The Holocaust Historiography Project

Human Soap


It is variously claimed by the Exterminationists that human corpses underwent melting by some rendering process whereby raw material for soap was made. The process, means, and distribution system, are all totally unknown.

Immediately after liberation, in Politiceni in Romania, the district rabbi ordered the collection of all bars of soap bearing the letters “RIF". After the recitation of the Kaddisch (the Jewish prayer for the dead) the bars of soap were then buried in the Jewish cemetery. News reports about the incident appeared in the local Polish press, which were later picked up in such “Holocaust” books as F.C. Weiskopf’s Elend und Grösse unserer Tage (The Misery & Greatness of Our Days), 1950.

Also, an article in the Paris Match about Anne Frank, written by Pierre Joffroy, reports that

four bars of “Jewish soap” manufactured from corpses in the extermination camps and which, discovered in Germany, were wrapped in a shroud, in 1948, and piously buried according to the rites in a corner of Haifa cemetery in Israel.

Paris Match, No. 395, 3 November 1956, p. 93

The letters “RIF” actually stand for Reichsstelle für Industrielle Fettversorgung: the German government outlet which oversaw the production and distribution of soap and detergent products. These letters were twisted by- the Exterminationists to mean “Rein Jüdisches Fett” ("Pure Jewish Fat").

The Exterminationist Nachum Blumental from Tel Aviv writes that this soap was one of the most important display objects in Holocaust museums around the world. He reports that bars of such soap are exhibited at the Historical Institute of Warsaw, at the Kaznelson House of the Ghettofighters' Kibbutz in Israel, and at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York. He also writes that bits of “RIF” soap are to be found in the Keller des Grauens on Mount Zion in Jerusalem. (See Übersetzung aus dem Hebräischen Deckblatt; Jiddische Kultur Monatsschrift des Jiddischen Kulturverbandes, #21, June-July 1959, p. 1.)

A Mr. Yaakov Riz of 1453 Levick Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, operates his own “Holocaust” Museum out of his basement, under the auspices of what he calls the “Brotherhood to Prevent Genocide.” He displays a jeweled soap dish inscribed “Soap Made of Jewish Bodies” complete with a fragment of soap which is claimed to be made of human fat. However, no forensic analysis has ever been made of the soap. Riz, who claims to have lost 83 of his relatives at Auschwitz, was captured by the Red Army in which he promptly enlisted. He was later court-martialed (offense unknown), but after serving time in a Gulag, was repatriated to Poland from whence he emigrated to Israel to join the Zionist fight to take Palestine away from its inhabitants. He came to the United States in 1952 (Philadelphia Inquirer, 21 April 1979).

Among the best known Exterminationist authors, Reitlinger omits any mention of human soap, while Hilberg (31: p. 624) doubts the authenticity of the claim. But he says that the effectiveness of the human soap “rumor” lay not in its truthfulness;, for it was “probably not” true; but in its efficiency in transmitting to the world the brutality of the Nazis.

“Evidence” for the human soap claim was submitted at the IMT Nuremberg Trials by the Soviets. Butz reproduces a photograph of the Soviet cakes in his book (109: p. 201), which is in fact Nuremberg documentary exhibit number PS 3421-2, now lodged at the U.S. National Archives in Washington. Pellessier provides a picture of human soap along with some other specimens from a “macabre collection” at Buchenwald in his book (19: p. 64). The Encyclopedia Judaica has two photographs; one showing a room of the purported “soap factory"; the other one showing human bodies in a box (1, Vol. 13: pp. 761-2 “Poland"). The caption states: “A German soap factory near Danzig.”

The history of the allegation can be traced back to September 1942, when Rabbi Stephen Wise (1874-1949) announced that he had received a message from an official of the World Jewish Congress in Europe reporting on the manufacture of soap and artificial fertilizer from Jewish bodies. Naturally, the report was greeted at the time with a certain amount of skepticism, since the Americans and British had already encountered such an allegation during the First World War: an allegation which had turned out to be Allied propaganda. (See Arthur Ponsonby, Falsehood in Wartime, IHR, 1980.)

So, later in the same month, Gerhart Riegner, a World Jewish Congress representative in Switzerland, came forward with new documents to “prove” the allegation. The documents, Riegner said, had been prepared by an officer (anonymous) connected to the German High Command and had reached him through intermediaries. This anonymous officer claimed that there were at least two factories in existence manufacturing soap, glue, and lubricants from Jewish corpses, and that it had been determined that each Jewish corpse was worth 50 Reichsmarks. I have yet to uncover any invoices or bookkeeping entries among the mountains of German documents to support this valuation.

One source alleges that Rabbi Stephen Wise “knew” about the “human soap” manufacture earlier than September 1942, but didn’t believe it, or didn’t want to believe it. The allegation had been made by an escapee from Belzitz(?) camp who reported it to Rabbi Michael Weissmandel, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish leader in Slovakia. Weissmandel communicated the report-which also included the first allegations of gassings-to representatives of the World Jewish Congress in Budapest, and in Switzerland. When the report was translated into English in New York, the part about “human soap” was omitted by Tartakover, the executive director.

Rabbi Weissmandel later emigrated to the United States, and set up an ultra-Orthodox seminary in New York State. He died in November 1957, but in 1960 his war memoirs were published posthumously in Hebrew as Min Hamaitzar (From the Depths) available for $6.50 from Beis Hasefer Book Store, 169a Ross Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211.

An ardent follower of Weissmandel, Rabbi Moshe Shonfeld, uses many excerpts from the memoirs in his indictment of Zionism — which the Jewish zealots regard as blasphemy — entitled The Holocaust Victims Accuse (qv). Shonfeld reports that Weissmandel’s message to the American Jews was deliberately suppressed because, being Zionists, they were agreeable to having some aged and useless Jews martyred by the Nazis so that the young Jews could gain passage to Palestine. He says that it was only when Rabbi Wise was actually presented with a bar of Jewish soap that he had to organize some kind of protest (Shonfeld, pp. 40-41).

This allegation is somewhat ironic, for Dr. Butz indicates in his book (109: p. 247) that Weissmandel was the likely initial source of the entire Holocaust myth, and that his training in Talmudic lore enabled him to draw on a rich and bizarre well of imagery. Butz cites Talmudic passages which describe how 4 billion (or in other sources, 40 million) Jews were slain by the Romans; how the tidal wave of Jewish blood carried boulders into the sea and stained the water for four miles out; how Jewish bodies were used as fence posts; how Jewish blood was used as fertilizer on Roman vineyards; and how Jewish children were rolled up in their Torah scroll and burned alive. In his book The Six Million Reconsidered (Noontide, 1979), William Grimstad deals even more effectively with the uncanny resemblance of modern-day “Holocaust” allegations with ancient Talmudic and Biblical anecdotes. On page 42, he shows a Talmudic illustration of the Fiery Statue of Molech, which he points out, bears a curious similarity to Auschwitzian “gas-ovens.”

But there is in the U.S. National Archives a document number 740.00116 EW/726, which appears to be “information” received in November 1942 from an anonymous Vatican source called “Mr. F.” It consists of a three-page description in French of events which were allegedly transpiring in Poland. Inter alia, the document reports:

Farms for the breeding of human beings are being organized to which women and girls are brought for the purpose of being made mothers of children who are then taken from them to be raised in Nazi establishments… Mass execution of Jews continues… They are killed by poison gas in chambers especially prepared for that purpose (often in railway cars) and by machine-gun fire, following which the dead and the dying are covered with earth … Reports are being circulated to the effect that the Germans are making use of their corpses in plants manufacturing chemical products (soap making factories).

It would thus appear that the entire allegation is founded on anonymous reports and speculative hearsay. No one can come up with any locations, dates, or names. Of course, this has not prevented popular “historians” such as William L. Shirer from perpetuating the myth:

There was testimony at the Nuremberg Trials that the ashes were sometimes sold as fertilizer. One Danzig firm, according to a document offered by the Russian prosecution, constructed an electrically-heated tank for making soap out of human fat. Its “recipe” called for “12 pounds of human fat, 10 quarts of water, and 8 ounces to a pound of caustic soda … all boiled for two or three days and then cooled. (4: p. 1264)

As “authority” Shirer states in his footnote 59: Nuremberg document “ND USSR-8, p. 197. Transcript” (4: p. 1518). I suppose he must mean the same “electrically-heated tank” which appears in the Encyclopedia Judaica described above. Unfortunately, the encyclopedia does not give a source for this illustration.

Let us pause for a moment and examine this Soviet soap recipe. We must assume, first of all, that quite a few corpses will be needed to obtain 12 pounds of fat, since we are told the Jews were just skin and bone anyway. But the Soviet idea of boiling “all” the ingredients together just does not coincide with established soap formulas. Norman Stark’s Forrnula Book calls for “a lot of rendered animal fat” and states that the water and caustic soda should be mixed with cold water (20: p. 63). Our Soviet “experts” must have missed some basics on soap-making, for Stark tells us that the caustic soda should not be boiled with the water as the mixture will heat up anyway by the chemical action of the lye. The tallow is then melted, and after proper adjustment of the temperature, the lye solution is poured into the tallow and then stirred. This process would seem to make redundant the “electrically heated tank” shown in the encyclopedia. One also wonders about capacity.

Eight ounces of caustic soda for each pound of human fat must mean 96 ounces for this recipe. Most of the water, 10 quarts of it, would mix with the lye. I simply cannot understand how the ultra-efficient Germans, working with the mass extermination of millions of people (as they were supposed to), would have bothered with such a small “factory,” fussing around with eight ounces of this and ten quarts of that. Surely the “mills of death” could do better than this?

In the process of tracking down mentions of “human soap” I came across a modern Polish tract by Dr. Adolf Gawalewicz which stated that “soup was prepared from human flesh” (3: insert p. 7). Knowing how badly Polish translations are often made, I thought that the author perhaps meant “soap,” but a cross-reference to the French and German translations again shows “soup.” This would appear to be one of the even rarer allegations that the Germans encouraged cannibalism!

Many Exterminationist books make no mention at all of the “soap” story; even outlandish books such as We Have Not Forgotten (2 & 6) which covers every other conceivable German atrocity. The same is true of the numerous other “Holocaustiana” books which I have plowed through. Surely if there were such factories there would be ample evidence to write book after book, article after article, on this one subject.

Even the “authoritative” 7 volume report of the International Auschwitz Committee, written by the same Dr. Gawalewicz who wrote the Auschwitz guide-book (3) referred to above, makes only passing reference to “human soap.” The English edition of the work states:

Is that not some sort of exaggeration, some unintended injustice, in regard to those hundreds of thousands whose ashes were scattered by the wind-nobody knows where-whose bodies were dissolved to use the fat for soap; whose hair was used to make mattrasses?

(Vol. 3, Part 1: p. 36)

(I suppose the translators have come adrift here again, for a “mattrass” is a slender glass tube used in a laboratory. They probably mean “mattress"). This is the only mention of “soap” throughout this massive work, in spite of all those “hundreds of thousands.” Evidently something must be wrong.

Determined to get to the bottom of the “human soap” problem, I paid a visit to Danzig, and unsuccessfully tried to locate the site of the “human soap factory.” At the nearby Stutthof “extermination camp” I again sought evidence, but not one of the officials or guides there could help. Nor was there any evidence on display in among the numerous other examples of German “atrocities.”

I journeyed deeper into Poland to the museum of Auschwitz-Birkenau, and when I again found no evidence of “human soap” on display', I inquired of the officials if they might have a sample in their archives. I spoke with Mrs. Irena Stafanska, curator of the archives, and Mr. Franciszek Piper, one of the museum guides. Finally, Piper shook his shoulders, gave me a pleasant smile, and informed me embarrassingly that their own forensic examination of their “human soap” samples had proved it to be just ordinary soap. But what about the specimens of “human soap” which had been exhibited at Nuremberg? Where were they? Were they not at Auschwitz?

I was unable to penetrate the subject any further, as no one was enthusiastic about hearing any more about it. I continued my search through the exhibits, but still was unable to find any trace.

Undoubtedly the “human soap” World War Two version is just about as real as the World War One yarn about the wicked Huns turning the bodies of their dead soldiers into soap. At the end of WWI, a certain Virginia newspaper editorialized that in future wars “propaganda must be more subtle and clever.” (Ponsonby, pp. 102-113). But obviously the paper did not have a high circulation in Russia, for the Soviets did not heed their advice in the later conflagration.

It is certain that if the western public realized that almost all of these atrocity allegations emanated from the communist bloc, then they would receive about as much credence as contemporary communist propaganda about intervening in Hungary, Czechoslovakia and now Afghanistan to “rescue the inhabitants from foreign interference.” Americans especially know how communist interrogators can force bogus confessions out of prisoners through torture techniques. We have many examples from Korea and Vietnam. But the sorry fact is that these communist WWII allegations are underscored and recycled throughout the western media by ardent Zionists. It would seem that Zionists have such influence within the media that they can promote these communist lies almost without restriction. The only limit seems to be how gullible the general public really is.

After the showing of the “soap"-opera Holocaust on television, many Zionist leaders expressed worries that perhaps this might be going too far. The Chief Rabbi in London warned against “sanctifying the Holocaust” in the Jewish Chronicle (6 July 1979). Gitta Sereny writing in the New Statesman (2 November 1979) admitted that many “Holocaust survivor testimonies” are “partial or complete fakes” and that “Auschwitz, despite its emblematic name, was not primarily an extermination camp.”

With such admissions as these, one wonders how long it will be before the Exterminationists realize that they have overdone it a little bit, and begin to switch horses. I firmly predict that before very long the Exterminationists will announce that the “gas chambers” were all communist propaganda, and that the Six Million were in fact worked to death, not gassed to death. The paucity of evidence for the “gas chambers,” “human soap,” “lampshades,” et al. will necessitate that.


The numbers used refer to the Ditlieb Felderer’s Revisionist Bibliography of almost 200 Revisionist and Exterminationist titles, which is available direct from the author. Those titles mentioned in this text are as follows:

1. Eycyclopedia Judaica, Jerusalem, 16 volumes, 1971/2.
2. Mazur, Tomaszewski & Wrzos-Glinka, editors, 1939-1945 We Have Not Forgotten, Warsaw, 1960, 267pp.
3. Marcinek (editor), Bujak & Gawalewicz, Auschwitz-Birkenau, Warsaw, no date, 128pp.
4. William L. Shirer, The Rise &Fall of the Third Reich, Fawcett, 1968, 1599pp.
6. Mazur & Tomaszewski, 1938-1945 We Have Not Forgotten, Warsaw, 1961, (abridged from No. 2), 160pp.
19. Jean Pelissier, Camps de Mort (Camps of Death), Paris, 1946.
20. Norman Stark, The Formula Book, Sheed & Ward, Kansas, 1976.
31. Raul Hilberg, Destruction of the European Jews, Quadrangle, 1967.
109. Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, IHR, 1979.

Bibliographic information
Author: Harwood, Richard; Felderer, Ditlieb
Title: Human Soap
Source: The Journal for Historical Review
Date: Summer 1980
Issue: Volume 1 number 2
Location: Page 131
ISSN: 0195-6752
Attribution: “Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659, USA.”
Please send a copy of all reprints to the Editor.