The latest effort to combat "denial", i.e. Holocaust revisionism
On May 16 – 18, 2008, 200 scientists from around the world met in Berlin to discuss the historical significance-, the technical developments-, and Revisionist denial of “The Holocaust”. The “Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten” (Brandenburg Memorials Foundation), as well as the “Wiener Institute für Zeitgeschichte” (Vienna Institute for Contemporary History) were the organizers of this conference. In a press release by Constanze Haase on May 18 at the conclusion of the conference, Prof. Dr. Günter Morsch, director of the Brandenburg Foundation, stated that the existence of National Socialist gas chambers is still being questioned, but that at this conference contributions by the scientists -- and the discussions which followed -- have in no uncertain terms confirmed the accounts provided by survivors.
“25 years after the publication of ‘Nationalsozialistische Massentötung durch Giftgas’(National Socialist mass murder by poisonous gas), authored by the survivors Eugen Kogon and Hermann Langbein, the aim of this conference is to update this work by adding recently discovered material,” said Haase. At the end of the article we are informed that the depiction of the gas chambers is fictitious, as no photos exist -- all we have are eyewitness tales (Erzählungen von Augenzeugen). Prof. Morsch continued by saying that what has been presented and discussed will be summarized and published. The book will be made available to teachers, scientists and interested citizens (Bürger). After some delays this summary (Sammelband) was published (2011) under the title: “Neue Studien zu nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas” (New studies on National Socialist mass murder by poisonous gas).
What follows, then, are some observations of this newest research as it is presented, including a comparison of the work by Kogon et al. whenever necessary. Publications by Revisionists will also be considered. The intent is to -- for the most part -- comment on the essays in general terms and also make comparisons of what we have been told until now and how this differs from this latest account. Some of the topics, like chemistry, need to be addressed by experts in that field.
The first article is a “Greeting” by Gernot Erler, minister in the foreign office from 2005 - 2009. Herr Erler informs us that the killing of European Jewry is one of the best researched and most precisely documented aspects of contemporary history. And yet, attempts are still made to deny what happened, to downplay the significance. Those who try and relativize the Holocaust place themselves outside of the international community. The United Nations has declared January 27 to be the day to memorialize the victims of the Holocaust. Germany has accepted responsibility for the crimes committed, so Erler welcomes the efforts made by the “Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education (ITF)” in the development of a culture of memory (Erinnerungskultur). He also thanks the Brandenburg Memorial Foundation for its assistance.
Comments: If the Holocaust has been that thoroughly researched and the mass murder of European Jewry established as such an undeniable fact, then why have this conference on Holocaust denial in 2008? Facts speak for themselves -- just present them and denial will stop. What this suggests in the strongest terms is that what has been presented as evidence so far is obviously not convincing; thus this effort to present new material to finally silence deniers. The reference to a “Culture of Memory” is also of interest: more and more Germans call it a “Culture of Guilt” (Schuld-Kult)
Next, another “Greeting” by Dr. Ursula Plassnik, foreign minister of the Republic of Austria from 2004 to 2008. She tells us that this work is a comprehensive and detailed narrative of the mass murder via poisonous gas in the National Socialist concentration camps. The technical and scientific aspects of mass murder are documented, as well as the cooperation by technicians, organisations and politicians. She also welcomes the fact that educators had been invited to contribute to this book.
Comment: Good, then this should finally convince all sceptics.
Then a Foreword by Thomas Krüger, President of the German centre for political education (Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung, bpb). He starts out by telling us that the relativizing and belittling of the crimes committed by National Socialists (by now I am wondering why the term “Nazi(s)” is not used) is not a new phenomenon originating in the far right scene. Even during the existence of the Third Reich we had “I don’t want to see” this or “I don’t want to know” that. He then contradicted himself writing that even when - following the war - it became known what had occurred in the concentration- and extermination camps, many did not accept it, others denied that it happened.
Comment: We have an obvious contradiction here. Krüger tells us that what happened, meaning the mass murder of Jews, only became known after the war; so how could Germans have turned their heads, etc., when what had allegedly happened was not known ‘till after the war? Also, are we now going back to the “200 - 300” in the know, established at the IMT, by claiming that nothing was know until after the war -- which is in fact what had happened? If so, the authors need to be congratulated upon having finally admitted that next to nothing, aside from a few rumours, was known during the war. The dilemma they face however is that a crime of this enormity, if it was really committed, could not have been kept a secret. Indeed the authors of another recent study, “Das Amt und die Vergangenheit” which examines the complicity of the foreign office (AA) in the alleged mass murder, tell us that 200,000 Germans directly participated, while another 200,000, mostly foreigners, assisted. And with that many ‘in the know,’ how can this crime have been kept under wraps? Confusion right from the start.
We are then informed, by Krüger, that the Holocaust has since then been thoroughly investigated, that it is well documented and part of our education system. Denying the Holocaust is against the law in Germany (§130, Abs. 3) and deniers are prosecuted; in spite of this Holocaust-Deniers and relativists are still with us.
Comment: Another contradiction which Herr Krüger seems to have missed. If the Holocaust undoubtedly occurred as alleged, then why are laws needed to support said allegations? Why not simply confront deniers with facts instead? Recent court cases in Germany have shown that judges are unwilling (unable?) to present facts; they hide behind Offenkundigkeit. Their claim: The Holocaust obviously happened, so there’s no need to substantiate it any further. In any other trial, “obviousness” would not stand up in court; the defendant is always allowed to present his/her evidence. One has to also wonder why, if all is “obvious,” this book had to be written? If the Holocaust has been investigated, and evidence exists proving without any doubt that mass murder was committed, then why not present this evidence -- why the laws?
But Krüger is not done, he continues on telling us that time works for the Revisionists: as the Shoah becomes ever more distant from the present, fewer and fewer witnesses will be found who can attest to it. And because of this, historical myths and relativism could become more prevalent, even reaching the middle of society. For Revisionism is aimed at the uninformed, says Krüger, and historical facts are misrepresented -- history is embellished and rewritten. The message of Revisionists pretends to be scientific, when instead basic norms of historiography are ignored and history is presented selectively.
Comments: Is Herr Krüger telling us here that the Shoah is based solely on witness testimony? Surely substantial enough evidence exists to prove the Holocaust in spite of the passage of time. And what of the documentation mentioned before: will it not, when combined with the evidence of substance, prove what allegedly happened without the eyewitness accounts? Also, how is it possible for Revisionism to grow, reaching even the middle of our society, if the Holocaust is as well-researched and documented as he claimed it is?
We then learn how to combat Revisionism. First, historical-political education is a must -- the goal is to have students counter the apparent pseudo-scientific Revisionist propaganda. Youth are especially endangered, the internet having become a platform for Revisionism. None of this is getting any easier with the NS era receding further into the past; the death of eyewitnesses also poses a dilemma. Knowledge about Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust must be transmitted as an important part of political education. Also, it is not enough to just add all of this to our democratic value system; efforts must be made to reach youth of all walks of life.
We are faced with two problems, according to Krüger:
First, we must introduce migrants to Germany’s National Socialist past, and second, in the foreseeable future we will have no more witnesses who can be questioned. The intensity of their deliberations will be sorely missed, so we must adopt new strategies to compensate.
Comments: In reality, Herr Krüger must know that German youth is already inundated with all things Holocaust. But it appears -- and this seems to be Herr Krüger’s underlying message -- that what is presented, sans the eyewitness accounts, is just not persuasive, but not for lack of effort. One can only conclude that the material presented up to now is just not convincing. Further, to educate immigrants, especially Muslims, about the Holocaust will be a mighty task.
Krüger closed his lecture by voicing his conviction that this book will help combat Revisionist lies, and that his office will assist in any way necessary.
Lastly, we have the actual Introduction by Messrs. Morsch and Perz. They began by informing us that in 1983, concentration camp survivors Eugen Kogon and Hermann Langbein -- along with the head of Ludwigsburg Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, Adalbert Rückerl, as well as others -- published the book “Nationalsozialistische Massentötung durch Giftgas.” This was published on the initiative of two Mauthausen survivors, Pierre-Serge Choumoff and Jean Gavard. All of this resulted from a meeting with officials of the centre for political education who discussed the increase in Revisionist debates about NS mass murder in the 1970s.
The early deniers, as the authors call them, referred to a letter by Martin Broszat of the Munich Institute for Contemporary History (IfZ), written in the summer of 1960. The reason for Broszat’s letter was an article by Robert Strobel in “Die Zeit” -- he demanded the removal of former General Unrein, employed by American forces at the time, because he had claimed that the Dachau gas ovens were not used to burn Hitler’s victims, but the Americans’ SS victims (i.e. former guards). Furthermore, Unrein maintained that the gas ovens were not built by the Nazis, but by German prisoners of war on order of the Americans.
Following this, Broszat published this letter stating that “Not in Dachau, nor Bergen-Belsen or Buchenwald, were Jews or other prisoners gassed. The gas chambers in Dachau were never completed, so those who died in Dachau or other concentration camps were victims of the catastrophic conditions (in the camps)…the lack of supplies…Mass murder of Jews started in 1941/42 and was committed exclusively in a few specially selected locations with the help of technical installations, mostly on occupied Polish territories: in Auschwitz-Birkenau, in Sobibor on the Bug, in Treblinka, Chelmno and Belzec, but not in Germany proper…”. (gaps in the original)
The reason Broszat published this, so we’ve been told, was to differentiate between the internment camps in Germany proper versus the mass murder in camps on Polish territory and to make it impossible for irrational people to make use of false information. Sadly however, Broszat’s efforts were for naught. Revisionists then claimed that Broszat had denied the existence of gas chambers altogether. Broszat’s claim that gas chambers did exist in Poland was of no consequence to Revisionists -- so say the authors.
Comments: I am not aware of any Revisionist claiming that Broszat denied the existence of gas chambers in toto. What Revisionists say is that eyewitnesses testified about gassings in the German camps. In the 1950s, Dachau was seen as the place of horror -- I know because I lived in Germany at that time. Hitchcock produced a film about it, but since this was not true the justified Revisionist argument is: why should we believe what we are told about the camps in the east? Especially since all gas chamber evidence for the east also rests on eyewitness testimony, as admitted in the news release mentioned at the beginning.
The authors continue by informing us that Kogon et al. tried to counter Revisionist claims by publishing their book in 1983 (it took a while), but now, 25 years after said publication, it is time to upgrade this book by including what has been learned since. We are then provided with a list of the issues discussed at the May 2008 conference, which reads in part: What have we learned since then and what had to be revised? Who decided to use poisonous gas and was it done on orders from higher ups or the initiative of individual camp commanders? We then learn that mass murder actions were undertaken in all camps, but why was poisonous gas, except for Auschwitz, not used exclusively -- why were other killing methods adopted? What part did the killing of sick camp inmates, Aktion 14f13, play in all of this? To answer those questions a team of renowned scientists was invited, to look at the historical background, the technical aspects, etc.
Upon examining the footnotes of the 1983 publication, the authors continue, it is evident that eyewitness testimony and court transcripts are the main sources used. This reveals the dilemma researchers are faced with: Many of the sources (it reads: zeitgenössische Quellen) were systematically destroyed to maintain secrecy, so many of the orders were given orally. The Dachau trial is mentioned, as are the Polish trials in Krakow, the Jerusalem Eichmann trial and the euthanasia trials in the BRD. And, without the investigations by the Polish Central Commission or the work done by the Ludwigsburg Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes, it was nearly impossible to address those issues. But why aren’t the investigations that were allegedly done by the Soviets -- by the “Extraordinary State Commission for Ascertaining and Investigating Crimes Perpetrated by the German-Fascist Invaders and their Accomplices,” created on 2 November 1942 -- not mentioned, especially since the ESC constitutes a cornerstone of “The Holocaust”?
We learn that among the new material now available are intercepts, by the British, of German radio communications, which were discovered in the 1980s; documents from Moscow’s special archives; as well as Himmler’s itinerary (Dienstkalender); some comprehensive reports found in archives of the Russian Federation as well as documents concerning the manufacturers of cremation equipment by the German manufacturer Topf & Sons. One would assume that with all of this additional material a solid case can be made for the Holocaust. Not so! We are told that in spite the fact that so much has been learned, many obstacles still cannot be overcome even 30 years later. This is especially the case for the Action Reinhardt camps, as hardly any documents about them have been found. It is therefore imperative, as scant sources re. those camps exist and it since is impossible to change this (die Quellebasis nicht beliebig erweitert werden kann), to scrutinize the available material again. Also, research of court case material has not been completed. Well then, we will have to wait for more on the AR-Camps, i.e. on 25% of the Holocaust. And, according to the authors the camps were indeed named “Reinhard,” as in Reinhard Heydrich, although some contemporary historians still misspell it as Reinhardt, as done by these authors and other contributors continually.
We then learn how the book is structured: its chronological order beginning with the murder of sick camp inmates, the T4 action, the mass murder in the gas wagons and the gas chambers in the extermination camps in the east, and finally to the killings by poisonous gas in the camps in Germany proper.
Comment: Why begin with and emphasize the T4 action? This action is mentioned some 23 times in the introduction alone. No Revisionist disputes that this action took place. A team of medical doctors decided, by consensus, who was to be euthanized until word got out and the action stopped on 24 August 1941: “It was impossible to keep the T4 program secret, given that thousands of doctors, nurses…and administrators were involved in it,…”.
This presents a problem for the authors and they try to counter it by writing:
“Hinsichtlich der Verschleierung der Morde [ed. “in the extermination camps”] bestand ein ebenso eklatanter Unterschied zur „Aktion T4“. Wurde bei dieser der Mord als natürlicher Todesfall getarnt, der Todesfall selbst aber nicht nur nicht in Frage gestellt, sondern amtlich bestätigt, so wurde der Vorgang des Massenmordes an den europäischen Juden, wie an der Sinti und Roma, als Ganzes abgestritten[…]” [ed. “Concerning the concealment of the murders, there was a vast difference between those in the extermination camps and the T4 Action. Whereas in the latter murder was concealed by camouflaging the murders as cases of natural death, which were officially confirmed as such and never questioned, the murder of European Jews as well as Sinti and Roma was categorically denied.”)
Comment: It should not be necessary to point out the fallacy of this, ahem, reasoning, but I will do so nevertheless. In the Wikipedia article we read, and it states only the obvious, the T4 action could not be kept secret because of the thousands involved. What about the alleged mass murder in the camps? Did that happen on its own -- no perpetrators, no witnesses, and therefore could be categorically denied? Rubbish. We were informed that 200,000 participated directly, with another 200,000 assisting (see above). The above argument provides us with another admission that nothing was known about the alleged mass murder of millions of Jews, a supposed fact; however, if this mass murder actually took place it would have been impossible to conceal, and that is also admitted here, albeit in a roundabout way by saying that it was “denied.”
And again, why the continued referral to the T4 and 14f13 actions? Out of a total of 34 essays by various authors, 7 deal directly with T4 actions/facilities, beginning with some general observations about the extermination of unworthy life to naming off specific places: Brandenburg/Havel, Grafeneck, Pirna-Sonnenstein, Hartheim, Bernburg/Saale and Hadamar. Two other essays -- “Gas wagons. From euthanasia to genocide” and “From the T4 action to the mass murder of European Jews” -- as well as one essay about the 14f13 action in the concentration camps deal directly with those actions, the term T4 being repeatedly mentioned throughout the book. So roughly 1/3 of the book is about euthanasia. But, the book’s title reads “Mass murder by poisonous gas,” this book was obviously written to try and prove that “The Holocaust” happened and to silence Revisionists. Now, as alluded to before, Revisionists do not “deny” those actions, so why bother with T4 and 14f13? It is apparent that the T4 actions are needed to make a case for “The Holocaust”, why? Is it not possible to prove “The Holocaust” without referring to those actions? With this – this continued reference to the T4/14f13 actions - it has become obvious that no evidence exists proving that “The Holocaust” happened. If there was solid evidence like investigation reports compiled by experts in the field of criminal investigations, then there would be no need to perform these mental gymnastics. As for the missing evidence concerning the so-called “Action Reinhard” camps: why not simply locate the Treblinka mass graves, alleged to exist beyond any doubt and measuring 50m x 25m x 10m deep? We are still told that the first 700,000 Jews mass murdered at Treblinka were initially buried in those alleged graves, but later exhumed and burned on open air grills. Mr. Alex Bay depicted a number of the graves as they ‘must have’ existed, i.e. they must still exist, but “try as he may” to make it sound as though even one of these graves has been located, this is simply untrue. In fact an English archaeologist asked why those graves have never been found. Proving the case of Treblinka alone, by submitting solid evidence like the graves, would eliminate the need to try and make the case for the entire “Holocaust” by bringing up the T4 and 14f13 actions ad nauseam.
The T4 actions, i.e. the killing of just thousands, could not be kept secret and were stopped due to protests by the German populace. When coupled with these authors’ speculation that concealment of the mass murder of millions would have been impossible, we may conclude that the so-called “Holocaust” action would also have been stopped. The Holocaust never happened. Period. This is the only logical, possible conclusion. Is this why we are told that nothing about the alleged mass murder was known until the war was over? – Yes, the only explanation possible, though faulty to its core due to the enormity of the alleged crime.
Now back to the introduction. The authors listed the essays in order, adding some comments, and I will address those that I am qualified to address. (This subject is simply too large for just one person to wholly address. Indeed, numerous authors contributed to the writing of this book).
We learn in chapter one that the alleged mass murder by poisonous gas must be considered within a larger context. Richard Evans provides these details. This larger context consists of the supposedly racist policies of the NSdAP, the elimination of Jewish-Communist culture, the T4 action, etc. Poisonous gas, we are told, was but one of the methods used to kill between 5.5 and 6 million Jews: 1.3 million were shot and up to one million died from diseases, starvation or maltreatment in the camps and ghettos.
Comment: Since the case for mass murder of Europe’s Jews cannot be made without referring to initial race policies, etc., which have nothing to do with the alleged mass murder, we may conclude that Evans et al. have no Holocaust evidence and therefore no case (this is called retroactive foreshadowing). At some of the West German trials, the 1963 - 1965 Frankfurt Auschwitz trials for example, the Nürnberg Racial Laws of 1935 were submitted as “evidence” in lieu of real evidence -- the same phenomenon seems to be at work here as well.
In the second chapter the technical aspects of the T4 action are discussed, as well as those of the gas wagons and the killing with the insecticide Zyklon B in Auschwitz and the technical innovations needed to cremate the bodies of those killed. German court cases are then discussed, and finally, the role archaeology plays in the investigations.
Chapter three consists of seven essays about T4.
In chapter four, by which time we are now on page 153 (of a whopping 424 with the last 87 pages devoted to Revisionism), we are made aware of 1) how the T4 action led to mass murder, 2) the technical aspects of it, 3) the problems encountered, and so forth. We also read how the “Sonderkommando Lange,” having killed patients in various facilities under the T4 program, was now strategically placed in Chelmno. This commando supposedly used bottled carbon monoxide before, but now, because of shortages, had to resort to gassing its victims with engine exhaust. This then directly led to killing via engine exhaust in the Aktion Reinhard camps, in which 1.5 people (not just Jews) were killed. Over one hundred T4 personnel were transferred to those camps.
Comment: This part of the book is supposed to deal with the technical aspects of the alleged mass murder, but instead T4 is repeatedly mentioned. Why? Just provide the evidence and allow it to stand on its own, if it can.
Chapter five then provides details about the killings by poisonous gas in Germany proper, as well as in Mauthausen, Stutthof and Natzweiler. Prof. Maser receives some ink, as he provided evidence that the Sachsenhausen shooting facility (Genickschussanlage) as well as the gas chamber were built on instructions by the Soviets following the war.[emphasis added; 19] But in this segment we are again reminded of the connection between the T4 action and mass murder.
The last part of the book addresses Revisionist arguments, as mentioned already. Looking at the index of names, such prominent Revisionists as Carlo Mattogno and Jürgen Graf are only mentioned in passing, which makes me suspect that their arguments were not thoroughly considered, if at all. Mattogno, for instance, published a number of books, as did Germar Rudolf, so all of what they have written must be considered – and presented in context – to do justice to this topic. These authors have actually done what they accuse Revisionists of doing: they have selectively quoted their opposition.
What we have here is a revised interpretation of what allegedly happened, i.e., mass murder by the National Socialists. No longer do we see any effort put forth to try and explain why a Hitler order has never been found, nor even a resemblance of an extermination plan; the order by Hitler to commence the T4 action used as substitute, or so it seems. Wannsee, the time and place where the extermination of Jews was allegedly decided upon, receives only anecdotal mention - T4 put in its place. One can oftentimes judge a book by its introduction: this book is not an attempt to shore up what is known about “The Holocaust,” but a sordid attempt to rewrite how this alleged crime was conceived and how it supposedly evolved. But as mentioned, the logic, if one can even call it that, is faulty. The ultra secret T4 action was halted as a result of public protests when it was leaked by von Galen. The mass murder of Europe’s Jews, had it actually happened, would also have been stopped. If T4 could not be kept secret by only a few thousand participating, then the Holocaust of Europe’s Jews could not have been kept secret with tens of thousands involved.
To be continued…
- The article quoted from, available under http://oga.mzv.net/lokales/story.php?id=43876# has disappeared, all I have is the printout. One other article about the conference is still available http://www.taz.de/1/politik/deutschland/artikel/1/das-paradox-der-neonazis/?src=AR&cHash=d5a40ddb3c
- Günter Morsch, Bertrand Perz, publishers, with the assistance of Astrid Ley, Neue Studien zu nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas, Metropol Verlag, Berlin, 2011, p.X
- Morsch et al, Neue Studien..., pp. XI-XII
- Ibid, p. XIII
- Ibid, p. XIII; R. Strobel, „Weg mit ihm!“ in: Die Zeit of August 12,1960
- Ibid, pp. XIII/IV; Die Zeit of August 19,1960, p.16
- Ibid, pp. XV-XIV
- http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/holocaust_and_genocide_studies/v017/17.1prusin.html; and also http://www.amnestyusa.org/events/western/pdf/AmnestyConference_BazylerMichaelCLE.pdf
- Morsch et al, Neue Studien..., p. XVII, footnote 11
- The name T4 was an abbreviation of "Tiergartenstraße 4", the address of a villa in the Berlin borough of Tiergarten which was the headquarters of the Gemeinnützige Stiftung für Heil- und Anstaltspflege, bearing the euphemistic name literally translating into English: as Charitable Foundation for Cure and Institutional Care. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Action_T4
- Morsch et al, Neue Studien…, p. XXIV
- http://www.holocaust-history.org/Treblinka/deathcampinternet/deathcampp7.shtml, Figure 42
- http://www.holocaust-history.org/Treblinka/appendixd/, Text and Figure D1
- Morsch et al, Neue Studien…, pp. XIX-XX
- Ibid, pp. XXI-XXIV
- Werner Maser, Fälschung, Dichtung und Wahrheit über Hitler und Stalin”, OLZOG Verlag GmbH, München, 2004, pp.352-370
Additional information about this document
|Title:||The latest effort to combat "denial", i.e. Holocaust revisionism|
|First posted on CODOH:||Feb. 18, 2011, 6:25 a.m.|