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British Torture: What Does it Mean for Revisionism?

By Santiago Alvarez

Rudolf Höss

In his memoirs written during the final months of his life while in Polish captivity awaiting his execution, former Auschwitz commander Rudolf Höss wrote that he had been severely mistreated by his British captors right after the end of the war.[1]

“I was treated terribly by the (British) Field Security Police. […] During the first interrogation they beat me to obtain evidence. I do not know what is in the transcript, or what I said, even though I signed it, because they gave me liquor and beat me with a whip. It was too much even for me to bear. […] Minden on the Weser River […]. There they treated me even more roughly, especially the first British prosecutor, who was a major. […] I cannot really blame the interrogators [at the IMT] – they were all Jews. I was for all intents and purposes psychologically dissected. […] They also left me with no doubt whatsoever what was going to happen to me.”

Although a statement by a person generally regarded as having been one of the most pernicious SS henchman does not carry much weight in the eyes of the general populace, the fact that Höss was indeed tortured was later confirmed by one of the malefactors involved in the torture, as published in 1986 in a British book, where we find the following description:[2]

“Höss screamed in terror at the mere sight of British uniforms. Clarke yelled ‘What is your name?’

With each answer of ‘Franz Lang,’ Clarke’s hand crashed into the face of his prisoner. The fourth time that happened, Höss broke and admitted who he was.

The admission suddenly unleashed the loathing of the Jewish sergeants in the arresting party whose parents had died in Auschwitz following an order signed by Höss.

The prisoner was torn from the top bunk, the pyjamas ripped from his body. He was then dragged naked to one of the slaughter tables, where it seemed to Clarke the blows and screams were endless.

Eventually, the Medical Officer urged the Captain: ‘Call them off, unless you want to take back a corpse.’

A blanket was thrown over Höss and he was dragged to Clarke’s car, where the sergeant poured a substantial slug of whisky down his throat. Then Höss tried to sleep.

Clarke thrust his service stick under the man’s eyelids and ordered in German:

‘Keep your pig eyes open, you swine.’

For the first time Höss trotted out his oft-repeated justification: ‘I took my orders from Himmler. I am a soldier in the same way as you are a soldier and we had to obey orders.’

The party arrived back at Heide around three in the morning. The snow was swirling still, but the blanket was torn from Höss and he was made to walk completely nude through the prison yard to his cell.”

Revisionists have insisted that this is a reliable confirmation for Höss’s mistreatment,[3] which is also supported by the fact that Höss’s statements about the alleged extermination activities which he described in his various “confessions” and in his memoirs are at times absurd, physically impossible, and at variance even with the orthodox narrative of what transpired at Auschwitz during the war.[4]

British Post-war Torture Centers in Germany

'Schlammbadehaus' in Bad Nenndorf, British torture center

The “Schlammbadehaus” (mud bath house) in Bad Nenndorf, after WWII a British torture center.

In September 2005, a German revisionist periodical published a paper that dealt with British torture practices in their post-war detention center at Bad Nenndorf in Northern Germany.[5] The paper was mainly based on an article that had appeared in 1952 in the German weekly magazine Quick[6] and it mentioned in a footnote where British documents about that interrogation camp can be found. Only two months after the publication of that paper, three articles by Ian Cobain appeared in the leftist British daily The Guardian dealing with this and other British post-war interrogation centers both in Germany and in the UK and the torture that had been used there to extract “confessions” from the inmates.[7] It is not known whether Cobain was inspired by the German article or whether this was a coincidence. However, based and inspired by Cobain’s paper, a revisionist team published another paper in the above-mentioned revisionist journal revealing more about the British torturers, in this case centering about the center located in the Germany city of Hameln.[8] Neither of the two revisionist papers exist have been translated into English so far.

One of the torture centers named in Cobain’s papers was also Minden, where Höss had been systematically tortured. Hence these revelations once more bolstered the revisionist case Höss’s testimonies are unreliable.

Hans Aumeier

Rudolf Höss was, of course, not the only German camp commander picked out by the British. Two other individuals were Josef Kramer, at war’s end the camp commander of the notorious camp at Bergen-Belsen, and Hans Aumeier, the head of the protective custody section of the Auschwitz camp, hence a subordinate of Höss. About the rough treatment which Kramer and other camp officials received from the British we have the description by British historian Montgomery Belgion[9] as well as the British journalist Alan Moorehead, who wrote:[10]

“As we approached the cells of the SS guards, the [British] sergeant’s language become ferocious. ‘We had had an interrogation this morning,’ the captain said. ‘I am afraid they are not a pretty sight.’ […] The sergeant unbolted the first door and […] strode into the cell, jabbing a metal spike in front of him. ‘Get up,’ he shouted. ‘Get up. Get up, you dirty bastards.’ There were half a dozen men lying or half lying on the floor. One or two were able to pull themselves erect at once. The man nearest me, his shirt and face spattered with blood, made two attempts before he got on to his knees and then gradually on to his feet. He stood with his arms stretched out in front of him, trembling violently.

‘Come on. Get up,’ the sergeant shouted [in the next cell]. The man was lying in his blood on the floor, a massive figure with a heavy head and bedraggled beard […] ‘Why don’t you kill me?’ he whispered. ‘Why don’t you kill me? I cannot stand it anymore.’ The same phrases dribbled out of his lips over and over again. ‘He’s been saying that all morning, the dirty bastard,’ the sergeant said.”

Now, none of this is really new, as all this has been repeatedly quoted by all major revisionists in various works.

Regarding Hans Aumeier, there has so far been little evidence that he was tortured at all. In his 2004 book on Hitler and Stalin, German historian Prof. Dr. Werner Maser claimed that Aumeier had made a confession about the operation and death toll of the Auschwitz gas chambers “very obviously without force.”[11] In contrast to this, British historian David Irving wrote in an unfinished typescript dated 2007 about the British documents on secretly overheard conversation of German prisoners in British captivity:[12]

“Regrettably, the top Auschwitz officers held by the British like the commandant, Rudolf Höß, or his erstwhile deputy Hans Aumeier, were not subjected to C.S.D.I.C.’s sophisticated interrogation techniques, but to the cruder, leather-boot methods of Lieutenant-Colonel A. P. Scotland, whose ‘interrogators’ stood over them with their fists as they wrote and rewrote their confessions until the wording was just right.”

Irving gives no source for this, but Lieutenant-Colonel A. P. Scotland is also the villain named by Ian Cobain as having been responsible for the torture of many German prisoners held in British captivity. Irving has posted a number of documents relating to Hans Aumeier on his website. Among them is his first confession of June 29, 1945, made while held in a prison in Oslo, in which he stated tersely:

“I know nothing about gas chambers, and during my time [of duty at the camp] no inmate was gassed either.”

However, in a statement written on July 25, 1945, he suddenly reports in detail about the alleged first gassing at Auschwitz and all the subsequently built gas chambers in the various buildings at the Birkenau camp. The reason for his change of mind can be gleaned from a British Report on his interrogation, which states, among other things:

“The interrogator is satisfied that the bulk of the material in this report conforms with the truth in as far as it is concerned with facts, but Aumeier’s personal reactions and feelings as stated in this report may have changed somewhat since his fate has taken a turn to the worse.”

As Italian revisionist Carlo Mattogno has shown in his 2004 study on the so-called Bunkers of Auschwitz,[13] Aumeier’s claims about the alleged operation of the Auschwitz gas chambers are full of anachronistic flaws which can be explained only by the fact that the British had been apprised by the Polish authorities about the “story” they had established about the Auschwitz camp, and that the British then presented that story to Aumeier so that he would copy and thus “confirm” it after having realized that his fate had taken a turn for the worse. Actually, Aumeier was eventually extradited to Poland and executed after a show trial staged against the Auschwitz camp garrison.

So how did the British make Aumeier realize within a month’s time that his had taken a turn for the worse? In contrast to other inmates, neither Höss nor Aumeier were ever subjected to secret eavesdropping while incarcerated – or if they were, the transcripts of what they had said have either not yet been released or have been destroyed. Be that as it may, fact is that the British must have deemed it necessary to treat those two and many others of their “customers” in a different way to get out of them what they wanted.

Cruel Britannia

Ian Cobain, 'Cruel Britannia'

Ian Cobain has recently written an entire book on the history of torture committed by British officials in the various conflicts, starting from WWII and spanning all the way up to the current abuses inflicted on inmates arrested due to charges of terrorism or complicity in selfsame. Cruel Britannia is the title of this book, to be released on Nov. 1, 2012. Being a journalist, Ian Cobain has given himself a publicity boost by writing an article about his upcoming book – actually merely creating an extract from it – which was published by the Daily Mail on 26 October 2012. Cobain starts his book by looking into how the British, during the war, extracted vital information from German PoWs relating to pivotal issues of warfare, with few qualms as to the methods used. As regrettable as such actions might be, they are understandable and had justifiable ends – winning the war. Things changed, however, after the war had ended. Or rather, they did not change, and that’s the problem. Although the justifiable ends had disappeared, the British kept on torturing, this time not to gain vital information, but in order to secure convictions in the upcoming war crime show trials. As Cobain writes in his Daily Mail extract:

Alexander Scotland

Alexander Scotland

“So, how can we be sure about the methods used at the London Cage? Because the man who ran it admitted as much — and was hushed up for half-a-century by an establishment fearful of the shame his story would bring on a Britain that had been fighting for honesty, decency and the rule of law.

That man was Colonel Alexander Scotland, an accepted master in techniques of interrogation. After the war, he wrote a candid account of his activities in his memoirs, in which he recalled how he would muse, on arriving at the Cage each morning: ‘Abandon all hope ye who enter here.’

Because, he said, before going into detail: ‘If any German had any information we wanted, it was invariably extracted from him in the long run.’

As was customary, before publication Scotland submitted his manuscript to the War Office for clearance in 1954. Pandemonium erupted. All four copies were seized. All those who knew of its contents were silenced with threats of prosecution under the Official Secrets Act.

What caused the greatest consternation was his admission that the horrors had continued after the war, when interrogators switched from extracting military intelligence to securing convictions for war crimes.

Of 3,573 prisoners who passed through [the London interrogation center at no. 6-8] Kensington Palace Gardens, more than 1,000 were persuaded to sign a confession or give a witness statement for use in war crimes prosecutions. […] In [Scotland's] memoirs, he disclosed that a number of men were forced to incriminate themselves.”

Kensington Palace Gardens, Cobain wrote, was only one of nine such interrogation centers, also called “cages” for the way inmates were held there: like wild animals in cages [Guantanamo, anyone?]. And there were more of them operated by other branches of the British government. The same techniques used there were also applied in British interrogation centers abroad, among them those mentioned above in Germany at Bad Nenndorf, Minden and Hameln.

And what happened at the Akershus prison in Oslo where Aumeier was held? Maybe we will never find out. But we can reasonably assume that the British used their usual method to secure convictions during the upcoming war crime show trials in that case as well.


What conclusion can we draw from Cobain’s revelations? Well, first of all his research proves that the British – and in extension probably also the other allied nations – used all means at their disposal to extract any kind of incriminating evidence they deemed necessary in order to successfully indict and sentence members of the German armed forces or German officials. Coercion and torture was not an exception, but it was the rule. It was applied systematically to this end, and not just in isolated cases, as mainstream historians have claimed so far. In this regard the allied post-war methods were essentially identical to the methods applied during interrogations of the witch-hunting Holy Inquisition of the 14th to 18th century.

The second conclusion deriving from this systematic violation of the most fundamental legal principals is that any confession made by any person while in allied custody after the war must be considered inadmissible – most certainly in any proper court of law, but also as credible evidence for historians. This does not mean that everything those Germans said or wrote is automatically wrong. But any historian who wants to be taken seriously cannot take any of these statements and confessions at face value. Not even one hundred of these “confessing perpetrators” who all might have testified to the same thing can be taken at face value. They might merely have repeated what they were told to say or write.

I may even go a little farther than this. Systematic abuse of inmates in order to extract confessions to be used in court requires a plan. It requires orders. And it implies that this wasn’t the only fraudulent method applied by the allies after the war. He who systematically tortures people is quite capable of committing other, less heinous crimes as well in order to reach his goal, like forging documents. That amounts merely to torturing historical truth. So why would the allies not have systematically forged documents to secure “evidence” permitting guilty verdicts in court, when they systematically tortured people to the same end?


[1] Steven Paskuly (ed.), Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz, Da Capo Press, New York 1996, pp. 179f.
[2] Rupert Butler, Legions of Death, Arrows Books Ltd., London 1986, pp. 236f.
[3] Faurisson, Robert. “How the British Obtained the Confessions of Rudolf Höss,” Journal of Historical Review, 7(4) (1986), pp. 389-403; cf. David Irving, Nuremberg: The Last Battle, Focal Point, London 1996, pp. 241-246.
[4] Most recently: Carlo Mattogno, Auschwitz: the Case for Sanity, The Barnes Review, Washington, DC, 2010, pp. 425-436.
[5] Johannes Heyne, “Die britischen Folterungen in Bad Nenndorf,” Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, 2005, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 14-19.
[6] “Hinter den Kulissen der Nachkriegszeit: Der dritte Grad,” Quick, vol. 5, no. 10, March 9, 1952, pp. 28 – 31.
[7] Ian Cobain, “Revealed: UK wartime torture camp” & “The secrets of the London cage,” The Guardian, Nov. 12, 2005; idem. “The interrogation camp that turned prisoners into living skeletons,” The Guardian, Dec. 17, 2005.
[8] Hans Flessner, Erich Kern. “Das grauenhafte Geheimnis von Hameln,” Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, 2006, vol. 9, no. 4, pp. 419-428.
[9] Montgomery Belgion, Victor’s Justice, Regnery, Hinsdale, IL, 1949, pp. 80f.
[10] Connolly, Cyril (ed.). The Golden Horizon, Weidenfels and Nicholson, London 1953, pp. 105f.
[11] Werner Maser, Fälschung, Dichtung und Wahrheit über Hitler und Stalin, Olzog, Munich 2004, p. 347.
[12] David Irving, Secretly Overheard: Eavesdropping on Hitler’s Reich, http://www.fpp.co.uk/books/Overheard/CSDIC.pdf, p. 150.
[13] Carlo Mattogno, The Bunkers of Auschwitz. Black Propaganda versus History, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2004, pp. 133-136.

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