Reder, Rudolf

Rudolf Reder
Rudolf Reder

Rudolf Reder (aka Roman Robak, 4 April 1881 – 6 Oct. 1977) was a Polish Jew from Lviv who was deported to the Belzec Camp in July or August 1942 at age 61 – which should have been his death sentence. But he miraculously was selected to live and work there as a stove mechanic for four months before managing to escape. Currently, nine texts by Reder are known in which he describes what he claims to have experienced at that camp (depositions, interviews, testimonies and one booklet). Reder is considered the only (self-proclaimed) former inmate of the Belzec Camp who made significant statements about this camp. Apart from the highly unreliable postwar statements by the former SS man Kurt Gerstein and later trial statements of defendants and SS witnesses during the 1965 West-German Belzec show trial (including Wilhelm Pfannenstiel), Reder’s texts are the only sources of information stemming from the immediate post-war period that historians have on events allegedly unfolding at Belzec.

A critical analysis of Reder’s nine texts shows that they contradict one another in many respects. The following list is limited to the most strident examples of contradictions and to the more peculiar of Reder’s claims:

  • Reder claimed that the trains he arrived in had 50 cars, which would make it some 500 to 600 meters long. He claimed that the entire train drove into the camp on a spur that ended at the camp’s center. However, the spur ran along the camp’s western fence and was only some 260 meters long, allowing only half of his train to enter it.
  • He claimed that the camp covered an area of one square kilometer, and that the forest around it had been cut down to a radius of three kilometers, when in fact the camp wasn’t even a tenth of this size, and air photos show that the forest around it had not been cut down. Only some of it nearby had been thinned out.
  • Although Reder claimed that, as a stove repair man, he could move freely around the entire camp and saw everything, he never mentioned any of the camp’s essential facilities, such as the inmate infirmary, latrines, washrooms and showers for guards and inmates, the motor pool with the garage, and the Diesel engine driving the camp’s electricity generator (although he mentions the use of electricity).
  • Reder’s various descriptions of the camp’s layout and the way deportees were “processed” are highly contradictory, and they do not agree with what the orthodoxy claims about it. But in Reder’s later statements, his description began to approach the official narrative, clearly indicating where his knowledge came from.
  • Reder had Jews from all over Europe arrive at Belzec, although only Jews from Poland were deported there.
  • He claimed that, on average, 10,000 to 20,000 deportees arrived daily during his four-months stay, which would result in 1.2 to 2.4 million deportees, although only just over 400,000 Jews were ever deported to Belzec in total.
  • 1.2 to 2.4 million wasn’t enough, though, because he estimated the total number of Jews killed during his 4-months stay at 3 million.
  • Because the victims were packed so tightly into the gas chambers, “the corpses were standing upright” after the execution, which is physically impossible.
  • Reder claimed that he was once asked to service the gasoline engine driving the killing mechanism. He describes it well: the exhaust gasses were vented directly to the outside and were not used to kill. There was never any odor when the chambers were opened. The engine drove a complex system of drive wheels and compressors, connected to the chambers with glass tubes. Only during the investigations for the German Belzec show trial did he adjust his tale to fit the orthodox narrative.
  • There were allegedly 30 mass graves measuring 100 m × 25 m × 15 m. Assuming sloping walls, this would amount to some 20,000 m³ for each, and 600,000 m³ for all. These graves were either dug manually or by a machine, or manually with a machine carrying away the dug-out sand. But archeological research has demonstrated that in total only some 20,000 m³ of soil were ever disturbed in the camp area or its immediate vicinity, some of it by wild diggings of locals after the war.
  • Reder claimed that “thick blood burst out of the pits and flooded the whole surface,” as if the blood of dead victims could explode out of their bodies and eject out of graves like geysers.
  • To boost the importance of his narrative, Reder claimed that Himmler visited the camp either in October or November 1942, although there is no trace of Himmler ever having set foot in that camp.
  • In a camp where the old, sick and weak were allegedly constantly killed, the 61-year-old Reder, who toward the end was emaciated, weak and full of wounds, miraculously survived for four months.
  • Reder told his story of how he managed to escape six times, each time with drastic contradictions to the others.

Reder’s testimonies also have blatant contradictions to Kurt Gerstein’s delusional musings. Historian Michael Tregenza, the orthodoxy’s expert on Belzec, therefore concluded that both testimonies are unreliable.

(For more on this, see Mattogno 2021b, esp. pp. 7-88, 147-170.)

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