Camp remains in headlines (archives)
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Expert: Uncovered Auschwitz plans important
Holocaust historian believes original plans for construction of Nazi extermination camp found in Berlin include no new information, but says extensive reports on global media help maintain memory of Shoah in newspaper headlines
There is nothing new in the documents found in Germany, Holocaust historian Prof. Israel Gutman told Ynet on Saturday night following the discovery of the original plans for the construction of the Nazi extermination camp of Auschwitz.


He clarified, however, that the reports on the discovery were valuable in terms of the battle against Holocaust deniers.


Earlier Saturday, German daily Bild reported that original plans of Auschwitz, including a gas chamber and crematorium, were found in a Berlin apartment.


The newspaper published copies of some of the 28 plans, which the head of Germany's federal archives, Hans-Dieter Krekamp, called "authentic proof of the systematically planned genocide of the Jews of Europe."


Bild gave no indication of where, when or by whom the plans were found. It said they were dated between 1941 and 1943 and stamped, "Waffen-SS and Police Construction Directorate."


Prof. Gutman, a Holocaust survivor who played an important role in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and survived Auschwitz himself, serves as an academic adviser to the Yad Vashem Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority.


"These things are well known and appear in any serious book which deals with Auschwitz. However, it's still impressive that certain things are confirmed once again," he said.


According to the professor, the great importance of this discovery is the global media's willingness to publish such documents in details.


"I think the mere fact that Bild thought it right to public it is the important thing. This newspaper reaches masses of readers, and this has value," Prof. Gutman stressed.


"There were all kinds of attempts to claim that people were not murdered in Auschwitz and that the country was under Soviet rule at the time," he said. "They claimed it was the USSR's fault, that these things happened inside Poland and that no one can proves these are facts. Today there are no disagreements, perhaps only on the numbers and reasons for the Holocaust."


Plans of camp signed by Himmler

According to the report, some of the plans were signed by senior SS officials and one initialed by the head of the Nazi ideological corps, Heinrich Himmler.


One plan, drawn by a detainee as early as November 1941, when experiments in eliminating prisoners were already under way, had a gas chamber clearly labeled, Bild said.


Another showed a crematorium with places for ovens marked, and storage space for bodies.


The Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem said in response to the report, "Our archives would be happy to receive and examine any document or copy of the collection, which includes today more than 70 million existing documents."


AFP contributed to this report


פרסום ראשון: 11.09.08, 07:24
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