Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Five years before the Iron Curtain fell down I visited Auschwitz concentration camp (polski 'Oświęcim') in Poland. It was a strange place to visit. Rain. Green grass. Dust. Lots of rust iron. How bizarre to enter the old gas chambers. Pretty small.
What shocked me most was an invoice of Zyklon B. Couple of thousand kilo's. Price? Can't remember. One invoice of probably many. Apparently someone did the bookkeeping. I realised that the killing of the Jews in World War II wasn't done in a whirl. It must have been a gigantic logistical operation. Gather people (raids), transportation over thousands of km, selection (to the right meant labor, to the left meant to the gas chambers), killing (Zyklon B), burning of the death and get rid of the ashes. Bills that had to be paid. There must have been a bookkeeper who knew the answer to the question 'Avarage cost of Zyklon B for 1 Jew?'. 

Question: did he (or she?) calculate too the costs of razzia's, transportation, crematorium, food for gards and workforce? Were costs for environment e.g. Carbon dioxide (CO2) an externality?

P.s. I'll try to find a better and readable copy of this invoice.

1 comment:

  1. What a ghastly job. I wonder if the bookkeeper thought it was ghastly at the time or that they were merely doing their job - a job that had to be done as a result of the times! :(