Garber, Dr. Max

U.S. Air Force bombardier

Garber served in the U.S. Army Air Force as a navigator and radar bombardier during World War II from February 1943 through the fall of 1945. While based at Cerignola in southern Italy he was assigned to the 15th Air Force, 304th Bomber Wing, 459th Bomber Group, 758th Squadron. He participated in bombing missions over Austria, southern Germany, Yugoslavia, and southern Poland. He shows evidence in the form of operations reports, furnished to him by the HQ USAF Historical Research Center, that his unit was involved in bombing missions to the Osweicim (Auschwitz) Oil Refineries on December 18, 1944, and December 26, 1944, designated as missions #166 and #170 respectively.

Garber states that the oil refineries were located about five miles from what the flight crews were told was a forced labor camp located at Osweicim. During the pre-mission briefing sessions, the flight crews were told to avoid the forced labor camp and that bombing it would result in killing innocent people. The camp was not designated at any time as either the prime or a secondary target.

Garber further notes that railroad marshalling yards were frequently selected as primary or secondary targets. Because of the Germans' ability to restore railroads, these targets were only bombed for tactical rather than strategic purposes. At no time were the railroads leading to the Auschwitz death camp or the railheads closeby designated as a primary or secondary target.

In briefings prior to bombing missions in or around Munich, the flight crews were made aware of the existence of Dachau, a slave labor camp nearby. The instructions for this camp were that same as for Auschwitz. For missions over Linz, Austria, the existence of the nearby camp Mauthausen was not made known to Garber.

Garber clearly states that Auschwitz was well within range of the U.S. bombers based in southern Italy and that its true nature as an extermination camp containing mass production facilities for killing was not made known to the flight crews.

Interview Information:
Date: December 13, 1989
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Format: Video recording

Additional Interview

In addition to the information presented in his interview of December 13, 1989, Garber showed a copy of his "Individual Combat Flight Record" as a member of the 758th Bombardment Squadron, which proved that he was personally involved in a bombing mission on December 18, 1944, targeting Auschwitz. Garber was the navigator and radar bombardier on this mission. The target was identified by Garber as a factory producing synthetic rubber.

Further verification of this bombing raid can be found in "Auschwitz Chronicle, 1939 - 1945" by Danuta Czech, published by Henry Holt & Co., New York, which is based on the actual camp records. It has an entry for December 18, 1944, stating "renewed Allied air attacks on the I.G. Farben plants in Dwory near Auschwitz take place."

The I.G. Farben plant was located approximately five miles east of Auschwitz, near the villages of Dwory and Monowitz. The site was also known as Auschwitz III, or by the names Buna or Monowitz, and was a major labor camp providing the labor for the I.G. Farben complex.

The information presented is another verification that the Auschwitz camp complex was within range of American bombers based in Italy which could have bombed the gas chambers and crematoriums used for mass extermination at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz II (Birkenau).

Interview Information:
Interviewer: Hans R. Weinmann
Date: January 9, 2001
Length: 8 minutes
Format: Video recording