Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Euphemisms and Camouflage (Part 1)

Michael Mills makes an interesting point in this letter to Irving, but probably not the point he wanted to make!

Read more!

In a nutshell, the Hoefle Telegram and Korherr Report contain identical figures for Jews transported to the Reinhardt camps. However, Hoefle used 'zugang', which means 'influx' or 'inflow', whereas Korherr (on instruction from Himmler) changed his wording from sonderbehandlung (special treatment) to 'durchgeschleust', which means 'guided through'.

We therefore have two contradictory forms of camouflage. Hoefle camouflaged death camps as labour camps, whilst Korherr camouflaged them as transit camps.

The contradiction reveals why it is absurd of dim-witted deniers to claim that documents should be read literally. The only explanation that makes sense is that camouflage terms are being used, as the same populations of Jews could not have been simultaneously admitted as labourers and sent to the USSR because they were unfit for labour.


joachim neander said...

please help me. I have a problem in getting the idea of your post. As far as I understand Mills' letter, he says that both terms, "Zugang" and "Durchschleusen," were used as camouflage terms for killing at the Reinhard camps. What, in your opinion, was the point Mills wanted to make, but did not do?

Jonathan Harrison said...

Joachim, Mills is a revisionist who has a tendency to obfuscate Nazi documentation, as Nick will testify. Mills accepts the 'camouflage' but he says it's unclear how the camouflage is being used. He also makes the claim that Durchschleusen is taken from Operation Todt, which is simply a red herring. I think he is trying to say that the picture is confused, so we can't draw clear conclusions. (Maybe he's also hinting that these confusions cast doubt on the documents' authenticity, but that's just a hunch).

My view is that the picture is crystal clear: Hoefle and Korherr used contradictory techniques because Korherr was corrected by Himmler but Hoefle was not. Mills misses this context.

joachim neander said...

Quote from Mills' letter: " ... it seems that when Himmler's office prescribed the word "durchschleusen", it did so to give the impression that what was happening to the Jews arriving at camps in the Wartheland and the GG was the bureaucratic process known officially as "Durchschleusung", whatever it may have been."

You obviously have more background information than I have, so your interpretation of Mills' attitudes standing behind his statement may be correct. But I'm always cautious in supposing "hidden aims." I'm no psychologist who can see into a man's brain. But I'm trained in text-immanent interpretation.

We both agree that Mills states that, in the Korherr report, "durchschleusen" is used as camouflage. This word did not fell from heaven. It must have had a certain meaning in bureaucratic/administrative circles. Otherwise a reader would not understand the text. And it must have had a "neutral," innocent meaning. Otherwise it would not have been suitable for camouflaging.

Mills muses about what _at that time_ the word "durschschleusen" meant in Nazi German bureaucratic speak. He found the corresponding noun in a March 1945 paper of the OT. I don't see this as "a red herring," but as a justified attempt to determine the meaning of "durchschleusen."

When I, in the mid-1970s, studied Ancient Hebrew at the Old Testament Department of Bochum University, our professors always demanded from us that, when translating and/or interpreting a Hebrew word, we should never look into a bilingual dictionary, but into the "Mandelkern": konkordantziah letanakh, where every word of the Hebrew Scriptures is listed with the place of its occurrence, and that we read it within the various contexts in which it is used, that we compare, and that from this we derive our decision, how to translate/interpret "our" word. As a native speaker of German, I would do the same with the word "durchschleusen."

But I would have looked first into papers from Himmler's area of responsibility, e.g. the Volksdeutsche Mittelstelle, or the Umwandererzentralstelle and/or their regional bureaus. OT, imo, is also not a bad source. OT cooperated with the SS in fortification projects in the East and, in 1944, also in the West and in Germany proper. The Kammler projects (deployment of factories underground) were often carried out jointly by OT and concentration camps, and supervised by an SS-Baufuehrungsstab.

Jonathan Harrison said...

Fair enough. Mills' letter is certainly interesting and is of value in showing how two euphemisms can contradict each other.

By the way, I see that you are being slandered on CODOH. This is par for the course with that forum. You will have a better time if you join us on RODOH.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

... and you can publish your deleted/retained CODOH posts on the RODOH Memory Hole: http://p102.ezboard.com/The-Memory-Hole/frodohforumfrm18 :-)

Butch said...


Yes, I agree.

Slander (no matter how loosely Mr. Harrison uses the word) is an excellent reason to abandon the truth.

Also, Joachim, Mills is a revisionist who has a tendency to obfuscate Nazi documentation, as Nick will testify, and if Dr. (barf) Terry says it, it must be fact since he is fluent in German.


"Barf" is an American colloquium for regurgatate.