Kaufmann, Jeannette

Jeannette Kaufmann was an Austrian Jew deported from Vienna in early 1941 and passed through several labor camps before getting transferred to Birkenau on 1 August 1944. In the fall, she was assigned to the crematorium demolition squad dismantling equipment in Crematoria II and III and tearing them down. Then she was evacuated and ultimately ended up in Bergen-Belsen. In a deposition of 21 April 1945 and in a second undated text, she declared:

  • The cremation capacity was 20 bodies every 10 minutes – when in fact it was fifteen corpses (in 15 muffles) in an hour.
  • A light railway line ran into it for conveying sick persons too ill to walk (first text), or to remove the dead from the gas chamber (second text) – no such thing ever existed.
  • The “bathroom” – aka “gas chamber” – had a very big door like that of a bank safe – all normal-looking doors at Birkenau were made of simple wooden planks.
  • The showerheads were connected to gas pipes instead of water pipes – while the morgues of Crematoria II and III had real showers, and the gas was supposedly supplied by throwing in Zyklon-B pellets.
  • Gas may have penetrated into the room through “boxes with little holes in them which looked like electric fuse boxes.”
  • The “bathroom” (Morgue #1, 210 m²) could process 2,000 people within 15 minutes – a packing density of some ten people per square meter, which would have required discipline, training and cooperativeness.

This is a typical witness who was not in a position to know, but had to rely on hearsay and (dis)information she perceived during and after the war in order to make sense of what she saw when helping to demolish these buildings. It is a classic case of a testimony deformed by third-party input. (For more details, see Mattogno 2021, pp. 355-357.)

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