Note 052
by Joachim C. Fest

52 Rudolf Höss, Commandant of Auschwitz. In fact, in the last phase Himmler completely abandoned his ideological justifications. To Masur he sought to justify the extermination measures with the argument that they had been necessitated by the danger of contagious infection to German troops:

'The Jewish masses were infected with terrible epidemics; in particular, spotted typhus raged. I myself have lost thousands of my best SS men through these epidemics. Moreover the Jews helped the partisans... In order to put a stop to the epidemics we were forced to burn the bodies of incalculable numbers of people who had been destroyed by disease. We were therefore forced to build crematoria, and on this account they are knotting a noose for us' (quoted by Reitlinger, The Final Solution)

From Chapter 9, Heinrich Himmler , Part 2 of The Face Of The Third Reich by J.C. Fest -- See further Notes

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