Sunday, December 25, 2011

Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. Chapter 1: The Hoax That Dare Not Speak Its Name (3). Investigations and Trials.

Investigations and Trials

If the Hoax that dare not speak its name is already wildly implausible regarding wartime reports, it becomes even more ludicrously improbable when we reach the liberation of Poland in 1944 and turn to the investigations and trials set in motion in connection to Aktion Reinhard. It is virtually an article of faith among Revisionists that these investigations and trials were frame-ups and fabrications; even Samuel Crowell resorts to claims of coercion and torture by the time he reaches the postwar years. This absolute certainty that all trials were show trials is perhaps the one constant feature of negationism since its first stirrings in the late 1940s with the writings of Maurice Bardeche. But in more than sixty years of trying, Revisionists have consistently failed to explain how it was possible that the Allied powers as well as the successor states in Germany and Austria could orchestrate the massive conspiracy to distort the truth implied by the term ‘show trial’.
The problem starts with establishing how it was that the liberators knew what shape the story would take. Soviet knowledge of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka was in fact extremely poor. Few reports on the camps had appeared in the Russian or Yiddish language press in the wartime Soviet Union[138], while the Soviet leadership received vague reports at best about the camps. No survivors of the camps reached Soviet lines until the summer of 1944, precisely at the moment when Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were liberated.[139] Any insinuation that “the Soviets” applied a scripted or preordained propaganda story to these camps is refuted by the total absence of any evidence to support such a suggestion.
Nor were other powers in any position to help script, orchestrate or choreograph the investigations. The Polish government-in-exile’s relations with the Soviet Union were severed in 1943 after the revelations of the Katyn massacre, and it neither provided the USSR with the intelligence it received on the mass killings in Poland, nor did it provide this intelligence to the communist puppet provisional government set up in Lublin in 1944. There is no evidence that the full range of wartime Delegatura reports were available in postwar Poland during 1944 or 1945, the time-frame of the first investigations of the Reinhard camps.[140] Nor were the documents collected by Oneg Shabes available, as the Ringelblum archive was buried in two tranches in July 1942 and February 1943, the first was located in September 1946, the second, containing critical evidence of the Reinhard camps, was not dug up until December 1950.[141]
Any argument insinuating or claiming coercion or ‘scripting’ is in fact refuted by two favourite gambits on the Denier Bullshit Bingo scorecard, namely the repetition of wartime hearsay reports of ‘electricity’ and ‘steam’ as killing methods in the prosecution case at Nuremberg. Both were based exclusively on wartime reports quoted uncritically by researchers trying to draft charges for the Nuremberg trial. That they were repeated into late 1945 and early 1946 is evidence only of a considerable lack of coordination between different war crimes investigations. In several volumes of the ‘trilogy’, Mattogno cites from a report drafted in London by Dr. Litwinski in preparation for Nuremberg, and chortles when Litwinski repeated the 1942 claim of “electric installations” at Belzec, while the brevity of the description of Sobibor  provokes more sneering.[142] This merely proves that Litwinski did not have access to the full range of information at the time. But the paucity and inaccuracy of information in such reports makes it hard for deniers to explain why eyewitnesses interrogated by the western powers, such as Gerstein or Oskar Berger, gave detailed descriptions of the gas chambers at Belzec and Treblinka if the Allies had such a demonstrably inaccurate knowledge of these camps well into 1945. The submission by the Polish government of a summary of evidence mentioning steam chambers[143] as well as another summary mentioning electric chambers[144] in both cases can be traced back to the work of the government-in-exile.[145] Neither report took the slightest notice of either the 1944 Soviet or 1945 Polish investigations into the Reinhard camps, or indeed any other postwar investigation. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that the Soviet delegation at Nuremberg was largely recruited from the Ministry of Justice while the actual field investigations into Nazi war crimes had mostly been carried out by the Red Army or provincial civilian authorities, with only minimal assistance from the Extraordinary State Commission.[146] Different agencies had not talked to each other properly.
This demonstrable lack of coordination is perfectly comprehensible to anyone who has properly studied the workings of any modern government, but evidently passes unnoticed by deniers, who persist time and again in assuming not only that departments communicate instantaneously with each other inside one government, but that different governments can also do so. At a stroke, it would appear, a significant chunk of the entire discipline of political science, much of international relations, institutional sociology and management studies as well as a substantial swathe of historiography are effectively thrown in the trash-bin, presumably so that deniers can feel they are fighting the good fight against the Borg, or Skynet, or some other malevolent entity with a hive mind. Although social scientists and historians have filled entire libraries detailing who knew what when inside every major government about every major event in modern history, and although the files of the various departments and commissions are freely available for all to research, MGK seem to believe that they can assert that a particular source or report was definitely transmitted from one place to the other without bothering to check to see if there is any proof that this was actually done.
We are not, unfortunately, making this up. Both Mattogno and Kues have separately asserted that the Gerstein report was a model for Polish investigators allegedly helping Rudolf Reder, virtually the only survivor of Belzec, to ‘script’ his testimony.[147] But this claim is immediately refuted by the fact that Reder gave a lengthy testimony to Soviet investigators from the Lvov oblast procuracy in September 1944[148], well before Gerstein wrote his report.[149] Nor is there any evidence that the Polish Main Commission or the Jewish Historical Commission had received copies of Nuremberg documents by the time Reder was interrogated for the Polish Belzec investigation of late 1945[150], or even by the time Reder’s memoir was published in 1946.[151] Moreover, as Mattogno points out, and will be discussed at greater length in Chapter 5, Reder and Gerstein identified the engine type differently. This likewise rules out the possibility of collusion or scripting. One wonders what Mattogno thinks he gains by shooting himself in the foot like this, unless the mere existence of a contradiction exerts such a powerful attraction over feeble conspiracy-addled minds that Mattogno has not realised he has destroyed the foundations of his argument.
Much the same might be said about Mattogno’s attempts at exegesis of all early eyewitness accounts[152], as will be seen further in Chapters 5 and 6. So in thrall is he to the simple joys of anomaly-hunting that he does not notice that the presentation of conflicting eyewitness accounts rules out any suggestion that someone sat the witnesses down and scripted them. In which case: from where did the survivors of Sobibor and Treblinka derive their descriptions? Did the Soviet investigators corral a random selection of peasants and Jewish survivors and enrol them in some sort of ghastly creative-writing contest, giving them minimum instructions as to what to say, and allowing them to disagree over the minutiae that so obsess Mattogno? Or were these interrogations an early experiment in extrasensory perception that went slightly wrong? Was one witness placed in one room and asked to mind-meld with another witness who was sitting in the next? We are simply not told.
For all Mattogno’s huffing and puffing, the contradictions in testimonies and descriptions of the camps and the killing methods offered by witnesses are nowhere so severe that they cannot be explained by the vantage point of the witness – whether they worked in the inner or outer camps, and for how long; whether they had learned of the camps directly or via hearsay; and whether they possessed sufficient technical knowledge of internal combustion engines to know what they had seen. Such knowledge can hardly be taken for granted in the somewhat less than motorised Poland of the 1940s. Far from proving a ‘Hoax’, the discrepancies refute the possibility of one.
That is also a conclusion confirmed by the diversity of investigators involved who assembled information on the Reinhard camps in 1944 and 1945. Belzec was liberated by Marshal Konev’s 1st Ukrainian Front, and this Soviet formation’s rear areas were still evidently in place in the Zamosc region in time to receive a report in early 1945, shortly before the Front liberated Auschwitz during the Vistula-Oder Operation. The report is instructive for including an account by Stanislaw Kozak of the construction of the first gas chamber building that differs little from his testimony to the Polish Main Commission in October 1945.[153] Marshal Zhukov’s 1st Belorussian Front liberated Sobibor , Treblinka and Majdanek. Only the investigation of the last site received any reinforcements from the Extraordinary Commission in Moscow, and was also the site singled out for full display to the world’s media.[154] The reasons for this are obvious: not only was Majdanek largely intact, but it had been a concentration camp, and had killed both Jews and non-Jews. For all the subsequent publicity given to Majdanek, the lion’s share of the investigative work, as with the later 1st Ukrainian Front investigation of Auschwitz, fell on the shoulders of the judge advocate staff of 1st Belorussian Front.[155] The crime scenes at Sobibor  and Treblinka were delegated to subordinate armies, with 47th Army tasked to Sobibor[156], while General P.A. Batov’s 65th Army investigated the two camps at Treblinka.[157] General Chuikov’s 8th Guards Army had additionally filed a brief report on Sobibor, Majdanek and a number of Soviet POW camps at the end of July, and also gathered testimonies from villagers in the area surrounding Sobibor.[158]
It is obvious from the reports filed by the frontline armies that they had neither the resources nor the interest in pursuing a really systematic investigation of any of these sites. The striking brevity of the early reports on the Reinhard camps in comparison to the lengthy manuscripts compiled on Majdanek and Auschwitz can surely be ascribed in part to a degree of disinterest in the fate of Jewish victims. Nonetheless, the reports are also highly revealing, with the akt of 8th Guards Army summarising the testimonies of villagers at Sobibor explicitly mentioning gas as the killing method, and recording how villagers heard the sound of the motor followed by the cries of the victims.[159] More striking still is the obvious fact that the subordinate armies had no guidance from above that can be discerned, and were reporting upwards to the Front. Evidently, Mattogno would have us believe that junior officers – as he writes in Treblinka, “First Lieutant of Justice Jurowski... Major Konoyuk, Major V.S. Apresian, First Lieutenant F.A. Rodionov, Major M.E. Golovan and Lieutenant N.V. Kadalo” – somehow dreamed up the world-beating Hoax all on their own.[160] Moreover, 1st Belorussian Front was hardly the only formation or institution involved in gathering testimonies from Reinhard camp eyewitnesses, as the examples of Pavel Leleko (interrogated by 2nd Belorussian Front) and Rudolf Reder (interrogated by the Lwow oblast procuracy, a civilian agency) discussed above indicate.
Needless to say, nowhere do either Mattogno or Graf, the two Revisionist researchers who have visited the Moscow archives, present any evidence of top-down or horizontal coordination between the different investigations. Indeed, the Extraordinary Commission in Moscow increasingly functioned more like a postbox to which reports on war crimes could be sent by various agencies and then dropped down the memory hole to be buried in the archives.[161] If there is a ‘Hoax’ in here somewhere, we have yet to see any proof of it, and find such an assumption to be hilariously improbable as well as ignorant of Soviet realities. Much the same can, of course, be said about the investigations of the Polish Main Commission, which will be discussed in their forensic aspects in Chapter 7 and in relation to witnesses in Chapters 5 and 6. Any allegation of Polish hoaxing can be safely ignored until there is proof of Soviet hoaxing, along with an explanation for the magical transmission of data to witnesses interrogated by the western Allies and, of course, an explanation for the wartime reports.
By this stage, roughly by 1946, MGK’s “propaganda” allegation has already assumed the contours of an Impossibly Vast Conspiracy, unless they are seriously going to try alleging Hoax by Telepathy. The inflationary limit of this conspiracy, however, is not really reached until Jürgen Graf attempts to deal with the war crimes trials prosecuted in West Germany, Austria, the Soviet Union and Israel from the 1950s to the 1980s in two of the sorriest, most bereft chapters in the entire ‘trilogy’. Put simply, Graf does not know what he is talking about, since nowhere does he bother to cite from a single case file relating to these trials. The result is a series of assertions which would be merely risible were it not for the increasingly offensive tone of Graf’s conspiracising. Not content with simply alleging a frame-up, Graf eventually hits the full conspiraloon jackpot by claiming that key witnesses were murdered, libelling respected journalists and slandering eyewitnesses by asserting that they had knowingly conspired in the death sentences of war criminals, all without bothering to provide a shred of evidence and while ignoring nearly everything ever written on these war crimes trials, much less their actual transcripts and exhibits.
Graf wastes no time at the start of his chapter on the trials in Sobibor and immediately asserts his first conspiracy theory:
once the victorious Western Allies had created a puppet state called ‘Federal Republic of Germany’ its leaders ordered the judiciary to fabricate the evidence for the mirage of the murder of millions of people in gas chambers, for which not a shred of evidence survived – if it ever existed.[162]
Aside from offering a textbook example of assuming the consequent, Graf’s wild claim is not only unsubstantiated and totally devoid of any evidence to support it, but it is also refuted by the actual history of war crimes investigations in West Germany. The origins can be traced very firmly back to the desire of many Germans to hold a judicial accounting of the crimes committed by the Nazis against Germans. After the International Military Tribunal had ruled that it could not judge Nazi war criminals for their actions prior to 1939, responsibility for prosecuting crimes against Germans devolved to the restored judicial system in the occupation zones, utilising 1871 German law – in other words, using German law against German defendants who had committed crimes in Germany against Germans. Among the many such crimes which were prosecuted were those perpetrated in the ‘euthanasia’ program, which had claimed the lives of several hundred thousand Germans and Austrians, 70,000 of whom died in the gas chambers of the T4 “institutes”. It was unsurprising, therefore, that these investigations and trials soon stumbled across the involvement of T4 personnel in the Reinhard camps.[163] In some cases, as with Irmfried Eberl, the commandant of Treblinka, the suspects were able to save themselves from the indignity of prosecution by committing suicide before they were interrogated in detail about Aktion Reinhard.[164] In other cases, such as that of Josef Hirtreiter, an investigation into his role at Hadamar (he had been arrested on July 2, 1946) soon grew into a separate case, resulting in Hirtreiter’s conviction for murder at Treblinka in 1951 by the Landgericht at Frankfurt am Main.[165] Nowhere is Hirtreiter’s name even mentioned in Mattogno and Graf’s book on Treblinka.
Graf’s approach to the other two early Reinhard camp trials, of Erich Bauer and of Hubert Gomerski and Johann Klier, both in 1950 and both trials focusing on crimes at Sobibor, is revealing for its incoherence as well as its dishonesty. In seeking to support his assertion that the trial of Gomerski and Klier was “accompanied by a massive campaign in the media still under Allied control”, he cites precisely one newspaper article from the Frankfurter Rundschau, a paper based in the same town as the trial was being held.[166] This “massive campaign in the media” evidently did not include either Die Zeit or Spiegel, neither of whom ran a single story on the trial.[167] So where are all the stories, Jürgen?
Another gambit is to insinuate that Erich Bauer had not been mentioned by early witnesses, as if it were necessary for a survivor to know every SS man’s name, rather than to recognise their face. Typically, Graf highlights Bauer’s absence in the testimony of one witness while omitting his inclusion in the next statement in his source.[168] Equally typical is the obsessive attack on Esther Raab based on her ghosted memoir from 2004, which includes misreading easily comprehensible English[169] as well as the following piece of logical gibberish. Because Raab implied in 2004 that she was the ‘only’ witness to Bauer’s crimes, yet there were seven other witnesses at the trial, Graf is apparently entitled to discredit a trial fifty-four years beforehand, and feels entitled to ignore the other seven witnesses since Raab is the apparent chief witness, and as is well known, negationist reasoning decrees that it is sufficient to debunk one witness in order to debunk the whole.[170] For the Gomerski-Klier trial, Graf offers little more than generic arguments to incredulity, on which we need not waste any more time here.[171]
Nowhere in his account of either trial did Graf think to cite a work by Dick de Mildt appearing in 1996 on the euthanasia and Aktion Reinhard trials, something that would be normally regarded as an essential first step for any scholar writing on the subject – namely, to familiarise themselves with the existing literature.[172] Indeed, he barely scrapes together more than a handful of references to the judgement, much less tries to seek out any available witness statements from the cases in question. This level of shoddiness is repeated throughout his chapters on the Treblinka and Sobibor trials. Nor does Graf bother to consider the historical context, which has been amply researched and written about, preferring to substitute his own (Horst) Mahleresque fantasy fugue about West Germany as a puppet state. Far from being staged as part of an Allied propaganda campaign, the early trials were either outgrowths of existing investigations or the result of chance accidents – the recognition of Bauer by survivors in Berlin. There is no evidence that, and no rhyme or reason as to, why the courts in Berlin and Frankfurt would have been ‘persuaded’ by the nameless nefarious entities of Graf’s insinuations to conduct these trials and then not have them widely reported, as contrary to his insistence that there was a massive campaign in the media, nothing of the sort occurred. Moreover, if in 1950 the Allies were so keen to have West German courts chase down Aktion Reinhard SS men, why was nothing more done for nearly a full decade?
The answer to anyone who actually knows anything about postwar West German history is obvious.[173] The Adenauer era tried to ‘come to terms with the past’ with the symbolic gesture of compensation, brought an end to denazification and made it possible for former Nazis to reintegrate into society; and then concentrated mainly on commemorating German victimhood.[174] The ‘cold amnesty’ for Nazis, however, ran into continual problems, as a string of scandals over the Nazi pasts of senior politicians, civil servants and other public figures wracked the media, culminating in the Ulm Einsatzgruppen trial of 1958 and the decision to establish the Zentrale Stelle at Ludwigsburg.[175] The Cold War context, especially the mutual recriminations and accusations of one Germany against the other for harbouring ‘Nazis’, culminating in the German Democratic Republic’s ‘Brown Book’ campaign, was an additional major factor.[176] Although the GDR routinely accused the Federal Republic of Germany of softness and laxity towards Nazi war criminals, it, too, was quite capable of overlooking past misdeeds and had just as mixed a track record of war crimes prosecutions as West Germany.[177] In the end, the decisive factor in the renewed – and sustained – prosecution of Nazi war crimes in West Germany was a generational shift, as the so-called 49ers who had entered adulthood after the Second World War graduated to positions of influence and authority, and resolved to come to terms with the Nazi past on their own terms rather than the shaky compromise stitched together under Adenauer. The Spiegel affair was as emblematic in this regard as the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial.[178]
The Ludwigsburg inquiries[179] which led to the 1960s Aktion Reinhard camp trials were part of a systematic investigation of all Nazi war crimes that began in the late 1950s. The Zentrale Stelle was organised into a number of Referate or desks, each assigned to a particular region or complex of crimes. The Reinhard camps fell under Referat 8, later 208, which also investigated other SS and Police units stationed in the Lublin district. By contrast, the Radom district was scrutinised by Referat 206. Once the preliminary investigation was complete, state attorney’s offices became involved in the interrogation of suspects and eyewitnesses. A certain number of investigations were additionally delegated to a similar central office in the State of North-Rhine Westphalia, which largely bungled the investigations of many police battalions, a failure which was severely exacerbated by the old boys’ network in police and detective forces that resulted in many former Order Policemen going scot-free.[180] Nonetheless, there were eventually 131 trials of crimes committed in the territory of the Generalgouvernement held in West Germany, of which 10 focused on the extermination camps of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka II and one on the Treblinka I labour camp. By contrast, the GDR prosecuted only 8 equivalent cases, of which only one concerned the Treblinka I labour camp.[181] A further 28 trials concerned crimes committed in the annexed territories, including four trials in connection with the Bialystok district.[182]
Up to 1960, twenty-three trials had taken place in connection with the euthanasia program; a further eight cases went to trial thereafter, for a total of 31 euthanasia trials in West Germany.[183] As is well known, Aktion Reinhard was where the euthanasia program converged with Nazi crimes against Jews in the Generalgouvernement and Bialystok. Reinhard men in fact testified in the investigations and trials of other SS and Police units which had committed crimes in the Generalgouvernement, as we have already mentioned in the introduction. The fact that there were at least 155 trials which related directly or indirectly to Aktion Reinhard naturally goes unmentioned by Graf, although it was quite apparent at the time to the Ludwigsburg investigators.[184]
These figures do not, of course, count the numerous investigations that never went to trial because the investigation did not find probative evidence that would trigger an indictment for murder. West German law, inheriting the provisions of the Wilhelmine legal code, required that a charge of murder could only result in conviction if it could be proven that the killing had been carried out for “base motives”, “bloodlust”, “maliciousness” or “cruelty”.[185] The mere carrying out of executions, even if these were considered illegal by postwar courts, did not suffice to convict the perpetrator for murder. Although the defence of obedience to orders had been set aside in 1940s Allied trials, it re-entered West German courtrooms through the backdoor, as ‘obedient’ executioners could not be found guilty of murder, and courts spent an inordinate amount of time examining whether the perpetrator had subjectively felt that they were acting under duress, although no case of an SS man being punished for disobeying an order to kill ever came to light.[186] The result was that courts convicted the “excessive” perpetrators while giving either derisory sentences to mass murderers or acquitting them, and that state attorneys closed out hundreds of cases for lack of probative evidence. Thus, although every single office in the civil administration of the Generalgouvernement was investigated, only one case produced a conviction and only one other case went to full trial, both in the immediate postwar years.[187]
Thus, the number of cases where Aktion Reinhard could have been an issue numbered into the high hundreds; literally thousands of West Germans who had served in the Generalgouvernement and Bialystok district in the SS, Police or civil administration were interrogated in the 1960s either as suspects or witnesses. A substantial number of these witnesses admitted knowing that the Reinhard camps were extermination sites, or that the Jews were being deported to their deaths. Even more admitted to witnessing the mass shootings that routinely accompanied the deportations. A German stationed in a provincial county capital could hardly avoid encountering the sight of Jews being murdered.
Graf naturally suppresses this legal and historical context, although he engages in a little throat-clearing about “base motives”[188] before advancing his conspiracy theory: that the defendants in the Reinhard trials were pressured into admitting extermination and gassing. The fact that not one SS man who served at the Reinhard camps denied that they were extermination camps evidently does not faze him, as he constructs a convoluted theory whereby if defendants had done so, they would have received higher sentences, a claim for which he provides not a shred of evidence. Indeed, the best he can come up with is to point to the prosecution of Josef Oberhauser in the Belzec trial. Oberhauser refused to testify at the trial; which Graf interprets to mean “that he was not contesting the extermination of the Jews in Belzec.” This putative compliance with the authorities supposedly earned him a four and a half year sentence.[189] But Oberhauser had in fact repeatedly testified to events at Belzec over a four year period from 1960 to 1964. His refusal to testify on the stand was neither the cause of the low sentence nor an Important Clue for Graf to decipher decades later, but simply the defence strategy chosen by the defendant and/or his lawyer. Nor is Graf correct to assume that other defendants, such as Erich Fuchs at Sobibor, gave testimonies regarding gassings in exchange for mild sentences[190], since West German law did not allow for the possibility of plea bargaining.[191]
Nowhere in any of the three volumes of the ‘trilogy’ do MGK try to prove their conspiracy theories and innuendo about backroom deals and leniency awarded on a nod and a wink; they do not even try to analyse the cohort of defendants and prove that there is any kind of genuine pattern. Such a task would of course be beyond them, as they have evidently not read the sum total of witness statements or court testimonies[192] and cannot therefore substantiate the insinuation that more testimony about gassing = lighter sentence. Indeed, the example of Erich Bauer, given a life sentence for his role as the ‘Gasmeister’ of Sobibor, refutes such an insinuation before it has even left the starting-gate. The number of Reinhard camp defendants is sufficiently small that the absence of any attempt at a systematic analysis is a sure sign that all Mattogno, Graf and Kues have are innuendo and hasty generalisations. The assertions of Graf and Kues in particular on these trials make a mockery of MGK’s frequent invocation of ‘scientific’ rhetoric. For it is a basic rule of any academic discipline that conclusions must be based on the most complete data available. With fewer than 40 Reinhard defendants, there is no justification for sampling – either the entire group is taken into consideration, or the assertion falls.
When turning his attention to trials in other countries, innuendo is literally all that Graf has left. In Sobibór, Graf concocts a gold-standard conspiracy theory to insinuate that in August 1962, the Austrian judiciary murdered Hermann Höfle, Globocnik’s chief of staff in SSPF Lublin and the main organiser of the deportations in Aktion Reinhard, and faked the murder to look like a suicide.[193] Without so much as bothering to try and source Höfle’s interrogations or to get hold of the case files in the Vienna archives, Graf rhapsodically convinces himself that Höfle was bumped off for refusing to admit to the extermination program and that this meant that Höfle “had stolidly maintained in the face of the Austrian judiciary that the three camps had been transit camps and that the alleged annihilations were nothing but propaganda.”[194] Graf evidently thought it acceptable to make such an assertion without even trying to check the facts. Alas for his pretensions at scholarly competence, not only are Höfle’s interrogations available in West German cases, but they were published in French translation four years before Graf pulled his conspiracy theory out of his behind.[195] From these sources it is not difficult to discern that when first arrested and interrogated in Austria during late 1947, Höfle lied about his wartime experiences, claiming to have been based in Mogilev from 1941 to 1943[196], and stolidly denied knowing anything when arrested and interrogated in 1961, even claiming on occasion to have been mistaken for another Hermann Höfle.[197] Höfle was no more about to “spill the beans” on Graf’s fantasy transit camps than he was going to announce a cure for cancer in the Vienna courtroom. He knew, moreover, that there were a great many witnesses fingering him for his involvement in Aktion Reinhard, including key members of the SSPF Lublin staff such as Georg Michalsen and Hermann Worthoff.[198] From the extant protocols it is quite apparent that Höfle was too stupid to ride to the rescue as the saviour of German and Austrian honour and would have simply continued to deny everything implacably while evidence from other witnesses accumulated against him, which would have probably resulted in a conviction, even under the relatively lenient terms of Austrian law. Höfle’s suicide was nothing more and nothing less than the behaviour of a certain type of defendant who feels they are trapped.
The record of Austrian justice in relation to the prosecution of Nazi war crimes has often been criticised for its laxity and inefficiency, and indeed the Höfle case was transferred from Salzburg to Vienna because the original prosecutor had a nervous breakdown, while in Vienna a backlog of other cases caused an almost glacial progress to the case.[199] Yet the Höfle investigation actually led to the arrest, prosecution and conviction in 1966 of SS-Unterscharführer Leopold Lanz, a Treblinka I guard.[200] Moreover, there had been a considerable willingness through the 1950s and 1960s to prosecute many of the Austrian Schutzpolizisten assigned to the Generalgouvernement, in particular the Schupo of the Galicia district, resulting in a string of trials that laid bare the brutality of everyday life in occupied Poland and recounted numerous mass murders by shootings.[201]
Graf is not, however, content with merely accusing the Austrian judicial system of conspiring to murder, he also nauseatingly insinuates that the journalist Gitta Sereny poisoned Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka, by bringing Stangl an Austrian recipe soup when he was unwell in June 1971.[202] In a classic post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy spun furiously into a baseless accusation, Graf notes that the following day, Stangl died, saying that “we leave it to the reader to draw his own conclusion from these bare facts.”[203] Yeah, right: someone is feeling unwell; they are brought a soup to make them feel better, so it must be the soup that killed them. And maybe the coroner was paid off by Sereny, too. Or did you mean something else, Jürgen? Are you too chicken to come right out and say that Sereny murdered Stangl? Because that’s how it reads, and that officially makes you a coward who doesn’t have the guts to stand by your own convictions, however unfounded they might be.
Nearly as nauseating is Graf’s cursory treatment of the trials of Trawnikis in the Soviet Union, based as usual on almost zero knowledge of the cases, something which also characterises his frequent diatribes about the Demjanjuk case in Treblinka and Sobibór, eventually culminating in a piss-poor chapter-length rant about Demjanjuk’s extradition to Germany and recent prosecution in Munich. Deriving most of his thin gruel of information from websites, Graf cannot resist the opportunity to take another pot-shot at the Russian Sobibor survivor Alexander Pechersky, who evidently fulfils much the same function in negationist demonology for that camp as Yankiel Wiernik does for Treblinka. Citing Pechersky’s testimony at two Soviet trials of Trawnikis in the 1960s, Graf declares that he “could thus boast of having brought ten or thirteen men in front of a firing squad and of thus having had another man locked up for a decade and a half through his lies.”[204] Once again, Graf does not even think to find out whether the relevant case files are available. In actual fact, copies of a great many Trawniki trials are now freely available in the archive of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and some can also be seen in Ludwigsburg. Contrary to the unsourced claim in Barbara Distel’s entry on Sobibor in the Ort des Terrors encyclopaedia of camps[205], which is Graf’s main source for accusing Pechersky of having the deaths of supposedly innocent men on his conscience, Pechersky was a minor part of the evidence presented in these Trawniki trials, and thus hardly a ‘key witness’ as Distel claimed.
In fact, Soviet investigations of Trawnikis had begun in September 1944, after several guards from Treblinka I, including one, Ivan Shevchenko, who had previously served in Treblinka II, were captured when attempting to flee after the evacuation of the camp.[206] Through the remainder of the 1940s, a great many more Trawnikis were identified on the basis of personnel files and transfer lists captured in Poland, which thus enabled Soviet interrogators to confront suspects with hard evidence of their service in the Trawniki force, as well as the Reinhard camps. However, it was also possible for ex-Trawnikis to evade detection at this time, since the system of NKVD filtration camps was overwhelmed by its task of scrutinising Soviet citizens who were returning from Nazi-controlled territory.[207] Thus, Yakov Karplyuk admitted in 1961 that “in an effort to conceal my service in the death camp in Sobibor, as well as in the Treblinka camp, I provided false statements during the investigation in 1949. I falsely stated that after completing training in Trawniki, I guarded imprisoned Jews there until November 1943.”[208] In the trials of the 1940s and 1950s, mere service at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka did not necessarily result in the death penalty (which was in any case suspended in the USSR between 1947 and 1950), but was frequently punished by the standard 25 year sentence for treason, although many were indeed sentenced to death. Giving false statements in earlier investigations, however, appears to have been a major aggravating factor in the sentences meted out in the 1960s trials of Trawnikis. Karplyuk was sentenced to death in Kiev on March 31, 1962 along with other auxiliaries who had served at Sobibor and Treblinka.[209]
The trial of Shul’ts et al in March 1962 was the culmination of a lengthy investigation which encompassed at least 33 volumes of interrogations, documentation and other evidence. Many of the accused had been identified by name, and their actions at the camps described by other Trawnikis during interrogations dating back to the 1940s. Trapped by the statements of their former comrades, the accused were also convicted on the basis of their own interrogations. These were not, however, confessions in the clichéd sense of the word, as Trawnikis continued to deny their own personal involvement in crimes of excess. In particular, whether the Trawniki had or had not participated in shootings at the so-called ‘Lazarett’ established in each of the Reinhard camps became a frequent focus for Soviet judicial attention.[210]
MGK are certainly entitled to assert that all interrogations of Trawnikis were the product of some kind of gigantic fabrication exercise, without offering any proof of their allegation, but at the cost of excluding themselves from consideration as serious scholars. For unless MGK present a systematic analysis of these trials and these interrogations, whatever they say will not be grounded in empirical evidence, end of story, and thus need not be taken seriously. Not even invoking Stalinist malpractice from the 1930s show trials or pointing to known cases of legal abuse in the assembly-line trials of German prisoners of war at the end of the 1940s[211] would actually count as relevant evidence, since such assertions would be merely an argument by analogy, asserted without checking whether the Trawniki trials were at all similar. Nor is it up to anyone else to do the work of proving otherwise, as it would be their claim, and thus their burden of proof, which has manifestly not been carried hitherto.
The probability of the interrogations of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka Trawnikis all having been coerced is vanishingly low for three reasons. Firstly, the records are too voluminous and too extensive, with too many interrogations per suspect.[212] Secondly, probably more than one hundred Trawnikis serving in the Reinhard camps were interrogated after the war. The sheer number makes a claim of fabrication wildly improbable. Finally, and most decisively, the interrogations and trials were given virtually no publicity, the 1940s and 1950s trials not even seemingly reported in the Soviet press while the large group trials of the 1960s received at best, passing mentions. As with the wartime reports, MGK cannot label these trials as “propaganda” if they were not used as such.
Indeed, it was not until the 1970s that there was much cooperation between the Soviet authorities and war crimes investigators in either East or West Germany, and thus not until then that Trawniki statements began to be made available to war crimes investigators in the west, in the course of the investigations of Franz Swidersky, a Treblinka I guard, and Karl Streibel, the commandant of Trawniki, by the state attorney’s office in Hamburg under Helge Grabitz.[213] This delay explains why it was not until the 1970s that Nazi collaborators began to be investigated in North America, as even had there been a stronger desire to track down suspected war criminals before then, the opportunity had not been available, since few knew much about the role of the Trawnikis in Aktion Reinhard.
The first Trawniki case in the United States, the denaturalisation proceedings against Treblinka II Trawniki Fedor Fedorenko, proceeded without the benefit of any Soviet-derived evidence.[214] In this regard, it stood in relation to the formation of the Office for Special Investigations as the Ulm Einsatzgruppen trial did in relation to the establishment of the Zentrale Stelle in Ludwigsburg, since the Fedorenko case was already under way by the time that the Carter administration ordered the creation of the OSI within the US Department of Justice. Throughout his case, Fedorenko never once denied that he had served at Treblinka nor that he had witnessed the extermination of Jews there in gas chambers; and had thus clearly lied when immigrating to the US in 1949. The first denaturalisation hearing saw a number of Treblinka survivors appear as witnesses, unnecessarily as Fedorenko’s own admissions sufficed to prove that he had violated immigration law. His defense, however, tried to argue that as Fedorenko had not  participated directly in the extermination process but merely stood guard in a watchtower, that he should be acquitted, an argument which the judge in the first trial accepted, but which was overturned on appeal after the Department of Justice pointed out the legal errors in the initial verdict.[215] Fedorenko was then deported to the Soviet Union and executed after a trial there in 1987.[216]
The Fedorenko case was fateful for triggering the denaturalisation proceedings against John Demjanjuk, after a poorly-constructed photo spread was shown to five Treblinka survivors, who identified Demjanjuk as ‘Ivan the Terrible’, one of the operators of the gassing engine at Treblinka.[217] The first moves to denaturalise Demjanjuk were also made before the establishment of the OSI, in 1977, but the case became the major focus of the new office through the 1980s, and led to a request for Demjanjuk’s extradition in 1983, which he appealed in 1985, losing the appeal on October 31, 1985.[218] Demjanjuk was then deported to Israel in February 1986, standing trial there from November 26, 1986 to April 18, 1988.[219]
From an evidentiary perspective, the Demjanjuk case, including both his appeal against the extradition order in 1985 as well as the trial in Israel, was distinctive in two regards. The first was the flawed identification: the entire affair was a case of manifestly mistaken identity, whose origins however could easily be traced back to the fact that Demjanjuk did indeed look rather like Ivan Marchenko, the real ‘Ivan the Terrible’.[220] The second facet of the case was the large amount of evidence provided from the Soviet Union, which brought evidence from earlier Trawniki trials into the public domain for the first time. Indeed, this evidence made it quite clear that Ivan Marchenko had operated the gassing engine at Treblinka, as he was routinely singled out by Treblinka Trawnikis for having performed this duty with zeal and sadism.[221]
 The Demjanjuk trial must also be regarded as the moment when Holocaust deniers began to develop their present obsession with the Reinhard camps. From the writings of Rassinier onwards, negationists had really only ever discussed the figure of Kurt Gerstein and his visit to Belzec in August 1942, culminating in the excruciatingly irrelevant exegeses of the minutiae of Gerstein’s statements by Henri Roques in the guise of a mature student dissertation for a doctorate passed under dubious circumstances at the University of Lyons-III in 1985.[222] Until the Demjanjuk case, Revisionism had however extraordinarily little to say about Treblinka. The case became the occasion for what might be called the ‘forensic turn’ in negationism and the beginning of its tedious obsession with mass graves. Unsung key players were the Polish Historical Society in the United States, led by Tadeusz Skowron and Myroslaw Dragan. Stung by the case of Frank Walus, the Polish Historical Society lent its support to the legal fight of John Demjanjuk. Established in 1988, the Polish Historical Society brought two new twists to negationism. Hitherto, the Revisionist scene had possessed few people skilled enough to read or translate East European languages. The second innovation was to exploit the use of wartime air photos from the US National Archives, in particular those taken by Luftwaffe reconnaissance planes. Around 1990, Polish Historical Society provided the ammunition for a slew of negationist texts attacking the historicity of the extermination camp of Treblinka.[223]
In parallel to these moves, German Revisionists as well as non-denier supporters of Demjanjuk tried to cast doubt on the authenticity of a key but contradictory piece of evidence in the case, namely Demjanjuk’s Trawniki identity card. This formed one of the main targets for several brochures by Dieter Lehner and Hans Rullmann, which both argued in classic negationist nitpicking style that ‘anomalies’ meant the ID card was a KGB forgery.[224] But the card in fact specified that Demjanjuk had served at Sobibor, not Treblinka, forcing the Israeli prosecution and OSI lawyers to engage in bizarre contortions to explain away the contradiction, while Demjanjuk’s defenders then contradicted their forgery claim by also appealing to the evidence of the posting to Sobibor in order to acquit Demjanjuk (rightly) of the charge of being ‘Ivan the Terrible’ at Treblinka.
Graf, needless to say, repeats the old 1980s allegations that the ID card was a forgery in numerous places across the ‘trilogy’[225], reiterating what is evidently a Revisionist article of faith.[226] Indeed, the forensic claims of document experts seeking to prove the card to be a forgery have become legendary examples of misinterpreted scientific evidence, while the analyses of the content of the document betray a total lack of understanding for the historical context.[227] The forgery claims also totally ignore eight other pieces of documentary evidence which place Demjanjuk at Trawniki and Sobibor.[228] By repeating the forgery meme in 2010, Graf merely exposes himself as ignorant of the counter-arguments and counter-evidence, and thus confirms his reputation as the sloppiest of sloppy researchers of the three co-authors of the ‘trilogy’.
That the Demjanjuk case in the 1980s was a miscarriage of justice is not in reasonable dispute. The entire saga has dragged on for so long that one can be critical of its pursuit into the 2000s, without needing to endorse the conspiracy theories of Graf and co. Demjanjuk’s renewed denaturalisation in 2003[229] and his extradition to Germany in 2009 to stand trial in Munich, resulting in his conviction in May of this year[230], can indeed be criticised on a variety of grounds, not least of which is the discomfort in pursuing war criminals until they are in their 90s. But we regard Graf’s argument that the Demjanjuk trial in Munich was staged for “the promotion of the ‘Holocaust’ hysteria”[231] or to distract from the Israeli incursion into the Gaza strip in 2008/2009[232] as fundamentally batty. Far from demonstrating “the proverbial servility of the German puppet state towards Israel and Zionist organizations”, the Demjanjuk case in Munich has been criticised as the result of prosecutorial grandstanding by the Zentrale Stelle in Ludwigsburg Munich state attorney’s office. It may well be that Graf requires a refresher lesson in the doctrine of the separation of powers between the judiciary, legislature and executive. As hard as it may be for Graf to grasp this, judicial authorities in Germany have the power to place a cause celebre on the front pages of the world media without reference to any council of the Elders of Zion.
Thus ends our survey of the implied and overt conspiracy theories peddled by Mattogno, Graf and Kues about the “origins” and “evolution” of the supposed “propaganda myth” of mass extermination at Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. Although we do not doubt that MGK may well seriously believe what they are writing in this regard, nowhere in their arguments do we find anything that remotely resembles a coherent, substantiated explanation for the totality of the evidence contained in the wartime reports or the postwar investigations and trials. And although we do not doubt that the Hoax that dare not speak its name will continue to feature in their writings, we hereby put them on notice that their “work” has been weighed in the balance and found wanting. Either put up, by going back to the library and archives and finding some evidence for your silly conspiracy theories, or shut up.

[138] Yitzhak Arad, ‘The Holocaust as Reflected in the Soviet Russian Language Newspapers in the Years 1941-1945’; Dov-Ber Kerler, ‘The Soviet Yiddish Press: During the War, 1942-1945’ in Robert Moses Shapiro (ed), Why Didn’t The Press Shout? American & Intrnational Journalism During the Holocaust. Yeshiva University Press, Jersey City, NJ, 2003, pp.199-220, 221-249
[139] Karel C. Berkhoff, ‘ “Total Annihilation of the Jewish Population”. The Holocaust in the Soviet Media, 1941-45’, Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 10, 1 (Winter 2009), pp.61–105.
[140] The papers of the Delegatura may not even have been made available to the Polish Main Commission until mid to late 1947, as a simple comparison of the NTN trials of Rudolf Höss (March 1947) and the Auschwitz SS Staff (December 1947) indicates. Whereas the SS Staff trial evidence included an extensive collection of underground reports on Auschwitz, these were not used in evidence in the Höss trial.
[141] Kassow, Who Will Write Our History?, pp.1-5
[142] Mattogno, Bełżec, p.75; MGK, Sobibór, pp.67-8.
[143] Charge No.6 of the Polish Government vs Hans Frank, 5.12.1945, 3311-PS, IMT XXXII, pp.154-8.
[144] IMT VII, p.576ff (19.2.1946, presentation of L.N. Smirnov); cf. also the unpublished compendium USSR-93.
[145] Dr. Tadeusz Cyprian, the signatory to 3311-PS, had been the Polish government-in-exile representative on the United Nations War Crimes Commission; cf. United Nations War Crimes Commission, History of the United Nations War Crimes Commission and the Development of the Laws of War. London, 1948. Like many other exiled officials, Cyprian transferred his allegiance to the Lublin government after the western Allies derecognised the government-in-exile as the legitimate representatives of Poland in 1945.
[146] On the Soviet delegation at IMT, see Francine Hirsch, ‘The Soviets at Nuremberg: International Law, Propaganda, and the making of the Postwar Order’, American Historical Review, Vol. 113 Issue 3 (Jun, 2008), pp.701-730; on the Extraordinary State Commission (ChGK), see Marina Sorokina, ‘People and Procedures: Toward a History of the Investigation of Nazi Crimes in the USSR’, Kritika 6/4, 2005. pp.797–831. In the experience of the present author after reviewing ChGK files from the RSFSR, Belorussian SSR, Ukrainian SSR and in relation to the camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka, as well as Red Army war crimes files, the actual ‘commission’ in Moscow did not function as a genuine investigative commission at all, but instead processed the results of literally 10s of 1000s of individual investigations launched by local civilian or miltary authorities.
[147] Mattogo, Bełżec, p.40; Thomas Kues, ‘Rudolf Reder’s Belzec – A Critical Reading’, online at
[148] Prokuratura L’voskoi oblasti, protokol doprosa, Rubin[sic!] Germanovich Reder, 22.9.1944, GARF 7021-149-99, pp.16-19
[149] It ought to be rememberd that Gerstein wrote his statement down for the French, not the Americans. See on this, in addition to the secondary literature cited in the introduction, the report of US investigators in Gerstein’s file, NARA, RG 153, Box 91.
[150] Vernehmung Rudolf Reder, 29.12.45, BAL 162/208 AR-Z 252/59, p.1177-1176 (German translation).
[151] Rudolf Reder, Bełżec. Kraków: Wojewódzka żydowska komisja historyczna, 1946
[152] M&G, Treblinka, pp.64-76; Mattogno, Bełżec, pp.35-41; MGK, Sobibór, pp.69-76
[153] Akt o zverstvakh nemetskikh okkupantov v lagere stantsii Bel’zhets, Tomashuvskogo uezda, Liublinskogo voevodstva, 25.1.1945, TsAMO 236-2675-340, pp.31-3.
[154] Cf. ‘Nazi Mass Killing Laid Bare in Camp’, New York Times, 30.8.44, p.1, discussed further in the Conclusion chapter below.
[155] Zakliuchenie po delu o zverstvakh i zlodeianikah nemetsko-fashistskikh zakhvatchikov v gor. Liublin, TsAMO 233-2374-25, 8.1944, pp.459-488.
[156] Soderzhanie o rezul’tatakh obspedovaniia faktov massovogo istrebleniia naseleniia nemetskimi okkupantami v lagere na stantsii Sabibur, 25.8.1944, TsAMO 233-2374-58, pp.225-229.
[157] As has already been mentioned, excerpts of the 65th Army investigation files from Podolsk have been published in Sverdlov (ed), Dokumenty obviniaiut. Copies of the investigation were also transmitted to the Extraordinary Commission in Moscow (GARF files 7021-115-8, 9, 10, 11 and GARF 7445-2-136).
[158] Spravka o zverstvakh nemetsko-fashistskikh zakhvatchikov, v’iavlennykh na territorii Pol’shi, 29.7.1944, TsAMO 233-2374-58, pp.96-98R.
[159] Akt, 29.7.1944, stantsia Sabibor, TsAMO 233-2374-58, p.131.
[160] M&G, Treblinka, p.77.
[161] See for example the reports on Auschwitz collected in GARF 7021-108-52, sent in by the editors of a wide variety of Soviet newspapers and political offices. The Soviet war crimes trial program was moreover rather limited, and involved relatively few trials, almost all of which concerned crimes committed on Soviet soil. See on this Alexander Prusin, ‘ ‘Fascist Criminals to the Gallows!’: The Holocaust and Soviet War Crimes Trials, December 1945-February 1946’, HGS 2003, pp.1-30.
[162] MGK, Sobibór, p.171.
[163] See Bryant, Confronting the ‘Good Death’; de Mildt, In the Name of the People.
[164] Cf. Grabher, Irmfried Eberl.
[165] de Mildt, In The Name of the People, p.249; Justiz und NS-Verbrechen Bd VIII (Lfd Nr 270).
[166] MGK, Sobibór, p.179.
[167] As can be found out by a simple search of both title’s online archives.
[168] Blumental (ed), Obozy, pp.208 (Leon Feldhendler), 214 (Zelda Metz).
[169] See the nonsensical exegesis of the extract from Shaindy Perl’s book on MGK, Sobibór, p.175
[170] Ibid, pp.174-5
[171] Ibid, pp.178-182. We examine a paranoid claim by Kues about the Gomerski trial in Chapter 6.
[172] de Mildt, In the Name of the People.
[173] A useful overview of the ‘second history’ of Nazism in postwar Germany can be found in the collection of essays by Peter Reichel, Harald Schmid, Peter Steinbach (eds), Der Nationalsozialismus. Die Zweite Geschichte. Munich: C.H.Beck, 2009, as well as the monograph by Peter Reichel, Vergangenheitsbewältigung in Deutschland. Die Auseinandersetzung mit der NS-Diktatur von 1945 bis heute. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2001.
[174] Norbert Frei, Adenauer’s Germany and the Nazi Past: The Politics of Amnesty and Integration. New York, 2002; Robert G. Moeller, War Stories. The Search for a Usable Past in the Federal Republic of Germany. Berkeley, 2001.
[175] Jörg Friedrich, Die kalte Amnestie: NS-Täter in der Bundesrepublik. Berlin: List, 2007.
[176] Annette Weinke, Die Verfolgung von NS-Tätern im geteilten Deutschland. Vergangenheitsbewältigungen 1949-1969 oder: Eine deutsch-deutsche Beziehungsgeschichte im Kalten Krieg. Paderborn: Schöningh, 2002
[177] Henry Leide, NS-Verbrechen und Staatssicherheit. Die geheime Vergangenheitspolitik der DDR. Göttingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 3. Auflage, 2007.
[178] Christina von Hodenberg, ‘Mass Media and the Generation of Conflict: West Germany’s Long Sixties and the Formation of a Critical Public Sphere,’ Contemporary European History 15, 2006, pp.367-395; on the public discourse on the Holocaust in the Federal Republic during the 1960s see Mirjam Wenzel, Gericht und Gedächtnis. Der deutschsprachige Holocaust-Diskurs der sechziger Jahre. Göttingen: Wallstein, 2009.
[179] For an overview, see Weinke, Eine Gesellschaft ermittelt gegen sich selbst.
[180] Stefan Klemp, ‘Nicht ermittelt’. Polizeibataillone und die Nachkriegsjustiz – Ein Handbuch. Essen, 2005.
[181] Figures compiled from Justiz und NS-Verbrechen, at
[182] Freia Anders, Hauke Hendrik Kutschr and Katrin Stoll (eds), Bialystok in Bielefeld. Nationalsozialistische Verbrechen vor dem Landgericht Bielefeld 1958 bis 1967, Bielefeld, 2003
[183] de Mildt, In the Name of the People, pp.404ff.
[184] Zusammenstellung der bisherigen Ergebnisse der Untersuchungen durch die Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen in dem Komplex “Aktion Reinhard”, unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Vernichtungslagers Belzec, 10.11.1960, BAL B162/208 AR-Z 252/59, Bd. 4, pp.39-47
[185] Adalbert Rückerl, NS-Verbrechen vor Gericht. Versuch einer Vergangenheitsbewältigung, Heidelberg, 1984, p.329; for a short summary of the legal issues in Nazi war crimes trials in West Germany, see Helge Grabitz, Helge, ‘Problems of Nazi Trials in the Federal Republic of Germany’, HGS 3/2, 1988, pp.209-222
[186] Herbert Jäger, Verbrechen unter totalitärer Herrschaft: Studien zur nationalsozialistischen Gewaltkriminalität, Frankfurt am Main, 1982 (first edition, 1967).
[187] Roth, Herrenmenschen, pp.344-387; Musial, Deutsche Zivilverwaltung, pp.351-374
[188] MGK, Sobibór, p.183.
[189] M&G, Treblinka, pp.164-5
[190] MGK, Sobibór, pp.183-7
[191] J.H. Langbein, ‘Land without plea bargaining: How the Germans do it.’ Michigan Law Review, 78 (2) (December 1979).
[192] It is not a requirement of West German law to maintain a stenographic protocol of the trial, although this is often done. Transcripts of the 1966 Hagen trial of Sobibor defendants definitely exist.
[193] MGK, Sobibór, pp.189-190
[194] Ibid, p.189
[195] Ajenstat/Buk/Harlan (ed), Hermann Höfle.
[196] Interrogation of 18.10.1947 in Ajenstat/Buk/Harlan (ed), Hermann Höfle, p.23
[197] See the interrogations from July-August 1961 in StA Hamburg 147 Js 7/72, Bd.17, pp.3216-3327. On Höfle’s claim of mistaken identity, see also the report in NYT, 22.8.1962.
[198] Many reproduced in Ajenstat/Buk/Harlan (ed), Hermann Höfle; cf. also the Michalsen case in JuNSV Bd. XXXIX, Nr. 812; BAL B162/208 AR-Z 74/60.
[199] This is spelled out clearly in Graf’s own selectively cited source. Cf. Winfried Garscha, ‘The failure of the "little Eichmann trial" in Austria’,
[200] Eva Holpfer and Sabine Loitfellner, ‘Holocaustprozesse wegen Massenerschiessungen und Verbrechen in Lagern im Osten vor österreichischen Geschworenengerichten. Annäherung an ein unerforschtes Thema’ in Thomas Albrich, Winfried R. Garscha and Martin F. Polaschek (eds), Holocaust und Kriegsverbrechen vor Gericht. Der Fall Oesterreich, Vienna: StudienVerlag, 2006, pp.104-6
[201] Ibid, pp.87-126. For the 1950s trials, see also the series of documentary collections published by Tuviah Friedman: Schupo-Kriegsverbrecher in Kolomea vor dem Wiener Volksgericht. Haifa, October 1995 (orig: 1957); Schupo-Kriegsverbrecher von Stanislau vor dem Wiener Volksgericht. Haifa, November 1995 (orig: October 1957); Schupo-Kriegsverbrecher von Stryj vor dem Wiener Volksgericht. Haifa, June 1957.
[202] Sereny, Into that Darkness, p.362.
[203] MGK, Sobibór, pp.191-2.
[204] Ibid, p.190
[205] Barbara Distel, ‘Sobibor’, in: Der Ort des Terrors, Bd. 8, p.400.
[206] Protokol doprosa, Ivan Semenovich Shevchenko, 8.9.1944, copy in ASBU Donetsk 5734-37834, pp196-206.
[207] On Soviet trials of collaborators in general, see Tanja Penter, ‘Collaboration on Trial: New Source Material on Soviet Postwar Trials against Collaborators’, Slavic Review, Vol. 64, No. 4. (Winter, 2005), pp. 782-790.
[208] Protokol doprosa, Yakov Karplyuk, 29.10.1961, Kiev, ASBU Kiev 66437-14-9, p.225.
[209] Protokol sudebnogo zasedaniia, 20-31.3.1962, Voennyi Tribunal Kievskogo voennogo okruga, ASBU Kiev 66437-14-9pp.53-276.
[210] The preceding remarks summarise the present author’s impressions from perusing a large number of Trawniki trials from the archives of the Ukrainian SBU, microfiled at USHMM.
[211] Manfred Zeidler, Stalinjustiz contra NS-Verbrechen. Die Kriegsverbrecherprozesse gegen deutsche Kriegsgefangene in der UdSSR in den Jahren 1943-1952. Kenntnisstand und Forschungsprobleme, Dresden, 1996; Andreas Hilger, Ute Schmidt and Günther Wagenlehner (eds), Sowjetische Militärtribunale, Bd. I: Die Verurteilung deutscher Kriegsgefangener 1941-1953, Cologne, 2001.
[212] This should be apparent to any sane person reading the summaries in Rich, ‘Footsoldiers of Reinhard’; Pohl, ‘Trawnikimänner in Belzec’ and Black, ‘Footsoldiers of the Final Solution’, much less if the case files are read.
[213] For a summary of these cases, see Helge Grabitz and Wolfgang Wolfgang, Letzte Spuren. Ghetto Warschau, SS-Arbeitslager Trawniki, Aktion Erntefest. Fotos und Dokumente ueber Opfer des Endloesungswahns im Spiegel der historischen Ereignisse. Berlin, 1987.
[214] See the transcript of US vs Fedorenko, June 1978, microfilm copy available at the Wiener Library, London.
[215] Appeal brief, US vs Fedorenko, Wiener Library.
[216] On legal aspects of the Fedorenko case, see also Abbe L. Dienstag, ‘Fedorenko v. United States: War Crimes, the Defense of Duress, and American Nationality Law’, Columbia Law Review, Vol. 82, No. 1 (Jan., 1982), pp. 120-183.
[217] On the flawed identification photo-parades, see Wagenaar, Identifying Ivan.
[218] John Demjanjuk v. Joseph Petrovsky, et al, United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit. - 776 F.2d 571
[219] On the Demjanjuk case in general, see Teicholz, Ivan the Terrible; Sheftel, Show Trial; as well as the succcint summary in Douglas, Memory of Judgment, pp.185-211.
[220] Wagenaar, Identifying Ivan.
[221] Eg in Protoko doprosa Fedor Ryabeka, 25.4.1961, also on 31.8.1961, ASBU Kiev 66437-14-12, pp.21, 122.
[222] On the Roques affair, see Henry Rousso, Commission sur le racisme et le negationnisme a l’universite Jean-Moulin Lyon-III (2004), publics/044000492/index.shtml.
[223] The debt to the Polish Historical Society for sourcing and copying the air photos of Treblinka is explicitly acknowledged in all these texts. See Udo Walendy, ‘Der Fall Treblinka’, Historische Tatsachen Nr. 44, 1990; Mark Weber and Andrew Allen, ‘Treblinka: Wartime Aerial Photos of Treblinka Cast New Doubt on “Death Camp” Claims’, Journal for Historical Review, 12/2, 1991, pp.133-158; Tadeusz Skowron, Amicus Curiae Brief, Polish Historical Society, Stamford, CT, 1992,; Dr. Christian Konrad [=Germar Rudolf], ‘Polnische Historiker untersuchen angebliches Vernichtungslager. Demjanjuk-Verfahren fahrt zu Treblinka-Kontroverse’, Deutschland in Geschichte und Gegenwart 41/3, 1993, p.23ff; Arnulf Neumaier, ‘Der Treblinka Holocaust’ in: Ernst Gauss [=Germar Rudolf] (ed), Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte, Tübingen, 1994, pp.347-374.
[224] Dieter Lehner, Du sollst nicht falsch Zeugnis geben, Berg am Starnberger See: Vowinckel, 1987; Hans Peter Rullmann, Der Fall Demjanjuk. Unschuldiger oder Massenmörder?, Viöl: Verlag für ganzheitliche Forschung und Kultur, 1987.
[225] M&G, Treblinka, p.173; MGK, Sobibór, pp.9, 382-3.
[226] Cf. Richard A. Widmann, ‘The Strange Case of John Demjanjuk’, Inconvenient History 3/2, 2011,
[227] Cf. Joe Nickell, Unsolved History: Investigating Mysteries of the Past, The University Press of Kentucky 2005, pp. 34-50.
[228] This evidence is summarised by Sergey Romanov, ‘Demjanjuk and Holocaust Deniers’, HC, 5.2006, and thus need not be repeated here.
[229] See Demjanjuk vs Petrovsky, US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, 10 F.3d 338, 17.11.1993, as well as
[230] For the latest accounts of the Demjanjuk case, see Wefing, Der Fall Demjanjuk; Benz, Der Henkersknecht.
[231] MGK, Sobibór, pp.390
[232] Ibid, p.397

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