In September 1944, a Red Cross team was sent to check the rumor of gas chambers in Auschwitz but could not find any extermination facilities


In September 1944, a Red Cross team was sent to check the rumor of gas chambers in Auschwitz but could not find any extermination facilities.

An inspection visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp was made on September 29, 1944 by the Swiss physician Maurice Rossel and other delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross. In its report on this visit, the ICRC delegation stated that it had found no confirmation of rumors of human gassing, and that the prisoners interviewed did not speak of it (see Documents relating to the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross on behalf of civilian prisoners in German concentration camps between 1939 and 1945 [Geneva: ICRC, 1975], pp. 76-77. Ed. in French, Geneva, June 1946, p. 92).

In a letter dated 22 November 1944 addressed to officials of the US State Department, the Red Cross stated the following:

"In response to your letter of November 17, in which you asked us whether a delegate of the International Committee of the Red Cross had managed to visit the Auschwitz camp, we are able to provide you with the following information:

It is a fact that one of our delegates was able to enter this camp. He contacted the commandant in order to organize a possible relief shipment for the civilian prisoners there. According to his impression, the camp was a kind of "extended concentration camp" where the prisoners were forced to perform various types of work, including work outside the camp. Our delegate told us that he was unable to find any evidence of facilities for the extermination of civilian prisoners. This fact corroborates a report that we had already received from other sources, namely, that for several months there had been no more exterminations at Auschwitz. In any case, it is not a camp containing exclusively Jews.

We are providing this information to you personally and confidentially, because we obviously do not wish to publish the fact that this visit took place. If it were known to the public, it could give the impression that the International Committee has the means to intervene on behalf of the inmates of this camp. Moreover, the Detaining Authorities might be tempted to claim that this visit by a delegate of the International Committee is sufficient proof that the detainees in the camp are being well treated. The means at our disposal are far from sufficient to ensure this improvement in the treatment of civilian prisoners at Auschwitz or other concentration camps.

We trust that you will understand our motives and that you will consider this information confidential, except for the United States Legation, to which you may communicate the above, if you deem it necessary. " 



Dr. Rossel's visit to Theresienstadt

During his eight-month mission to Berlin for the ICRC (April 12, 1944-January 1, 1945), Dr. Maurice Rossel (1916/1917-after 1997) participated, alone or accompanied by another delegate, in seventeen missions that generally included visits to several camps. On June 23, 1944, he visited the Theresienstadt model camp and reported that life in the Jewish colony was "almost normal". The pictures taken by Maurice Rossel, probably thirty-six, seem extraordinarily banal. They help to dispel the mystery surrounding the Theresienstadt ghetto.   





  1. Hello, I hope yuou are doing well. I found an interview with Mr. Rossel by the extremely annoying Claude Lanzmann for his rag "Shoah" on the, where else, site of the USHMM. The interviewer keeps trying to make him admit that he saw 'something' during his numerous unannounced visits to Auschwitz but the good man doesn't budge. In the same series there's also a very interesting interview with Peter Bergson and Samuel Merlin, two angry US activists who tried to get the community to do something for the 'millions' of Europeans victims of a supposed genocide during the war by reaching to important people like Rabbi Stephen Wise who was at that time the most vocal about it all but who wouldn't do anything to help, sort of confirming that maybe his claims were not totally true and that for him the more real victims there were, the better would be his position to negotiate at the end of the war.
    So, here are the links, I would tend to think that posting them on your site might not be a good idea, copyright wise. Enjoy.


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