Section 44: Why Would Anyone “Confess?”

Guards and commanders from several camps faced trial from the end of the war right through to the early 1970s. Most of the important ones are dealt with below under the chapters dealing with the camps.
Here it is however valuable to ask the pertinent question: Why would anyone accused of mass murder at any of the camps “confess” to such heinous crimes at these trials?
The researcher Paul Grubach has written extensively on this topic and is worth quoting in full here:
“Long before the enactment of the present laws in Germany that criminalize any ‘denial’ of the Holocaust, there were still social and political pressures that induced German officials on trial for alleged war crimes to ‘confess’ to the ‘truth’ of the extermination of the Jews.
“The ‘Nazi extermination camp’ mythology was declared ‘historical truth’ at the Nuremberg trials, and it was then used as an ideological cornerstone for the Allied installed governments in postwar Germany. Since the German government is based upon the ‘Nazi gas chamber’ ideology, to dispute it in a German court is virtually impossible.
“Indeed, in April 1999, the German Federal Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer stated: ‘All democracies have a basis, a cornerstone. For France it is 1789, for Germany it is Auschwitz.’
In the highly respected German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Patrick Bahners put forth a founding belief of the present German government. If one ‘denies the murder of the Jews, he repudiates the legitimacy of the Federal Republic.’
“Is it any wonder that former German soldiers who served at Sobibór ‘confessed’ that there were ‘gas chambers’ at the camp?
From a legal standpoint they had no choice but to give credence to this legend. The tribunals that these German military men and National Socialist officials faced were committed to the dictum that there was a Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews, and it was done with the use of ‘gas chambers.’
“It was out of the question for them to contest this in court, so they simply built their defense strategies accordingly.
In a word, it was simply in their best legal interests to simply ‘admit’ the ‘truth’ of the orthodox Jewish extermination story and then build their defense strategy around it—thus falsifying the historical record along the way.
“The late Dr. Wilhelm Stäglich, a former judge who was punished by the German government for his ‘Holocaust denial,’ expressed this dilemma when he stated: From the outset, the defendants in the ‘Nazi Crimes of Violence’ trials knew that it was utterly pointless to dispute all or part of the picture of the mass murder of the Jews in which they were accused of having taken part, since that picture had been inculcated into the public mind long before the trials began.
“To the defendants it must have seemed the most expedient course not to dispute that the alleged murders occurred, only that they were involved in them. Particularly if they lacked an airtight alibi, the defendants had to secure the goodwill of the court. In short, they had but one aim in mind: their own acquittal.
“Evidence in favor of this view is provided by Holocaust expert Christopher Browning. One of Browning’s key pieces of evidence for alleged mass exterminations at Belzec is the postwar testimony of former SS Sergeant Josef Oberhauser. Buried in a footnote, Browning provides us with a reason to be skeptical of Oberhauser’s testimony. He accuses Oberhauser of falsifying the dates of events in order to create an adequate defense at the ‘Belzec trial’ in Germany in the 1960s.
“Specifically, he writes that Oberhauser is guilty of ‘clearly falsifying chronology to give the impression that until August 1942—i.e., for the period for which he was on trial—only a small number of test gassings were being carried out in a single gas chamber capable of holding 100 people.’
“Why didn’t Oberhauser claim that until August 1942 (the period for which he was on trial) he never witnessed or operated any homicidal gas chambers? This would have been the best defense, would it not? No, because of the nature of the German legal system that he was entrapped in, it would have been hopeless to attempt to repudiate the Belzec gas chamber story.
“So, it was simply in Oberhauser’s best legal interests to ‘confess’ to the existence of ‘gas chambers,’ and then claim that there were only a small number of ‘gassings’ while he was in the camp. Professor Browning also admitted that even the memoirs of Adolf Eichmann contain ‘calculated lies for legal defense.’ This would not be the first time that a German officer in a postwar statement falsely claimed that there was a Nazi policy to exterminate Jews in order to create a defense at his upcoming trial. Browning’s colleague, Final Solution historian Ian Kershaw, pointed this out in his book.
“Kershaw concedes that some postwar court testimony of German military officers about the existence of an order from Hitler to exterminate the Jews is bogus: ‘The early postwar testimony of Einsatzkommando leaders about the prior existence of a Führer order [to mass exterminate the Jews] has been shown to be demonstrably false, concocted to provide a unified defense of the leader of Einsatzgruppe D, Otto Ohlendorf, at his trial in 1947 [p.258].
“We see a similar legal defense strategy in regard to the Germans who stood trial for alleged crimes committed at Sobibór. Karl Werner Dubois, who was sentenced to three years imprisonment at the 1966 Sobibór trial for his alleged involvement in mass murder, explained an overall defense strategy: ‘What should be taken into account is that we did not act on our own initiative, but in the context of the Reich’s Final Solution to the Jewish problem.’
“At the present time, it is impossible for anyone to contest the traditional extermination story in a German court. Revisionist historian Robert Faurisson profiled the situation perfectly when he pointed out that ‘Holocaust denial’ is ‘an offense which is punishable with up to five years imprisonment. In Germany, no exonerating evidence may be introduced in such trials, since the same evidence would constitute denial as well and would merely lead to another criminal indictment of the defendant and his lawyer.’”
This was in fact what happened to the lawyer who defended well-known Holocaust revisionist Ernst Zundel in a German court, Sylvia Stolz. In 2008, Stolz was sentenced to three and a half years in prison and banned from practicing law for five years after declaring in court during the Zundel trial that the “Holocaust was the biggest lie in world history” (Deutsche Welle, German Neo-Nazi Lawyer Sentenced for Denying Holocaust, 14.01.2008).
Below: Sylvia Stolz, a German lawyer sentenced to five years in prison in 2007 for attempting to defend a client by calling the Holocaust “the biggest lie in world history.” In Germany, it is not possible to defend oneself against any charge by pointing out that the events could not have taken place as alleged. Hence, many defendants prefer to accept that events took place, but then deny personal involvement therein.

In a climate where one will be sentenced to prison just for saying that the Holocaust is untrue, is it any wonder that the accused on trial for alleged war crimes would “confess” to the existence of “gas chambers” but then try to claim that they were personally not involved?
This is in fact, what many (but not all) of those put on trial did.

Section 45: The Suchomel “Confession” in Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah” Movie

It is often claimed that a “confession” by a former SS man, Franz Suchomel, made in the 1985 documentary film Shoah (directed by the French Jewish producer Claude Lanzmann) “proves the existence of the Treblinka gas chambers.
There are two aspects to the Suchomel “confession” which bring it into question, namely the technical aspects of Lanzmann’s film, and secondly, the factual details of the “confession”.
(a) Technical aspects: Firstly, Suchomel is quoted in the film as asking Lanzmann not to use his name or attribute anything he says to him. Lanzmann told the New York Times (October 20, 1985, page H-17) that the interview was secretly filmed with a single camera hidden in a canvas bag held by a female assistant. This, Lanzmann explained, was the reason why the Suchomel interview is of poor black and white blurred quality—as opposed to the rest of the movie, which is all in sharp, clear color.
In actual fact, the clip showing the “confession” is not even original film, but was filmed off a TV screen, as can be seen by the characteristic horizontal lines and flicker of the filmed interview (caused by a difference in the scanning frequency between the TV and the camera making the film).
It is highly suspicious that Lanzmann would record such a supposedly important interview by filming it off a TV screen when he would have the original film material to hand. The only potential explanation for this would be that tampering is far less easy to detect in a “poor quality” film than raw original material.
In this regard, a viewer of the film will also notice that while the image quality of Suchomel is extremely poor, the sound quality is perfect, something which is out of step with the overall production.
It is strange that the “interview” with Suchomel is the only part of the entire nine-and-a-half hour Shoah film which is blurred, indistinct, and so fuzzy that it is nearly impossible to even positively identify the person being interviewed.
Most importantly however, the interview with Suchomel was clearly done with more than one camera—directly contradicting Lanzmann’s claims in the New York Times . A stationary, hidden camera in a bag would only show one angle of a “secret” interview—but instead, as can be seen from the screen shots below, there are at least four different camera angles, each taken at differing focal lengths and perspectives—something that would be impossible with just one “hidden camera.”
In one scene, the camera shows Suchomel actually standing next to a display board allegedly showing the Treblinka camp layout, and holding a pointer stick picking out different locations in lecture style—an arrangement which is obviously highly unlikely for an interview which was supposedly not filmed.
Below: The Suchomel “confession” in Claude Lanzmann’s Shoah film: made with at least four different camera angles, and not just the “one hidden camera in a bag” as claimed by the film producer. Note also the distinctive distortion and horizontal stripe caused by filming off a TV screen. In fact, the curvature of the screen can be seen in the top left hand side of the first image.
Camera angle 1: Set up behind Lanzmann (left) and Suchomel (right).

 Camera angle 2: Suchomel standing up, lecture-style, holding a pointer next to a handily-set up board with a supposed map of Treblinka—an unlikely arrangement for an interview that was not even supposed to be filmed.

Camera angle 3: Suchomel and the “lecture board” –supposedly not to be filmed.

Camera angle 4: The camera moves to a few inches away from the “lecture board.” It is impossible, as Lanzmann claimed, for one camera, hidden in a bag, to have produced all of these camera angles.

There are other physical anomalies in the “confession”: although the viewer is expected to believe that Suchomel was not aware of the “hidden” camera in the bag, more than once he turns his head and looks directly into the camera.
However, when he adopts his (standing up) lecturer mode, and taps on the set-up board with the Treblinka map, the camera moves in to only a few inches away from the board, and clearly shows his pointer stick.
It is far-fetched to believe that anyone holding a “hidden camera in a bag” could hold it so close to the board under such circumstances without being obvious.
(b) Secondly, it is clear from Suchomel’s own words in the film—presuming that the film is genuine (and as the facts outlined above show, there is good reason to doubt that)—that there are serious errors in his memory and his recounting.
Firstly, it should be borne in mind that Suchomel had been arrested and tried during the 1965 Treblinka Trial at Düsseldorf. At that trial, he confessed to being in charge of or organizing the tailor shop at Treblinka.
In line with the (already outlined above) common defense tactic used by the accused of not denying the “mass murder” program—which is illegal under German law anyway, and would have therefore only landed him in even further trouble—Suchomel only claimed that he had had nothing to do with it.
In a superb example of how this defense tactic worked, Suchomel was only sentenced to six years in jail—and released just over two years later, in December 1967.
This by itself was a sure indication that there was indeed no direct evidence linking him to any “gas chambers” or “mass murder program” at Sobibór.
In the Lanzmann “confession”, Suchomel is quoted as specifically saying that he only saw the “gas chambers” at Sobibór once during the entire time (August 1942 until late October 1943, a period of more than a year), that he was there.
His account, as contained in the Lanzmann confession, is typically vague, and follows precisely the already completely discredited—and as outlined above, physically impossible Holocaust Storytellers’ version of mass gassings in minutes, bodies falling “like potatoes” and then mass cremations in a tiny area of space, with no provision for fuel—or even a single crematorium!
It is clear from this narrative alone, that even if Lanzmann did not tamper with the fuzzy film “interview”, all that Suchomel said was the typical “do-not-deny-it-happened-but-just-deny-that-I-was-involved” type confession which was the only way to avoid being caught up in further legal trouble in post-war Germany. Finally, it is of great significance that Suchomel died in 1979—that is, six years before the film was released, and thus never saw his “confession,” and was never able to deny or refute anything which Lanzmann had attributed to him.