Reliably Unreliable? The Sonderkommando Eyewitness Testimony to The Holocaust
Shlomo and Abraham Dragon claim they lived to tell their story only because Shlomo got sick. All the other 200 Sonderkommandos in their group allegedly were transferred to Lublin and gassed. So instead of being gassed, Shlomo stayed at Birkenau, received medical treatment…
Sonderkommando Eyewitness Testimony to the Holocaust
Defenders of the Holocaust story inevitably raise eyewitness testimony as proof that the genocide of European Jewry happened. However, as I discussed in a previous article, eyewitness testimony to the so-called Holocaust is notoriously unreliable.
A pro-Holocaust supporter told me that witnesses such as Elie Wiesel, Simon Wiesenthal and Viktor Frankl are not relied upon by historians to prove the so-called Holocaust happened. Instead, testimony from Sonderkommandos who actually worked at the alleged homicidal gas chambers constitutes the most reliable eyewitness testimony. In this article I will examine the credibility of the eyewitness testimony of several Jewish Sonderkommandos mentioned frequently in the pro-Holocaust literature.
Henryk Tauber states in his deposition of May 1945 that he worked in the Crematoria at Birkenau from February 1943 to October 1944. Pro-Holocaust researcher Robert Jan van Pelt refers to Sonderkommando Henryk Tauber as “an almost ideal witness” and states “we do well to attach the highest evidentiary value” to Tauber’s testimony. Jean-Claude Pressac states:
“The testimony by Henryk Tauber is the best that exists on the Birkenau Krematorien. Being 95% historically reliable, it stands head and shoulders above the rest.”
An analysis of Tauber’s testimony, however, shows that it is extremely unreliable.
Tauber states in his deposition:
“Generally speaking, we burned four or five corpses at a time in one muffle, but sometimes we charged a greater number of corpses. It was possible to charge up to eight ‘muselmanns’. Such big charges were incinerated without the knowledge of the head of the crematorium during air raid warnings in order to attract the attention of airmen by having a bigger fire emerging from the chimney. We imagined that in that way it might be possible to change our fate.”
As is common knowledge and has been pointed out many times, no flames come out of crematorium chimneys. It is also impossible to push eight corpses into a cremation muffle whose door is just two feet wide and two feet high. And apart from that, before Tauber and his co-workers would have been able to push eight corpses into each oven and get a huge blaze going, any plane they claim to have heard approaching would have long since flown away. Such testimonies are, to use Pressac’s words, “nothing but downright lies and pure invention.”
Tauber states in his deposition:
“During the incineration of such [not emaciated] corpses, we used the coke only to light the fire of the furnace initially, for fatty corpses burned of their own accord thanks to the combustion of the body fat. On occasion, when coke was in short supply, we would put some straw and wood in the ash bins under the muffles, and once the fat of the corpse began to burn the other corpses would catch light themselves…Later on, as cremations succeeded one another, the furnaces burned thanks to the embers produced by the combustion of the corpses. So, during the incineration of fat bodies, the fires were generally extinguished.”
Tauber’s testimony is absurd. The thousands of crematories around the world consuming large amounts of energy are the best proof that total cremation of naked bodies in a short period of time will not occur from the combustion of body fat from the corpses.
Tauber’s testimony becomes even more absurd when he states that the Birkenau crematories were shut down in 1944 because cremation trenches are more efficient than crematories. Tauber testifies:
“It was realized that the pits burned the corpses better (than the furnaces), so the Krematorien closed down one after the other after the pits came into operation.”
Germar Rudolf comments on Tauber’s testimony:
“As for trench burning in comparison to cremation, the energy loss through radiation and convection, along with the problem of incomplete burning, is so gigantic that further commentary is really not needed.”
Tauber also states in his testimony:
“Ober Capo August explained to us that, according to the calculations and plans for this crematorium, five to seven minutes was allowed to burn one corpse in a muffle.”
This is impossible even today, and using 1940s technology it would have taken at least an hour to incinerate a corpse.
Tauber also estimates that 4 million people were gassed at Auschwitz/Birkenau:
“During my time in Auschwitz, I was able to talk to various prisoners who had worked in the Krematorien and the Bunkers before my arrival. They told me that I was not among the first to do this work, and that before I came another 2 million people had already been gassed in Bunkers 1 and 2 and Krematorium I. Adding up, the total number of people gassed in Auschwitz amounted to about 4 million.”
Today no credible historian estimates that 4 million people were gassed at Auschwitz/Birkenau.
More Incongruities in Tauber’s Testimony
Henryk Tauber states in his deposition:
“The people going to be gassed and those in the gas chamber damaged the electrical installations, tearing the cables out and damaging the ventilation equipment.”
The alleged homicidal gas chambers could not have been ventilated when the ventilation equipment was damaged by the inmates. If Tauber’s statement were true, the Germans would have had to repair the wiring and ventilation ducts in the gas chambers on a regular basis. Tauber and the other Sonderkommandos would not have been able to clear the gas chambers of dead bodies when the ventilation system was not working. Thus, the daily mass gassings in the homicidal gas chambers could not have occurred as Tauber alleges.
Henryk Tauber also states in his deposition that the Sonderkommandos carried the bodies to the Crematorium ovens. Tauber makes no mention that the Sonderkommandos used special protection to carry the bodies.
A body that has been killed with hydrocyanic acid (HCN) cannot be safely touched without protection. Dr. Robert Faurisson states in regard to HCN poisoning:
“Hydrocyanic acid penetrates into the skin, the mucous membranes, and the bodily fluids. The corpse of a man who has just been killed by this powerful poison is itself a dangerous source of poisoning, and cannot be touched with bare hands. In order to enter the HCN-saturated chamber to remove the corpse, special gear is needed, as well as a gas mask with a special filter.”
The danger of touching someone killed with Zyklon B gas is confirmed in the scientific literature.
Bill M. Armontrout, the Warden of Missouri State Penitentiary, testified at the 1988 Ernst Zündel trial as to the operation of the Missouri homicidal gas chamber:
After the execution, the ammonia was released and the gas expelled out of the chamber. All staff and witnesses were removed from the area. The ventilation fan ran for approximately an hour before two officers equipped with Scott air-packs (self-contained breathing apparatus which firemen use to enter smoke-filled buildings) opened the hatch of the gas chamber and removed the lead bucket containing the cyanide residue. The two officers wore rubberized disposable clothing and long rubber gloves. They hosed down the condemned man’s body in the chair, paying particular attention to the hair and the clothing because of the cyanide residue, then removed him and placed him on a gurney where further decontamination took place. The officers then hosed the entire inside of the gas chamber with regular cold water.
The Sonderkommandos at Auschwitz/Birkenau would also have had to wear something similar to Scott air-packs. There is simply no way around it. Otherwise, the alleged homicidal gassing operations would not have worked, and Henryk Tauber could not have lived to tell his story.
Henryk Tauber states in his deposition concerning the alleged gas chambers:
“The roof of the gas chamber was supported by concrete pillars running down the middle of its length. On either side of these pillars there were four others, two on each side. The sides of these pillars, which went up through the roof, were of heavy wire mesh. Inside this grid, there was another of finer mesh and inside that a third of very fine mesh. Inside this last mesh cage there was a removable can that was pulled out with a wire to recover the pellets from which the gas had evaporated.”
Germar Rudolf states in regard to Tauber’s testimony:
“Several hundred people, locked into a cellar with a very small surface area, anticipating death, would panic and attempt to escape, damaging everything that stood in their way…If these columns actually existed, their outer framework would have to have been of solid steel, but certainly not of fragile wire mesh construction.”
Tauber’s testimony concerning wire mesh in the gas chambers is simply not credible.
Abraham and Shlomo Dragon
Brothers Abraham and Shlomo Dragon both claim to have been Sonderkommandos stationed at Birkenau. Shlomo Dragon recalls his first encounter with dead bodies at a cottage known as Bunker 2:
“As [SS officer Otto] Moll opened the door of the house, bodies fell out. We smelled gas. We saw corpses of both sexes. The whole place was full of naked people on top of each other falling out.”
Shlomo Dragon states that the cottage was “a little house with a thatched roof” that served as a gas chamber. When asked how the SS threw the gas into the cottage, Shlomo Dragon replied: “There was a little window in the side wall.” Dragon states that he “could sense the sweetish taste of the gas.” According to Dragon, the Sonderkommandos dragged the bodies out of the alleged gas chamber “by the hands,” and then “threw them into the carts, lugged them to the pits, and threw them into the pits.”
Shlomo Dragon’s testimony is absurd for many reasons. First, Dragon claims that the sexes were not separated before entering the alleged gas chambers. This is not credible because:
1) This procedure is in contradiction to the procedures followed during disinfestation, where according to eyewitnesses the sexes were carefully separated,
2) Since there were always two alleged “gas chambers” of each type available in Birkenau (in Crematorium II and III, or IV and V, or Bunker I and II), there is no apparent reason why the victims could not have been separated by sex,
3) The claims were repeatedly made that the victims were made to believe that they were going to shower or undergo disinfestation. These procedures would have necessarily separated the populace on the basis of sex, if only because of the need for deception, and
4) Particularly in the 1940s, large numbers of people could only have been made to disrobe completely with others of the opposite sex if they had been threatened with force and violence. This would, however, have nullified all the other measures of concealment.
Shlomo Dragon’s statement that he could smell the sweetish taste of the gas is also not credible. Hydrogen cyanide gas actually smells of bitter almonds. There is nothing sweetish about it.
As previously stated, it is also not safe to enter “gas chambers” and then to drag and carry the dead bodies with bare hands to the pits with only a gas mask as a protective measure. Germar Rudolf states:
“It should not be forgotten here that hydrogen cyanide is a contact poison. Transporting corpses, on whose skin huge, possibly lethal amounts of hydrogen cyanide are absorbed, had required that the special commands dealing with these corpses had to wear protective clothes.”
Dragon’s description of Bunker 2 as a little house with a little window in the side wall where gas was introduced is also not credible. Genuine homicidal gas chambers require advanced engineering and construction. Homicidal gas chambers cannot be made out of existing cottages where poison gas is introduced through a little window in a side wall. Furthermore, no documentary evidence has ever been found indicating that Bunker 2 at Birkenau existed as an extermination facility.
Shlomo and Abraham Dragon claim they lived to tell their story only because Shlomo got sick. All the other 200 Sonderkommandos in their group allegedly were transferred to Lublin and gassed. So instead of being gassed, Shlomo stayed at Birkenau, received medical treatment, convinced the SS to keep his brother with him, and both brothers lived to tell their story of mass murder at Birkenau. Like most Holocaust survivors, they both claim to have survived Birkenau through a miracle.
Shlomo Venezia arrived in Auschwitz/Birkenau on April 11, 1944 and soon began work with the Sonderkommandos. Venezia’s work initially involved carrying bodies removed from Bunker 2 to nearby ditches. Venezia states:
“The ditches sloped down, so that, as they burned, the bodies discharged a flow of human fat down the ditch to a corner where a sort of basin had been formed to collect it. When it looked as if the fire might go out, the men had to take some of that liquid fat from the basin, and throw it onto the fire to revive the flames. I saw this only in the ditches of Bunker 2.”
Shlomo Venezia’s story is nonsense. The ignition temperature of human fats is far less than the ignition temperature of the light hydrocarbons which form as a result of the gasification of the bodies and of the seasoned wood used in the fire. The human fat is the first thing that burns on a corpse located in a fire. The human fat could not possibly have flowed down to a corner of the ditch as Venezia describes.
Also, if by some miracle the human fat had flowed to the corner of the ditch, the Sonderkommandos would have had to collect it while an immense bonfire was raging with a temperature of at least 600° C. The Sonderkommandos could not have withstood such intense heat.
Venezia later worked at Crematorium III in Birkenau. He states that it took about 10 to 12 minutes for the people to be killed by the gas, and another 20 minutes to run the ventilation system. Venezia describes bringing the corpses out of the gas chamber:
“A terrible, acrid smell filled the room. We couldn’t distinguish between what came from the specific smell of the gas and what came from the smell of the people and the human excrement.”
Venezia never mentions that he used a gas mask during his work. Without a gas mask, Venezia and the other Sonderkommandos would have been gassed in turn. The ventilators could not have completely exhausted the gas from the alleged gas chambers in only 20 minutes. More importantly, there would always have been residues of the toxic gas among the dead which would be released during the clearing of the gas chamber. A gas mask would have been required for the Sonderkommandos to safely remove the corpses from the homicidal gas chambers.
This article documents only a small portion of the absurdities, inconsistencies and outright lies of the Sonderkommando testimony. Similar to other eyewitnesses to the so-called Holocaust, the surviving Sonderkommandos have failed to provide credible evidence that Germany built homicidal gas chambers to conduct a program of genocide against European Jewry during World War II.
 Van Pelt, Robert Jan, The Case for Auschwitz: Evidence From the Irving Trial, Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 2002, pp. 188, 204-205.
 The Rudolf Report, pp. 188-189, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/02-trr.pdf.
 Rudolf, Germar, Lectures on the Holocaust, p. 387, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/15-loth.pdf.
 Rudolf, Germar, Lectures on the Holocaust, p. 387, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/15-loth.pdf.
 The Rudolf Report, pp. 111-112, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/02-trr.pdf.
 http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n4p14_Faurisson.html. See also The Rudolf Report, pp. 217-218, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/02-trr.pdf.
 Kulaszka, Barbara, (ed.), Did Six Million Really Die: Report of Evidence in the Canadian `False News’ Trial of Ernst Zündel, Toronto: Samisdat Publishers Ltd., 1992, p. 352.
 The Rudolf Report, p. 111, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/02-trr.pdf.
 Greif, Gideon, We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005, p. 133.
 Ibid., pp. 134-136.
 The Rudolf Report, pp. 204-205, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/02-trr.pdf.
 The Rudolf Report, p. 218, located at http://holocausthandbooks.com/dl/02-trr.pdf.
 Greif, Gideon, We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish Sonderkommando from Auschwitz, New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2005, p. 147.
 Veneziz, Shlomo, Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz, Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2009, p. xi.
 Ibid., pp. 59-60.
 Veneziz, Shlomo, Inside the Gas Chambers: Eight Months in the Sonderkommando of Auschwitz, Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2009, p. 69.