The late Charles Provan was another with some sort of intermediate/compromise position. Ernst Zundel called him "a revisionist who believes in gas chambers."
Provan apparently started out as a revisionist and experienced an abrupt conversion in December 1990. Provan did an experiment at home to see if the density of bodies alleged in the Gerstein statement was possible and tested it out with his own kids and found that it was possible. This convinced him that the Gerstein statement was legit. He also looked into the diesel issue and concluded you could kill people with diesel with the timing adjusted. There was apparently some talk of him debating Fritz Berg about this but it never happened. Berg is quoted in the article below as referring to Provan as "a total wacko" (lol). Maybe Scott remembers something about this. old.post-gazette.com/headlines/20010304provan2.asp
Indeed I do remember. That quasi-Revisionist Charles D. Provan was a "wacko" is a bit of an understatement.
Back on May 29th, 2000 the Jewish journalist John Sack attended the 13th Conference of the Institute for Historical Review
. Sack presented a paper about postwar Jewish vengeance in Poland against Germans and Poles where the old Nazi concentration camps were repurposed. This story has been almost completely ignored by historians. John Sack had written a book called An Eye for An Eye
. He intended to deliver his paper to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum but they did not like his book which was unflattering for Jews and so cancelled him. The USHMM did not want to listen to what John Sack had to say about Jewish postwar vengeance.www.ihr.org/jhr/v20/v20n1p-9_Sack.html
So then in the February, 2001 issue of Esquire
magazine, John Sack wrote an article called "Inside the Bunker,"
about his trip to the IHR Conference and what Holocaust Deniers were really like. The cover of the magazine featured a nude Monica Bellucci wearing nothing but a pasty coating of a kilogram of Iranian caviar.
John Sack's "Inside the Bunker"
article was buried in the Esquire
issue and it featured Holocaust Denier characters like Ernst Zündel, David Irving, Dr. Robert H. Countess, and hillbilly publisher and preacher Charles D. Provan, who had a frumpy wife and ten barefoot children. Basically Mr. Sack said that in his experience the Holocaust Deniers were a little weird but not lemon-twisted Haters, or didn't seem to be.
Mark Weber, the Director of the IHR followed up with an article of his own in the Journal of Historical Review
on the men's magazine article about the Revisionists, this one called "John Sack's Defective Esquire Article."
One of the things that Mr. Sack wanted to do was to call attention to Charles Provan as an overweight, hillbilly hayseed ─ complete with a submissive wife and a bunch of barefoot children ─ or in other words, an Appalachian Protestant lay theologian who had attended Bob Jones University
and had dabbled in occasional anti-Semitism.Charles D. Provan (1955-2007)
So in 2004, Dr. Robert Countess was leading a so-called Scholars' Debate at RODOH
against Dr. Andrew E. Mathis and Roberto Muehlenkamp, and a Jewish PhD candidate studying in England who went by the name of Steve Mock. Dr. Nick Terry might have participated as well, but I don't remember if he had gotten his PhD by that time or not. Steve Mock disappeared after the debate and Nick Terry joined the board, so I would not be surprised if the prospective Dr. Mock was in reality our Nick Terry who at one time moderated at RODOH before they all scampered off to the Holocaust Controversies blog.
The subject of the Scholar's Debate was basically "did the Nazis really gas X number of Jews at Auschwitz?" I wanted them to try to prove the systematic homicidal gassing of at least thousands. But they basically just had another version of the old "well, if they weren't gassed, where did they go?" routine.
I was intending to host the debate not lead the Revisionist side myself ─ but unfortunately, after a promising start, Dr. Countess was suffering from terminal brain cancer at the time and the debate faltered as he did not contribute much. The main problem was the debate didn't have any conclusive set of end-goals.
Dr. Countess died early in 2005, and a few weeks later, early in April of that year, I was hit by a car whilst riding my bicycle home from work and nearly killed, and I spent months away from a computer thereafter.
The late Dr. Countess had a PhD from Bob Jones University, which is a private Evangelical Christian school, and he had also been a Protestant Chaplain in the U.S. Army at Huntsville, Alabama, the home of the U.S. Army's Redstone Arsenal and the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, where the esteemed German rocket scientist, Dr. Wernher von Braun worked after the war to help put men on the Moon.
Anyway, Chuck Provan had come out of the closet as a "Revisionist who now believed in the gas chambers," so Dr. Countess originally wanted him to be the moderator or judge of the RODOH debate between the Exterminationists ─ called the Veritas Team, and the Revisionists ─ called the Negationist Team. Dr. Countess also picked the names of the two teams, although some Revisionists did not like the choice of the team names: Veritas (for the truthers) and Negationists (for the deniers).
My objection was that no way would I allow the late Chuck Provan to be a judge of anything other than a pie-eating contest. I regard him to this day as a Creationist whack-job. And my opinion of this comes from Provan's earlier debates with engineer Fritz Berg on the diesel gassing problem, of which I am an expert.
Provan's claim that all you had to do to make diesel exhaust deadly was to fool around with the timing on a diesel engine is complete bollocks.
This was demonstrated by British scientists Pattle & Stretch, et al in 1957 using diesel engines under different running conditions and exposing live animals to the exhaust gasses, per their famous paper.
I won't go into the details of that here, but the British experimenters did everything imaginable to a diesel engine and could only marginally make the caustic exhaust poisonous to mice, rabbits, and guinea pigs.
In fact, smoky and smelly diesel exhaust aldehydes from bad timing settings were LESS lethal than any other running condition. Only if the researchers were able to raise the carbon monoxide level of the diesel exhaust ─ very difficult to do ─ could they cause the animals to die in any reliable fashion.
Short of that, a fine-tuned diesel engine running hot and in a highly-efficient mode will put out lots of nitrogen oxides - NOx, which causes some respiratory failure for sensitive animals like the guinea pigs if prolonged. But this was after a five-hour exposure to the painfully acrid fumes ─ and most of the animals were nonetheless still alive weeks later.
Revisionist heretic Chuck Provan was technically out of his league even discussing this with Revisionist engineer Fritz Berg.
See, basically, Provan was a backwoods style of Creationist Protestant who went to Bob Jones University and who believed that Scripture ─ the Bible, and particularly the New Testament ─ is the LITERAL and the INFALLIBLE WORD OF GOD.
What these kinds of Sola Scriptura
thinkers like cult-leader David Koresh or quasi-Revisionists Michael A. Hoffman II or Charles D. Provan do is try to quibble over what the Holy "Words of God" REALLY mean. The words are the literal Truth, but only when they are understood to mean what the True Believers say they mean.
What Mr. Berg found that he had to do was to get Mr. Provan to agree to the definition of some of the most basic words in their debate in advance or they were just talking past each other. They might as well have been speaking foreign languages.
I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Berg's take on this ─ and that is why, although I respected Dr. Countess as a friend, there was no way in hell that I was going to allow Provan to judge or moderate any "Scholars' Debate" at RODOH.
I can attest that Columbia-educated Engineer Fritz Berg held a very low opinion of the technical and reasoning skills of two Revisionists in particular, Fred Leuchter and Charles Provan.
That these two were even called Revisionists at all Berg found to be extremely insulting to the decent Revisionist community. Fritz had many disagreements with David Irving, Robert Faurisson, and Robert Countess, but he acknowledged their greatness in other ways.
Leuchter and Provan were just idiots of the highest order. That is probably why John Sack was quick to include Charles Provan in his "flawed" Esquire
article about what Holocaust Revisionists were "really" like. They were just misguided loons, not Haters. Provan had presented a paper on the Jewish "novelist" Dr. Miklos Nyiszli
at the same IHR Conference in 2000 where Sack had spoke (cue the Deliverance banjo music
So how did Creationist Charles Provan become the Holocaust Revisionist who believed in the gas-chambers?
Well, basically Revisionists had long criticized the Kurt Gerstein affidavits for their bizarre claims. One of these claims was how many people the Nazis supposedly stuck into the volumetric space of a gas-chamber at Belzec, according to whistleblower Kurt Gerstein who claimed to be an eyewitness when he was a Waffen-SS lieutenant and hygienist. As a degreed mining engineer, Gerstein was presumably not challenged by observations involving numerical figures.
But Gerstein's reported figures were not only not very credible, they were delusional. He might have done some of this on purpose while reporting in captivity.
Then Provan learned that Gerstein had been an Evangelical Lutheran with a dodgy anti-Nazi past before the war. Holy roller
In addition to becoming a degreed mining engineer, Gerstein had studied tropical medicine ─ and his dream, before the war got in the way, was to become a Christian medical missionary.
Wow, Gerstein was a Protestant Evangelical just like Provan. Therefore, Gerstein really was an anti-Nazi whistleblower and a "Saint in Nazi clothing."
So Provan built a plywood mockup of a telephone booth as an ersatz Belzec gas-chamber and stuffed his many kids and a few dolls into it, punched some buttons on his pocket calculator, and declared that Gerstein's numbers of Jews and the volumetric figures that he gave for the Belzec gaschamber were indeed POSSIBLE because some of the Jewish victims would be children and infants, who would be smaller than adults. Hosanna on High. Dr. Miklos Nyiszli was just a crass Jewish novelist rather than a reliable eyewitness ─ but now through Saint Gerstein, the Holocaust is proved at last! Thank God, Almighty!
I really do have contempt for idiots like this.
The late Henri Roques definitively examined the Gerstein Report(s) and that is a far more sober case of Revisionist analysis than Provan ever did. Roques actually got his PhD taken away for taking down "Saint Gerstein." Most orthodox Holocaust historians tend not to want to dwell for very long on Gerstein and his claims nowadays. Gerstein's wild claims just do not pass the smell test.
But for Provan, Gerstein was a Holy man like himself ─ and definitely not a banal Holocaust liar or a buffoon.
Gerstein was a big fat LIAR no doubt in part because he was being accused of mass-murder himself at the end of the war while in captivity with the French. The Allied position at the time was that the mere presence of the fumigant Zyklon-B was ipso facto proof of mass-murder of Jews in the German detention camps.
Kurt Gerstein tried to explain away his job as an SS hygienic expert who understood things like water purification and fumigation, as him being an anti-Nazi Christian who had tried to blow the lid off the Holocaust extermination gassings by clandestinely spying for the Pope and so on. But the French weren't buying it, and they wanted to try him for the mythical gassing of the Jews anyway ─ and so Gerstein either hanged himself in despair or was possibly murdered in his cell.
I highly recommend the Henri Roques (1920-2014)
book on the Gerstein Statement, the Confessions of Kurt Gerstein
. Roques had his PhD taken from him just for writing this book. It is out of print now but oddly still available at Amazon. It is some fine Revisionist historiography.