Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Crimes and Mercies, by James Bacque

This article is not about Holocaust denial. Or maybe a different sort of denial, which consists in blowing up (or simply inventing) crimes committed by Nazi Germany’s opponents in order to play down those of Nazi Germany.

Friday, July 09, 2021

Review of Holocaust Handbooks Volume 26 – Santiago Alvarez, The Gas Vans

From December 1941, the Nazis deployed homicidal gas vans using gasoline engine exhaust for the extermination of the European Jews, the liquidation of mental asylums and clearing of prisons in the occupied Soviet Union. The mass killing technique was supposed to provide mental relief for the shooting squads and enable more discreet mass killing. The vans came with two types of chassis: 3 tons trucks of various makes as first series, and 5 tons trucks of the make Saurer as the second series. The Security Police distributed around 20 vehicles for use in occupied Eastern territories (Serbia, Poland and Soviet Union). Another gas van on a Ford chassis was operated by the Secret Field Police. About a quarter of Million people fell victim of these mobile gas chambers (according to Alfred Kokh and Pavel Polian (ed.), Denial of the Denial, or the Battle of Auschwitz, p. 142).

Their historical reality is established by numerous contemporary Nazi documents, contemporary accounts and reports of other origins, and several 100s of post-war testimonies, thereof mostly by former members of the Nazi paramilitary and military forces towards German criminal investigators (many examples cited in the blog series Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans).

Monday, June 28, 2021

Michael Hoffman's Twisted Road

Since we began this blog 15 years ago, we've been fully aware that Holocaust deniers have individual motives. Certainly among these motives is antisemitism -- it's perhaps the one trait that the overwhelming majority of deniers share -- but there are also motives like ego and grift.

With the rapid graying and dying of the American denier community, Michael A. Hoffman II, at 64 years old, is now among the elder statesmen of American deniers. One thing I've also found in my interactions with individual deniers is that he's also among the most unpopular figures in that small circle. One confided in me that Hoffman was an acid casualty from the 1970s who emerged in the radical right-wing "movement" in the 1980s with an obvious mental illness (a point I've never been able to independently verify, let it be said). More recently, David Cole told me that Hoffman was known among deniers in particular for his openly genocidal rhetoric against Jews and non-whites generally. This was a problem for the denier movement then since the prevailing strategy was to present denial as a quasi-academic alternative to the "orthodox" history of the Holocaust.

What has marked Hoffman's "career" most prominently, however, is his chameleon-like nature. The man has undergone a frequent process of reinvention over the course of the last 30 years or so. When I first encountered him in Usenet in the mid-1990s, he presented as a wannabe public intellectual, flaunting his "expertise" on Jewish legal texts. This, we now know, was his second act, since the first act relates to the materials we are presenting below. Hoffman's third (and final?) act has been that of dissident Catholic, taking issue with post-Vatican II Catholicism and particularly its embrace of usury (he claims). He oddly calls Jews "Judaics," but he now claims to be a critic of the Third Reich. Among his more recent books is Adolf Hitler: Enemy of the German People. A couple of months ago, in a blog post of his own, he responded to an ADL press release that called him a Holocaust denier using his Hitler book as a sort of defense. 

It is possible that Hoffman has undergone a genuine transformation. Perhaps his Hitler book is a sort of mea culpa. One thing is clear, however: Hoffman has never publicly renounced his earlier fascist stance. Lest it be thought that the word "fascist" is being thrown around here willy-nilly, we present two important pieces of evidence.

The first is Hoffman's novel A Candidate for the Order, which he self-published in 1988. If you were looking for a Turner Diaries with a slightly elevated vocabulary, this is probably right up your alley. 

You can view a copy at the Internet Archive here: https://tinyurl.com/mah2novel1
I've also archived that link here: https://archive.is/Ldsot
Finally, you can download a PDF version directly here: https://tinyurl.com/mah2novelpdf

The following year, Hoffman participated with neo-Nazi Harold Covington and several major KKK figures, most notably Louis Beam -- head of the Texas KKK and author of "Leaderless Resistance" -- in a rally against the Martin Luther King holiday in Pulaski, Tennessee, where the Klan was originally founded. You can view Hoffman's 13-minute speech here:

https://tinyurl.com/mah2vid1989

The "Hail Victory" that Hoffman yells out at the end is a nice touch.

A final note: I reached out directly to Hoffman before writing and publishing this post. I asked him whether he had ever renounced his previous positions. He did not respond.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Thanks but No Thanks

Today, I updated the list of Citations of Holocaust Controversies in the Literature, adding two sources: a book on the Kurdish and Armenian genocides published back in 2007 by Desmond Fernandes, who was a senior lecturer in geography at De Montfort University in the U.K.; and a book on anti-imperialism from 2018 by Rohini Hensman. There was a third citation of our work that I found, but I won't be adding it to our list. Here's why.

The book that I won't be including that cites our blog is Grover Furr's Khrushchev Lied: The Evidence That Every Revelation of Stalin's (and Beria's) Crimes in Nikita Khrushchev's Infamous Secret Speech to the 20th Party Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union of February 25, 1956, Is Provably False. (As Max Amann famously said before deleting the subtitle Viereinhalb Jahre (des Kampfes) gegen Lüge, Dummheit und Feigheit from Mein Kampf, "Everyone needs an editor.") If you're not aware who Grover Furr is, my blogmate and comrade Sergey Romanov has written fairly extensively about his work at this very blog. Several words come to mind to describe Furr, but "kook" is perhaps the one that comes most readily.

Look, I get it. I too have a Ph.D. in English and ended up doing most of my writing in the field of history. It happens. It happened to me. I just ended up on the "other side" of Furr. And lest it be said that we both see the Soviets as the "good guys" in World War II, the similarity pretty much ends there. (OK, I also wrote a doctoral dissertation that addressed the topic of medieval European literature, and we share an interest in Arthurian literature, but it really does end after that. Honest.)

The funny thing about Furr's citation of us is what he cites from us and why. Specifically, on page 520 (footnote 26) of Khrushchev Lied: He Really, REALLY Did!, Furr cites this blog post by Sergey, as a way of marshalling evidence against Tim Snyder, the historian of modern European history at Yale and author of Bloodlands, among other studies, for having "lied" about a source on the antisemitism of Joseph Stalin. Notably, Sergey, while providing the correct translation and source of the quotation, does not exculpate Stalin of antisemitism -- he merely notes that Stalin was likely more tactful. Indeed, Sergey writes, "This is not to say that he [Stalin] wasn't an antisemite." And indeed, the context for the dispute is the Doctors' Plot -- one of Stalin's final repressions, which specially targeted Soviet Jews.

Furr writes, "Snyder is either deliberately lying or never bothered to check the source of this quotation. Whatever is the case, it does him no credit as a historian." While it's not my intention to venture into this particular thicket of weeds, I do want to point out that this discovery is not exactly the "gotcha" Furr seems to think it is. Not only was Stalin demonstrably antisemitic, particularly in the last chapter of his life (although other examples exist), but also Stalin in the correct quotation is clearly not referring to Zionists when referring to "Jewish nationalists." When he said, "Jewish nationalists think that their nation was saved by the USA (there you can become rich, bourgeois, etc.)," the "nation" Stalin was referring to was not Israel -- it was the Jewish nation, i.e., the Jewish people.

Funnier is that Furr cites our blog as a way to attack Snyder without (apparently) checking to see whether we'd ever commented on his own work here. It's a bit ironic that Furr didn't fully check his source in this case (HC blog) while accusing Snyder of doing the same. As a famous Jew once said, "Physician, heal thyself!"

Saturday, May 01, 2021

What the Soviets knew about Auschwitz - and when. Part V: the destruction of the Hungarian Jews.

On 15.07.1944 the director of 1st Directorate of NKGB, the Soviet intelligence, Pavel Fitin wrote to Aleksandr Shcherbakov, a Central Committee secretary and the head of the Political Directorate of the Red Army and the Soviet Information Bureau:
ЦК ВКП(б)
товарищу Щербакову

Нами из Варшавы от нашего корреспондента получена информация следующего содержания:

"В лагере Освенцим немцы отравляют газами венгерских евреев по 10-15 тысяч в день и жгут их на кострах. Проверено точно, реагируйте."

Начальник I Управления НКГБ
Союза ССР
(ФИТИН)
CC AUCP(b)
to comrade Shcherbakov

We received the following information from our correspondent in Warsaw:

"In the camp Auschwitz the Germans are poisoning 10-15 thousand Hungarian Jews a day with gas and burning them on pyres. Definitely verified, react."

Head of the 1st Directorate of NKGB
USSR
(FITIN)
Source: RGASPI, f. 17, op. 125, d. 250, l. 89.

Thus the Soviet intelligence learned about the mass destruction of the Hungarian Jews in Auschwitz either while it was still going on (depending on when exactly Fitin got this information) or shortly thereafter.

Up to 09.07.1944 about 434,000 Jews were deported from Hungary, most of them to Auschwitz, where about 320,000 of them were found unfit for work and gassed on arrival, and the rest were either registered in the camp or left in the area for the transit Jews (who resided in the camp but were not registered there, awaiting transfer to labor camps). Most of the latter Jews were transferred for work in other camps, but many eventually perished (incl. through gassings) in Auschwitz.

So far I have been unable to find anything in the central press, like Pravda or Izvestiya, about this destruction. Whether this was due to scarcity of information, low importance assigned to it or A. Shcherbakov's reputed antisemitism is hard to say.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Jewish Burial Law and Exhumation of Mass Graves

Over at the cesspit, our old friend Hannover tends to repeat himself a fair bit. One of his "greatest hits" is the claim that the idea that Jewish law generally forbids the exhumation of mass graves is a ruse designed to hide the "fact" that there are, in reality, no mass graves. Most recently, the Sage of CODOH wrote, "That [the idea that that Jewish law forbides exhumation] is a lie and has always been a way to dodge the fact that there are NO excavations which show the alleged millions upon millions of Jew human remains claimed to be located in know [sic] locations."

Putting aside for the moment that mass graves have been demonstrated time and again, it's worth considering what Jewish law actually has to say about these things. It's been nearly a decade since we've discussed the matter, and maybe it's time to get a little more specific.

There are two Talmudic texts of the topic. These quotations are taken from the William Davidson Talmud, which is provided online at sefaria.org.

Bava Batra 154a
Rabbi Yoḥanan raised an objection to Rabbi Shimon ben Lakish from a baraita: There was an incident in Bnei Brak involving one who sold some of his father’s property that he had inherited, and he died, and the members of his family came and contested the sale, saying: He was a minor at the time of his death, and therefore the sale was not valid. And they came and asked Rabbi Akiva: What is the halakha? Is it permitted to exhume the corpse in order to examine it and ascertain whether or not the heir was a minor at the time of his death? Rabbi Akiva said to them: It is not permitted for you to disgrace him for the sake of a monetary claim. And furthermore, signs indicating puberty are likely to change after death, and therefore nothing can be proved by exhuming the body.

Yevamot 63b
Apropos the Ḥabbarim, the Gemara cites the following statement of the Sages: The Ḥabbarim were able to issue decrees against the Jewish people with regard to three matters, due to three transgressions on the part of the Jewish people. They decreed against meat, i.e., they banned ritual slaughter, due to the failure of the Jewish people to give the priests the gifts of the foreleg, the jaw, and the maw. They decreed against Jews bathing in bathhouses, due to their neglect of ritual immersion. Third, they exhumed the dead from their graves because the Jews rejoice on the holidays of the gentiles, as it is stated: “Then shall the hand of the Lord be against you and against your fathers” (I Samuel 12:15). Rabba bar Shmuel said: This verse is referring to exhuming the dead, which upsets both the living and the dead, as the Master said: Due to the iniquity of the living, the dead are exhumed.

More authoritative is the Shulchan Aruch (also available at sefaria.org), the 17th century compendium of Jewish law considered authoritative for eastern European Jewry.

Shulchan Aruch, Yoreh De'ah, 363
One should not remove a corpse and bones[1] from a dignified grave to [another] dignified grave, nor from an undignified grave to [another] undignified grave, nor from an undignified one to a dignified one, and needless to say [that it is forbidden] from a dignified one to an undignified one. 

[1] Two reasons are advanced for this prohibition: a) The disturbance of removal is hard on the dead — TaZ, ShaK. Cf. I Sam. XXVIII, 15; Job III, 13; b) Removal is considered a disrespectful treatment of the dead — RIDBaZ to Yad, Ebel XIV, 15. One who was buried in a non-Jewish cemetery may be removed to a Jewish one — P.Tesh., G.Mah. 

Two possibilities emerge here. The first is that international Jewry, cognizant of the grand hoax to be perpetrated some 1,500 years in the future, conspired to draft pages of Talmud to which Rabbi Yosef Karo could refer some 1,100 years later when compiling an index of Jewish law for the masses of Ashkenazim.

The second possibility is that Jewish law actually does have something to say about the topic.

Let's be clear: We are under no illusions here that the folks over at CODOH will stop lying just because this blog post has appeared. However, with any luck, people curious to know whether their claims have any merit will find this post. That, after all, is sort of the point of what we're doing here.

Friday, December 11, 2020

No, Germans were not accused of, sentenced or executed for the Katyn massacre in the Leningrad trial.

 On David Irving's site we find the following message:

Innocent executed

Doing my reading on the history of German war crimes, German war criminals and their adjudication by the victors after World War II, I came across a most interesting passage. In November 1945, seven officers of the German Wehrmacht (and I think it is reasonable to mention their names -- K.H. Strueffling, H. Remlinger, E. Böhom, E. Sommerfeld, H. Jannike, E. Skotki and E. Geherer) were tried by a court of the victorious allies, the Americans, the English, the French and the Russians. They were condemned to death for war crimes and subsequently hanged.

Three more were tried on the same charges (E.P. Vogel, F. Wiese, A. Diere), received sentences of 20 years of hard labor, were turned over to the Russians and never heard of again.

Most interesting about this particular war trial is the charge. The officers were charged and hanged for having shot thousands of Polish officers in the forest of Katyn after the defeat of Poland in 1939.

Now, with glasnost and all, it has been officially established and admitted by the Russians themselves that the murder of thousands of the gallant Polish officer corps in the forest near Katyn was committed by the bolsheviks of Stalin, not by the murderous Nazis, years before the German army invaded. The poor above-mentioned soldiers never got near the scene of the crime.

What evidence was used to hang these innocent soldiers? Who fabricated the "facts" that convinced the court that these men were guilty? Murderers? What do the judges, if they are still alive, have to say for themselves? What of the prosecutors? What were these people hanged for?

H. Famira

Professor of German

Concordia University

Montreal

This claim is moderately popular among the Holocaust deniers. One finds it in places "high" and "low". There are messages at the CODOH forum making the claim. 

It is repeated by the denier Georges M. Theil in his Heresy in Twenty-First Century France, 2006, pp. 65-66:

Although the Allied intelligence services (notably the British) had known from the start that it was the Soviets who had put thousands of captive Polish officers to death in Katyn forest in 1940, they subsequently let the rumour spread that the Germans were the authors of that massacre. Afterwards, the Soviets were to hang seven German officers and men for the crime: Ernst Böhm, Ernst Geherer, Herbard Janicke, Heinrich Remmlinger, Erwin Skotki, Eduard Sonnenfeld and Karl Strüffling. They sentenced another three innocent Germans to twenty years’ hard labour: Arno Diere, Erich Paul Vogel and Franz Weiss.

By Joachim Nolywaika in Die Sieger im Schatten ihrer Schuld, 1994, p. 246:

Im Winter 1945/46 wurde in Leningrad mehreren deutschen Offizieren als angeblich für die Katyn-Morde Verantwortlichen der Prozeß gemacht, worüber die sowjetische Agentur „Tass" am 30. Dezember 1945 berichtete. Zum Tode durch den Strang wurden verurteilt Karl Hermann Strüffling, Heinrich Remmlinger, Ernst Böhm, Eduard Sonnenfeld, Herberd Janike. Erwin Skotki und Ernst Geherer. Zwanzig beziehungsweise fünfzehn Jahre Zwangsarbeit erhielten Erich Paul Vogel, Franz Wiese und Arno Diere.

The claim also appears in the neo-Nazi "encyclopedia" Der Grosse Wendig and in the neo-Nazi wiki Metapedia and the Holocaust denying fraudster Germar Rudolf simply swallows and then regurgitates the latter's claim in his Garrison and Headquarters Orders of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, 2020, p. 2:

Ernst Böhm (born 1911 in Oschersleben, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, died on 5 January 1946) was one of the seven German officers of the Wehrmacht who were convicted and executed/murdered in the Soviet Union after a show trial. They had been wrongly accused of having participated in the Katyn massacre. For me, the choice of this name as a pseudonym is a declaration of solidarity for those innocently persecuted. Metapedia writes in the entry about Ernst Böhm (accessed on March 27, 2020): ...

One of the dishonest denier gurus, Walter Lüftl, also repeated the claim.

Predictably, most of the claim is false. But first let's address the core of truth (I. S. Yazhborovskaja, A. Yu. Yablokov, V. S. Parsadanova, Katynskij sindrom v sovetsko-pol'skikh i rossijsko-pol'skikh otnoshenijakh, Moscow, 2001, pp. 336, 337):

Two people were prepared as "German witnesses who were participants in the Katyn provocation" - Professor Butz's assistant Ludwig Schneider and soldier Arno Düre. Military prosecutors [investigating the Katyn crime] found the archive criminal case of general of the German army H. Remlinger, who carried out punitive actions on the territory of Leningrad region. As it turned out, from December 28, 1945 to January 4, 1946, the criminal case against Remlinger, Düre and five other German soldiers was considered by the military tribunal of the Leningrad military district in the presence of a large number of Soviet and foreign correspondents. A. Düre, who had shot people with a machine gun in several villages, escaped the death penalty because, answering the prosecutor's leading questions, he confirmed that he had allegedly participated in the burial of 15-20 thousand Polish prisoners of war in Katyn. For this, the security organs let the "witness" live (he received 15 years of hard labor), but still did not dare to use him as a witness at Nuremberg: he was not able to play the role assigned to him properly. Düre gave absurd answers to many questions of the prosecutor and the court, which unambiguously exposed the false plot. For example, allowing his fantasy to run wild, he claimed that the Katyn Forest was in Poland, that the depth of the ditch in which the Poles had been buried was 15-20 m, that they had strengthened the walls of the ditch with tree branches, etc. Later, in a statement of November 29, 1954, Düre recanted his testimony about his participation in the burial of the Poles in Katyn, and declared that he had been forced to say so during the investigation.

Now let's turn to the indictment of the trial from 25.12.1945 (TsA FSB, f. K-72, op. 1, por. 28, l. 247–258). We see that nobody was accused of anything to do with Katyn and specifically Düre was accused as follows (p. 18 of the indictment):

The accused DÜRE, while a soldier of the 2nd company of the 2nd battalion for "special purposes" on 20.07.1944, while retreating with the battalion, took part in the burning of a village near the town of Ostrov and at that time shot 25 peaceful Soviet citizens.

That's all.

Now let's look at the verdict (ibid., l. 221-246). Katyn is not mentioned at all. Nobody was convicted for participating in the Katyn massacre. About Düre the verdict has only the following to say (p. 6 of the verdict):

Wiese, while the commander of the 1st company of the 2nd battalion for special purposes, and Düre and Vogel being soldiers of this same battalion in July of 1944 in the vicinity of the town of Ostrov took part in the burning of villages, incl. the village of Yudino, and in shooting and robbery of peaceful citizens.

Düre's sentencing (p. 6v of the verdict):

... exile for hard labor for the duration of 15 years.

Vogel and Wiese were sentenced to 20 years of hard labor, the rest were sentenced to death. There's no evidence whatsoever any of them were innocent.

So let's sum up. While Düre was a false witness about Katyn and probably provided his testimony during the trial in exchange for a more lenient sentence, contrary to the deniers the trial wasn't about Katyn, nobody was accused of participating in the Katyn massacre or sentenced for it. (And, I should add, Düre recanting his false testimony was pretty typical and makes a mockery of the deniers' claims that the Nazis who confessed in a much more free environment of West Germany would have upheld their allegedly false testimonies until their deaths).

So much for the "revisionist" "research".

Friday, November 06, 2020

The doors to wisdom are shut - Rudolf on the crematorium in Auschwitz main camp

The Holocaust denier Germar Rudolf published an article on "The Thin Internal Walls of Krematorium I at Auschwitz" with supposedly "far-reaching consequences" - summed up as yet another nonsensical slogan: "No doors, no destruction".

Rudolf argues that the internal walls of the crematorium were "unable to support the installation of massive steel doors". Even if - for the sake of argument - the internal walls of the crematorium were too weak for a "massive steel door", there is no reason the Nazis had to have used a "massive steel door" in the first place. The screwing shut mechanism mentioned by witnesses does not point to "massive steel fixtures", as Rudolf presumes, but to the makeshift gas-tight strong wooden doors pictured in Pressac's Technique and Operation of the Auschwitz Gas-Chambers (see also Rebutting the "Twitter denial"). Nothing suggests, let aside proves, that these doors and their anchoring could not withstand the pressure from inside the homicidal gas chambers (Viewer's Guide to "Auschwitz - The Surprising Hidden Truth").

The homicidal gassings in the crematorium in Auschwitz main camp are demonstrated by numerous pieces of evidence (e.g. Rebuttal of Mattogno on Auschwitz, Part 2: Gas Introduction at the Crematoria). It does not 'hinge' on the gas-chamber's door. There is no indication that the gas-tight wooden doors produced in the camp's workshop could not do the job for the provisional crematorium 1 gas chamber (or any other, for that matter).

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Citations of Holocaust Controversies in the Literature

It's been a while since we compiled a list of the times that the HC blog has been cited in the scholarly/academic and professional literature. Here's an updated list to bring us to the present. Please note that this list does not include publications written by people directly associated with the blog, nor does it include citations of people associated with the blog to publications in other media, offline or online.

I'll update this list as new publications come across the transom.