Friday, May 27, 2011

Thomas Kues takes on the Sonderlager paper dragon

Thomas Kues' reaction to my previous blog is characteristic of the fellow – he again picked out one of the several arguments I made (or better, what he would like to read into one of my arguments), made a big fuss about it, and simply ignored the rest of my arguments.

So let's have some more fun with Mr. Kues, shall we?

Kues starts out as follows (emphases added):

In a reply [1] to my recent article [2] on the holocaust historians’ lies and obfuscations about the contents of Nuremberg document NO-482, wherein Sobibór is designated as a transit camp (Durchgangslager), anti-revisionist blogger Roberto Muehlenkamp focuses on the fact that in the 17 March 1944 report of SS-Untersturmführer Benda concerning the Sobibór prisoner uprising and mass escape the Sobibór camp is called a “Sonderlager” (special camp). According to the Tarnsprache exegesis, adopted by Muehlenkamp and his likes when it suits them, this means that Sobibór was a death camp, since the prefix Sonder- (special), it seems, always denoted killings in Nazi jargon!

The first highlighted passage is a lie pure and simple. I didn't focus on Benda’s report in the sense that it was my main or my only argument. It was only one of my arguments in response to Kues' blog Lies and obfuscations about Himmler’s Sobibor directive, and one might even consider it a side blow at Kues, just indirectly related to the subject matter of his blog. Anyway, here's the full text of what I wrote about the Benda report:

In assessing the accuracy of the inmate number I mentioned (he ends up considering it "fully possible" that Sobibór "indeed had some 6-700 inmates at the time of the uprising"), Kues mentions three contemporary German documents related to the revolt of 14.10.1943 and the subsequent pursuit of the escapees: a telex from the commander of the security police in the Lublin district to the duty officer at Krakow on 15 October 1943, a message of the same day from SS-Gruppenführer and HSSPF Lublin Jakob Sporrenberg to his fellow HSSPF in Luzk (Belarus), and a report from SS-Untersturmführer Benda of the Security Police and SD in Cholm dated 17 March 1944. The first two documents are partially quoted, whereas the third is only briefly rendered as mentioning a number of 300 escapees. However, the third document is the most interesting, and there’s a good reason why its full contents are rendered neither in Kues blog nor in MGK’s Sobibór book[12]. Schelvis transcribes the English translation of the document[13], from which the following excerpts are taken (emphases added):

Subject: Award for anti-bandit campaigns
Ref.: Kdr Order No. 11, 11 March 1944, Art. 105
Attachments: none.
In the afternoon of 15.10.1943 [should be 14.10] some 300 prisoners of Sonderlager Sobibór attempted a breakout, having disarmed a number of guard units and killed one SS-Führer as well as 10 SS Unterführers. The attempt was partially successful.
An Einsatzkommando was sent from the Grenzpolizeikommissariat at Cholm, which included the following SS members:
The Wehrmacht and the Schutzpolizei were also summoned. In view of the nature of the Sonderlager and its inmates, it was decided that the Wehrmacht should take immediate responsibility for pursuing the fugitives, and the Schutzpolizei for securing the camp from the outside.

The first highlighted term (Sonderlager) means "special camp", and it may well be the reason, or one of the reasons, why MGK thought it wise to withhold the document’s wording from their readers. Otherwise they would have had to explain why a transit camp, or a transit camp partially converted into a labor camp, would be called a "special camp". They would also have had to explain what it was about "the nature of the Sonderlager and its inmates" (which Benda was obviously aware of) that required involving the Wehrmacht in the fugitives’ pursuit, obviously because it was considered most urgent that all escapees be recovered and the Wehrmacht had more personnel available for this task than the Security Police, the SD or the Schutzpolizei. Needless to say, omitting known information inconvenient to one’s argument is also a form of lying, and another reason why the pot is calling the kettle black when someone like Kues hollers about "lies".

This takes us to the second highlighted part of Kues’ text, which I'll generously assume as showing the wide gap that exists between what Kues would like the arguments of "Muehlenkamp and his likes" to be and what those arguments actually are (someone should also tell the fellow that critics of "Revisionism" don't necessarily all have the same arguments because each of them is an individual thinking with his own head – maybe Kues is projecting the uniformity of "Revisionist" dogmatic thinking). Did I argue that the term Sonderlager ("special camp") necessarily designated an extermination camp? No, what I suggested was that MGK had withheld information from their readers in order to avoid having to explain why a transit camp, or a transit camp partially converted into a labor camp, would be called a "special camp". My argument was not that the term Sonderlager or the prefix "Sonder-" necessarily has a sinister meaning, but that "Revisionists" should explain why this particular camp, which they claim to have been a transit camp later also used as a labor camp for processing captured ammunition, was referred to as a Sonderlager.

To my pointing out that MGK had omitted inconvenient information in their book Sobibór: Holocaust Propaganda and Reality, Kues responded with some lame babbling about "an editorial error, which unfortunately was carried over to the German edition of our book", and by mouthing that if I had "bothered to read" their previous publication Die Akte Sobibór, I would have found there a mention of the Sonderlager term used by Benda.

Indeed I don't bother to read any more "Revisionist" filth than I consider absolutely necessary for refutation purposes, and of Die Akte Sobibór I read little more than the parts commented in my blog Mass Graves at Nazi Extermination Camps, where I pointed out the following nasty little lie (still present at this moment in both the AARGH (page 87) and VHO (page 81) versions; screenshots have been taken):

MGK's next shot is to call in question the accuracy of Prof. Kola’s findings as concerns the depth of the graves. They refer to Prof. Kola’s description of excavations in a well "not far from the graves", which supposedly had to be stopped at a depth of 3.60 meters because of a ground water stream, as contradicting the plausibility of the graves being as deep as described by the archaeologist[31].

Prof. Kola’s description of these excavations, which is partially quoted by MGK in German translation, reads as follows in Katarzyna Piotrowska's English translation of Prof. Kola’s article (emphasis added):

Object C
(Hectare XXV, acre 35. Dig 3/01)
In the depth of around 40-45 cm below the asphalt, where the cement well was located, there was started an archaeological dig, measuring horizontally 2.3 x 2.1 m. The dig was being excavated until the depth of 95 – 100 m, uncovering – at the depth of 50 m – the upper part of the first remaining cement CEMBROWINA of the well. It was noticed that while building the well, only the sand from its interior was taken out. Hence the following exploration was taken only in its interior not in the area of the dig. The depth of 5.00 – 5.10 m was reached. The exploration had to be stopped here because of the sudden leak of ground waters, of which traces started appearing at the depth of around 3.60 m. They didn’t make it till the end of the well then.

The highlighted part is left out in MGK's quote. Of interest is the last sentence, which shows that the excavation was only stopped at the depth of 5.00 to 5.10 meters because of a ground water leak, the first traces of which started appearing at the depth of 3.60 meter but were not strong enough to stop the excavation until a depth of 5.00 to 5.10 meters had been reached. MGK obviously left out this part, which suggests that it was not impossible to dig graves up to 5 – 5.10 meters deep in other parts of the camp, even if located "not far" from the well, or even deeper than that in dry times when the groundwater level was accordingly lower[32]. This omission allowed them to misrepresent Prof. Kola’s statement to the effect that ground water had forced him to stopped digging at 3.60 meters, when actually diggings only had to be stopped at a depth of 5.00 to 5.10 meters because of the ground water. Leaving out a part of a quoted text in order to give that text the meaning one would like it to have is called quote-mining. Quote-mining is a form of lying.

Now, does MGK's having mentioned Benda's use of the Sonderlager term in Die Akte Sobibór exclude their having deliberately omitted this mention in their later Sobibór book? Hardly so, and it is also difficult to understand how this passage (on page 10 of the VHO version of Die Akte Sobibór):

Fünf Monate nach diesen Ereignissen, am 17. März 1944, verfasste der SS-Untersturmführer Benda einen Bericht über den (von ihm fälschlicherweise auf den 15. 10.43 datierten) Aufstand in Sobibor sowie die anschliessende Verfolgung der Flüchtigen, in dem es hiess:

„In den Nachmittagstunden des 15. 10. 43 unternahmen etwa 300 Häftlinge des Sonderlagers Sobibor, nachdem sie einen Teil der Wachmannschaften entwaffnet und einen SS-Führer sowie 10 SS-Unterführer ermordet hatten, einen Ausbruchsversuch, der zum Teil gelang […]“32.

In diesem Bericht wurde Sobibor also als „Sonderlager“ bezeichnet. Was dieses Wort bedeutete, lässt sich dem Dokument selbst nicht entnehmen.

could have been reduced to this passage on page 22 of a much larger publication:

Five months after these events, on 17 March 1944, SS-Untersturmführer Benda wrote an account of the Sobibór uprising – which he wrongly dated 15 October 1943 – and of the ensuing search for the fugitives, stating that the rebels had “shot an SS officer as well as 10 SS NCOs.”17

through a mere "editorial error". Sloppy and incompetent though MGK admittedly are, this smacks of a deliberate omission. And as we shall see below, even in Die Akte Sobibór the "Revisionist" coryphées didn’t quote the most inconvenient part of Benda’s report.

Kues’ "editorial error" bleating is followed by a long and quite unnecessary list of examples in which the term Sonderlager was used in regard to camps that were not extermination camps, followed by an even more unnecessary list of examples in which the term Sonderkommando was used as meaning something other than a mobile killing detachment bumping off Jews or a body disposal detachment at a site pertaining to the Nazi genocide of the Jews. Whoever actually or supposedly argued that "Sonderlager" or "Sonderkommando" necessarily have a genocidal meaning, I did not. I remember even having pointed out in a discussion on the Axis History Forum, in regard to the term "Sonderbehandlung" ("special treatment"), that whether or not that term had a homicidal meaning depended on the context in which it was used and that in a given context "special treatment" could also mean something as pleasant as wild and passionate lovemaking. The tactic that Kues’ seems to be using here – furiously refuting an argument that the targeted opponent didn't make – was characterized by Jürgen Langowski as killing paper dragons (see Langowski's article Die "revisionistischen" Pappdrachentöter. Wie man Behauptungen widerlegt, die niemand aufgestellt hat; the title translates as «The "Revisionist" paper dragon killers. How to refute claims that nobody made»).

Following this pointless exercise, Kues finally gets down to trying to explain why Benda used the term Sonderlager in regard to Sobibór:

What could then have caused Sobibór to be designated a Sonderlager – at least by Untersturmführer Benda? There are, as far as I can see, three main possibilities:

1) Sobibór was redesignated as a Sonderlager following the installation of the munition dismantling unit in August-September 1943, in which a large portion of the camp’s inmates were employed.[42] On the other hand, if the summary provided by the ARC website is correct, a decoded message from 27 October 1943 mentions the “SS Durchgangslager Sobibor” (SS Transit Camp Sobibor),[43] something which would seem to contradict this hypothesis.

2) Sobibór was alternately designated a Durchgangslager and a Sonderlager, the latter because the Reinhardt camp staff was referred to as an SS-Sonderkommando. There are in turn at least two possible explanations why this commando was considered “special”. One is that the staff were not regular SS but had their background in the T4 euthanasia program, and that, most likely, they continued to perform “euthanasia” on mentally ill and disease-carrying Jewish deportees while posted to the Reinhardt camps. The other possibility is that at least a part of the SS units involved in the evacuation, transiting and therewith connected systematic robbery of Jewish deportees were for some (perhaps purely military-administrative) reason consider irregular or “special”. What may point in this direction is the fact that Adolf Eichmann’s small personal staff, in charge of the administration of the deportation of Jews from, among other countries, Greece in 1943 and from Hungary in 1944, was named “SS-Sondereinsatzkommando Eichmann”[44] or simply “SS-Sonderkommando Eichmann”.[45] As seen above there was also the “SS-Sonderkommando Sosnowitz” in charge of an internment and transit camp in Upper Silesia. One may also note in this context that SS-Sonderlager Hinzert in the autumn of 1941 served as a transit camp in the deportation of Luxembourgian, Belgian and French Jews to the Łódz ghetto.[46]

3) Finally it cannot be excluded that Benda, writing his report nearly half a year after the uprising, simply made an error, especially considering that he mistakenly dated the uprising to 15 October 1943 (instead of 14 October).

Conjecture 1) is considered improbable by Kues himself and therefore need not be addressed any further. Conjectures 2) and 3) are hollow speculations at odds with conclusive evidence and supported by none, conjecture 3) being furthermore belied by the fact that, in a passage of his report omitted in both Die Akte Sobibór and Sobibór: Holocaust Propaganda and Reality, Benda used the term Sonderlager again and – as I pointed out in my previous blog - revealed that he was aware of the nature and purpose of the Sonderlager:

In view of the nature of the Sonderlager and its inmates, it was decided that the Wehrmacht should take immediate responsibility for pursuing the fugitives, and the Schutzpolizei for securing the camp from the outside.

What was the nature of the Sonderlager and its inmates, why wasn't either specified, and why was the nature of the Sonderlager and its inmates a reason to decide that "the Wehrmacht should take immediate responsibility for pursuing the fugitives"? The best explanation (i.e. the one that takes all known evidence into account and requires the fewest additional assumptions) is that it was considered most urgent that all fugitives be recovered lest they reveal that Sobibór had been an extermination camp, and that the Wehrmacht was charged with the task because it had more personnel available for this purpose than the SD and the Security Police, including units that were trained and experienced in hunting partisans and therefore most suited for the task. Now let’s see what mental gymnastics Mr. Kues comes up with as an alternative and what evidence (if any) he supports them with (it goes without saying the any explanation he might dream up has to ignore all documentary, eyewitness and physical evidence whereby Sobibór was an extermination camp).

Following his attempt to explain away Benda's report (or the part thereof he doesn’t prefer to simply ignore), Kues goes into a prayer-like repetition of what he seems to be unsuccessfully trying to convince himself of – or maybe he is trying to assuage the fears of his wavering flock:

What may be safely excluded is the possibility that Sobibór was called a Sonderlager because it functioned as an extermination center where hundreds of thousands of Jews were murdered in homicidal gas chambers. There exists not the slightest documentary or technical evidence supporting this notion, and in addition to the letters of NO-482 calling Sobibór a transit camp, the available hard evidence, as unearthed by archeologists, contradict the exterminationist version of events.[47]

Not the slightest documentary evidence, Mr. Kues? And what about the documents showing that Sobibór was a final destination for transports taken there (moreover a destination somewhere in the boondocks) and not just a stopover en route to somewhere else, mentioned in my blog On 12.05.2011, Demjanjuk was sentenced to 5 years in prison?

Not the slightest "technical evidence", Mr. Kues? What is it that you would call "technical evidence", and according to what rules or standards of evidence you can quote is "technical evidence" a must to prove mass murder?

As to the "available hard evidence, as unearthed by archeologists", how is it supposed to contradict what you idiotically call the "exterminationist version of events"? Regarding Prof. Kola’s building "E" that you make such a fuss about, see my aforementioned blog. Your puerile conjectures regarding the Sobibór mass graves are deconstructed, together with your associate's nonsense about the mass graves at Bełżec and Treblinka, in the following blogs:

Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves (1)

Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves (2)

Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves (3)

Mattogno, Graf & Kues on the Aktion Reinhard(t) Mass Graves (4)

Repeating your claims while remaining indecorously silent about their refutation suggests an unmovable dogmatic position, don't you think so?

You also still have to address my response to your arguments regarding the Sobibór labor force and its supposed compatibility with the "transit camp" that Sobibór was referred to as in Himmler’s directive of 5 July 1943 and subsequent correspondence.

And before I forget it: why did you obfuscate the fact that Prof. Kola had considered Sobibór mass graves 1 and 2 to have been body burning graves, except in order to reduce the cremation capacity of Sobibór to the small pit called grave nº 7?

To conclude: The appearance of the terms Sonderlager or SS-Sonderkommando in documents relating to Sobibór (or any of the other alleged death camps) cannot be used as evidence in support of the notion that said camp functioned as an extermination center for Jews.[48]

Let’s say that neither of these terms shows Sobibór or other camps to have been extermination camps all by itself and regardless of context. That would be an accurate statement. But then, who claimed otherwise? Certainly not me, see above.

My invitation is still open, by the way:

There are two forums that the "Inconvenient History" blog site recommends for debate, the CODOH forum and the RODOH forum. There’s not much if any debate on the former, as inconvenient posters opposing the "Revisionist" stance tend to have their posts censored and eventually get banned, as happened to me some years ago (I haven’t been readmitted since). That leaves the latter. I hereby invite Mr. Kues to meet me on the RODOH forum. If he can bring along Carlo Mattogno and Jürgen Graf, that’s all the better. And if he can furthermore convince the cowardly "Revisionist" cheerleader Jonnie "Hannover" Hargis to leave the safety of his warm and cozy online Führerbunker, that would be the icing on the cake.

No comments: