Sobibór: Holocaust Propaganda and Reality

Published: 2010-06-25

By Carlo Mattogno

It is an acknowledged fact that Holocaust historiography reached its peak in 2002 and has since begun a gradual and inexorable decline. Revisionist historiography, by contrast, has flourished in the last decade. As for myself, I have in this time published a dozen studies, the most recent being Auschwitz: assistenza sanitaria, "selezione" e "Sonderbehandlung" dei detenuti immatricolati (“Auschwitz: sanitary service, 'selections' and 'special treatment' of registered inmates, Effepi, Genoa 2010), in which I have dealt with all the basic aspects of the Auschwitz camp. The other two alleged “labor and extermination camps“ were carefully studied by Jürgen Graf and myself in the books Concentration Camp Majdanek. A Historical and Technical Study (Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003) and Concentration Camp Stutthof and its Function in National Socialist Jewish Policy (Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003). The alleged extermination camp Chełmno is the subject of my study Il campo di Chełmno tra storia e propaganda ("Camp Chełmno in History and Propaganda", Effepi, Genoa 2009), while the alleged eastern extermination camps of Bełżec and Treblinka were treated by me in the book Bełżec in Propaganda, Testimonies, Archeological Research, and History (Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2004) and by J. Graf and myself in our work Treblinka. Extermination Camp or Transit Camp? (Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2004). There remained the last camp, that of Sobibór, which was the most difficult to treat due to the near lack of preserved documentation. Now finally this gap has been filled with the recent publication of the book Holocaust Propaganda and Reality (The Barnes Review, Washington D.C. 2010), written by J. Graf, Thomas Kues and myself. This work amounts to 434 pages, with 6 documents, 15 photographs and a comprehensive bibliography (pp. 414-429).

Regarding the contents I refer to the table of contents, which I reproduce below. I will here mention briefly some of the new key arguments presented.

Chapter V (Critical Analysis of Material Evidence) critically examines the fundamental "material evidence" presented by the Polish archeologist A. Kola in his almost impossible-to-find ”Report on the archeological investigation at the site of the former Jewish extermination camp of Sobibór”. The critique focuses on the mass graves and remains of barracks identified by Kola (who found no traces of the alleged gas chambers) and the problem of the outdoor cremation of the alleged gas chamber victims, demonstrating that the official historiographical narrative is untenable.

Chapter VIII (The Führerbefehl and the Origins of the "Extermination Camps" in the East) outlines the history of "Aktion Reinhardt" and explains its real significance within the framework of the "Generalplan Ost", as well as shows the inconsistency of the exterminationist historiography on the construction of these alleged death camps.

Chapter X provides the most comprehensive study yet on the fate of the Jewish prisoners deported to the East. The thesis of the book is that Sobibór was in fact a transit camp (Durchgangslager), just as stated by Himmler in a letter from 5 July 1943 addressed to the SS-Wirtschafts-Verwaltungshauptamt and seven other SS instances. Related arguments are also set out in Chapter IX.

With this work the revisionist bibliography on the alleged extermination camps of Bełżec, Treblinka, Sobibór and Chełmno has reached 1,218 pages.

Holocaust historiography, gravely embarrassed as always, keeps silent. To compensate it flings accusations of "antisemitism" to the right and left. Being completely unable to counter anything it can react only with hysteric invectives or, possibly, a real debate.

Carlo Mattogno, 22 June 2010

Table of Contents

1. Introduction ................................. 9

Measurement Conversions ................................... 14

2. The Sobibór Camp and its Historiographic Representation ........... 15

2.1. Sobibór as Described in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust ........ 15

2.2. Sobibór as Described in Contemporary Documents .................... 20

2.2.1. Himmler’s Directive of 5 July 1943 and Pohl’s Reply ..... 21

2.2.2. Documents about the Sobibór Uprising ............................ 21

2.2.3. The Höfle Radio Message ..................................... 22

2.2.4. Provisional Summary .................................... 22

2.3. Sobibór in Official Historiography and "Holocaust" Literature ........ 23

2.3.1. N. Blumental’s Documents and Materials (1946) ............ 23

2.3.2. Report by the "Main Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland" (1947) ......... 24

2.3.3. Yuri Suhl (1967) ............ 25

2.3.4. Adam Rutkowski (1968) ............. 26

2.3.5. Stanisław Szmajzner (1968) ............... 28

2.3.6. Adalbert Rückerl (1977) ............ 31

2.3.7. E.A. Cohen (1979) ............ 31

2.3.8. Miriam Novitch (1980)................ 31

2.3.9. Richard Rashke (1982) ............... 34

2.3.10. E. Kogon, H. Langbein, A. Rückerl et al. (1983) ............. 35

2.3.11. Yitzhak Arad (1987) ...................... 37

2.3.12. Witold Zbigniew Sulimierski (1993) ............39

2.3.13. Jules Schelvis (1993) .................... 40

2.3.14. Thomas (Toivi) Blatt (1996) ....................... 41

2.3.15. Shaindy Perl (2004) ..................... 45

2.3.16. Michael Lev (2007) ........................ 46

2.3.17. Dov Freiberg (2007) ......................... 46

2.3.18. Barbara Distel (2008) .......................... 46

2.3.19. Jules Schelvis (2008) .......................... 47

2.3.20. Conclusions ............................. 55

2.4. A Revisionist Article about Sobibór ............... 56

2.5. Heinrich Himmler’s Visit to Sobibór ............... 58

2.6. Sobibór’s Claimed Number of Vicitms ............... 60

3. Origins and Evolution of Claims about Sobibór ................ 63

4. Critical Analysis of Eye Witness Testimonies .................77

4.1. Alleged Contacts with Inmates in camp III .................... 77

4.2. Alexander Pechersky, the Main Witness ..................... 84

4.3. "The Most Conclusive Evidence" ........................ 93

4.4. Miscellaneous Anomalies and Absurdities ..................... 98

4.5. Testimonies by Former Camp Personnel ................... 102

4.6. The Value of Eye Witness Testimonies .................. 105

5. Critical Analysis of Material Evidence .................. 107

5.1. The State of Evidence ......................... 107

5.1.1. Forensic Post War Survey by Polish Authorities ........... 107

5.1.2. Photographic Evidence ................. 108

5.1.3. Kola’s Archeological Research at Sobibór 2000-2001 ....... 109

5.2. Mass Graves................. 112

5.2.1. Mass Graves in Testimony, Verdicts, and Historiography................. 112

5.2.2. The Switch from Burial to Cremation .................. 115

5.2.3. Mass Graves Identified by Kola ................... 118

5.2.4. The Significance of Unincinerated Corpses ................... 120

5.2.5. Area and Volume of the Graves ...................... 122

5.2.6. A Note on the Ground Water Level at Sobibór ................... 125

5.3. Fuel Requirements ......................... 130

5.3.1. The Percentage of Children among the Deportees .............. 130

5.3.2. The Average Weight of the Children .................... 132

5.3.3. Fuel Requirements for the Cremation of One Body ................. 133

5.3.4. Decomposed Bodies .................... 136

5.3.5. Emaciated Corpses .................... 138

5.3.6. Factors Influencing the Cremation ................... 139

5.3.7. Wood Requirements for Corpse Cremation at Sobibór ............. 140

5.3.8. The Duration of the Cremation ................. 145

5.3.9. The Ashes ................ 148

5.4. Excavated Building Remains ................ 149

5.4.1. The Alleged Second Phase Gas Chambers in Testimony, Verdicts and Historiography ................... 149

5.4.2. Building Remains Excavated by Kola .................. 152

5.5. Continued Archeological Research 2007-2008 ...................... 162

5.6. The Official "Memorial Map" of the Sobibór "Death Camp" ................. 167

5.7. Estimate of the Sobibór Death Toll ................. 168

6. The Sobibór Trials......................... 171

6.1. Legal Proceedings as the Basis for Historiography .................... 171

6.2. The Trial of Erich Bauer in Berlin in 1950 ................... 172

6.3. The Frankfurt Trial of Hubert Gomerski and Johann Klier (1950) ............... 178

6.4. The Sobibór Trial at Hagen (1965/1966) .................... 182

6.5. The Sobibór Trial that Never Took Place ..................... 189

6.6. The Three Sobibór Trials in the Soviet Union ..................... 190

6.7. The Brazilian Extradition Proceedings against F. Stangl and G. Wagner.............. 191

7. National-Socialist Policy of Jewish Emigration ................ 193

7.1. Emigration ........................ 193

7.2. The Madagascar Plan ................... 198

7.3. From Madagascar Plan to Deportation to the East .................. 201

7.4. First Deportations to the East ...................... 213

8. The Führerbefehl and the Origins of the "Extermination Camps" in the East ................ 219

8.1. The Führerbefehl and Holocaust Historiography .................... 219

8.2. Origins and Significance of "Aktion Reinhardt" ................... 236

8.2.1. The "Generalplan Ost" ......................... 236

8.2.2. "Aktion Reinhardt" .......................... 243

8.3. Alleged Genesis and Organization of the Extermination Camps of Aktion Reinhardt .................... 251

8.3.1. Administration and Financing ................. 251

8.3.2. Construction of the Camps .................. 252

8.3.3. Construction of the Alleged Gas Chambers: General Problems.................... 254

8.4. The Alleged First Gas Chamber Building at Sobibór ................ 262

8.5. Euthanasia and Aktion Reinhardt .................... 269

8.6. Himmler’s Cremation Order ...................... 281

9. Sobibór: Propaganda and Reality ..................... 283

9.1. Fake "Baths" or Real Baths? Sobibór as a Transit Camp ............... 283

9.2. The Ostwanderung ......................... 290

9.3. Jewish Transports into the Lublin District in 1942 .................... 296

9.4. Evacuations to the East: Höfle Telegram and Korherr Report .................. 311

9.5. Registration of Deportees in the Aktion Reinhardt Camps ................ 331

9.6. Prof. Kulischer on the Expulsion of Jews ................. 333

10. The Fate of the Deportees...................... 347

10.1. The Fate of Jews Deported Directly to the East ......................... 347

10.2. Number of Jews Moved to the East ............................ 349

10.2.1. Via the Aktion Reinhardt Camps ............................ 349

10.2.2. Via Chełmno......................... 351

10.2.3. Via Auschwitz .......................... 352

10.2.4. Balance ....................... 353

10.3. The Dissolution of Polish Jewry in the USSR..................... 354

10.4. Western Jews in the Eastern Territories ................... 357

10.4.1. Steffen Werner’s White Ruthenia Hypothesis ................... 357

10.4.2. American Jewish Yearbook ........................ 360

10.4.3. Judisk Krönika ..................... 361

10.4.4. Further Evidence for Western Jews in the East ................. 363

10.4.5. The Diary of Herman Kruk ....................... 366

10.5. The Fate of Western Jews – a Hypothesis ................... 369

11. The Demjanjuk Case......................... 375

11.1. Hunting Down Old Men ........................ 375

11.2. The OSI.......................... 379

11.3. Demjanjuk’s Extradition to Israel and His Trial .................. 380

11.4. Demjanjuk’s Extradition to Germany ....................... 387

11.5. The Run-Up to the Munich Trial ..................... 389

12. Conclusions ...................... 391

12.1. The Moral Responsibility of the Camp Personnel ..................... 391

12.2. "I am a Portion of that Force…" .......................... 393

12.3. The Emperor’s New Clothes ......................... 394

12.4. The Moloch .......................... 395

13. Appendix ........................ 401

13.1. Documents and Photographs ............................ 401

13.2. SS Ranks and U.S. Army Equivalents ............................. 413

13.3. Bibliography .......................... 414

Media Items .................... 414

Monographs, Anthologies, Published Document Collections ................... 415

Documents ...................... 425

Internet Sources .................... 426

Judicial Documents ......................... 429

13.4. Abbreviations .............................. 429

13.5. Index of Names............................... 430

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Author(s) Carlo Mattogno
Title Sobibór: Holocaust Propaganda and Reality
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Dates published: 2010-06-25, first posted on CODOH: June 25, 2010, 9:40 a.m., last revision: n/a
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