Johann Paul Kremer, M.D., Ph.D., professor at the University of Münster,
arrived at Auschwitz
on August 30, 1942, where he replaced a doctor who had fallen sick. He
carried out assessments of prisoners attempting to gain admission to the
Kremer ordered most of them killed by phenol injection. He selected
prisoners who struck him as particularly good experimental material, and
questioned them just before their deaths, as they lay on the autopsy
table awaiting injection, about such personal details as their weight
before arrest and any medicines they had used recently. In some cases,
he ordered these prisoners photographed.
He witnessed gassings in Auschwitz and wrote about them in his
September 2, 1942
For the first time, at 3:00 A.M. outside, attended a special action.
Dante's Inferno seems to me almost a comedy compared to this. They don't
call Auschwitz the camp of annihilation for nothing!
September 5, 1942
In the morning attended a special action from the women's
concentration camp (Muslims); the most dreadful of horrors. Master-Sergeant
Thilo (troop doctor) was right when he said to me that this is the anus
mundi. In the evening towards 8:00 attended another special
action from Holland. Because of the special rations they get a fifth
of a liter of schnapps, 5 cigarettes, 100 g salami and bread, the men
all clamor to take part in such actions. Today and tomorrow (Sunday)
war, Johann Paul Kremer testified about his diary. An extract is found
in "The Good Old Days": The Holocaust as Seen by Its
Perpetrators and Bystanders, Ernst Klee, Willi Dressen, and
Volker Riess, Eds., 1991, p. 258:
unpleasant was the gassing of the emaciated women from the women's
camp, who were generally known as 'Muslims'. I remember I once took
part in the gassing of one of these groups of women. I cannot say how
big the group was.
When I got close to the bunker [I saw] them sitting on the ground.
They were still clothed. As they were wearing worn-out camp clothing
they were not left in the undressing hut but made to undress in the
I concluded from the behavior of these women that they had no doubt
what fate awaited them, as they begged and pleaded to the SS men to
spare them their lives. However, they were herded into the gas
chambers and gassed.
As an anatomist I have seen a lot of terrible things: I had had a lot
of experience with dead bodies, and yet what I saw that day was like
nothing I had ever seen before. Still completely shocked by what I had
seen I wrote in my diary on 5 September 1942: 'The most dreadful of
horrors. Hauptscharführer Thilo was right when he said to me today
that this is the anus mundi', the anal orifice of the world.
I used this image because I could not imagine anything more disgusting
Kremer at a hearing on 18 July 1947 in Cracow.