Gaubschat Company

The company Gaubschat Fahrzeugwerke Ltd. was a Berlin coachwork manufacturer mainly known for producing bus coachworks. During the war, the company also built custom-made coachworks (bodies) for trucks.

In April 1942, the German Department of Homeland Security (Reichssicherheits­hauptamt, RSHA) approached Gaubschat with the intent to equip the cargo boxes of special vehicles ordered but not yet manufactured by Gaubschat with a device to accelerate their unloading. A series of unclassified letters resulting from it, stretching from late April to September 1942, speaks of “Sonderfahrzeuge,” the common German bureaucratic term for all non-mass-produced non-civilian vehicles. The term is internally consistent and completely innocuous. The technician charged with implementing the changes testified after the war that he was told these vans were used to transport typhus victims, hence corpses.

One highly contested document was added to the archival file of this series which is not part of the series: it is dated (in handwriting) 5 June 1942, and contains a number of suspicious characteristics. This document

  • has a different reference number,
  • is marked “top secret” on every page,
  • does not give a sender (although a mere signature at the end suggests “Willy Just”),
  • uses a different term “Spezialwagen,” rather than “Sonderfahrzeuge,”
  • requests changes not mentioned in any of the other letters; most of these changes are utterly nonsensical,
  • also insists that vehicles already delivered be changed,
  • nonsensically begins with the sentence “For example 97,000 were processed…” without indicating what this refers to,
  • expressly refers to homicidal use,
  • and anachronistically refers to a consultation between the RSHA and Gaubschat that took place only 11 days later, on 16 June 1942.

This suspicious document seems to have been intended to replace a similar, yet innocuous document of the genuine series dated June 23. Both letters have their arguments listed in seven numbered paragraphs and talk about suggestion on how to make changes, and both refer to a consultation between the RSHA and Gaubschat, yet only the real document mentions the date (16 June 1942). That the creator of this suspicious document had problems dating it, results from the fact that the space for the date was left empty when that letter was typed, and filled in manually only later – by someone who didn’t pay attention to the genuine letters’ chronology.

This so-called “Just Document” of 5 June 1942 is a clear-cut example of a document forgery, probably committed by German-speaking collaborators of the Allied occupational forces in Europe.

Another document also used to “prove” the existence of homicidal gas vans is the so-called Becker Document, presumably authored by August Becker. For a discussion of this document as well as a juxtaposition with the Just Document, see that entry.

(For more on this, see the entries on gas vans, August Becker, and in general Alvarez 2023, pp. 66-86.)

You need to be a registered user, logged into your account, and your comment must comply with our Acceptable Use Policy, for your comment to get published. (Click here to log in or register.)

Leave a Comment