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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Long-known Auschwitz drawings falsely called a new discovery

An AOL news article says,

BERLIN (Nov. 10) – The original construction plans believed used for a major expansion of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz in 1941 have been found in a Berlin flat, Germany's Bild newspaper reported on Saturday.

The daily printed three architect's drawings on yellowing paper from the batch of 28 pages of blueprints it obtained. One has an 11.66 meter by 11.20 meter room marked "Gaskammer" (gas chamber) that was part of a "delousing facility" . . . .

The plans, published ahead of the 70th anniversary of the "Kristallnacht" or the Nazi pogrom that was a harbinger of the Holocaust, also include a crematorium and a "L. Keller" -- an abbreviation for "Leichenkeller" or corpse cellar . . . . .

The mass-circulation newspaper quoted Hans-Dieter Kreikamp, head of the federal archives office in Berlin, as saying the blueprints offered "authentic evidence of the systematically planned genocide of European Jews." . . . . .

"These documents reveal that everyone who had even anything remotely to do with the planning and construction of the concentration camp must have know that people were to be gassed to death in assembly-line fashion," Bild wrote.

"The documents refute once and for all claims by those who deny the Holocaust even took place," it added.

However, JTA, a Jewish news agency, says,
.
Auschwitz documents touted as a sensational find by a German newspaper have been known to historians for years, an expert told JTA.

Historian Robert Jan van Pelt, an expert on Auschwitz, said he had checked the "so-called ‘new’ material" on the Web site of Bild, a high-circulation daily, and found that "the drawings that are on their site are all old material, perfectly known" and published by himself and others in the 1990s.

"If they are original drawings from which blueprints were made, this would be an interesting story," van Pelt, a professor at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, told JTA in a telephone interview. But, he said, there were "tons of such drawings in 300 boxes at Auschwitz ... copies of the originals." Some were found in the former Soviet Union in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and published by van Pelt and others . . . .

Van Pelt expressed dismay that the Bild’s claim of a new discovery had been picked up by newspapers around the world.

"Everyone is repeating the same nonsense, and the deniers are having great fun because it shows how people are gullible," he told JTA.

. . ."it is completely and utterly incomprehensible" that the director of the national archive would "open his mouth on something so sensitive without having consulted the literature." And when the Bild publishes this "without doing any homework, it puts us back 20 years. It’s as if we didn’t publish these documents already."

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