Monday, December 04, 2006

Red Army, Red Herrings

In the twentieth installment [YouTube version] of One Third of the Holocaust, the Ugly Voice beings by telling us that neither Hilberg nor Arad bother to talk about the Red Army arriving at the former site of the Treblinka extermination camp in August 1944. (Amusing, isn't it, that once again, because Hilberg and Arad don't mention something, this must indicate grave significance?) Perhaps neither author mentions the arrival of the Soviets because the camp had been non-operational for a year by the time the Red Army arrived. If Hilberg's and Arad's books are about the killing of the Jews in Europe, then it's actually somewhat extraneous to talk about what happened a year after the mass killing stopped and nine months after the camp had been completely destroyed by the SS.

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What's funny is that, because neither Hilberg nor Arad discuss the Soviet entry to the camp area, the UV will instead rely for the rest of this clip on Jurgen Graf and Carlo Mattogno's book on Treblinka. In Chapter III of Mattogno and Graf, we are given excerpts from the Soviet report on Treblinka.

One thing that the UV seizes on immediately is this: The Soviets report finding three mass graves (and thirteen individual graves) containing a total of 305 (or 318, if one counts the individual graves). Shocking, the UV tells us! Why didn't they find 750,000 bodies there? Well, for one thing, the UV answers his own question rather quickly, stating that what the Soviets found doesn't fit with the "story" that all the bodies were burned.

Taking the translation that Mattogno and Graf provide on its face, it says nowhere that these three mass graves were found at Treblinka I, Treblinka II (the actual extermination site), or a combination of both sites. We must assume, therefore, that any of these is possible, and that perhaps these 305 bodies were found at Treblinka I. That wouldn't be terribly unusual; capital punishment was routine at Treblinka as well as at the non-extermination camps in the KZ system, so 305 bodies isn't a surprising find, nor is the fact that the Nazis used capital punishment something that the Nazis made any real effort to hide. Absent a definite identification of where these bodies were found on the grounds of Treblinka, no real conclusions can be made

Still in the Mattogno and Graf text, the UV stops on a description of the tremendous thirst that many Jews en route to Treblinka suffered from. Some resorted to drinking urine, the report says. The UV tells us that it's common knowledge that drinking urine dehydrates a person. But is it common knowledge? And even if it were common knowledge, does that mean that a Jew half out of his mind with thirst is going to take that into account? When Leningrad was beseiged by the Nazis for nine hundred days, people resorted to eating shoe leather and finally, in some cases, cannibalism. Is it really so unbelievable, therefore, that some would try drinking urine?

Furthermore, to take up a point the UV often makes, was the fact that urine dehydrates an individual well known among Polish Jews? We're frequently told how ignorant Polish Jews are, and now the UV expects them to know that urine will dehydrate them.

To see how not far-fetched this story is, a cursory look at history will help. There are several examples of people drinking urine thinking it would keep them alive while they were dying of thirst. One of the most famous examples was the survivors of the wreck of the Medusa, a French ship that sank off the coast of Africa in 1816. The survivors, on a raft, resorted not only to cannibalism and drinking urine, but they actually attempted to eat feces as well. Today, in war-ravaged Somalia, children are drinking their urine to supplement the mere three glasses of water per day that they are receiving. The practice is apparently so common among those suffering from extreme thirst that it is actually mentioned in the Bible. II Kings 18 deals with the destruction of the Northern Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians. One of the Assyrian attackers, Rabshakeh, taunts the Israelites with the fact that their ruin will lead them to drink urine and eat feces: "But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you? "II Kings 18:27 (KJV).

Despite all this evidence easily found on the Internet, when the UV takes us to a Web site at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where there are the records of Dr. David P. Boder's interviews with several Holocaust survivors, he labels ridiculous the idea that people drank urine when suffering extreme thirst. Featured for us prominently is Boder's interview with Benjamin Piskorz, who says he drank urine on the train to Treblinka. And then we get the old refrain: Arad and Hilberg don't have people drinking urine, so it must not have actually happened.

Another detail of the Soviet report we get from the UV is this: On the way to the gas chambers, Jewish women, who had been made to strip naked, were beaten with canes and urged on by rods, but they were nevertheless given soap, a towel, and underclothing. How could the ruse of a shower still hold up after beatings, the UV muses.

Administering a beating to a person doesn't mean that that person will die or even thinks that the person beaten them intends to kill them. All this scenario implies is that the Nazis wanted the women to hurry. It does not immediately follow, logically speaking, that the women knew they were going to be killed, just because they were beaten. If accounts from the Warsaw Ghetto are any indication, Jews were regularly beaten by the Gestapo, but not always to death or near death.

The final detail picked out by the UV is the killing process itself: The Nazis "pumped the air out of the room." If you pump the air out of the room, the room will implode, the UV tells us.

As I have written elsewhere, there were many, many misconceptions about the killing processes at all the camps when they were first found. The UV tells us that, when it was "discovered" that pumping the air out of a room was impossible, the "story" changed. His proof? Yet again, Arad and Hilberg "conveniently leave this out of their books because it exposes Treblinka as being a hoax."

Pehaps Hilberg and Arad left it out of their books because by the time they wrote their books, the confusion about the killing process was no longer an issue. Hilberg published the first edition of his work in 1961; Arad published in 1987.

Once again, the UV has relied on picking at the fringes of the historiography of the Holocaust in an attempt to throw out the entire "story" based on a few incorrect details. It hasn't worked yet, Mr. Ugly Voice, and I doubt it will any time soon.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

“picking at the fringes of the historiography?” The official Soviet report of Treblinka, the one and only in-depth research ever of the camp, done by one of the Allied Powers, the Power that build the case for the Allies of mass extermination at the Polish camps at the Nuremberg trials, is at the fringes of historiography?

After all the Soviets talked to witnesses, dug up the earth, searched for clues for the mass murder and still didn’t come up with much except the “pumped air” story. And of course the Treblinka “3 million dead” number (they didn’t tell us though how they figured that from 350 dead bodies).

Did Hilberg or Arad or any institute affiliated with them do any research like that?

A far as I know, Hilberg (at least until he finished his revised 3-volume work and 40 years of researching the subject) had never visited any of the concentration camps for research and possibly hadn’t even set foot at Treblinka, Belzec or Sobibur. There are tourists who’ve been to Treblinka more often than Hilberg.

Strange, isn’t it?

You’d think that at least he would rely on an official report by people who been there and did some research.

It’s obvious that the Soviets reports are kind of embarassing for the official historiography, I’d say they pump the air out of the Treblinka story.

Andrew E. Mathis said...

I'm sorry, but did you actually read what I wrote?

a.m.

Sergey Romanov said...

Bullshitter "t.s.road" is quickly discredited by his own words.

"The official Soviet report of Treblinka, the one and only in-depth research ever of the camp"

This is hardly "the one and only in-depth research ever of the camp", and even if there were sufficient reasons to call it the report based on "in-depth research" (rather than being a rather preliminary report based on results of a rather quick investigation), then the report of the Polish commission would be much more in-depth, which belies the claim of the Soviet report being the "only" example of "in-depth research". But "t.s.road" doesn't have a clue about this report, which, of course, shows that he is nothing but a pompous ass who came here to humiliate him/herself.

"After all the Soviets talked to witnesses, dug up the earth, searched for clues for the mass murder and still didn’t come up with much except the “pumped air” story."

Sure? How about "A huge area of the camp was covered with cinders and ashes. The road, which connected the two camps and is three kilometers long, was covered with cinders and ashes to a height of 7 - 10 cm."?

http://www.vho.org/GB/Books/t/4.html

"And of course the Treblinka “3 million dead” number (they didn’t tell us though how they figured that from 350 dead bodies)."

And of course "t.s.road" is a rather inattentive reader. As Andrew pointed out, Mattogno doesn't specify in which camp exactly the exhumation took place. Well, it turns out that it was in Treblinka I after all (I now have the original documents, but you can also check out the description in USHMM's finding aids). So how is the claim about 350 bodies in Treblinka I is connected to the 3 million claim? Doofus.

"Did Hilberg or Arad or any institute affiliated with them do any research like that?"

If by "like that" you mean interviewing witnesses, then that was done by lots of researchers.

"A far as I know, Hilberg (at least until he finished his revised 3-volume work and 40 years of researching the subject) had never visited any of the concentration camps for research and possibly hadn’t even set foot at Treblinka, Belzec or Sobibur. There are tourists who’ve been to Treblinka more often than Hilberg."

Which means what, silly? Is it necessary to actually travel to Katyn to research the Katyn massacre history? Of course not.

"Strange, isn’t it?"

No, of course not.

"You’d think that at least he would rely on an official report by people who been there and did some research."

He relied on various sources, including eyewitnesses (who had been there). Gosh, how stupid you are.

"It’s obvious that the Soviets reports are kind of embarassing for the official historiography, I’d say they pump the air out of the Treblinka story."

How so? Just another non sequitur from a denier nincompoop.