How to ‘investigate’ the Holocaust, or: How not to do a proper investigation.

Published: 2013-08-02

By Wilfried Heink-

Recently I came across an article by Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls, titled: Holocaust Archaeology: Archaeological Approaches to Landscapes of Nazi Genocide and Persecution (Journal of Conflict Archaeology Vol. 7, No. 2, 2012, 70-104)

Dr. Sturdy Colls latest archaeological undertaking was centered on Treblinka, the “Nazi” camp in Poland where some 800,000 Jews had allegedly been murdered by the Germans. As the title suggests, this is not about Treblinka per se, although she refers to the transit camp on the 20th page of her article (it starts on p.70 in the journal, Treblinka is on p.90), but promises that details will follow when she writes:

It is not the intention to discuss at length the individual features recorded, as these will be presented elsewhere (Sturdy Colls, in prep; 2011), but to provide an overview of the results gained in order to demonstrate their implications for studies of this period.”(Ibid)

So we wait with baited breath for that presentation, in the meantime, a few observation on her article. Dr. Sturdy Colls starts out with:

“Debate concerning the events of the Holocaust is well embedded in the historical discourse and, thus, clearly defined narratives of this period exist. However, in most European countries the Holocaust has only recently begun to be considered in terms of its surviving archaeological remains and landscapes, and the majority of known sites are still ill-defined and only partially understood from both spatial structural points of view.”

Not a good start, for whatever ‘debate’ is taking place is among those who believe in “The Holocaust”, people with differing views are jailed or persecuted. Dr. Sturdy Colls also believes, she makes that clear throughout the article. Concerning Treblinka she tells us:

“Treblinka, located 100 km from Warsaw (Figure 2), would be designated such a site (“mass extermination center”) and, comprising of a complex of gas chambers, barracks, mass graves, and, later, cremation pyres, it would become the massacre site of over 800,000 European Jews, Poles, and gypsies during the Holocaust (Wiernik, 1944; Arad, 1987).” (p.90)

This shows that she approached her investigation convinced that 800,000 plus had been murdered at Treblinka, trying to prove that this was the case – instead of allowing the evidence to speak for itself. Not a scientific method to be sure. Julius Wellhausen, when criticizing the Pharisees, has this to say about that sort of methodology:

“Für die Deutung werden die Thatsachen vorausgesetzt, und aus der Deutung werden sie bewiesen“.(Die Pharisäer und Sadducäer, p.66)

My rough translation: That what is to be examined is interpreted as being fact and supported by using that interpretation.

In the above, Dr. Sturdy Colls refers to books by Wiernick and Arad, further evidence of her being influenced by storytellers, because what these authors write is not based on solid evidence – arrived at by investigations by experts – but on alleged personal experience (Wiernick) and accounts by self styled witnesses and the like. Staying with Treblinka for the moment, she tells us:

“However, despite Treblinka’s significance in the implementation of the Final Solution and the history of the Holocaust as a whole, knowledge of the site’s former function has faded from general public consciousness and, excepting a ten-day survey in 1945 (Łukaszkiewicz, 1946) and a GPR survey undertaken by a Holocaust revisionist (Irving, 2000), there have been no attempts consider the potential archaeological remains pertaining to it.” (Ibid)

Ignoring the Irving slip, the GPR survey was actually undertaken by Richard Krege, here is what Łukaszkiewicz had to say in his final report:


The Examining Judge of Siedlce, on November 13, 1945, rules in consideration of the fact that with great probability no mass graves are any longer to be found on the grounds of the former camp today, as is to be concluded from the witness testimonies examined so far and from the results of the works carried out at the site, and in consideration of the oncoming autumn, the present rainfall and the necessity of a rapid conclusion of the judicial preliminary investigations, in view of all these facts to stop the work on the territory of the former death camp Treblinka.

The Examining Judge

Łukaszkiewicz.” (Mattogno/Graf, Treblinka, Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, p.86)

How mass graves, i.e. the holes themselves can disappear is not explained. On November 11, during the investigation, Łukaszkiewicz reported:

“The largest of the craters produced by explosions (numerous fragments attest to the fact that these explosions were set off by bombs), which is at maximum 6 meters deep and has a diameter of about 25 meters – its walls give recognizable evidence of the presence of a large quantity of ashes as well as human remains – was further excavated in order to discover the depth of the pit in this part of the camp. Numerous human remains were found by these excavations, partially still in a state of decomposition” (Ibid)

This is interpreted by those who believe in “The Holocaust” as evidence that a grave was found. But Łukaszkiewicz calls it a “crater”, not a grave, he had to admit in his final report that no graves were found. Also, we have no indication where this crater was located, and results of any investigation must be verifiable. The former camp site was a mess of holes and hills. Rachel Auerbach, on her visit to the site in 1946, had this to say:

“But since then, during the past year, the human jackals and hyenas have been coming to the burial ground and here is the picture that we saw:

Here and there, like patches of grass near the seashore, half-covered by the shifting sands, there were still little clumps of withered lupine. Not one level place in the whole area. Everything had been torn up and dug up, little hills and holes… The bombs had revealed the contents of the desecrated soil.” (Ibid, pp.83/84).

It is claimed that treasure hunters are to blame for the sad shape the place was in, hard to believe, because the size of the crater – 6 meters (19 feet) deep and a diameter of 25 meters (80 feet) – as described by Łukaszkiewicz – would suggest that large explosive devises had been used. Łukaszkiewicz was accompanied by a surveyor, K. Trautsolt, who produced an official map of the camp. But, that seems to be forgotten, Dr. Sturdy Colls again:

“Corroboration of the survey results with historical information demonstrated that the current memorial incorrectly demarcates the boundary of the camp and that it was much bigger than is shown on the ground.” (p.92)

“Historical information”? As mentioned, we’ll just have to wait ‘till the final report is released.

Now back to the beginning of the article by Dr. Sturdy Colls, she continues, on p.70:

“Additionally, thousands of sites across Europe remain unmarked, whilst the locations of others have been forgotten altogether. Such a situation has arisen as a result of a number of political, social, ethical, and religious factors which, coupled with the scale of the crimes, has often inhibited systematic search. This paper details the subsequent development and application of a non-invasive archaeological methodology aimed at rectifying this situation and presents a case for the establishment of Holocaust archaeology as a sub-discipline of conflict studies. In particular, the importance of moving away from the notion that the presence of historical sources precludes the need for the collection of physical evidence is stressed, and the humanitarian, scientific, academic, and commemorative value of exploring this period is considered.”

Prof. Maser also bemoans the fact that whole areas of Ukraine remain to be ‘terra incognita’, but he comes to the conclusion that this is because historians are reluctant to investigate out of fear not to find what is allegedly there (Fälschung, Dichtung und Wahrheit über Hitler und Stalin, p.332). Dr. Sturdy Colls has no such reservations, she is convinced that the graves exists, and blames political-, as well as other factors, to have “inhibited systematic research”. Then she gets to the core, suggesting to bypass religious and other concerns by applying a “non-invasive archaeological methodology”, to establish “Holocaust archaeology as a sub-discipline of conflict studies”.

A tailor made approach, and why not. We already have “Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust” ( ), so, why not “Holocaust Archaeology”? She is forgetting however that these are alleged crime scenes, and should be investigated by experts in the field of crime investigations, without any restraints, and the reports made available for verification. But she does make one valid point

“In particular, the importance of moving away from the notion that the presence of historical sources precludes the need for the collection of physical evidence is stressed…”,

thereby admitting that no physical evidence, worthy of the term, has been presented so far. She then talks of the investigations done concerning other genocides, referring to “…the First World War, the Spanish Civil War, and other massacres of the early twentieth century” (p.71), to ask:

“…why have the sites of the Holocaust not been examined to the same extent or using up-to-date methods now commonplace in other areas of the discipline? Why has this period been perceived differently, with almost a ‘do not disturb’ attitude towards some aspects of its archaeological heritage (Moshenska, 2008: 168)? When examinations are undertaken in the future, is a unique approach, therefore, required to its investigation?” (Ibid).

Why indeed? The answer is simple, but Dr. Sturdy Colls is either unwilling or unable to go there. She then continues to talk of: Legal investigations, historical databases, and site recognition:

“Early investigations of Holocaust sites were undertaken immediately after the war by specially assembled war crimes commissions, which usually comprised of medicolegal professionals tasked with the collection of evidence for the conviction of the perpetrators (IMTN, 1947; Central Commission for the Investigation of German War Crimes in Poland, 1982; Profatilov, 1945). Emphasis was placed upon verifying thathe camps and graves existed rather than detailed investigation (Arad et al., 1999; IMTN, 1947).” (p.72)

This is puzzling to say the least. She writes that investigations were undertaken “immediately after the war”, thereby ignoring the ‘investigations’ undertaken by the Soviets, one done in Treblinka. In November 1942, the Soviets created the “Extraordinary State  Commission for Ascertaining and Investigating Crimes Perpetrated by the German-Fascist Invaders and their Accomplices”, ESC for short. From: The Role of the Soviet Union in the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg and Impact on its Legacy, by Michael Bazyler:

“The Soviets “claimed credit for convincing their partners not to build the  proceedings around documentary evidence alone”, for the offering of live evidence  would produce “a dramatic effect on the atmosphere in the court-room” (George Ginsburgs, Moscow's Road to Nuremberg, [New York: Kluwer Law International, 1996], p112).

This suggests that at first only documentary evidence, no doubt carefully selected and screened by the victors, was to be used, but the Soviets insisted on introducing what they had amassed. Again from Bazyler;

“Among the detailed and massive work performed by the Commission was inspection of graves and corpses, gathering of witness accounts, forensic examinations, and interrogations of captured Germans.[24] The records contained “the most complete description possible of the crimes committed, the full name and place of residence of the individuals furnishing the evidence”, and “all the relevant documents” such as minutes of the interrogations, medical expert conclusions, German documents, and films.[25] The Commission's extraordinary efforts resulted in an impressive list of “hundreds of Germans, from generals to humble privates”, and a “specific and detailed enumeration of the crimes of which they stood accused”.[26] These records proved indispensable at the IMT.”

24 Haim Goury, Facing the Glass Booth: The Jerusalem Trial of Adolf Eichmann

(Michael Swirsky, transl.) (Detroit: Wayne State U. Press, 2004), 6-7.19 Ginsburgs, supra, p.36

25 Ibid

26 Ibid, p.40

And Dr. Sturdy Colls ignores this? Hard to believe, but then, there is also no mention of the ESC reports in the latest publishing aimed at discrediting Revisionists, the book titled “Neue Studien zu Nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas” (New studies on National Socialist mass murder by poisonous gas, 2011, Berlin). No mention because the ESC was just a bunch of political hacks - beholden to Stalin - who endorsed anything put in front of them? No other explanation possible. As to the machinations by the ESC, Prof. Marina A. Sorokina, a Russian historian, published an article in Kritika (Slavica Publishers) in 2005, titled: “People and Procedures: Toward a History of the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in the USSR”. Prof. Sorokina completely demolishes the ESC, I wrote a series of articles on it:

Someone perused what had been assembled by the ESC and found it wanting, it has therefore been dropped, But, that leaves the promoters of “The Holocaust” with nothing, save for tall tales by ‘witnesses’ and some carefully assembled documents, many of dubious origin. Is this then why this push is made to ‘investigate’ by carefully chosen people? But without experts in crime investigations present, and unhindered access to the sites, these investigations can safely be dismissed as shams.

Dr. Sturdy Colls then talks about the Jewish burial Law, the Halacha:

“As Moshenska (Moshenska, G. 2008. Ethics and Ethical Critique in the Archaeology of Modern Conflict. Norweigan Archaeological Review, 161) has stated, ‘issues such as respect for the dead are arguably of greater ethical significance in the communication of research findings than the research itself’.” (p.87)

Why even bother then? Undertake a proper investigation by experts in the field of crime investigations or just continue on as before, advance baseless claims. A little more Halacha:

“However, Halacha Law also stipulates that the disturbance of human remains (for whatever purpose) is forbidden, thus restricting the actions of archaeologists in terms of the ability to excavate Holocaust sites where inhumations are suspected (Rosensaft, 1979). As Rabbi Moses Feinstein (in Rosensaft, 1979: 164) argued, ‘the dead rest in their place of burial. Not only is it forbidden to exhume the bodies but even to open the graves is strictly prohibited’. The comments of the Chief Rabbi of the Jewsbury excavations in York highlight the position of the Jewry with regards to the scientific investigation of human remains:

‘…whatever the scientific and historical loss, I hope that you and the general public will appreciate our paramount concern for the reverence due to the mortal remains which once bore the incomparable hallmark of the Divine image and which, we believe, have an inalienable right to rest undisturbed. We are convinced that the dignity shown to humans even centuries after their death can contribute more than any scientific enquiry to the advancement of human civilisation and the enhancement of the respect in which humans hold each other’. (Rahtz, 1995: 197)” (p.88)

“Hallmark of the Divine image”? Be that as it may, exceptions to this law have been- and are made. For instance, in 2009 excavations were done at a site in Jamlitz, Germany. From a news release:

“JAMLITZ, Germany — A birch-lined back yard believed to hold the remains of more than 750 former Jewish prisoners slain by the Nazis in the final days of World War II will be excavated by German authorities starting Wednesday…

Excavators are to use heavy equipment to remove the top layers of soil, then proceed with their bare hands, said Joachim Wacker of the state society for the protection and care of memorials. Authorities have initially planned three weeks for the work.

Wacker said that if remains are found and identified as belonging to the victims, a rabbi will be called in and the site treated as a grave. Later, authorities hope to erect a memorial in collaboration with survivor groups, Jewish community leaders and others…”.

Nothing was found, but that is not the issue here, the suspected grave site was dug up. We then have a site dug up by Father Dubois at Busk, alleged to be a mass grave of Jews killed by the Germans. All I have is a link to a video, in Spanish with English commentary:

We can clearly see that some bodies were disturbed, all be it only the first layer, as claimed. To  prove of German guilt, German bullets are shown, in other words, no evidence that Germans were the perpetrators because the Soviets used German bullets at Katyn, the site where they killed Polish officials. Then we have the Sobibor ‘investigation’, overseen by the Israeli archaeologist Yoram Haimi. From a Ha’aretz article of June 7, 2013:

“Further excavations are planned at the site with the approval of the Polish chief rabbi, Rabbi Shudrich, including in two places where Jews are thought to be buried.”

Chief Rabbi Shudrich is the same Rabbi Dr. Sturdy Colls had to ask permission of to do her so-called investigation at Treblinka. Why did the Rabbi not allow her to dig, as he did at Sobibor?

This article by Dr. Sturdy Colls is nothing but an attempt to explain why a thorough investigation, by experts in the field, will not be done. The reasons given are however not convincing, far from it. Germans are accused of having murdered between 5 and 6 million Jews, yet no investigation by experts in the field of crime investigations has ever been undertaken. Enough stalling already, and no more attempts at devising special methods to make it appear an investigation is done. If everything is as obvious as claimed, call in the experts and allow them to do their work.

If Revisionists are to go away, substantial evidence has to be produced, and that article makes it clear that this will not be the case. Why not? The burial law? That law is applied selectively, if it is suspected that bodies will be found exceptions are made. This leaves only one possibility: The promoters of “The Holocaust” know that no graves will be found at Treblinka, for instance, graves large enough to have held the hundreds of thousand allegedly killed there and buried at first. Efforts are therefore made to hide behind laws, and sadly, a scientist like Dr. Caroline Sturdy Colls is supportive of those efforts.

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Author(s): Wilfried Heink
Title: How to ‘investigate’ the Holocaust, or: How not to do a proper investigation.
Published: 2013-08-02
First posted on CODOH: Aug. 2, 2013, 7:30 a.m.
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