Auschwitz Document: "unconditional secrecy"
In this document dated May 24, 1944, SS-Unterscharführer
(Sergeant) Gottfried Weisse formally states that he has been reminded
of the Auschwitz camp policies against stealing or revealing secret
SS-Uscha. Weisse Gott[fr]ied Verpflichtungsschein
1.) Mir ist bekannt und ich bin heute darüber belehrt worden,
daß ich mit dem Tode bestraft werde, wenn ich mich an
Judeneigentum jeglicher Art vergreife.
2.) Über alle während der Judenevakuierung
durchzuführenden Maßnahmen habe ich unbedingte
Verschwiegenheit zu bewahren, auch gegenüber meinen Kameraden.
3.) Ich verpflichte mich, mich mit meiner ganzen Person und
Arbeitskraft für die schnelle und reibungslose Durchführung
dieser Maßnahmen einzusetzen.
Sergeant Weisse Gott[fr]ied Duty note
1.) I am aware, and I was today reminded of the fact, that I will be
punished with death, if I steal for myself Jewish property of any kind.
2.) Most importantly, I will maintain unconditional secrecy during
the measures to carry out the Jewish evacuation, and also
vis-à-vis my comrades.
3.) I pledge myself to commit my entire person and my capacity for
work toward the swift and smooth execution of these measures.
Auschwitz May 24, 1944
The term "Judenevakuierung," the Jewish evacuation, is a code-word
for what was really going on at Auschwitz. Heinrich Himmler had earlier
made this clear in a secret
October 1943 speech:
I am talking about the evacuation of the Jews
[Judenevakuierung], the extermination of the Jewish people. It
is one of those things that is easily said. "The Jewish people is being
exterminated," every Party member will tell you, "perfectly clear, it's
part of our plans, we're eliminating the Jews, exterminating them, a
In fact, that speech might have had something to do with Sergeant
Weisse being reminded, eight months later, that stealing was punishable
by death. In his next paragraph, Himmler emphatically tells his generals
that such rules must be enforced:
...he who takes even one Mark of this is a dead man. A number of SS
men have offended against this order. They are very few, and they will
be dead men without mercy! We have the moral right, we had the
duty to our people to do it, to kill this people who would kill us. We
however do not have the right to enrich ourselves with even one fur,
with one Mark, with one cigarette, with one watch, with anything. That
we do not have. Because we don't want, at the end of all this, to get
sick and die from the same bacillus that we have exterminated.
The Weisse document is reproduced in Friedlander, Henry, and Sybil
Milton, eds, Archives of the Holocaust, New York, 1989, Vol. 11, Part
2, p. 300. See also Gottfried Weisse's
This document is cited in the essay
How Reliable are the Hoess Memoirs?