It is clear from a number of entries in the ‘diary’ manuscripts that the occupants of Prinsengracht 263 were convinced that mass executions were taking place. However, being in hiding, their only sources of information were radio broadcasts, especially by the BBC, and the small number of visitors to the annexe. The following passages demonstrate that the visitors were not the source. David Irving, in his introduction to The Leuchter Report: The First Forensic Examination of Auschwitz, attributes the reports of gassings which were broadcast by the BBC from June 1942 to the Psychological Warfare Executive, PWE.
Note: ‘Version a’ is the first draft of the ‘diary’ and this is incomplete. ‘Version b’ is the revised text which was written or rewritten in 1944 and upon which the published Diary is largely based. ‘Version a’ is the closest there is to an actual diary.
If it is all as awful as this in Holland how then will they live in the distant and barbarous regions, where they are taken to? We take it that most of them are murdered. The English radio speaks of gassing; perhaps that is indeed the quickest killing method.
The second question came this morning in connection with the occasion of all the posters that are hanging in the streets: What to do if the Germans start evacuating here?
No. 1: Go with them. Disguise ourselves as best we can.
No. 2: In no case go with them. Stay here! The Germans are in a state to drive the whole population still further back with them, until they die in Germany.
No. 3: Yes, stay here, we’re still the safest here. We’ll try and talk Kleiman into coming here to live with his family. We’ll see what wood shavings we can still get then we can lie on the floor. Let Miep and Kleiman bring blankets here definitely now. We’ll order 50 lb. of flour from Siemons, 60 lb. of grain is already in the house, ground and in good condition. Let’s ask Jan for another 10 lb. of peas, we already have 70 lb. of brown beans, 10 lb. of peas and 5 lbs. of marrow peas. 50 tins of vegetables, 20 little tins of fish, 40 little tins of milk, 4 kilos of milk powder, 3 bottles of oil, 4 preserving pots of butter, 4 preserving pots of meat, 4 pots of marmalade, 60 preserving jars of fruit, 20 bottles of tomato soup, 10 lb. of rolled oats, 8 lb. of rice, and no sugar. Our stocks are relatively large; but if you think that perhaps suddenly still many more people must eat, it’s real not too much. We have satisfactory coal and firewood in the house; as far as possible plenty of candles.
No. 4: Let’s all sew little breast pockets, to put our money in if we need to.
No. 5: We’ll make lists and pack the most essential things into rucksacks.
No. 6: If it gets that far we’ll make a look-out post in the front and back loft.
No. 7: Say now that we have well-stocked, but what if the gas and the electricity pack up? Then we must cook on the stove. Filter and boil our water. We’ll clean out some wicker bottles now, and put water in them if it gets that far. Further we have three preserving pans and a washtub as a water reservoir.
No. 8: We’ll have our Red Cross box, all winter coats, shoes, brandy and sugar brought from the Amende’s as quick as possible.
No. 9: We also still have 1½ hectolitres of winter potatoes in the back spice store. That’s how they go on here the whole day Daddy is planning, to give Margot and me ƒ 500,– each if needs must probably among which also dollars. Mummy and he will each take ƒ 1,000,–.
With the food we had the following conversation with Jan:
Gentlemen: We are afraid Jan, that the Germans, will take the whole population here with them.
Jan Gies: That’s anyhow not possible, how have they then the trains for it?
Gentlemen: Trains? Civilians will have to use foot-wagons.
J.: Of course not, you see here everything through too-dark spectacles, what would they have as their object?
G.: What has Goebels said: ‘If we have to step down, we slam the doors of all the occupied territories behind us!’
J.: They have said so much already!
G.: Do you think the Germans are too fine for that, they say: If we must go down, they will go down as well.
J.: I believe none of it!
G.: It’s always again the same, you don’t want to see what is happening!
J.: But where have you got this from, all you do is just make supposition.
G.: We have indeed pretended it with ourselves and is it any different in Russia?
J.: That’s completely different, the Jews are resigned completely outside contemplation. And in Russia you also don’t know what is happening, the English and Russians like the Germans will overdo it for propaganda purposes.
G.: We don’t believe that and even if we accept that it’s exaggerated 100% then it’s still awful enough, because it’s a fact that in Poland and Russia, Millions and still more millions have been murdered and gassed.
Kitty, I’ll just cease with this, spare you further details. I’m very calm and don’t take any notice of all the fuss; only I would find it awfully nice and reassuring if the Kleimans came here.