Saturday, July 11, 2020

Bełżec and Black Death Mass Graves

These days it is germs rather than guns that make the headlines, be it because of what has happened and is happening or because of what some fear might still happen. Interest in past pandemics like the Black Death and the Spanish flu has probably increased accordingly, related monographs like John Kelly’s The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time and Laura Spinney’s Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World are likely to be in higher demand, and as concerns works of fiction I’m probably not the only one who discovered Albert Camus’ The Plague on this occasion. At this moment man-made disasters of the past don’t have the connection with a current threat that past pandemics have.

That said, discoveries regarding the latter sometimes provide information that is of interest to research about the former.

Friday, May 29, 2020


For those who still give a ... something or other ... about this, Mike Eunuch, or however he is called nowadays, has been dissected here again.

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Graf's Russian Source, or How to Accumulate an Asylum of Loons

I recently wrote a blog post for our larger Holocaust Handbooks project on Ingrid Weckert's Jewish Emigration From the Third Reich. In the beginning, I pointed out that Weckert has the closest demonstrable ties to neo-Nazis among the living deniers, with Jürgen Graf a close second. Since writing that post, I had occasion to read Graf's The Giant With Feet of Clay -- his lengthy critique of the work of Raul Hilberg. I wanted to provide this brief post to make a few brief comments on the man generally and one of his sources.

First, Graf is easily the most overtly antisemitic of the Castle Hill/CODOH authors. Given how frequently he has collaborated with Carlo Mattogno -- who has comparatively much cleaner hands in this regard -- it doesn't really say much for Mattogno that he apparently regards Graf's work so highly. Should the accusation arise that this statement amounts to guilt by association -- well, yes, it does.

Second, Graf's writing of history is garbage. He doesn’t understand the basics of source analysis and seems to believe (or at least argues) that eyewitness statements are never reliable. He also shamelessly quote mines, often to suppress information that he must be aware would undermine his own theses. He just plainly doesn't know what he's doing most of the time. Mattogno's writing brings its own set of related -- but distinct -- problems. But compared to Graf's solo work, Mattogno should be shortlisted for the Pulitzer. Graf is really that bad.

We'll be elaborating on these points over the coming weeks. In the meantime, I wanted to describe my pursuit of a source that Graf cites in TGWFOC. Among the more striking claims made by Graf in this opus is buried in a footnote on page 36 of the most recent edition: "Of 531 leading personalities in the Soviet Union in 1920, 447 were Jews, cf. Juri K. Begunov, Tajnye Sily w istorii Rossij [sic], Isdatelstvo Imeni A.S. Syborina, St. Petersburg 1996." 

It took a bit of work, but I did manage to find a copy of the cited book by Yurij Begunov, about whom, it should be noted, enough has been written to firmly cast him into the group of conspiracy loons. Mina Sodman reported in Searchlight (March 2002) that Begunov was among the attendees of a Holocaust denial "conference" held in Moscow in January 2002; Graf was also in attendence.

Regarding the book and its claim about 447 of 531 "leading personalities" of the USSR being Jewish in 1920 (which, it bears mention, isn't 1941 and is, therefore, after the conscious Russification of the Soviet leadership undertaken under Stalin and after the Great Purges, in which many, perhaps most, of these leaders were shot), it seems Begunov cribbed his list at least in part from Robert Wilton. Our own Sergey Romanov has already discussed Wilton's lists in some detail, so I won't belabor his points.

I'll add only that, where Begunov has added individuals, he seems to have followed Wilton's basic rules of both creating people and positions where none previously existed and assuming that any person whose name doesn't end in -sky, -vich, or -ov must be a Jew, regardless of any other evidence. To be clear, both Russia proper and the Baltic States had large, influential German-speaking populations into the early 20th century who kept their German names. The White Army General P.N. Wrangel is just one prominent example. In addition, Begunov counts several people multiple times in multiple lists, so what the true numbers are of Jews and total people listed in his book are anyone's guess.

The bottom line is that Graf is a kook's kook and relied on a real garbage heap of a "study" to make this specific allegation.

Monday, May 18, 2020

On Weckert's 'Jewish Emigration from the Third Reich'

Unlike Heddesheimer, Ingrid Weckert is a known quantity. She has a long career on Germany’s far-right; of all the HH authors, she has the clearest connections with the neo-Nazi movement in Europe, with Jürgen Graf a close second. Now in her 90s, she has spent the last 40 years writing exculpations of Nazi figures (including Julius Streicher and Josef Goebbels) and crimes (most notably Kristallnacht). Beyond contributions to Holocaust denial, she was closely affiliated with the neo-Nazi leader Michael Kühnen in the 1980s and participated in attempts to form legitimate far-right political parties --  most recently, Kühnen’s Deutsch Alternative, which was banned in 1992. Trained as a librarian, she also studied theology and history, including allegedly studying Jewish history in Israel.

Weckert’s contribution to the HH collection, Jewish Emigration from the Third Reich, is a translation of her Auswanderung der Juden aus dem Dritten Reich, which Castle Hill published in 2004. A slim volume numbering only 70 pages not including frontmatter, backmatter, and appendices, it attempts to strike a more seemingly conciliatory tone than much of Weckert’s previous work. Nevertheless, it repeats the grotesque errors of that work, with the typical lying by omission, whitewashing, and blame shifting found there. It is important to state at the outset that a thorough checking of Weckert’s use of source material is beyond the scope of this short review. That said, an earlier review by Andrew E. Mathis of Weckert’s article on Kristallnacht in the Journal of Historical Review (summer 1985 issue) found that she was a routine abuser and misrepresenter of her cited sources.[1]

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans: Material Evidence

Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans
Part IX: The Just Memo
Part XI: Einsatzgruppe D in Simferopol
Part XII: Material Evidence

"Forensic evidence" is lacking for the vast majority of people killed during World War Two. Yet, it is not that we do not know what happened during this time: combat deaths, war deaths, bombing deaths, ethnic cleansing, genocide, pogroms etc. Historians have access to a wide range of types of sources to reconstruct the events. Holocaust deniers do not raise their hands that they have issues with this - like when it concerns German casualties. But on the extermination of the European Jews, deniers are suddenly keen to make up new standards to deny the reality of the fate of the Jews. It is a symptom of desperation that they cannot cope with the evidence on Nazi atrocities with "fair play" according to what is reasonable and accepted on other historical events.

Santiago Alvarez, too, thought to make up new rules. He claims that "finding the murder weapon and at least traces of the victim are key issues" and "a pivotal point for any independent scientific investigation" (p.17). Finding the murder weapon and the victim are not even pivotal for a criminal investigation of murder, let aside for historical research on state-sponsored mass violence during a bloody world war decades ago. As if killings - howsoever well-evidenced - could not be established if the murder weapon and corpse are not available. The only "pivotal" point is whether shortage of "material evidence" is explainable within the context.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Holocaust deniers and the Yad Vashem database

[Update 14.05.2020: a quick rejoinder to Denier Muppet's non-response has been added. Also added to the Buchhalter section.]

So, some silly neo-Nazi (to whom we will refer as Denier Muppet) thinks he has a gotcha - allegedly he found some prominent Holocaust survivors listed in the Yad Vashem database and the neo-Nazi muppets have been all agog about this. Let's take a quick look, but before that, what is the Yad Vashem database?

It's a database that intends to list the names of the Holocaust victims. According to the FAQ, currently it contains 6.5 million records and it is estimated that those refer to about 4.8 million individuals (i. e. YV tries to account for duplicate records).

What are the sources of the database? The FAQ explains: a huge chunk comes from the pages of testimony (basically, forms filled out by survivors or relatives about the presumed victims), archival documentation and local commemoration projects.

Now comes the important part, so I will directly quote from the FAQ:

Sunday, May 10, 2020

On Heddesheimer's 'The First Holocaust'

If one thing becomes abundantly clear when one looks at the list of Holocaust Handbooks published by Castle Hill and CODOH, it is that they are overwhelmingly concerned with the Holocaust itself and, within that topic, the part of the Holocaust occurring within the concentration camp system. Where the handbooks are comparatively lighter is in any sense of the history of the Third Reich or of Jews – to say nothing of the intersection of the two in terms of Nazi Jewish policy – before the invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. If Hilberg dedicated the first sixth of Destruction of the European Jews to the events leading up to Barbarossa, we might perhaps expect that seven of the 42 HH books similarly address topics from medieval and early modern European antisemitism through the invasion and occupation of Poland by Nazi Germany; instead, we have essentially two -- The First Holocaust by Don Heddesheimer and Jewish Emigration from the Third Reich by Ingrid Weckert -- or 4.8%.[1]

On the 'Holocaust Handbooks': An Occasional Review Series

At the end of last month, the flagship denier ‘Holocaust Handbooks’ series welcomed a new author, the pseudonymous Ernst Böhm, into the fold. With this publication, the series reached 40 titles. The bigger news that will likely go unmentioned by his publisher Germar Rudolf is that Böhm is the first new contributor to the series since the equally pseudonymous Warren B. Rutledge, a whole five years ago. Still, reaching the milestone of 40 books is worthy of some celebration (by the deniers) and criticism (by anti-deniers), and thus we at Holocaust Controversies announce a new occasional series of reviews of the ‘Holocaust Handbooks’ series.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

"#ProvenAtNuremberg" - #DebunkedAtHC

Have added a debunking of a silly new denial video.

You're welcome to spread it on Twitter with the hashtag #ProvenAtNuremberg

PS: now there's also a response to the response.