The Footman

Published: 2001-11-01

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Over the last year or so, a slogan created by the French Holocaust revisionist, Robert Faurisson has gotten some derisive coverage from those who disagree with him over the size and character of the Shoah. The slogan is "No Holes—No Holocaust."[2] Those unfamiliar with details of the story of the gassings of Jews at Auschwitz and Birkenau probably will not understand the meaning of this witticism, but those who know the details understand.

The focus of the slogan is the ruins of Krema II and Krema III at Birkenau—two large cremation facilities built during 1942 and 1943 to dispose of the dead at that camp. The buildings were largely dismantled at the end of 1944 by the Nazis who were preparing to evacuate and abandon the camp to Stalin's advancing Red Army.[3]

These ruins have been called "holy ground" and similar silly things by those who consider the extermination story a seminal historical event with deep religious and philosophical lessons attached to it. When Fred Leuchter went crawling around in the "gas chambers" collecting samples of cement during the mid-1980's these people were aghast: It was for them sort of like putting God to the test.[4]

The controversy swirling around the crematories has to do with whether their attached cement and brick semi-basement structures were gas chambers where hundreds or thousands of people were murdered at a time, or morgues used to store the bodies of those who died from other causes—particularly disease—prior to cremation.

In order to resolve this dilemma the question of how one can tell the difference between a ruined gas chamber and a ruined morgue has to be answered. This is where the slogan comes in. A gas chamber requires a way to introduce the poison into the chamber. According to the standard story, the fumigant Zyklon-B ( an earthy substance impregnated with liquid hydrocyanic acid) was poured into the room below through "holes" in the roof of the chamber. If there were, in fact, no holes in the roof, the room below could not have functioned as a gas chamber. If these rooms were not gas chambers, then the stories concerning the mass gassings are not true. This line of argument is summarized by the slogan "No Holes—No Holocaust."

In his book, Denying History, Dr. Shermer uses air photos taken during the war in an attempt to demonstrate that Zyklon-B introduction holes once did exist in the roofs of these buildings. In so doing he attacks the work of revisionist researcher John Ball[5] who concludes the photos Shermer uses have been altered by the CIA in order to support the Holocaust legend. Despite his efforts, Shermer fails to address nearly all of the anomalies in the photos discovered by Ball except the "stitch" pattern found in some of the areas of the photos that supposedly contain imagery of crowds of people. He also attempts to verify there were structures on the roof of the crematory morgue using a ground photo, but this same attempt at verification was used by Jean-Claude Pressac years before and had also been debunked by Germar Rudolf[6] long before Shermer's book was published.

Holes! No Holes! In Wonderland it can be both

Holes! No Holes! In Wonderland it can be both

The air photos taken in 1944, and used by Shermer, present their own problems. The CIA released copies of the negatives of air reconnaissance photographs taken of Auschwitz and Birkenau.[7] The photos were taken to gather data for bombing raids on a nearby artificial petrol and rubber factory. Dr. Arthur Butz[8] concluded in his book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (1977) that these photographs must exist, but since they had not yet been made public they must contain nothing which would indicate that Auschwitz and Birkenau were the death factories the promoters of the Holocaust claimed they were.

The evidence in these photos, originally presented by CIA photo experts in 1979, pointed to two things which implied there might be something out of the ordinary going on at Birkenau in 1944: The dark patches on the roof of the morgues of crematories II and III; and the open gate to the compound surrounding crematory number II. The dark patches might be Zyklon-B introduction ports and the open gate might indicate a load of people who just came from a train were on their way to crematory number II to be killed. This was pure speculation, but what the CIA appears to have been after was to have it both ways: The photographs could be viewed as supporting the Holocaust story as it related to Auschwitz-Birkenau, but only in hindsight; Wartime photo-interpreters would not have been able to conclude there was an extermination factory in the images they were reviewing because the evidence in them was so subtle. This explanation allowed the CIA the public relations coup it wanted with the release of the photographs while at the same time explaining why these images had been forgotten for 34 years.[9]

Two years later, Martin Gilbert published an air photo image not included in the 1979 CIA report in his book Auschwitz and the Allies showing bombs being released over Birkenau on a trajectory for the chemical plant. The image from 13 September 1944 shows the crematories, but the Zyklon-B introduction ports are not visible on the morgue behind crematory II—they had vanished like the Cheshire cat.

Then in 1989 J.C. Pressac noted the movement and disappearance of the introduction ports in the concrete roof of the morgue of crematorium II, but was at a loss to explain why the ruined roof slab did not match the 1944 photos. (See George Brewer's "Some Holes, Some Holocaust")

John Ball also made note of this disappearance of the holes in his 1992 book Air Photo Evidence. Like Shermer would do years later, Ball compared the air photos taken in 1944 to ground photographs taken at the camp. He concluded the CIA photographs had been altered to lend credence to the death factory legend: The dark patches on the morgue roofs had been added and the single open gate beckoning the doomed group of prisoners noted in the CIA report did not match the double fence gate shown in ground photographs of that location. In addition, the image of the open gate was the wrong length to fill the gap in the fence when it was closed. Ball concluded that too had been added to the photos released by the CIA. In fact, all of the subtle hints of an Auschwitz death factory detected by the CIA experts in 1978-1979 had been added to the original air photographs in some sort of retouching process[10]

Drawing on the opinion of his own photo expert, Dr. Shermer disputes John Ball's conclusions concerning the faking of the Auschwitz air photos, but he fails to explain any of the anomalies found by Ball except the "stitch" pattern mentioned earlier. In the end, Shermer concludes—like the CIA experts two decades earlier-the 1944 photos contain no evidence of the genocide of the Jews at Auschwitz. He writes:

"These photographs are a good example of how, in order to make proper interpretations, we must review the physical evidence in conjunction with written documents and eyewitness testimonies. Sometimes we can make logical inferences, but other times we cannot draw final conclusions. The historian, however, is willing to wait for further evidence. In contrast, deniers seem anxious to prove that because nothing appeared to happen on one particular day at one particular moment, then nothing happened at other times on other days as well—an example of the fallacy of pseudohistorical thinking." Denying History page 153.

If this is the case, then a man can hold any fantasy he likes while he awaits further evidence since drawing conclusions based on a lack of evidence is "pseudohistorical thinking." This sort of argument is so silly it is embarrassing. The assumption behind this line of argumentation is that the photographs were taken on random occasions when death took a holiday at Auschwitz. That the photos were taken at all was tangential to the mission of the plane crews taking them. Dr. Shermer fails to see, or -more likely- ignores, the implications of the air photographs—implications recognized by Dr. Butz in the 1970's, and later by John Ball: From late 1943 the Americans and the British had the ability to photograph Auschwitz from the air. Because of their interest in destroying Germany's fuel supply and refining facilities, they were well-informed about what was happening in and around Auschwitz. The Allies could have picked a day when Jews were being killed in large numbers if large numbers of Jews were indeed being killed and burned at Auschwitz and gotten photographs of it.[11][12] It is incredible they didn't if Auschwitz was the death factory it is claimed to have been. Conclusions can be drawn from a lack of evidence. A man doesn't have to go into wait mode forever anticipating the discovery of that which doesn't exist; After 57 years we have enough information to draw a conclusion—just not Dr. Shermer's conclusion.

While Dr. Shermer and his fans are waiting, this issue of the "Cheshire holes" in the gas chamber roof still needs to be addressed. Birkenau has been visited by many revisionists and anti-revisionists hunting for the Zyklon B introduction ports in the concrete roofs of the ruined crematory morgues over the last twenty- five years. Those who claim to have found holes find them in spots and in sizes that do not match any of the air photos of 1944. This would indicate the air photos do not show gas introduction holes, but something else—since holes in concrete don't shrink or change location within a slab all by themselves—or even with help what these men are finding is not what is in the air photos. The holes that do exist in the ruins are rough and crude. They appear an afterthought or a result of the demolition of the building. Remember, the extermination of the Jews was supposed to have been planned and in operation a year or more before the construction of these buildings commenced, yet holes punched through the concrete after the fact indicates no planning was done and the whole gassing process was something that had been improvised some time in 1943 or 1944 instead.

It is easy to ignore this inconvenient evidence in order to make what is left converge on a predetermined focus. Instead of verifying each other, the photographs contradict each other. Some air photos show introduction ports in areas of the roof where nothing but solid concrete exists today. Other photos show no introduction ports. Ground photos show either nothing at all on the roof or what have been interpreted as introduction ports in positions different from the air photos. The rough holes in the concrete slab match neither and contradict the collected testimony. The plans for the buildings show no holes or introduction ports at all but show the structures to be morgues rather than gas chambers. In this case, the evidence diverges in two or three directions. Simplifying matters, Dr. Shermer picked his evidence based on the interpretation he wanted to make before he started—a method that makes interpreting evidence a waste of time. But since he is willing to wait for further evidence, he apparently has time to waste.

The face says fish. The livery says footman. In Wonderland it can be both, but in the real world the evidence has to be weighed in order to come to a resolution of contradictions in order to determine what is real. The air photos tell us the introduction ports and therefore the gas chambers existed, at least some of the time. Ground photos and an inspection of the ruins contradict the air photos. As Dino Brugioni, the CIA photo expert who coauthored the 1979 report, notes in his book Photo Fakery, pictures can lie—even when they have not been altered. Photo alterations are also sometimes impossible to detect. I agree with everyone on both sides of this issue up to this point in that the photos contain no conclusive evidence even in conjunction with other material and tend to be contradicted by more reliable evidence. The air photos therefore must be rejected as evidence for the existence of gas introduction ports in the roofs of the crematory morgues since an inspection of the camp today contradicts the government photographs.

In order to make the argument that the Birkenau morgues were really gas chambers the Zyklon introduction ports have to be there—as the "No Holes. No Holocaust" slogan makes clear—but will any hole or group of holes do? The irregular holes in the slab roof were created after the roof was poured and had hardened. This indicates if the room below was a gas chamber, then it was not originally designed as such, but converted to that purpose later. If the room was not designed as a gas chamber, then the testimony of Hoess and others is wrong. Without that testimony, there is no evidence of gas chambers at all.

The holes in the roof now were created sometime after early 1943 when the roof was poured. If they were created after late 1944, then they had nothing to do with gassings because the gassings are said to have stopped by then. Assuming holes were there before the building was razed, there must have been a way to seal them since the idea of a gas chamber is a container for the gas: If the holes were not sealed, then the gas was not contained. Since there is nothing to indicate these holes were ever sealed or stopped, the implication that no thought as to their purpose went into their creation needs some sort of explanation. There is no evidenceof design in these holes. So clearly, only desperation would cause one to conclude the holes being discussed here were ever used to dump Zyklon B into the room below.

Yet the situation for Dr. Shermer is desperate. Without holes there is no gas chamber. With these holes the testimony concerning the planning of the gas chamber complex at Birkenau is contradicted and again there is no gas chamber. The gas chamber theory is therefore fatally flawed and dies from its own internal contradictions. Once the red herrings have been removed, the evidence does converge: Only the morgue explanation remains because all of the artificial ambiguity surrounding these buildings is now dispelled. The picture is complete enough to draw conclusions. There is no need to keep waiting.


"For a minute or two she stood looking at the house, and wondering what to do next, when suddenly a footman in livery came running out of the wood—(she considered him to be a footman because he was in livery: otherwise, judging by his face only, she would have called him a fish)—and rapped loudly at the door with his knuckles."—ALICE IN WONDERLAND Chapter VI
John Sack ;"Inside the Bunker" ; ESQUIRE Magazine, February 2001, Page 100.
Dino A. Brugioni and Robert G. Poirier ; The Holocaust Revisited, Central Intelligence Agency ( February 1979) ST-79-10001; Page 13.
Deborah Lipstadt; Denying the Holocaust ; Free Press; 1993; Page 162-163.
Dino A. Brugioni and Robert G. Poirier;
[8] (see his papers on CODOH)
Dino A. Brugioni and Robert G. Poirier; Page 19.
John Ball; Air Photo Evidence; Ball Resource Services Ltd; 1992; Page 37.
Arthur Butz; The Hoax of the Twentieth Century; Institute For Historical Review; 1977; Page 150.
John Ball; Page 113.

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): John Weir
Title: The Footman
Sources: The Revisionist # 8, Nov. 2001, Codoh series
Published: 2001-11-01
First posted on CODOH: Oct. 30, 2001, 6 p.m.
Last revision:
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