German social life where their efforts to influence events were repeatedly frustrated by the nightmare of madness and terror. The theme of this book is the nightmare of a designing rationalism in the service of practical policy making, which inherently tends to the abandonment of moral restraint.
Chapter one: The systematic removal of the Jewish population from Germany’s social and economic life.
(Pg 10) November 9, 1938 was the “night of broken glass” in which German Jewry suffered pogroms and looting throughout the German Reich. There was no effort by the police to restrain the mobs. Just as the “night of the long knives” had implicated the regular German army in Nazi crimes, so this “Cristal Night” implicated the German lumpen-
At this meeting Goring charged the regional administrators to make clear the government’s intentions to the public in general by closing down and “Aryanizing” of retail businesses. Small and medium sized manufacturing enterprises were to be shut down if they were not needed, or turned into something else. This applied not only to Jews, but they bore the brunt where possible. In 1937 alone 90,000 Aryan businesses went bankrupt or closed down. Non-
The experience gained since the takeover of Austria six months previously would be vital. There the chief instrument was the dispossession of countless thousands of Jews and their removal from virtually every sector of the economy. The whole operation was directed not by zealous anti-
The problem of what to do with people whom you would not allow to work was obvious. Only three days after Goring’s meeting a Dutch paper suggested following the pattern established by the Russian Bolsheviks: declare these “idle” Jews enemies of the state and put them to work in special forced labor camps.
The “rationalization” of Austria, and its incorporation into Germany was led by Joseph Burkel, who had performed the same task in the Saarland. Assisting him was Dr. Rudolph Gater who had also worked in the Saarland reincorporation after getting his PhD in Zurich in 1935 with a thesis on the economic projections of the Harvard Institute. A group of Hamburg import-
(pg 19) Key in these plans was the Reich Board for Industrial Rationalization (RKW), a supervisory board that had been privately funded until nationalized by the Nazis. It was tasked with, among other things, “optimizing the deployment of labor resources and achieving pre-
The RKW had regard not for just the profitability and economic prospects of the existing businesses, but took into account future changes in the urban landscape and proposed road realignment schemes. It was centrally planned urban redevelopment.
After Vienna’s voluntary emigration project ran dry there were still 110,000 Jewish people living in Vienna. In October, 1938 Rafelberger proposed construction of work camps in remote areas, to be built, owned and administered by the Jewish camp inmates, and to be supervised by the Gestapo. This would also relieve pressure on the housing market.
The RKW acknowledged, or perhaps warned, that it had not been possible to review all the trades, and implied that the elimination of the Jewish minority was only the first step in a grand design aimed at the complete reordering of the entire social, demographic, and economic life of the country.
(page 24) When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, the lessons and mistakes of Vienna were taken into account, changes were incorporated into the new policies, and many of the administrators were moved to Amsterdam. Business acumen and financial responsibility were required of the new Aryan owners, who had to pay compensation to those expropriated. A semblance of legality was observed, and exit visas were offered to those who refused to sell out.
(page 26) Unlike Vienna the Dutch economy was on a par with Germany, so the main emphasis was on the incorporation of German capital into the Dutch companies. The Germans wanted the Dutch to respond positively to this penetration of capital, and this was more likely if the initial penetration was made at the expense of the Jewish business owners.
The proceeds from the sale of the Jewish businesses, homes, and property were used to finance their further persecution. The construction of the camps and their connecting rail lines came from this money. Rich Jewish immigrants were required to leave behind a certain percentage of their assets to take care of poor Jews, and take a certain number of poor Jews with them.
(page 27) In 1936 Hitler sent out a directive to the German army to be ready for action in four years, and that the German economy must be on a war footing by that time. In October, 1936 the Four-
(page 28) Goring’s function was to make it easier to overcome moral inhibitions and exceed the limits established by legal norms in order to attain political ends. The FYPA was an economic high command who oversaw the big picture and guaranteed the necessary flexibility of programs in the face of frequent abrupt changes of mind by the top political leadership, to streamline the German economy for the planned war, to ensure an adequate supply of foreign exchange, and to regulate wages and prices. It was to monitor the composition of the population with regard to skills and capacity for work, and to make sure that welfare costs fell rather than climbed.
(pg 29) Efficiency and expertise counted for more than seniority in the FYPA, so many of the managers were still very young, and started new careers with the Federal Republic after the war. One of these was Otto Donner who, among other tasks, was to ensure the absolute economic dependency of south-
In the summer of 1939 Donner calculated the economic requirements for the war. It was possible they would exceed the general national income in peace time. He advised against printing money to finance the war. Instead he recommended a propaganda campaign designed to instill a spirit of sacrifice and struggle in the civilian population so that a drop in the standard of living would not result in demoralization or rebellion, and the money saved could go into the war effort. Not spelled out but implied in his report was the option of maintaining the daily caloric intake of the workers by drastically limiting the caloric intake of the “useless” or “racially inferior” segment of the population. Similar arguments were used to justify the murder of the mentally ill and anti-
(pg 36) The problem of what to do with the Jewish population bedeviled the Germans in the early phase of the war. When Poland was conquered Heinrich Himmler began deporting the German Jews there, but Goring could not see the point and stopped it. When France was over run a plan to ship Jews to the French colony of Madagascar was examined and rejected.
(pg 37) With the June 22, 1941 German invasion of the U.S.S.R. Hitler’s social utopia plan, which could be characterized as “humanity in the service of industry” met with new opportunities and challenges. Starting in late February in the Polish town of Auschwitz the Jewish people had been moved to a compound outside of town and formed into work gangs to construct a chemical industrial complex outside the range of Allied bombers.
This became the pattern for the newly conquered territories in Russia: Expropriate the Jewish people and move them to work camps where they were essentially worked to death. Select those from the local population most amenable to Nazi propaganda and make them complicit by transferring the Jewish property to them. The German army was to be fed with Russian food, and as much food as possible was to be shipped back to Germany, leading to the forced starvation of millions of Russians. The cities were not to be taken by storm, but were to be encircled and besieged. Starvation of civilians became a recognized method of waging war.
(pg 39) Anton Reithinger, and expert on Eastern Europe and head of I.G. Farben’s economic research department wrote in 1934 that the collapse of the world trade system in the economic crisis “has put the problem of general reordering European trade relations back on the top of the agenda”. He envisioned Europe hierarcically structured with Germany at the top producing industrial goods and South-
(pg 41) In 1940 Germany forcibly drafted Poland into its project. A land reform bill had been passed by the Polish parliament in 1919 to prevent the Russian revolution from spilling over into Poland, but it was only tentatively implemented. In 1939 70% of Poles were living from agriculture, and with each generation land parcels became smaller. A 1938 report put Polish population growth at 28% in the previous 17 years. Prior to World War 1 emigration had provided an outlet for the surplus population, but the world economic crisis and increasing racism in Europe had forced many of the emigrants home and greatly curtailed new emigrants. Production could not be increased as long as the poor peasants continued to spend what little surplus he did produce on increased personal consumption and charity, instead of reinvesting the money in the land.
(pg 43) From the peasant point of view the problem was not overpopulation but the abysmally low prices paid for his produce and the regressive system of taxation where the rich paid little tax and the bloated military, bureaucracy, and ruling elite were paid by an oppressive system of direct and indirect taxation and a monopoly pricing on matches, tobacco, sugar, salt, and brandy. Subsistence farming was for the poor peasant a survival strategy.
(pg 44) A passive reaction to poverty is never the end. As early as 1926 a Berlin paper was complaining of the rising tide of crime fueled by poverty, and the increased political unrest in Poland. The communist hadn’t incited the recent riots in Polish cities, hunger had, but the communists were quick to exploit them. The paper pointed to two alternatives: inflation leading to social revolution, or foreign loans leading to the loss of economic and eventually political autonomy. The Polish ruling class opted for the latter. In May, 1926 Joseph Pilsudski came to power in a military coup. In 1927 the new government raised a loan of $62 million in the U.S., accepting interest rates far higher than normal or supportable. Moreover, the U.S. government got complete control over how the money was spent. Poland enjoyed a two year boom until agricultural prices plunged on the world market in 1929. In 1931 the government switched to a rigidly deflationary policy, further immiserating the rural small holder and the industrial working class. Tuberculosis reached epidemic proportions. The young adults couldn’t find work. In 1935 approximately 40% of the worker’s families couldn’t feed themselves adequately. By the spring of 1939 a quarter of Poland was on the brink of starvation.
(pg 50) Britain, France, and the U.S. became increasingly alarmed. Not only did they have capital tied up in Poland, but looked to Poland to curb Russian and German expansion. Tensions rose in 1939 as Germany completed its war preparations. Western governments tried to win Polish good will by accommodating Polish plans to solve their land problems and Jewish problems, now inter-
The ancient practice of scapegoating returned to its most archaic and powerful roots: human sacrifice, in which a leadership in crisis convinces its half willing followers to magically transcend its past by sacrificing the weak for the good of the strong. Though tempered with the progress of civilization, as in the Old Testament story of Abraham sacrificing a goat in place of his son Isaac, the old temptation to ritual murder is always there, in the heart of darkness.
Hitler’s Slavic twin, Joseph Stalin, had also embraced this dark logic in his manic surge toward industrialization ten years earlier, only in place of National Socialism’s racist rationalization for mass murder, International Communism evoked the mythical historical necessity of the class struggle to excuse the amalgamation of 25 million small holdings into 250,000 collective farms, during which an estimated 9 million "useless mouths" died through either the state’s requisition of the peasant’s produce to feed the industrial working class, or the forced resettlement into an empty but frozen Siberia.
In October, 1940 the German occupation authorities gave orders for the establishment of the Warsaw ghetto. It was sealed off from the outside world on November 15. All the programs for mass deportation had come to nothing. By February, 1941 a new report by the RKW of the Government General squashed the more optimistic reports of those who had set up the ghetto. When the Jews finally ran out of savings and items to barter that they had managed to secret away, the cost for maintaining them would amount to 55 million Reichmarks a year, "if the intention was to keep them alive". Neither did the prospect of employing the ghetto population on outside "public works" projects seem feasible. There was already an excess of unused laborers, and the Jewish workers would have to be guarded. When the word that the invasion of Russia would proceed in 1941 circulated at the top of the decision making apparatus, the problem of shipping soldiers to the front and workers to jobs further undermined make work proposals. At this time the option of "liquidating the Jewish people" first reached print.
In March, 1941 the Central Department of Labor noted that the deployment of Jews in work camps had produced very little in the way of economic return, largely because of their poor physical condition and undernourishment. 20% of the Jews from the 10 labor camps had become sick and returned to the ghettos. At this time one of the RKWs options, "conditions of undernourishment could be allowed to develop without regard to consequence", began to have effect. The number of deaths in the ghetto during the second half of the year were much higher than in any previous 6-
(pg 232) In addition to the Jewish minority, the Gypsie minority was targeted. They were conscripted for forced labor, subject to police controls, sent to concentration camps and finally deported to extermination camps. In the years of German rule in Europe at least 105,000 were murdered in S.E. Europe. By Oct. 1941 approx. 200,000 Serbs were murdered by the Croatia Ustase, Germany’s ally.
Chapt. 11 The war against the Soviet Union and the annihilation of X millions of people.
(pg234) This year 20-
(pg 235) The new food czar was Herbert Backe, once senior vice president of the Kaisar Wilhelm Society (which later became the Max Planck Society) campaigned tirelessly for a mechanized and rationalized German agriculture. He belonged to the intellectual elite and was friends with the Nazi elite. His job was to hold the home front steady, and for that he needed bacon, meat, and butter. As Germany conquered countries it slaughtered some 2/3 of the livestock, including chickens, and shipped it back to Germany to be canned. He told the Government General to cut food back for the Jews. To maintain food in Germany, Backe planned to starve 30 million people to death by shipping Russian food to Germany. Just to return the German meat ration from the weekly 400 grams to the previous 500 grams, Brack intended to take starvation rations away from 4-
(pg 239) Before the Russian Revolution Russia had been the world’s largest exporter of wheat. Now the Russians ate more and had increased from 140 to 170 millions, and exported an insignificant amount. Russia was to be a food exporting nation again. The industrial areas would be looted of food and machinery, encircled and left to starve. Several millions of Russian cattle and pigs were to be slaughtered and shipped back to Germany. In 1944 Hans-
(pg 248) Between Nov. 1941 and Feb. 1942 500,000 Russians and some 2 million POWS had starved to death. Hitler tried to shift blame for the famine onto Stalin. When by 1944 Germany had lost the Ukraine, it turned to Hungary for food. It was at this late date that Hungary’s Jews were relocated. Their food was just enough to keep the German home ration stable. Backe hanged himself at the Nuremburg trials, fearful that he would be turned over to the Russians.