Fascinating read from an interview with a former SS member who served at Auschwitz. Oskar GrÃ¶ning speaks out because he is offended by the claims of Holocaust deniers. In the interview, he mentions his fond memories of the camaraderie which existed among the Nazis at Auschwitz. He also mentions other things.
his colleagues replied: “Well, don’t you know? That’s the way it is here. Jewish transports arrive, and as far as they’re not able to work, they’re got rid of.” Until that moment, GrÃ¶ning had thought Auschwitz functioned as a “normal” concentration camp.
“It was a shock that you cannot take in at the first moment,” he says. But once he had been at Auschwitz for several months, the work, he says, had become “routine”. “The propaganda had for us such an effect that you assumed that to exterminate them was basically something that happened in war. And, to that extent, a feeling of sympathy or empathy didn’t come up.”
“I would like you to believe me,” he says. “I saw the gas chambers. I saw the crematorium. I saw the open fires. I was on the ramp when the selections took place. I would like you to believe that these atrocities happened, because I was there.”
Later, he witnessed the burning of bodies: “This comrade said, ‘Come with me, I’ll show you.’ I was so shocked that I stood at a distance. The fire was flickering up and the kapo [a prisoner in charge of work details] there told me afterwards details of the burning. And it was terribly disgusting – horrendous. He made fun of the fact that when the bodies started burning they obviously developed gases from the lungs and these bodies seemed to jump up, and the sex parts of the men suddenly became erect in a way that he found laughable.”