Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Grubach Lies About Death Camp Testimonies

Author: Jonathan Harrison
In two recent articles, Holocaust denier Paul Grubach systematically misrepresents testimony concerning the death camps by treating hearsay witnesses, discussing phenomena such as 'electrocution chambers' and 'chlorine gassing', as 'eyewitnesses'. He then uses this misrepresentation to attack historians, such as Browning and Arad, for not taking these 'eyewitness' accounts as seriously as the eyewitnesses who described gassing by vehicle exhaust.

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In his attack on Browning, Grubach claims that:
There are "eyewitnesses" who claimed that Jews were murdered en masse in "electrocution chambers" at Belzec, and not with the use of "gas chambers."
However, the only 'eyewitness' that Grubach discusses was never even present at Belzec:
In February 1944, the New York Times published a false eyewitness report of "electrocution chambers" at Belzec. Here is what is stated: "A young Polish Jew who escaped from a mass execution in Poland with the aid of false identification papers repeated today a story that the Germans operated an 'execution factory' in old Russian fortifications in eastern Poland. The Jews were forced naked onto a metal platform operated as a hydraulic elevator which lowered them into a huge vat filled with water up the victims' necks, he said. They were electrocuted by current through the water. The elevator then lifted the bodies to a crematorium above, the youth said."

The article concludes: "The youth said he personally had seen trainloads of Jews leave Rawna Luska in eastern Poland in the morning for the crematorium at near-by Beljec [sic] and return empty in the evening. He was told the rest of the story, he said, by individuals who escaped after actually being taken inside the factory. The fortifications, he added, were built by the Russians after they occupied eastern Poland." [my emphasis - JH]
The youth in Grubach's account only witnessed a deportation. His account of 'electrocution chambers' is pure hearsay. We are not even told the names or roles of the individuals from whom the youth heard the story. Grubach, incredibly, asserts that Browning should have given this hearsay account more credibility than the accounts of German perpetrators:
The reader should ask himself why Browning ignored mentioning these "electrocution chamber" reports in his books and essays. If the "evidence" that "proves" that Jews were electrocuted en masse is bogus, isn't it also possible that the "evidence" that "proves" that Jews were murdered in "gas chambers" is also bogus, or at least very suspect?

Indeed, it could be argued that the false "eyewitnesses" to the "electrocution chambers" are more "credible" than Browning's "eyewitnesses" to the "carbon monoxide chambers." Browning himself wrote: "Historians almost invariably prefer contemporary documents to after-the-fact testimony." 29

After all, the "eyewitnesses" to the "electrocution chambers" were contemporary "observers" of the bogus "electrocution chambers." They were not prisoners in a 1960s, years- after-the-fact trial who-for legal/tactical reasons-were coerced into giving testimony claiming they witnessed gas chambers.
Grubach does the same in his attack on the Sobibor historiography. He starts again by falsely presenting hearsay as an eyewitness account of gassing:
Sobibor eyewitness Hella Fellenbaum-Weiss told the story of how Jews on their way to Sobibor were gassed with chlorine. We let her pick up her story here: "The arrival of another convoy distressed me in the same way. It was thought to come from Lvov, but nobody knows for sure. Prisoners were sobbing and told us a dreadful tale: they had been gassed on the way with chlorine, but some survived. The bodies of the dead were green and their skin peeled off."
This is a hearsay account of a gassing that did not even occur at Sobibor itself, yet Grubach claims that Arad should have given it the same credibility as the account of Fuchs, who actually installed the gasoline engine at Sobibor:
So, once again, here we have another problem. The official story coming from Raul Hilberg asserts that a diesel engine supplied the deadly gas used to commit mass murder. Nevertheless, Holocaust expert Arad cites the testimony of a German official who claimed that a benzene engine was used. Yet, other Sobibor "eyewitnesses" say the murder weapon was chlorine, not diesel or benzene engine exhaust. The chlorine gas story has clearly been quietly abandoned and the "engine exhaust" story is now the "official truth." But did the Germans use a diesel or benzene engine?
Grubach then, unbelievably, asserts:
At this point the hardcore believer in the Sobibor gas chambers should ask himself this question: if the story of Jews being gassed with chlorine at Sobibor is false, isn't it also possible that the story of Jews being gassed with some type of engine exhaust is also untrue?
The only thing that any sane person reading Grubach's bullshit will be asking is: why has this imbecile insulted my intelligence by assuming I cannot tell the difference between a hearsay testimony about killing methods and a genuine eyewitness account of the murder weapon?


Bela said...

What struck me as most dumb was this:

" Nevertheless, Holocaust expert Arad cites the testimony of a German official who claimed that a benzene engine was used."

Benzene? Really? Does this schmuck not know the difference between benzine and benzene?
For the record, neither are used as fuel and shouldn't be confused with petrol/gasoline.

Gotta love Holocaust Deniers: they're a never-ending source of LULZ.

Jonathan Harrison said...

The error is only partially Grubach's. Fuchs' original testimony stated 'Benzin', which is the German for petrol, not benzine nor benzene, but Arad's book mistranslates it as benzine and various websites then replicate the error.

What is does show, however, is that Grubach has not read the original testimonies but is relying on secondary sources to critique historians who use primary sources.

Bela said...

Still, funny how it can be mistranslated so seriously. I mean, I learnt my German from metal-band Rammstein, and even I knew that Benzin translates as petrol.

Also, just want to throw in how much I love this blog and that I am amazed at the patience you guys possess. As I lurk on RODOH, I have seen the last few weeks of insanity spread by a certain "tfsfcsupporter"/Gerdes. Roberto Muehlenkamp's patience in particular has been astounding.

And when Gerdes goes stale, HervivorousMoose steps up to deliver lulz in a discussion on race that makes me, as a 4th-year undergrad. of Biology, facepalm. It's been tempting to join RODOH just to put HM in place as far as evolution is concerned...

Bela said...

"The error is only partially Grubach's. Fuchs' original testimony stated 'Benzin', which is the German for petrol, not benzine nor benzene, but Arad's book mistranslates it as benzine and various websites then replicate the error."

It's still as incriminating for Grubach. Shame on Arad, though. Isn't it stuff like this that makes Deniers dive at anti-deniers brandishing dessert forks?

Jonathan Harrison said...

Arad made other errors, such as concluding that diesel motors were used at Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec even though the testimonies point to gasoline motors; but genuine revisionist history is partially about correcting errors. Fake revisionist history (denial) is about pretending that errors signify falsity.

Bela said...

Fixing errors to complete our knowledge gaps. Isn't that what science is all about? ;-)

I've always wondered though (and this might be an idea for a blog or perhaps you could just nudge me in the right directionif it has been answered before): why wouldn't a diesel engine's exhaust be lethal to a human being? There might not be as much carbonmonoxide and carbondioxide in diesel exhaust as in the petrol engine's, but there's plenty of nitrous oxides (NOX) as well as sulphurous oxides (SOX) and soot particles.

Perhaps the whole question is academic, as we know the Nazis used petrol engines.
I'm just wondering, because it has bugged me for a while.

Jonathan Harrison said...

Deniers like to cite a study by Pattle et al which supposedly proves that diesel is non-fatal.

However, this study does not cover all possibilities of, for example, causing death via asphyxiation or by restricting the engine's air intake.

I would also recommend Sergey's:

Bela said...

Sergey Romanov's post was my first stop, to be honest. Currently over at Nizkor(dot)org. Thanks for the links, though!

Also, I have heard this thing about the body producing its own CO once the inhaled air becomes saturated with enough CO2. It was discovered as an "aside" whilst researching COPD.
Driven to an extreme, it can kill people. Obviously, this means that a gasoline/petrol engine is more efficient than a diesel one.
I'm osrry I can't cite more and better sources than Wikipedia at the mo'. I need the University PC for that.

I hope I haven't been pestering you too much today, Mr. Harrison.

Daniel Kirk said...


How smug. What part of the concept, "Evidence first, conclusion afterward." do YOU not understand?