Dachau

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The following article appeared first in 1997 in German in issue no. 2 of the small Berlin periodical Sleipnir. Because of this and similar contributions, that particular edition of Sleipnir was confiscated and burned at the order of the County Court of Berlin-Tiergarten.[1] The author as well as the publisher responsible for this magazine, Andreas Röhler, were subsequently prosecuted for “inciting to hatred.” Röhler has repeatedly been the target of such illegal persecution by prosecution since 1995, because he gave right-wing intellectuals an opportunity to voice their peaceful but sometimes highly controversial views. The publishing offices of this publisher were repeatedly subjected to house searches and confiscation of all computer equipment. In 1998, Andreas Röhler even had to undergo psychological examination because the public prosecutor thought he might be insane. The examining psychiatrist could, however, find nothing wrong with Röhler.

As unfathomable as it is for Americans, Frau Weckert’s crime consisted of nothing more than a comparison of two diaries, the memoirs of two men who were both incarcerated in the Dachau concentration camp: one of them before the end of the war, the other after the war. Such a juxtaposition is no doubt very interesting and important, and commenting on the differences discovered is entirely reasonable and unavoidable. However, some prosecutors and judges in Berlin must have gotten the impression that the way Mrs. Weckert picked her quotes from these diaries and how she commented upon them constitutes something like an illegal act of “incitement to hatred.”

In contrast to this, we are convinced that the important and objective work done by Mrs. Weckert deserves the predicate “scholarly precious” and thus must be protected by the civil rights of freedom of speech and freedom of scholarly inquiry. The fact that merely quoting and commenting upon two older publications, which have never been subjected to any censorship measures by the German authorities, can lead to criminal prosecutions against both the author and the publisher, shows clearly the pitiful state of affairs in Germany, a country that has gone far astray from a righteous path of securing the most basic civil rights.

We publish this contribution not only because of its scholarly validity and importance, but also as an act of solidarity to both the author and the initial German publisher – and of course in order to undermine and thwart the censorship efforts of the German dictatorial government.

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Two Times Dachau

by Ingrid Weckert

There is no shortage of literature about the concentration camps. Eyewitness reports, novels—the inquisitive reader can occupy himself with this subject on every literary level. In the following text, two diary abstracts are presented, both written by inmates incarcerated in the Dachau camp. The authors were not criminals who had lost their freedom temporarily for justified reasons. They only had different political views or supported a different political system from the present power elite who ordered their incarceration into the camp at Dachau; therefore, two innocent persons were caught by an unjust or vengeful judicial system.

Both diary authors are of the same age, have the same cultural or intellectual background, similar educations, and considerable writing skills, which enabled them to describe the things clearly and interestingly. This is one of the reasons why it is appealing to compare or contrast the two diaries.

The name of the first author/inmate is Arthur Haulot, born 1913 in Liege/Belgium, a journalist by profession and manager of the Belgian Generalcommissariat for Tourism since the Second World War, communist, member of the resistance movement during the war in Belgium. He was arrested on December 27, 1941, by the Gestapo. For the first six months he was incarcerated in St. Gilles and Forest, then four months in Mauthausen. There, a typhus epidemic broke out, and Haulot became seriously ill. Together with other seriously ill inmates he was transferred to Dachau on November 8, 1942.[2]

The other author/inmate is Gert Naumann, German, also born in 1913, group captain of a group of reconnaissance airplanes, later a major within the General Staff of the German Luftwaffe. He was wounded when he came into American captivity and was imprisoned first in Aibling, then from October 1945 until February/March 1946 and again from May until October 1946 in the American internment camp in Dachau – yes, the US forces as well used the Dachau camp as a concentration camp! -, together with other members of the Wehrmacht and the SS.[3]

Both authors kept a diary during their stay in Dachau. In the preface both assured the reader that they did not change their notes, but used them literally in order not to reduce their documentary value.

For both, arrival in Dachau was apparently an improvement over the conditions they experienced before. However, things changed very rapidly, in one case for the better, in the other for the worse. Already the reception in the German concentration camp in 1943 was quite different from the one in the American prison camp in 1945. Haulot:

Wartime period —Dachau under German control

“After my arrival in Dachau, I lived the life of a ‘newcomer’ (newly admitted) in the camp, first in Block 17, then Block 25′ [In a note on February 13, 1943, he describes his arrival in Dachau as his ‘greatest joy’.] ‘I became familiar with real camp life, with all that is known today about it. German and Austrian comrades helped me by having me transferred to the hospital on January 6, 1943. […] My report starts with the ‘submerging’ in the sick station and the access to writing material. I did not change a word of the notes in order to preserve their documentary value.” (p. 129)

The “submerging“” should not be taken literally, because until the very end of his captivity Haulot occupied official functions and was considered as a representative of the Belgian inmates, who negotiated with the camp administration as well as the representatives of the Red Cross. During the liberation by US Troops on April 30, 1945, he was one of the three leaders of the “International Camp Committee,” which took over the representation of the inmates and negotiated with the American officers who were from then on responsible for the camp. Naumann:
Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“We are in the concentration camp! On the right is a small, inconspicuous looking building, a wooden barrack, low, dark, featureless. American soldiers come out and lead the first ten men of us into the house. They come out again after a short time, and it seems to me that some stagger. One has a bleeding nose. The next ten are taken. I am part of the third group. There is a large room inside the barrack. Large photos of concentration camps hang at eye’s height at the walls, awful pictures of starved concentration camp inmates, piles of corpses, tortured creatures. We have to post ourselves very close in front of the pictures. Behind us walks an American soldier from one to the other and hits each with the fist from behind in the neck or on the head, so that everyone hits the picture wall with their face. ‘Let’s go!’ We go back in line outside. No one says a word.” (p. 139)

These imprisoned German officers, who had absolutely nothing to do with the events inside Dachau! Furthermore, pictures of piles of dead bodies are no proof of any atrocities. Haulot writes about this:
Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Since December 1944 a typhus epidemic [raged], with over 10,000 dead and heaps of dead bodies all over, which the Americans were to discover on April 29, 1945.” (p. 131).

Naumann writes about the accommodations in the camp Dachau:
Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“We are now in the notorious concentration camp Dachau and apparently are better off than in the American camp Aibling… Of course it is very tight here, but the barracks are built solid and clean, the walkways dry with gravel, and the sanitary installations: washrooms with large sinks! Toilets with seats and with running water! It is almost comfortable here!”

This was to change soon. Shortly after their arrival they had to move out of their solid barracks and transfer into a wooden barrack erected by the Americans. Naumann:
Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“We looked at this barrack suspiciously for quite a while, because it was especially shoddily hammered together and could in no way be compared with the solidly built former concentration camp barracks.” (p. 160) “It rained through the roof in all places, the floor was immersed in water by several centimeters. Furthermore the interior is ice cold, since the board walls show gaps of up to 2 cm. There is no light, the few windows are tiny and are of opaque glass so that one cannot look through. When Colonel Schoch, spokesman for the German officers group, wanted to talk to an American officer about the unacceptable new quarters – the order for the transfer was brought by a soldier – he was immediately arrested and punished with two weeks incarceration. Reason: He (the colonel!) did not obey immediately the order of an American soldier (!).” (p. 162)

Naumann writes about Colonel Schoch’s return from his incarceration:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Colonel Schoch returns from the arrest the next morning. I pay him a visit. He has a small, tight separate room for himself in the invalid barrack – the former concentration camp brothel. I am shocked when I see him. He aged years in those 14 days. He was neither examined as to whether he could physically withstand the incarceration nor was he granted examination by a medical doctor at his urgent request while he suffered angina pectoris. He was together with three other inmates in a one-man cell, so that there was not sufficient space to move or to turn. During the first week he only received daily 1/5 bread and 1 liter water. But he could not find out why he was incarcerated; this he only learned from us now.”

Let us continue now with the diary entries of Haulot, which were mainly about the food rationing. However, this was soon no problem for him. Haulot:
Wartime period —Dachau under German control

“January 13, 1943. How to escape psychosis from starvation! I ask myself this with impatience. I keep track of what I eat. It is much more than what I received in the block. […] I have to accept that everybody else has sufficient time to eat: 6 o’clock, 9 o’clock, 13 o’clock, 15 o’clock etc. This led again to the psychosis, from which I escaped for a couple of weeks. […] There are people who cannot finish their food rations. […] Especially an old Czech, who receives wonderful food parcels from the outside and more bread than he needs.”.

Haulot went into the hospital on January 6, 1943. The official literature teaches us that the food rations for the sick were considerably smaller than for the workers, that they were practically starved to death. However, Haulot writes the opposite, i.e. that he receives much more than in Block 25, where he was before.

The food parcels he mentions here play an important part in all his entries. Evidently, through these parcels from friends, relatives, and the IRC, a large number of inmates had not only sufficient provisions, but more than enough to feed himself and his comrades, including delicacies, which were unknown to the German population during 1943-1945. According to an “official history” of the camp Dachau, the inmates only had permission to receive parcels since November 1942,[4] the arrival date of Haulot. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“January 14, 1943. A miracle this morning. I received shortly, one after the other, three meals […] semolina porridge […] soup […] potatoes […] I receive almost daily […] from one or the other a piece of an apple. The food supply is therefore excellent and I hope that I can quickly gain above the 6 kilo which I regained since my arrival in Dachau.”.

Haulot arrived in Dachau on November 8, 1942, sick and half starved. According to his own statements, it was still bad in Blocks 17 and 25, and he did not get enough to eat. He was in the sick bay only since January 6, where he finally got enough to eat daily and often had leftovers, which he could pass on to others. He gained 6 kg after two months in Dachau. According to this the food rations could not have been that bad in the blocks either. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“January 16, 1943. I am […] stuffed with food. The only real problem is to learn whether my stomach is up to this uninterrupted digesting work.”.

The German prisoners of war have the opposite experience two years later: Their food rations are steadily cut down. Naumann writes:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“The American camp administration ordered today another ration cut back. Soup in the evening and – off and on – chocolate, are deleted. Still, the food rations are better than in Aibling. We have in the morning 1/2 liter soup thickened with flour, for lunch 1 liter bean soup, 1/4 rye bread, 30 g fat or 1/10 of a can of meat and 1/2 liter coffee-substitute.” (p. 146)

“Another cut of food rations today. […] According to it we have only a thin soup three times daily, 18 g margarine and five slices of bread.” (p. 151)

“If only there was not this continuously nagging hunger feeling! Our food rations daily are now only two liters of thin soup ‘enriched’ with some individual sauerkraut threads, or a few white beans or unpeeled potato pieces, five slices of bread and two tiny portions of greasy margarine each the size of a sugar cube. […] We feel how we are losing more and more weight daily.” (p. 156)

“The food ration was again reduced some: instead of margarine or cheese we have daily a teaspoon of jam.” (p. 164)

The Americans have their fun off and on with the helpless German prisoners of war under their command. Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Today is some American holiday. We don’t know which one,[5] for us November 22 is a day like any other. Or not?? – We receive together with the soup for lunch half a bar of chocolate (and no bread spread instead!), but the joy is great anyways. But only for a short time: The chocolate is full of mildew and completely crumbled.” (p. 168)

Two years earlier in the Dachau camp. Haulot contracts a typhus infection in February 1943. He is immediately placed on a strict diet, which he keeps, although it is difficult for him because everybody around him “stuffs” himself. Only at the end of February do regular blood and fecal tests indicate that the typhus is overcome. He lost during this time 2.5 kg, which he quickly regains. Haulot:
Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“February 13, 1943. I had the greatest joy in a long time yesterday. I can only compare it with my arrival in Dachau: Louise and my parents received my letter!”

Louise is his wife. Haulot calls his arrival in Dachau, a German concentration camp, as one of his “greatest joys”! Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“February 20, 1943 (I was indifferent to the usual parcel distribution last night). […] It is astounding to observe that even in a concentration camp, the chances […] are so unevenly distributed.[…] While some can supplement their camp rations with substantial parcels, others have to be satisfied with it.

February 23, 1943. I need sugar, butter, fat, light food, fruit, eggs. It is all still available, since around me everybody is eating. But at least for the present I am excluded (Typhus diet). […] Finally an unexpected visitor […] brought me a piece of marvelous light cake. How wonderful!

March 4, 1943. About the food: I ‘organize’ [filch] more and more. The present hospital diet agrees much better with me than the one I would receive in Block 11, i.e. a normal ration of an ordinary diet.

March 15, 1943. 15 people were transferred to Block 11. The unnecessary beds were removed. The remaining sick will leave sick bay at the weekend. I have to make maximum use of the remaining days. Special diet for lunch and supper.

March 16, 1943. André is released together with 51 other inmates. […] My first parcel arrives. Sugar, grits, crackers, cake, jam, goose liver, condensed milk, pasta, fresh eggs, butter, garlic, soap. Wonderful! […] All in best condition.”

There were also discharges from the concentration camp, Haulot talks about this in further entries. He receives regularly parcels from now on, all apparently complete, maybe even unopened.

The German prisoners of war two years later receive also parcels, if not regularly, but occasionally. Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Suddenly someone calls my name, outside in front of the barrack. ‘Naumann! At 17:00 o’clock to the post office to pick up a parcel!’ Me? A shock goes through me. A joyful shock. A parcel, for me? I cannot comprehend this. But from whom?? Who could have thought of me?? I run through the rain, a storm of joy in my heart. A parcel! A first, a unique case. I cannot comprehend it. I can hardly wait until 17 o’clock. A guard drives me to the post office. A soldier asks me from whom the parcel is. I don’t know this. He gives it to me anyway. It is packed loosely in wrapping paper. But I can decipher the sender: It is from […] my friend ‘Mathes’! I open it in our barrack, in it are a woolen shirt and two underpants, no letter, no greetings. But the parcel was doubtless censored and opened. Something was probably removed; judging by the volume of the wrapping, it was evidently larger. Well, my joy knows no limit!” (pp. 150)

“On and off someone or other will receive a parcel from relatives or friends. Of course these packages are opened and censored; anyway, each written greeting or letter is removed. What else is ‘removed’ we can only guess. Today Colonel-lieutenant Mahlke received a parcel, and he celebrates this event by inviting Colonel Hollidt, Colonel Petzold, Major Rungius and myself for ‘afternoon coffee’. We place a small, self-made table somewhat off into a corner, and on it a handkerchief as a table cloth, some twigs of evergreen from the parcel, with a small red candle standing in the center in a red apple. […] Mahlke toasted bread with cheese on it. It tastes divine. Hollidt invites us to his last pack of Italian cigarettes. We always share and make the best of everything.” (pp. 164)

Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“March 18, 1943. 72 new discharges are announced for tomorrow.

March 21, 1943. Visit from Otto. Cake, apple, and special sugar. […] Two visits which are especially joyful for me: Philipp and Hans. Hans has honey for me, Philipp promises a pullover.

March 22 1943. I weigh myself: I gained 6 kg in 22 days. I am what is called here ‘well organized.’ Only yesterday I found a new source for food. The head of the x-ray department, whom I know in passing, asks me what I am allowed to eat and brought bread and butter […] Met today again the young Frenchman Roger. […] He has room service in Block 13/4. He gained a lot of weight, it is a pleasure to look at him. If I continue this way, I will soon look like him too.

March 24, 1943. This morning I weighed myself before breakfast: 1 kg gained in two days! At 10 o’clock Adolphe brings my second parcel! Cake, oranges, apples, lemons, crackers, saccharine, sugar, jam, grits, pasta, salt, ovomaltine, tomato juice, butter, cigarettes, nothing is missing. […] I forgot to mention: crackers, smoked herrings, tea, bouillon and six herring filets.”

March 29, 1943. I receive the normal diet starting today. It begins with mashed potatoes! I would like to work, but when I start, nothing comes. My laziness is scandalous.

By “work” Haulot means here “write.” He writes poems, stories, letters, and his diary. Concerning the diet that Haulot mentioned, it has to be realized that this occurred in a concentration camp in the year 1943! A concentration camp, in which people allegedly were only exploited for work, who were either starved to death or killed in some other way when they could no longer work. Haulot did not have to work a single day since his admission on November 8, 1942, almost five months now, but was nursed back to health. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“March 30, 1943. What I was afraid of happened this morning: Transfer to Block 11. ‘Rejection from paradise’. The life here will probably be more like the one in the Block. […] New surroundings. Triple bunk beds, personal items like clock, dishes, knifes, spoons, electric hot plate, nothing there. Also, no flowers. It seems that food can be cooked on the stove.”.

Block 11 is the sick bay. Before that, Haulot was in Block 3, which was arranged as a sick room. Judging by the items he is missing now (clock, electric hot plate) it is obvious what he had available for himself up to now. Flowers in a sick room of a concentration camp – where do the usual “eye witness reports” talk about this? Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“March 31, 1943. Spent a good night. The bed is better than in 3. […] I don’t believe that I will be hungry here, […] this morning for breakfast 1/4 normal bread. I received additionally […] a third bread with a large piece of margarine. If this continues, all will be well.

April 19, 1943. The ‘organization’ runs at full speed. […] Concerning myself, I will go tomorrow to 27. Eifler brings this morning completely clean and exact fitting zebra striped clothing and a pullover.

April 21, 1943. Transfer. After lunch we are moved to Block 27, which is headed by Erwin. I received brand new clothing and a matching cap with it.

April 29, 1943. I now visit the light station daily where my left shoulder, in which I have no strength, is treated.

The medical care of sick inmates is extraordinary good, as can be seen also in later entries. The situation two years later is quite different. Naumann writes:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“The wound in my thigh is still festering and does not heal. I go once more to the sick bay. But there is no more ointment, no more bandages […] I have fever and pain in the area of the liver. Only don’t get sick here!!” (p. 174)

Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

May 13, 1943. I started to work today. Transport of bread and food. A hard day, but only because my feet hurt. Sufficient food. Heavy work. But I am in excellent shape and very happy to be able to use my muscles. In the afternoon an everyday stroke of luck: A trip to Dachau in order to fetch a couple of containers. This gives me the chance for a wonderful outing through a park, a fir forest, the town. I come in touch with a thousand things which I’ve forgotten in six months: brooks, fish, swans, different trees […] sweet smelling flowers […] well-dressed women in cute dresses […] children of any age, happy couples […] stores, restaurants, in short the whole real and pulsing life! […] And I return to the camp full of joy with a flower between my lips.”

Only now, after more than seven months in hospital rooms is Haulot assigned to work. He can make a trip into the town of Dachau already on the first day. This proves that the concentration camp Dachau was a normal penal- and work camp without hidden secrets, otherwise the inmates would not have been permitted to walk through the town. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“May 14, 1943. Philipp had an accident, which forces him to drive to Augsburg on Monday.”

According to this, sick inmates are even treated in special clinics in case of emergency – in Dachau in 1945 the conditions under the Americans were somehow different. When the wound in Naumann’s thigh started festering the doctor tells him:

“The best thing would be for you to go into a hospital. But this is not possible, because nobody is permitted to leave the camp. Only in case of the greatest danger to life does the camp administration give permission, but then it is mostly too late.” (p. 16)

Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“May 16, 1943. I have a problem: the man whose substitute I was disappeared, and I have no work.

May 20, 1943. Still no work. I rest until tomorrow.

The resting lasted now already five days. And this in a concentration camp, where the inmates allegedly had to work until they dropped. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“June 1, 1943. I am working now, and how: 14 hours a day. I can stand it without too much exhaustion. But I don’t have any free time left, except on those two days when work is finished at 4 o’clock. […] This week a parcel came. I am now provided for better.

June 13, 1943. Time passes frightfully fast. I find no time to even write the shortest notes. But although the work takes up almost all weekday hours, this does not prevent me from thinking. On the contrary; never before did such mental activity obsess me in Germany. […] Physically I feel at my best. Sure, the work is hard, but it helps me to develop muscles which I never had before. Sometimes I am filled with an animalistic joy […] about how strong and alive I am. […] I sang and laughed all day. […]

The time passes frightfully fast”

What a strange comment by a prisoner! Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“July 7, 1943. A good week. A parcel on the 29th. Wonderful. Saturday and Sunday theater. Excellent things. […] I feel queasy. Slept all morning.”

July 7, 1943 was not a Sunday, but a Wednesday. Certain inmates could therefore simply take off a whole or half day, if they “felt queasy”. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“July 13, 1943. The week was dominated by two events: the wonderful performance on Sunday and a parcel on Monday! […] Received yesterday a parcel which was sent on June 13. Undamaged. Perfect. Inside a wonderful pipe […]

August 27, 1943. I was in bed yesterday with the flu. Today rest. All goes well.”

German civilians were not allowed to stay at home because of the flu during the war. Work had to go on. Haulot:
Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“October 12, 1943. Received news from home yesterday. What joy! […] Italian concert last night. Beautiful voices, great music, good jazz. It is great.”

Jazz – disapproved of during the Third Reich – possible in the concentration camp! The cultural life in the concentration camp Dachau offers above all else theater performances and concerts. Two years later the Americans occasionally allowed their prisoners a visit to the camp vaudeville. Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Interlude after lunch: Report for duty! ‘Five men in a row!’ We are led through the general camp to the front of the barracks complex – to the camp-vaudeville ‘Karussell.’ A little pop music, some forced jokes and clowning, a little Eugen Roth, a little kitsch. The art of humor is too great and difficult to be mastered by those who feel more like crying, actors as well as spectators. We plod back to our special camp in a long line, discouraged.” (p. 148)

An essential part of intellectual-cultural inspiration however came from a regular educational operation which the German officers established. Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“We now organized the whole educational operation like a university with lectures and practical exercises. I myself signed up for 5-6 hours of lectures; with the following ‘homework’ I now find on purpose no more time to think about our fate. Make it or break it, but don’t give up.

In the evenings some general educational recitations: Colonel Köninger: ‘Chats about a Far-Eastern Journey,’ Professor Lehmann: ‘The Continental Sliding Theory of Alfred Wegener,’ ‘Changes of the Earth Crust.'” (p. 156)

On the subject of mail: Already early entries make clear that Haulot received mail from his relatives often, if not regularly. The American liberators had different views on this matter. Naumann is “searched” immediately at the time of his arrival in Dachau. An American soldier takes his wallet and confiscates a post card, the last sign of life from his mother (p. 139). Later it is

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“strictly forbidden to write letters and to possibly pass these on to outside work commandos. It is also forbidden to even possess letter paper, envelopes of any kind, or even to possess letters from relatives. Severe penalties are announced.” (p. 155)

“If, despite the ban, a prisoner would write a letter and smuggle it somehow to the outside, the recipient (!) of such a letter would be punished with imprisonment for up to six weeks! Who writes a letter to the outside […] will be punished with a week arrest in a bunker with water and bread. Then he has for one week to march daily for eight hours with 50 pounds of packages. After this he has to stay for another week in the bunker with water and bread. There is no doubt that many of us would not have been able to sustain such a torture.” (p. 171)

“Again some parcels arrive. Of course without any written greetings. So far no one has received any message from loved ones, no answers to the Red-Cross-card of October.” (p. 173)

It is permitted for a short time in the middle of 1946 to write and send mail. But new tormenting regulations soon spoil the joy of the prisoners. Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Starting immediately, prisoners are only permitted to write one letter per week on the known 19-line forms and one post card. All incoming and outgoing mail will, in the future, be rigorously censored.” (p. 259)

“The letters that we were permitted to write before the new rigorous regulations a few days ago are being returned to us. We have to rewrite them and can only use the 19-line form. […] The letters are again returned to us. The address and sender have to be written with printed letters. A letter cannot be written with pencil. Abbreviations and underlining are forbidden. Forbidden is also the use of numbers; a letter is returned because the writer wrote at the end: “1000 greetings;” that is a number and therefore not allowed. It is also forbidden to write about a third person. This means that we cannot inquire about children, parents etc. Forbidden is any description about the conditions in the camp. Someone wrote: ‘We are five in one room;’ the letter was therefore returned to him. It is also forbidden to write the date of the letter on a separate line, which exceeds the permissible lines. These are certainly minor harassments, but they are effective. They grate on the nerves, which is probably the purpose.” (p. 260)

“Again letters are returned to us by the censor. Someone wrote by mistake one more line than the allowed and prescribed number of lines. He receives his letter back with the instruction to write again. Someone else pre-lined the rows neatly with a pencil; his letter is also not sent.” (p. 263)

The stay in the American internment camp gradually weakens all prisoners and even drives some to commit suicide. At best one can distract oneself by participation in scientific and cultural events and attempt to displace the awful present.

The development in Haulot’s case however is positive. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“October 26, 1943. In 12 days I complete a full year in Dachau. My health is back to normal, also my ability to think and work is similar to what it was before. […] In how many months or maybe weeks can I take my loved ones in my arms? I only have to wait with my head up and a strong heart. In this way only can fate be overcome. And the future is great and wonderful. . . .

November 8, 1943. I am here now one year. […] One year. I arrived here sick, wounded, finished, only the shadow of a human being, someone who is called in the picturesque camp slang as ‘cretin’ or ‘Muslim’ [emaciated person].’ I am now as healthy and strong as before and filled with mental and physical vitality.”

What he sums up after living for one year in the concentration camp is indeed surprising. His euphoric ambience shows a strength of character, but it would have hardly arisen if conditions in the camp had been approximately as oppressive as is always assumed – and how they were two years later in the American POW camp Dachau. Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Whenever I get the growing paralyzing feeling that I cannot stand this any longer, I get out and jog back and forth between the barracks. The possibilities for running around are limited, but it is necessary to keep moving. The hoarfrost changes, as through magic, even the fence of barbed wire into a fairy tale picture of white, glistening tenderness. Behind the frosted fir tops at the end of the nursery shines the evening glow in yellow and red and threatening green.

I ask myself whether life still makes sense at all. Naturally I fight against such thoughts and their logical consequences. No, no, I am not that far gone yet! But I feel righteously tired and empty.

I would like so much to do something meaningful. I would like to write something, but I have no more paper and the pencil is at its end.” (p. 171)

Haulot:
Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“November 10, 1943. I return to sick bay. My heart has been overstressed for several days. The work is too long and hard. Maybe a little rest will suffice to bring everything back to order.”

Haulot writes in a later edited preface about this entry:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“Compare also the ‘heart disease’ with which I justified my return to the sick bay on November 10, 1943. In reality, since the theft of food in the Kitchen Kommando One became impossible, I decided to give it up. I also wanted to be well rested in order to celebrate my birthday on November 15 in a dignified manner.” (p. 131)

Does this fit the general picture of a concentration camp? A concentration camp inmate could pretend to be sick a week before his birthday in order to be rested for this holiday! Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“November 15, 1943. Today I am 30 years old. Important moments. The youth is over, at least what concerns vitality and spontaneity. The young man becomes a human being. I feel strong, ready to wrestle with my fate, my future. But who knows what will come tomorrow.

December 1, 1943. I become an assistant nurse. Unfortunately not in Block 7, as I hoped, but in 3/3.

December 2, 1943. The work is easy and pleasant. I study the textbook for nursing. Great problems with the vocabulary. But it will work.

December 6, 1943. I again change beds. Gave mine to the Czech professor. But I continue as a room nurse. I think that I can handle the work quite well. […] Last year in Block 25 I had terrible homesickness. At that time there was only my misery and my memories. Today I have again solid ground under my feet. I am again strong, resistant, and sensible, in general respected by the others, loved by some, and hated by very few.

December 25, 1943. The Christmas holidays are over. I spent them quite nicely. Last year about this time I was weak and helpless, left with only myself […] Here and now I am not only healthy and strong, I also hold a position which satisfies me morally and it is possible for me to care for the spiritual welfare of my fellow people. […]

Christmas Eve, which was celebrated in my room, was wonderful. […] My ‘patients’ were enthusiastic about the celebration. The tree was appreciated by everyone and even the poorest had a good time. For me it was a remarkable dinner in excellent society.

Today rest, theater. […] The cultural barrack, which was erected in record time with day and night work, was inaugurated. The brothel is still incomplete, but the theater hall is completed. A victory of the mind. There is something moving in the attempt of men who live under totally abnormal conditions to maintain the illusion of a normal existence. Attempts ‘to live despite it all,’ to preserve the self, escape the dullness and preserve human dignity. Our life here is more or less influenced by all of this, and sometimes, only for short moments, a feeling of uplifting greatness develops out of this – or an endless sadness […]

I think of course of my loved ones. But quietly, without fear or sadness. […] But why should I complain? I refuse to do this. I am strong, healthy, powerful. My family is apparently well. We are therefore still privileged. One has to make a good face to a bad game and not be ungrateful to fate.”

“The Christmas holidays are over. I spent them very well,” writes Haulot at the beginning of this entry. Our American “liberators” soon taught the Germans to give Christmas extra character through special measures. Two years later in Dachau, which was then used by the Americans as an internment camp for the SS and members of the German Wehrmacht, it looked like this – Naumann:
Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Two more days until Christmas. We have to line up outside in front of the barrack on this side of the fence. The sky hangs with deep dark gray clouds above the camp. The prisoners of the other barracks of the special camp are also called outside. We stand in three long rows behind each other, with short distances between the barrack groups. For a while nothing happens. The two guards outside on the camp street throw snowballs at each other. A peaceful picture. We wait behind the fence feeling chilly. Several of us who are getting too cold ‘sneak’ backwards back into the barracks; the guards don’t notice anything.

A jeep comes up the big camp alley. With a trailer behind! Bags with mail are recognizable! And parcels! We stretch our necks, push forward. The jeep comes to us, stops outside the fence. Three American soldiers jump off, run to the back, turn over the trailer: the mail lies in a big pile in the snow. An American goes to the front, gets a can of gasoline out of the jeep and pours it over the pile of our mail. The other American places his lighter to the pile, snap! The yellow flame blazes, blazes, blazes – we stand in shock. The burning pile gets smaller. The wind blows away a few partially burned paper pieces. All turns to ashes – ‘Everybody back into the barrack!’” (p. 176)

One could think that Haulot already saw such an inhuman time approaching. He writes on December 28, 1943:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“How long will the thought repression last? Sometime I get scared at the idea that this may not stop, even after the end of the war. That another regime could prohibit freedom of thought. Then why all these sufferings and sacrifices today? Are we on the way to unfolding mankind or degenerating it? The drama of the future, even worse and more tragic than the present, is already noticeable.”

Naumann’s diary entry reads like a commentary to this:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“The new edition of the ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’ [Munich daily newspaper] passes from hand to hand. Reading it one feels tortured by the illogicality carried by hate. Actually everything is so exaggerated that it should be obvious even to the naïve reader.

The American general explains: ‘Militarism is the deadly enemy of every democracy.’ But on the next page is an article: ‘The USA introduce the general compulsory military service.’ It says in one column: ‘It is the greatest duty to support the deplorable concentration camp inmates, who were kept prisoners for months, years, only for political reasons.’ Right next to it a big slogan: ‘Good news: 700,000 Nazis imprisoned!’ Two columns further one can read: ‘Dr. S. and Dr. A. also suffered the inconceivable fate of being dismissed from their offices by the Nazis in 1933, because they were against Hitler.’ On the same page on the right it says: ‘Of course in the future no Nazi shall occupy a position in the government or in the free economy, except as an inferior manual laborer.’

Or: ‘Max Weber, the poor architect persecuted by the Nazis for political reasons, designs an artistic memorial.’ (By the way of abysmal tastelessness!) And it says already in the following article: ‘On the blacklist of those who are not allowed to work artistically are Furtwängler, Gieseking.’ A bold title says: ‘Democracy and freedom are the highest goal of Germany! Everybody works without consideration of race, social standing and party affiliation for the peaceful reconstruction!’ And then it says immediately following: ‘Nazis are not allowed to vote!’ ‘Nazi-activists and military officers can only find work as peons.’ ‘Nazis have to evacuate the apartments!’ ‘Nazi property confiscated!’

And it goes on and on like this. One gets nauseous reading it. It is not about having pity for those who are really guilty, about real parasites of the system. It is about the fact that lust for revenge and reprisal spread with blind rage. It is about the creation of new injustice, which hurts almost physically.

The newspaper talks about ‘a new free law.’ According to it nobody will be incarcerated or kept prisoner without a trial before a court and the ability to defend himself freely. Yes! And we here? Am I not kept prisoner for six months under partially inhuman conditions without any hearing, without anybody having expressed the slightest trace of interest in myself or all the other comrades?? Surely we are the losers, the vanquished. The power of every arbitrariness is with the victors. That seems to be irreversible. But why these hypocritical, rhetorical newspaper tirades?” (pp. 153)

Haulot as well as Naumann later are thinking about the forced community in which they live. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

March 31, 1944: The camp presents a very strange social framework. […] as a group of people held against their will, planned and only made functional by the relatively voluntary cooperation of these people, it has the essential characteristics of every spontaneously and freely organized society. The formation of classes, castes, diverse hierarchies, the existence of laws, habitual laws and prejudices on the whole succeed in creating the illusion of an almost normally functioning social community. The concentration camp is a substitute society, and the life in it a substitute for the human existence.

January 19, 1945. To what extent shall we, when we get out of here, still be ourselves? Only a year ago I could still answer this question positively. I had the feeling of maturing, of a human enrichment. Today something has changed. I discover that I have become rude and extremely irritable. The animal in man gains the upper hand. One does not live outside the norm that long unpunished. […] Some [of us] decided to behave for one day like gentlemen, as if they lived a normal existence. When the evening came, none of them kept it up. Although they tried very hard, the despicable habits, the ‘extortions’ within the camp, keep the upper hand. I personally become more and more offensive on certain occasions, a reaction which can in large part be attributed to the desire for solitude which can never be satisfied. To live in a group, from evening to morning and from morning to evening, without ever having the possibility of being alone for a quarter hour, is a hard test. […] Even the fellowship can become a disturbing factor. Numerous people in my vicinity take the fact that I once did them a favor for a pretext to impose themselves on me. […]”

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“Sometimes I begin irritably to be beset with a distaste for my comrades. The reason for this is mainly the closeness in which we are all forced to live; this emphasizes clearly the human weaknesses of the neighbor. Since there is no chance to be occasionally alone, really alone, even for only one hour, we get on each other’s nerves. […] And if one gets out, because one believes to be unable to stand any more the restlessness and noise of the severely over-crowded room, then at the next barrack corner one meets comrades again, who stay close to one.

Then there is the group of egoists. They go ‘their own way,’ reject any fellowship, do as they please according to their mood, help never and nowhere, and think only of their own well-being. […]

Then there is the group of the non-approachable introverts. With tight lips and without attracting attention they sneak to all lectures, write down everything they hear; learn, strive, and work. […] You never see them laugh. […] They are absolutely quiet during discussions. […]

But most unpleasant is the group of the ‘in any way un-teachables.’ They stride with swinging steps – in underpants! – to the toilet, of course to all questions they offer their inflexible point of view. […] They wear gloves when they sweep the room, and somehow still always stand on a command hill, a monocle in the eye, and each piece of newspaper is always a ‘situation map’ to them.

Oh, how I find all of them disgusting, their voices, their subjects, their bad smells.” (p. 147)

Another problem develops during the time for Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“March 9, 1944. The good nutrition causes disquieting results. The sexual need awakens, and since it cannot be satisfied, it has to be steered into other directions.

March 21, 1944. A parcel!

March 31, 1944. Received yesterday the parcel from February 26.

April 27, 1944. Three parcels: one from the Red Cross, two from Louise.

They did not have such problems due to the good nutrition two years later in Dachau. Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“The last edition of the ‘Neue Zeitung’ is passed around. I read how well off the POW’s are here in the camp Dachau. The article with the heading: ‘Old Camp in new Light’ talks about ‘the comfortable furnished rooms in the barracks with easy chairs, lamps, window curtains, and flowers’ […] ‘Special vegetables are grown in large gardens for the prisoners’ […] It does not only report of an ‘excellent camp library’ and a camp vaudeville, but even that a normal daily kitchen menu is printed. According to it we receive: ‘In the morning cheese and butter, bread, coffee, milk, and sugar; for lunch mashed potatoes, boiled tomatoes, meat stew, pudding and bread, milk and sugar.’ Why these thick lies? In the morning we have a thin porridge, for lunch hot water, in which float cut up potatoes and – if we are lucky – a couple of corn kernels. For supper we have again a thin soup with turnip or beets or old Wehrmacht soup from a can.

On the plan it still says as always: 2576.2 calories or 2671.6 calories. Who believes it… nothing of this in the press.

The food continues to wane. The soup becomes thinner. Also the teaspoon of jam with the small piece of bread is not sufficient. We are practically starving. Whoever jogs half an hour around the barrack collapses on his bunk, dead tired, as if he did heavy physical labor.” (p. 167)

“Of course, food is ‘subject No. 1;’ it is the central theme of all discussions. Everyone notices almost daily weight loss on himself. It is frightening. At night we dream of ‘food.’ I also had a dream last night about a large plate of wonderfully smelling lamb chops in front of me. […] Then I woke up – from hunger. This is probably caused by the diarrhea, which seriously weakens the body.” (pp. 170)

Haulot notices that he suddenly finds young men as attractive as he found women earlier, but he fights it and finds a way out. He visits the barrack for sick women and socializes with the young German woman who is in charge.

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“As senior nurse of the section for typhus I took the privilege to […] visit a barrack for sick women. During this occasion I had a relationship with a female SS-supervisor, which proved quite useful since she was also the secretary of the commandant. We received through her a copy of the order from Himmler to evacuate the camp one hour after this order arrived in Dachau.” (p. 131)[6]

When Haulot maintained that his lady friend was not only a senior nurse in the women’s camp, but at the same time the secretary of the German camp commandant, one has to ask oneself whether such a job combination was possible at all. Maybe he had relationships with two different women, a senior nurse and a secretary. This relationship is anyway so intense that it keeps him deeply occupied for the whole year of 1944 and hinders him from writing in his diary.

After the war he talks about this “flirt” as an “adventure of the intelligence service type” (p. 131) and characterizes it as a purely tactical maneuver. That he attempted to describe this loving relationship, which was evidently too open in order to be kept secret, not as “moral” but as “tactical,” is only too understandable. His entries however show that he was emotionally seriously engaged.

Additionally he goes through a phase of an inner estrangement from his wife. She sent him a photo of herself, which just about shocked him. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“April 27, 1844: Picture of Louise. […] The two years left a mark on her. The photo […] makes the features sharper and lets the face appear older.

May 1, 1944. This picture which brutally uncovers the truth upsets me deeply. […] Why do I feel myself so young, so strong and vital, so full of lust for life, while my companion was taken over by time to such an extent? Oh, the hard law of nature, to which women are subject, which destroys their charm and their beauty. […] Never will the affection, the total attraction, which I feel for my wife, change. But I also know quite well that I will not be satisfied with a sexually empty, cold life, less tomorrow than yesterday. Never before was I physically as strong as today.”

Over and over in the following notes are indications of this love affair. He makes no further entries from June 1944 to January 1945, apparently being that occupied with this relationship. When the typhus epidemic breaks out in January 1945, he comforts himself in the middle of the danger. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“January 24, 1945. But there are possibilities to distract oneself.” (p. 184)

During the last typhus epidemic, in the middle of the piles of corpses, he writes a poem. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

January 27, 1945:

Contrast.
My heart walks on Wallonian paths
up to the sky, following the flight of a lark.
It answers the joyful call of the weathercocks,
which the fresh Walloon wind flatters.
However with grotesque grimaces waiting,
piled on the ice,
wave yellow, green, blue dead
with their thin fists
weakly to the living
who follow falteringly their traces:
Well, I will live
when I see your face of the wild lioness,
oh death, who plays with little bones.”

Naumann also expresses his longing occasionally in verses:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Longing.
Oh, to walk again on a quiet forest path,
alone, hear, alone! – And not to see people,
always only people – but rather trees, strong and big!
No more day in, day out the sound of people’s voices
in the ear, but the joyous singing of birds
and the sound of the tree tops and the song of the cricket in the moss –
And to drink walking the blessing of the spirited quietness!
Maybe to stand on a mountain and watch the day go down,
the land without borders at the feet –
And not to have to breathe the dull closeness of the hut,
forced into the monotonous complaining fate of the crowd,
banned to a tortured look at fences, walls.
Oh, to hold your hand in mine once more
And feel now, how unknown forces
give our souls the same tone and courage.
And not to live on without sense like animals,
but to work in peace, to be with you lovingly,
and to be able to be cheerful with you: World you are good!” (p. 144)

The last outbreak of typhus of the concentration camp, in which over 10,000 people fell victim, placed insurmountable tasks before those responsible. Haulot is fully employed as a paramedic. It is admirable that he still finds time for diary entries. He writes in the preface of his diary:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“I speak three times of typhus. The first two cases of January and December 1944 are actually stomach typhus. There were about 300 dead. The third case since December 1944 was actually a typhus epidemic with more than 10,000 dead and piles of corpses everywhere, which were discovered by the Americans on April 29, 1945.” (p. 131)

“January 24, 1945. In the last week an even more tragic situation than the one two years ago has developed. The extent becomes frightening. […] Dozens of friends are affected.

January 31, 1945. On Sunday we undressed the dead, the largest number of corpses which I have ever seen. My room was yesterday practically transformed into a typhus section. The race between disease and war continues. For many it is already decided.

February 6, 1945. I drown in work. The dance is deadly. My assistants are sick. At least 80 new admissions in the death chamber are expected every day.

A note inserted later by the author says:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“Typhus spreads in the whole camp. […] The dead are piled up in the streets between the blocks. The barracks for the sick are flooded with the sick.

February 6, 1945. We performed blood transfusions on the recovered.”

Even in February 1945, shortly before the obvious end, there was still the possibility of blood transfusions in the concentration camp Dachau. In contrast to this, in most German military hospitals at this time the medical provisions for the wounded were reduced to a minimum. Even before necessary operations and amputations, only placebos were administered. An aspirin was already considered a pain medication. Blood transfusions could no longer be performed normally. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“February 10, 1945. Death itself does not grant a delay. The number of victims grows steadily. Yesterday old Charles Jay died. When I wanted to visit Declerq, the representative of the Belgian Red Cross, his corpse was just wrapped in a cloth.”

The Red Cross had also free access to Dachau in February 1945 and had unrestricted contact with the inmates. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“February 18, 1945. On Sunday a very interesting visit with the prison camp driver. Object of the visit: The regulations for handling the Red Cross parcels. Since then everything runs normally. Otherwise nothing has changed. Ducks, as much as you want. […] Concerning the epidemic, it goes its way.”

Evidently the food situation for the healthy inmates is excellent (“Ducks, as much as you want”). In the later written preface Haulot dates his visit with the camp commandant on March 25, 1945. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“My discussion with the camp commander on March 25, 1945, was in such a surrealistic atmosphere that it is worth reporting about. At this time the Belgian Red Cross sent off a large load of food parcels to Dachau. My comrades and I myself felt it to be unfair that the Belgians overeat while other prisoners starve to death. Decision: the excess will be distributed, especially to the ‘Spain fighters,’ who did not receive any help from the outside. But under camp regulations any act of solidarity is sabotage. I asked to be allowed to talk to the commandant. On Sunday morning I got permission. […] I wear a wristwatch (forbidden) and have shoes on my feet which are ‘borrowed’ from SS supplies. And to top it all, I have long hair. My explanation for this: I get a cold when I have it cut off […]! Indignation, screaming, then the waves smooth out. The commandant […] calls a man from the office and has him fill out in my presence the necessary permission form to wear long hair. And I leave with permission to share the parcels.” (pp. 132)

“April 1, 1945. To furnish a new block under the given circumstances requires a considerable effort. I did it with joy and with success, as I can attest myself. I am now at the top of a section of some 500 sick, half of them typhus sick, half are ‘internal cases.’ A good paramedic, good doctors. Everything works great.

Haulot’s records give valuable evidence for the last days before the Americans arrived, as well as the taking-over and the dissolution of the concentration camp Dachau. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

April 6, 1945. One feels the end so near that it is expected every minute. There is a heart-breaking contrast between the relative peace of the camp and the terrible, wild noisiness on the outside and the extent of the mess into which the liberation discharges us.

April 21, 1945. The situation changes. […] The camp atmosphere changes from hour to hour, from extreme optimism to the blackest pessimism, concerning the following subjects:

1. Food: Parcels have not been distributed for two weeks. No reason is given for this. It is assumed that this is to build for the camp a food reserve in case it has to exist on its own, without any other food supplies. […] The daily food ration is reduced to a minimum in the meantime.

I finally succeeded today in distributing one parcel per man.

2. Evacuation. The most diverse false rumors are circulating. Mass deportation to Tyrol. Or to Switzerland. […] Against this is the opinion that Dachau stays where it is and will officially be handed over to the Allies.

3. Liquidation. The biggest pessimists talk of course of a liquidation of Dachau according to classic procedures. Mass executions or gas chamber. […]

On the other hand: […] Departure in direction of Tyrol of several honored prisoners like Blum […], Schuschnigg […] etc. I don’t know who up to now has left the camp. […]

I personally am still involved unswervingly in a fling, which will not have any consequences, but is actually quite exciting and serves the purpose of saving my emotional balance by diverting me from the general madness.

I fight doggedly to obtain as many parcels as possible from the post office for my comrades in the block, run my barrack and try to get information. According to the latest news this morning, it is possible that I will be together with Tom and a couple of English men on one of the next loads, which are destined for the […] ‘little forest.’ […] A pity, to maybe die 10 km away from freedom. But what can one do against it? I gambled, gambled well, and maybe I will lose! But not completely. Maybe I will not be there to taste success. So what. What counts is not to be present after the brawl, but to have led it or at least started it. What comes afterwards concerns the successors. […] And maybe it is better like that, not to know about the disappointments, which will follow this war like the previous one. Peace is a horrible gravedigger illusion! […] In my opinion the peace for Europe will not be beautiful!”

Note to 1. Food. The building of a food reserve is quite a plausible explanation for holding back the parcels.

Note to 3. Liquidation. Haulot even calls the planned liquidation of the camp a pessimistic rumor. In the preface written later he maintains, however, that he learned from his lover about the alleged Himmler order for the liquidation of the camp. The order, an alleged telex, is according to the Holocaust literature dated April 14 and 18, 1945, and has the following content:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“The handing over is out of question. The camp has to be immediately evacuated. No inmate may fall alive into the hands of the enemy. The inmates behaved atrociously against the civilian population in Buchenwald. Signed: Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer SS.”

On April 21, the date of the above quoted entry by Haulot, he should have known about this, because he alleges in the later written introduction that he learned of this order from his lover “one hour after this document arrived in Dachau.”

As already mentioned, an investigation by Stanislav Zamecnik, a Czech historian in Prague, comes to the conclusion that this order, if genuine at all, could in no case have been intended for the camp Dachau, but at the most for Flossenbürg.[6]

The “gas chamber” mentioned by Haulot in the section “liquidation” is the only mention in the whole diary – with the exception of an entry after April 29, 1945. A certain room was possibly indicated to him as a “gas chamber”. But he knows nothing about this from his own experience. How else can it be explained that he is quiet about this in his notes, which were to chronicle the events in the concentration camp Dachau? Haulot reports in the introduction that in his notes, he “talked neither about the malaria experiments nor of those with mescaline”, although these were known to him (p. 131). He did not give a reason for this. But here would have been the place to mention also a gas chamber – if there was such a thing in Dachau. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“April 23, 1945. The excitement grows. […] The crematorium and the pay station are mined. […] The crazies are liquidated. The Jews are assembled for transport. The departure must take place because the frequency of dive-bombing attacks has accelerated.

April 26, 1945. The Germans and Russians leave the camp. […] 7,500 have to leave tonight, the rest tomorrow.

April 27, 1945. I observe people leaving. […] The departure of the Jews still has not started. The wagons are still outside the fence. […] Last night I was called in order to be introduced to the Swiss delegate of the Red Cross. He brought 5 trucks full of parcels for the western people.”

Haulot does not talk of “death marches”, but of regular departures with the railroad. The Red Cross has access to the camp up to the last and can supply the inmates with parcels. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“April 29, 1945. Last night an international inmate committee secretly formed, which was instructed to enforce calm in the hours that followed and which was to take over management after liberation.

We notice in the morning that the camp-SS left. Two fighting troops take their place and take over the guard.

The fighting begins in the afternoon. […] One guard after another waves the white flag. […] The soldiers in the last watchtower surrender. […] The SS-men caught on the other side are publicly ridiculed. If they would fall into our hands, we would tear them apart. The SS-officers are executed the same afternoon. At night the soldiers suffer the same fate. The Americans say: ‘Since we saw the first camp, we have known. We understood that we were not engaged in war against soldiers and officers, but against criminals. We treat them like criminals.'[7]

May 2, 1945. Visited the crematorium. Up to 2,000 corpses, piled up, stinking. The icy horror of the gas chamber. The train in which the Jews were transported, is overloaded with the dead. It is clear that the liberators shoot down anyone wearing an SS-uniform without mercy.”

The crematorium could not handle the cremation of the typhus dead. Here is proof that it was not possible to burn thousands of people in one hour, as can be read in any of the Holocaust literature. If the cremation ovens could have handled that, there would not have been any piles of corpses. The crematorium was later prepared as a showroom and proof of the horrors of which the Germans were accused. About this a note by Naumann:

Postwar period—Dachau under the Americans

“Everything in the crematorium was left as the Americans found it when they came, only the corpses lying around are replaced with wax puppets. An outspoken Bavarian who had to clean up in the crematorium said: ‘Yes, you know, the Americans build their great tradition here. Before they even took it seriously themselves, but now they laugh about it!'” (p. 142)

Haulot did not say which room he described as a gas chamber. Possibly the small shower room between the disinfection rooms and crematorium, which is even today described as “gas chamber – never used”.

Haulot thinks, like other witnesses of those days, that the corpses in the train at the camp are those of the Jewish prisoners who were to be transported out of Dachau.[8] Others maintain that they were inmates from Birkenau or Buchenwald who were sent to Dachau.[9] The Dachau concentration camp memorial plea is for Buchenwald, which is based on witness testimonies, camp files, personal diaries of camp inmates. et al. Haulot:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“May 4, 1945. Penned up in the blocks, the people die in masses. An order from Eisenhower: typhus quarantine.

May 15, 1945. The camp administration is now officially in the hands of the American commandant Rosenblom. […] However, I make decisions about the affairs of the inmates and the International Prisoner Committee. […] Many Frenchmen fled, especially doctors. The very weak and poorly functioning American leadership increased these dangers even further. When people saw that nothing happened […], they decided to free themselves. More than 2000 have disappeared this way. The sanitary situation is awful. Of 120 people 100 still die daily. Dysentery, typhus, weakness.”

Haulot stays in Dachau until the dissolution of the camp, which lasts until June 1945. Later he returns once more, in order to participate as a witness and reporter in the trial against the Dachau staff beginning in November 1945.

Haulot disclosed further details from Dachau during an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, especially matters about the social composition of inmates. It is customary today to consider anyone who claims to have been in a concentration camp as a martyr or someone for whom to feel sorry. It is completely forgotten that the majority of concentration camp inmates consisted of legally sentenced criminals. Haulot explained in this interview:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“The most unbearable were the moral conditions under which we had to live. The living together with criminals of all types, with anti-socials, criminals, bandits.”

He says further:

Wartime period—Dachau under German control

“The liberation itself brought a ticklish situation. The American fighting troops had to move on and left the camp to itself. Taking into account the thousands of criminals, the almost 10,000 sick, and the difficulties of obtaining supplies, it takes a lot of courage, discretion, and leadership to maintain a certain order and to avoid further victims.”

In order to avoid any misunderstanding, we have to conclude with an added comment. The above abstracts of the Dachau diary of Haulot are not to give the impression that a stay in a concentration camp was something like a recuperation rest. Even if this was the case for Haulot himself at times – especially because of the bad health condition in which he was when he arrived – there were thousands of inmates who did not make out like this. In the meantime, however, based on investigations and witness statements, the impression prevails that Dachau was a milder form of camp as compared with other penal camps. But how the individual adjusted to the camp conditions depended mainly on his personality and his capability to survive in an anti-social system. It was also very important to avoid an unfavorable Kapo, and to attempt to have a leading position within the camp hierarchy as soon as possible. Haulot succeeded excellently. His personality and therefore also his notes are in no way representative of the fate, which thousands of innocents had to suffer at Dachau.

One of the best-known German historical researchers and writers, Ingrid Weckert is best known for her book on the events leading up to the 1938 Pogrom against Jews in Germany Flashpoint. She has been subjected to police raids, during one of which Ernst Zündel was arrested in her apartment in Munich. A former tourist guide for travel agencies, she reads and speaks Hebrew. She knew Menachim Begin and other Jewish leaders personally and frequently visited Israel. In 1998, she was tried, convicted and fined DM 3,500 ($2,000) for the present article.

——————————————————————————–

Notes

[1] Amtsgericht Tiergarten, Ref. 352 Gs 3367/97.
[2] Abstracts from his diary were published in: “Arthur Haulot, Lagertagebuch. Januar 1943 – Juni 1945”, Dachauer Hefte. Studien und Dokumente zur Geschichte der nationalsozialistischen Konzentrationslager, on commission of the Comité International de Dachau, Brussels, edited by Wolfgang Benz and Barbara Distel, vol. 1, 1985, issue 1, “Die Befreiung,” December 1985, pp. 129-203.
[3] His diary entries of Dachau are in: Gert Naumann, Besiegt und “befreit”. Ein Tagebuch hinter Stacheldraht in Deutschland 1945-1947, Druffel, Leoni 1984, pp. 139-199, 239-281.
[4] Paul Berben, Dachau 1933-1945. The Official History, London 1975, pp. 67f.
[5] It was “Thanksgiving,” which is unknown in Germany.
[6] To the alleged Himmler order about the evacuation of the camp compare the essay by Stanislav Zamecnik: “‘No inmate shall fall into the hands of the enemy.’ About the existence of the Himmler-order of April 14/18, 1945,” Dachauer Hefte, Vol. 1, p. 219-231. In it Zamecnik proves that such an order never existed for the camp Dachau. Therefore it is not possible that the lover of H. had told him of a Himmler order.
[7] Howard A. Buchner as an American eyewitness reports in detail about the execution of the last German guard, Dachau. The Hour of the Avenger. An Eyewitness Account, Metairie, Louisiana 1986. Cf. also Ingrid Weckert, “Dachau – Tag der Rache,” in: Deutschland in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 35(2) (1987), pp. 14-20.
[8] E.g. Nico Rost, Goethe in Dachau, Frankfurt/M. 1983, pp. 229, 237, 245.
[9] Birkenau: H.A. Buchner, ibid. (note. 7), p. 89; Buchenwald: Hans Carls, Dachau. Erinnerungen eines katholischen Geistlichen aus der Zeit seiner Gefangenschaft 1941 – 1945, Cologne 1946, p. 198; Dachauer Hefte, 1, pp. 10, 19, 20, 22; Hermann Langbein, …nicht wie die Schafe zur Schlachtbank, Frankfurt/M. 1980, p. 382.

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Published on June 5, 2013 at 7:20 am  Leave a Comment  

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