Saturday, 28 December 2013

SS man admits to wacky Nazi execution method

"I remember the way we celebrated the 9th of November [anniversary of the Beer Hall Putsch]. We took out 50 or 60 from the camp "to give them a bath", As they entered the water they were shot. There was a trap-door, through which the bodies fell into lorries waiting underneath. They were taken off in those and burnt. That's how they celebrated the 9 November in GERMANY ..... We were strictly forbidden to reveal what went on in the camp. I told my own family, but they simply didn't believe it."

So confessed an SS private named Leo Thöny (aged 23 in 1945) about what went on in an unspecified camp to a fellow German Prisoner of War in a conversation covertly recorded (or perhaps just listened-to and transcribed) whilst they were held in an unspecified British Combined Services Detailed Interrogation Centre, but likely one in Italy.

Thöny went on to say:

"Last year in RIGA they used to make Jews work for four or five weeks, and then they shot them. And when we had to evacuate SMOLENSK we had 50,000 Jews on our hands. It would have been too much to shoot them all, and so, as there were three days to spare they rigged up an air-tight garage and in it they gassed all the Jews."

The Germans are supposed to have used mass-shootings, burying children alive, and gas vans to murder Jews in Smolensk, not a fixed gas chamber.

Sources: The document I've quoted from is a carbon-copy of an undated report titled 'Atrocities as seen through German eyes" which features extracts of numerous transcribed POW conversations and is found in UK NA: WO 311/54, the report includes just extracts of two conversations (although one is quite lengthy) involving Leo Thöny. The only specifics about Thöny given are "Pte [Private] (SS) THONY, Central SS Medical Institute, BERLIN, Italian Front, deserted 2 December 44". I'm relying on Holocaust historian Norman J.W. Goda for his correct name, although his use of this source is highly questionable. Goda cites documents in the NARA whilst discussing Leo Thöny: his SS file, and likely a copy of the same report that I've quoted. Goda chose not to mention the bath with a trap-door and lorries beneath it whilst describing the Nov 9th shooting; the murdered prisoners became Jews in his rendering, although they're not described as being Jews in the source, and finally he claims Thöny was captured in September 1944 whilst the report twice states he "deserted 2 December 44."

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