We just marked 75 years since the liberation of the Nazi Camp at Auschwitz, Poland. Now, there’s new information about the mysterious disappearance and death of a Nazi general who was an architect of the death camps. A Holocaust scholar has uncovered evidence the U.S. could have helped fake the general’s death in exchange for him providing rocket and space technology. Investigative correspondent James Rosen has the story of"The Hidden Nazi." A caution, some images may be disturbing.
When Soviet troops liberated Auschwitz, a vast complex that included a concentration camp, an extermination center, and forced labor colonies, the 7-thousand remaining inmates, all tattooed, including women and children, began to tell of the unprecedented atrocities committed at the camp in Oswiecim, Poland...the murder site for more than 1-million Jews and others selected for death by Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.
Hitler's plan for the triumph of a master Aryan race mandated the mass murder of all European Jews.
The largest of the killing centers was Auschwitz, where SS guards employed torture and starvation, beatings and shootings, and most infamously, gas chambers and the burning of bodies in crematoria.
Now, in the new book, "The Hidden Nazi," co-author Dean Reuter, a lawyer for the Federalist Society in Washington, revisits SS-Gruppenfuhrer Hans Kammler, the architect, civil engineer, and early follower of Hitler who helped design Auschwitz.
Dean Reuter: It was him who identified Auschwitz as the site for the major concentration camp, and then him that oversaw the construction of it, signing the order in September of '41. He designed Auschwitz, including the gas chambers and the ovens. It was him that decided, "Well, we're going to have the killing camp over here because that's where the railway platform is. And we're going to put the gas chambers in the basement below the crematoria, with an elevator, so we can minimize the amount of space, the amount of distance we have to move bodies over. So his work was reproduced by him at camps everywhere throughout the Reich -- not just Auschwitz.
Kammler reported to SS Chief Heinrich Himmler, overlord of the entire infrastructure of the 'final solution.' But as Nazi Germany faced defeat at the allies' hands, in 1945, the roles of the two men reversed.
Dean Reuter: In the final moments of the war, Himmler was falling from favor as Kammler was continuing to rise. Himmler is requesting things of Kammler, and he is flat-out denying him.
Officially, Kammler was declared dead in the woods of Prague, a suicide by gunshot wound. But no one ever saw his corpse, grave, dogtags or alleged suicide weapon.
Dean Reuter: This is like losing the body of General Patton in the field. It just doesn't happen.
Over three years of research, tapping previously unpublished archival documents, Reuter and his co-authors concluded that Kammler was spirited out the European theater, so the United States could exploit his expertise in advanced weapons systems.
Dean Reuter: I think we have very good evidence that he did a deal, and we know -- we can prove -- that he survived, he did not commit suicide, as reported, and instead surrendered to the U.S. Army, which supports the idea of a deal.
Reuter reports that the US government is still withholding the entirety of two documents relating to Kammler in its possession, one from 1969, another from 1987, more than 100 pages still classified - a veil of secrecy that ensures that mysteries about the third Reich will endure, almost a century after its collapse.