The Soap Allegations
Part 1 of 6
We begin by examining the arguments made by several revisionist authors regarding allegations that Nazis made soap from human corpses during the Second World War. We will see claims from
Because "revisionists" often portray the soap allegations as an attack on Germans generally, Nizkor wishes to make one thing clear from the outset. We present information on Professor Spanner and the Danzig soap experiment, not because we feel this isolated case is relevant to the history of the Holocaust as a whole, nor because we believe it is especially important, but because the revisionists we cite have attempted to confuse the issue. They have conflated the Auschwitz RIF rumor and the Danzig experiment into one "soap story" and have presented statements about one or the other as though they referred to both.
In order to eliminate this confusion, and to dissect this particular technique of denial, it is necessary to explain the evidence regarding the Danzig experiment in some detail.
Nizkor takes no position as to the reliability of this evidence, as it is not clear to us whether there is consensus among historians on the issue. The reader may make up his or her own mind. The important thing is that the evidence does exist, and that the revisionist tracts we shall examine ignore that evidence in an attempt to confuse the lay reader.
Claims by Mark Weber
Weber's first claim:
This is not true. What does the Judgment of the IMT actually say?
Note that the IMT did not say that soap was made from human remains -- on the contrary, they said that the Nazis tried to make soap from human remains. One can attempt something without being successful. The IMT also does not say that this attempt was widespread. Weber deliberately misinterprets what the IMT said in an attempt to discredit that body's judgments.
Weber's second claim:
Contrary to what Mr. Weber has said both here and above, the overwhelming majority of Holocaust historians have never believed that the Nazis mass produced human soap. He is trying to imply that people such as Yehuda Bauer and Deborah Lipstadt have suddenly changed their minds on this issue, especially because of what the revisionists have proved.
This is not the case, for Bauer and Lipstadt (and many others) never believed it or mentioned it in their published histories of the Holocaust. Even Weber's fellow revisionists Richard Harwood and Ditlieb Felderer contradict him by complaining that many Holocaust books do not mention anything about human soap (see below).
Weber's third claim:
Actually, the Nuremberg documents contain the testimony of only one British POW who mentions the soap rumor at Auschwitz. This is what that POW, Douglas T. Frost, had to say:
As we shall later see, two British POWs testified to soap production at the Danzig Anatomic Institute, not Auschwitz; whether Weber has confused these deliberately or accidentally is impossible to know. Those testimonies were of activities witnessed firsthand, indeed participated in -- not reports of rumors.
Note that Frost merely testifies to rumors, and that Weber deliberately does not mention that Frost placed the blame for the rumors on the Germans who worked at Auschwitz.
In fact, we know that human soap was not made at Auschwitz. In discussing soap taken from Auschwitz, Michael Berenbaum explained that "The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum tested several bars of soap reported to be composed of human fat but no such fat was found."  The negative test result was confirmed also in a letter to the present authors from Steve Friesen of the USHMM, 30 May 1995. But although human soap was not actually made at Auschwitz, many people there apparently believed it at the time, and German civilians there taunted inmates that they would be made into soap, as Frost pointed out in his deposition.
Weber's fourth claim:
This is correct: the most damning and vivid description of the Danzig Anatomical Institute comes from Mazur, who worked there from January 1941 until the capture of Danzig. Note that Weber does not attempt to discredit Mazur at all.
Weber's fifth claim:
Actually, the "recipe," which is in German, does not contain the word "human" in it, but it was a recipe for soap made from fat typed on the letterhead of the Danzig Anatomical Institute.
Weber's sixth claim:
What, exactly, did Shirer say?
Notice that Shirer did not endorse, confirm, or "promote" the soap allegations. Nor does he mention mass production of soap by a factory. He merely states that there was one firm which made one tank -- according to an IMT document, USSR-272 to be precise. (The document was the written testimony of a British corporal and POW, namely William Anderson Neely.)
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Source: The Nizkor Project. Reprinted by permission from the author.