Letter to Monika Brinkmann, March 10th 1943
My Dearest Monika,
I have finally arrived at Auschwitz. The barracks building in which my quarters are located is adequately outfitted with all that I shall need for my time here. Tomorrow morning I shall be shown the storehouse of which I shall be placed in charge. I am so eager to get to work. I cannot imagine going to sleep, but I know that I must sleep, or else I shall not be able to perform my duties to the best of my ability. I have no roommate as of yet, but I am sure that with the influx of new prisoners coming to the camp, many more competent officers will be required to maintain order here, and I shall not be solitary for long. I have neither heard nor seen any evidence of the rumors that the prisoners are being mistreated. I told you that you had nothing to fear. I miss you already, and it has been but two days since I left you. I am looking at your photograph as I write you my love, and it shall be the first thing I see every morning, and the last thing I see each night. I love you my darling, I shall see you before you know it. One year is not that long, and with luck, the war will be over by then. All of our enemies are crushed beneath our superior military forces, if only my foot did not prevent me from becoming a field officer. But the Supply Corps is a vital component to our nation’s success. I am proud to serve the Fuhrer in anyway that I can. Whenever I get a moment I shall write. Every night if possible. I love you with all of my heart. I cannot wait till I return home, and I cannot wait to make you my wife. I must go to sleep now, for tomorrow will no doubt be a busy day for me. Give my love to your mother, and tell little Bruno I have not forgotten my promise; I shall send him the helmet as soon as I can get my hands on one.
Yours Eternally, Klaus
Journal of Klaus Angermeyer, March 11th 1943
It was a busy day today. I spent the morning wandering the camp in the care of Obersturmfuhrer Grube. He is overall in charge of the Supply Corps officers stationed here at Auschwitz. He is a very amiable man, and I think that he and I shall get along well. He pointed out a few key sites, which we passed on our trip. First and foremost being Commandant’s Hoess’ home, which is situated at the main entrance to the camp. We then passed the Commandant’s Headquarters, which is the building in which the Commandant, and his aides, oversee the day-to-day activities of the camp. Next we passed the Administration building, in which all the records of prisoners, and laborers registered at the camp are kept. Coming to the corner I noticed a building off to the right that caught my attention. Fifty or so old men, women, and children were lined up outside, guarded by two Korperliches, who had submachine guns slung casually at their hips. Out of curiosity, I asked Obersturmfuhrer Grube what the building is used for. He informed me that it was a shower house, and medical inspection building. The prisoners were brought there first, for delousing, and a thorough physical inspection before being shipped off to the outlying labor camps. Being the natural propensity to squalor, and the complete disregard of hygiene of the Jews, this all seemed very logical to me. My curiosity thus satisfied, we continued on. Although the faint smell of bitter almonds emanating from the building, nearly prompted further questioning. But I decided there would be time for further inquiries later on. We turned the corner and continued down the road. We passed a series of garages used to store the various vehicles used to patrol the camp, and transport prisoners. Then continuing further we came upon the kitchen and mess hall for the camp. He pointed out the section in which the officer’s mess was located, and after doing so, we continued onward. Diagonal from the mess hall he pointed out the train depot at which the majority of prisoners first arrive at Auschwitz, and the main registration building. It was a massive building. By far the largest I had seen since arriving here at Auschwitz. It was a bit startling at first to imagine the sheer number of prisoners a building such as this would be able to process simultaneously. It is yet another sign of our Aryan ingenuity, and overall superiority. Having passed the Registration building, we turned left at the next corner, passing the Enlisted soldiers barracks, and arriving again at the Officer’s barracks. Having reached the barracks, Obersturmfuhrer Grube pointed to the building on the opposite side of the enlisted barracks, in relation to my own barracks. He then informed me that the building, which he pointed to, was known as “Block Eleven.” It was the headquarters of the local branch of the Katowice Gestapo Summary Court. He then informed me that dissidents, and escape attempters, were regularly executed in the courtyard outside the building, so I should not be alarmed if I should hear rifle fire in the night. Which was when the majority of the executions were performed. Having said this, we backtracked to the motor pool area, and after winding through the alleys between the garages; we arrived at the warehouse where I would be spending the majority of the next year. I met my assistant, an Obergefreite named Schmidt. He was a simple man, obviously uneducated in the traditional sense, but his aptitude with mathematics, and his mental record of the entire inventory of the warehouse, proved to me that he would be an indispensable assistant for my entire tour. Not much else occurred today. I spent the rest of the day learning the peculiar stock system, which Schmidt has devised, and I was thunderstruck by its practicality. Breaking for lunch, and then supper, spending the time in between learning all that I could about the warehouse; my new warehouse; I retired in the evening, as the sun set over Auschwitz.
Letter to Monika Brinkmann, March 11th 1943.
My Darling Monika,
As always my love, I keep my word. Though I fear this letter shall be a bit short, for I am dog-tired, having done much today. I think I will enjoy my time here. The prisoners are docile and I have seen no sign of violence since my arrival. My heart goes out to you My Love. Tonight I shall dream of you, and pray that when I wake, you shall be lying beside me. If I do not write tomorrow, know that it is not for lack of love, but simply the need for sleep, and the call of duty. I shall definitely write you the day after next. Give my love to your mother and brother.
Love Always, Klaus
Return letter from Monika Brinkmann, to Klaus Angermeyer, March 12th 1943.
Arriving at Auschwitz, March 13th
I miss you so, why did you have to go and do something as foolish as joining the Corps? You were excluded from service because of your foot, and now we are apart for who knows how long. But I know it is your duty. Every able-bodied man in Germany must make sacrifices for the Reich. I know this my darling, but it does not make it any easier to be without you. Mother is so proud of you, and I am too. Do not do anything foolish, if I were to lose you, I could not stand it. There was another air raid today. You should have seen the fighters scramble. They shot down two bombers, and the raid was an overall failure. I hope you keep your promise and write me everyday, but if you don’t I shall understand. I am sure you are busy getting settled, and acquainted with your surroundings. My heart burns for you. I cannot wait until we are married. Each day I keep my maiden name is an agony. But when you come back I shall be happy to be forever after known as, Monika Angermeyer.
Forever Faithful, Monika.
P.S. Bruno is getting impatient. Send the helmet, or face the wrath of Feldmarschall Bruno Brinkmann.
Journal of Klaus Angermeyer, March 12th 1943.
What a day it has been! Schmidt and I were worked nearly to death. I would rather work in one of the labor camps, than go through another day such as this. After breakfast, I headed straight to the warehouse, not a moment before the truck rolled up. Ten prisoners helped Schmidt unload the truck. Strangely enough, it was full of squat steel canisters, labeled “Zyklon B”, and nothing whatsoever else. After moving the canisters the prisoners dispersed, escorted by two armed guards. I was none too happy to have them out of my sight. Disgraceful wretches they were, emaciated, and unkempt, their smell made the bile rise up in my throat. A momentary flicker of compassion rose up from deep within me, but I pushed it back, knowing these men to be criminals, and enemies of the Reich. Compassion was very much uncalled for. So Schmidt and I turned and walked back into the warehouse to double check the count I had done as the canisters were being brought inside. When we got back inside, I questioned Schmidt as to the contents of the containers. Having noticed numerous warning labels, I was a bit apprehensive. To my relief he informed me that it was just pesticide, and with a grin that I didn’t much care for, he mumbled under his breath, but intentionally audible so that I could hear it, “Good for killing all manner of pests.” Ignoring his comment, I got back to work. I did a second count of my stock, and found my original count was correct. One hundred canisters of pesticide! Auschwitz must have a bigger vermin problem than I could ever have imagined. Less than an hour later, after Schmidt and I had entered the Zyklon B into our ledgers, another truck rolled up. After a similar scene involving a new set of ten workers, I took a second count of this shipment, which was lube oil. Fifty barrels in all, a reasonable amount considering the number of vehicles maintained at the camp. After entering this new arrival in the ledgers, Schmidt and I did a complete inventory of the warehouse. Finding nothing out of order, or missing, I sent Schmidt off to lunch, and after locking up the warehouse securely, I proceeded to the Officer’s mess. I met a very intriguing fellow there. The Proffesor Carl Clauberg. He apparently works at the camp hospital, doing experiments involving fertility. I told him of my duties in camp, and of my already busy first morning. When I questioned him as to the use of so much Zyklon B in the camp, he laughed out loud. He then explained that, while Auschwitz was expanding, they were forced to use every amount of space for prisoner detainment. The natural laziness, and vile hygienic habits of the Jews, who have long since outnumbered the Poles, made for deplorable living conditions in the main blocks. We give them the means to clean up after themselves, but still they wallow in there own filth, hence the vermin problem. Satisfied with this more than adequate explanation, I bid Professor Clauberg good day, and asked him if he would like to meet me here for supper later on this evening. He reluctantly declined, and told me that he typically ate his supper at the hospital, his work being so demanding, it did not allow for much time off. So I returned to the warehouse to find Schmidt had already opened her back up, and was engaged in coordinating another transfer of Zyklon B canisters. Another one hundred cannisters at least. Sure enough, after making my initial count, and my customary second count, it came out to be exactly one hundred canisters. The same group of laborers, once again supervised by Schmidt and I, loaded five barrels of lube oil onto the truck. Not much else of interest happened today. Just double-checking of inventories, and of course supper. A little before sundown I retired to my room, anxiously awaiting the arrival of Monika’s letter. Oh how I miss her so.
Journal of Klaus Angermeyer, March 13th 1943.
Now I know what they are using the pesticide for. They are using it to exterminate, not vermin, but people! The bathhouse, of my earlier entries, was not really a shower and medical inspection building, but a brutally efficient combination gas chamber and crematoria. They were exterminating the Jews by the hundreds, at least a thousand a day! I cannot imagine why such a thing would be done. So much possible labor wasted. A resource of our nation squandered, without any logical reason. I do not hold any sympathy for the Jews. They are an insidious race, and they have no morals, but my God! Why kill them in such a way. The gas chamber has a thick glass window that allows one to look down on the chamber below. It was there that I witnessed the atrocity for which I have alluded. I must take time to think on this matter. I shall write no more on the subject tonight. I must think. Why not use a firing squad, or something quicker. The gas is an unnecessary method. It is cruelty for the sake of cruelty. Oh how they squirmed, the children were the worst to see. I must write to Monika, but I shall not tell her more than she needs to know. I must protect her delicate conscience. She would not understand the Fuhrer’s plans. She could not understand the necessity for such actions. We must ensure that the future of Germany is not corrupted by those Jewish animals. She would not understand. After all, I am only just beginning to understand it myself.
Letter to Monika Brinkmann, March 13th 1943.
My Eternal Beloved Monika,
I received your letter today, please tell Bruno I am trying my best, I just need a little more time. Today was a long day my love, Schmidt and I, Schmidt being my assistant, worked long after sundown, coordinating a transfer of several pesticide canisters from my warehouse, to another building. I witnessed something so appalling today, I dare not write anything further on the subject, for I know how you are, and I would not want to excite you. Have no fear my darling, I am safe, and I love you more today than yesterday. I guess it is true; absence does make the heart grow fonder. Give my love to your mother and brother, and remember not to waste any time grabbing things when the air raid siren goes off. Just get to the bunker. It would be tragically ironic if you died in the safety of the capital, and I outlived you while serving in the Corps. I must go to sleep now my love, for tomorrow is sure to be another busy day. I love you my dear. Forgive me if I do not write everyday. My work is exhausting.
Yours Eternally, Klaus
Journal of Klaus Angermeyer, March 14th 1943.
I am exhausted. I was kept awake all last night, by the continuous sound of rifle fire. I do not know how many shots were fired, but the shooting went on for at least an hour straight, with only one-minute intervals between volleys. They must have executed over a hundred people, probably Russian P.O.W.’s. I know they were not Jews, for I know how they execute Jews. Along with the irritation of the gunfire, I was plagued with the image of all those woman and children asphyxiated to death. The silent screams, the despair in their eyes. I am alarmed to admit; I think that I am becoming obsessed. All day long, as Schmidt and I went about our usual business, I could not push the image from out of my head. I must see it again. To come to an understanding with something one cannot explain, one must bear witness until it becomes clear. Tomorrow night I shall go there again, and if the director of the facility does not object, I shall bear witness to the horror again.
Journal of Klaus Angermeyer, March 15th 1943.
Last night the fire continued, but it did not bother me. I am beginning to like it. Am I going mad? I returned to the gas chamber today. I wanted to look away, but I could not. I am now beginning to understand why they are doing it. I visited Professor Clauberg at the hospital today, and he and I had a long discussion. He explained a lot to me, and now I think I fully understand. The gas is extremely efficient. It is cheap to produce, and it guarantees death, although not instantaneously. Plus it allows for mass execution, which as I am fully aware, firing squads, require even more time to kill half the people. I now know that the Fuhrer has come up with the ultimate final solution to the Jew problem: Total annihilation. I am not satisfied. I must do it myself. Only then can I truly serve the wishes of the Fuhrer, by taking part in his holy slaughter. Perhaps I have gone mad. And I do not know it. But to serve the Reich in madness is better than to shame the Reich with my sanity. Tomorrow I shall do it. Tomorrow I must do it, for the Fuhrer, and for the Reich.
Letter from Monika Brinkmann to Klaus Angermeyer, March 15th 1943. Arriving at Auschwitz March 16th.
Why do you keep secrets from me? Do you not trust me? I am not afraid, just tell me. If we are to marry, I must know everything you have seen and done, I will have it no other way. Either you tell me everything, or maybe we can just call off the wedding. I love you Klaus. If you love me, you will tell me everything. I will not judge, I will not jump to conclusions. I love you my dear, please do not hide anything from me.
Forever Faithful, Monika.
Journal of Klaus Angermeyer, March 16th 1943. Final Entry.
My God! What have I done? I am a murderer. One hundred women, and children; they are dead by my hands. Sure, I did not actually kill them, the gas killed them, but I was the one who poured that gas down upon them. How can I ever look Monika in her sweet face again? She says she wants to know everything. Everything I’ve seen, and everything I’ve done. My God, how could I tell her that I am a murderer of women and children? There is no way she could ever love me, not if she knew the truth. I could stop writing her, but I could never
return to Berlin. I would be an outcast in my own home. I have no other choice. I must end it now. I hope she understands, I love her still, and I shall love her in Hell. Who can deny that is where I am destined to be. I am an animal. No better than the poor wretches I slaughtered. I have made my decision, and I will not change my mind. I shall take my own life, in the only respectable way that a German officer can do so. I will take my life with my pistol. Monika, please forgive me. I have no choice. There is no other way. I write no more. To Hell I go, may God forgive me.
Letter From Frances Brinkmann to Klaus Angermeyer, March 17th 1943, Arriving at Auschwitz March 18th. Returned to sender.
I do not know where to begin. I pray that when you receive this letter they will grant you leave to come back to Berlin. Monika is dead, Bruno is dead. I am alone. Why? Merciful Lord why? It was an air raid, we could not find Bruno. I ran to the shelter, but Monika ran back to the house. I tried to follow, but Hermann stopped me. I screamed and I fought, but they would not let me go. She is dead Klaus. My children are all dead. First my dear Heinrich. And now both Monika and Bruno at once. Whatever shall I do? You are all I have left Klaus. I have no one else. My poor Bruno. His beautiful head crushed by debris, and Monika, Oh God why? She was pierced through the heart Klaus. A metal picket, from the churchyard gate, and her face Klaus, oh it was horrible, they burned her face, and the blood it was everywhere. Why did it have to happen? You are all I have now Klaus. You must come back to me. The war be damned. Hitler be damned. The Reich itself be damned. When will this war end? I do not want to lose you too. Come back to me. They cannot keep you from returning. Those monsters. They killed them. Those British beasts. Come back home Klaus. You are all that I have left.
Please Come Home, Frances.
© 2011 Paul Gurrieri