October 23, 2013
Thanks to James Damon (right) for the English translation of this outstanding interview given by Erich Priebke to his Italian attorney Dr. Paolo Guchini and translated anonymously into German.
Question: Herr Priebke, several years ago you stated that you never deny your past. Now that you are 100 years old, do you still think that?
Q: Would you please elucidate?
A: Long ago I made the decision to remain true to myself.
Q: So, do you still consider yourself a National Socialist?
A: Loyalty to our past determines our convictions and our character.
This is the way I view the world and my ideals. It is what was once our German Weltanschauung, the way we view the world. It is what still determines my sense of honor and my self-respect. Politics is something different. National Socialism perished with the defeat of Germany and today there is no longer any prospect of its continuation.
Q: Does this Weltanschauung that you mention also include anti Semitism?
A: If you want to discover the truth with your questions you must stop using certain clichés and prejudices, because to criticize does not mean to exterminate. Since the early 20th Century the conduct of the Jews has been widely criticized in Germany. The fact that Jews exercised enormous economic and political power, even though they were a very small part of the population, was considered unjust. Today it is still a fact that, if we consider the thousand richest and most powerful men in the world, we must acknowledge that a very large number of them are Jews, Jewish bankers and Jewish owners of multinational corporations. Especially after Germany’s defeat in the First World War and under the yoke of the Versailles Dictate, Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe led to a catastrophe in Germany. This was caused by their sudden immense accumulation of capital at a time when the overwhelming majority of Germans were suffering severe poverty under the Weimar Republic. In this climate of desperation the usurers greatly increased their wealth, which caused feelings of frustration and resentment of the Jews.
Q: What is your opinion about the old story that Jews are allowed by their religion to practice usury while this is forbidden for Christians?
A: This is certainly not my idea. You have only to read Shakespeare or Dostoevski to realize that, in the historical perspective, such problems with the Jews have existed from Venice to St. Petersburg. This does not mean that Jews were the only usurers, however. I agree with the poet Ezra Pound, who said “I see no difference between a Jewish usurer and an Arian usurer.”
Q: Do all these things justify anti Semitism?
A: No, Jewish usury does not mean that there are no upright and honorable Jews. I repeat what I just said: anti Semitism implies unconditional hatred. Even during the long years of my persecution I, an old man deprived of my freedom, always rejected hatred. I choose not to hate even those who hate me. I insist on nothing but the right to criticize and I always explain the reasons for my criticism. I would also like to point out that, because of their unique religion, many Jews consider themselves superior to other peoples. They identify themselves with “God’s chosen people” as mentioned in the Bible.
Q: Didn’t Hitler also speak of the superiority of the “Aryan” race?
A: Yes, Hitler also succumbed to ideas of racial superiority, and this caused certain errors from which there was no returning. However one has to consider that racism was the norm all over the world. It was not just a popular belief, it was enshrined in law and government. Even after the Americans ceased being slave dealers and importing Africans they continued highly racist and they practiced official discrimination against black people. Hitler’s first “racial laws” did not restrict the rights of Jews any more than Americans restricted the rights of negroes in many states of the USA. The same was true of English discrimination against Asian Indians. The French acted no differently toward their so-called inferiors in their colonies. We won’t even mention the treatment of ethnic minorities in the old Soviet Union.
Q: In your opinion, what brought about the escalation of discrimination against Jews in Germany?
A: The situation became radicalized and ever more intense. It turned into German Jews, Americans, British and then global Jewry on one side and Germany on the other. The situation forced the German Jews into an increasingly difficult position. The decision to impose restrictions on Jews in Germany made life ever more difficult for them. In November 1938 a Jew named Grünspan killed a member of our consulate in France, Ernst von Rath, as a protest against Germany. The result was Reichskristallnacht in which groups of demonstrators throughout the Reich smashed windows of Jewish shops. After that the Jews were treated strictly as enemies. After coming to power, Hitler initially encouraged the Jews to leave Germany. Ultimately, in a climate of great and growing distrust of Jews caused by war, boycotts and open conflict with global Jewish organizations, the Jews in Germany were interned in camps as enemy populations. This was of course a catastrophe for many innocent families.
Q: So, in your opinion, were Jewish sufferings their own fault?
A: Jewish suffering was inextricably connected with the War and there was guilt on both sides. There was guilt on the side of the Allies who unleashed the Second World War against Germany after the partitioning or repartitioning of Poland. This was a region in which the large ethnic German population was exposed to constant depredations, a region that had been placed under control of the newly resurrected Polish state by the Dictate of Versailles. Nobody raised a finger against Stalin’s Russia on account of the partitioning. On the contrary: At the end of the conflict, which ostensibly came about to defend Poland against German aggression, Stalin was rewarded with all of Eastern Europe including all of Poland.
Q: Apart from political revisionism, do you sympathize with historical revisionism?
A: I am not sure just what “revisionism” means. If we are talking about the Nuremberg Tribunal I can only say that it was political theatre. It consisted of fantastic show trials staged for the sole purpose of depicting the German nation and its leaders as inhuman monsters. Its aim and purpose was to slander our defeated nation, which was completely unable to defend itself.
Q: What is your basis for this allegation?
A: What can you say about a self-appointed “court” that prosecutes only the crimes of the vanquished while ignoring those of the victors? What can you say about such a “court,” in which the victors are simultaneously accusants, prosecutors and judges and impose unique new criminal laws ex post facto merely in order to convict? Even US President Kennedy called the Nuremberg trials “disgusting.” In his words, they “violated the American Constitution in order to punish a defeated enemy.”
Q: Even if, as you allege, the “crimes against humanity” for which German leaders were convicted in Nuremberg had not previously existed as such, but were first so designated by the International Tribunal, must it not be said that the charges were based on horrible crimes?
A: Consider that at Nuremberg the Germans were prosecuted for the Katyn massacre. Then in 1990 Russian President Gorbachev admitted that these same prosecutors had ordered the murders of twenty thousand Polish officers in Katyn Forest. In 1992 President Yeltsin published the original document ordering the executions, which was signed by Stalin. The Germans were even accused of having made soap from Jewish corpses. Bars of “Jew Soap” were exhibited in museums in Israel, the US and other countries. It was not until 1990 that a professor at the University of Jerusalem finally admitted that “Jew Soap” was a hoax.
Q: Yes but the concentration camps were not inventions of the Nuremberg Tribunal, were they?
A: In those terrible war years there was natural expediency in interning civilian populations that were considered a threat to national security. Every country did that. In the United States, persons of Asian descent were interned whose ancestors had immigrated generations before. Germany also interned civilian populations that it considered a threat.
Q: But in American concentration camps there were no gas chambers, were there?
A: As I have said, a great many bogus charges were manufactured for propaganda purposes. As for homicidal gas chambers in German camps, we are still waiting for proof of such allegations. The internees of course had to work. Many of them worked outside the camps during the day and returned in the evening. The severe manpower shortage during the War is incompatible with allegations of internees standing in line to be murdered in gas chambers. The danger of using a gas chamber extends beyond its immediate vicinity and would have been hazardous for everyone in camp, including the guards. It is an absurd idea that millions of people could have been sent to their deaths in this way, at the same place where large numbers were living and working. As a practical matter it is impossible.
Q: When did you first hear of a plan to exterminate Jews in gas chambers?
A: I was a prisoner in an English camp along with Walter Rauff when I first heard of such a thing. We were both amazed. We could not believe such a terrible story: homicidal gas chambers to murder men, women and children!
I discussed the matter with Col. Rauff and other prisoners for days on end.
We all belonged to the SS and were all Party members, serving in various capacities but nobody had ever heard of such a thing. Just imagine: Many years later I learned that Rauff, who shared many a hard loaf with me in prison, had been accused of inventing mysterious “mobile gas vans.” No one who knew Walter Rauff could have come up with such an idea.
Q: What about the eyewitnesses to the existence of gas chambers?
A: No homicidal gas chambers were ever found except for one at Dachau, which the Americans built after the War. Judicial or historical evidence simply does not exist. The statements and confessions of camp commandants, the best known of which is Rudolf Hoess of Auschwitz, would be unacceptable in any real court of law. His admissions were wildly self-contradictory. He was severely tortured at Nuremberg, then gagged and hanged at the insistence of the Russians. In the absence of evidence, confessions of defendants and statements of witnesses were vitally important for the prosecutors. Reliance on coercion in cases where the defendants or witnesses refused to confess or testify was inevitable, and it included threats against family members. From my own experiences as a prisoner of war, as well as those of friends, I am familiar with the methods used to force confessions from German prisoners, who often did not understand English and could not read what they signed. The treatment of German prisoners in the Russian camps is now widely known: the prisoners were simply forced to sign whatever was placed before them.
Q: Do you consider the millions of deaths in concentration camps nothing but an invention of the victors?
A: I was personally familiar with the German camps. The last time I visited a camp was Mauthausen in May of 1944 in order to interrogate the son of Badoglio. I spent two entire days there and observed the huge kitchens in operation to feed the inmates. Mauthausen even had bordellos – it had everything except gas chambers! Unfortunately a great many people died in those camps at the end of the War but it was not because they were murdered. Harsh conditions, starvation and lack of care at the end of the War caused their doom. Civilian tragedies were not restricted to concentration camp inmates, however. They were the order of the day throughout Germany primarily because of the Allied carpet bombings of cities.
Q: Do you trivialize the tragedy of the Jews during the Holocaust?
A: There is little to trivialize. Tragedy is tragedy. We should be concerned with historical reality rather than “trivialization.” It obviously was in the interest of the victorious powers to avoid being held responsible for the atrocities they committed. They totally destroyed entire cities in Germany in which not there was not a single German soldier in order to kill as many women, children and elderly as possible. Their intention was to break our will to fight. This was the fate of Dresden, Hamburg, Lübek, Berlin and many other cities. Our enemies exploited the advantage of their heavy bombers to target civilians in their homicidal frenzy. The same fate befell the population of Tokyo and then, with the atomic bomb, Nagasaki and Hiroshima. Because of these unsurpassed atrocities against civilian populations, it was necessary for the victors to invent bizarre stories of atrocities that they alleged were committed by Germany. They depicted Germans as satanic creatures in horror stories that Hollywood made into horror movies. Little has changed in the propaganda of the global power elite since World War II: they still see themselves as “exporting democracy” with “peace missions” against “scum.” In the process they manufacture images of their targets as “terrorists” bent on committing ever more monstrous atrocities. In actuality they attack everyone who does not submit to their wishes, primarily with their air forces. They delight in mowing down masses of civilians and soldiers who lack the means to defend themselves. In the course of “exporting democracy” to one country after another it happens that their “humanitarian interventions” result in the establishment of puppet governments that serve their economic and political interests.
Q: How do you explain unambiguous evidence of atrocities such as photographs and films of concentration camps?
A: These films are in fact more evidence of falsification. Almost all of the pictures of “German death camps” are of Bergen Belsen. That was a camp that various agencies created by bringing inmates who were unable to work from all the other camps. There was a huge convalescent facility there, which tells us a great deal about the intentions of the Germans. It would be very odd to construct such facilities for prisoners who were going to be gassed. By 1945 the Allied bombing raids had left the camp without food, water, medicines and other supplies to combat raging epidemics of typhus and dysentery, which killed many thousands of inmates. The horrific movie of the camp was made in April 1945 after Bergen-Belsen had been devastated by the epidemics. The movie was made specifically for propaganda purposes by Alfred Hitchcock, the masterful English producer of horror films. The cynicism and total absence of human feeling in the movie are indeed horrifying. For many years Hitchcock’s movie has been broadcast on TV accompanied by somber background music. It unscrupulously deceives the public by linking terrible scenes with gas chambers that did not exist. Pure falsification!
Q: So, in your opinion, the reason for this deception was to cover or trivialize the atrocities of the victors?
A: Yes, this was true even at the beginning. General MacArthur followed the Nuremberg scenario with the Tokyo Trials in Japan. In that case the victors again thought up novel crimes and atrocities that ended with the death of the accused by hanging in order to criminalize the Japanese, who had already suffered atomic weapons of mass destruction. The Allies even accused the Japanese of cannibalism!
Q: Why do you say it was “at the beginning” that the victorious powers used deceptions to cover their own atrocities?
A: Because after that, the Zionist state of Israel began using the “Holocaust” story for its own benefit. It profited in two ways. The first way is explained very well by Prof. Norman Finkelstein, the son of Jews who were interned at Auschwitz. In his book “The Holocaust Industry” he explains how “Shoa Business” brought many billions of dollars in damages and reparations to Israel and Zionist organizations. He refers to this as “regular organized extortion.” The second way Israel benefits from “Holocaust” is explained by Sergio Romano, who no one considers a revisionist. Following the war in Lebanon, Israel realized that exaggerating and accentuating the dramatic elements in “Holocaust” literature gives it advantages in its territorial disputes with Arab countries. This gives Israel a kind of diplomatic immunity.
Q: All over the world people refer to the Holocaust as “extermination.” Do you deny or have doubts about that?
A: The propaganda of the global power elite is indeed overwhelming. A historical subculture is manipulating the world’s conscience by playing on our human emotions. The younger generations in particular are being brainwashed in school, besieged with gruesome stories that suppress their ability to think critically or form individual opinions. As I stated earlier, the world has been waiting for 70 years for evidence of the atrocities for which we Germans are blamed. The historians have not found a single document supporting the existence of homicidal gas chambers. Not a single written order, instruction, report by a government agency or communication by personnel. There is absolutely nothing. In the total absence of documentation the judges at Nuremberg pointedly assumed that the German program for a “permanent solution to the Jewish problem,” which provided for the deportation of to Madagascar or other locations in the East, was a secret code word for “extermination.” How absurd! In 1941, while the War was fully under way and we were still winning in Africa as well as Russia, the Jews were encouraged to leave Germany voluntarily and then they were more strongly encouraged to leave. Only after the War had been underway for more than two years did Germany introduce measures to limit their freedom.
Q: If evidence such as you mention – that is, a document signed by Hitler or someone else in the hierarchy – were found, what would be your reaction?
A: In that case I would propose a rigorous investigation of the crimes indicated. Any use of force against groups that does not take individual responsibility into consideration is unacceptable and should be condemned, absolutely and without exception. Extermination is what happened to the Indians in America, the Kulaks in Russia, the Italian Foibe victims in Istria and the Armenians in Turkey. It is what happened to German prisoners in the American death camps in Germany and France as well as in the Russian camps. Some died on orders of General Eisenhower, others on orders of Stalin. Both Eisenhower and Stalin deliberately ignored the Geneva Convention in ordering those atrocities. All crimes against humanity must be unambiguously condemned, and this includes persecutions of the Jews. I mean real persecutions, not false and hate-filled allegations invented for propaganda purposes.
Q: Do you admit the possibility that evidence of exterminations by Germans at the end of the War might have eluded historians and could some day come to light?
A: I just stated that certain crimes must be condemned unconditionally. In the extremely unlikely event that we should one day find real evidence of the use of homicidal gas chambers in German concentration camps, then the imperative for prosecution of whoever planned and carried out such crimes would be unequivocal. In my long life I have learned that surprises never end but in the case of homicidal gas chambers I feel absolutely safe in my conclusion. For almost seventy years the German documents confiscated by the victorious powers have been minutely examined by hundreds of professional historians, thus it is extremely unlikely that they will find any such evidence in future. It is unlikely for another reason as well: even while the War was still under way, Germany’s enemies had begun spreading rumors about mass murders in our concentration camps. I am referring to the Allied declaration of December 1942 in which they speak of “barbarous atrocities” against Jews in Germany and demand punishment of those responsible. By the end of 1943 they were not only continuing their usual propaganda, they were manufacturing falsified evidence of atrocities. The first news I had of this came from my comrade Major Paul Reinicke, who served as chief of the escort of Reichsmarschall Göring, the number two man in our government. When I last saw him he informed me of Allied plans for systematic falsifications. Göring was furious because he considered the falsifications scurrilous and outrageous. Before he committed suicide he denounced the falsifications in the strongest terms before the Nuremberg Tribunal. I later received additional information about Allied falsifications of evidence from Chief of Police Ernst Kaltenbrunner, who succeeded Heydrich after his death. Kaltenbrunner too was sent to the gallows following the show trials. I visited him shortly before the end of the War in order to report on the evidence pertaining to the treachery of King Vittorio Emanuel. Kaltenbrunner informed me that the enemy propaganda agencies were busily manufacturing falsified evidence of atrocities and gruesome concentration camp stories about German brutality. He said the enemy propaganda ministries had reached agreement on details of a unique procedure for dealing with the losing side. Most significant of all I met General Kaltenbrunner’s close colleague, Gestapo Chief Heinrich Mueller, in August 1944. I was admitted to officer school on his recommendation, so I was greatly indebted to him, and he liked me as well. He was sent to Rome in order to assist in a personal problem of my commander, Colonel Herbert Kappler. At that time the American Fifth Army succeeded in breaking through at Cassino while the Russians were entering Germany. The War had already been lost.
Mueller invited me to his hotel where, on the basis of mutual confidence, I ventured to question him on further details of the Allied plans for postwar Moscow type show trials. Mueller informed me that through our espionage we had received explicit indications that, in expectation of victory, the enemy was manufacturing evidence of German atrocities in order to stage spectacular trials. The purpose of these trials would be to criminalize Germany. He knew many exact details and was seriously concerned. He said our enemies could not be trusted to conform to international norms because they were completely unscrupulous and had no concept of honor whatsoever. I was still rather young and did not give his words the credence they deserved, but everything turned out exactly as Gen. Mueller had said. He knew the names of the enemy propagandists who, as we know today, concocted the stories about exterminating Jews in gas chambers. I would consider all this to be ridiculous and laugh at it if the results had not been so tragic. When the Americans invaded Iraq in 2003 under the pretext that Sadam Hussein possessed “weapons of mass destruction” and Secretary of State Colin Powell delivered his brazenly false oath to the U.N. Security Council, I said to myself, “There is nothing new under the sun!” The imperialists, the only ones who have used such weapons in war, are accusing small countries of having them.
Q: Are you aware that several laws in Germany, Austria, France, and Switzerland impose prison sentences on those who deny the Holocaust?
A: Yes. The global power elite has demanded such laws and soon Italy will pass them as well. The object of such laws is to make people believe that those who oppose Zionism and Israeli colonialism in Palestine are anti Semitic. Anyone who dares to criticize Zionism is called an anti Semite. Anyone who dares to ask for evidence of the existence of gas chambers is automatically persecuted as an advocate of exterminating Jews. It is devilish manipulation, but these laws expose the global elite’s fears that the truth is coming to the surface. The elite is terrified that despite its vast propaganda campaigns, historians will demand evidence and scientists will expose falsifications. The very existence of these draconian laws opens the eyes of those who still believe in freedom of speech and the indispensability of independent research. Of course I am aware that I can be prosecuted for what I have just said. My situation would become even more difficult, but I must say these things because they are true. For me, courage to be truthful is duty to my Volk. It is an expression of gratitude for the hundred years of life that was granted me. It is my contribution to the dignity of my Volk.
Signed: E. Priebke
“From the vantage of my hundred years of life!”