Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was the courier for the original Auschwitz architectural plans from Germany to Yad Vashem in Israel in 2009, over the objections of the German government, according to a senior German journalist.
According to former Bild editor-in-chief Kai Diekmann, whose newspaper had obtained the documents, Netanyahu, then-prime minister of Israel, was chosen for the smuggling assignment because of his diplomatic immunity from inspection. There was no indication that Netanyahu knew the request was illegal.
The blueprints, which included a gas chamber and a “delousing facility,” so labeled, from a 1941 expansion plan for the Nazi death camp, were discovered in 2008 in a Berlin apartment, the newspaper said. The paper subsequently printed some of the materials.
“We had to decide what to do with the drawings. I was convinced that they need to get to Yad Vashem,” Diekmann told the Berlin-based Hebrew-language magazine Spitz.
But the German National Archives wanted the blueprints to remain in the country, and Diekmann was warned by the Interior Ministry that he would be arrested if he tried to take them abroad.
“They and the German Interior Ministry told us that these documents belong to the government of Germany, because the German government is the legal successor of the Third Reich,” Diekmann said.
“Then I had an idea: to find someone who can take them past the border, someone who would not be arrested.
“We asked Netanyahu if he would come to Berlin and attend a ceremony during which we will give him the documents – and that’s what happened,” Diekmann recounted in the interview.
“These documents reveal that everyone who had even anything remotely to do with the planning and construction of the concentration camp must have known that people were to be gassed to death in assembly-line fashion,” Bild wrote.
“The documents refute once and for all claims by those who deny the Holocaust even took place,” it added.
The blueprints have since been housed in the Yad Vashem archives and are available to the public for viewing.