Zion Island 15.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Lange.  Personal letters.

20 July 1947.

My dear Lange[1],

You must be quite bored out there to be spending time reading old intelligence circulars and speculating on such idle questions.  Still, you recall quite correctly.  Here are the details in laymen’s terms.

In 1942 we had an outbreak of typhus in a Wehrmacht division on rest-and-retraining assignment here.  The doctors initially put it down to the men having returned with the disease from Russia.  As you know, it is common throughout the East.  The entire division went through an additional round of de-lousing with Zyklon-B.  However, some local French people then came down with it as well.  A young member of the medical staff who had been trained as an epidemiologist made further inquiries.

The French victims were all from a section of the town fairly removed from the camp.  The young doctor interviewed each of the French victims.  Being French and from the same neighborhood, they naturally shared many features and activities.  However, the doctor diligently eliminated one after another.  In the end, he found that they had all fallen sick soon after purchasing some butter on the black market.  All had purchased the butter from the same shop, ironically named “Au bon beurre”!  The shop-keeper immediately was interviewed.  He admitted to having purchased a large quantity of butter from a German mess-sergeant at the nearby-by base.  Shown photographs of all the mess-sergeants from the base, he picked out the guilty man.

The sergeant admitted the theft and sale, but that did not resolve the issue of the spread of the typhus.  Chemists examined the remains of the store of butter.  They reported that it had been infected with the germ that causes typhus!  Where had French butter come to be infected with typhus?  One answer would be to follow the path of the butter back from the mess stores to its point of production.  Another answer would be to try to identify the origin of the typhus infection.  The investigation bogged down for a time as we followed both lines of inquiry.

In the end, it turned out that a researcher at the Institut Pasteur had stolen the germ culture from a laboratory.  With the assistance of a friend who worked in Les Halles market, he had infected a shipment of butter consigned to the Wehrmacht camp.

So, yes, it is possible to “weaponize” diseases.  I hope that you and Dr. Mengele find this information useful.

H H,

Knochen.[2]

 

[1] Obersturmbannfuhrer der SS Dr. Rudolf Lange, Headquarters, Sipo-SD, Theresienstadt, Madagascar.

[2] Standartenfuhrer des SS Dr. Helmut Knochen, Office of the Police Attache, German Embassy, Paris.

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Zion Island 14.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlass Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

Sipo-SD IV-B-4.

Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Toamasina, Madagascar, 14 May 1948.

……….

MB[1]: So, you saw him?[2]

MA[3]: I saw him.  Talked to him.  Talked for hours.  Aliphas[4] met me at the train station and took me home.  It took a week to set up.

MB: And?  Will he help?  What did you tell him?

MA: I explained our situation, what it’s like here, how it isn’t what they put in the fucking papers, when they do put anything in the papers.  I told him from now on we had to be strong, rely on ourselves.

MB: And he agreed?  He understood?

MA: Eventually, yes, the little bastard agreed.  He’d seen that news-reel.  It took forever to talk him out of that.  He’s German, but he got out a long time before.  Everything is theoretical to him.

MB: Will he help us?  Does he understand what we want?

MA: Maybe.  There are a lot of moving parts.  A lot of things have to be organized.  Organized like we did in the old country.

MB: It’s going to take time, then.  If we have it.  They’re probably watching us even now.

MA: He gave me the name of a man, Raymond.  Arranged for me to see him.  I went to El Paso to see Raymond.  It’s just across the border.  Took the train up to the north.  Had to wade across the river in the night with a bunch of laborers just to get in.  Raymond says the place is like a fortress since the election.

[1] Menachem Begin: b. 1913, Brest-Litovsk, Russian Empire.

[2] Reference unclear.

[3] Mordechai Anielewicz: b. 1919, Warsaw, Russian Empire.

[4] Avram Aliphas: b. 1911, Kolno, Russian Empire; migrated to Palestine 1936; settled in Mexico 1940: taught at the Hebrew School in Mexico City.

Zion Island 13.

Reichsarchiv.  Nachlasse Bach-Zalewski.  Private files–Miscellaneous.

 

Sipo-SD IV-B-4.

Partial transcript of a recorded conversation, Theresienstadt, Madagascar, 14 August 1952.

 

(excerpt).

…..

AG[1]: There’s something else.  The piano player from Rick’s.  You’ve heard him?  Course you have.  You love the night-life.  I met him at a party.  There were a lot of people there and a lot of booze.  We ended up in one of the little groups late in the evening.

 

PR[2]: You ended up in the same group or he was working his way toward you?

 

AG: Dunno.  Could have been.  Turns out he’s not French or German either, the “Graf” aside.  He’s a Russian, one of the refugees.  Grew up in Shanghai, then the family moved to France maybe twenty years ago.  He speaks French and Russian, but also English and German.

 

PR: What’s he like?

 

AG: Smart.  Big talker, but not so much boasting.  More like he can run on and on with stories.  Lots of them funny.  Sort of puts you to sleep, like the doctor before an operation.  A feygele[3] I think.

 

PR: So why tell me?

 

AG: He wants to meet people.  Says it’s lonely being so far from home; says the Germans aren’t too interesting.  Said it in a way that might make you think he didn’t like them—without coming right out and saying so.  Also, he wants to see something of the island.  He says the steamer from Shanghai stopped here on the way to France when he was a boy, but he never got off the ship.

 

PR:  OK, I’ll tell them.  Try to avoid him until they decide.

 

[1] Abraham Gancwajch: b. 1902, Czestachowa, Russian Empire.  Head of Office to Combat Usury and Profiteering in the Resettlement Community.

[2] Perec Rachman, b: 1919, Lwow, Polish Republic.  Interned by Soviet Union, 1940.

[3] Yiddish: a man who is believed to be gay.