- The German-Australian revisionist Frederick Toben has
brought to our attention the fact that today, beside the swimming pool
at Auschwitz I, there stands a signboard bearing, in Polish, English and
Hebrew, a notice intended to have the visitor believe that the pool was
in fact a simple reservoir for the fire brigade. It reads as follows:
- "Fire brigade reservoir built in the form of a swimming
pool, probably in early 1944."
- He asks when exactly this signboard appeared. I myself
have no idea but the inscription is just as fallacious as any number of
the Auschwitz museum's other allegations or explanations. One fails to
see why the Germans, rather than settling for an ordinary reservoir, would
have made one in the fashion of a swimming pool... complete with diving
- The pool was a pool. It was meant for the detainees.
- Marc Klein mentions it at least twice in his 1947 recollections
of the camp. In an article entitled 'Auschwitz I Stammlager' he wrote:
- "The working hours were modified on Sundays and
holidays, when most of the kommandos were at leisure. Roll call was at
around noon; evenings were devoted to rest and to a choice of cultural
and sporting activities. Football, basketball, and water-polo matches (in
an open-air pool built within the perimeter by detainees) attracted crowds
of onlookers. It should be noted that only the very fit and well-fed, exempt
from the harsh jobs, could indulge in these games which drew the liveliest
applause from the masses of other detainees." (De l'UniversitÈ
aux camps de concentration: Telmorgnages strasbourgeois, Paris, les Belles-lettres,
1947, p. 453).
- In his 1948 booklet 'Observations et reflexions sur les
camps de concentration nazis' he further wrote:
- Auschwitz I was made up of 28 blocks built of stone laid
out in three parallel rows between which ran paved streets. A third street
ran the length of the quadrangle and was planted with birch trees, the
Birkenhaller intended as a walkway for the detainees, with benches; there
also was an open air swimming pool (booklet of 32 pages printed in Caen,
1948, p. 10; its text is a reproduction of the author's article published
in Etudes germaniques, n 3, 1948, pp. 244-275).
- M. Klein, professor at the Strasbourg medicine faculty,
took care to point out that his first statement had been submitted "to
the reading and scrutiny of Robert Weil, professor of science at Sarreguemines
lycee," who had been interned in the same camps as himself (p. 455).
- In 1985, at Ernst Zundel's first trial in Toronto, I
spoke of M. Klein's recollections but the real specialist on the history
of the Auschwitz I swimming pool was at that time none other than the Swedish
revisionist Dietlieb Felderer. If I remember correctly, the Canadian press
headlined an article on his testimony about it. Moreover, in his writings
he often returns to this and other quite concrete, quite precise subjects
just as disquieting for the supporters of the exterminationist argument.
- The water of the swimming pool can obviously be used
by firemen in case of emergency. In his booklet, M. Klein wrote:
- "there were firemen at the camp with very modern
equipment" (p. 9). Amongst the things that he had not expected to
find on arriving, in June 1944, "at a camp whose sinister reputation
was known to the whole world thanks to the Allied radio broadcasts,"
one may note, for the detainees, "a hospital with sections specialised
in line with the most modern hospital practices" (p. 4), "vast
and well fitted-out wash houses along with communal W.C.'s built according
to the modern principles of sanitary hygiene" (p. 10), "the micro-wave
delousing process which had just been created" (p. 14), "the
mechanical bakery" (p. 15) the legal aid for the detainees (pp. 16-17),
the existence of "dietetic cooking" for some of the sick, with
"special soups and even a special bread" (p. 26), "a library
where numerous reference works, classic textbooks, and periodicals could
be found" (p 27), the daily rolling by, next to the camp, of "the
Krakow-Berlin express" (p. 29), a cinema, a cabaret, an orchestra
(p. 31), etc. M. Klein also notes the horrible aspects of life in the camp
and all the rumours, including the "horrific stories" of gassings
which he seems not really to have believed until after the war, and then
only thanks to the testimonies in the "various trials of war criminals"
- Addendum of July 27.
- A wartime detainee and, like M. Klein and R. Weil, a
Jew himself, confirmed, in a short testimony written in 1997 entitled "Une
Piscine ¦ Auschwitz," that he saw, in July 1944, dozens of
his fellow prisoners busy at work on the said pool which, he pointed out,
had "a diving board and an access ladder"; he could have added
"along with three starting blocks for races."
- He wrote that towards the end of that month "a newsreel
director had some deportees filmed swimming there." As one might expect,
he enlivened his account with the regular stereotypes of the SS men's or
kapos' brutality and he saw in the making both of the pool and of the film
nothing but a propaganda operation. His report ends with two interesting
remarks. First, that in 1997 no guide was "aware" of the pool
(which nonetheless stands right before the guides' very eyes and of which
a photograph accompanies the article: we read that this picture, showing
a swimming pool full of water, was taken in that year) and that the author
would like to know just where the newsreel might be today. His question
is akin to those put by some revisionists: might the film not be "at
the headquarters of the International Red Cross"? Doubtless he meant:
at the International Tracing Service (ITS) located at Arolsen-Waldeck in
Germany and operating under the direction of the International Committee
of the Red Cross (ICRC), with headquarters in Geneva. Since 1978, this
body has barred revisionists from its archives, which are known to be an
exceptionally rich resource. For its part, the Auschwitz State Museum probably
possesses documentation relevant to various aspects of this swimming pool's
construction, e.g. the project, the plans, the financing, the requests
for and the supply of building materials, the requisition of labourers,
the inspection visits.
- (Reference for this account: R. Esrail, registration
no. 173295, - Une piscine ¦ Auschwitz ª, in AprËs Auschwitz
(Bulletin de l'Amicale des dÈportÈs d'Auschwitz), n 264/octobre
1997, p. 10).
- "Swimming Pool, Auschwitz Camp, June 1996. Inmates
from Auschwitz and surrounding camps enjoyed swimming and sunbathing beside
the pool on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Although not as popular as
sports like soccer, some competition was organized where inmates from different
countries of origin, and different camps, raced in individual and relay
events." From www.air-photo.com, now off-line.
- The Heretical Press
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- Yorkshire HU3 2YT, England