Saturday, March 25, 2006

Historians Behind Bars

Nick has pointed me to the site of an organization called "Historians Behind Bars", aiming to decriminalize the Holocaust denial. I fully and unequivocally support such a decriminalization, so my beef is not with HBB's aim. Rather, the problem is their name.

What "historians" are behind bars?

None of the deniers currently imprisoned is a historian - certainly not Rudolf, Zuendel or Verbeke. Irving used to be a historian. He no longer is. At some point he became a liar and a fraud (as has been established during the Irving v. Lipstadt trial), which is incompatible with being a historian.

Even if one has an opinion that Irving is still a historian, then the organization should have been named "A historian and several wackos behind the bars".

So what does this organization, which starts off with a lie, hopes to achieve, really?

29 comments:

Don Sheffler said...

Why not just "Deniers Behind Bars"? Or do they deny that they're deniers?

In any case, I'm with you on free speech. As ridiculous as their rantings may be I don't see that jailing someone for idiotic opinions is helping anyone.

PS - discovered your blog via Respectful Insolence.

Sergey Romanov said...

Yes, they actually deny that they're deniers.

Sergey Romanov said...

BTW, I guess IDers and other creationists wouldn't be keen to call themselves "evolution deniers" too :-)

Scott Smith said...

Rudolf has done what real historians do, which is take empirical evidence and evaluate it against the popular narrative. If no professional historians or academics have done so it is not for nothing that, unlike Revisionism, marketing popular mythology remains a lucrative career move. Why did we have to wait until 1988 for somebody like Leuchter to chip off some concrete and test it for cyanide?

As far as Irving no longer being a historian and being discredited by the likes of Lipstadt, that is a riot! Lipstadt merely proved that Irving was naïve and that with the backing of billions you can have anybody declared discredited that you want.

True Believers might be persuaded by Evans' and van Pelt's permutations, but true skeptics are not.

Scott Smith said...

don sheffler said:

<< Why not just "Deniers Behind Bars"? Or do they deny that they're deniers? >>

To dichotomize into camps of Believers and Deniers is only to admit that the Holocaust trademark is religious mythology and not history.

Sergey Romanov said...

Three points on Scott Smith's posting above:

a) Rudolf has never been, is not and never will be a historian.

b) Of course Irving is no longer a historian, as he is a proven liar and a fraud.

c) Since "revisionists" simply deny the mass murders in gas chambers, etc., never offering the alternative historical narrative, they're deniers, plain and simple. To claim otherwise is to be a True Believer.

Roman Werpachowski said...

Why did we have to wait until 1988 for somebody like Leuchter to chip off some concrete and test it for cyanide?

The Polish administration which took care of the remains of Auschwitz camp did not see the need to prove something which was backed by numerous eyewitness accounts. Once Leuchter published his claims, scrupulous test for cyanide concentration in bricks were made by professional forensic experts:

Report.

Roman Werpachowski said...

Two important eyewitness testimonies of Holocaust are summarized in this blog entries:

Jan Karski
Witold Pilecki

Sergey Romanov said...

Thanks, Roman. I should note that according to research of Wood and Jankowski, Karski did not visit extermination camp Belzec (as he claimed in his book), but rather he visited a transit camp Izbica Lubelska. Karski himself cooperated with these authors and fact-checked their book, so it seems he has agreed with them.

Scott Smith said...

Real historians do not take off where Communist and Victor tribunals leave off; only Court Historians do that. Instead, real historians reassess what we think we know and how we know it.

There's been some damage-control but Leuchter and Rudolf's questions on the cyanide traces have not be answered by the Hoaxsters.

Nick Terry said...

Real historians have been hard at work in the proper archives since the late 1950s. Hilberg got a jump on everyone because he was working for the US Army and AHA in projects before NARA threw the files wide open and before they were restituted to Germany. Ditto Weinberg, Dallin and many others, of whom most did not write about the Holocaust. Haven't seen a single revisionist critique of their works, yet that would be essential if one is to discredit Hilberg's accuracy.

Since then, well, the list is endless. By that I mean of historians working from the same sets of documents but for different purposes. Deathly silence about these other historians from revisionism. Why is that? Because they are grossly obsessed by one thing.

As for Leuchter and Rudolf, don't make people die of laughter.

Roman Werpachowski said...

There's been some damage-control but Leuchter and Rudolf's questions on the cyanide traces have not be answered by the Hoaxsters.

On what basis do you question the professionalism of the forensic experts from Cracow?

Link to the Institute of Forensic Research webpage.

Sergey Romanov said...

By the way, Roman, I always wondered how "Sehn" is pronounced :-)

Scott Smith said...

RW said:

<< On what basis do you question the professionalism of the forensic experts from Cracow? >>

On the basis that they follow this creed:

"It should not be asked how, technically, such-and-such a mass murder was possible. It was technically possible given that it took place. That is the starting point obliged of any historical investigation into this subject. This truth, it belonged to us to point out simply: there is not, there cannot be debate on the existence of gas chambers."

~ Le Monde 21 FEB 1979.

This is called a tautology since the conclusion must be a certain way; therefore the premise(s) cannot be contingent and must be a certain way.

Krakow isn't going to find any facts that challenge the conclusion that we all know we must have in order not to be Deniers.

Nick Terry said...

Krakow Institute is Polish. Le Monde is French. Since when did France dictate the party line on all matters to do with Auschwitz?

Roman Werpachowski said...

Sergey: I think one should pronounce "Sehn" as if it was a German name.

Scott: instead of reading "Le Monde", read the IFR report. They took the samples ,performed a chemical measurement on them and got a result. It's standard lab procedure. If you can point out to an error in their procedure, by all means do.

Nick Terry said...

Hey Roman, if you enjoy beating Scott up, come over to RODOH. Much idiocies to laugh at there from certified (and not very cute) moonbats ;-)

Roman Werpachowski said...

Nick, it's like eating sweets. Nice in small quantities, hard for digestion when taken in large.

And I got scared by the RODOH forum looks. They're so 1997 :P

Scott Smith said...

Roman said:

<< If you can point out to an error in their procedure, by all means do. >>

Rudolf already did--that is one of the reasons why he is in a Bundestablishment prison now, or at least may face additional Thoughtcrimes charges.

The Poles did not test for ferrocyanides because there were no ferrocyanides found in the alleged homicidal structures (only in the real gas chambers used to fumigate clothing).

Since we know that we have to have a certain outcome--that the structures in question were homicidal--they needn't bother testing for something that would discredit their hypothesis. Simple as that.

Rudolf also found that the other cyanide levels (not the stable ferrocyanides) were the same in the washroom and the prisoner barracks as in the supposed homicidal gaschambers, meaning that they were in reality statistically insignificant trace amounts close to the detectability threshold of the tests themselves, and probably caused by modern air pollution or possibly from an occasional wartime pest fumigation.

Sergey Romanov said...

[Scott mode on]

But Rudolf is German. How can one trust anything a German says on the matter of the Holocaust?

[Scott mode off]

Roman Werpachowski said...

Rudolf also found that the other cyanide levels (not the stable ferrocyanides) were the same in the washroom and the prisoner barracks as in the supposed homicidal gaschambers, meaning that they were in reality statistically insignificant trace amounts close to the detectability threshold of the tests themselves

Ah. So the "error" of Polish experts was that they dared to find different things than what this Rudolf of yours claimed he had found.

Scott Smith said...

Roman said:

<< Ah. So the "error" of Polish experts was that they dared to find different things than what this Rudolf of yours claimed he had found. >>

The laboratories that Leuchter and Rudolf used said what they found; they just tried to distance themselves from the controversy once they found that the samples came from Auschwitz. Rudolf lost his chemist job and was dismissed from doctoral study and Leuchter stopped getting consulting contracts with American execution hardware.

The Prussian Blue in the fumigation chambers (i.e., real gaschambers) is still the elephant in the room.

Scott Smith said...

Sergey said:

<< [Scott mode on]

But Rudolf is German. How can one trust anything a German says on the matter of the Holocaust?

[Scott mode off] >>

I don't think a professionally-credible American could keep their job or their academic post if they honestly investigated the matter either.

Sergey Romanov said...

As usual, Scott totally missed the point :-)

Roman Werpachowski said...

Scott, you still didn't point out any error in the IFR research.

W/r to the ferrocyanide: the IFR experts didn't test for it because they wanted to test for the type of cyanide compounds used in gassing people, namely hydrogen cyanide. This way, their results can be used as a test whether Zyklon B has been used in the gas chambers or not. If they tested jointly for ferro- and hydrogen cyanide, it would be impossible and the "revisionists" would be the first to point it out, probably. I'm not an experimentalist but a theoretical physicist, but according to what I learned studying physics and introductory chemistry at college, their procedure is correct and precise: they took control samples from the living quarters to test Leuchter's hypothesis that the cyanide in gas chambers came from the fumigation after the typhoid epidemic. They took care to test for one thing at a time (only HCN, not the ferrocyanide), so that a serious analysis of the results is possible. So your claim that in their research they assumed what they wanted to get, is definitely not true.

Your claim that the method they used is not precise enough is refuted by this passage: "Having applied this method for many years, we have opportunities to find its high sensitivity, specificity and precision. Under present circumstances we established the lower limit of determinability of cyanide ions at a level of 3-4 ,µg CN- in 1 kg of the sample."

Now take a look at the amounts of cyanide they found and decide for yourself, whether the method is accurate enough or not.

You write:
The Poles did not test for ferrocyanides because there were no ferrocyanides found in the alleged homicidal structures (only in the real gas chambers used to fumigate clothing).

They did not test for the ferrocyanides because the question which is being asked is "how do you prove that Zyklon B was used in the gas chambers?", and Zyklon B does not contain ferrocyanides. Their procedure could as well, if zero or very low levels of CN ions were found, lead to the conclusion that Zyklon B was not used. This means that it was correct: it had the power to either prove or refute the fact that Zyklon B has been used in the gas chambers.

Now on the other hand, if they did test using a method which measured the level of CN ions both from HCN and the ferrocyanide, you could say: "Ah, but you can't tell whether the CN ions came from Zyklon B or the Prussian blue!", and you'd be correct. Well, they were smarter analysts than that.

Since we know that we have to have a certain outcome--that the structures in question were homicidal--they needn't bother testing for something that would discredit their hypothesis. Simple as that.

They did test for something which could discredit their hypothesis. Read the report and see for yourself.

Scott Smith said...

Rudolf already commented extensively on the Krakow tests.

Anyway, the cyanide fumigation chambers used the same Zyklon-B, the active ingredient of which is HCN. (Hot-air, steam, and microwaves were also used at Auschwitz for disinfecting clothing, etc., but that is not important here.)

The HCN reacts with the iron oxide in brick, mortar, and concrete and produces ferrocyanides; that is why the fumigation chambers are all covered with deep Prussian Blue stains, sometimes even seeping onto the outside of some of these buildings.

http://vho.org/D/rga2/Image325.jpg

It is unlikely that the free cyanides would remain from WWII in anything but trace levels. Rudolf suspected that these levels, near the threshhold of detectability, were either from an occasional wartime fumigation or were from modern air pollution.

He found the same cyanide levels (not Prussian Blue) in the crematoria washroom as in the alleged gaschamber, and also in the barracks.

Some like Prof. van Pelt are already trying to argue that local farmhouses were built with materials salvaged from the gaschambers so that they can explain why these buildings might also have the same cyanide levels as the alleged homicidal gaschamber ruins.

This would otherwise bear out Rudolf's theory that this is caused by modern air pollution and not from wartime pesticide. Of course, such additional research would now be illegal, at least if one is a skeptic, because Rudolf has been imprisoned for it.

Sergey Romanov said...

The problem with deniers' claims about Prussian Blue is that:

1) we really don't know much about its behavior; as Harry Mazal points out, there is no evidence that HCN somehow went through the walls; there are also some walls covered with PB which were separated from delousing chambers;

2) so if they were delousing in morgues, why are there no stains from delousing? And if there were no stains from delousing, why should there have been stains from homicidal gassings?

Scott Smith said...

<< Sergey said:
we really don't know much about its behavior; as Harry Mazal points out, there is no evidence that HCN somehow went through the walls; there are also some walls covered with PB which were separated from delousing chambers >>


Well, the walls in the delousing buildings clearly show Prussian Blue staining where water seepage occurred deep into cracks in the bricks and mortar. Even the outside of the buildings are stained blue as a result.

This is because HCN dissolves readily in water and moisture and then reacts with the iron in bricks, mortar and concrete to forum Prussian Blue.

Only cyanide traces and no Prussian Blue is fond in the structures claimed to have been used for incessant mass-gassings. The same cyanide chemical traces are found in the Krema I washroom as found in the supposed gaschamber.

I agree that more experimental work and chemical surveys of structures needs to be done--even if that would be illegal.

Sergey Romanov said...

As I said: "there are also some walls covered with PB which were separated from delousing chambers". There could be no seepage of this proportion - or everybody would be dead. So yes, we don't know everything about PB behavior. And of course, homicidal gas chambers cannot be compared to delousing gas chambers.