Johann Karl (aka Hans) Maršálek (19 July 1914 – 9 Dec. 2011) was an Austrian communist of Bohemian descent. He got caught in 1941 organizing acts of sabotage, for which he ended up incarcerated at the Mauthausen Camp. He was deployed there as a clerk, and used his position to organize the camp’s inmate resistance group and carry out acts of sabotage. After the war, he was employed by the Austrian government as a special agent to hunt down alleged war criminals. He had a leading role in organizing an association of former Mauthausen inmates.
Maršálek played a key role in the formation of atrocity lies about the Mauthausen Camp when he signed an affidavit on 8 April 1946 claiming to have interrogated the former Mauthausen commandant Franz Ziereis, and summarizing the contents of that alleged interrogation (3870-PS, IMT, Vol. 33, pp. 279-286). In this affidavit, Maršálek claims that Ziereis had been shot by U.S. troops on 22 May 1945 when trying to flee, and was bleeding to death from three gunshot wounds. In that state, during the night from 22 to 23 May, he supposedly made the confession that Maršálek then summarizes. Among other things, it contains the following absurd claims:
- Ziereis had personally executed 4,000 inmates.
- At the Gusen Subcamp, pieces of human skin with tattoos on them were tanned and turned into book bindings, lampshades and purses.
- Himmler allegedly ordered all inmates of the camps at Mauthausen and Gusen killed by herding them into a mining tunnel, then dynamiting the exit, thus burying them alive.
- The Mauthausen Camp had a gassing facility camouflaged as a bathroom.
- A gas van shuttled between the Mauthausen and Gusen Camps, gassing inmates along the way, and it was driven by Ziereis himself.
- Between 1 and 1½ million people were killed at the euthanasia center at Hartheim Castle near Linz.
A key feature of this “confession” is that Maršálek has Ziereis incriminate the entire roster of leading SS personalities: Heinrich Himmler, Reinhardt Heydrich, Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Heinrich Müller, Richard Glücks and Oswald Pohl, among others. As such, the document was then used during the Nuremberg tribunals.
A second version of this “confession” exists, presumably authored by two Polish inmates working at the Mauthausen hospital where Ziereis lay dying. This document is longer, was written during the night of 23 to 24 May 1945, and contains elements not included in Maršálek’s version, but which makes even more-absurd claims, such as
- a total of four million victims of the camps of the Mauthausen complex;
- ten million victims from the areas of Warsaw, Kaunas (Kowno) and Libau;
- a homicidal gassing at the Gusen Subcamp, although the entire orthodoxy agrees that this camp had no such facility;
- an undocumented Himmler visit to Mauthausen during which he ordered the inmates working at the quarry to carry rocks weighing more than 50 kg (110 lbs) up a steep hill;
- Ziereis getting summoned to Berlin – of which no trace exists – because the 3% mortality at his camp was considered much too low – while documents prove that Berlin always strove to reduce camp mortalities;
- An invented meeting of camp commandants at the Sachsenhausen Camp, where they were allegedly shown an installation for neck-shooting inmates.
Maršálek has admitted indirectly that his entire story of having interrogated Ziereis was invented: In the second, 1980 edition of his book on the history of the Mauthausen Camp, we read that Ziereis was arrested on 23 May 1945, hence a day after he claims to have interviewed him. Furthermore, the book does not contain any reference to his alleged Ziereis interview anymore, but tellingly states in its preface that “all statements that cannot be documented […] have been deleted” – including any reference to his 1946 affidavit.