Maurice Benroubi (born 27 Dec. 1914) was a Greek Jew who had emigrated to France, from where he was deported to Auschwitz on 20 July 1942, arriving there three days later. He was assigned to a gravedigger unit. This unit had the horrific duty to bury thousands of victims of the typhus epidemic that had gotten out of control during that time. Since the camp’s only crematorium had to be taken out of service for repairs around that time, there was not even any option to cremate these victims.
Sometime during the mid- to late-1980s, Benroubi was interviewed by French historian Jean-Claude Pressac, who published Benroubi’s tale in 1989. Since this testimony was written down 40 years after the event, Benroubi’s memory was possibly contaminated by forty years of exposure to the ubiquitous orthodox narrative. His brief testimony therefore has little probative value. Yet an analysis of this witness’s claims is interesting all the same.
Benroubi claimed that he had been assigned to transport bodies to mass graves. He claims that there were ten open pits measuring 20 m × 3 m, 2.5 m deep, and that there were several older graves about 300 meters long which had been filled and covered recently. However, the mass graves visible on air photos show that Benroubi’s dimensions are way off the mark. These graves were some 10 meters wide and 100 m long, and there were exactly four of them.
Benroubi also insisted that he had seen “trickles of light-colored decomposed fat mixed with blood” on the soil covering the mass graves. However, the bodies buried in there were mostly emaciated typhus victims, or if we follow the orthodox narrative, also gassing victims. Neither of them can spill blood after dying, and no corpse ever can spill fat.
Benroubi only briefly mentioned extermination facilities, which must be assumed to be the sources of the dead bodies he was transporting, although he was not explicit in this regard. The few details he mentioned about these facilities are all wrong:
- They were allegedly two concrete blocks measuring some 20 m × 20 m. However, the orthodox narrative has it that these were two old brick-and-mortar farmhouses (the so-called bunkers of Birkenau).
- They were located right next to each other. However, the orthodox narrative has it that they were located some 500 m apart.
- The building’s doors were “of the rolling or sliding type.” However, a sliding or rolling door could neither have been made gas tight nor secured against a panicking crowd.
- They had showerheads on the ceiling and clothes hooks at the walls. However, the orthodox narrative has it that the bunkers had bare rooms with nothing in them. Showerheads were claimed for the alleged gas chambers of the Birkenau crematoria, and clothes hooks presumably adorned the walls of the undressing basement rooms in Crematoria II and III. This shows how Benroubi’s memory has been contaminated by claims about other facilities he must have heard or read about.
- In front of the bunkers, the Sonderkommando – with whom Benroubi insisted he had nothing to do – had piled up the victims, neatly sorted by gender and age: “One of men, one of women and one of children under ten.” Benroubi had to load them on carts to be wheeled away. However, the orthodox narrative has it that the bodies were taken out of the bunker and loaded directly onto carts. Sorting them by age and gender certainly would not have happened. Moreover, the people doing the work of hauling the bodies from the bunkers to the graves were the very Sonderkommando members. Hence, if Benroubi tells the truth, then he was a member of that team, but he says he was not.
Benroubi’s tale has a true core. From July to September 1942, the period of his experiences, the typhus epidemic in Auschwitz reached its catastrophic climax, with hundreds of victims per day. The camp’s only crematorium at that time could not cremate them all. Hence, the just-mentioned four long mass graves were created, and Benroubi may have helped filling them up with bodies, spicing up his memories with disparate aspects taken from other sources.