Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

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Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »

The Veritas team would like to begin our response by reiterating the prediction made at the conclusion of our opening statement.

"We of the Veritas team anticipate, further to our past experience debating Revisionists, that the response of the Negationist team to this opening statement will be to ignore the bulk of our argument, instead zeroing in on two or three items of evidence that we have cited and highlighting the problems with those items in the belief that our entire case will be seen as discredited if they are able to cast doubt on their reliability with hypothetical possibilities or alternatives. If this is the case, it will only demonstrate how woefully they misunderstand our argument, and, indeed, the whole manner in which the study of history is conducted."

While the Negationists have remained true to form, we admit to being a bit dismayed at how little effort they put into content. For while they did, as expected, choose to ignore the whole of our argument, they barely bothered to attack two, let alone three, of the items of evidence we brought in to support it, preferring instead to brush the whole of the Veritas OS under the carpet:
In general, however, the comments by Veritas are irrelevant. Not one of their comments adequately addresses the proof of the existence of homicidal gas chambers.
A hilarious statement considering that hardly any of the eyewitness, documentary and physical evidence presented by the Veritas Team is addressed, with its supposed inadequcy towards addressing the resolution explained. It is just declared, in toto and without explanation or justification, to be irrelevant. This is the Negationist team's idea of "scholarly debate".

Having completely ignored our actual argument, the Negationist team then proceeds, on numerous occasions, to try and give their baseless speculations the appearance of credibility by contrasting them against absurd misrepresentations of the position they are arguing against. One particularly egregious example will suffice for now, though numerous others will be examined as we address the Negationist team's response in detail:
Instead we get accounts of corporals chiselling holes in the roofs of basements or dumping insecticide through attic vents, not to fumigate but to exterminate. We have stories where instant death occurs and minutes later special-teams go in to pull out the bodies to be further violated and cremated. Victim cartoons prove it!
They then provide a link to a drawing made by Sonderkommando eyewitness David Olére.

This statement of the normative position looks nothing like the one that the Veritas team actually offered through the convergence of eyewitness testimonies, which we will reiterate here for the Negationist team's edification so they will know what they're really arguing against:

"The first documented gassing experiments took place at Auschwitz in the second half of 1941 - probably the first days of September – in the cellar of a building called “Block 11” of the Auschwitz main camp. Later a room of the main camp’s crematorium was adapted as a gas chamber. In 1942 two abandoned peasant houses in a forest in the area of Birkenau were converted into gas chambers. These houses were known as the “bunkers” of Birkenau. In the spring of 1943 four crematoria were built in the area of Birkenau, each of which had a disrobing cellar for the victims, a gas chamber and a room with cremation ovens. The killing and cremation of the victims was then carried out in these buildings, one of the “bunkers” still being used, however, when the number of people to be killed was too high for the gas chambers in the crematoria to cope with. Dead bodies in excess of what the crematoria could handle were incinerated in the open. Most of the people killed in the gas chambers were killed shortly upon arrival, usually after a selection in which those deemed able to work were sorted, taken into the camp and registered. There were also regular selections among the registered inmates, after which those considered no longer able to work were killed, either by phenol injections or by gassing. The removal of the dead bodies from the gas chambers and their cremation or incineration in the open were carried out by special detachments (Sonderkommandos) of able-bodied Jewish inmates under the supervision of SS guards. On 7 October 1944, one of the crematoria of Birkenau was disabled during a revolt of these special detachments. The remaining crematoria were blown up by the SS in January 1945, before the Birkenau complex was evacuated in the face of the approaching Soviet troops."

As you can see, and contrary to the Negationist team's implication, our position is in no way committed to any particular technical details as to how the holes were placed in the roof and by whom, how the gas was introduced, or how quickly the poison acted. We are content to let the evidence speak for itself on these points of contention, which in no way challenge our basic position however they come to be resolved. Nor do we recall where we, or for that matter any mainstream Holocaust historian, made the claim that "victim cartoons prove it". On the contrary, we seem to recall posting an opening statement which cited 101 items of evidence (in which "victim cartoons" were not even mentioned) which collectively "prove it", yet which the Negationist team saw fit to ignore entirely, preferring instead to misrepresent the position they are up against with this and other absurd caricatures. Nonetheless, we would like to thank the Negationist team for calling our attention to David Olére - another first-hand eyewitness to mass homicidal gassings that we neglected to mention in our opening statement. This brings the total number of victim eyewitnesses whose credibility and testimony stand unchallenged by the Negationist team to 20, and the total number of items of evidence which converge to support of the Veritas team's position, reiterated above, to 102. (And we intend to continue throughout this and future posts with a running total of items of evidence presented that remain unchallenged and unrefuted by the Negationists.)

Given that the Veritas team's argument and evidence stands unrefuted, there is little reason for us to continue. For if even one of the eyewitnesses cited by the Veritas team - whose accounts stand unchallenged by the Negationists - genuinely saw what they claim to have seen, the gas chambers stand proven. Nonetheless, Veritas will proceed to examine and refute the Negationists' response point by point. We do this for two reasons: 1) because, as we have explained, we are motivated by the belief that the intellectual perversions of revisionism should not be left unexposed, and the Negationist response presents many classic examples of fallacious logic, false assumptions, and misleading rhetoric typical of revisionism which we would like to take this opportunity to study, and 2) unlike the Negationists, we feel that if we claim that the argument of our opponent is irrelevant, false and misleading, we are bound by honour to comprehensively substantiate this characterisation rather than just assert it.

To nobody’s surprise, the Negationist Team’s Response, finally submitted on 19.05.2004, features many of the staples of the movement that inappropriately calls itself “Revisionism”, including but not limited to:

i) A somewhat-less-than-honest extolling of the art and science of history, of which “Revisionism” is a mockery.
ii) Provocative assertions and accusations, as hollow as they are bold.
iii) Rhetorical phrases and catchwords, as hollow as they are unpalatable.
iv) An almost total failure to address historical evidence in general and the evidence presented by their opponents in particular.
v) A near total failure to present evidence in support of claims made.
vi) Ignorant and/or irrelevant postulations of “how things would have been done, had they been done”.
vii) Downright untruths and plain nonsense.

So let’s enjoy this comedy, shall we?
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: Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »


The only point at which the Negationist response engages directly with the Veritas opening statement is over the introductory section in which Veritas outlined its impressions of the context in which this debate was taking place - the section least relevant to the specific facts of the case, in which the Veritas team was quite openly expressing its subjective views. In their commentary on the Veritas Team’s brief description of the main “Revisionist” contentions, the NT provide a good example of the fallacy mentioned in item vi) above: ignorant and/or irrelevant postulations of “how things would have been done, had they been done”. They write:
All we need is a wartime document with an order to murder Jews in gas chambers.
So once again, the Negationist team, rather than looking at the evidence and asking how it can best be interpreted, starts with a given theory and establishes a priori and without explanation or justification, what evidence it will demand must exist in support of that theory, the absence of which will leave the matter, in their view, disproven obviating any need to look further or deeper. Once again, they are content to sit back and "await" evidence like a fairy princess waiting to be rescued, rather than going themselves into the available data and asking what can be learned from it. In particular, they demand a single magic document that single-handedly proves the whole of the case in all of its particulars. This is what the Negationist team considers "scientific historiography", yet we know of no other historical event to which such an approach is applied. The idea of a written order is irrelevant because the evidence to the Nazi government’s genocidal policy, which includes minutes of meeting, diary entries and statements in front of selected insider audiences, is so plentiful as to make anyone’s uninformed speculation on how things “would have” come into being a ridiculously moot exercise.

The postulation that the murder of Jews in gas chambers would have required a written order also reflects an ignorance of the nature of decision-making processes in the Nazi government, where the leader gave his overall and general blessing to impulses for a certain program or policy coming from various sides and left the organization of such program or policy to his minions, who in turn left the details of execution to their underlings. It is further ignorant because it fails to take into account the evidence of Hitler’s reluctance to issue written mass murder orders that could be directly traced back to him, especially after the bad experience he had previously had with his written order – issued at the insistence of top-level organizers who wished to see their backs covered – for the murder of inmates of mental health institutions, the so-called “euthanasia” program.

Just how unlikely the need is for a written order from any top Nazi official is attested to by Adolph Eichmann, SS Lieutenant-Colonel and Chief of the Jewish Office of the Gestapo, whose responsibility it was to transport Jews to Auschwitz from all over Europe. In Life Magazine's 1960 published interview given by Eichmann to a German journalist in the 1950's Eichmann says, rather derisively: "It is not true that Reichsführer Himmler set down in writing anything ordering the annihilation of the Jews. Do you think he sat down to write, "My dear Eichmann, the Führer has ordered the physical annihilation of the Jews"? The truth is that Himmler never put a line in writing on this subject. I know that he always gave his instructions orally to Lieut. General Oswald Pohl, in charge of the economic administration which ran the concentration camps. I never received any order of this sort."

[Link is no longer available. Eichmann’s statement is quoted in this post on the Axis History Forum – RM.]

In their ensuing comment, in response to our observation that revisionists generally claim:
V: (iv) that the Holocaust is largely or entirely a myth invented during the war by Allied propagandists and sustained after the war by Jews in order to obtain political and financial support for the newly-created state of Israel.

N: The term "Holocaust" actually came up only in the seventies. Was there not a movie with the title Holocaust? How on earth could the Allies have used this term during WWII as propaganda?
the NT display the intellectual dishonesty of a rather puerile “wise guy”, reading our statement as if it referred to the term “Holocaust” rather than to the Nazi genocide of the Jewish population of Europe, generally known under that term. Their implicit hint that they don’t believe in an Allied/Jewish propaganda conspiracy is contradicted immediately thereafter by their bolded statement:
"Are we to believe that the Allies did not use propaganda and that everything they propagated during WWII was the absolute truth?"
An interesting question, one that subtly invites the straw-man assumption that we have argued, or that our position relies, on the proposition that the Allies did not use propaganda or that everything they propagated during WWII was the absolute truth. Yet the resolution with which we are confronted is not whether the Allies used propaganda or whether everything they propagated was true. The resolution relates to a specific event, and the Negationists appear to be trying to get out of having to provide evidence that this specific event was a figment of Allied propaganda, or that it was untrue, by simply subsuming it into this broader category - ie. if the Allies used propaganda, then this too must be. What we have here is either an ignorant postulation or a downright, conscious untruth: the reader is asked to believe – to borrow the NT’s terminology – that the historical record of the Nazi genocide of the Jews is but the result of an uncritical absorption of whatever the Allies “propagated during WWII”. The NT would be hard-pressed to demonstrate just how much of what is known about the events in question was “propagated during WWII” rather than established in the ensuing decades through thorough criminal investigation – mostly by West German, not Allied criminal justice authorities – and the research of professional historians.

Then our esteemed opponents delight us with the following provocative rhetorical question:
And were there not huge sums which were extorted out of Germany?
The plain and simple answer is: no.

As clearly shown in an online information bulletin published under http://www.bundesfinanzministeri...e-2003.pdf by the Federal German Government, the bulk of payments made as of 31 December 2002, on account of compensation for National Socialist crimes, went to individual victims of National Socialist persecution and violence. Payments to Israel and other states are a trifle by comparison, as the following list taken from that bulletin shows:
Amount in billion Euro
I. Payments to date
1. Federal Indemnification Law (BEG) 43.079
2. Federal Restitution Law (BRüG) 2.022
3. Compensatory Pension Law (ERG) 0.648
4. Nazi Victim Compensation Law (NS-VEntschG) 0.838
5. Israel treaty 1.764
6. Overall agreements with individual states (and similar) 1.460
7. Other payments (payments not covered by I.1 to I.3) 4.586
8. Payments by German federal states not included in BEG 1.420
9. Settlement of hardship cases (without federal states) 2.073
10. Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future" 2.556
Total 60.446

Status: 31 December 2002
[Link is no longer available. Updated figures until 2011 can be found in Anlage 1 - Leistungen der öffentlichen Hand auf dem Gebiet der Wiedergutmachung of the brochure Entschädigung von NS-Unrecht. Regelungen zur Wiedergutmachung, issued by the German Federal Republic’s Ministry of Finance.]

According to the above, compensation payments made by the German Government amounted to 60.446 billion Euro, of which only 1.764 billion (2.91%) were payments to the state of Israel – made under an agreement, not “extorted”. 43,079 billion Euro or 71.25% of the total, on the other hand, were paid according to the Bundesentschädigungsgesetz, the Federal Indemnification Law, which, as explained in the bulletin, "... regulates the claims of persons who were persecuted on account of their political convictions, for reasons of race, belief or due to their philosophy of life and as a result suffered physical injury or material loss, in particular loss of life, bodily harm or harm to their health, loss of property and assets as well as the hindering of their professional and financial advancement..." According to an English-language summary the 2001 edition of this bulletin , in the period from 1 October 1953 to 31 December 1987 4,384,138 claims for indemnification were filed under this legislation by both Jews and non-Jews who suffered from National Socialist persecution. Regarding the handling of these claims, we read the following in the bulletin:
[…]Granted: 2,014,142
Rejections 1,246,571
Other settlements (e.g. retractions) 1,123,425
The number of claimants has not been statistically recorded. It is not identical with the number of claims made, as according to a statement made by the respective federal states responsible for the implementation of the Federal Indemnification Law (BEG), each rightful claimant makes more than one claim on average. The exact number of valid claims made by each claimant cannot be deduced.
The number of claims and settlements made between 1 January 1988 and the present day is so slight that it is longer statistically recorded by the states.[…]
[Link is no longer available. The numbers of applications and approvals are mentioned in Anlage 1 - Leistungen der öffentlichen Hand auf dem Gebiet der Wiedergutmachung of the brochure Entschädigung von NS-Unrecht. Regelungen zur Wiedergutmachung, issued by the German Federal Republic’s Ministry of Finance. – RM]

As we can see from the above, only about half the claims made (by a million claimants at most, considering that every rightful claimant made more than one claim on average) were granted. If this suggests “extortion”, then so does the processing of income tax return payments in any state in the western hemisphere.

But as we already said at the beginning of our reply, it’s not unusual to see “Revisionists” throwing wild claims around without knowing what they are talking about, and without evidence other than bizarre and rather irrelevant assertions like this one:
Threatens Edgar Bronfman, president of the World Jewish Congress, the foreign minister of Germany Lothar de Maizière during his visit to New York in September 1990:

"Es wird ein schreckliches Ende für die Deutschen geben, sollten künftige Generationen die Zahlungen an Israel und an das Weltjudentum einstellen; dann wird das deutsche Volk von der Erde verschwinden."

(There will be a horrible end for Germany in case future generations should stop payments to Israel and to the World Jewry. The German people will disappear from the earth.)
If Edgar Bronfman had said this to Lothar de Maizière, he would be a f*ucking a*sshole (pardon our French), and he wouldn’t be speaking for either the state of Israel or any Jewish entity or organization other than his own – assuming what the NT tells us to be the “World Jewish Congress” would back such an idiotic statement by its president.

But was that statement ever made? There are good reasons to doubt this. The first is the source invoked: an article by a Cedric Martel on a “Revisionist” site, which in turn refers to a book called “Verdammter Antisemitismus” by a H. Robinson, published by an editor called “Neue Visionen” in Würenlos, Switzerland.

“Neue Visionen” publishes books advised by the anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi Zundelsite, e.g. Jürgen Graf’s pamphlets:

Harold Cecil Robinson’s “Verdammter Antisemitismus”, online under is an anti-Semitic pamphlet of the lowliest kind, as anyone familiar with the German language will soon discover.

Very credible sources indeed.

Then there is the occasion on which Mr. Bronfman’s statement is supposed to have been made, which Mr. Martel renders as follows: "Edgar Bronfman, Jüdische Weltliga, zum Außenminister der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Lothar de Maizière bei dessen Antrittsbesuch in New York, September 1990."

Our translation: Edgar Bronfman, World Jewish League, to the Foreign Minister of the German Federal Republic Lothar de Maizière during the latter’s start attendance in New York, September 1990.

Mr. Martel should thank the NT for having corrected to “World Jewish Congress” his ignorant reference to a non-existent “World Jewish League”. What the NT obviously didn’t know, however, is that Lothar de Maizière was never a Foreign Minister of the German Federal Republic and could therefore not possibly have been in New York (why not Washington, D.C., by the way?) in connection with a start attendance as a foreign minister. In September 1990 – i.e. before the Reunification of Germany, which took place on 03.10.1990 – he was the Prime Minister of the disappearing German Democratic Republic, an office he held until 02.10.1990, the day before the Reunification. After the Reunification he became a member of the Federal German Parliament (Bundestag) and a minister without portfolio, but his political career was shaken in December 1990 by the revelation that he had been an “informal collaborator” of the Stasi, the GDR’s infamous security service. See Lothar de Maizière’s online biography in German under

and a short English-language biography under

So if Lothar de Maizière met Edgar Bronfman in New York in September 1990, it was certainly not in his capacity as a member of the Federal German government, as claimed by Martel.

As to Mr. Bronfman, readers may judge for themselves if the not only highly impolite, but brutally violent statement attributed to him (one that, curiously, appears in German to mirror the language used by Himmler at Posen in reference to the Jews) is in any way compatible with the World Jewish Congress’s statement of purpose: "[…]Serving as a diplomatic arm of the Jewish people to world governments and international organizations it tries to preserve the principle of unity in diversity and always seeks consensus.[…]"

After this glorious shot in the foot, the NT dish up the following mistranslated, out-of-context quote:
And Heinz Galinski, former chairman of the Jewish community in Berlin in "Blättern für deutsche und internationale Politik," January 1987:

"Wir geben den Weg zu einer schrankenlosen Geschichtsdiskussion nicht frei."

(We will not permit a free and open discussion on history.)
To translate “schrankenlose Geschichtsdiskussion” as “free and open discussion on history” is an insult to both the German and the English languages. The German term “schrankenlos” literally means “without barriers” or “limitless”, and generally has a negative connotation of “no holds barred”. What Galinski meant to say when he spoke of a “limitless” discussion is hard to establish on the basis of a single sentence taken out of context, but it is probable that he was speaking against letting propagandistic hagiography become a part of historical discussion along with objective scholarship. We hereby request the NT to provide the context of Mr. Galinski’s statement, so as to allow for a proper interpretation of what this gentleman meant to say.

Not content with pointing the finger at Messrs. Bronfman and Galinski, the NT bring up the following “Revisionist” staple:
According to a 1979 Manifesto of 34 top French historians, that is exactly the approach of academic Holocaust history. There cannot be any discussion of the gaschambers!
Reading of the “Manifesto of 34 top French historians”, to a translation of which the NT kindly provided a link - - "It should not be wondered how, technically, such mass murder was possible. It was possible technically since it took place. Such is the starting point obliged of any historical investigation on this subject. This truth, it belonged to us to point out simply: there is not, there cannot be debate on the existence of gas chambers." - is enough to recognize the dishonest misinterpretation in claiming that the statement is saying that debate on the gas chambers is something forbidden or taboo to historians. What the “34 top French historians” obviously meant to say was that, considering the abundant and conclusive evidence to the Nazi genocide of the Jews by various methods including gas chambers in extermination camps, discussing whether this mass murder was technically possible is as moot and pointless an exercise as discussing whether it was technically possible to build the Egyptian pyramids or to assassinate US President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on 22 November 1963. Professional historians are, quite simply, stating their protest against a ridiculous perversion of their discipline.

This classic of “Revisionist” humbug is followed by some of the silliest straw-men in all of the NT’s response. To the Veritas Team’s statement:
V: Our team, the Veritas Team, consists of amateur researchers of history who have for some time studied the historical record of and evidence for the Holocaust, and who consider it necessary and useful, for the sake of historical truth and other values guiding democratic societies, to challenge the politically motivated falsification of history that Revisionists seek to propagate. We consider “Revisionism” to be a condemnable attempt to whitewash and rehabilitate one of the most criminal regimes in history,

N: Why is questioning anything in history, including the "Holocaust," a "politically motivated falsification"? The German political left argues similarly. The "anti-Revisionists" attempt with police brutality and jail terms with up to five years to establish a religious myth and that it is not allowed to doubt this.
Like so much other trash rhetoric, this drew a hearty yawn from the members of our team. The first objection: Why is questioning anything in history, including the "Holocaust," a "politically motivated falsification"? virtually begs the following counter-objection:

Who said anything about questioning "anything in history" - even the Holocaust - being a "politically motivated fabrication"? Questioning is fine, always welcome and the basis for the furtherance of historical knowledge – always provided that it is done objectively and based on evidence and reasonable arguments. It was explicit in our statement that we were referring only to the sort of "questioning" promoted by “Revisionists”, which fails miserably on all three counts. For them to subsume this into the broader category of all Holocaust history, or of history in general, is simply more dishonest rhetoric in lieu of argument, whereby they attempt to elevate their approach to a status they have yet to show it has earned.

To the next statement - The German political left argues similarly - the proper answer is simply this: Assuming the “German political left” (whatever that is supposed to mean) does as described, so what?

Then comes a classic example of the fantasy world of conspiracy theories that “Revisionism” lives in: The "anti-Revisionists" attempt with police brutality and jail terms with up to five years to establish a religious myth and that it is not allowed to doubt this. The “anti-Revisionists” referred to are the governments of various countries, including Germany and France but also Australia and Canada, who enforce laws against hate speech, including the apologetic/racist/anti-Semitic falsification of history practiced by “Revisionists”, to prevent its inflammatory tirades from causing disturbances of the public order, especially violence against ethnic minorities. Purposefully ignorant of the motivations behind such laws – which in the case of the German provision, Art. 130 paragraph 3 of the Criminal Code, becomes apparent from its wording and its placement in the section “Crimes against Public Order” (see the translation of the German Criminal Code under ) “Revisionists” postulate that these laws are meant to protect a “religious myth”, by which they inappropriately mean not their own quasi-religious articles of faith but – believe it or not – a historical record that is the result of decades of objective criminal investigation and scholarly research. Like so many other things “Revisionist”, this postulation is utter nonsense. Whatever one may think of hate speech legislation (and we of the Veritas Team reject it as an unwarranted restriction of civil rights and counterproductive in that it gives hate propagandists a pretext to whine about “persecution”) protecting an established historical record against reasonable evidence-based revision is clearly not the purpose of such laws.

The Negationist team has just expended a great deal of energy and space highlighting the rejection of revisionism in academic circles and its categorization as hate propaganda, as though the hostile reaction that people have to their theories in the present somehow, in itself, serves as support to their take on history. On the contrary, all that it proves is that most people in democratic societies evidently hold this particular intellectual perversion in even greater contempt than do we of the Veritas team. The Negationists might well be advised to apply their "scientific historiography" to this fact rather than simply jumping to convenient conclusions that take their cherished yet unsupported assumptions for granted - namely, the existence of an intentional effort to fabricate evidence and suppress truth in the interests of extorting money and/or enforcing a political order.

The good old “tu quoque”, utterly irrelevant and out of place to the point of being silly, could also not be missing in a “Revisionist” production like the NT’s Response:
V:and an insult to the memory of the millions of defenceless, innocent people who fell victim to that regime’s racist policies of extermination

N: And don't forget the millions of "defenceless, innocent" German people who fell victim to the Allies after the war and were killed.
It takes a lot of patience – which we fortunately have – to even respond to this puerile remark. Of course nobody is forgetting innocent German victims, but the circumstances under which they perished or were killed – which no opponent of “Revisionism” denies, and which are not wholly comparable to the Nazi government’s policy of systematically murdering millions of people on account of nothing other than their belonging to a given ethnic group – are simply not the subject matter of this discussion.

The NT’s following statement, with the mandatory “alleged” in it, suggests that the preliminaries are now finally over and we can focus of the topic of this debate:
But once again we are straying away from the alleged homicidal gas chambers!
Well, not quite yet...
V:All of us have for some time debated Revisionists on Usenet and on various Internet discussion forums, and all of us can claim to have successfully exposed many Revisionist falsehoods for what they are, stimulating awareness of and skepticism with regard to Revisionist propaganda. All of us do this on a voluntary basis in the spare time afforded by our professions and private lives, for no other reason than our personal conviction that Revisionism is a harmful intellectual perversion which should not be allowed to spread unchallenged.

N: There is a lot of money and support at stake here for Israel. Revisionism certainly could endanger this.
Funny. There was nothing about Israel in the Veritas team's explanation of our motivations for challenging revisionism. Only that we consider it "a harmful intellectual perversion". We don’t know if there’s anything at stake for Israel in these types of discussions, and we couldn’t care less, as our opponents well know. But since the Negationist team is the one so eager to bring the matter up, apparently it is very important to them. In which case they would seem to be admitting that their position in this debate is indeed politically motivated - curiously, a characterization they only just finished denying.

The postulation that we might be concerned with supposed Israeli political and monetary interests is as inane as the pretension that “Revisionism” could “endanger” such interests. While the former inanity is symptomatic of the conspiratorial paranoia that pervades “Revisionist” minds, the latter reveals the Don Quixote element of “Revisionism”: just like the Knight of the Sad Countenance, these people keep racing against windmills in the conviction that they are fighting (and “endangering”!) menacing giants. As has been shown so far, their furious cavalcade against history also tends to have results for them quite similar to those described in the famous episode from Cervantes’ classic:

"... So saying, and commending himself with all his heart to his lady Dulcinea, imploring her to support him in such a peril, with lance in rest and covered by his buckler, he charged at Rocinante's fullest gallop and fell upon the first mill that stood in front of him; but as he drove his lance-point into the sail the wind whirled it round with such force that it shivered the lance to pieces, sweeping with it horse and rider, who went rolling over on the plain, in a sorry condition..." ... m=windmill

So the Negationist Team enters the discussion about the subject matter of this debate with its credibility already shattered by the trash rhetoric, nonsense and falsities that its preliminaries are full of.

Readers will henceforth be wary of anything that comes from such murky corner.

And that is only right, because (as Frank Sinatra would have put it) the best is yet to come.
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: Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »


The Negationists begin by postulating what they believe was the origin of what they call “the homicidal gas chamber story”: Allied wartime propaganda, perversely continued after the war by the perverse governments of the Allied nations with the connivance of their criminal justice authorities, in order to “forever discredit the hated enemy and therefore legitimate the unhappy quid-pro-quo patchwork of Allied rule”.

This conspiracy theory stands out, first of all, for its utter implausibility.

How could a continuation of Allied wartime propaganda conceivably have survived decades of criminal investigation by the criminal justice authorities of a democratic constitutional state – the German Federal Republic – legally obliged to find out the truth with a maximum of consideration for the rights of the numerous defendants tried and convicted for their participation in “the homicidal gas chamber story” and other atrocities perpetrated by the National Socialist regime?

How could it have survived decades of research by numerous professional historians throughout the world, sworn to objectivity and subject to critical peer review?

Are we asked to believe that all these criminal investigators, prosecutors, judges, defence attorneys and historians were ideologically blind and/or corrupt individuals who neglected their legal and/or professional duties and the rules of their art in the service of a conspiracy of propaganda lies orchestrated by the governments of the former Allied nations? And this despite the absence of even a single element of evidence suggesting that such a conspiracy existed?

Besides, what would have been the interest of continuing wartime propaganda if the “unhappy quid-pro-quo patchwork of Allied rule” broke up soon after the end of the war and the former Allies became rival blocks contesting world supremacy, who until one and a half decades ago were hovering over each other with huge arsenals of conventional and nuclear weapons, while the former “hated enemy” had become a respected democracy, a cornerstone of the NATO military alliance and an economic world power?

As one of the NT’s members would put it, “too many things don’t add up”.

Then there is the lack of evidence supporting the assertions that make up this conspiracy theory, as we shall see hereafter.

And, last but not least, there are untruthful assertions in the description of this supposed conspiracy, which we shall also examine, and regarding which we give our opponents the benefit of attributing them to mere and sheer ignorance. The NT write:
By August 30, 1944 it was reported in the New York Times that the Germans had been running a "River Rouge" of assembly line extermination at Majdanek.

The hapless victims of National Socialism would find themselves expecting to be deloused, and boom, poison gas would come out of the showerheads instead of hot water! Herr Hitler was the Henry Ford of mass-murder with poison gas it would seem...

That these stories were suspiciously similar to the experiences of millions who actually had been deloused by wartime German authorities raised no alarm bells. Black propaganda was needed in wartime like bullets and bandages.
The NT are not exactly helping their already shattered credibility by the sloppy way in which they summarize W.H. Lawrence’s recollection of what he saw and heard at Majdanek concentration camp after its liberation by the Red Army, published in The New York Times on 30 August 1944, and the silly rhetoric they add to this summary. It is rather difficult to find anything in Lawrence’s article that matches its rendering in the middle paragraph of the above-quoted passage of the NT’s Response. Regarding homicidal gassing at Majdanek, Lawrence provides the following description, which is mostly corroborated by the subsequent research of historians and the findings of West German courts at murder trials related to that camp:
[…]As we entered the camp the first place at which we stopped was obviously the reception center, and it was near here that one entered the bath house. Here Poles, Russians and in fact representatives of a total of twenty-two nationalities entered and removed their clothing, after which they bathed at seventy-two showers and disinfectants were applied.
Sometimes they went directly into the next room, which was hermetically sealed with apertures in the roof, down which the Germans threw opened cans of “Zyklon B”, a poison gas consisting of prussic acid crystals, which were a light blue chalky substance. This produced death quickly. Other prisoners were kept for long periods; the average; we were told, was about six weeks.
Near the shower house were two other death chambers fitted for either Zyklon B gas or carbon monoxide. One of them was seventeen meters square and there, we were told, the Germans executed 100 to 110 persons at once. Around the floor of the room ran a steel pipe with an opening for carbon monoxide to escape at every twenty-five centimeters.
We were told that the victims always received a bath in advance of execution because the hot water opened the pores and generally improved the speed with which the poison gas took effect. There were glass-covered openings in these gas chambers so the Germans could watch the effect on their victims and determine when the time had come to remove the bodies. We saw opened and unopened cans of Zyklon gas that bore German labels.[…][emphases ours]
Nothing there about Henry Ford or poison gas coming out of the shower heads instead of water, as we can see. The NT apparently didn’t bother to read its own exhibit.

As to Lawrence’s account being “suspiciously similar to the experiences of millions who actually had been deloused by wartime German authorities”, we have no doubt about this in what concerns the bathing at seventy-two showers and application of disinfectants described in the first paragraph of the above-quoted excerpt from Lawrence’s article. Regarding what happened in the “next room” to some of the prisoners, however, we request the NT to provide a description of one of “the experiences of millions who actually had been deloused by wartime German authorities” (preferably one that Allied journalists and governments could have been familiar with, to give some substance to the NT’s allegation that “alarm bells” should have rung), to show our audience what “suspicious” similarity there was. The argument, if sustainable, is not necessarily favourable to the NT, by the way. A “suspicious” similarity to innocuous delousing procedure may be considered one of the reasons why the victims let themselves be deluded and offered no resistance.

Now to the supposed lack of scepticism on the Allied side due to a need for “black propaganda”: was there really all that much of such propaganda regarding the Nazis’ use of homicidal gas chambers? The fact that the NT provided but a single example and that this related to Majdanek rather than to the subject matter of this debate – Auschwitz-Birkenau – speaks against their claim. Even more so does the following excerpt from the writings of another western journalist who, like Lawrence, was invited by the Soviets to take a look at the Majdanek camp. In his book Russia at War 1941-1945, British war correspondent Alexander Werth included a description of his recollections at Majdanek, which we transcribed to the Reference section. Of particular interest in this context is Werth’s description of the reactions to his reports in the west:
[…]Since the end of the war, there have been numerous accounts of various German Extermination Camps - Buchenwald, Auschwitz, Belsen and others - but the story of Maidanek has not perhaps been fully told to Western readers; moreover, Maidanek holds a very special place in the Soviet-German war.

As they advanced, the Russians had been learning more and more of German atrocities and the enormous number of killings. But, somehow, all this killing was spread over relatively wide areas, and though it added up to far, far more than Maidanek, it did not have the vast monumental, “industrial” quality of that unbelievable Death Factory two miles from Lublin.

“Unbelievable” it was: when I sent the BBC a detailed report on Maidanek in August 1944, they refused to use it; they thought it was a Russian propaganda stunt, and it was not till the discovery in the west of Buchenwald, Dachau and Belsen that they were convinced that Maidanek and Auschwitz were also genuine...
The press and radio in the West were still skeptical. Typical was the BBC’s refusal to use my story, as was also this comment of the New York Herald Tribune at the time:

“Maybe we should wait for further corroboration of the horror story that comes from Lublin. Even of top of all we have been taught of the maniacal Nazi ruthlessness, this example sounds inconceivable ...

The picture presented by American correspondents requires no comment except that, if authentic, the regime capable of such crimes deserves annihilation.”[…][emphases ours]
The above passage suggests that W.H. Lawrence’s success in having his article published by The New York Times (though it didn’t make the headlines, which were dedicated to American and Soviet victories in France and Romania) was the exception, not the rule, and that far from gratefully embracing this “black propaganda”, the British and American press and government remained skeptical even when reports came from their own trusted correspondents, until the discoveries by Allied troops entering Germany and post-war criminal investigation convinced them of the accuracy of such reports.

In the light of the above, the NT’s following thesis:
The Allied Peace rested upon a shaky wartime coalition with Communist allies. It was necessary for the self-proclaimed "United Nations" to forever discredit the hated enemy and therefore legitimate the uphappy quid-pro-quo patchwork of Allied rule. The War Refugee Board Report came out in late-1944, beginning to skeletate the standard story.
looks rather ridiculous. Nevertheless, we hereby give them the opportunity to demonstrate, by way of evidence, that:
a) the War Refugee Board Report was intended for “beginning to skeletate the standard story”;
b) all that has become known to date about homicidal gassing, its procedure, dimensions and perpetrators, was already described in the War Refugee Board Report;
c) all witnesses on whose depositions the WRB Report relied (see below) were unreliable, and
d) evidence discovered after the WRB Report (which includes almost all of the evidence mentioned in our Opening Statement) was forged or manipulated so as to match the contents of the WRB Report.

Further trying to flesh out their conspiracy theory, the NT claim that
The Soviets released lurid press reports of homicidal delousing chambers upon the liberation of Majdanek and showed heaps of corpses.
thereby again revealing that they obviously didn’t read their “River Rouge” exhibit, which is not a “lurid” Soviet press report but a western journalist’s recollection of his experiences.

Their ensuing insinuations and postulations that the many corpses shown by the Soviets at Majdanek and later found by the Western Allies in German concentration camps were a) the result of “uncontrolled epidemics raging in the camps at the end of the war” and b) purposefully used to suggest ”the versimiltude of purported race-murder”, are completely worthless without at least some supporting evidence. The same goes for the accusation, as grievous as it is unsubstantiated, that
British intelligence started to frame a case with captured German officers and concentration camp guards, and even the inventor of Zyklon B insecticide, Dr. Bruno Tesch.
which is utter trash without evidence that any “framing” was involved in the post-war trials conducted by British military tribunals, namely the Trial of Joseph Kramer and 44 Others (All of them framed? Wow!), also known as the Belsen Trial, and the Trial of Bruno Tesch and Two Others, also known as the Zyklon B Case. Reports on these trials are transcribed online under the following links: ... &q&f=false

The NT’s ensuing remark
Auschwitz thus began to loom large in the Genocidal "liturgy" of gassing and burning, complete with body-stinkpiles for the newsreels at Belsen and elsewhere, which were as good as made to order for disingenuous propaganda and irresponsible journalists.
– calling criminal investigations and trials according to defendant-friendly procedural rules a “liturgy”, claiming without evidence that “body-stinkpiles for the newsreels at Belsen and elsewhere” were used to support the notion that mass gassing and burning had occurred, calling journalists like W.H. Lawrence and Alexander Werth “irresponsible” and mumbling about “disingenuous propaganda” despite documented initial media scepticism about reports on the death camps – comes across as more hollow humbug, as does the wholly unsubstantiated claim that SS Lagerführer Joseph Kramer (not to be confounded with SS physician Johann Paul Kremer, who kept a diary about his experiences at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942 and to whose recollections and statements we referred to in our Opening Statement) was illegally induced to tell his interrogators whatever they wanted to hear (amazingly with no benefit to himself, for he was sentenced to death and executed):
Lagerführer Kramer presided over intakes at Belsen when the camp exploded to 50 thousand infected refugees from eastern evacuations. He oversaw upon the collapse of Germany a rate of death of hundreds per day--and he too had been at Auschwitz! After more interrogations Kramer saw the light and nodded for the world at his trial what British intelligence wanted all to hear about the Nazi gas-ovens at Auschwitz and elsewhere. The rest merely reinforces "what we already know."
Then comes a “Revisionist” classic:
A few months after Kramer's late-1945 trial and execution the British were interrogating former Kommandant Rudolf Höß. Soon they had him confirming what they wanted about the Auschwitz "function," and a few days later he appeared as a witness in the Nuremberg trials of the major warcriminals.
Of course the NT can provide no evidence whatsoever that the one deposition of Rudolf Höss where mistreatment was at play – the one immediately after his capture by British military police on 11 March 1946 – was ever used by criminal justice authorities, or that the statements made by Rudolf Höss in an affidavit he later wrote for the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals before the IMT, in his deposition and cross-examination for the defence of Kaltenbrunner at Nuremberg on 15.04. 1946 (transcribed under the link ), in his later depositions before Polish criminal justice authorities, or in the autobiography he wrote after the latter examinations, were extracted by coercion or in any way illegally influenced by Höss’ captors and interrogators.

The Veritas Team, on the other hand, can point to several passages in Höss’ depositions before Polish interrogators and his autobiography – neither of which documents the NT even mentions – that strongly speak against the notion of any influencing of statements let alone coercion having been involved, including but not limited to the examples mentioned by John Zimmerman in his online article, How Reliable are the Höss Memoirs, ... s-memoirs/ .

After having lamely tried to discredit one of the 101 pieces of evidence we mentioned in our OS (the depositions of Rudolf Höss) as well as evidence we didn’t even mention (i.e. the depositions of Bruno Tesch and Josef Kramer and most of the evidence used against them at the respective trials), the NT amazingly consider themselves entitled to ask:
Where is the real “convergence of evidence”?
In reply to this rather unfortunate question, we suggest reading the Veritas Team’s Opening Statement.

If the NT read our OS, they obviously didn’t read it very attentively, as is suggested by the following passages:
We of the Negationist Team are incredulous that the Veritas Team would resort to prominent “witness” Rudolf Vrba, the man who upon cross-examination in the trial in Canada of a Revisionist admitted under oath to resorting to poetic license for his story--the material that became the War Refugee Board Report published by the U.S. Government in late-1944. This report then became the basis for the Auschwitz story, which was substantiated by Allied intelligence during the warcrimes trials procedures against Josef Kramer, Bruno Tesch, and Rudolf Höß, etc., a story that has become dogma.

Denying the "truth of the victors" was no more possible under such conditions than denying the truth of a medieval Inquisition. [emphasis NT’s]
The NT would have trouble explaining how their bolded apples-and-oranges comparison with “a medieval Inquisition” is supposed to be compatible with the defendant-friendly procedural provisions according to which allied war crimes trials were conducted, especially Article 16 of the Charter of the International Military Tribunal, which ruled that
In order to ensure fair trial for the Defendants, the following procedure shall be followed:
(e) A Defendant shall have the right through himself or through his Counsel to present evidence at the Trial in support of his defense, and to cross-examine any witness called by the Prosecution.[…]
As to their applying the hilariously inappropriate term “dogma” to a record resulting exclusively from an assessment of forensically admissible evidence, we await the NT’s substantiation of their above-mentioned postulations regarding the War Refugee Board Report.
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: Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »


We appreciate the willingness of the Negationist team to keep this debate to a dispassionate scholarly discussion of the facts, rather than resorting to empty taunts and overheated rhetoric (what does "self-perjured" mean, anyway? Is that kind of like when someone swears under oath that he is a trained and qualified engineer, but isn't?)

Having casually dismissed the dozens of items of evidence provided in the Veritas opening statement, the Negationist team, as per a common revisionist pattern, proceeds to spend some 3-4 pages attacking the credibility of a single witness whom they obviously believe to be the sole author of the account about Auschwitz contained in the WRB Report: Mr. Rudolf Vrba. Their claim that Vrba had not a been a witness to the events he described – and therefore lied when he claimed to have witnessed these events – is backed up by a tirade from old “Revisionist” guru Robert Faurisson, whose derision of Vrba culminates in the following statement, bolded by the NT:
[…]Attacked on all sides by Zündel's lawyer, the impostor had no other recourse than to invoke, in Latin, the "licentia poetarum," or "poetic license," in other words, the right to engage in fiction.[…] [emphasis by NT]
Confident to have thereby discredited Rudolf Vrba as a source of evidence, the NT ask the following rhetorical question (emphasis is theirs): "What more can we say about Rudolf Vrba?"

The simple and honest answer to this inappropriately triumphant and pretentious question is: the truth.

You would think, from the attention the Negationists pay to him, that the Veritas submission relied heavily on Vrba. This again raises the question: did they even read our OS? Here are all the references to him in the opening:
Of the Jewish survivors of Auschwitz most witnessed only the first phase of the extermination process, namely the selection upon leaving the train. A smaller number of inmates, however, witnessed the operation of the gas chambers or were well-informed about them due to their function or position inside the camp. These include:

i) four inmates who escaped from Birkenau and whose reports were published in November 1944 in the United States: Rudolf Vrba and Fred Wetzler, who escaped from Birkenau on 7 April 1944, Czeslaw Mordowicz and Arnost Rosin, who escaped on 27 May 1944;


Even if one were credulous enough to believe this possibility without proof, are we to also assume that Tauber (70) was lying? Perhaps, he might have made up stories to condemn his hated captors, but shall we
then assume that the very same of Vrba (71), Wetzler (72), Mordowicz (73), and Rosin (74), believing as well that these lies just happen to corroborate with the buried accounts of Herman (75), Gradowski (76) and Lewenthal (77), not to mention the depositions of Jankowski (78) and Dragon (79), Lettich (80) and Bendel (81), Buki (82), Filip and Dov Paisikovic (83,84), Müller (85), Avram Dragon (86), Szyja Rosenblum (87) and Dr. Miklos Nyiszli (88), as well as the Polish mechanic Michael Kula (89) among others? All of them telling the same untruth, corroborating all of the same particulars, yet with no evidence of co-ordination or conspiracy?
That's the extent of any mention of Vrba in a 17,000 + word opening. While they were unable to respond to testimonial evidence of any of the others, they spent a good part of their reply exaggerating the importance of Vrba and attempting to discredit the testimony of someone who was not even quoted in our statement. If this strikes you as odd, it is. But this tactic can teach us a good deal about denier methods, demonstrating quite clearly that their approach to Holocaust history is not to understand what happened based on available evidence, but to deny the evidence piece by piece.

More insidious however is the direct statement that Vrba admitted in court that he "resorted to poetic license" in the Vrba/Wetzler report, and that this amounted to an admission that his account of Auschwitz was "fiction". Indeed, the Negationist team places great stock in Vrba's use of this term "poetic licence" on the stand, mentioning it twice - one in their own voice, and once in Faurisson's. In both instances, however, the term is ripped clear out of its context and dishonestly misapplied to attach not just to what was being referred to at the time but, in effect, to everything this gentleman ever said or wrote.

Let's look at the testimony about "poetic license", the grounds on which Faurisson and our esteemed opponents insistently call Vrba a “self-perjuring liar”. Unlike the Negationists, who are content to draw their conclusions based on paraphrases from their friends, we would prefer to examine the court testimony itself, and highlight the passages from which it becomes clear that if there are “self-perjuring liars” around, Vrba is not one of them. We will even take the transcription of the trial records from a "Revisionist” site, :
Q. I suggest, also, that you falsified to some extent as well, because throughout the book you referred to someone by the name of Rudolf Vrba, and you attribute the name Vrba to the conversations, and Rudi, meaning you, and in fact, there was nobody by that name in the camp, sir. Is that right?
A. That is perfectly so, but I would take a great objection against your word "falsify", because I would say, then, that the artist drawn my moustache in a different way has falsified something. This is not a document, but literature, and literature has been meant mainly for young people and it would be for young people a considerable confusion to explain to them all the methods of clandestine work and how it came that the names have to be changed. Moreover, I would have to explain my real ground and reasons why I changed my German name to the name of my native language, and this would have transferred, perhaps, a national hatred to the reader, which I wanted to avoid, against the Germans.
In other words, I used my licence of a poet, it is called licensia poetarium, to put in the book only those facts and events which will enable a young person to understand the general situation.

Q. Mm-hmmm. So for you it's poetic licence?
A. Poetic licence in this particular case.
Q. Yeah.
A. In other words, I am not bound to make of it a document, but re-creates the situation as close as possible to the truth without complicating it.
So Vrba never testified to using "poetic license" in the 1944 report, as Faurisson and our opponents would have us believe. He openly admitted to having used it in a personal memoir written twenty years after the report, where it was perfectly legitimate for him to do so, and that in regard only to details which in no way affected the accuracy of his description of events at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Apart from trying to make a fly into an elephant (another well-known “Revisionist” tactic) our opponents and their source seek to mislead their readers about the occasion, contents and object of Vrba’s statements.

Now might seem like a good time to ask what they have to say for themselves, but there's more. They likewise pretend that Vrba and the War Refugee Report are one and the same. Actually Vrba was but a co-author of one of the three reports which comprise the WRB report. The complete 39 page report included information from Czeslaw Mordowicz and Arnost Rosin, who escaped on 27 May 1944 as well as the Report of a Polish Major, who escaped at the end of 1943. As a whole it was a fairly comprehensive overview of the extermination process at Auschwitz, and has been corroborated by much additional evidence over the 5 decades since it was published.

The Negationists' source, Faurisson, continues his assault on Vrba over his estimate of the number killed during his time at Auschwitz, as if an inability to estimate death tolls with pinpoint accuracy would somehow negate testimony about the gas chambers. Besides this and other inanities, Faurisson further claims:
[…] Everything went well for him [Vrba] until the day at the Zündel trial in 1985 when he was cross-examined mercilessly. He was then shown to be an impostor. It was revealed that he had completely made up the number and location of the "gas chambers" and the crematories in his famous 1944 report.[…]
No such thing was actually revealed. Vrba and Wetzel included two types of information in their report – things they witnessed personally, and information they had been provided over a long period of time from others, primarily Sonderkommando Filip Mueller, and they were quite scrupulous at the time in distinguishing between these two categories. Robert Jan Van Pelt comments on this point in his report to the court at the Irving-Lipstadt trial:
Indeed, neither Wetzlar nor Vrba were ever inside the crematoria, and they did not claim that they were. In his 1963 memoir I Cannot Forgive, Vrba was very explicit about the fact that he had never been inside a crematorium, and that he got his information from Sonderkommando Philip Müller.136 In 1985, during the Zündel trial, Vrba came back to the issue as a witness for the prosecution. In cross-examination by Zündel's defense counsel Christie, Vrba had given the following explanation when challenged on the reliability of the description and the accompanying drawing included in the War Refugee Board report.

Mr. Christie: "How do you explain the fact that you've drawn on the diagram that I showed you every crematorium the same shape in 1944, when you drew the diagram upon your escape?"
A.: "Because I had only two days to write the whole report, and to try to depict the crematoria. There was a great urgency with that plan, because the objective of the plan was to get it to Hungary and to use this whole report towards the Hungarian Jews of imminent deportation. Under that conditions I didn't lose much time with details like what is the difference between Krematorium I and II and Krematorium II and III, but I limited myself to depict the position of the gas chambers and crematoria [on] one side, and the geographic position of the whole murderous complex on the other side."
Q: "Sure. I now produce and show to you a diagram which came from, I suggest, your War Refugee Report of 1944 in which you depicted a crematoria. Correct?"
A.: "That's right."
Q.: "Is it accurate?"
A.: "This I cannot say. It was said that as we were not in the large crematoria, we reconstructed it from messages which we got from members of the Sonderkommando working in the crematorium, and therefore, that approximately how it transpired in our mind, and in our ability to depict what we have heard."137

Van Pelt Report; p. 125-127

Finally, the NT bring in the one and only Carlo Mattogno to take his best shot at Vrba:

The "eyewitness" Filip Müller, on the other hand, "waited thirty years before resolving to write," and finally, in 1979, published a detailed "testimony": Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (Stein & Day, New York: 1979).[...]

But the coup de grace to this "eyewitness" is supplied by Müller himself. After describing the escape from Birkenau, on April 7, 1944, of Alfred Wetzler and Walter Rosenberg [aka, the self-perjured liar Dr. Rudolf Vrba], he states:

"I had handed Alfred a plan of the crematoria with the gas chambers and a list of the names of the SS personnel who worked in the crematoria" (Müller, p.193).

The two fugitives wrote two reports on their purported experience at Auschwitz, which were published in the United States in November 1944.

In fact, a plan of Crematoria I and II (II and III according to the official German numbering) of Birkenau with the alleged "gas chambers" appears on page 15 of the report written by Alfred Wetzler, but this plan is a complete fabrication, as is demonstrated by a simple comparison with the original, whence it is clear that the originator of the drawing never set foot in the place he describes.

Mattogno, Carlo. "Auschwitz: A case of plagiarism." Journal of Historical Review. Spring, 1990; vol. 10 no. 1: p. 5.

The Negationists draw the same conclusion as Mattogno. Vrba and Wetzler had a drawing of the crematoria and gas chambers given to them. The drawing found in the WRB Report is not correct, so they must be fabricating. Fallacious reasoning coupled with ignorance, once again. Vrba testified that the drawing accompanying the report was done in a hurry, from memory, in an effort to get the information about mass murder published as quickly as possible. After all, under the immediate circumstances at the time, whether or not the crematoria information was precisely accurate to the detail was not an issue.

Vrba is on record as saying he does not recall any written information being taken out of the camp. Mueller says he gave the plan to Wetzler who has made the following comment on the issue:
Vrba and Wetzler agree that they had learned many data over a long period that they used later in their report. But Wetzler affirms in a letter to the author (1982) that in addition they had carried part of their work around with them in written form hidden in two metal tubes, one of which, with exact layouts of the camp and its extermination mechanisms, was lost during their escape, so that the layouts had to be replaced by mere sketches.

Anatomy of the Auschwitz Deathcamp: The Vrba and Wetzler Report. Miroslav Karny, Indiana University Press, 1998; Footnote 7, p. 564

It is clear that no written layout of the camp survived the escape and that the drawing included as part of the WRB report was one made from memory.

Vrba and Wetzler were not engaged in fabrication. They never claimed they had been inside the crematoria. Vrba never said the 1944 report was written with "poetic license". In short, our opponents' every attempt to discredit this one eyewitness - one whom we only mentioned among numerous others and didn't even quote - is based on a distortion of the record and/or an incomplete knowledge of the history.

A particular touch of “Revisionist” fantasy is added to our opponent’s response when they write that the drawing in the WRB Report resembles not the Krema II diagram by Marc Downing, p. 190 in R. J. van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: evidence from the Irving trial (IN: 2002), but rather...

[…] a circular kiln (with center chimney) as employed in various SS economic enterprises, a diagram of which appears on page 71 of The Business of Genocide by Michael Thad Allen, (NC: 2002)
Our opponents should perhaps explain this in more detail. The only similarity between the round kiln drawing and the very rough drawing of the square “Crematoria Types I and II in Birkenau” we can detect is the chimney shown in both drawings. No furnaces, no “large hall” and, most significantly, no “gas chamber” with “roof traps”. All three items, however, can be identified in the Krema II diagram by Marc Downing, where they are much more accurately drawn.

Could it be that these pretty drawings that our opponents present, interspersed with bolded rhetorical slogans and questions, are conscious attempts to throw sand in the reader’s eyes?

Anyway, to the bolded question: "Does Veritas still wish to keep Vrba as part of their corpus of evidence?" - considering the above, the short answer is “yes”. The longer answer is that we would be better advised to trust Vrba than to trust the Negationist team or their sources!

Before we now go on to the NT’s considerations of the “technology of mass-murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau”, let us briefly address a statement implicit in their introduction to the “technology” segment of their statement, which reads as follows:
We need therefore concern ourselves here only with the technology of mass-murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau. [emphasis ours]
The message the NT intends to convey here seems to be something like: “As we have discredited the liar Vrba, we have discredited all witnesses to these events and may now turn to discussing the technology of mass murder.”

In other words, the NT seem to seriously think that by discrediting one witness they will have discredited all witnesses to the events they deny, and can therefore claim the right - nay, the obligation to ignore the whole category of witness evidence in general, using instead only what narrow and limited categories of evidence they choose, for their own purposes, to deem reliable. This is their "scientific" approach to historical methodology, though it goes against all logic to assume that the credibility (or lack thereof) of one individual witness tells us anything at all about the credibility of any other individual witness.

This "reasoning", also known as the falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus fallacy, is sarcastically described by Michael Philips, in his online spoof How to be a Revisionist Scholar: "[…]11. The Great Leap -- This tactic goes like this: If one piece of testimony about the Holocaust seems unreliable, then ALL testimony about the Holocaust is unreliable. If one Holocaust witness may have recanted something on the stand, then all other Holocaust witnesses are liars. If some camp prisoners did not starve to death, then NONE of them starved to death. etc. But be careful. This is a double-edged sword -- someone may use the well-documented lies of other revisionists to conclude that YOU are a liar as well." ... onism.html

We await the first piece of evidence that any of the 19 victim eyewitnesses we cited in our Opening Statement lied about what they claimed to have seen regarding the gas chambers, in absence of which the Negationist team's speculation that they all must have carries no weight at all, and this corpus of first-hand testimony remains as direct evidence to the theory that the Nazis used gas chambers for mass murder.
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: Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »

IV. REVISIONIST SCIENCE 1 (Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda)

We are now half-way through the Negationist team's response, at which point they finally begin to construct an argument of their own, addressing the technology of the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers. Finally, we can expect our opponents to show at least some measure of objectivity and keep their rhetoric to a minimum, right?

... Right?...

Well, not if one is to judge from the first paragraphs:
Any technology requires some engineering or development. At Auschwitz we have bunkers or crematoria basements with insecticide thrown in from holes chiseled into the roof or through windows. Any further technical considerations are heresy according to the Exterminationists.

One would expect that the design and construction of a gas chamber, where over one-thousand people are intended to be gassed at a time with poisonous hydrocyanic acid (HCN) from Zyklon B, would require the input from toxicologists, the fumigation manufacturers, chemists, the medical profession, and the input from an architect/engineering team consisting of all three major disciplines for the detail design/modification of the morgues.

This simply does not exist!

While it is certainly possible that one could crowd Soviet POWs slated for political execution into a room, toss in insecticide and simply wait for them to die, how does one turn this into a featured assembly line of slaughter, as alleged, without any engineering considerations whatever?
Contrary to what the NT try to make believe with their silly “heresy” and “Exterminationists” straw men, critics and opponents of “Revisionism” have no problem at all with technical arguments, which may be relevant where it is necessary to establish whether an event or procedure described by a witness was physically possible and technically feasible, and whether or to what extent the witness’s description can therefore be considered accurate.

This is not the kind of technical reasoning the NT is invoking here, however. Their contention is that eyewitness depositions on homicidal gassing cannot be accurate because they do not coincide with what “one would expect” to have been the solution and procedure adopted, under the assumption that the organizers of the mass killing would necessarily have procured the “best” method from a technical point of view and invested a lot of technical and scientific expertise into implementing this solution.

Let us first look at the “one would expect” argument in general.

According to this approach, the conclusion on whether or not a historical event occurred would depend not on how conclusive the evidence is, but on what “one would expect” to have occurred. The necessarily subjective “one”, not any evidence, would thus establish what is history and what is not, and this would vary according to what any given individual “would expect”.

Needless to say, this notion - that history is what every person is prepared to accept and believe - is the utter negation of the art and science of historiography. What “Revisionists” seek to impose, then, would replace history with a belief system built around what “one would expect” according to certain pre-conceived ideas.

It’s counter-historical nature aside, is the NT’s “one would expect” approach even consistent in itself?

Would organized and systematic mass killing necessarily imply a quest for the “best” technical means of execution, with “the input from toxicologists, the fumigation manufacturers, chemists, the medical profession, and the input from an architect/engineering team consisting of all three major disciplines for the detail design/modification of the morgues”?

No, it would not. It may, but it need not. The procedure and technical requirements for gassing with Zyklon B couldn't have been simpler. It only required a large room easily made gas tight with the addition of gas tight doors, a method to introduce the Zyklon B, and a means of ventilation. A killing machinery doesn’t have to be the best technical solution possible. It doesn’t have to be state of the art according to the technical knowledge and developments of its time. It doesn’t even have to be the most intelligent of possible applications of the resources at hand. It just has to do the job, which in the case under discussion it did. As a matter of fact, efficient mass murder requires no technology, engineering or science at all. In the hands of a sufficiently high number of dedicated killers, rifles, automatic weapons, or even machetes can be just as murderous as the most sophisticated of technical killing devices, see the massacres of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union during World War II or the killing fields of Rwanda in 1994, to mention but two out of many possible examples.

Besides, evidence shows that it wasn’t even considerations of greater efficiency which led the Nazis to implement technical methods in alternative to mass shooting as the means to carrying out the genocide. The possibility of carrying out the killings at a few isolated places, with greater discretion and with a minimum of personnel and psychological burden, seem to have been the considerations leading to the large-scale adoption of a killing method that was discovered more or less by chance. From Constantine FitzGibbon’s translation of the autobiography of Rudolf Höss, we quote:
[…]While I was away on duty, my deputy, Fritsch, the commander of the protective custody camp, first tried gas for these killings. It was a preparation of prussic acid, called Cyclon B, which was used in the camp as an insecticide and of which there was always a stock on hand. On my return, Fritzsch reported this to me, and the gas was used again for the next transport.
The gassing was carried out in the detention cells of Block 11. Protected by a gas mask, I watched the killing myself. In the crowded cells death came instantaneously the moment the Cyclon B was thrown in. A short, almost smothered cry, and it was all over. During this first experience of gassing people, I did not fully realize what was happening, perhaps because I was too impressed by the whole procedure. I have a clearer recollection of the gassing of nine hundred Russians which took place shortly afterwards in the old crematorium, since the use of Block 11 for this purpose caused too much trouble. While the transport was detraining, holes were pierced in the earth and concrete ceiling of the mortuary. The Russians were ordered to undress in an anteroom; they then quietly entered the mortuary, for they had been told they were to be deloused. The whole transport exactly filled the mortuary to capacity. The doors were then sealed and the gas shaken down through the holes in the roof. I do not know how long this killing took. For a little while a humming sound could be heard. When the powder was thrown in, there were cries of ‘Gas!’, then a great bellowing, and the trapped prisoners hurled themselves against both the doors. But the doors held. They were opened several hours later, so that the place might be aired. It was then that I saw, for the first time, gassed bodies in the mass.
It made me feel uncomfortable and I shuddered, although I had imagined that death by gassing would be worse than it was. I had always thought that the victims would experience a terrible choking sensation. But the bodies, without exception, showed no signs of convulsion. The doctors explained to me that the prussic acid had a paralyzing effect on the lungs, but its action was so quick and strong that death came before the convulsions set in, and in this its effects differed from those produced by carbon monoxide or by general oxygen deficiency.
The killing of Russian prisoners-of-war did not cause me much concern at the time. The order had been given, and I had to carry it out. I must even admit that this gassing set my mind at rest, for the mass extermination of the Jews was to start soon and at that time neither Eichmann nor I was certain how these mass killings were to be carried out. It would be by gas, but we did not know which gas or how it was to be used. Now we had the gas, and we had established a procedure. I always shuddered at the prospect of carrying out exterminations by shooting, when I thought of the vast numbers concerned, and of the women and children. The shooting of hostages, and the group executions ordered by the Reichsführer SS or by the Reich Security Head Office had been enough for me. I was therefore relieved to think that we were to be spared all these blood baths, and that the victims too would be spared suffering until their last moment came. It was precisely this which had caused me the greatest concern when I had heard Eichmann’s description of Jews being mown down by the Special Squads armed with machine-guns and machine pistols. Many gruesome scenes are said to have taken place, people running away after being shot, the finishing off of the wounded and particularly of the women and children. Many members of the Einsatzkommandos, unable to endure wading through blood any longer, had committed suicide. Some had even gone mad. Most of the members of these Kommandos had to rely on alcohol when carrying out their horrible work. According to Höfle’s description, the men employed at Globocnik’s extermination centers consumed amazing quantities of alcohol.[…][emphases ours]

This deposition alone, we think, is enough to show how moot and ridiculous it is to ponder, as the Negationist Team do, about what more “efficient” or “technically sound” killing devices “one would expect” Himmler’s purported technical whiz-kids Kammler and Bischoff to have implemented instead of the solution discovered by Höss. Which was perhaps not as sophisticated and state-of-the-art as the “one would expect” theoreticians postulate it should have been, but perfectly suitable for the purposes at hand.

We therefore ignore the NT’s characterizations of SS-officers Kammler and Bischoff and their presumably accurate but irrelevant descriptions of contemporary fumigation technology inside and outside Nazi concentration camps. The evidence relating to the measures used by the Nazis and other governments to combat typhus are not something the Veritas team - or anyone representing normative history - disputes. The Negationist team provides us with photographs and diagrams of devices used for such disease control - some of which, such as the Degesch fumigation machinery, even have to do with Nazi Germany - and the Veritas team thanks them for adding a splash of colour to their presentation. The existence of such devices, and the fact that some of them employed Zyklon B, is further stipulated by the Veritas team. Indeed, all the Negationist team's information does is elaborate on why Zyklon B, as such, would have been relatively cheap and easy for the SS to procure.

We will therefore focus only on the NT's arguments regarding the following essential contentions:

1. The suitability of Zyklon B as an agent of mass killing in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau
2. The importance of typhus as a cause of death at Auschwitz-Birkenau
3. The corpse cremation/incineration capacity of Auschwitz Birkenau
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: Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »

V. REVISIONIST SCIENCE 2 (Zyklon B and Ventillation)

1. The suitability of Zyklon B as an agent of mass killing

Odd that the Negationists would even make this half-hearted attempt to question the suitability of Zyklon B as a murder weapon, given that they already acknowledged in their opening statement that...
2) Zyklon B as a commercial product developed by German industry during the 1920s for pesticide is likewise agreed to as verified by the Negationist team, along with its capability as containing HCN [= hydrocyanic acid] for homicide; likewise that Zyklon B was ordered, bought, and received by KL authorized personnel at various times during the operation of these camps while under German control.
I suppose they will claim they are not disputing its capability as such, but its capability as the evidence shows it to have been used. In which case their claims must be tested against whether they have any real sense of what that evidence is.

The Negationists appear to approach the problem of Zyklon B from two different angles, the first relating to the properties of the poison in comparison to what is reported by eyewitnesses, and the second to the problems involved in ventilating the gas chambers. Let us look at both of these objections.

The NT cites web page about a study of the humaneness of using HCN in capital punishment. The core of the study finds that in 113 cases of state imposed death by HCN, the length of time the condemned were conscious and in pain was much longer than previously thought. The average time to death in these cases was 9.3 minutes.
Hydrocyanic acid is used as a means of execution in many American states, including Arizona, the last in 1999. It took 18 minutes for the last condemned man to clinically die. Opponents of capital punishment claim that death by lethal gas takes too long. They have cited data to determine how long incapacitation occurs from the time the gas "hits the face." In an execution database recorded by physicians and other observers, survival time was nine minutes to "certain unconsciousness," and "apparent unconsciousness" took as long as five minutes to occur.
Based on this information they attempt to mount another attack on testimonial evidence.
Empirical evidence therefore contradicts Sonderkommano testimony that says that death for some was instantaneous as soon as the Zyklon was poured in, with the other screams dying away in a few minutes, a powerful fan then switched on and the gaschamber cleared of corpses.
Once again, as with the quote cited in our introduction, the Negationist team, having ignored completely our actual argument, are spuriously declaring, on their own authority, what our case must consist of and what positions we are required to defend. Yet we fail to see how the precise amount of time it takes for HCN to kill - or whether every anonymous Sonderkommando witness was precisely accurate in their assessment of this point - has any bearing on our position on the resolution or our argument defending it. In any case, the Veritas team is left to wonder which Sonderkommano testimony the Negationists cherry-picked to back this categorical statement. As usual, our opponents make a claim, but oddly provide no support for it.

Let's see, then, whether the "empirical evidence" really does contradict the normative case, let alone the balance of Sonderkommando testimony. We will start by looking at some of the testimonies about gassing time, both from Sonderkommandos and Nazi perpetrators, to determine if they are contradicted by the website material presented.

Commandant Hoess: "The process could be observed through the peep hole in the door. Those who were standing next to the air shaft were killed immediately. I can state that about one-third died immediately. The remainder staggered about and began to scream and struggle for air. The screaming, however, soon changed to gasping and in a few moments everyone lay still. After twenty minutes at the most, no movement could be detected. The time required for the gas to take effect varied according to weather conditions and depended on whether it was damp or dry, cold or warm. It also depended on the quality of the gas, which was never exactly the same, and on the composition of the transports, which might contain a high proportion of healthy Jews, or the old and sick, or children. The victims became unconscious after a few minutes, according to the distance from the air shaft. Those who screamed and those who were old, sick, or weak, or the small children died quicker than those who were healthy or young."

Hans Stark: "At another, later gassing -- also in autumn 1941 -- Grabner* ordered me to pour Zyklon B into the opening because only one medical orderly had shown up. During a gassing Zyklon B had to be poured through both openings of the gas-chamber room at the same time. This gassing was also a transport of 200-250 Jews, once again men, women and children. As the Zyklon B -- as already mentioned -- was in granular form, it trickled down over the people as it was being poured in. They then started to cry out terribly for they now knew what was happening to them. I did not look through the opening because it had to be closed as soon as the Zyklon B had been poured in. After a few minutes there was silence. After some time had passed, it may have been ten to fifteen minutes, the gas chamber was opened. The dead lay higgledy-piggedly all over the place. It was a dreadful sight."

Pery Broad: "Meanwhile Grabner gave a sign to the driver of a lorry, which had stopped close to the crematorium. The driver started the engine and its deafening noise was louder than the death cries of the hundreds of people inside, being gassed to death. Grabner looked with the interest of a scientist at the second hand of his wrist watch. Cyclon acted swiftly. It consists of hydrocyanic acid in solid form. As soon as the tin was emptied, the prussic acid escaped from the granules. One of the men, who participated in the bestial gassing, could not refrain from lifting, for a fraction of a second, the cover of one of the vents and from spitting into the hall. Some two minutes later the screams became less loud and only an indistinct groaning was heard. The majority of the victims had already lost consciousness. Two minutes more and Grabner stopped looking at his watch. It was over. There was complete silence. The lorry had driven away. The Guards were called off, and the cleaning squad started to sort out the clothes, so tidily put down in the yard of the crematorium. Busy SS-men and civilians working in the camp were again passing the mound, on whose artificial slopes young trees swayed peacefully in the wind. Very few knew what terrible event had taken place there only a few minutes before and what sight the mortuary below the greenery would present. Some time later, when the ventilators had extracted the gas, the prisoners working in the crematorium opened the door to the mortuary."

Miklos Nyiszli: "Having donned his gas mask, he lifted the lid of the pipe, which was also made of concrete. He opened one of the cans and poured the contents – a mauve granulated material –into the opening. The granulated substance fell in a lump to the bottom. The gas it produced escaped through the perforations, and within a few seconds filled the room in which the deportees were stacked. Within five minutes everybody was dead... In order to be certain of their business the two gas-butchers waited another five minutes. Then they lighted cigarettes and drove off in their car. They had just killed 3,000 innocents.... Twenty minutes later the electric ventilators were set going in order to evacuate the gas."

Dr. Andre Lettich: "Then SS-Unterscharfuhrer Moll dropped the gas through a little window. The cries that could be heard were frightening, but after a few moments complete silence reigned. Twenty to twenty-five minutes later the windows and doors were opened to air the room, and the corpses were immediately thrown into ditches, where they were burned."

Dr. Bendel: "Then the door was opened and the people were crowded into the gas chambers which gave the impression that the roof was falling on their heads, as it was so low. With blows from different kinds of sticks they were forced to go in and stay there, because when they realized that they were going to their death they tried to come out again. Finally, they succeeded in locking the doors. One heard cries and shouts and they started to fight against each other, knocking on the walls. This went on for two minutes and then there was complete silence. Five minutes later the doors were opened, but it was quite impossible to go in for another twenty minutes."

Vrba/Wetzler Report: "When everybody is inside, the heavy doors are closed. Then there is a short pause, presumably to allow the room temperature to rise to a certain level, after which SS men with gas masks climb onto the roof, open the traps, and shake down a preparation in powder form out of tin cans labeled "CYKLON" "For use against vermin," which is manufactured by a Hamburg concern. It is presumed that this is a "CYANIDE" mixture of some sort which turns into gas at a certain temperature. After three minutes everyone in the chamber is dead."

All the testimony talks about minutes, of varying degrees, for death to occur.

It is clear, then, that our opponents have misrepresented the testimony. We also need to remember that eyewitnesses were merely estimating the amount of time. They were not medical staff recording with a clock and through use of monitoring equipment the progressive stages of consciousness, unconsciousness and finally death. Hoess had no medical way of knowing that those near the "air shaft" were indeed dead "immediately". He merely equated their likely immediate unconsciousness with death. All of the eyewitnesses knew the approximate time the gassing lasted, and that the victims were dead when the gas chamber doors were opened. And the estimates of time given are hardly out of keeping with the 9.3 minute average by the research cited.

Franciszek Piper, Auschwitz historian, has described the process for Crematoria II and III as follows:
[…]When the chamber was full or the entire transport was inside and the personnel had left (two SS noncommissioned officers always stayed until the end), the doors were shut, the bolts were slid into place, and the screws were tightened. On order of the supervising SS doctor (the job was assigned to, among others, Josef Mengele, Hans Konig, and Hans Thilo), the SS disinfectors (Scheinmetz, among others) opened the Zyklon B cans and poured their contents into the vents down the induction shafts inside the chamber.

Within several minutes, 20 at most, all the victims were dead. The time required for the gas to take effect depended on various factors that affected the evaporation of the gas: temperature, humidity, the congestion inside the chamber. Whenever the outside air temperature was higher than the inside temperature, the cool air was extracted by ventilators from the chamber before the gas pellets were poured inside. To speed up the evaporation of the poison gas in winter, iron baskets filled with red-hot coke were brought inside. Some unsuccessful attempts were made to heat the chamber interior with heat from the chimney flues.

Hoess, who personally observed the killing in the gas chambers, described the process:

"It could be observed through the peephole in the door that those who were standing nearest to the induction vents were killed at once. It can be said that about one-third died straightaway. The remainder staggered about and began to scream and struggle for air. The screaming, however, soon changed to the death rattle and in a few minutes all lay still"

About a half hour after the induction of the gas, the ventilation was turned on, the door was opened, and Sonderkommando prisoners wearing gas masks began dragging the corpses out of the chamber. In cases of great congestion, many of the dead were found half-squatting, their skin colored pink with occasional red or green spots. Some foamed at the mouth, others bled from the ears.

In the gas chamber's anteroom, the bodies were relieved of spectacles and artificial limbs, and the women's hair was cut off. Thereupon the corpses were loaded on the elevator platform and lifted to the ground floor. Some of the corpses were dragged directly to the oven area. Others were moved to the corpse storage room opposite the elevator, which also served as a site of executions by shooting. Just before the incineration, Sonderkommando prisoners removed jewellery, which they tossed into a special numbered crate...

[Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp. Indiana University Press, 1998, p. 169-171][emphases ours]
According to Piper, then, the times for death (or the preceding unconsciousness which eyewitnesses might take to be death) were not very different from the NT’s Arizona penitentiary example. What's more, Piper points out that various factors affecting evaporation of the gas influenced the time required for the gas to take effect, such as "temperature, humidity, (and) the congestion inside the chamber", all of which should be taken into account when comparing the duration of gassings at Auschwitz-Birkenau with the 1999 gassing in an Arizona penitentiary the NT tells us about (and regarding which a source reference would be much appreciated), to make sure that we are not comparing apples with oranges. Information would also be required about the concentration of deadly HCN gas in the Arizona execution. The amount reported to have been used at Auschwitz-Birkenau shows a considerable overkill:
[…]Pressac reconstructs a gassing that took place March 13, 1943:

That same night, 1,492 women, children, and old people, selected from a convoy of 2,000 Jews from the Krakow ghetto, were killed in the new crematorium. Six kilos of Zyklon B were poured into the stacks that opened into the four grillwork columns implanted between the pillars that supported the ceiling. Within five minutes, all the victims had succumbed.[emphasis VT] The aeration (8,000 cu m an hour) and deaeration system (same strength) were then started up and, after 15 to 20 minutes, the atmosphere, which had been practically renewed every three to four minutes, was sufficiently pure so that members of the Sonderkommando could enter the stiflingly hot gas chamber. During this first gassing [in the new Krema II gas chamber], the Sonderkommandos wore gas masks as a precaution. The bodies were untangled and dragged to the goods elevator. Hair was clipped, gold teeth pulled out, wedding rings and jewels removed. 23[…]

Richard Green, The Chemistry of Auschwitz,
This information is corroborated by the “DIRECTIVES FOR THE USE OF PRUSSIC ACID (ZYKLON) FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF VERMIN (DISINFESTATION)” (which we will hereafter refer to as the “Instructions”), introduced at the Nuremberg Trials as Document DOC. NO. NI-9912 and scanned in, together with the respective translation (which is transcribed in the Documents of Debate section), on Carlos Porter’s website starting at the link . Here is what it has to say about the properties of Zyklon B and its application for fumigation:
[…]I. Properties of prussic acid (hydrocyanic acid)
Prussic acid is a gas which is generated by evaporation
Boiling point: 25 degree centigrade[correct transcription of German original accordingly]
Freezing point: - 15 degrees centigrade
Specific gravity: 0.69 [correct transcription of German original accordingly]
Steam density: 0.97 (Air = 1.0)
The liquid evaporates easily.
Liquid: transparent, colourless.
Smell: Peculiar, repulsively sweet
Toxic effects on warm-blooded animals
Since prussic acid has practically no indicative irritant effect, it is highly toxic and very dangerous. Prussic acid is one of the most powerful poisons. 1 mg per kg of body weight is sufficient to kill a human being. Women and children are generally more susceptible than men.[…]

If exposure to 1 mg per kg of body weight was sufficient to kill a human being, then 70 mg were sufficient to kill an average male weighing 70 kg. Six kilograms = 6,000 grams = 6,000,000 milligrams, as mentioned in the above-quoted description of a gassing, could thus have killed 85,714 such average males. If all 1,492 people gassed on the occasion described by Pressac had been adult males weighing 70 kg on average, the amount of gas used would thus have been more than 57 times as high as the minimum amount required to kill them. As the transport consisted of women, children and old people (women and children are “generally more susceptible than men”), the overkill can be expected to have been even higher. The killers clearly took no chances.

Given the described properties of the substance and the amounts of it used for killing, is there anything surprising about eyewitness descriptions according to which people standing next to the introduction shaft, and thus hit by the highest concentration of prussic acid, lost consciousness and died immediately, while those standing further away had to struggle a little longer?

This was also the conclusion reached by a court expert who, at the trial against Johann Paul Kremer before the Landgericht (County Court) of Münster, West Germany, assessed the dying in the Auschwitz-Birkenau gas chambers in order to determine whether death had been cruel, as this is one of the characteristics by which a homicide is qualified as murder under German law. In its judgment of 29.11.1960, transcribed on the Justiz und NS Verbrechen website of the University of Amsterdam under the LG Münster refers to the expert’s report as follows:
[…]Die Blausäure ist ein ausserordentlich stark und schnell wirkendes Giftgas. Ihre Wirkung besteht darin, dass sie das Atmungsferment okkludiert mit der Folge einer sofortigen Lähmung des Atmungszentrums. Die für den Menschen tödliche Dosis liegt bei 1 mg/kg Körpergewicht. Bei ausreichender Gaskonzentration tritt der Tod schlagartig und ohne dass Schmerz empfunden wird ein. Die zuletzt genannten Feststellungen beruhen auf dem überzeugenden Gutachten des Sachverständigen Prof.Dr.Dr.h.c. B.

Nach dem Einwerfen des Zyklon B in die Gaskammern wurden die Menschen, die in der unmittelbaren Nähe des Einwurfschachtes standen, sofort getötet. Diejenigen hingegen, die weit von dem Einwurfschacht entfernt standen, kämpften noch minutenlang um ihr Leben. Sie mussten, bevor sie selbst tot zusammenbrachen, den verzweifelten Todeskampf ihrer Leidensgenossen miterleben. Die draussen vor den Gaskammern Stehenden hörten deutlich die Geräusche dieses Todeskampfes. Der Angeklagte selbst hat bekundet: "Die Menschen schrien einige Minuten und kämpften um ihr Leben."[…]
Our translation:

"... Prussic acid is an extraordinarily strong and fast-working poison gas. Its effect consists in occluding the breathing ferment, which leads to an immediate paralysis of the respiration center. The dose lethal for human beings is 1mg per kg of body weight. If the gas concentration is sufficiently high, death occurs instantly and painlessly. The findings last mentioned are based on the convincing report of expert Prof.Dr.Dr.h.c. B.

"After the Zyklon B was thrown into the gas chambers, the people standing in the immediate proximity of the introduction shaft were killed immediately. Those standing further away from the introduction shaft, however, still struggled for their lives over a period of minutes. Before they dropped dead themselves, they had to witness the desperate death struggle of their companions in suffering. Those standing outside the gas chambers clearly heard the noise of this death struggle. The accused himself stated that: "The people screamed for some minutes and struggled for their lives."

So when the NT conclude that - "empirical evidence therefore contradicts Sonderkommano testimony that says that death for some was instantaneous as soon as the Zyklon was poured in, with the other screams dying away in a few minutes, a powerful fan then switched on and the gaschamber cleared of corpses" - the questions that naturally arise are: what Sonderkommano testimony is contradicted by what empirical evidence? As demonstrated above, the NT have shown us no empirical evidence that would support this bold assertion of theirs.
NT: […]Various sizes of Zyklon B cans were made depending on the size of the area that needed gassing. Zyklon B was thus practically ideal for fumigation of buildings because it released the deadly gas slowly and the residue was completely inert once it had given up its HCN and could merely be swept away after the area had been ventilated.
The contention is that the fumigant Zyklon B released its deadly hydrocyanic acid “slowly”. But as we recall from the "Instructions" document, quoted above, "The liquid evaporates easily." To quote further from the same document:
VIII. Preparation for fumigation
8. Open the cans and pour out their contents. The contents are to be spread thinly so that the Zyklon can evaporate quickly and the necessary density of the gas can be achieved as soon as possible. […][emphases ours]
This suggests that Zyklon B evaporates easily and quickly and that the necessary density for fumigation can be achieved within a short time. This is not surprising. The toxic agent in Zyklon B was hydrogen cyanide (HCN), also known as hydrocyanic acid, prussic acid or Blausäure, in German. In his online article The Chemistry of Auschwitz, Dr. Richard Green describes the properties of this substance as follows:
[…]HCN is a high vapor pressure liquid; the Merck index lists its boiling point as 25.6 degrees Celsius (78.8 degrees Fahrenheit), significantly less than human body temperature. 15 At room temperature (25 d C, 77 d F) the equilibrium vapor pressure of HCN is 750 Torr (760 Torr= 1 atmosphere), corresponding to 987,000 ppm. At 0 C (32 F) it is 260 Torr corresponding to 342,000 ppm. 16 The Merck index warns, "Exposure to 150 ppm for 1/2 to 1 hr may endanger life. Death may result from a few min exposure to 300 ppm" 17 Clearly, it is not necessary to reach equilibrium vapor pressure in order for the fumes of the liquid to be quite deadly.
The boiling point of a liquid is the temperature at which its equilibrium vapor pressure is equal to the pressure of the atmosphere. Below the boiling point the vapor pressure of a liquid can be quite large. HCN has an extremely high vapor pressure even at very cold temperatures. Anyone who doubts this fact should obtain some diethyl ether, open a small amount, and observe it evaporating. Ether boils at 34.6 Celsius; in other words its boiling point is greater than HCN. 68
This discussion is worthwhile because it shows how the deniers play on the public's relative ignorance on such technical details. The argument, however, is moot because Gerhard Peters, who was the general director of Degesch, the company that sold Zyklon B has written a book on the topic, in which he gives the evaporation times of Zyklon B. 69 Ulrich Roessler translates:

The development of the gas from the Zyklon sets in with great vehemence immediately following the pouring out of it. The thinner the layer of the disseminated support material the faster will be the development of the gas. Depending on the species of the pests to be controlled, and on the characteristic of the rooms to be gassed, one may choose to reach the maximum of the gas concentration to arise very quickly or more slowly by the thickness of the disseminated layer. Usually, the material will be disseminated in a layer of 1/2 to 1cm thickness, then the greatest part [der grösste Teil] of the HCN will have developed already after half an hour at normal temperature. [i.e. 20 degree C] .70

Roessler comments further:

Now, der gröste Teil der Blausäure is by no means only 50% - it means rather nearly all of the HCN. 71

Even at -10 C Peters states that the evaporation is essentially complete in 1 hour with an upper bound for complete evaporation of 2 hours. 72[....] [emphases ours]
The above clearly shows that:

a) With a boiling point of slightly above 25 degrees centigrade, Zyklon B would boil and thus evaporate immediately at that temperature, which corresponds to amenable room temperature.

b) Even when not reaching the boiling point, i.e. at lower temperatures, Zyklon B would evaporate rather quickly to the point of killing within a few minutes (at 300 ppm, way below equilibrium vapor pressure, see above).

c) Even at a temperature slightly below its boiling point (20 degrees centigrade, according to Peters) it would have almost wholly developed after half an hour.

The NT’s canard about the deadly hydro-cyanic acid being released “slowly” by Zyklon B has thus been shown for what it is.
NT: Hydrogen cyanide penetrated well and was extremely deadly to lice, their nits, and other vermin like fleas, ticks and rodents, that all carry and spread disease germs.
What the NT don’t tell us is that, unlike human beings, who after exposure to even low amounts of HCN (1 mg per kg of body weight, see the above quote from the “Instructions”) would die rather quickly (a severely poisoned person would “collapse suddenly and faint”, according to the “Instructions”, after which death would come about unless immediate artificial respiration and special medication were provided), insects usually took 16 or more hours to die, as the following excerpt from the “Instructions” shows:
[…]Time needed to take effect: 16 hours, unless there are special circumstances such as closed-in type of building, which requires less time. If the weather is warm it is possible to reduce this to a minimum of 6 hours.
The period is to be extended to at least 32 hours if the temperature is below 5 deg. Cent.
The strength and time as above are to be applied in the case of: bugs, lies, fleas etc., with egg, larves and chrysalia.
For clothes-moths: temperature above 10 deg. Cent. 16 g per cbm and 24 hours to take effect.
For flour-moths: same as for bugs.[…]
NT: Instead we get accounts of corporals chiseling holes in the roofs of basements or dumping insecticide through attic vents, not to fumigate but to exterminate.
The only account of “corporals chiseling holes in the roofs of basements” we know of is the following, contained in the above-quoted excerpt from Constantine FitzGibbon’s translation of Höss’ autobiography: "[…]I have a clearer recollection of the gassing of nine hundred Russians which took place shortly afterwards in the old crematorium, since the use of Block 11 for this purpose caused too much trouble. While the transport was detraining, holes were pierced in the earth and concrete ceiling of the mortuary.[…]" This account clearly referred to an improvised procedure in an existing installation, the old crematorium of the Auschwitz main camp. We look forward to our esteemed opponents showing us a description of “chiseling holes in the roof of basements” regarding the Birkenau crematoria built in 1942/43. Anyway, such “chiseling” would not necessarily reduce the efficiency of the killing process – even though it would, of course, have been a less elegant solution from the point of view of engineering, assuming that, as our opponents would like to believe, “one could expect” the killers to have been concerned about such finesses.
NT: […]We have stories where instant death occurs and minutes later special-teams go in to pull out the bodies to be further violated and cremated.[…]

Do we, dear opponents? The please show us one. As we have seen, the eyewitness testimonials we posted here and in the Documents of Debate section do not suggest such an “instant death” and “minutes later” sequence.
Victim cartoons prove it!

Warning, graphic image by David Olere!
Calling David Olére’s drawings (which contain details coincident with independent eyewitness and documentary evidence) “Victim’s cartoons” says much about what goes on in our opponents’ minds but little else. And, as observed before, their claim that his drawings are invoked as “the” proof is all the more grotesque considering that Olére was not even mentioned in our Opening Statement.
NT: With our homicidal gas chambers, as alleged, there is no provision to heat the Zyklon B other than body heat inside a crowded death chamber, nor to recirculate the air. Incredibly, this means that even long after the victims are dead the granules are still releasing their HCN!
That this is nonsense already becomes apparent from the evaporation times of Zyklon B mentioned above. The above-quoted passages on the properties of Zyklon B, especially its boiling point, suggest that the cumulated body heat of hundreds of bodies closely pressed together was more than enough to provide for quick evaporation. The depositions of two eyewitnesses (Dr. André Lettich and Szlama Dragon) expressly mention a waiting period between the closing of the gas chamber doors and the introduction of the poison. Artificial heating also seems to have been applied, however, when the outside temperature was a little colder.

Furthermore there was a procedure for extracting the granules after they had released enough deadly HCN into the gas chamber, described as follows by Jamie McCarthy and Mark Van Alstine in their online article, Zyklon Introduction Columns, ... o-columns/ :
[...] At Auschwitz-Birkenau, in the gas chambers of crematoria II and III, Zyklon-B was poured in through holes in the roof. After early experiments with this poison, the camp staff had learned that it was important to allow the pellets of Zyklon to be removed after the victims' death, and also to spread them to increase the speed of outgassing.

The solution to these problems was a wire mesh column, which ran from the floor up through the roof. An SS man, wearing a gas mask and standing on the roof, would pour the pellets into the top of the column and place a wooden cover over it. The pellets fell into an inner wire mesh basket, which held them as they released their poison into the gas chamber.

After the mass murder was complete, the cover was opened, the basket was pulled up, and the Zyklon expelled the remainder of its poison harmlessly into the open air. Meanwhile, the ventilation of the gas chamber and the cremation of the corpses could begin.[…]
NT: We are simply told by van Pelt that a "powerful fan" removed the poison gas in short order.
We are "simply told", then, are we. Naturally, it is in the Negationist team's interest to word this claim in terms that imply that Van Pelt merely made this conclusion up, as they know full well that they have no basis to refute the documentary evidence on which this claim is, in fact, based. Actually the ventilation system of the gas chambers is addressed in detail in The Van Pelt Report, submitted at the Irving-Lipstadt trial and transcribed under

The Negationists elaborate on this allegedly inadequate ventilation system a few lines down:
NT: The ventilation for the corpse undressing room and the morgue in both of the basements of Kremas II and III was about 9-16 exchanges per hour, certainly not any powerful extraction system.
Another hilariously dishonest sentence, rather akin to someone saying that the temperature in Athens and Oslo today is between 9-24 degrees - technically correct but functionally useless, and highly misleading if you happen to be in either Athens or Oslo. It was only L-keller 1 - the room designated by the Negationists as the "morgue" - in which Zyklon B is alleged to have been used to gas people, and hence it is only the ventilation rate of that room which is of relevance. The only possible reason why the Negationist team would see fit to include the undressing room in their consideration of the ventilation is to justify lowballing us with a range rather than a specific figure. If they wanted to express the same information honestly, they would have said that the ventilation rate was 9 exchanges per hour in the undressing room, and 16 in the "morgue". But such a construction would hardly have served their rhetorical purposes, as this contrast is itself of interest, especially when one considers that it reflects a curious revision from the original construction plan. The initial blueprint for a single morgue facility at Birkenau called for L-keller 1 to have only a deaeration motor with a capacity of 4000 cu m/hr, that would have given L-kellers 1 and 2 comparable ventilation rates. The revised version ultimately provided L-keller 1 (the gas chamber) with an 8000 cu m/hr deaeration motor, giving it almost twice the deaeration capacity of L-keller 2 (the undressing room), adding as well an aeration chimney to L-keller 1, making this the only room in the building with it's own aeration as well as deaeration system. These revisions were all made in the spring of 1942, within weeks of the period in which historians of Auschwitz generally agree the decision was made to use Birkenau as a site of mass murder.

"Certainly not any powerful extraction system"? The Negationists simply declare this to be so, and, offering no explanation as to why this would have been inadequate, expect us to take their expertise on the ventilation of gas chambers on faith. But an aeration/deaeration system with a throughput of 8000 m3/hr for a room with a volume of about 500 m3 means that all of the air in L-keller 1 could be circulated by this air extraction system within 4 minutes. According to the witnesses already cited, the SS ran the ventilation system for about 20 minutes before opening the doors to begin extracting the bodies. In other words, all of the air in the room would have been exchanged already five times.

But what of the N-team's objection that
With Zyklon B we need to allow time for the gas to be released; and even when the victims are all dead, unless the carrier material is heated or removed somehow it will slowly continue releasing poison for a long time, thus making ventilation impossible.
Despite the data we have cited, of which the Negationists were evidently unaware, showing that the material was sufficiently warm and was removed, what if there were still unavoidable leftover pockets of HCN? Well, look no further than the testimonies of the eyewitnesses for a simple idea as to how to neutralize this possibility, one that would naturally have occurred to those technologically efficient Nazi whiz-kids but that evidently did not occur to the Negationists. According to Miklos Nyiszli, even though the ventilators, "quickly evacuated the gas from the room, but in the crannies between the dead and the cracks of the doors small pockets of it always remained. Even two hours later it caused a suffocating cough. For that reason the Sonderkommando which first moved into the room was equipped with gas masks...." (Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account, p.51)

Like so many other “Revisionist” canards, the one regarding the ventilation of the gas chambers plays on the readers ignorance and/or gullibility. In his online article Chemistry is not the Science, Dr. Richard Green writes:

The Sonderkommando were slave laborers: to their SS slavemasters they were expendable. The SS certainly did not have to obey OSHA regulations. They would not be averse to exposing the Sonderkommando to concentrations of approximately 40 ppmv ("slight symptoms after several hours"). Even if the full concentration of 4500 to 18,100 ppmv had released from the Zyklon into the gas chambers, it would only be necessary to reduce that concentration by a factor of 100-500 times to reach this tolerable level.

It is not the case that the full concentration of Zyklon was present. At the largest Auschwitz crematoria (II and III), the Zyklon was removed after a lethal quantity of gas was given off, using the same devices which inserted it. At these buildings, where the large majority of gassings took place, essentially any absolute rate of outgassing could be achieved, at any temperature and humidity, by pouring in sufficient Zyklon. Once the victims were dead, the remaining carrier material could be lifted out by SS men wearing gas masks, to continue outgassing harmlessly into the open air until spent.

Inspection of Irmscher's paper shows (assuming the Erco carrier) that the concentration that would be present after 30 minutes, for example, would have been 20 to 40% of the total, i.e., 900-7200 ppmv. So it was only necessary to reduce the concentration in the gas chambers by a factor of 20-200 times in order for the Sonderkommando to enter even without gas masks. The remainder of the Zyklon could outgas safely in the outside atmosphere - without, needless to say, "poisoning the entire camp."

The gas chambers were 30 m long by 7 m wide: 210 sq m. They were 2.4 m high, for a volume of 504 cu m. [39] Those same chambers had a ventilation system with both intake and exhaust fans, capable of cycling 8000 cu m through the room each hour. [40] This is commonly referred to as 8000 ÷ 504 = 15.8 "air exchanges per hour."

Note that the Holocaust-denier Carlo Mattogno has misrepresented these figures in his essay, "Auschwitz: The End of a Legend." [41]

It is impossible, of course, to get an exact figure for how long it actually took to clear the air in the gas chamber. But we can obtain approximations through mathematical modeling. The equation used is a simple one: the concentration in the gas chamber is cut to 1/e, or about 37%, for each room replacement of air. Where C(t) is the concentration of HCN at time t in hours,

C(t) = C(0) (1/e)15.8t

This equation supposes that the fresh air mixes with the air in the chamber immediately and completely. In reality it does not do so. Ventilation systems are designed to have an air flow such that the expelled air has a higher concentration of poison, so this equation might seem conservative. In addition, the victims' corpses take up space which has not been figured into any of the below calculations; this would reduce the volume and increase the replacement rate, again indicating that this figure is conservative. But blockages caused by the same corpses, and the possibility of laminar airflow, might work in the other direction. All in all, this estimate will suffice.

Using this equation, if C(0) = 900 ppmv, the concentration is less than 20 ppmv after just 15 minutes.

The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists produces an Industrial Hygiene Calculator program for the Windows operating system. [42] When the size and ventilation rates of the gas chamber are converted to cubic feet and minutes, it returns identical results to the above equation.

It should also be pointed out that, halfway through their period of use, the size of these gas chambers was cut in half: [43]

Leichenkeller I proved in the end to be too large for a gas chamber. At the end of 1943, in order to "regularize" the operation of crematoria II and III, the camp administration divided their gas chambers in two, allowing no more than 100 sq m for the killing of 1,000 new arrivals (unfit for work) in 24 hours.

If one makes the logical assumption that the intake and exhaust vents were also blocked off in the unused portion of the gas chambers, this modification doubled the ventilation rate of the remaining portion. However, we will continue to use the figures from 1943; if a gassing from 1944 is referenced, ventilation times would be cut in half.

We return to the question of how long it would take to ventilate the gas chamber from the level used in killing to a level which the Sonderkommando could safely tolerate without a gas mask. We have seen that this took place in less than 15 minutes from an initial concentration of 900 ppmv.

If the initial concentration were more than seven times higher (7200 ppmv), owing to the nature of exponential math, the same concentration of under 20 ppmv would be reached in less than 23 minutes. Even if the residual Zyklon had not been removed and the chambers had the full concentration of 18,100 ppmv, the concentration would be less than 20 ppmv in 26 minutes.

In fact, since OSHA guidelines (above) give specifications not for maximum exposure but for mean exposure over fifteen minutes, we can use these values to understand what the Sonderkommando would experience. In the graph below, an initial concentration of 900 ppmv is assumed for the solid lines. The concentration is plotted in red. In blue is plotted the mean exposure over fifteen minutes for someone entering the gas chamber at the specified time. The dashed lines show the same information assuming an initial concentration of 7,200 ppmv: [44]


After ten minutes, in the former case, the ambient concentration was about 65 ppmv, and someone who entered the room at that point would receive a mean exposure to HCN, from t=10 minutes to t=25 minutes, of about 17 ppmv. Recall that 20 ppmv is the low end of Du Pont's symptom category: "slight symptoms after several hours."

It is thus safe to say that, with these assumptions, the Sonderkommando could enter the gas chamber ten minutes after ventilation began, wearing no gas masks, and experience no significant effects from the HCN.

If we instead assume the highest estimated initial concentration of 7,200 ppmv, the dashed lines would apply. Thus, the Sonderkommando could enter after eighteen minutes with no serious effects.

This conservative estimate fits with Pressac's conclusion that the doors were typically opened after twenty minutes of ventilation.
[….][emphases ours]

Why an extraction system making it possible to safely enter the gas chambers within a maximum of twenty minutes after gassing would not be “powerful” enough for the purpose at hand remains the NT’s mystery.
NT: Even if the morgues had been converted for homicide later, as was argued by Pressac, it would have been simple to fabricate the ductwork necessary to heat and recirculate air through the Zyklon granules to ensure rapid release of HCN, adequate mixing, and then extraction.
We don’t know if it would have been “simple”, but let’s assume that it would have been. So what? If the gas chambers already functioned adequately, why should they have bothered?
NT: But the story is painted into a corner with holes in roofs and wire-mesh introduction devices and OSS/CIA wartime aerial photos purporting to show the vent holes to introduce insecticide through the roofs.
Again, the Negationist team begs rather than proves the point that these Zyklon B introduction columns were simply invented rather than based on any conclusive and coincident documentary (an inventory list attached to a crematorium transfer deed) eyewitness (Kula, Erber and Tauber) and physical (air and ground photos) evidence. The convergence of these various sources of evidence, completely independent of each other, is explained in McCarthy/Van Alstine’s above-mentioned article, Zyklon Introduction Columns, ... o-columns/
NT: Kremas IV and V, also at Birkenau, didn't even have that feature and purportedly used natural ventilation for their above-ground gaschambers.

As this is confirmed by several eyewitness depositions independent of each other, the “purportedly” is out of place.
NT: The technicians of death supposedly climbed ladders to toss in insecticide through the windows near the roof.
As it the “supposedly” in the above. The procedure described by witnesses may not have been as “elegant” from an engineering point of view as our opponents “would expect” the SS to have carried out an activity as demanding of technical finesse (see above) as mass murder. But it worked, and this was all the executors had to be and were concerned about.
NT: And while it is relatively easy to kill people, where is the "process engineering" for a scale of thousands of victims churned through this "River Rouge" of industrial annihilation like hot rolls?
Again, from whence do our humour-loving opponents derive the assumption that large-scale mass murder would require whatever they would be prepared to consider “process engineering”? Are we asked to believe that the killers would have endeavoured to find “elegant” technical solutions for mass killing, rather than being satisfied with a method that did the job, just because our opponents postulate that such concern with technical perfection would have been what “one would expect”?

As per their pattern, the Negationist team leaves this argument not with a conclusion based on the arguments that have been presented, but with a polemical assertion of the assumptions on which they rest.
Instead, the Allied blackbag intelligence operatives and their legal warriors in the warcrimes trials were not engineers and they left wide technical gaps in the liturgy. It is no wonder that for decades the technical problems in the Exterminationist story were not even addressed by mainstream historians.
All that needs to be pointed out here is that once again the Negationists are assuming the existence of the very Allied conspiracy they have yet to substantiate, explaining the evidence through the filter of this self-referential assumption. Once again, it is mere rhetoric in lieu of argument. The Negationist team does not see fit to specify these alleged "technical gaps" or "technical problems". All they have shown us is the gulf between what the evidence shows and what they personally think would have happened. This is the most plausible reason for the alleged "reluctance" of mainstream historians to address the nonexistent. They also clearly beg the question of whether there was ever any intention to create a "liturgy" rather than a conclusion based on evidence, that as such was dependent on and flexible to that evidence. If the Negationist team wishes to say that death probably took a bit longer than certain unspecified Sonderkommando witnesses thought, or that the SS could have produced a better gas chamber for use with Zyklon B, the Veritas team has no objection as these propositions have no effect whatsoever on our case. We never argued that the Sonderkommando were experts to a man in the medical properties of HCN, or that their testimonies were useful as the sole source of technical details on the technique and operation of gas chambers (indeed, we quite explicitly disavowed such a false methodology). But for the Negationist team to jump from there to the presumed existence of "Allied blackbag intelligence operatives" fabricating a "liturgy" is a leap of logic too vast for any reasonable person basing their conclusions on the evidence to make. There is no place for this sort of empty tripe in "scholarly debate".
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: Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »

VI. REVISIONIST SCIENCE 3 (Typhus and Cremation)
2. The importance of typhus as a cause of death at Auschwitz-Birkenau

One of the tactics used by “Revisionists” in discussions about the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp is to extol the threat posed and mortality caused by typhus. This argument serves three purposes. The first is to explain away a large part of the camp’s mortality, where the evidence is such that denying it is not a promising approach, as having resulted from a communicable disease, a natural catastrophe against which the camp administration, despite all efforts to rein in the epidemic, was powerless. The second is to exclusively relate the use of high quantities of the lethal fumigation agent Zyklon B to an intensive effort to get rid of typhus-spreading lice, thus making what was also an agent of mass murder look like a life-saving device. The third, finally, is to explain away the camp’s enormous cremation capacity, which far exceeded that of any other German concentration camp, as having exclusively or mainly resulted from a concern about high mortality due to typhus.

The NT thus submit the following:
Typhus is rampant in wartime or other cataclysms--even today with great population movements, close quarters, privation and lack of hygiene and disrupted public infrastructure. A typhus epidemic hit German camps in 1942, and Auschwitz, located in a region of endemic typhus, was especially hard hit.


During and after World War I it is estimated that over twenty-million lost their lives from typhus in Eastern Europe.

From the first paragraph of “How Charles Nicolle of the Pasteur Institute discovered that epidemic typhus is transmitted by lice: Reminiscences from my years at the Pasteur Institute in Paris.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v. 93:10/1996, pp. 10539-40, by Ludwik Gross, he writes:

Quote: "After World War I, 20-30 million people died in Eastern Europe from this disease, and an additional several million died during and after World War II."
It would be interesting to know where the NT’s source Ludwik Gross got his enormous figures from. Considering the wide public attention accorded to the post-World War I influenza epidemic, which killed about 20 million people worldwide, it seems odd that a mortality of similar magnitude caused by typhus in Eastern Europe alone should have gone virtually unnoticed. Data from other online sources dealing with typhus accordingly differ on the mortality caused by this disease:

"... In the aftermath of World War I and during the civil war between the White (Royalist) and Red (Communist) armies that followed the Bolshevik Revolution, typhus killed three million in a devastated and anarchic Soviet Union. It came closer to toppling Lenin than the White Army ever did..." [emphasis ours]

"Before World War II, epidemic typhus was a devastating disease for humans. Epidemics occurred throughout Europe from the 17th to the 19th centuries. It was common in prisons, where it was known as Gaol Fever. Before then there is little historical literature available. Widespread epidemics occurred during the Napoleonic Wars and the Irish potato famine of 1846 to 1849. During World War I the disease caused three million deaths in Russia and more in Poland and Romania. Even larger epidemics in the post-war chaos of Europe were only averted by the widespread use of the newly discovered DDT to kill the lice on millions of refugees and displaced persons. A vaccine was also developed in World War II, and today epidemics only occur in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa where living conditions and hygiene are poor." [emphasis ours]
... Typhus has always reigned as an endemic disease in the Eastern and Southeastern provinces of the former Polish state. This was especially true for the provinces of Wilna, Nowogrodek and Stanislawow. Here during severe outbreaks, about 5-10% and more of the population would fall ill annually whereas in the Western parts of Poland, the disease declined steadily over the years so that it was virtually unknown in the present Warthegau or else occurred only in isolated cases or clusters without any tendency to spread. During the last years before the present war, the pestilence had almost been eradicated within the central parts of the country, just as conditions in the Eastern parts were also improving. That the present wartime dislocations would again increase the frequency of typhus was to be expected since it had always been a typical plague of war, but the magnitude of the reoccurrence in 1940 was many times less than had been expected. If we adjust the number of previously reported cases [for all of Poland] in order to try to get numbers that only apply to the area of the present day Generalgouvernement--obviously, these values will be only rough approximations in order to be able to make comparisons with those for 1940--we get the following.

Table 1. Typhus occurrences per year in the present-day Generalgouvernement.
1919 44,000 1930 320
1920 34,000 1931 420
1921 10,000 1932 500
1922 8,500 1933 680
1923 2,200 1934 1,000
1924 1,500 1935 800
1925 800 1936 740
1926 700 1937 680
1927 600 1938 700
1928 500 1939 ?
1929 400 1940 7,900

Obviously, the statistics can not show all occurrences because it can be assumed that, at the very least, the undiagnosed, mild cases were not reported. It is quite possible that the true morbidity rates are actually double or triple the values which have been reported.


The mortality of the disease in all these years seems to be surprisingly low. For the years following the world war, the rate was 7%_9% with the exception of 13.4% for 1920. Thereafter, the mortality rate decreased to 5.2% in 1938 and in 1940 to 5.6%. However, many mild cases may not have been reported so that the hazards of the illness might, in fact, be even less.[…] [emphases ours]
Especially the last source quoted – the translation of German hygienist Dr. E. Zimmermann’s 1942 article Zur Epidemiologie des Fleckfiebers im Generalgouvernemtent by “Revisionist” author Friedrich Paul Berg – suggests that Ludwik Gross’s figures on typhus mortality in Eastern Europe after World War I are way too high. According to Zimmermann, the areas of Poland which later became part of the Nazi General Government - including, by the time Zimmermann’s article was published, the territories of Eastern Poland which had previously been incorporated in the Soviet Union – had a maximum (including undiagnosed/unreported mild cases) of 132,000 (3 * 44,000) occurrences of typhus in 1919 and 102,000 (3 * 34,000) in 1920, the postwar years when the epidemic was most rampant. Assuming (rather generously) that mortality among all these cases (and not only the reported/recorded ones mentioned in Zimmermann’s statistics table) was 9 % = ca. 11,900 in 1919 and 13.4 % = ca. 13,700 in 1920, we would have less than 26,000 typhus dead in the areas of Poland which later were part of the Nazi General Government, and which included the particularly insalubrious areas of Eastern and Southeastern Poland.

Considering the above-quoted sources on deaths by typhus in Soviet Russia after World War I (ca. 3 million) and the comparatively negligible figures for Poland according to Zimmermann’s article, this would mean that, for Gross’s figure to be accurate, the overwhelming majority of the 20 to 30 million typhus deaths in Eastern Europe he mentioned – 17 out of 20 or 27 out of 30 million, respectively 85 % and 90 % - need to have occurred not in the two most typhus-ridden countries of Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and Poland, but in other countries like Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania and Czechoslovakia. This seems to be rather improbable.

Independently of overall data about deaths from typhus in Eastern Europe over a given period, however, what matters to the “Revisionist” argument is the incidence and mortality rate from the disease at the specific place and time in question, i.e. at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp between 1941 and 1944. In this respect, however, the camp’s death books and other evidence show that, while typhus was a problem and a concern to the camp’s administration, it was not one they were unable to handle let alone a catastrophe against which they were powerless. In his online article, Body Disposal at Auschwitz: The End of Holocaust Denial ... -disposal/ , John C. Zimmerman writes:
[…]In 1989, the Auschwitz Archives in Moscow were opened for the first time since the Soviets liberated the camp in January 1945. These archives contain thousands of documents which survived destruction by the camp authorities when they fled the advancing Soviet forces. Among the items discovered were the Auschwitz Death Books. These books contain the death certificates of registered prisoners only. Nonregistered prisoners who were killed upon arrival did not receive a death certificate. The death books are incomplete. They contain the certificates of 68,864 registered prisoners who died from August 1941 to December 1943.There are no books for 1944 or periods prior to August 1941.They are either missing or were destroyed. Also, there are a number of missing books for the period August 1941 to December 1943. However, each book contains between 1400 and 1500 entries. [29] By interpolating 1500 entries into each missing death book we can arrive at approximately 80,000 deaths of registered prisoners for 1942 and 1943. [30] Dr. Tadeusz Paczula, a former Auschwitz inmate, was in the camp from 1940. He also kept the death registries for registered inmates. He later testified that for the two years following the summer of 1942, about 130,000 names were entered into the death registries. [31]

Nevertheless, the nearly 69,000 death certificates available afford researchers the opportunity to see exactly what was killing registered prisoners. It is now known on the basis of these certificates that very few prisoners died from typhus. [32] They show that only 2060 of the 68,864 deaths were from typhus. While typhus can be lethal, it need not necessarily be so. Lucie Adelsberger, a Jewish prisoner and camp doctor, got typhus, was quarantined, and resumed her duties after recovery. [33] Similarly, Ella Lingens Reiner, a German doctor, who was also a prisoner, contracted typhus and survived. [34] One of the early Auschwitz memoirs, written in 1947, recounts an episode with camp doctor Josef Mengele, later to become known as the "Angel of Death" for his medical experiments. Mengele was disturbed about the typhus epidemic. The former prisoner wrote: "Alas, typhus epidemics did rage in the camp, but at this time we had comparatively few victims. The same day he [Mengele] sent us a large quantity of serum and directed mass vaccinations." [35] Petro Mirchuk, a Ukranian prisoner, wrote that a delousing in August 1942, the worst month of the epidemic, "eliminated the epidemic and the billions of fleas and lice ceased to exist." [36]

Thus, it can be seen that people could recover from typhus and that the authorities did have means of combating the disease.[…][emphases ours]
Thus Prof. Zimmerman appropriately headed this section of his article “The Typhus Myth”. That myth having been debunked (to borrow a term “Revisionists” like to throw around on every inappropriate occasion), let us move on to the next set of canards.

3. The corpse cremation/incineration capacity of Auschwitz Birkenau
NT: But why did the Germans build crematoria except for homicide?

First of all, the Germans built crematoria ovens and not industrial incinerators such as might be used to dispose of the carcasses of diseased cattle.
So what? Does this answer the question just put?
NT: Crematories are designed so that the fuel is not mixed with the ashes and bones of the corpses--so that the “cremains” of one body are kept separate from the next.
This is how they can be designed and are designed for civilian cremation practice, not how they must necessarily be designed. Keeping apart the cremation remains of the victims of mass gassing was the last thing the killers were concerned with. On the contrary, they enhanced time efficiency of cremation by i) burning several bodies at a time insofar as permitted by the cremation oven’s weight load (a weight load of 70 kg, for instance, might consist of one adult man weighing 70 kg or one adult woman weighing 50 kg and two little children weighing 10 kg each) and ii) inserting the next load of bodies into the oven before the previous load had been fully cremated.
NT: For this reason they do not make the most efficient use of fuel, and the process of cremation takes a given amount of time depending on the heat conserved from previous serial cremations.
The statement that the ovens built for Auschwitz Birkenau by Topf & Söhne did not make the most efficient use of fuel is contradicted by evidence to these ovens’ fuel-saving properties, particularly when they were used as described by witnesses from the Special Detachment. The following excerpt from the transcript of the 11th day of the Irving-Lipstadt trial is of interest in this respect:
<12> MR RAMPTON: The case sought to be made is that it explains how
<13> it was that they were able to incinerate as many corpses
<14> as they could, and also how they managed to use as little
<15> fuel a these were able to do.

<16> A. Yes, I was looking for that particular sentence, because
<17> I did not want to quote the sentence from memory.
<18> Q. I think you will find it in translation on pages 538, 539.
<19> A. This is what it says here at page 540, it says:
<20> "Pre-heating of such an oven should take at least two
<21> days. After this pre-heating the oven will not need any
<22> more fuel due to the heat produced by the corpses."

<23> Q. Read on, will you.
<24> A. "It will be able to maintain its necessary high
<25> temperature through self-heating".

<26> Q. Carry on.
. P-161
< 1> A. "But to allow it to main a constant temperature it would
< 2> have become necessary to introduce at the same time
< 3> so-called well fat and so-called emaciated corpses,
< 4> because one can only guarantee continuous high
< 5> temperatures through the emission of human fat. When only
< 6> emaciated corpses are incinerated, it will be necessary to
< 7> add heat continuously. The result of this will be that
< 8> insulation could be damaged because of the dust created
< 9> temperatures and one would expect shorter or longer break
<10> downs".

<11> Q. That document, Professor, is this right, is in its origin
<12> quite unrelated to what went on at Birkenau?
<13> A. It is quite unrelated you say?
<14> Q. Unrelated.
<15> A. No, its origin is of the fall of 1942 and the ovens in
<16> crematoria 2 and 3 only came into operation in April
<17> 1943. However, the multi-muffle ovens were already used
<18> in crematorium No. 1 since August 1940. So the principle
<19> is the same in the ovens in crematorium 1. So clearly
<20> they are using the principle which has been the experience
<21> that has been gained in crematorium 1 in creating this
<22> patent application.

<23> Q. I am grateful. There is no doubt about the authenticity
<24> of this, is there, as an original German document written
<25> by Topf for their patent agents?
<26> A. No, it is registered in whatever the patent ----

. P-162
< 1> Q. How well does that document what we see here on page 540,
< 2> I do not need you to look at them, how well from memory
< 3> does that chime with the descriptions given by the
< 4> eyewitnesses, including Hirst, of how this procedure was
< 5> carried out in practice?
< 6> A. What is very important in the descriptions of the
< 7> sonderkommandos is that they talk about, with a certain
< 8> kind of care, they would bring corpses of people of
< 9> different sizes into the muffles, exactly to -- no,
<10> I cannot say that because they do not actually give that
<11> explanation. But here actually is given an explanation, a
<12> thermodynamical explanation why that would have been done.

<13> Q. I think Tauber was quite specific about it, was he not,
<14> about using fat corpses?
<15> A. Yes.
<16> Q. Indeed on the trial run I think they were given fat
<17> corpses, says Tauber, in March 1943, were they not?
<18> A. I would like to see that thing.
<19> Q. We can look at it later.
<20> MR JUSTICE GRAY: What you quote in your report does not read
<21> like a patent application. Is it a quote from the patent
<22> application?
<23> A. We go to 808 ----
<24> Q. I think you are quoting another author, are you not?
<25> A. No, this is the comment. Sorry.
<26> MR RAMPTON: This is the interpretation.

. P-163
< 1> A. This is the comment written by a number of engineers.
< 2> MR JUSTICE GRAY: It probably does not affect the point.
< 3> MR RAMPTON: My Lord, one can see how they have dealt with it,
< 4> how Topf dealt with in the last paragraph of the quote on
< 5> page 539.
< 6> A. Yes, one of the important lines in that thing, of course,
< 7> is they are actually not incinerating any more, but they
< 8> are literally burning corpses.
<10> MR RAMPTON: The passage from Tauber's evidence or testimony,
<11> call it what you like, is on page 535. At the top: "The
<12> corpses of wasted people with no fat burned rapidly in the
<13> side muffles and slowly in the centre one. Conversely,
<14> the corpses of people gassed directly on arrival not being
<15> wasted burnt better in the centre muffle. During the
<16> incineration of such corpses we used the coke only to
<17> light the fire of the furnace initially, for fatty corpses
<18> burn of their own accord thanks to the combustion of body
<19> fat". It is the same opposite on the previous page in
<20> relation to crematorium 1.
<21> He actually says in relation to crematorium 2
<22> and 3: "I know from the experienced gained by observing
<23> cremation in crematoria 2 and 3 that the bodies of fat
<24> people burned very much faster. The process of
<25> incineration is accelerated by the combustion of human fat
<26> which thus produces additional heat."
[...][emphases ours] ... ges161-165
NT: This is not the place for a long technical discussion on cremation physics; that has already been done thoroughly by Carlo Mattogno.
Carlo Mattogno’s comparatively imaginative distortions have been dealt of in the following online articles by John C. Zimmerman:

Body Disposal at Auschwitz: The End of Holocaust-Denial, ... -disposal/

My Response to Carlo Mattogno, ... -mattogno/
NT: The notion of unusual rates of body-disposal from the crematories built at Birkenau to control disease is pure fantasy.
Our opponents obviously feel the need to hammer their articles of faith into their readers’ heads with bold proclamations. We take this is a sign of their insecurity.
NT: A good ballpark figure for the cremation of a cadaver is about an hour, and a daily operation of 20 hours with 4 hours for cleaning and maintenance should be considered a theoretical maximum.
One hour per body may be a “good ballpark figure” in civilian cremation, where it is essential that a body be cremated completely and its ashes removed from the furnace before the next body is inserted. Where this is not the case, the average cremation time per body will be much shorter.

In his article under ... -disposal/ , John Zimmerman writes:
[...]Mattogno cited a participant from a British cremation conference in 1975 who stated that the "thermal barrier" for a cremation was 60 minutes. [106] He ignored the comments of another conference participant who suggested that most of the burning occurred in the first 30 minutes:

After about half an hour, whether the furnace has gotten up to a temperature of 1100°C or whether it is 900°C, there is a rapid fall away, and I think the investigations should be concerned with the last twenty minutes or so of the cremation cycle. At that time you have in the cremator a very small quantity of body material...roughly the size of a rugby football, about twenty minutes from the end of the cremation, and this is the thing which is most difficult to remove.
[emphasis ours] [107]

The instructions for the Topf double muffle furnaces envisaged that a body would be added into the oven during the last twenty minutes that it took to fully cremate the corpse that had been previously inserted.

As soon as the remains of the corpses have fallen from the chamotte grid to the ash collection channel below, they should be pulled forward towards the ash removal door, using the scraper. Here they can be left for a further twenty minutes to be fully consumed....In the meantime, further corpses can be introduced one after the other into the chambers. [108] (Emphasis added.)[...]
The above means that if, for instance, the bodies of a women and two children (“load 2”) were inserted into one of the Birkenau cremation ovens after the previous load (“load 1”), the body of an adult male, had been reduced to a “very small quantity of body material” – i.e. after ca. half an hour – the time for both “load 1” to be completely cremated and “load 2” to be reduced to the “size of a rugby football” would be about one hour. Within this one hour, a total of four bodies would be either totally cremated or reduced to “cremains” of insignificant size. The latter would be wholly reduced to ashes while the next load was being reduced to the size of a rugby football, and so on. “Cremains” left behind at the end of a cremation shift would be reduced to ashes with hammers or huge wooden logs, as shown in the drawing by David Olére featured under ... e-2668.jpg
NT: If the Germans were able to keep their equipment operational for half this time on average that should be considered optimistic by anyone who has any experience with the operation of complex machinery.
Does any member of the Negationist Team have any experience with the operation of cremation ovens, or from whence is this assumption derived? Evidence as to how long the Birkenau crematoria were in continuous operation – for instance the Auschwitz-Birkenau construction office’s memorandum on coke usage of 17 March 1943 – makes the recollections of “anyone who has any experience with the operation of complex machinery” seem a comparatively vague source.
NT: With six muffles at Auschwitz I and fifteen each at Kremas II and III, and eight each at Kremas IV and V, not all of which were always capable of operation, nor ever actually in simultaneous service, that is 52 muffles total--which gives us a maximum theoretical disposal rate of 1,040 corpses per day in twenty hours of operation, or actually 520 with an optimistic duty-cycle of fifty-percent.
The documentary and eyewitness evidence assessed by Zimmerman and mentioned in his above-quoted article shows the absurdity of these farcical calculations.

In a letter by the crematorium manufacturer Topf & Söhne to the SS Central Construction Office in Auschwitz, engineer Prüfer mentioned the capacity of the four crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau. According to this 800 corpses a day should be burned in each of the two bigger crematoria I and II and 400 a day in each of the two smaller crematoria III and IV, i.e. a total of 2,400 corpses per day.

This letter, however, stands against another letter by the SS Central Construction Office at Auschwitz, signed by its director Bischoff, to the Central Economic Administration Department (WVHA) of the SS, wherein other numbers are clearly mentioned. This document stated 1,440 corpses for each of crematoria I and II and 768 corpses per day for each of crematoria III and IV. How do both these documents fit together, and which data are accurate?

Prüfer’s letter is dated of 8 September 1942, while Bischoff’s is from 28 June 1943. Prüfer’s letter was written before the conclusion of the crematoria, whereas Bischoff’s letter came into being after conclusion and thus on grounds of first operation results. That the figures contained therein – based on an average cremation time per corpse of 15 minutes – were everything other than implausible has been shown above.

But even if we consider the previous letter from the manufacturer, which was based on an operation period of 12 hours, to contain the more realistic information (being a manufacturer’s letter to his customer, it is likely to have understated rather than exaggerated the product’s capabilities, a reasonable precaution considering the warranty provisions of the German Civil Code), we would have a cremation capacity of 2,400 corpses per day.
NT: Remember that at Belsen at the end of the war the British were disposing of about 500 deaths per day in mass graves. Contamination of groundwater with the high water table at Auschwitz discouraged mass-graves and the camp already experienced a death-rate during the epidemic of 1942 of about 200 or 300 per day, with the camp slated to grow fast. This was an urgent engineering problem to solve.

Krema II was ordered in 1941 for the Stammlager main camp to add fifteen muffles to the six of Krema I, but was built at Birkenau instead. A second crematoria, Krema III, was ordered, with two more of a cheaper design to follow. It was still potentially not enough because the ovens kept breaking down. The chimney of Krema I for example could not take the heat and load from its six muffles, as the crematorium was originally designed for only four.
As mentioned by Zimmerman in his above-quoted article, the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex held 74,000 prisoners on 31 August 1943. Even if daily cremation capacity had been no higher than the 2,400 which become apparent from Prüfer’s letter of 8 September 1942, it would thus have been possible to cremate the camp’s entire inmate population within a month.

Did Auschwitz-Birkenau ever experience so high a mortality of registered inmates?

No, it didn’t. According to Zimmerman, the highest three months of deaths of registered prisoners in Auschwitz was 21,900 for the period from August through October 1942 – an average of ca. 7,300 per month or ca. 240 per day.

Why would the camp have a cremation capacity that exceeded the peak mortality among its registered inmates by a factor of at least ten (almost twenty if we take the cremation capacity mentioned in Bischoff’s letter of 28 June 1943)? Did any other Nazi concentration camp have a comparable cremation redundancy, leading to most of its cremation oven being idle most of the time?

Again, the answer is no, of course. As “Revisionists” often point out, the Nazis had no resources to waste.

Zimmerman writes:
[...]Gusen was a camp in the Mauthausen concentration camp complex. Mauthausen and Gusen are located in Austria. Gusen was comprised of three camps. In February 1941, Gusen had a Topf double muffle furnace, two ovens, installed in order to handle the deaths there. No additional ovens were added during the remainder of Gusen's existence. [66] Prior to March 1943, Auschwitz had three Topf double muffle ovens, or three times the cremation capacity of Gusen. In 1942 there were 7410 deaths in Gusen. [67] In 1942 there were 44,000 deaths of registered prisoners and an additional 1100 Soviet POWs recorded in the morgue registries. These deaths are not in dispute. [68] Non-registered prisoners who were killed upon arrival are not included in these numbers. Therefore, in 1942 there were six times as many deaths in Auschwitz as Gusen and three times the cremation capacity. Also revealing is an examination of the highest three consecutive months of deaths in both camps. The highest three months of deaths of registered prisoners in Auschwitz was 21,900 for the period from August through October 1942. The highest three month period for Gusen was from December 1942 through February 1943 when 3851 prisoners died. Thus, in the highest three month period Auschwitz death totals for registered prisoners were six times the Gusen amount.

A comparison of these death statistics suggests that Auschwitz could have accommodated the excess death rate over that of Gusen by doubling its cremation capacity from 6 to 12 ovens. If Auschwitz really needed 46 additional ovens, a nearly ninefold expansion of its existing capacity, then Gusen needed to expand to at least 12 ovens. Yet, no such expansion was ever undertaken. [...][emphases ours]
In other words: Gusen had 2 ovens. Auschwitz Birkenau had 52. In order to achieve a cremation capacity in relation to inmate deaths equal to that of Gusen – one of the most murderous among the Nazis’ “plain” concentration camps – Auschwitz-Birkenau would have required 12 ovens. Yet it had 40 ovens in excess of that. What, if not large-scale mass murder, could these additional 40 ovens possibly have been required for?
NT: If the 52 muffles of Auschwitz-Birkenau were in working order and available at Belsen, originally a small camp with only one oven, they could have barely coped with the epidemic that the British found upon liberation. So much for fantastic body disposal rates as a "criminal trace" for mass-murder!
This baseless nonsense has been dealt with above.
NT: And this is supported by the deliveries of fuel coke to Birkenau as well unless one wants to believe absurdly that only about 4 kilograms are needed on average to cremate each body.
Actually there is nothing absurd about the notion that, due to the fuel-saving features and procedures described above, the Birkenau crematoria ovens needed little or no additional fuel after the initial heating-up.

The calculation underlying this notion, based on two contemporary documents, is explained as follows in Zimmerman’s article:
[...]The only authoritative information available on the fuel efficiency of the triple and eight muffle ovens was provided to the Bauleitung by Topf. On March 17, 1943 the Bauleitung issued a memo under the heading: "Estimation of coke usage for Crematorium II K L [concentration camp] according to data [Angaben] from Topf and Sons [maker of the ovens] from March 11, 1943." The memo goes on to describe the data in terms of fires. Crematoria II and III each needed ten fires for 350 kilograms of usage per hour. However, the number could be reduced by one third if they were used on a continuous basis, which meant that each crematorium would use 2800 kilograms of coke in a 12 hour period. In the eight muffle furnace the fuel savings were even greater. When those ovens were worked continuously they would burn 1120 kilograms of coke in a 12 hour period. This means that all four crematoria could operate on 7840 kilograms of coke in a 12 hour period (2800 each for Kremas II and III and 1120 each for Kremas IV and V). The Bauleitung concludes: "These are top achievements. It is not possible to give a number for usage for the year because it is not known how many hours or days it will be needed to heat it." [151]

Mattogno represented this information as meaning that "Crematoria II and III could have cremated about 240 bodies a day, and Crematoria IV and V about 130 - a total of some 370 bodies. The estimate given in the memo thus indicates that a daily average of 370 emaciated adult corpses were expected for cremation." [152] This is simply a false characterization of the data. There is no mention of the number of bodies that could be burned. The key fact is that the fuel data given by Topf is based on the number of hours worked irrespective of the amount of bodies burned. This fact caused many problems for Mattogno because, as noted earlier, estimates on the number of bodies which could be burned in a ten hour period in one oven ranged as high as 36, and Topf engineer Prüfer had even estimated 800 bodies in five triple muffle ovens in a 24 hour period. The real dilemma for Mattogno was in the Bauleitung figures given on June 28, 1943, discussed earlier, that 4416 bodies could be burned in a 24 hour period in the four new crematoria, or 2208 in a 12 hour period. When the 7840 kilograms of coke usage for a 12 hour period are divided by the 2208 bodies which could be cremated in a 12 hour period, the average comes out to about 3.5 kilograms per body. [emphasis ours] Mattogno never addressed this issue directly. However, he was aware of the problem that the June 28 Bauleitung figures could pose. To deal with this problem he reverted to a common denier tactic. He announced that "this document is a fabrication." [153] Thus, any document which deniers do not like is commonly explained as the result of forgery and conspiracy. Mattogno did not say who might have "fabricated" this report.[...]
NT: The Exterminationists are therefore forced to rely upon the wildcard of open-air cremations to dispose of the bodies, as no doubt was employed during the epidemic in 1942 and any time when an unpredictable number of dead from disease or overwork could not be handled by the unreliable crematories. The Kremas could only handle batches of so many at once.

Contrary to what “Revisionists in general and the NT in particular would like to believe, their opponents – who in characteristic silliness they refer to as “Exterminationists” – are not “forced” to “rely” on anything for whatever purpose. All they do is follow the evidence where it leads, and the evidence shows that, enormous though the cremation capacity of the Birkenau crematoria was, it was not sufficient to cope with the hundreds of thousands of Jews from Hungary and the Lodz ghetto who were murdered at Birkenau in the spring and summer of 1944.
NT: But burning bodies, stacks of bodies, is not proof of mass-murder, nor is burning infested clothing.

This is a rather fascinating revisionist one-two punch. First they say we use the notion of open-air cremations as a "wildcard" to explain away the inadequate capacities of the kremas, then they themselves try an explain away the fact of open air cremations using a straw-man whereby they falsely attribute to us the claim that these cremations - in themselves - are "proof of mass-murder". We would not make such a claim. What we would say is that, viewed in the context of other evidence (not least of which includes the existing cremation capacity), the fact of these open-air cremations serves as an additional item of evidence corroborating the picture we have already supported.

Independently of other evidence showing that the bodies being burned were of people who had been murdered, the sheer number of deaths within a certain period of time suggests that the cause of death was not a natural one. As we wrote in our opening statement, about 438,000 Hungarian Jews were transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau between 15 May and 9 July 1944, and at least two-thirds out of these cannot be assumed let alone shown to have been taken elsewhere at any time after arriving at that camp.

Is it reasonable to even consider the possibility that typhus, or some other malignant epidemic, snuffed out nearly 300,000 lives at one place within less than two months, and that in the mid-20th century?

Let’s assume that it does: would this make their captors, who would have deliberately stuffed all these people into a place where they died like flies, look any better?

Having just tried to dismiss the significance of open-air cremations in light of the existing capacity of the kremas, the NT then - immediately and without skipping a beat - reverts back to the "it never happened" line of revisionist argument with their only weak attempt to provide documentary evidence that this mass murder of Hungarian Jews could not have taken place. They do this employing the very selective, cherry-picking approach to evidence of which they frequently and falsely accuse us:
During a period in May, 1944 while the Hungarian action was supposedly going on and thousands were being gassed and burned in the open at Birkenau, there is no activity on the wartime aerial photo to show for it.

Birkenau, May 31, 1944.

Once again, we have revisionists purporting or demanding that a given type of evidence provide information that evidence of that type is simply not equipped to give, and drawing conclusions not according to what a given item does tell us but rather what it does not. A photograph is capable of recording only a single moment in time, yet here we have the Negationists claiming that one can draw conclusions about what was taking place throughout May 1944 from this single photograph. We also have them inviting the assumption that this is the only photograph available or needed from which to draw such conclusions. In response to this claim, we reproduce the text on pages 50 and following of John C. Zimmerman’s book Holocaust Denial:
Auschwitz Photos

One of the arguments that deniers have come up with to “prove” that Hungarian Jews were not gassed and cremated are two photos taken of the Auschwitz complex during the time of the deportations. Deniers claim that since these photos do not show any activity in the camp, the exterminations could not have taken place.
Although this argument has a great deal of appeal to deniers, it ignores the fact that these were still photos taken by the Allied forces from an airplane at a particular point in time. Deniers act as if these photos represent around the clock surveillance of the camp. Fortunately for deniers, there was no continuous photographing of Auschwitz during the Hungarian operation from mid-May to mid-July 1944. Nevertheless, neither of these photos represent what deniers would have us believe.
The best known of these photos was taken on June 26, 1944. It shows the whole Auschwitz complex which consisted of three main camps: the Birkenau camp where the gas chambers and crematoria were located, the Auschwitz main camp, and Monowitz area of the camp where industrial production occurred.
The Birkenau area of the camp shows no activity. However, on this particular day there were no arrivals from Hungary.
A list of the Hungarian transports uncovered by Randolph Braham shows that no trains left Hungary from June 17 to June 24. Transports resumed on June 25. However, it took three or four days for a train to reach Auschwitz from Hungary. Auschwitz registration records show no Hungarian Jews were registered from June 20 to June 27. The accuracy of this information is also verified by reports from Veesenmayer and Ferenczy. In a report on June 13 Veesenmayer stated that Hungarian Jews were to be concentrated in Hungary from June 17 to June 24 and transported from June 25 to June 28. A report by Ferenczy says the same thing. Understandably, deniers have totally ignored this information. On the other hand, if the photo did show activity in the Birkenau camp deniers would no doubt claim they were forgeries because of the aforementioned information.
The other photo is from May 31, a date when there were transports arriving from Hungary. Neither the transports nor the gassings occurred when the photo was taken. However, there is a very significant piece of information on the photo. Smoke is shown rising from a pit near Crematorium V. As will be seen in chapter 6 on the section dealing with Auschwitz commandant Rudolph Hoess, this photo, discovered in 1979, is confirmation of what Hoess wrote more than 30 years before its discovery. He stated that pits behind Crematorium #5 were used for burning bodies. This photo is totally consistent with Hoess’s observation. Moreover, a recent photographic enhancement of this photo by the supervisor of cartographic applications and image processing at Caltech/NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena shows prisoners being marched into Krema V. The issue of photos will be comprehensively analyzed in chapter 10 on body disposal where it will be shown on the basis of a more recent comprehensive analysis oh these photos (see Appendix IV) that they confirm all aspects of eyewitness testimony about what was occurring at Auschwitz during this period of time.
The two aerial photos mentioned above, as well as other photos of Auschwitz-Birkenau taken from the air, can be viewed in the online article, See No Evil: John Ball's Blundering Air Photo Analysis, by Brian Harmon , where the features and significance of these photographs are discussed.

Smoke rising up from the area behind Crematorium # 5 can be seen even more clearly on a photo recently released by from the British archives, taken on 23rd August 1944 by 60 Squadron RAF: ... ring-wwii/

A ground photo secretly taken in the same month and area clearly shows what generated this smoke: ... mando1.jpg

When one looks at and compares all of the evidence, rather than picking isolated items that serve a preconceived conclusion, revisionist claims come up empty every time.
NT: Thorough archaeological investigations should tell us more, in ballpark terms, about the scale of body disposal at concentration camps and whether it supports the fantastic Genocide claims that have been made.
Archaeological investigations may be of interest under a “the more we know the better” – perspective, but are they a suitable means of establishing the death toll, considering that it would not be possible to accurately quantify whatever partial remains of incinerated bodies can be found in such a way as to trace the remains back to a given number of dead?

Could they be expected to yield more reliable results than the assessment of documentary and demographic evidence on the basis of which the death toll has been established by historians?

And are they even necessary to prove the occurrences under discussion beyond a reasonable doubt, considering the documentary and demographic evidence to the magnitude of the killing, the eyewitness evidence to its particulars and the absence of any contradiction to either in the physical evidence, despite the frantic efforts of “Revisionists” to detect such a contradiction?

Before calling for “thorough archaeological investigations”, “Revisionists” should be able to show us at least one piece of evidence suggesting that the abundant documentary, demographic, eyewitness and other physical evidence even may have been fabricated to support “the fantastic Genocide claims” supposedly made by truly fantastic conspiratorial entities. So far they have only shown that there is nothing behind their arrogant claims.
NT: No human endeavor can be accomplished without leaving a trace. The historian is challenged because empirical observations cannot be made by the investigator at the time of occurrence as one might observe a supernova from eons past in his telescope. But there is physical evidence remnant from ancient civilizations, sometimes even seen from outer space, and despite whether recorded documentation even exists. Thus a tremendous amount can be learned by open-minded investigators. Newer methods of historiography seek to incorporate the methods of a variety of disciplines.
Hollow rhetoric. No one – no one - is arguing that anything happened "without leaving a trace". In addition to the eyewitness and documentary evidence cited which the N-team ignores in favour of this repeated straw man, there is also plenty of physical evidence to the mass killings at Auschwitz-Birkenau, some of which we have shown or mentioned in our Opening Statement – air and ground photographs, the ruins of the crematoria, personal effects and hair left behind by the victims, forensic examinations showing traces of the lethal poison on the ruins, the personal effects and the hair, as well as human ashes, bones, and hair dug up in geological tests. Are our readers asked to believe that this physical evidence tells us less about the events under discussion than “physical evidence remnant from ancient civilizations” tells us about such civilizations, even though it coincides with recorded documentation while such is often not available in regard to cities and empires of old, not to mention eyewitness testimony often recorded viva voce by contemporary historians and criminal justice authorities?
NT: The blueprints of the crematories found in Soviet archives and the fumigation machinery already available to the German engineers cannot be put into context with the Allied Greuelpropaganda and the tapestry of Allied lies that form the basis of the Holocaust insofar as industrialized mass-murder is concerned.
A single example from our Opening Statement should be enough to expose the nonsense of this rhetorical recanting of “Revisionist” articles of faith:
[...]On 29 January 1943, the already mentioned Karl Bischoff reported the following to his superior in Berlin, SS-Brigadeführer (Brigadier-General) Kammler:

[…]Crematorium II has been completed but for minor details, using all available forces working day and night despite enormous difficulties und frost weather. The furnaces have been lit in the area of Head Engineer Prüfer from the executing company Topf u. Söhne, Erfurt, and work impeccably. Because of frost, it has not yet been possible to remove the formwork from the ceiling of the corpse cellar. This is of no consequence, however, as the gassing cellar ([Vergasungskeller) can be used to this end.[…]

While on the surviving plans of Crematorium II the two major rooms located in the basement are referred to as “Corpse Cellar (Leichenkeller) 1” and “Corpse Cellar 2”, this letter expressly mentions one “corpse cellar” and one “gassing cellar”, i.e. a cellar where gassing is to take place. In a report by the mentioned Head Engineer Prüfer of the same date, on the other hand, the following is stated: ”Crematorium II – This building complex had been completed but for minor details (formwork from the ceiling of Corpse Cellar 2 cannot be removed due to frost)…”

This communication, on which Bischoff’s letter was obviously based, makes clear that what is called “Corpse Cellar 1” in the construction drawings is the very room Bischoff referred to as the “gassing cellar”.[...]
So what, exactly, “cannot be put into context” with what you would like the see as “Allied Greuelpropaganda and the tapestry of Allied lies”, dear opponents?
NT: Just as evidence is left on the windy plains of ancient Troy, which could not even have been imagined by the perpetrators of history, let alone destroyed without a trace just to fool us, so it is with the Third Reich.
Again, one example should suffice to expose the fallacy of the above “without a trace” postulation:

"In 1965, Hydrokop, a chemical mining enterprise based in Krakow, was commissioned by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to carry out geological tests at Birkenau aimed at determining the locations of incineration pits and pyres. Specialists of Hydrokop bored 303 holes up to 3 m deep. Traces of human ashes, bones, and hair turned up in 42 sites. Documentation of all the holes and the diagrams of their distribution are preserved in the Conservation Department of the Museum"

[Franciszek Piper, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, p. 179n).] ... rning-pits
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: Veritas Team Response (5/28/2004)

Post by Roberto »

It seems, then, that every one of our opponents’ technical arguments against homicidal gassing and the cremation/incineration of hundreds of thousands of victims has been rather easily exposed as the concoction of untruths and nonsense that they are. But before summarizing our position in light of what has transpired to date, we would like to make a concluding observation on the matter of numbers. Despite the prominence of the issue to the resolution, the Negationist team devotes all of three lines of their response to the question of the number of people killed at Auschwitz (in contrast to the 20 or so lines spent complaining about the hostility with which their views are treated and the nearly 100 lines spent attacking the credibility of a single witness):
In the case of Auschwitz we have several volumes of the death books which survived. From these it was extrapolated that the total number of deaths in Auschwitz/Birkenau was somewhere around 130,000 and not four-million as propagated by the Soviets, or about one-million according to historians like Hilberg and Reitlinger.
How this was "extrapolated" is left a mystery. What's more, we find it an odd assertion coming from people who were only just about to argue that a typhus epidemic at the camp claimed the lives of enough people as to justify the construction of four redundant cremation facilities with a total of 46 muffles which between them were still were not enough to keep them from having to resort to open-air cremations when the death rate was at its peak.

We invite the reader to contrast the methodology by which the Negationist team's conclusions as to the numbers killed at Auschwitz were reached, against the sort used by the historians whose work the NT casually dismisses, described in detail in the Veritas team's opening statement. It appears that the Negationist team's idea of "scientific historiography" - much as we saw in their treatment of the aerial photographs - is to content itself with a single source that appears to serve its desired conclusion and invite the assumption that it is the only source of relevance, rather than approaching the question by looking at what all of the available evidence has to offer towards addressing this issue.

The fallacious postulation is that all deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau would necessarily have been recorded in the camp’s death books. It ignores the simple logic that a recording of deaths in the camp’s death books could only be expected to have occurred in regard to such arrivals who were registered as inmates in the first place, plus the direct documentary and eyewitness evidence showing that hundreds of thousands of deportees, deemed unable to work after a cursory medical examination upon arrival, were killed without any records being made about them by the camp’s administration.

If, indeed, the Auschwitz Death Books are the only source of information that matters in terms of assessing the numbers killed at Auschwitz, how does the Negationist team explain the fact that this document (along with the documented number of survivors, transfers and so on) account for barely a fraction of the number of people documented and witnessed as having been delivered to Auschwitz? What happened to the nearly one million others? Apparently, the "scientific historiography" of revisionism prefers to leave this conundrum unexamined.

Clearly, then, the Negationist team has failed. They have offered no evidence supporting an alternative explanation as to what happened to these people. And in saying this, we are not merely, as per to their style, declaring from on-high that we do not accept what evidence they have presented. They haven't even tried to offer an alternative explanation, and thus ours remains the only one that stands supported. They have challenged only one of the 101 items of direct and corroborating evidence we presented in support of our position (using information that later proved to have been distorted), perhaps casting a few half-hearted insinuations on a handful of others. They have not even tried to address the argument whereby we showed how this evidence converges, nor have they presented a shred of direct evidence calling the technical feasibility of our position into serious question or favouring a different conclusion.

In the meantime, on top of the 101 items of evidence presented in our opening statement that remain essentially unchallenged, a sample of the additional items supporting the Veritas team's position that have been brought to light in the course of this debate include:

102. The first-hand testimony (and drawings) of David Olére
103. Adolph Eichmann's interview from the 1950's
104. The depositions of Dr. Bruno Tesch relating to the use of Zyklon B
105. The data corroborating the properties of Zyklon B with the manner in which the witnesses say it was used
106. The enhancements made to the designs of the ventillation system of L-kellar 1 in the spring of 1942
107. Prufer's and Bischoff's letters relating to the cremation capacity needed, expected and constructed for Auschwitz
108. The aerial and ground photographs of open-air cremations in 1944
109. The Hydrokop investigation identifying the widespread presence of human remains in the area

In view of this - with the fallacious nature of our opponents' arguments laid bare and our opening argument barely scratched - there can be no doubt that the resolution that "at Auschwitz/Birkenau between 1941 and 1944, a) people were killed in homicidal gas chambers employing Zyklon B, and b) this killing claimed hundreds of thousands of victims." stands proven. As we said before, it is the only explanation that takes all of the evidence into account requiring no additional assumptions.

But we are still open to being proven wrong by the Negationists. We invite them, then, to provide the first piece of direct substantiating evidence - beyond mere assertion - in support of any of the following claims/assumptions made in their response on which their argument rests:

1. That the WRB Report represents the starting point of the "Auschwitz story" and that all (or, for that matter, any) other evidence was manipulated to conform to it.
2. That Rudoph Vrba, or any other witness cited by the Veritas team, lied about what they claim to have seen at Auschwitz
3. That Dr. Bruno Tesch and 44 others in the post-war British military tribunals were "framed".
4. That Joseph Kramer, Rudolf Hoess, or any other SS perpetrator was induced to tell his captors a false story because that was "what they wanted to hear"
5. That it is technically unfeasible for the gas chambers to have been constructed and used in the way that the Veritas team - and the many witnesseses and experts quoted by the Veritas team - described in their Opening Statement.
6. That it is technically impossible for the bodies to have been cremated using the equipment available as per the Veritas team's opening statement
7. That a typhus epidemic accounts for the majority of victims at Auschwitz

The ball's in their court.
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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