Published: 1997-11-01

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Because CODOHWeb is publishing new revisionist scholarship, Smith’s Report is in the enviable position of being able to announce new revisionist work to its readers long before they will have heard of it from other quarters. The downside is that we do not have enough space in SR to print the exchanges that such articles oftentimes produce. Example: re our lead article in SR46 on the significance of the Majdanek “gas chamber” door replicated and exhibited at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, we have received articles from Professors Robert Faurisson and Arthur Butz, as well as responses from Samuel Crowell, who did the work our article was based on. In this issue of SR I will be able only to print the letters by Faurisson and Crowell. Professor Butz’s letter will appear in SR49. I suppose I am going to have to consider putting a limit on the length of letters to the editor. I’m uncertain.

Re: Samuel Crowell and his air-raid shelter argument: The presence of an air-raid shelter door is not necessarily proof that a room equipped with it is, or was, an airraid shelter. Before and during World War II, Germans built plenty of such doors. They used them for air-raid shelters as such, but also for any room which might be used occasionally as an air-raid shelter, or for any room needing a (relative) air tightness, for example a disinfestation gas chamber.

In 1975, when I visited Majdanek, I noticed that the Germans had used such a door for what is supposed to have been an execution gas chamber but which was, in fact, a disinfestation gas chamber. Apparently they had even put into the peephole of one of those doors a thermometer in order to control the temperature of the room, which was heated by a stove situated in another little room and connected to the gas chamber itself by a large pipe. I suppose that, once the temperature was appropriate, a device could stop any contact with the stove room.

In a phone conversation, Samuel Crowell told me that, for him, this room was logically an air-raid shelter above ground. I told him that, if he had visited the place, he would have noticed that the building was not matte of concrete (in fact, it was made of bricks, with a wooden roof already fallen through in July 1944 when the Soviets arrived). I added that J.C. Pressac himself had to admit that the place was a “disinfestation gas chamber” (Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, 1980, p. 555, 557). The photo given by J. Marsalek (Majdanek, Warsaw, Interpress, 1986, after p. 144), speaks volumes: the place could never have been an air-raid shelter!

On April 21, 1993, Marie Weber and I denounced the “Gas Chamber Door Fraudulently Portrayed at the U.S. Holocaust Museum” (JHR, September-October 1993, p. 39). We said it was a casting of a door to a disinfestation gas chamber, even according to Pressac. It would be a mistake for Crowell to say 1) that the fraud was discovered only in 1997; 2) that the door was that of an air-raid shelter. The last time I mentioned the issue of this door in English was, I suppose, in JHR, Spring 1991, p. 49, 65.

In addition to German advertisements for such doors, Crowell could have published photos of actual doors. I offered to send him six or seven such photos but he did not seem interested. Germar Rudolf heard about the matter, asked me for the photos, and two of them will be published on the front page of the December issue of Vierteljahreshefte fuer freie Geschichtsforschung.

Robert Faurisson, 6 November 1997

I am pleased to see that Dr. Faurisson agrees with me that the Majdanek door is an air raid shelter door. Indeed, we know that it was ordered from the Auert firm in Berlin on September 26, 1942.

But while we agree on the identity of the door, there appears to be disagreement on its actual use. Dr. Faurisson argues that this air raid shelter door was used for a disinfection gas chamber. That’s possible. But it must be said that air raid shelter doors and disinfection chamber doors are not identical in design. The Majdanek door has interior latches, an interior handle, and a glass peephole covered with a perforated steel cover. A typical delousing chamber is not so equipped: the disinfection chamber door at Dachau, for example, has none of these features.

So the question remains: why did the camp order an air raid shelter door from a firm in Berlin and have it delivered almost 400 miles into occupied Poland? It could have been used for disinfection. But it is simply unbelievable that the camp would send away for a kind of door they didn’t need. Therefore, they must have had a dual purpose in mind, namely, disinfection, and alternately air raid and aerial poison gas attack protection.

The key idea, which Dr. Faurisson has not addressed, concerns protection against poison gas attacks. To defend against these, the Germans adapted all kinds of buildings to serve as auxiliary air raid/gas attack shelters, especially disinfection centers, baths, and laundries. The Germans were very concerned about the possibility of gas attacks, especially with skin irritants like mustard gas, and if such an attack occurred everyone would have to be showered and their clothes decontaminated.

Based on the example of the Italians in Ethiopia, the Germans were convinced that such an attack would come by air, and the threat of aerial mustard gas attack certainly existed. It is known, for example, that Churchill seriously contemplated such an attack in the summer of 1944.

The air raid shelter door at Majdanek proves that the Germans were very concerned about air raids and poison gas attacks at their concentration camps. There is no other logical reason for explaining why that door is there.

This conjecture is supported by many other alterations made to the building: the reinforced concrete walls and ceilings of the “gas chambers,” the gas lock at the entrance at the other side of the building, the overhead exit in Room “A”, and the interior wooden strutting in that room.

I am well aware that Dr. Faurisson has written about the Majdanek door, a copy of which is on display at the USHMM, describing it as the door of a delousing chamber. I am also aware that he made a passing reference to gas tight doors in a 1991 review of Pressac, which I appropriately referenced in my first article. In none of his writings, however, that I have so far seen, is there any indication that he understood that this was an air raid shelter door being used for a dual purpose, nor any hint that he appreciated the importance of protection against poison gas attacks in World War Two.

On the other hand. Dr. Faurisson’s erudition on this subject is a byword, and access to his research materials a privilege. I regret that he came to the conclusion that I was not interested in his photographs. On the contrary, I would be happy to receive and would most certainly benefit from whatever materials he might provide.

The air raid shelter door at Majdanek is a symbol. For some, a symbol of alleged “gas chambers.” For others, a symbol of misrepresentation at the USHMM. But for me it is above all a symbol of the importance of the World War Two German civil defense literature in advancing our understanding of the Holocaust story. Again, I urge all interested researchers, establishment or revisionist, to study this literature.

Samuel Crowell

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Robert Faurisson , Samuel Crowell
Title: Letters
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 48, November 1997, pp. 7f.
Published: 1997-11-01
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 4, 2015, 1:08 p.m.
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