Holocaust Handbook Volume: 44
$8.00 – $36.50
To this day, the 1979 book Auschwitz Inferno by former Auschwitz inmate and putative Sonderkommando member Filip Müller has a great influence both on the popular perception of Auschwitz and on historians trying to probe this camp’s history. This book critically analyzes Müller’s various post-war writings, which are full of exaggerations, falsehoods and plagiarized text passages. The author also scrutinizes the testimonies of eight other former Sonderkommando members who similarly lack regard for exactitude and truth: Dov Paisikovic, Stanisław Jankowski, Henryk Mandelbaum, Ludwik Nagraba, Joshuah Rosenblum, Aaron Pilo, David Fliamenbaum and Samij Karolinskij.
To this day, the 1979 book Auschwitz Inferno: The Testimony of a Sonderkommando by former Auschwitz inmate and putative Sonderkommando member Filip Müller, who claims to have worked in the gas chambers of Auschwitz for three years, has a great influence both on the popular perception of Auschwitz and on historians probing or purporting to probe this camp’s history. The late Raul Hilberg, for instance, one of the most-influential mainstream Holocaust scholars, called Müller “a remarkable, accurate, reliable person.”
The first half of the present book critically analyzes Müller’s various post-war writings and testimonies, starting with a brief essay he wrote just after the war, then his testimony during the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial in 1964, the interviews he gave Claude Lanzmann for his epic 1985 documentary Shoah, and of course his 1979 book, which was to an unknown degree ghostwritten by one Helmut Freitag. A thorough analysis and comparison of these texts reveals that Müller’s memory seems to have improved with the decades rather than faded. His later stories have him involved everywhere in Auschwitz where the mainstream narrative reported there was some dramatic action. But a closer look at what Müller (or Freitag) wrote reveals that they pilfered it from other writers, complete with historical mistakes and physical nonsense. One of Müller’s main sources of such plagiarism was a book by Hungarian physician and proven impostor Miklós Nyiszli, but he also stole from the tales of the well-known false witnesses Kurt Gerstein and Rudolf Höss.
The second part of the present book analyzes the accounts of eight more witnesses who claim to have been members of the Auschwitz Sonderkommando: Dov Paisikovic, Stanisław Jankowski, Henryk Mandelbaum, Ludwik Nagraba, Joshuah Rosenblum, Aaron Pilo, David Fliamenbaum and Samij Karolinskij. The first three among them made substantial depositions which are often cited in Holocaust literature on Auschwitz, whereas the other five are less-well-known. A common feature of all of their accounts is that they follow a narrative developed after the war by the Soviet propaganda units which occupied Auschwitz after the German retreat. Large parts of that narrative are today considered wrong or at least exaggerated even by mainstream scholars. So how come these witnesses told the same overarching ideological lies in impressive concert, while they diverged on many concrete specifics on which they should have agreed, if their tales concerned actual events or conditions they all experienced in the same places and times? Find the answers in this revealing study!
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