View Full Version : Did this really happen?
11-03-2001, 10:45 AM
Hello everyone. I have a historical question involving WWII I'd like to ask here. I once heard from a WWII vet GI who came to our school a few years ago that the first batch of Nazi's at Nuremberg that were executed were cremated in the Dachau ovens...I asked my stepmom, whose ex-husband is a Jew from Austria, and she said that's a myth. Later, I saw this being listed as true in my world history book this year. I asked my German teacher, and she said it's a myth too. Findagrave.com used to list Heinrich Himmler as being cremated in Dachau, but now it just says:
"In a gesture to forever dishonor and condemn their past lives, most Nazi war criminals were cremated and their ashes thrown into German rivers or other common places. Such is reputed to be the disposal of Himmler's body, but the actual whereabouts of his ashes or their disposition remain a mystery to this day."
This of course makes more since than Dachau cremation. I've scoured for info, but all in vain, so what's the straight dope? Were any Nazi's cremated in concentration camps ovens, or is that just a myth? Thanks.
PS: Please post answers with sources and/or credible links.
11-03-2001, 10:58 AM
I've never heard the Dachau thing before.
From THE NUREMBERG WAR-CRIMES TRIAL (http://www.justiz.bayern.de/olgn/imte.htm):
Those sentenced to death were executed in the early morning of October 16, 1946, in the old gymnasium of the Nuremberg prison, which in 1987 was torn down as part of a modernization project. The bodies were subsequently cremated in Munich and the ashes were strewn in an estuary of the Isar River. Those sentenced to imprisonment were transferred to the prison in Berlin-Spandau, which the Allies had chosen for this purpose. The last of the prisoners, Rudolf Hess, committed suicide there in August, 1987.
11-03-2001, 12:06 PM
From The Nuremberg Trial by Ann & John Tusa, at p. 486:The bodies were laid in their coffins one by one; Goering was brought to join them. On the instructions of the Control Council four photographs were to be taken for official records, but never to be published. (Some did appear later.) At 5.30 a.m. two vans with two escorting jeeps packed with armed military policemn took the bodies away. One woman correspondent tried to track them but was soon shaken off. When last seen they were heading in the direction of Fürth, where there was an airport. It was assumed by many that they had been taken to Berlin for cremation. An official announcement from the Allied Control Council next day disclosed that the eleven had been 'cremated and the ashes disposed of.' (55) Cremation and secret scattering of the ashes had been agreed on at a meeting on 10 October. (56) According to German law the relatives had the right to the remains but the Allies were terrified of shrines, places of pilgrimage for resurgent Nazism. There seems to be no offical record of what actually happened but a belief deeply held by many people is that the bodies were actually driven to the former concentration camp at Dachau and cremated in the dreadful ovens. Dachau was not far away; there was a ghastly appropriateness that those who had established such a place should themselves end there. That is what many would wish to believe.
(55)New York Times, 17 October
(56) FO 371.57552
If you're interested in the Nuremberg Trial generally, I highly recommend this book.
11-03-2001, 01:30 PM
Man, I love the Internet. At the Tour of the Camp at Dachau (http://www.scrapbookpages.com/WesternGermany/DachauMemorial/Text02.html) I found the following that contradicts what I cited above:
The ovens in Baracke X (http://www.scrapbookpages.com/WesternGermany/DachauMemorial/Crematorium02.html) were last used to cremate the bodies of the Nazi war criminals who were executed after they were found guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity at the Nuremberg trial in 1946. The body of Hermann Goering (http://www.scrapbookpages.com/WesternGermany/DachauMemorial/Goering.html), who committed suicide before his death sentence could be carried out, was cremated here. Tourists can see ashes still remaining in the ovens, but the tour guides do not mention that these are the ashes of the Nazi war criminals. Unaware of this, tourists leave flowers and candles at the ovens.
So now we've got no, maybe and yes. Glad we could clear that up.
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