Adolf Eichmann also had a "list"
By Israel Insider staff March 16, 2008
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The Sunday Times of London reported that Russian soldiers "fighting their way through the rubble of Berlin in the last days of the war" found "an elegant building almost intact" with 800 "cowering figures" hiding inside. The soldiers, the report claimed, "swept through in an orgy of rape. Only when the Red Army commanders arrived was the question asked: "But who are you?" The answer. "We are Jews." The astonished Russians, who had liberated death camps, reportedly responded post-rape with astonishment and, perhaps, disappointment: "You are Jews? Why aren't you dead yet?"
The Times report doesn't cite sources for this and many other claims. The hospital was reportedly allowed to be run by a senior Jewish doctor, Walter Lustig, whose staff were given special permits to care for patients, and it reportedly became a haven for Berlin's remaining Jews. Described as "an ambitious, brilliant administrator," Lustig "had spent much of his prewar career as a doctor with the Berlin police, forging close ties with now-powerful figures in the Gestapo. From these men he now took his orders. His immediate boss was a senior Gestapo figure called Fritz Wohrn, who had been appointed as the hospital's overseer by Adolf Eichmann, head of department 1V B4 of the Reich Security Head Office (RSHA). Eichmann's department was responsible for planning the extermination of Europe's Jews."
The Times report argues that Eichmann kept the hotel open so that "it was possible to spread the lie that Hitler could not possibly intend to exterminate the German Jews" if he was allowing them to be treated in a hospital." Lustig would become "the most powerful Jewish figure left in Berlin" and his hospital "playing an even more central role in the deception worked on departing victims. Lustig and his staff were ordered to 'calm their people' by providing first-aid stations at a Berlin Sammellager, or holding centre, where terrified men, women and children awaited departure" for the death camps, telling the people that they "were being sent east to work. In fact they were heading straight for the death camps near Riga and for the Lodz ghetto."
Sleeping with Lustig was supposedly the key to survival for Jewish nurses. "Selections became a 'horrible' weekly routine, according to a clerk. "Numerous patients had to line up, and the hospital's director, Dr. Lustig, together with the Gestapo officer, stood in front of them and indicated the ones to be deported." Several female survivors explained how some staff kept off Lustig's lists. "Dr Lustig had a series of affairs with Jewish nurses at the hospital, and only if you surrendered to him were you a favourite," wrote a British survivor who testified anonymously to investigators after the war.
By mid-1943 everyone at the hospital expected it to be closed down. It was sold, but the transfer of the property to its new owners never happened, the Times reported. "According to the Israeli scholar Rivka Elkin, it is highly likely that Eichmann himself blocked the sale. Even when Allied bombing intensified, leaving every department of the Reich crying out for space, the Jewish Hospital remained in place, and Eichmann argued it was "necessary for Jews". That while in the previous year alone, 2.7 million Jews had been killed by the Germans and their collaborators.
A significant proportion of the occupants of the hospital ghetto were the "privileged" spouses of non-Jews. "Others were patients who inexplicably had not yet been sent to their deaths in the east. There were also large numbers of Jewish children -- often orphans -- whose Jewish parentage could not be established." Some prisoners' names were recorded on lists found later at the hospital, but another group of prisoners were those on a so-called "B-list", burnt in the Gestapo bonfire. "They were admitted as "administrative detainees," the Times reported. "All had friends in high places."
The Times report does cite one source. "It is only thanks to Hilde Kahan, who had access to Lustig's secret files, that anything is known of them. She wrote in her diary that these people were 'not deported but arrested there'. Their details were kept separately. 'Their files were simply stamped B-list,' she says. 'The B stood for Behorden, or "administrative order'. So they were obviously held under a special decree" apparently because they were connected to important Nazis or had "special connections and acquaintances in the outside world". Some were believed to be held as "bargaining chips with the Allies, hoping perhaps to exchange important personalities for Germans or money."
In the end, Lustig is believed to have been killed by the Russians, but that has not been proven.
"Countless reports claim, however, that Lustig was soon tracked down by Russian war-crime hunters. Though no proof exists, it seems most likely that he was denounced, charged with collaboration and shot." The report claims: "He could certainly have revealed the full story of the Jewish Hospital's survival, and details of his own deal with Eichmann would have surely horrified his victims. For some B-list prisoners his early death came as a relief. He took their identities with him to the grave."
Israel, perhaps, is also held to blame for not asking about the Hospital before hanging the architect of the Holocaust in 1961. "Eichmann, the other man who could have revealed the truth about the hospital, was never pressed for answers on a matter considered peripheral to the prime charge against him at his Jerusalem trial: enforcement of the Final Solution. As for the survivors, few knew anything of how the hospital became Eichmann's tool. And many were determined that the next generation should never learn how they themselves survived."
The Times report admits that there are holes in the story. "The survival of the Jewish Hospital and its 800 Jewish prisoners remains, therefore, a mystery. But there is no doubt that their murder had been deliberately delayed by Nazi order. Had the Russian liberators not reached Berlin when they did, each one of those Jewish men and women would have eventually been sent to the gas chambers. Hitler's solution was always to be 'Final'. The only compromise was over when exactly that finality would come.