The Holocaust Historiography Project

Holocaust survivors reveal unusual Nazi cruelty

Updated 12:54 AM PT February 15, 2001
By Anastasio Philemon, World News Service, Los Angeles (WNS-LA)

Revelations continue to emerge of Hitlerite brutality against Jewish concentration camp prisoners. Reports surfacing in recent former prisoner associations' statements reveal a hitherto unreported fact that during their World War 2 incarceration at Auschwitz, Ravensbruck, and Chelmno, prisoners were routinely denied the use of toilet paper. Further cruelty by the Nazi SS guards was demonstrated when prisoners were forced to use sand paper in place of regular issue toilet tissue.

“Those SS beasts forced me to use it,” described Anna Rosenstein, a former Auschwitz survivor. “They even had Capos (selected Jewish prisoners acting as collaborative overseers for the SS over other prisoners) checking to make sure we used the sand paper, doing spot checks when they suspected we weren’t following regulations. Some of us were beaten, whipped, or spanked when the sand paper was found to be unused. It was terrible!”

Another prisoner described a public humiliation he was forced to endure by a particularly sadistic SS guard. “During the morning roll-call, the SS sergeant made me step forward and loudly announce to my fellow prisoners that I sometimes didn’t use the sand paper properly,” said Saul Lewitzky, now a resident of Newport Beach, California. “I had to hold up that day’s issue of sand paper and shout out that I would use it faithfully and properly. I hated them for that. Even to this day I can’t see sand paper without feeling ill, humiliated, degraded, or break out into a fearful sweat.”

One former Capo who pleaded to not be identified admitted the claims were true. “I had to oversee the use of the sand paper, I had no choice!” he lamented. “If I didn’t do as the SS told me, then they would have forced me to use the sand paper too instead of the toilet tissue which I was privileged to use. But, when the SS wasn’t watching, I sometimes slipped regular toilet tissue to my fellow prisoners in the latrines. I probably saved many Jewish lives that way!”

Many prisoners developed serious rashes to their private parts as a result of the forced use of the sand paper, but when seeking medical treatment they were often laughed at by SS medical orderlies. “I could hardly even sit down, and the daily trip to the latrine was sheer torture,” remembered Leon Aritzky, who now lives in Eilat, Israel. “My rash sometimes bled but when asking for medicine, the orderlies always burst into laughter and cracked jokes. They sometimes even dangled clean toilet paper in front of us — which they were allowed to use, but not us — to further humiliate and torture us.”

Thousands of prisoners are reported to have died from the use of the sand paper.

Researchers in Germany have produced wartime photographs of piles of industrial sand paper, often shown loaded onto boxcars before shipment to concentration camps. Other photographs show empty boxcars prior to the loading of the sand paper.

Documentation recently viewed by the Simon Wiesenthal Center affirms that the sand paper manufacturer of Sweden which filled Nazi German orders — and which is a subsidiary of the American Company International Industrial Paper Suppliers — knew what the paper was being used for but continued to supply it anyway. A SWC spokesman announced that it, in conjunction with the World Jewish Congress and the International Federation of Jewish Deputies, would be launching lawsuits against both the subsidiary and its parent corporation for complicity in the Holocaust. Early reports project a seeking of damages in the region of US$18 Billion.

An IIPS representative made a terse comment about the revelations: “We are deeply shocked and saddened to learn of this lamentable wartime activity by our company,” stated Thomas Harkins. “A recent company board meeting has already authorized meetings with Jewish representatives and Holocaust survivor associations to work out appropriate compensations. We cannot express our guilt and regrets sufficiently. We feel morally indebted to Jewish people for bringing these facts to our attention, and we pray that this will never happen again.”

2001 World News Service.

ADL statement on Charmin/Holocaust book

Crime/Corruption News Keywords: ADL Charmin HOLOCAUST Source: ADL Press Release published: 2/15/01
Posted on 02/15/2001 10:29:20 PST by Non-New Yorker

NEW YORK, Feb. 15 /U.S. Newswire/ — The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today said that the revelation in a new book that the American corporate giant Procter & Gamble was instrumental in supplying Charmin toilet paper and other personal care products to the Third Reich, thereby facilitating the implementation of Hitler’s extermination of European Jewry, “validates unequivocally that there were many who knew about and were complicit in the Final Solution, but chose to remain silent and put profits above responsibility and morality.”

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

It’s time to squeeze the Charmin.

Just when we thought we knew all there was to know about the Holocaust, David Steinman, in Moon and Stars and Holocaust, provides us with shocking documentation that the American corporate giant was instrumental in facilitating the institutional infrastructure that undergirded Hitler’s plan to wipe Europe free of Jewry. In recent years the roles of various European and American corporations in aiding and supplying the Nazis have been exposed. Now we have evidence that P&G, producer of Charmin (TM) toilet tissue and icon of American business, was complicit in the Final Solution, putting the profits it derived from sales of toilet paper, toothpaste and other toiletries above responsibility and morality.

We have been told that “nobody knew.” Nobody knew the extent of Hitler’s plans for the Jews; nobody knew that the Third Reich could carry out the Final Solution; nobody knew that Final Solution was being implemented. Now we know that not only did many know, but that some, like P&G, made it possible for the Final Solution to proceed apace.

It is horrifying that while the millions of Jews imprisoned in camps were worked to death and denied even the most basic human dignity of showering, their wardens were enjoying the softest tissues and most luxuriant facial scrubs American technology could provide. Let there be no mistake: P&G “clean” money is dirty money.

“Everyone appreciates the comfortably clean feeling of Charmin,” runs the P&G advertising slogan. But everyone at P&G should feel uncomfortably dirty about the horrifying abrogation of human rights that forms this sordid chapter in its corporate history. Making money by abetting the most monstrous regime in human history may have seemed good business at the time, but it is bad business today, and we intend to take every step to see that current leadership at P&G both renounces the actions of past leadership and moves forward in partnership with the Jewish community in a morally appropriate direction. Return to the ranks of responsible corporate citizens requires nothing less.

While today’s P&G clearly is not responsible for the actions of earlier directors and their hands-on relationship with the Nazis through German subsidiary PGD, today’s P&G does owe the world a full accounting and restitution in order to remove the blot now tarnishing its corporate name. America’s icon of business owes it to itself, its employees, investors, customers, and, most importantly, to the memory of the six million Jews and millions of victims of the Nazis to come clean about its dirty role in the Holocaust. We are certain that P&G will take whatever actions are fiscally and morally necessary to counter the public outrage generated by these surprising new revelations. The ADL will continue the fight for accountability as the Holocaust continues to reveal itself, providing an expanded historical account and important lessons for today and the future.