‘I Recalled the Smoke of Auschwitz’

Pravda’s special Nuremberg correspondent, the celebrated writer Boris Polevoi (who would soon shoot to fame in the Soviet Union for his book “The Story of a Real Man”) knew much more about Auschwitz than many other eyewitnesses at the Nuremberg trials. He visited the camp two days after it had been liberated by the Red Army in January 1945 and interviewed prisoners and witnesses, afterwards writing a memo about it to the Political Department at the Front. On 15 April 1946, he published his impressions of the examination of Rudolf Höss, the former commander of Auschwitz Extermination Camp, by the Nuremberg tribunal on the same day in an article for the Soviet Information Bureau. The authors of “Nuremberg: Casus Pacis” found the article in the archives of Sovinformburo. The full version of Polevoi’s article about Auschwitz is published for the first time.

Profession: Commandant of Concentration Camps

By mid-April 1946, the defendants were still trying to deny the fact of the mass extermination of people in concentration camps. According to them, it was all propaganda and exaggeration. But eventually, a man came to the podium and bluntly stated that he himself had sent 2.5 million prisoners to death and he had personally implemented the “final solution to the Jewish question”. This was Rudolf Höss, commandant of Auschwitz. Let's try to consider the commandants of the Nazi concentration camps in depth and analyse the people whose official duty was to organise torture and mass murder.

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