The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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   The Meaning of "Special Treatment," and similar terms 

   In article <>, in twelve flavours,
   and subsequent articles, Dan Gannon responded to a series of ten
   questions which had been posted to the computer network over a
   period spanning nearly two years.  

   In his response to questions which asked about the description of
   Zyklon-B as material for the "resettlement" and "special treatment"
   of Jews, and about the meaning of the terms "special treatment" and
   "special action," Mr.  Gannon invoked the tired arguments of
   Holocaust denial.

   We replied by asking Mr. Gannon if he meant to claim that the
   code words "special treatment," "resettlement," and so on were
   _never_ used to camoflage Nazi intentions of mass murder.  Further,
   we asked that he examine the evidence which we present here, and
   refute it on a point-by-point basis.

   We think it's clear that Mr. Gannon _did_ make this claim, as
   evidenced by the following statement:

       "Special treatment" ("Sonderbehandlung") was not a "code
       word" and did not automatically mean "killing".  It
       meant a whole range of things...(Gannon, 10 Questions)

   Mr. Gannon then cited volumes of information from various
   Holocaust deniers, who have catalogued obscure cases in which the
   code words meant something very different than what they normally

   With this tactic, we believe Mr. Gannon sought to confuse his
   audience, instead of addressing the issue.  Special cases, however,
   are irrelevant, and have no impact on the chief meaning of these
   code words, as we document here.

   Mr. Gannon was asked to address cases which employed "special
   treatment" and other euphemisms with reference to the Nazi
   extermination effort.  

   These cases were enumerated as follows:

   1.  "Special treatment was killing, everyone knew that," says

   2.  To save lives, Kaltenbrunner directs that "special treatment is
       to be limited to a minimum."

   3.  Special treatment is "elimination," writes Heydrich.

   4.  A memo at the Reich Security Main Office explains "special
       treatment" by the annotation "execution."

   5.  Special treatment should be carried out by hanging, says

   6.  A report from the Russian front equates special treatment with

   7.  "No meaning other than killing," says former SS-Gruppenfu"rher

   8.  "Everyone knew what it meant," says former SS-Obersturmfu"hrer

   9.  A letter from Himmler to Korherr asks that the term "special
       treatment" not be used, as the meaning is too well known

  10.  An SS-Hauptsturmfu"hrer requests more gas vans for Jews to be
       "treated in a special way."

  11.  A Gestapo memorandum requests that people "subject to special
       treatment" be cremated.

  12.  The Adjutant at Auschwitz admits that "material for
       resettlement of the Jews" meant Zyklon-B.

       Sonderbehandlung - literally "special treatment."  This is
                          probably encountered most often.
       Umsiedlung       - literally "resettlement."
       Sonderaktion     - literally "special action."
       Evakuierung      - literally "evacuation."

       and, of course,
       die Endlo"sung der Judenfrage - literally "the final solution
                                       to the Jewish question."

   In his response, Mr. Gannon offered Kaltenbrunner's comments about
   French diplomats as his reponse to the "special treatment" of
   European Jews -- the mind boggles at this logical leap.  He
   expected readers to swallow Faurisson's assertion that the Nazis'
   "special treatment" was to help keep the Jews _alive_.  This is,
   obviously, contrary to fact:

      Starvation was a permanent guest at Auschwitz.  The diet fed to
      I.G.  Auschwitz inmates, which included the famous 'Buna Soup' -
      a nutritional aid not available to other prisoners - resulted in
      an average weight loss for each individual of about six and a
      half to nine pounds a week.  At the end of a month, the change
      in the prisoner's appearance was marked; at the end of two
      months, the inmates were not recognizable except as caricatures
      formed of skin, bones, and practically no flesh; after three
      months, they were either dead or so unfit for work that they
      were marked for release to the gas chambers at Birkenau.  Two
      physicians who studied the effect of the I.G.  diet on the
      inmates noticed that 'the normally nourished prisoner at Buna
      could make up the deficiency by his own body for a period of
      three months....The prisoners were condemned to burn up their
      own body weight while working and, providing no infections
      occurred, finally died of exhaustion.' (Borkin, 125) 

   Was this Mr. Gannon's idea of behavior aimed at "keeping the Jews

   Perhaps, rather than quoting Faurisson in a vain attempt to
   confuse the issue, Holocaust deniers should consider Adolf
   Eichmann's comments...  unless, of course, they are going to
   claim that Eichmann doesn't qualify as an "expert" in "special
   handling," while Dr. Faurisson does?  

   During his interrogation by the Israelis, the following question
   was asked: What does "special treatment" mean, and who was
   subjected to it?  Eichmann's response is at variance with
   Faurisson's, which comes as no surprise...  it is interesting to
   note here Faurisson's employment of the "if it sheds doubt on my
   thesis, I will ignore it" technique of Holocaust denial is
   telling...  Consider Eichmann's answer:

      Special treatment was killing.  Who thought up the term - I
      don't know.  Must have been Himmler, who else could it have been
      - but then, I have no proof, maybe Heydrich thought it up after
      Go"ring gave him his authorization.  But I really don't know.
      I'm just trying to puzzle it out.  

   "Special treatment was killing." (What part of that do you suppose
   Holocaust deniers do not understand?) 

   ...his interrogator replied: But you knew special treatment meant

   Eichmann's response: Everybody knew that, yes, Herr Hauptmann,
   everybody knew.  When a shipment was marked "for special
   treatment," they decided at the point of arrival who was fit for
   labor and who wasn't.  

   "Everyone knew that," except, apparently, Dr.  Faurisson, Mr.
   Gannon, and the Holocaust denial social set.  (Kaltenbrunner
   certainly knew it, too, hence his calculated and cynical attempt to
   equate it with resorts, untouchable French diplomats, and

   There is an interesting correlation between the use of "special
   treatment" by the Nazis, and the similar employment of the words
   "special healing procedure" (Besonderes Heilverfahren) as they
   related to the shipment of disabled and mentally ill children to
   Grafeneck and similar Nazi installation.  Only a Nazi could use
   such a term to describe the deliberate murder of thousands of
   children!  (See Conot, pages 204 to 207, for a detailed summary of
   the term, and the horrible reality of its meaning.) Let's get back
   to Mr. Kaltenbrunner, shall we?  Since Holocaust deniers are fond
   of quoting some of his Nuremberg testimony, it is apparent that
   they consider him a valid source of information on this subject.
   That's encouraging, in light of the following:

      During the first two and one-half years of the occupation, the
      security police in the government-general shot seventeen
      thousand Poles, a figure that led Frank to comment: `We must not
      be squeamish when we learn that a total of seventeen thousand
      people have been shot; these persons who were shot were nothing
      more than war victims.'(NCA, 2233 AA PS, Frank Journal, Jan.
      25, 1943) In 1943, executions in Poland and Russia accelerated,
      even though Kaltenbrunner directed that, `as a rule, no more
      children will be shot [and] special treatment is to be limited
      to a minimum.' So that this order would not be misunderstood, he
      explained that `if we limit our harsh measures for the time
      being, that is only done [because] the most important thing is
      the recruiting of workers.  (NCA, 3012 PS, To All Group Leaders
      of the Security Service-SD, Mar.  19, 1943, cited in Conot,

   Let's take a look at the witness Kaltenbrunner, in light of Mr.
   Gannon's assertion that "special treatment" equated with champagne
   and bon bons, and Faurisson's silliness about keeping the Jews

   Kaltenbrunner wanted to keep Poles alive so they can be employed as
   slave labour.  In order to affect this end, he orders that "special
   treatment is to be limited to a minimum." 

   Isn't it ironic that Kaltenbrunner would order "special treatment,"
   Dr.  Faurisson's "keeping the Jews alive," to be "limited to a
   minimum" in order to keep the Jews alive?  What's wrong with
   this picture?

   On September 20th, 1939, SS-Gruppenfuehrer Heydrich sent a telegram
   to Gestapo regional and subregional headquarters on the "basic
   principles of internal security during the war." You can find this
   in Nuernberg document 1944-PS.  Paragraph four of the telegram

      To avoid any misunderstandings, please take note of the
      following: ...a distinction must be made between those who may
      be dealt with in the usual way and those who must be given
      special treatment.  The latter case covers subjects who, due to
      their most objectionable nature, their dangerousness, or their
      ability to serve as tools of propaganda for the enemy, are
      suitable for elimination, without respect for persons, by
      merciless treatment (namely, by execution).  (Kogon, 6)

   On September 26th, 1939, a memo at a staff meeting held at the
   Reich Security Main Office indicates which sections were to be
   responsible for handling the "special treatments." Next to the
   words "special treatment" are written, in parentheses, "execution."
   This is Nuernberg document 905-PS.  (Ibid.) 

   Paragraph A, section III of a memorandum from Heinrich Himmler,
   dated February 20th, 1942, states: "Special treatment is carried
   out by hanging." This is Nuernberg document 3040-PS.  (Ibid.)

   From "USSR Operational Report No.  124," dated October 25th, 1941,
   page 6: "Due to the grave danger of epidemic, the complete
   liquidation of Jews from the ghetto in Vitebsk was begun on October
   8th, 1941.  The number of Jews to whom special treatment is to be
   applied is around 3,000." The original is in the Federal Archives,
   ref. R 58/218.  The meaning of "special treatment" is clearly
   spelled out in many such reports from the eastern front.  (Ibid.)

   In a hearing on November 9th, 1962, former SS-Gruppenfu"rher Emil
   Mazuw stated: 

      During the war, the SS gave no meaning to Sonderbehandlung other
      than killing.  I am certain that high-ranking officers knew it.
      I don't know whether the ordinary SS man did or not. According
      to the terminology used at the time, I understand 'special
      treatment' to mean only killing and nothing else. (GStA
      Frankfurt a/Main AZ: Jz 18/61, hearing of 9 Nov. 1962.)

   In a hearing on May 4th, 1960, former SS-Obersturmfu"hrer Heinrich
   Hamann stated: 

      Perhaps an explanation by the commander of the Security Police
      in Cracow was required as to the meaning of 'special treatment.'
      That's possible.  But so far as I was concerned, I needed no
      explanation.  I knew this expression well from the time when I
      was assigned to the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin.  In
      prominent cases, Himmler would write 'special treatment' in
      green in the margins of the daily reports.  That meant 'to be
      liquidated.' I didn't have to explain the meaning of this term
      to my subordinates at Neu-Sandez either.  Everyone knew what it
      meant. [StA Bochum AZ: 16Js 84/60, hearing of 4 May 1960.]
      (Ibid., 7) 

   In fact, during the war the term "special treatment" was so
   _commonly_ known as a euphemism for killing that Himmler decided to
   replace it with "processed" (durchgeschleust).  To that end, a
   member of Himmler's staff, one SS-Obersturmbannfu"hrer Dr.  Brandt,
   wrote to Richard Korherr, the inspector of statistics on "the final
   solution of the European Jewish question," on April 10th, 1943,

      The Reichsfu"hrer-SS [Himmler] has received your statistical
      report....  He wishes that absolutely no mention should be made
      anywhere of "special treatment for Jews." 

      Page 9 should therefore read as follows: "Transportation of Jews
      from the eastern provinces to the Russian East: "Processed
      [durchgeschleust] through camps in the General Government...
      through camps in the Warthegau..." No other formulation is to be

   The original letter is in the Federal Archives, ref. NS 19(neu) 1570.
   (Ibid., 7-8)

   We asked Mr. Gannon to enlighten us as to what sort of special
   treatment the Jews were getting that was so dangerous that Himmler
   wanted to even change the _euphemism_ used to describe it. To date,
   Mr. Gannon has remained silent - a not uncommon tactic among those
   who deny the Holocaust who find themselves confronted with
   undeniable facts.

   "Taking French lessons?" "Lessons in drinking champagne?" That
   would mean, then, that the camps through which the Jews were
   "processed," under the new euphemism, were not extermination camps
   at all, but really schools of language and oenology.  It seems a
   little strange for the Nazis to take away Jewish property, forbid
   them associations with non-Jews, destroy their shops, force them to
   wear yellow stars, herd them onto trains, carry them into Poland,
   often in the dead of winter, and deposit them into concentration
   camps where even Mr.  Gannon will admit that typhoid and starvation
   killed hundreds of thousands...just so that all the Jews would be
   better educated with respect to foreign cultures and alcoholic

   Seems a little silly, doesn't it?

   In a letter from SS-Hauptsturmfuehrer Truehe to the Reich security
   office, room 2D3A, Truehe requests additional gas vans:

      "A transport of Jews, which has to be treated in a special way,
      arrives weekly at the office of the commandant of the Security
      Police and the Security Service of white Ruthenia.  The three
      S-vans which are there are not sufficient for that purpose.  I
      request assignment of another S-van (five tons).  At the same
      time I request the shipment of twenty gas hoses for the three
      S-vans on hand since the ones on hand are leaky already." (Nazi,
      Vol.  I, 1001)

   Did Truehe need the additional gas vans to transport the champagne,
   Mr. Gannon?  Or perhaps to take the Jews to summer camp?

   In a Memorandum of Gestapo Headquarters, 15 June 1944, the
   following text appears:

      In amending my directive of June 20 1944, I request that those
      people subject to special treatment be sent to a crematorium to
      be cremated if possible." (TWC, Vol.  IV, 1166.)

   One might ask Mr.  Gannon, why, after providing their victims of
   "special treatment" with gallon upon gallon of champagne, and
   teaching them to speak proper French, the Gestapo would insist upon
   their cremation?  

   To Judge Hofmeyer, who presided the "Auschwitz trial" in Frankfurt,
   it was obvious what such documents meant.  Here is a relevant
   excerpt from the court proceedings: 

      "Judge Hofmeyer asks Mulka whether he had issued an order for a
      trip to Dessau (the poison gas Zyklon-B was manufactured in

      Mulka: 'I know of only one instance in which I issued a travel
      order for picking up disinfectants from Dessau.' 

      Judge Hofmeyer, leafing through his papers: 'But I seem to have
      more than one here.  Is that your signature?  You can look at

      Mulka walks up to the bench.  

      'What does this mean on this travel order, 'material for
      resettlement of Jews'?'

      'What did you take this to mean?' Mulka, after an embarrassed
      pause: 'Well, Zyklon-B.'  

      Judge: 'You see, until now you have maintained that you had
      nothing to do with the gassings.  But it isn't so.  You signed a
      number of things here.'" (Naumann, 242)

   The argument employed by Mr. Gannon and his associates is
   equivalent to claiming that an SS officer who told his soldiers to
   "take the Jews out and kill them" is innocent of murderous intent,
   because, a month before, he told those same soldiers, who were
   preparing for a soccer game, to "go out there and kill them."

   _Context_, Mr. Gannon, is everything.


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