Those yellow corpses

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friedrichjansson
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Those yellow corpses

Post by friedrichjansson » Sat Aug 31, 2013 8:05 pm

Roberto has repeatedly argued that Wiernik's seeming reference to the corpses of the gassed at Treblinka being yellow is simply the result of a mistranslation.

In that connection, I want to ask Roberto a hypothetical question: if it turned out that the translation is correct, and Wiernik really did refer to yellow corpses, would you admit that this is highly damaging to his testimony? Answer yes or no.

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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by Roberto » Mon Sep 02, 2013 11:37 am

friedrichjansson wrote:Roberto has repeatedly argued that Wiernik's seeming reference to the corpses of the gassed at Treblinka being yellow is simply the result of a mistranslation.
Have I? Where was that?

It's a mistranslation indeed, by the way. As pointed out here.
friedrichjansson wrote:In that connection, I want to ask Roberto a hypothetical question: if it turned out that the translation is correct, and Wiernik really did refer to yellow corpses, would you admit that this is highly damaging to his testimony? Answer yes or no.
I answer any way I feel like, and I only take orders from my wife.

If Wiernik had actually referred to "yellow" corpses, I would attribute that to a) the pale corpses of malnourished ghetto Jews having for some reason appeared "yellow" to the witness and b) the witness having wrongly attributed this "yellow" appearance to the effect of the gas. Nothing less and nothing more. I remember having seen mentions of "yellow" or "yellowish" corpses in another context.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by friedrichjansson » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:00 pm

Roberto wrote: If Wiernik had actually referred to "yellow" corpses, I would attribute that to a) the pale corpses of malnourished ghetto Jews having for some reason appeared "yellow" to the witness and b) the witness having wrongly attributed this "yellow" appearance to the effect of the gas.
So even describing the corpses as yellow rather than red doesn't shake your faith in Wiernik. What would it take to make you mistrust a testimony? Suppose, to take our hypothetical to an extreme, that the USHMM made another spectacular discovery to go along with the Rosenberg diaries, and found Wiernik's handwritten draft for A Year in Treblinka. Suppose that this draft contained, say, a story about people being killed with chlorine, which of course did not appear in the published version. Granted, this is a pretty far fetched supposition. But if such a draft were found, and it did contain such an obvious lie - would even that suffice to shatter your faith?
Roberto wrote: I remember having seen mentions of "yellow" or "yellowish" corpses in another context.
Why, yes. Vasily Grossman stated that "People who carried out this task [removing bodies from the chambers] have told me that the faces of the dead were very yellow". So multiple witnesses told Grossman that the corpses were yellow. If, hypothetically, Wiernik also gave such a description, then it's all a bit too much to be explained as just an innocent mistake, isn't it? As a reminder: this is what people who have died from exhaust inhalation look like:

Image

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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by Roberto » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:18 pm

friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote: If Wiernik had actually referred to "yellow" corpses, I would attribute that to a) the pale corpses of malnourished ghetto Jews having for some reason appeared "yellow" to the witness and b) the witness having wrongly attributed this "yellow" appearance to the effect of the gas.
So even describing the corpses as yellow rather than red doesn't shake your faith in Wiernik.
Unlike my self-projecting interlocutor, I don't need faith. Common sense will do nicely for me.
friedrichjansson wrote:What would it take to make you mistrust a testimony?
Depends on what you mean by "mistrust". Do you mean suspecting that the witness was mistaken about or even embellished or invented certain details, or do you mean suspecting that the witness made up the whole account from start to finish?
friedrichjansson wrote:Suppose, to take our hypothetical to an extreme, that the USHMM made another spectacular discovery to go along with the Rosenberg diaries, and found Wiernik's handwritten draft for A Year in Treblinka. Suppose that this draft contained, say, a story about people being killed with chlorine, which of course did not appear in the published version. Granted, this is a pretty far fetched supposition. But if such a draft were found, and it did contain such an obvious lie - would even that suffice to shatter your faith?
As concerns the "faith" BS, see above. An "obvious lie" in an account produced by Wiernik (which would require Wiernik's being aware of the engine exhaust method at the time he wrote about chlorine) would mean what obvious lies mean in regard to any eyewitness, namely that one is well advised to rely on such eyewitness's testimony only to the extent that it is corroborated by evidence independent thereof (which can be one or more other testimonies uninfluenced by that witness's testimony).
friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote: I remember having seen mentions of "yellow" or "yellowish" corpses in another context.
Why, yes. Vasily Grossman stated that "People who carried out this task [removing bodies from the chambers] have told me that the faces of the dead were very yellow". So multiple witnesses told Grossman that the corpses were yellow.
Who would those "multiple witnesses" be, and why didn't they provide their account to anyone other than Grossman? Unless such other testimonies are known, it remains possible that Wiernik was Grossman's only source and Grossman made him into several "people". That was not the context I was talking about, by the way.
friedrichjansson wrote:If, hypothetically, Wiernik also gave such a description, then it's all a bit too much to be explained as just an innocent mistake, isn't it?
No, he might still have had the impression that the pale malnourished corpses looked "yellow", and mistakenly attributed that "yellow" aspect to the gas.
friedrichjansson wrote:As a reminder: this is what people who have died from exhaust inhalation look like:

Image
When would they look like that, in the absence of the hindering factors mentioned here? Upon being taken out of the gas chamber, or when livor mortis had become confluent?

These stiffs look pretty "yellow" to me in the parts without hypostasis, by the way:

Image
Image

Sort of like condensed milk.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by friedrichjansson » Tue Sep 03, 2013 4:13 am

Roberto wrote: An "obvious lie" in an account produced by Wiernik (which would require Wiernik's being aware of the engine exhaust method at the time he wrote about chlorine)
Yes, in the hypothetical Wiernik wrote this draft after he escaped from Treblinka, so he was well aware of the engine exhaust method at the time he wrote about chlorine.
Roberto wrote:it remains possible that Wiernik was Grossman's only source and Grossman made him into several "people".
Wiernik is supposed to have been in Warsaw when Grossman was writing his book, and the Soviets didn't get to Warsaw until 1945 - too late for Wiernik to be the source.

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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by Roberto » Tue Sep 03, 2013 12:37 pm

friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote: An "obvious lie" in an account produced by Wiernik (which would require Wiernik's being aware of the engine exhaust method at the time he wrote about chlorine)
Yes, in the hypothetical Wiernik wrote this draft after he escaped from Treblinka, so he was well aware of the engine exhaust method at the time he wrote about chlorine.
Which would mean what obvious lies mean in regard to any eyewitness, namely that one is well advised to rely on such eyewitness's testimony only to the extent that it is corroborated by evidence independent thereof (which can be one or more other testimonies uninfluenced by that witness's testimony).
friedrichjansson wrote:
Roberto wrote:it remains possible that Wiernik was Grossman's only source and Grossman made him into several "people".
Wiernik is supposed to have been in Warsaw when Grossman was writing his book, and the Soviets didn't get to Warsaw until 1945 - too late for Wiernik to be the source.
So other witnesses besides Wiernik had recollections similar to this one by an eyewitness to conditions in the Budapest ghetto in December 1944:
In narrow Kazinczy Street, enfeebled men, drooping their heads, were pushing a wheelbarrow. On the rattling contraption naked human bodies as yellow as wax were jolted along and a stiff arm with black patches was dangling and knocking against the spokes of the wheel.[...]
(Quote in Krisztián Ungváry, Battle for Budapest. 100 Days in World War II, p. 247.)

Except that, given the context of their recollections, they (wrongly) attributed the "yellow" coloring of the bodies to the effect of the gas.

Or then this was Grossman's own conclusion from what he was told by his interviewees, for he wrote the following:
People who were unloading the chambers told me that the faces of dead people were very yellow, and a little blood ran from the noses and mouths of about 70 per cent of them. Physiologists can explain this.
Grossman also mentioned yellow in another context, namely when describing one of the Trawniki guards at the gas chambers:
They were sadists and maniacs, one of them tall, about thirty years old, with broad shoulders, a dark-skinned excited face and black hair, the other one younger, short, with brown hair and waxy, yellow cheeks. We know the names and surnames of these traitors to mankind. The tall one was holding a massive, metre-ling gas tube in the hand, the other one was armed with a sabre.
Quotes are from: A Writer at War. Vassily Grossman with the Red Army 1941 – 1945, edited and translated by Antony Beevor and Luba Vinogradova, pages 281 ff.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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theblackrabbitofinlé
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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by theblackrabbitofinlé » Tue Sep 03, 2013 11:01 pm

Roberto wrote:
Grossman also mentioned yellow in another context,
On the highway from Lenozny to Lublin the advancing division was overtaken by a torrential downpour. It was warm. Yellow clouds hung over the earth and a thick mist rose from the ground.

"They Have Waited for Us" by "The Famous Soviet Author VASSILI GROSSMAN," Soviet War News Weekly, August 3, 1944, p.3.
We just wish to point out to the court that is not a signed sworn statement of Dr. Bender but merely a translation of an alleged or purported statement of Dr. Bender, the original of which, like many other things, is not to be found today.
- Defence counsel, Dachau trial, 7 August 1947

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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by Roberto » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:11 pm

theblackrabbitofinlé wrote:
Roberto wrote:
Grossman also mentioned yellow in another context,
On the highway from Lenozny to Lublin the advancing division was overtaken by a torrential downpour. It was warm. Yellow clouds hung over the earth and a thick mist rose from the ground.

"They Have Waited for Us" by "The Famous Soviet Author VASSILI GROSSMAN," Soviet War News Weekly, August 3, 1944, p.3.
And what "point" is the rabbit trying to make?
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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theblackrabbitofinlé
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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by theblackrabbitofinlé » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:45 pm

Roberto wrote:And what "point" is the rabbit trying to make?
We have heard about the death factories in Poland. People were told they were being taken to labour camps. They were packed into trains. Then the trains were switched to a spur line running to huge barracks.

The people were told to strip and go to bath-houses. There they were killed by lethal gases, or by electricity, or the floor opened up and they dropped into underground cellars where their bones were crushed, after which a conveyor ran the mutilated bodies into a furnace.

I was told there were more than thirty such death factories in Eastern Poland and Silesia. There was one six miles from Lublin, another near Sabibur station in the same area, another near Wladowa.

- "Yak Boga!" by Vasily Grossman, Soviet War News Weekly, August 3, 1944, p.3.
Like all good novelists, Grossman had a vivid imagination.
We just wish to point out to the court that is not a signed sworn statement of Dr. Bender but merely a translation of an alleged or purported statement of Dr. Bender, the original of which, like many other things, is not to be found today.
- Defence counsel, Dachau trial, 7 August 1947

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Re: Those yellow corpses

Post by Roberto » Wed Sep 04, 2013 12:50 pm

theblackrabbitofinlé wrote:
Roberto wrote:And what "point" is the rabbit trying to make?
We have heard about the death factories in Poland. People were told they were being taken to labour camps. They were packed into trains. Then the trains were switched to a spur line running to huge barracks.

The people were told to strip and go to bath-houses. There they were killed by lethal gases, or by electricity, or the floor opened up and they dropped into underground cellars where their bones were crushed, after which a conveyor ran the mutilated bodies into a furnace.

I was told there were more than thirty such death factories in Eastern Poland and Silesia. There was one six miles from Lublin, another near Sabibur station in the same area, another near Wladowa.

- "Yak Boga!" by Vasily Grossman, Soviet War News Weekly, August 3, 1944, p.3.
Like all good novelists, Grossman had a vivid imagination.
Or insufficient information at the time of this writing, thus having to rely on rumors. Still, he got several things right in early August 1944 already, namely lethal gasses and the existence of the Sobibór extermination camp.
Denial of generally known historical facts should not be punishable. For those who maintain, for instance, that Germany did not take part in World War I or that Adenauer fought at Issus in 333, their own stupidity is punishment enough. The same should apply to the denial of the horrors and crimes of the recent German past.
~ A German jurist by the name of Baumann in the German juridical magazine NJW, quoted in: Bailer-Galanda/Benz/Neugebauer (ed.), Die Auschwitzleugner, Berlin 1996, page 261 (my translation).

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