The Soap Allegations
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 Mark Weber, Bradley R. Smith, Carlos Porter, and Richard Harwood and Ditlieb Felderer.
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
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
Claims by Mark Weber
Weber's first claim:
One of the most lurid and slanderous Holocaust claims is the story
that the Germans manufactured soap from the bodies of their victims. [...] More important, this accusation was "proved" at
the main Nuremberg trial of 1945-1946, and has been authoritatively
endorsed by numerous historians in the decades since. 
This is not true. What does the Judgment of the IMT actually say?
After cremation the ashes were used for fertilizer, and in some
instances attempts were made to utilize the fat from the bodies of
the victims in the commercial manufacture of soap.  (Emphasis Nizkor's.)
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:
...Holocaust historians have grudgingly conceded that the human soap
tale is a wartime propaganda lie. 
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:
Even British prisoners of war interned at Auschwitz in 1944 testified later about the wartime rumors that corpses of gassing
victims were being turned into soap there. 
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:
The German civilians often threatened the inmates that they
would be gassed and made into soap. We were told that quite a few times
by the inmates and I personally heard the German civilians make those
threats many times. Also I heard the Germans joking among themselves
about the same thing. I didn't take it seriously at first but later I
wondered whether it might not be true after all. Though I have no
personal knowledge, I got the impression that the manufacture of
soap from inmates was being done at Auschwitz by rendering the fat from
the gassed bodies.  (Emphasis Nizkor's.)
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:
[Soviet prosecutor] Smirnov quoted at length from an affidavit by
Sigmund Mazur, an Institute employee, which was accepted as Nuremberg
exhibit USSR-197. It alleged that Dr. Rudolf Spanner, the head of the Danzig Institute,
had ordered the production of soap from corpses in 1943. 
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:
A human soap "recipe," allegedly prepared by Dr. Spanner
(Nuremberg document USSR-196), was also presented. 
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
Weber's sixth claim:
Over the years, numerous supposedly reputable historians have
promoted the durable soap story. Journalist-historian William L.
Shirer, for example, repeated it in his best-selling work, The
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. 
What, exactly, did Shirer say?
One Danzig firm, according to a document offered by the Russian
prosecution, constructed an electrically heated tank for making soap out
of human fat. 
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.)
More recently, Jewish historian Walter Laqueur "denied
established history" by acknowledging in his 1980 book, The
Terrible Secret, that the human soap story has no basis in
Weber makes this sentence sound very dramatic, especially since he
insists on mentioning that Laqueur is Jewish, so we should look and see
just what Laqueur actually said: "It emerged after the war that
the [soap] story was in fact untrue." 
This was a completely nonchalant sentence from Laqueur, which Weber
tried to turn into a dramatic concession and "denial of established
history." Laqueur was only saying what several others have
said -- that many people believed the soap allegations during the War.
Weber's eighth claim:
Gitta Sereny, another Jewish historian, noted in her book Into
That Darkness: "The universally accepted story that the
corpses were used to make soap and fertilizer is finally refuted by the
generally very reliable Ludwigsburg Central Authority for Investigation
into Nazi Crimes." 
The first part of that quotation is pure overstatement on Sereny's
part: it was never "universally accepted," and she should not
have phrased it that way. But what is most important is that Weber
neglects to include Sereny's next sentence in his quotation. She
The Authority has found
after considerable research that only one experiment was made, with a few
corpses from a concentration camp. When it proved impractical the idea was
apparently abandoned. 
Although Sereny does not provide a citation for her quotation from
the Ludwigsburg Authority, she is clearly stating that the Authority
found that there was an attempt to make soap from human
remains, but that it was given up. Weber deliberately omitted the second
half of Sereny's quotation because it did not fit his thesis.
Weber's ninth claim:
The "RIF" soap bar initials that supposedly stood for
"Pure Jewish Fat" actually indicated nothing more sinister
than "Reich Center for Industrial Fat Provisioning"
("Reichsstelle für Industrielle Fettversorgung"), a
German agency responsible for wartime production and distribution of
soap and washing products. RIF soap was a poor quality substitute that
contained no fat at all, human or otherwise. 
Weber is correct that the RIF soap was not made from human remains.
But is it any wonder that people believed it during 1942-45, especially
when Germans were taunting inmates at Auschwitz that they would be turned into soap?
What is interesting, though, is that Mazur never mentions any
initials on the soap that he claimed was made at the Danzig Anatomical Institute.
On the photograph of the soap evidence from the IMT, introduced as
USSR-393, no initials are present. This photograph is reproduced on
page 201 of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, by Arthur Butz.
It is also available at Nizkor: an overview,
and a closeup of the soap.
Thus, the RIF soap really has nothing to do with the Danzig
Anatomical Institute. The rumors that Jewish corpses were being used to
make soap began to surface in the West as early as August 1942. The
Danzig soap evidence is all dated 1944: Mazur testified that Spanner
gave him the soap "recipe" in February 1944 (IMT document
USSR-197), the recipe from the Danzig Institute is dated February 15,
1944 (USSR-196), William Neely's testimony stated that the soap tank was
installed in March or April 1944 (USSR-272), and so on.
Himmler himself was disturbed by the rumors that bodies of Jews were
being used for soap and/or fertilizer, since the Nazis' extermination
plans demanded strict secrecy. On November 30, 1942, after Rabbi
Stephen Wise mentioned the soap rumors to the press in New York City on
November 24, Himmler wrote to Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo:
In view of the large emigration movement of Jews, I do not wonder
that such rumors come to circulate in the world.
We both know that there is present an increased mortality among the
Jews put to work. You have to guarantee to me that the corpses of these
deceased Jews are either burned or buried at each location, and that
absolutely nothing else can happen with the corpses at any location.
Conduct an investigation immediately everywhere whether any kind of
misuse [of corpses] has taken place of the sort as listed in point 1,
probably strewn about in the world as a lie.
Upon the SS-oath I am to be notified of each misuse of this kind. 
It is clear, then, that the RIF soap allegations were merely a rumor,
even though many people believed it at the time. But the RIF soap
rumors have nothing to do with the allegations regarding Professor
Spanner's possible experiments at the Danzig Anatomical Institute. What
Himmler's letter does imply, though, is that if Spanner used Jewish corpses (which has never been claimed or
documented), then Himmler should have known about it.
Weber's tenth claim:
Shortly after the war the public prosecutor's office of Flensburg,
Germany, began legal proceedings against Dr. Rudolf Spanner for his alleged
role in producing human soap at the Danzig Institute. But after an
investigation the charge was quietly dropped. In a January 1968 letter, the
office stated that its inquiry had determined that no soap from human
corpses was made at the Danzig Institute during the war. 
Actually, Spanner was investigated twice by German authorities: in Hamburg
(1947) and in Flensburg (1947-48). Both times he was not prosecuted. Does
that mean that he was completely innocent, or that there was not enough
evidence to proceed with a case? One would need to read the complete file
on Spanner from the Flensburg Public Prosecutor's Office to understand
fully the reasons for the cases being dropped.
Weber's eleventh claim:
He [Yehuda Bauer] had the chutzpah to blame the [soap] legend on the
Douglas Frost has already been quoted above from his Nuremberg
testimony that Germans taunted Auschwitz inmates that they
would be turned into soap. Because of testimony such as Frost's,
Professor Bauer believes that the Nazis "used [soap threats] as a
form of additional sadism, in words this time, on their Jewish
In reading Mark Weber's article, it is clear that he is deliberately
overstating the belief in the soap allegations among what he calls
"exterminationist" historians, so as to make his debunking of
it seem that much more important and dramatic.
In truth, most historians do not believe that soap was mass produced from human remains (most of those who even mention the soap allegations at all in their writings are survivors who either actually saw the "RIF" soap, or who were taunted by the Germans that they would be made into soap). No matter what we know now, it was widely rumored during the
Second World War that soap was being (and even Himmler heard the rumors), so we can forgive the victims of the Nazis for believing that their persecutors would do such a thing.
Konnilyn Feig, writing in Hitler's Death Camps, is one of the few historians who argue that the Nazis made human soap. In his article, Weber overstates support for the soap allegations and attempts to build up this straw man so he can dramatically tear it down, and thereby hopefully cast doubt on the Nuremberg proceedings and the entire Holocaust. Whatever doesn't fit into his thesis is either glossed over (the Frost statement), misstated (the Judgment of the IMT), or omitted (Sereny's full quotation).
Weber also fails to differentiate between the various soap
allegations. He is correct in asserting that RIF soap was not made from
human remains. He is correct in asserting that there were no "soap
factories" which mass-produced soap from human remains.
But he fails to address or respond to the affidavits of Sigmund
Mazur, William Neely, or the second British POW, John Witton. All three
worked at the Danzig Anatomical Institute. Weber merely states that
Rudolf Spanner was cleared in 1948. But does the fact that a German
prosecutor immediately after the War failed to bring charges against a
prominent German academic mean that professor was necessarily innocent?
Claims by Bradley R. Smith
Smith's first claim:
The Encyclopedia Judaica (New York City, 1971) contains
a photograph of the inside of a German soap factory. Titled "A
German soap factory near Danzig," the photo accompanies the Encyclopedia's article on Poland. ...The photograph is not
sourced, but who would want to doubt the intellectual integrity of the
publishers of the Encyclopedia Judaica? 
Indeed, the integrity of the publishers is beyond question; the
sources are readily available. Actually, there are two photographs of
the interior of the Danzig Institute on those pages of the Encyclopedia (vol. 13, pp. 761-762). The two photographs
were first published (along with a third) in Zaglada zydostwa
polskiego: album zdjec, ed. Gerszon Taffet (Lodz: Centralna
Zydowska Komisja Historyczna w Polsce, 1945), p. 96. According to that
The photographs contained in this album are only a part of the
photographic documents in possession of the Central Jewish Historical
Committee in Poland.
The photographs also appeared in Mydlo z ludzkiego tluszczu: alfa
i omega niemieckich zbrodni w Polsce, by Stanislaw Strabski (Poznan:
Wydawnictwo Zachodniej Agencji Prasowez, 1946). There are other
photographs of the interior and exterior of the Danzig Institute in Polish Monthly Review, no. 1 (Aug. 1945): 22-23; and in Het
boek der kampen, by Ludo van Eck (Leuven: Kritak, 1979), pp.
Smith's second claim:
At Nuremberg the human-soap indictment against the Germans was upheld.
Smith is half-correct. As quoted above in the section on Mark Weber's
first claim, the Judgment of the IMT actually says that "attempts
Smith's third and fourth claims deal with Yehuda Bauer.
Smith's third claim:
Yehuda Bauer has told a Holocaust memorial meeting for "Yom
Hashoah," the yearly Jewish celebration of German bestiality, that
the Jewish soap story isn't true after all.... He says that the
"technical possibilities" for rendering soap from the cadavers of
murdered Jews were not yet understood during World War II. Do you
suppose it's been worked out since?
What, exactly, are Professor Bauer's views regarding the soap
allegations? After he was quoted in several newspapers (including the Jerusalem Post, May 5, 1990; Chicago Tribune,
Apr. 25, 1990; and Northern California Jewish Bulletin,
Apr. 27, 1990) that the "technical possibilities for transforming
human fat into soap were not known at that time," Bauer later
explained that he was discussing the industrial production of
human soap. In a follow-up letter to the editor of the Jerusalem
Post (included as an Appendix to this document), Bauer wrote regarding the Danzig experiment:
It emerges very clearly that this was a first and unique
experiment and that it was in its experimental stages. The bodies
used may have been those of prisoners of war and forced labourers
from the immediate vicinity. It is also clear that had the war
continued, the Nazis were certainly capable of turning this into
another mass horror.
There was no industrial production....
Thus, Bauer is convinced that there was a preliminary experiment
performed by Spanner at Danzig.
Smith's fourth claim:
Why did Yehuda Bauer choose to deny the Jewish soap hoax this
year rather than last year or the year before? Or ten or even
twenty years ago.
As mentioned above in the Mark Weber section, most Holocaust
historians have never believed the allegations concerning mass production of human soap, especially as
they have been "presented" by revisionists, who confuse the
Danzig experiment with the R.I.F. soap rumors. As Smith pointed out
earlier in his chapter, Deborah Lipstadt did write a letter to
the editor of the Los Angeles Times on this topic.  And Yehuda Bauer has been quoted on this topic. The rational
explanation as to why historians periodically mention this issue in
public is because members of the public continue to bring it up. During
1995 alone, there were at least two attempts to sell "human
soap," once in Israel and once in Poland.
Claims by Carlos Porter
Porter's first claim:
In 1946, it was a "proven fact" that Nazis made human soap
(Judgement, Nuremberg Trial, IMT I 252; VII 597-600; XIX 506; XXII 496). 
As we have already mentioned above in the sections on Weber and Smith,
the Judgment of the IMT actually says that "attempts were
made," not that soap was made, and it also specifically says
"in some instances": not a large-scale program.
Note that the point Porter is trying to make here is that things
which were proven at Nuremberg have been retracted later by historians.
Since, as we have seen, historians repudiate the "RIF" soap
rumor but not the Stutthof/Danzig evidence, Porter's point is not
Furthermore, Porter cites four sections of the trial record to back
him up on the matter of "proven fact." He correctly points
out that I-252 is the Judgment, but neglects to mention that XXII-496 is
the same text, just in a different place. VII-597 through 600 is the
Soviet prosecution's introduction of the evidence, and XIX-506 is simply
a reference to that evidence by the British prosecution. In short, not
one of these quotes backs up his claim.
Porter's second claim:
They [The Hague] have the "human soap," which has never
been tested, and the "original human soap recipe" (Document
USSR-196), which is a forgery; but apparently no original wartime German
Since Porter claims that virtually every Nuremberg document that
shows a German in a bad light is a forgery, it would be impossible to
change his mind in this regard. Notice that he does not show how or
why the soap recipe is a forgery.
In Sigmund Mazur's deposition of 11 June 1945 (USSR-197), which
Porter even includes as Appendix I in his other book, Made in
Russia: The Holocaust, Mazur confirmed that the recipe in
possession of the Soviet interrogator, which would later be introduced
to the IMT as USSR-196, was the one he knew from the Danzig Institute:
Question: You have been shown a recipe typed in the letterhead of the
Anatomical Institute. What do you have to say in respect of this recipe?
Answer: The recipe shown to me, dated 15th February 1944, is the same
recipe about which I have just testified. This recipe was stuck to a
plywood board which hung in the building where soap was prepared. 
Porter's third claim:
Since the affiants almost never (if ever) wrote their own
"statements," it is common to find identical or nearly
identical phrases or even entire paragraphs occurring in different
documents, even when they have been prepared on different days by
people; for example, ... Documents USSR-264 and 272 (human soap
Porter makes this sound sinister and conspiratorial, but there is a
rational explanation for why USSR-264 (affidavit of John Henry Witton, 3
January 1946) and USSR-272 (affidavit of William Anderson Neely, 7
January 1946) might contain similar phrases and/or terminology.
The first thing to point out is that both affidavits were given to
the British Judge Advocate General's Office, not to the Soviets. But
even though both of these documents were witnessed by different members
of the JAG Office, it is likely that both men were deposed by the same
interviewer -- i.e., someone familiar with the Danzig Institute who
could ask relevant questions -- especially since the two former POWs
gave their affidavits only four days apart, at 6, Spring Gardens in the
City of Westminster.
Porter's book, Made in Russia: The Holocaust, contains
what we will call his fourth claim:
Of the two British human soap witnesses -- signers of mutually
contradictory hearsay affidavits prepared with the help of other people
-- John Henry Witton has apparently emigrated, while William Anderson
Neely lives in Scotland. He has declined to discuss his experiences, and
appears unaware that his story could make him wealthy. 
As usual, Porter merely brushes aside Nuremberg documents without
offering any proof to back up his assertions. A close examination of
both affidavits reveals only two "contradictions":
- Number of corpses: Witton stated that corpses "arrived at
an average of 7 to 8 per day," with sometimes 5 to 6 in a Red Cross
wagon and sometimes 3 to 4 in a small truck. Neely, however, said that
corpses "arrived at an average rate of 2 to 3 per day."
- Length of preparation time of corpses: Witton stated that after
fluids were inserted into the corpses, they "were then put into
large metal containers where they were then left for approximately 4
months." Neely, however, said that the corpses were "kept for
an average of three to four weeks in large tanks before being taken
upstairs and used for dissection purposes."
What might be the possible explanations for these two apparent
contradictions? One idea might be that the second one could just be a
typo, where "months" was substituted for "weeks," or
vice versa. But this is unlikely; the most logical explanation is that
Witton was correct and Neely was wrong.
In his affidavit, Neely wrote: "I myself was employed in taking
the corpses down to the cellar and laying them on the tables in the
dissecting room and also in clearing them away at the end of the
day." Perhaps Witton was much more involved in the process at the
Danzig Institute than Neely was and therefore saw more corpses than his
fellow POW did. This might also explain the discrepancy in the length of
time, if Witton knew more details about the entire process than Neely
Aside from these two "contradictions," the rest of the two
statements are in accord with each other. But it is really not
surprising that their statements are not identical, since both men had
been POWs for over four years, obviously traumatic events in their
More importantly, it would have been more suspicious if
their affidavits were exactly alike. In fact, Porter charged this as
well: in one of his books, Porter complained that the two
statements contained too many of the same phrases to be trusted, and in
his other book he said they were too contradictory!
Finally, since both men worked in the Danzig Institute, their
statements are not "hearsay."
Claims by Richard Harwood and Ditlieb Felderer
Harwood/Felderer's first claim:
It would thus appear that the entire [soap] allegation is founded on
anonymous reports and speculative hearsay. No one can come up with any
locations, dates, or names. 
While many of the early reports regarding human soap were anonymous,
usually regarding the RIF soap, the later ones regarding the Danzig
Anatomical Institute are not based on anonymous reports. Although they
mention the photograph of the IMT soap evidence reproduced in Butz's
book, Harwood and Felderer fail to mention USSR-197 (affidavits of
Sygmund Mazur, 28 May 1945; 11 June 1945; 12 June 1945); USSR-264
(affidavit of John Henry Witton, 3 January 1946); or USSR-272 (affidavit
of William Anderson Neely, 7 January 1946).
They also fail to mention anything regarding Professor Spanner,
Mazur, Witton, and Neely. All actually worked in the Danzig Institute --
not quite "speculative hearsay."
Harwood/Felderer's second claim:
Many Exterminationist books make no mention at all of the
"soap" story; even outlandish books such as We Have Not
Forgotten (2 & 6) which covers every other conceivable German
atrocity. The same is true of the numerous other
"Holocaustiana" which I have plowed through. Surely if there
were such factories there would be ample evidence to write book after
book, article after article, on this one subject. 
This is in direct contradiction to Mark Weber who argues (see above)
that the soap story "has been authoritatively endorsed by numerous
historians." Yet his two fellow Holocaust-deniers are pointing out
that most "exterminationists" do not mention the soap
allegations in their books and use that fact as proof that it did not
happen. That is hardly the picture that Weber painted in his article.
The "revisionists" can't have it both ways.
Harwood/Felderer's third claim:
Determined to get to the bottom of the "human soap"
problem, I paid a visit to Danzig, and unsuccessfully tried to locate
the site of the "human soap factory." At the nearby Stutthof
"extermination camp" I again sought evidence, but not one of
the officials or guides there could help. 
Evidently, Felderer and/or Harwood did not go to the Medical Academy
on that visit to Gdansk. Other researchers have not had any such
problems. Carl Tighe discussed Mazur, Spanner, and the Institute in his
book, Gdansk: National Identity in the Polish-German
Borderlands, and in a letter to the authors, he wrote:
I lived in the city of Gdansk in 1975-76 and was shown the recipe
Spanner used - I believe it is still in the possession of the
Polytechnic. Among students, particularly students at the Medical
Academy and Polytechnic, and local residents, most of whom arrived in
the city after Spanner had left, Spanner's experiments were common lore. 
Julian Hendy visited the Gdansk Medical Academy during the Summer of
1994. According to Hendy, "It occupies the same building as the
Anatomical Institute, the small brick shed built by the British POWs is
still there. And there's a plaque on the wall about the soap
Harwood/Felderer's fourth claim:
It is certain that if the western public realized that almost all of
these atrocity allegations emanated from the communist bloc, then they
would receive about as much credence as contemporary communist propaganda
about intervening in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and now Afghanistan to "rescue
the inhabitants from foreign interference." 
Although it was a Russian (L. N. Smirnov) who brought up the soap
allegations at the IMT, the Soviets had no control over the British
statements. Both Neely and Witton gave their depositions to the British Judge Advocate General's Office -- in fact, both
USSR-264 and USSR-272 clearly bear the designation MD/JAG/FS/22/609(4a)
across the top.
What about Mazur's depositions? Were they just communist propaganda,
or can his statements to the Soviets (USSR-197) be corroborated by
anyone else? Before speaking to the Soviets and giving his depositions,
Mazur was interviewed by the Glowna Komisja Badania Zbrodni
Niemieckich w Polsce ("Committee for the Investigation of
German Crimes in Poland").
This Committee, which was comprised
of several prominent Poles (journalists, doctors, lawyers) as well as
some representatives of the Red Army, entered the Danzig Institute on
May 5, 1945. Mazur gave his formal deposition to the Committee on May
12, sixteen days before he gave his first deposition to the Soviets.
Zofia Nalkowska, a prominent novelist, was a member of the Committee
and discussed Mazur, Spanner, and the Danzig Institute in her 1946
non-fiction book, Medaliony. The relevant portion was
translated into English in Introduction to Modern Polish
Literature, Ed. Adam Gillon and Ludwik Krzyzanowski. Nalkowksa
quotes extensively from Mazur, and what he said to the Committee was in
substance exactly what he later said to the Soviets. Nalkowska in no way
can be considered a communist tool.
Stanislaw Strabski, another member of the Committee, was a Polish
journalist and published a 1946 book called Mydlo z ludzkiego
tluszczu, a preliminary translaton of which shows that he also
discusses Spanner, Mazur, and the Institute. So it is disingenuous to
merely dismiss the testimony at the IMT regarding the soap as communist
propaganda: two of the three affidavits were provided by the British
JAG, and Mazur's statements to the Soviets are consistent with what he
told the Committee earlier in May 1945.
Why should it matter whether or not human soap was made from the
corpses of Nazi Germany's victims? Whether Nazi Germany, or even one
Nazi, made human soap or attempted to make human soap does not change
the fact that Hitler attempted to exterminate European Jewry and
murdered between 5 and 6 million of them.
Compared with this monumental crime, the soap allegations can be seen
Yet, the revisionists attach special importance to this question,
hoping thereby to cast doubt on the Nuremberg proceedings and on the
For example, Mark Weber writes:
It is worth emphasizing here that the "evidence" presented
at the Nuremberg Tribunal for the bogus soap story was no less
substantial than the "evidence" presented for the claims of
mass extermination in gas chambers. 
Bradley R. Smith:
If Bauer and Lipstadt are right, who supplied this false evidence
about human soap to the Court? Why? Was the Court bamboozled about other
anti-German atrocity stories? Which ones? The gas chambers maybe? 
The human soap accusation is particularly important because it was upheld in the judgement at Nuremberg on the same page (IMT I-252) as
gassing millions of Jews and cutting their hair off to make human hair
mattresses.  (Emphasis in original.)
(Actually, the statement about the killing of millions is on the
first two lines of I-253, and has nothing to do with the statement about
mattresses on I-252 -- but in any case, why would the page number be the
least bit important?)
As has already been pointed out several times above, the IMT did not
"uphold" or "confirm" the soap allegations that
these revisionists are talking about. Nor does it really matter whether
or not the Nazis actually made human soap -- it does not affect, in any
way whatsoever, the facts of the Holocaust.
Nor was the quantity or quality of the evidence for soap production
in any way comparable to that of mass gassings: three testimonies and a
few corroborating pieces of evidence is in no way comparable to the
overwhelming stream of physical evidence and testimonies from the
perpetrators and other witnesses of gassings and other facets of the
Holocaust. To even try to draw the comparison is ludicrous.
But what the revisionists' writings on the soap allegations
demonstrate is their usual techniques of anti-scholarship: deceit,
denial, and misrepresentation. They misquote; they omit what contradicts
their preconceived notions; and they offer nothing substantial to refute
or disprove the statements of Mazur, Witton, and Neely. Then, they take
their distorted case and say that it is only the beginning of "revisionist"
historical successes: if the soap, why not the gas chambers?
Nowhere is this clearer than in the words of Greg Raven:
The main front on which the revisionist battle is being fought is
to correct the Holocaust story. Here, the years since the publication
of the first Journal have seen remarkable retreats
from the standard Holocaust story, which used to include soap made
from Jewish corpses, gas chambers at Dachau, and all manner of
fiendish methods of murder (including nuclear devices). Revisionists
have convincingly demonstrated virtually every facet of the
traditional Holocaust tale to be untrue, or at least wildly
exaggerated, resulting in a inexorable whittling down of the
"accepted" Holocaust story to a tiny fraction of what it
once was. Even so, the "six million" figure remains,
indicating that there is yet more work to be done.  (Emphasis Nizkor's.)
We still cannot say with certainty whether or not human soap was made
at the Danzig Anatomical Institute. There are three affidavits from
three people who worked there to that effect, and corroborating physical
evidence. That is not sufficient to establish human soapmaking for
certain, but neither can it be dismissed out of hand.
Unlike the "revisionist scholars" cited in this rebuttal,
we will continue to investigate, examining all the evidence
before reaching a conclusion, rather than adopting their practice, which
is to develop their prejudices and then look for evidence to support
Yehuda Bauer on the Soap Allegations, Jerusalem Post, May 29, 1990, p. 4:
To the Editor of the Jerusalem Post:
Sir, - Neil Kuchinsky (letters, May 20) quotes from the Nuremberg
trial transcripts to show that the Germans made soap from human bodies
at the Danzig Anatomic Institute, basing himself on the testimony of two
British PoWs and a German laboratory assistant. The facts are correct.
They were quoted in extenso in a Czech- language book by Ota Kraus and
Erich Kulka, and are well-known to historians.
The reason why no historian has ever claimed that Germans made
industrial use of human bodies for the production of soap is also
contained in those very testimonies. They show that the
"Institute" was established in the course of 1944 by a Danzig
Nazi scientist (Dr. Spanner) who invented the method by which this could
be done, and persuaded an apparently enthusiastic Berlin authority (we
do not know who it was) to support his experiments.
According to the somewhat contradictory evidence, 25 kg. or perhaps
more of this horrible substance was made, and one source claims that it
was used experimentally in Danzig itself. It emerges very clearly that
this was a first and unique experiment and that it was in its
experimental stages. The bodies used may have been those of prisoners
of war and forced labourers from the immediate vicinity. It is also
clear that had the war continued, the Nazis were certainly capable of
turning this into another mass horror.
There was no industrial production, and the pieces of soap inscribed
R.I.F. which Jewish victims were told were made of human fat were found
to contain ordinary non-organic fats (R.I.F. means Reichsstelle fuer
Industrielle Fettversorgung, or State Centre for Supply of Fats, and not
Pure Jewish Fat, as the victims were told by the Nazis).
The reason why one has to be accurate is that one has to exercise
tremendous responsibility and deep respect towards the victims and their
relatives and towards the memory of the millions of Jewish dead. What
the Nazis did is horrendous enough; we do not need to believe the
additional horrors they thought about but did not have time to realize.
The Holocaust deniers waiting in the wings are eager to pick up any
inaccuracies we may inadvertently commit, and we should not ease their
- Weber, Mark,
- IMT, vol. 1, p. 252.
- Weber, op. cit., p. 217.
- Ibid, p. 218.
- NMT, vol. 8, p. 624.
- Gutman et al., Anatomy of the Auschwitz
Death Camp, p. 80.
- Weber, op. cit., p. 219.
- Ibid, p. 221.
- Shirer, William, The Rise and Fall of the Third
Reich, p. 971n.
- Weber, op. cit., p. 222.
- Laqueur, Walter, The Terrible Secret, p. 82.
- Weber, op. cit., p. 222.
- Sereny, Gitta, Into That Darkness,
- Weber, op. cit., p. 222.
- Himmler to Müller, 30 Nov. 1942, US
National Archives, Record Group 242, Microfilm Series T-175/Roll
58/Frame 2521486. As quoted in Breitman, Richard, "Secrecy and the
Final Solution," from Millen, pp. 70-71.
- Weber, op. cit., p. 222.
- From a letter from Bauer to the editor of The Jewish Standard, dated
January 9, 1991, a copy of which was provided to the authors by Bauer.
- Smith, Bradley R., "Rub-a-Dub-Dub."
- Lipstadt, Deborah, Letter to the Editor of the Los Angeles Times, May 16, 1981, Sec. II, p. 2.
- Porter, Carlos, Not Guilty at
Nuremberg, p. 2.
- Ibid, p. 5.
- Porter, Carlos, Made in Russia, p. 369.
- Porter, Carlos, Not Guilty at Nuremberg, p. 12.
- Porter, Carlos, Made in Russia, p. 377.
- Harwood et al., "Human Soap," p. 135.
- Ibid, p. 136.
- Ibid, p. 137.
- Letter from Carl Tighe to the authors,
March 21, 1995.
- Harwood et al., "Human Soap," pp. 137-138.
- Weber, Mark, "Jewish Soap," p. 219.
- Smith, Bradley, Rub-a-Dub-Dub.
- Porter, Carlos, Made in Russia, p. 368.
- Raven, Greg,
"A Look Back."
Sources: The Nizkor Project. Reprinted by permission from the author.
See Also: Extended List of Works Cited
Editor: Marc Fleisher
Researchers: John Drobnicki
& Julian Hendy
Writer: John Drobnicki