Franz Süss (or Szüsz, born 12 April 1902) was a Slovak Jew deported to Auschwitz in late May 1942, where he claims to have been assigned to the Sonderkommando. He made a deposition in 1964, the protocol of which was filed in Israel at the Yad Vashem Archives. Süss’s account is one of the very few which give an idea regarding the actual origins and tasks of the Sonderkommando. Here are the main takeaways from his account:
In late May/early June 1942, the Sonderkommando had the sole task of burying the bodies of inmates who had died of “natural” causes (disease, starvation, deprivation). The daily death toll he mentioned – 200 to 300 – is not quite twice the recorded mortality during that time.
He mentioned a daily death toll of 400 to 600 inmates when the typhus epidemic broke out due to catastrophic hygienic conditions at Birkenau (in July/August 1942), which is all true, except for his figures, which were not daily averages but rather peak values in August 1942.
The victims were buried in four large mass graves some 10 meters wide (correct). The length Süss indicated (400 m) is four times the length visible on air photos, and the depths he indicated (3 m) is probably twice as deep as would have been possible. He described how the pits filled with groundwater (correct), which had to be pumped off.
He mentioned some 60,000 typhus victims buried in these graves, which were exhumed and burned starting in October 1942. The actual number is probably closer to 10,000 to 20,000, though, but the fact and the month are fairly accurate.
Süss knew absolutely nothing about the so-called “bunkers.” He wrote only from hearsay about some gassing experiments, presumably done in some barracks rather than a converted farmhouse, but insisted that no mass gassings happened while he worked there.
Süss mentioned intensified deportations around the time the typhus epidemic broke out, which is indeed true: There were twice as many deportees in August 1942 than during June and July of that year. He insisted, however, that all arrivals were accommodated in barracks “built at a furious pace,” and that no mass gassing happened at that time:
“The people died a so-called natural death, that is, they were beaten to death, and most of them starved to death. Less calories, plus work. The result is always death.”
Süss eventually contracted typhus himself, but rather than getting killed as a severely sick and dangerous witness unfit for work, he was nursed back to health, because he was evidently no carrier of any secrets. Once out of the hospital, he became a clerk in some office, and evidently lost touch with his former Sonderkommando colleagues, which he then declared summarily murdered without having any first-hand knowledge of it, evidently merely following the orthodox narrative. At that point of his deposition, Süss switched from his own experiences to hearsay, even saying so expressly. What follows is filled with common black-propaganda clichés, such as:
- He “heard” about a Himmler visit to one of the new crematoria. However, there is no trace of such a visit, which even orthodox scholars reject as a mere rumor.
- “Allegedly” Eichmann visited for the same reason. The same is true for this claimed visit as well.
- Süss “heard” about a clerk gathering valuables from inmates “who was actually walled in” – how bizarre!
- Süss had to throw in the obligatory name Mengele for good measure, whose statement about a mass selection in the infirmary he “heard” himself.
- Every inmate unfit for work was gassed at Auschwitz in 1942 to 1943, even German inmates! Except for the good Sonderkommando Jew Süss, of course. Such outrageous nonsense is rejected by every historian.
- The crematoria allegedly had a capacity between 20,000 and 24,000 a day, plus an unlimited additional capacity in open-air incineration pits. However, the Birkenau crematoria altogether only had a theoretical maximum capacity of 920 bodies per day.
- To cremate the corpses on a pyre during open-air incinerations, it was enough to set them afire with some gasoline, and “later everything burned automatically.” However, self-immolating corpses simply do not exist. They require a lot of fuel to burn to ashes, particularly on outdoor pyres.
This testimony underscores once more why depositions from hearsay must be disregarded by both judiciary and academia. (For more details, see Mattogno 2022e, pp. 149f., 169-175.)