Sunday, March 06, 2005


Der Bombe

A surprising revelation in yesterday's Times of London, and one which has so far had little media play elsewhere: although it is well known that Germany was far from finishing a fission bomb by the end of World War II, German historian Rainer Karlsch claims that Nazis built and tested dirty bombs:

Hundreds of prisoners of war were burned and killed in the tests in 1944 and 1945 which led Hitler to believe that he could win the race for the atomic bomb and tip the war in his favour.... Dr Karlsch’s arguments are based on East German, British, American and Russian archives. Soviet military intelligence infiltrated the SS unit supervising the nuclear tests.He also took soil samples from the test areas on the island of Rügen and the state of Thuringia and interviewed survivors who saw test explosions. “The evidence presented is very persuasive,” said Professor Mark Walker, of Union College in New York State, an authority on German nuclear research.

Dr Karlsch was alerted to the possibility of Nazi nuclear testing by the recollections of elderly residents from the region close to Ohrdruf concentration camp. “I was standing by the window at 9pm at night and there was suddenly a long, slim pillar of light. It became so bright that I could have read a newspaper,” said Claere Werner. “The pillars expanded at the top so that they looked like a leafy tree.” That was on March 3, 1945. “The next day, and the days following, we all became so tired.” The community started to suffer from nose bleeds, severe headaches and nausea.

Karlsch's previous work in researching uranium mining and nuclear development in wartime and postwar Germany has been lauded in this H-Net review, so he would seem to know whereof he speaks. Although Hitler's Bomb has is to be published by DVA next week in Germany, I see no listings for an English-language release.

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