Mattogno’s exegeses of wartime reports from the death camps all share in common a number of bogus assumptions. One such a priori assumption is even clearly spelled out in the titles of several of his books: that the reports can be dismissed as “propaganda”. Yet nowhere in his oeuvre does Mattogno explain what is meant by this term or justify why calling something ‘propaganda’ necessarily implies its falsity. That Mattogno doesn’t understand the meaning of the terms he is using is proven by his frequent invocation of something he calls “black propaganda”, apparently an especially nasty type of propaganda, if one follows the usage of the slogan through his oeuvre. But in actual fact the term ‘black propaganda’ has a very precise meaning, which Mattogno himself inadvertently quotes when citing Walter Laqueur speaking of how Polish underground courier Jan Karski “engaged in ‘black propaganda’ among German soldiers, printing and distributing leaflets in German”. This is a correct use of the term. Black propaganda is propaganda purporting to come from the enemy side. Mattogno’s “black propaganda” is nothing of the sort. Instead, it is just a hysterical repetition of a phrase he liked when he first read and commented on Laqueur’s book back in 1991, and which is not being correctly used.
In a number of cases, Mattogno sails onto thin ice by labelling the wartime reports he so badly wants to dismiss as ‘propaganda’ when they were nothing of the sort functionally. One can certainly call newspapers, leaflets and other publicity materials put out by a particular side in a war or in politics ‘propaganda’, without necessarily implying anything about its truth or falsity. But one cannot label internal intelligence reports, diaries, letters or other secret sources as ‘propaganda’ unless one is severely deranged or in the grip of a rabidly partisan bias. The Polish underground state, the Delegatura, was a shadow government whose regional branches reported to the centre and then transmitted those reports to the Polish government-in-exile in London. Individual units of the Polish Home Army (Armia Krajowa) filed numerous secret intelligence reports on what they observed in Nazi-occupied Poland, and these were then compiled into several serials of memoranda which appeared at regular intervals. One such serial, the Pro Memoria series of quasi-monthly situation reports were circulated internally and copied to the government-in-exile, and remained unpublished. Another serial, ‘Current Information’ (Informacja Bieżąca), was in fact an internal circular, and not an underground newspaper at all, contrary to Mattogno’s claim, although editors of the underground newspapers of the very many political factions in the Polish resistance did then receive it. A comparison between the reports of the Aktion Reinhard camps written up in Informacja Bieżąca and what appeared in the Polish underground press shows that the latter hardly had the space to run all of the information contained in ‘Current Information’; the largest newspaper, Biuletyn Informacyjny, was just eight pages long and in 1942 was largely filled with war news from the many fronts of the now global conflict. Whatever else might be said about the news of the death camps, it did not originate as “propaganda”. In similar fashion, the reports gathered and compiled by Jewish underground organisations such as the Oneg Shabes archive in the Warsaw ghetto cannot be called “propaganda” without doing considerable violence to the real meaning of the term. This does not mean that information received by Oneg Shabes was not passed to the Polish underground press via the Bureau of Information and Propaganda – in modern terms, the publicity department of the AK or, indeed, later, to the outside world, but is a comment on where the information came from. A postcard received from a shtetl in the Lublin district – just one of the many pieces of documentary evidence in the Ringelblum archive pertaining to Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka – is not, and cannot be by definition, “propaganda”. Mattogno will simply have to find another term for what he is discussing, be more discriminating in his rhetoric, or continue to earn derision.
Another bogus assumption is also shared by Samuel Crowell, who like Mattogno seems to have devised a new correspondence theory of truth to explain away wartime reports of mass murder and extermination. That is, to claim that such reports originated because of a “literary evolution” of claims, whereby the changes between different reports are not the product of outside stimuli (like new information being acquired) but are instead the product of the unnamed forger/fabricator honing and sharpening their literary skills and ‘perfecting’ the ‘propaganda’. But in no case have either Mattogno or Crowell proven such a ‘literary evolution’, a negationist cliché which is also applied to testimonies. Indeed, Crowell excelled himself by applying this rarefied version of deconstruction for white nationalists, their fellow travellers and useful idiots to a testimony by Pavel Leleko, a Treblinka II Trawniki guard captured by the 2nd Belorussian Front near Stutthof, whence he had been posted in late 1943 along with other former Treblinka Trawnikis, and who was interrogated in 1945. According to Crowell, Leleko was the blueprint for all the statements about the Aktion Reinhard camps that came after, including the Gerstein report: "all other confessions, to the extent that they describe the gassing process at all, show clear traces of harmony with Leleko's testimony". The hilarity of such a claim is that of course, there had already been a great many other statements about Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka well before Leleko’s interrogation in February 1945, and that his statement was then locked away, unpublished, unused, and entirely unknown outside the Soviet Union until the second Fedorenko denaturalisation trial in the early 1980s.
Both Mattogno and Crowell, it turns out, are extraordinarily bad at discerning the provenance of reports and identifying when a report is derivative and repetitive, versus when it is entirely independent. This ineptitude is in no small part due to their lack of awareness of the full range of reports. Pace Crowell, reports of gassing cannot be reduced to the product of hysterical rumours; pace Mattogno’s implied argument, there are too many independent sources of such reports to try and dismiss them as the product of a single ‘propagandist’. And here one must reiterate: implied argument, because Mattogno nowhere makes it clear from whence the reports originated, who started them, or why.
In both cases also, reports of gassings at extermination camps are simply hacked out of their actual wartime context, with the preceding escalation of violence and its reporting through underground channels entirely ignored. But it is a matter of record that the first reports of large-scale, four-figure killings of Polish Jews emerged in the second half of 1941 from eastern Poland, and were moreover received both by the Delegatura and by Oneg Shabes. Indeed, there is now a full publication of the reports received by Oneg Shabes from the Polish borderlands, the kresy. Such reports allowed the Delegatura to estimate that over 200,000 Polish Jews had been murdered by February 1942, a figure which in retrospect was surprisingly accurate when compared with the known shooting actions in eastern Poland during 1941.
News of Chelmno, meanwhile, not only reached the Warsaw ghetto via the escaped slave labourer Shlomo Winer, also known as ‘Szlamek’, but was noted down by AK units in the Warthegau simultaneously. Moreover, the flight of Szlamek from ghetto to ghetto, using the pseudonym Yakov Grojanowski, left further contemporary traces, not least in the diary of a rabbi from Konin. Mattogno’s attempt to defuse Szlamek’s report in his short brochure on Chelmno therefore need not detain us here, as he will have to go back to the library before his comments need be taken even vaguely seriously. But Szlamek’s role did not end with his account of Chelmno. Fearing for his safety, Oneg Shabes helped Szlamek find a new home under a new identity in Zamosc, the capital of the county in which Belzec was located. There, Szlamek swiftly discovered that he had escaped out of the frying pan into the fire, as he related in a postcard sent to Warsaw between April 5 and 12, 1942 which reached Oneg Shabes: “they make cold in the same way that they did in Chelmno. The cemetery is in Belzyc. The towns mentioned in the letter have already been made cold.”
Szlamek himself was probably deported on April 11 to Belzec, but his knowledge of the nearby extermination camp was far from unique, as the postwar testimony of the head of the Zamosc Judenrat, Mieczyslaw Garfinkiel, indicates. Garfinkiel first heard ‘alarming news’ that the Jews of Lublin were being transported through Zamosc to Belzec. At first he did not believe the news that the deportees were being killed there; not even the appearance of several escapees from the camp convinced him. Only when the son of an acquaintance returned after escaping did Garfinkiel fully believe what he was hearing.
The local Armia Krajowa command filed a confidential report in April 1942 which is worth quoting in full, not least because although it has been published and translated in full in Yitzhak Arad’s work on Aktion Reinhard, Mattogno sees fit to ignore it entirely in his book on Belzec:
The camp was fully completed a few days before March 17, 1942. From that day transports with Jews began to arrive from the direction of Lvov and Warsaw… On the first day five transports arrived, afterward, one transport arrived daily from each direction. The transport enters the railway spur of Belzec camp after disembarkation, lasting half an hour, the train returns empty…. The observation of the local population (the camp is within sight and hearing distance of the inhabitants near the railway station) led all of them to one conclusion: that there is a mass murder of the Jews inside the camp. The following facts testify to this:1. Between March 17 and April 13, about fifty-two transports (each of eighteen to thirty-five freight-cars with an average of 1,500 people) arrived in the camp.2. No Jews left the camp, neither during the day nor the night.
3. No food was supplied to the camp (whereas bread and other food articles had been dispatched to the Jews who had worked earlier on the construction of the camp).4. Lime was brought to the camp.5. The transports arrived at a fixed time. Before the arrival of a transport, no Jews were seen in the camp.6. After each transport, about two freight cars with clothing are removed from the camp to the railway stores. (The guards steal clothes.)7. Jews in underwear were seen in the area of the camp.8. In the area of the camp there are three barracks; they cannot accommodate even one-tenth of the Jews.9. In the area of the camp, a strong odor can be smelled on warmer days.10. The guards pay for vodka, which they drink in large quantities, with any requested sum, and frequently with watches and valuables.11. Jews arrived in Belzec looking for a witness who would testify that Jews are being killed there. They were ready to pay 12,000 zloty… They did not find a volunteer. … It is unknown by which means the Jews are liquidated in the camp. There are three assumptions: (1) electricity; (2) gas; (3) by pumping out the air.With regard to (1): there is no visible source of electricity; with regard to (2): no supply of gas and no residue of the remaining gas after the ventilation of the gas chamber were observed; with regard to (3): there are no factors that deny this. It was even verified that during the building of one of the barracks, the walls and the floor were covered with metal sheets (for some purpose).In the area of the camp huge pits were dug in the autumn [of 1941]. At that time it was assumed that there would be underground stores. Now the purpose of this work is clear. From the particular barrack where the Jews are taken for so-called disinfection, a narrow railway leads to these pits. It was observed that the “disinfected” Jews were transported to a common grave by this trolley.In Belzec the term Totenlager was heard in connection with the Jewish camp. The leadership of the camp is in the hands of twelve SS men (the commander is Hauptmann Wirth) who have forty guards for help.
The report is remarkable for a number of reasons. Firstly, the AK observers reported on what they saw: 52 transports arriving, whereas “no Jews left the camp, neither during the day or the night”. From this simple observation, they could deduce that something was seriously awry at Belzec, and tested this against a variety of other, enumerated observations. Like a detective in a locked-room mystery, they drew the conclusion “that there is a mass murder of Jews inside the camp”. This is in fact absolutely no different to that which can be deduced from German documents and the physical condition of the site after liberation, and is just as conclusive.
Only the precise murder method was unclear to outside observers, and thus the AK summarised the thoughts of nearby villagers as to what it was. The discrimination with which they weighed up gas, electricity and the pumping out of air is also striking, as we have here a documentation of the speculation that was circulating in the Lublin countryside. Indeed, Zygmunt Klukowski, a Polish doctor living in Szczebrzeszyn, Zamosc county, noted in his diary on April 16 that “we now know that every day there is a train arriving at Belzec from Lublin and one from Lwow, each with twenty cars. The Jews must get off, are taken behind a barbed-wire fence and murdered by an electric current or poisoned with gas and then the corpses are burned.”
Deniers have long pointed gleefully to reports of ‘electric chambers’ at Belzec without investigating the real context. Some have even tried to parlay the hearsay reports spreading across the Polish countryside into “eyewitness” accounts, a dishonesty which will be examined further in Chapter 6. But none have bothered to track the spread of the hearsay or to properly acknowledge that from the outset, there were simultaneous reports of gassing. Indeed, Mattogno’s gloss on the reports, that they did not specify “gas chambers using the exhaust gas from a diesel engine”, is a particularly odious example of the fallacy of misplaced precision and a classic instance of negationist misdirection. By omitting the AK report from his analysis, Mattogno prevented his faithful flock from learning of a report that might inflict too much cognitive dissonance on them.
It is not difficult to track the spiral of hearsay which led to ‘electric chambers’ becoming strongly associated with Belzec. But it is likewise not difficult to find references to Belzec using gas. Several Delegatura reports claimed electricity, ignoring the uncertainty in the original report, but this did not stop Stanislaw Mikolajczyk, the prime minister of the Polish government-in-exile, stating at a meeting on July 7, 1942 that “apparently, in Belzec and Trawniki, murder with poison gas.” The Pro Memoria report covering the period from August 26 to October 19, 1942, was not untypical in referring to gas chambers at Belzec. Moreover, the Polish underground was far from the only recipient of eyewitness or hearsay reports regarding Belzec. The so-called ‘Working Group’ in Slovakia, organised by among others Gisi Fleischmann, received reports in October 1942 from couriers travelling between Bratislava and ghettos in the Lublin district which still accommodated surviving Slovak Jewish deportees, that Slovak Jews had been evacuated “to the other side of the Bug”. Clarification was forthcoming by the end of November: letters from survivors informed the ‘Working Group’ about “facilities” (Anstalten) for extermination by “lethal fumes” located “near Belzec.” 
On the other hand, it seems that rumours of electricity as the killing method at Belzec persisted most strongly in the Galicia district to the east of Belzec. A Ukrainian nationalist newspaper published by the OUN, Ideya i Chyn, referred to ‘electric current’ as the method used “in Belzec” to kill the Jews being deported westwards “out of Galicia... in an unknown direction.” Two further reports from Galicia are even more instructive in their contrasting reports. Stemming from French and Belgian prisoners of war interned in the Stalag at Rawa Ruska, a major rail junction not far from Belzec, who successfully escaped across the Baltic to Sweden, the first report, taken down in February 1943, cited hearsay of “electrocution en masse” about a massacre and deportation at Tarnopol. A second report came from two Belgian POWs, who had observed hundreds of wagons passing through the Rawa Ruska rail junction and returning empty. Those who died on the way or were shot trying to escape were dumped unceremoniously onto the side of the tracks.
What made the most impression on them was the extermination of the Jews. They had both witnessed atrocities. One of the Belgians saw truck loads of Jews carried off into a wood and the trucks returning a few hours later – empty. Bodies of Jewish children and women were left lying in ditches and along the railways. The Germans themselves, they added, boasted that they had constructed gas chambers where Jews were systematically killed and buried.
The spread of knowledge was therefore and not unsurprisingly, inconsistent. In 1944 a Jewish survivor from the Galicia district, Adolf Folkmann, likewise escaped to Sweden and brought with him a hearsay account of electrocution at Belzec, manifestly elaborated in the telling and retelling. Mattogno, of course, gleefully cites this account at inordinate length, and also cites a New York Times report from February 1944 which likewise mentioned electricity as the killing method at Belzec. What he omits to mention is that the NYT report was based on the same source. Other survivors of the Holocaust in Galicia, including witnesses whose testimony was included in the Black Book compiled by Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, as well as Simon Wiesenthal, who wrote a lurid pamphlet in 1946 which additionally spoke of human soap being manufactured from corpses, also referred to electricity as the chosen killing method at Belzec.
It is a matter of indifference to us that rumours of a ‘soap factory’ attached themselves to Belzec, although it seems to exercise Mattogno greatly, just as it is a matter of indifference that distorted hearsay about electricity at Belzec was demonstrably repeated, because in both cases the reports were manifestly hearsay, something which seemingly eludes Mattogno’s co-author Jürgen Graf when he conflates Wiesenthal and Szende into apparent direct-eyeball witnesses. Historians have no great difficulty in distinguishing between such hearsay reports and more direct accounts. The cloud of hearsay distortion surrounding Belzec is a classic illustration of the adage ‘no smoke without fire’, as well as a model example of how Chinese whispers develop. The reports demonstrate that Belzec was referred to, over and over again, as a site of extermination. The distortions generated by hearsay had a clear point of origin in fact, as the Armia Krajowa report of April 1942 indicates. The facts were, indeed, rather simple: Jews went in and did not come out. Until Mattogno and his sidekicks deal with those reports and explain why they are to be set aside, then we will simply notch up ‘Belzec electric chambers’ alongside many another idiotic meme on the Denier Bullshit Bingo scorecard.
The implied argument within Mattogno’s “propaganda thesis” – insofar as one can discern a coherent argument at all – is that all reports can be traced back to Polish or Jewish sources. This is refuted in the case of Belzec by a number of reports reaching neutral recipients in 1942 and 1943, some of which have already been mentioned above. One of the more important examples was the first report to definitively reach the Swedish government in August 1942, filed by the Swedish consul in Stettin, Vendel, after a meeting with a German Army officer, most likely associated with the resistance circle around Henning von Tresckow. The report, dated August 20, ran:
The treatment of the Jews, as described by the person to whom I spoke, is of the kind that is impossible to express in writing. That is why I limit myself to a few brief pieces of information. The treatment differs in different locations, depending on the number of Jews. In some cities there are Jewish quarters; in others there are ghettos surrounded by high walls, which Jews can trespass only at the risk of being shot; finally, in some others Jews enjoy some freedom of movement. Nevertheless, the aim is the extinction of them all. The number of Jews murdered in Lublin is estimated at 40,000. The Jews over fifty years of age and children under ten are especially subjected to extermination. The rest are left alive in order to fill the gap in the workforce; they will be exterminated as soon as they are no longer useful. Their property is confiscated; it mostly falls into the hands of SS men. In the cities all Jews are gathered; they are officially informed that it is for the purpose of ‘delousing’. At the entrance they have to leave their clothes, which are immediately sent to a ‘central warehouse of textile materials’. Delousing is in practice gassing, after which all are packed into previously prepared mass graves. The source from whom I received all the information about the conditions in the General Government is such that there can be no shadow of a doubt that his description is true.
At virtually precisely the same time, as is well known, Kurt Gerstein visited Belzec, and upon his return informed the Swedish diplomat Baron von Otter of what he had witnessed there. Although Otter corroborated Gerstein’s 1945 claim to have passed on the news, no documentary trace survived in the files of the Swedish Foreign Office. The Vendel report, however, does. The reference to the liquidation of the Lublin ghetto places the report and its mention of gassing in direct connection with Belzec. Another report that can be directly connected with Belzec is a letter from the Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Uniate Church in Lwow, Sheptyts’kyi, to the Vatican at the end of August 1942, which spoke of the murder of 200,000 Jews in Eastern Galicia. The accumulation of such reports helps corroborate a wartime report based on information from Kurt Gerstein that does survive, namely the report of Gerstein’s friend in the Netherlands, J.H. Ubbink, written down in Dutch after a 1943 meeting with Gerstein in Berlin. Gerstein reported to Ubbink on his visit to ‘killing facilities’ (Tötungsanstalten) in Poland, specifically including ‘Belsjek’, where he witnessed a gassing of Jews. As the 1943 report stated (perhaps not entirely precisely relaying details from Gerstein account), “Outside the building now a big tractor is started, the exhaust of which enters the building.”
Mattogno is completely silent on the Ubbink report in Bełżec, and indeed has very little to say about Gerstein in that brochure. He might well reply by pointing to his discussion of Gerstein in Treblinka (!), and to his 1980s book on Gerstein – unfortunately, not a single copy of the latter book appears to be available in any library of the present author’s home country, so it might as well not exist for all practical purposes. The discombobulation and incoherence produced by his refusal to discuss the Ubbink report in its proper context – wartime reports about Belzec – and the more general refusal to analyse the three camps together is in our view a typical example of Mattogno’s dishonesty and intellectual vapidity.
One point that has not so far been aired regarding the reports of Belzec – there are more, but it would be merely bouncing the rubble to repeat them all – is the striking mention in the AK report of April 1942 of none other than a ‘police captain’ by the name of Wirth who commanded Belzec. It would be a colossal coincidence that the Polish resistance would succeed in naming the same man as is documented in German records as involved directly in Aktion Reinhard. With literally thousands of camps in Poland, the odds of the Polish resistance arbitrarily picking Belzec and picking Wirth by chance are indeed, astronomical. MGK might well respond by conceding that Wirth was the commandant of Belzec, but at the cost of confirming a detail mentioned by more than a few witnesses (see Chapter 6).
Mattogno’s refusal to discuss all three Aktion Reinhard camps together leads him into yet another argumentative cul-de-sac in Sobibór. Noting that there were relatively few reports about the camp, he does not stop to ask why. But this is intuitively obvious: Sobibor was even more remotely located than Belzec or Treblinka, and the news of the camp arrived at a time when reports of Chelmno and Belzec were accumulating, so that Polish underground intelligence bulletins and newspapers frequently bracketed Sobibor together with other camps.
Nonetheless, news began to accumulate in June 1942, especially reports received by Oneg Shabes in Warsaw. A postcard from Wlodawa, Chelm county, sent on June 1, 1942 warned that “uncle” (the Nazis) was preparing “the same kind of wedding for the children that we had here” and building a new house “very near to you”, and that the “best remedy for this illness” was to go into hiding. Written in veiled code, the message was received and understood by Oneg Shabes, as two couriers, Frumka Plotnicka and Chava Folman, reported back from Rejowiec and Hrubieszow with the news that Sobibor was the destination of the Jews deported from this region, and was like Belzec. A fugitive from Biala Podlaska, another town in the Lublin district caught up in the Sobibor deportations at this time, also made his way to Warsaw and informed Emanuel Ringelblum, the chief organiser of Oneg Shabes, of what had transpired: “a population ‘transfer’ (it would be more accurate to speak of a transfer’ into the beyond’) to Sobibor near Chelm, where Jews are poisoned with gas.”
Another Warsaw diarist, Abraham Lewin, spoke with a girl from Deblin-Irena who had escaped deportation on July 5, hearing a lengthy account of the brutal and violent circumstances of the deportation and how the surviving Jews tried to find out where the deportees had been sent. A Jewish woman bribed a “Gestapo agent” (presumably, a Polish informer) for information. “He told her that in Sobibor he had not found the men he was looking for. He had been told that the men had been taken to Pinsk. We should assume that this was just a pretext. He couldn’t find them because they were probably no longer in this world. For his trouble and his travel expenses, the agent extorted from the unfortunate wife and mother 1,000 zloty.” Indeed, no Jews arrived from anywhere in the Pinsk ghetto at this or any other time; Lewin correctly deduced that the story was false. “What happened in Deblin,” he continued, “also happened in the surrounding Jewish small towns such as Baranow, Micow, and Ryki. In the place of the deported Jews, Slovakian and Czech Jews were brought in. They took over the small houses of the deportees. The Jews who have been brought in work for the Germans. They are held in barracks, that means that they are in a labour camp all week and can come home to the town only on Sundays.”
Lewin was a fairly well informed observer who had already noted on May 30 that the number of victims in Galicia had reached 100,000. Lewin’s diary entry on Sobibor is instructive, as it accurately reflects Nazi policy at this time: extermination coupled with forced labour, Polish Jews – especially the unfit - deported to the death camps while Jews from Slovakia and the Reich were moved in temporarily to replace them, being targeted for deportation in later waves. The diary also reflects the blatant dissembling of the Nazis over where the Jews had gone, and the refusal of more and more Jews to believe the fairy-tales of ‘resettlement’. To take the claim of a deportation from Deblin-Irena to Pinsk literally, one would moreover have to presume that every survivor of the Pinsk ghetto was in on a gigantic conspiracy of silence, and that all German records from the Generalkommissariat Wolhynien have been falsified; moreover, even if all of these hurdles were straddled, as we will see in Chapter 2, the Jews of Pinsk were murdered in October 1942 in a mass shooting.
Other Warsaw diarists, meanwhile, did not fully assimilate the news. Chaim Kaplan still thought on July 10, 1942, that Sobibor was a gigantic work camp. Given that Sobibor was encircled with a penumbra of satellite labour camps, this was a partial truth of sorts. Indeed, a more detailed wartime report from Sobibor hailed precisely from one of the lucky few to be selected at Sobibor and sent to a nearby labour camp. It was produced by an anonymous Slovakian Jewish deportee who survived until at least August 1943 in the region and then escaped, and whose account was smuggled out to the ‘Working Group’, who then passed it on to the Czechoslovak embassy in Switzerland. Although reproduced almost in full in Jules Schelvis’ book on Sobibor, Mattogno does not see fit to acknowledge this source properly.
The report describes the writer’s deportation to Rejowiec and life in the ghetto and labour camp there, until on August 9, 1942, the ghetto and labour camp were both hit by a deportation to Sobibor, beginning with the usual massacre of the sick and escalating into an indiscriminate mass shooting of part of the assembled population, leaving around 700 Jews dead. The remaining 2,000 were transported to Sobibor, accompanied by Trawnikis (“black Ukrainians”). On arrival, men and women were separated, and a selection was carried out, picking out 155 men and women. They were told by an SS lieutenant, “you have been reborn.” They were then taken to the labour camp at Krychow, where they became part of a contingent of 1200 workers composed of 400 Czech, 200 Slovak and 600 Polish Jews. Deaths were numerous, and the group of 155 from Rejowiec lost at least 60 to typhus and exhaustion. A selection was carried out on October 16, with the selectees being transported from the camp to Wlodawa, from where they were deported to Sobibor four days later. Another selection took place on December 9, liquidating the entire camp barring 110 people. In the first half of 1943, the Krychow camp was expanded once more when the nearby labour camps at Osowa, Sawin, Sajozice and Luta were liquidated, so that the number of inmates rose again to 553. In April 1943, the camp inmates were told that ‘Belgian and Dutch Jews’ would soon arrive, but they never came. “In the vicinity of Sobibor,” the writer noted, “one can always observe fire by night, and in a wide area one can register the stink of burned hair. Various signs allow the conclusion (the population asserts it in any case) that the corpses, which had been executed previously through electricity and gas – and were later buried – are now exhumed and burned, in order to leave no trace.”
The writer’s descriptions of fires burning at night and the stink of burning hair were direct observations, his mention of “electricity and gas” were not. The mention of electricity indicates how widespread this rumour was – it was also repeated for Treblinka – but more problematic for Mattogno is why the Slovakian fugitive also mentioned gas. He had spent too little time in the forecourt at Sobibor when selected and spared for labour to learn anything of the exact inner workings of the camp, and as we will see later, there was a great deal of uncertainty among the Sonderkommandos working in the ‘outer camp’ at Sobibor about the precise killing mechanism. Nonetheless, the fact that gas was being spoken of in Chelm county in 1942-3 is instructive. It helps explain why underground newspapers were identifying gas as the killing method at both Belzec and Sobibor by early August 1942.
With the pause in operations at Sobibor through the summer of 1942, reports about the camp unsurprisingly declined, but this was not the case for Treblinka. The place name was already associated with a forced labour camp, Treblinka I, established in November 1941 that over the course of the first half of 1942 had acquired a fearsome reputation in Warsaw, as it swallowed up hundreds of Jews deported there for slave labour. The start of the Warsaw ghetto action on July 22, 1942, however, could not be mistaken for a mere labour transfer. On July 26, Stefan Korbonski radioed out of Warsaw that Nazis
have begun the slaughter of the Warsaw Ghetto. The order concerning the deportation of 6,000 was posted. One is allowed to take 15kg of luggage and jewellery. So far two trainloads of people were taken away, to meet death, of course. Despair, suicides. Polish police have been removed, their place was taken by szaulisi, Latvians, Ukrainians. Shooting on streets and in houses.
News rapidly returned to the ghetto and the city that the deportees, leaving Warsaw at the rate of 5,000 per day, were turning off the main Warsaw-Minsk railway line at Malkinia and being sent to another camp at Treblinka. The deputy commander of the Armia Krajowa, General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski, later wrote:
Not later than July 29 we learned from reports of the railway workers that transports were being taken to the concentration camp of Treblinka and that the Jews were disappearing there without a trace. There can no longer be any doubt that the deportations are the beginning of an extermination.
At this point, communications between Warsaw and the government-in-exile in London seem to have broken down, causing an ongoing postwar controversy that the government-in-exile had delayed the news of the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto. Bor-Komorski and Korbonski both claimed to have sent numerous radio messages, but few reached London. Courier communications were also hampered by the rolling-up of the “Swedish connection” shortly before the start of the action, ending an important outlet of information via Swedish businessmen based in Warsaw who smuggled Delegatura reports to Stockholm. The delays in news reaching London seriously affected how the Warsaw ghetto action and Treblinka were reported. The Times, for example, published a Reuters report datelined Zurich on August 17 stating that the head of the Jewish Council in Warsaw, Adam Czerniaków, had committed suicide after refusing to provide list of 100,000 Jews who would be deported to “an unknown destination in the east”, adding that Czerniaków realised “that the 100,000 would most probably be massacred.” 
Inside Poland, meanwhile, the Delegatura as well as other underground observers were confirming that the deportees were indeed being massacred. A report from the commander of the Armia Krajowa, General Rowecki, sent on August 19 and reaching London on August 15, stated:
Since July 22, liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto (400,000 inhabitants) has continued with great cruelty by the German police and Latvian auxiliary police. Till now 5-6 and at present 15 thousand daily have been deported. Apparently, the majority is murdered in Belzec and Treblinka, a part seems to be assigned to labor behind the front line. Mass killings and robbery along with deportation. Several tens of thousands of skilled craftsmen and their families are to remain in the ghetto. To this point more than 150,000 have been deported.
Biuletyn Informacyjny, the AK’s official newspaper, similarly wrote on August 20 that “extermination in a camp near Treblinka in gas chambers” was taking place.
Both dispatches to London as well as newspaper articles could not of course include more extensive details, but these were noted and recorded in other reports. During August and September, the Delegatura rapidly accumulated information about Treblinka, which unsurprisingly began with confused descriptions which gradually became more accurate. The edition of Current Information of August 17 – the same day as news of Czerniaków’s suicide was reported in London – wrote that up to August 7, 113,100 had been deported from Warsaw to Treblinka, along with Jews from other cities and towns in Poland such as Radom. Of their fate upon arrival, the report wrote
After the engine leaves the station, they force the Jews to undress in order to go, supposedly, to the showers. Actually they are taken to the gas chambers, exterminated there, and then buried in prepared pits, sometimes when they are still alive. The pits are dug with machines. The gas chambers are mobile, and they are situated above the pits.
The observation about mobile gas chambers, it was noted, could not be corroborated by any other source. A follow-up report, dated September 8, elaborated further on the camp:
The Treblinka extermination camp, the place where the Jews are being killed, is located near the labour camp. It is situated 5km from the Treblinka station, and 2km from Poniatowo station. There is a direct telephone link to Malkinia. There is an old camp (for Poles) and a new camp whose construction is still under way (exclusively for Jews)... The extermination of the Jews is now carried out in a way that is completely independent of the old camp. A locomotive pushes the wagons with the Jews to the platform. The Ukrainians remove the Jews from the cats and lead them to the “shower to bathe”. This building is fenced off with barbed wire. They enter it in groups of 300-500 people. Each group is immediately closed hermetically inside, and gassed. The gas does not affect them immediately, because the Jews still have to continue on to the pits that are a few dozen meters away, and whose depth is 30 metres. There they fall unconscious, and a digger covers them with a thin layer of earth. Then other groups arrive... Soon we will relay an authentic testimony of a Jew who succeeded in escaping from Treblinka”.
Mattogno cites from both of these reports with virtually no comment, as part of a section of verbatim quotes which are evidently intended to create the impression of great confusion and inaccuracy. His circumspection, however, simply begs the question as to what his argument actually is. In fact, it would appear that he doesn’t have an argument here, and is advancing what might be called the non-argument argument, whereby the mere act of quoting something is supposedly sufficient to prove a point that is not even outlined, much less explained. That early news reports are invariably somewhat garbled is more or less taken for granted by everyone other than conspiracy theorists, who seem to find discrepancies fascinating in and of themselves, or take them for proof of nefarious goings-on orchestrated by the New World Order/Illuminati/Jews/Them, rather than seeing them for what they are, namely, garbled reports.
In the two examples above, the inaccuracies are easy to decipher: both of them offer confused descriptions of how the bodies of the victims were taken from the gas chambers to the mass graves. One has the gas chamber moving, the other has a delayed-action gas so that the victims would stumble from the chamber to the graves. Considering that in reality, the corpses of the victims were hauled to the graves by exhausted slave labourers whose life expectancy in the first phase of Treblinka was measured in days, and that use was also made of flatcars travelling on field railway tracks from the chambers to the grave, both descriptions are entirely plausible coming from a witness escaping the outer camp at Treblinka who lacked either a precise line of sight or sufficient time to register their impressions properly. As with other eyewitness distortions about collapsing floors, such distortions are exactly what one would expect. Moreover, such variations clearly emanated from different eyewitness accounts, not from any kind of ‘literary evolution’ when the report-writers sat around the Shits ‘n’ Giggles department at Hoaxter Central and deliberately decided to leave Important Clues for conspiraloons to seize upon decades later. While we are fully aware that this isn’t in fact Mattogno’s argument, it might as well be, because nowhere does he even try to explain these reports or offer any kind of meaningful argument about them.
Nor does Mattogno deal properly with the fact that detailed reports on Treblinka reached two recipients at this time, the Polish underground as well as the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto. Given the chaos of the Warsaw ghetto action and the mass round-ups forcing Jews into hiding, it is unsurprising that activists in the ghetto found it difficult to learn accurate news until well into the deportation. Nonetheless, the Jewish social democratic party, the Bund, succeeded in sending emissaries to Sokolow Podlaski by the end of August, whose reports were used by Leon Feiner to write one of several reports recorded at this time. The Bund newspaper Oif der Vach published a lengthy article about Treblinka on September 20:
‘The Jews of Warsaw Are Killed in Treblinka’During the first week of the “deportation Aktion” Warsaw was flooded with greetings from the deported Jews. The greetings arrived from Białystok, Brest-Litovsk, Kosov, Malkinia, Pinsk, Smolensk. All this was a lie. All the trains with the Warsaw Jews went to Treblinka, where the Jews were murdered in the most cruel way. The letters and greetings came from people who succeeded in escaping from the trains or from the camp. It is possible that in the beginning, from the first transports, some of the Warsaw Jews were sent to Brest-Litovsk or Pinsk, in order that their greetings would mislead, deceive, and provoke false illusions among the Jews in Warsaw. Actually, what was the fate of the deported Jews? We know it from the stories of the Poles and of those Jews who succeeded in escaping from the trains or from Treblinka…The size of Treblinka was one-half square kilometer. It was surrounded by three fences of barbes wire… After unloading the train of the living and the dead, the Jews were led into the camp… During the descent from the train, shots were fired on those who were slow or even for no reason. Those who died en route or were shot on the spot were buried between the first and the second fence…The women and children from the arriving transport were divided into groups of 200 each and were taken to the “baths”. They had to take off their clothes, which remained on the spot, and were taken naked to a small barrack called the “bath”, which was located close to the digging machine. From the bath nobody returned, and new groups were entering there constantly. The bath was actually a house of murder. The floor in this barrack opened up and the people fell into a machine. According to the opinion of some of those who escaped, the people in the barrack were gassed. According to another opinion, they were killed by electrical current. From the small tower over the bath, there were constant shots. There was talk that the shots were aimed at the people inside the barrack and those who survived the gas. The bath absorbs 200 people every fifteen minutes, so in twenty-four hours the killing capacity is 20,000 people. That was the explanation for the incessant arrival of people in the camp, from where there was no return, except a few hundred who succeeded in escaping during the whole time…. During the daytime women and children were liquidated and during the nights, the men…The escape from the camp was difficult and dangerous, but there were people who tried to do it, in spite of the fact that the camp was strongly illuminated during the night… Why wasn’t a mass escape organised? There were rumours in the camp that it was surrounded by a strong guard and the fences were electrified. The people were broken from their experiences at the Umschlagplatz, on the train and in the camp. The general depression influenced also those who were, by nature, more active…An SS man gave a speech before each of the arriving transports and promised that all of them would be sent for work in Smolensk or Kiev.The night between August 19 and 20, when Warsaw was bombarded, there was a blackout in the camp for the first time. An SS man addressed the assembled Jews. He told them that an agreement had been reached between the German government and Roosevelt about the transfer of European Jews to Madagascar. In the morning they would leave Treblinka with the first transport. This announcement aroused a great joy among the Jews. As soon as the all-clear signal was given, the extermination machine started its “normal” activity. Even inside the camp, the Nazis continued to mislead the Jews until the last moment…There were three such camps: one in the vicinity of Pinsk for the eastern area, another in the area of Lublin at Belzec, and the third, the largest, was Treblinka near Malkinia.
As with many other such sources, this report is ignored by Mattogno, although one might expect the references to ‘electrical current’ to excite him. Indeed, diarists in the ghetto continued to refer to electricity well into October. Oneg Shabes activist Peretz Opoczynski reported rumours of a “giant electric chair” in Treblinka, capable of killing ten thousand Jews and Poles each day. “The Germans like to brag about their industrial prowess,” he wrote, “and so they also want to run their killing industry with American efficiency.” Emanuel Ringelblum likewise reported in a long diary entry, undoubtedly dated retrospectively to October 15, once the deportation action was over, of “the news about the gravediggers (Rabinowicz, Jacob), the Jews from Stok who escaped from the wagons... the unanimous description of the “bath”, the Jewish gravediggers with yellow patches on their knees. – The method of killing: gas, steam, electricity.”
Unanimous the reports may have been about the existence of a “bath”, there was still much confusion about the precise killing method at Treblinka, as Ringelblum’s diary entry and its smorgasbord of “gas, steam, electricity” indicates. Jacob Rabinowicz’s account had in fact described gas chambers, even specifying the use of a “diesel” engine. As will be seen in Chapter 5, calling the killing engine a “diesel” seems to have been part of the Lagerjargon of Aktion Reinhard, a misnomer borrowed from the diesel generator supplying electricity to the camp, which was located more or less alongside the petrol driven gassing engine. Thus can several inaccuracies be traced back to a similar root cause.
Another account by a Treblinka escapee written down at this time is entirely ignored by Mattogno in his attempt at tracing “the development of the idea of Treblinka as an extermination camp”, namely the lengthy description given by Abraham Krzepicki and recorded by Oneg Shabes activist Rachel Auerbach in October 1942. Krzepicki’s report, which will be referred to several times in this critique, also identified a gas chamber. As both Rabinowicz and Krzepicki had referred to gas chambers, it is mildly hard to understand why the long report compiled by Oneg Shabes activist Hersz Wasser on the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto and the extermination camp at Treblinka, dated November 15, 1942 referred to steam chambers. But only mildly hard to understand, for steam is, after all, a gas, and it is not difficult to see how the anonymous source describing steam to Wasser could have deduced that the victims were being killed with steam when witnessing the opening of a gas chamber and mistaken the emanation of exhaust fumes from the chamber for a lethal sauna.
Wasser’s report reached London by January 1943 and was published virtually in full by the end of the year in The Black Book of Polish Jewry. It was undoubtedly the source for many references to killing by steam appearing outside Poland through to 1945. A summary was included in a newspaper article appearing in the New York Times in August 1943, while another version of the long report was published in Switzerland by Adolf Silberschein in 1944. Mattogno naturally records all of this and devotes the majority of a chapter to reprinting these accounts verbatim. What he does not do is explain why further reports on Treblinka written in Poland in late 1942 and 1943 consistently talked of gas chambers. Thus, the Pro Memoria report covering August 26 to October 10, 1942 spoke of the use of “suffocating gas” at Treblinka, as did the report covering March 25 to April 23, 1943, while also describing the first measures to erase the evidence of the crime by covering the graves in quicklime.
Even if Mattogno or his acolytes were to cling to the repetition of ‘steam chambers’ outside Poland, then they would still be ignoring reports of gas chambers at Treblinka that not only reached the outside world, but were also published. One Treblinka escapee, David Milgroim, who was deported from Czestochowa in 1942 and broke out of the camp after one week, eventually made his way to Slovakia where his report was recorded at the end of August 1943, being passed to the OSS in Istanbul by early 1944. Milgroim’s description of the killing process was as follows:
The naked people who were brought there were herded into those barracks, and told that they are going to be bathed. When a batch of them is inside, poison gas was let in. Those still outside naturally tried desperately to back away when they realised what was going on inside. Then the SS and the Ukrainians with their bloodhounds went into action and forced them in. The cries we had heard came from such crowds at the moment of entering. When a batch was inside the door was closed and remained so for fifteen minutes. When it was opened again, everyone inside was dead. Now the 500 Jews employed there had to throw the corpses into the fire-ditch which stretched beyond the fence into the death-camp. Those 500 Jews were in terrible condition of physical and psychic decay. They also got very little food, and ten or twelve committed suicide daily. From their “work” they all emitted a penetrating cadaverous smell, and it was this smell which betrayed our two informants, who were discovered among us and marched away by guards.
An anonymous version of this report was published in January 1944 in the Canadian Jewish Chronicle; key lines match word for word, and thus the published version can be firmly traced back to Milgroim’s report.
In reducing his discussion of the wartime reports to the killing method alone, Mattogno also ignores a wealth of evidence concerning the progression of the deportations. Not all such reports, of course, were always accurate. For example, an account written down by a fugitive from Hrubieszow reaching the Warsaw ghetto and archived by Oneg Shabes described the Aktion in Hrubieszow at the start of June 1942 in great detail, but stated that the deportation went to Belzec rather than Sobibor. Information could be conveyed as a mixture of accurate and inaccurate reports. In January 1943, the Delegatura noted accurately that “new transports of Jews to their death continue to arrive. For example: on November 20, 1942, forty freight cars arrived from Biala Podlaska.; on November 21 and 22, every day forty freight cars from Bialystok; on November 24, forty freight cars from Grodno. During these five days, thirty-two freight cars with Jew’s clothing were sent from Treblinka to the Reich” but incorrectly stated that “lately there are transports with Jews from eastern Galicia and Rumania.” By 1943, the Delegatura was routinely identifying deportations, as the following excerpts from a weekly report from the end of June 1943 shows.
Lukow: After a week-long massacre, the liquidation of the ghetto in Lukow finally ended in the first days of June. A thousand persons were taken away to the camp at Treblinka, a small number of Jews escaped, and 2,000 were murdered on the spot....Trawniki: Selections are conducted in the Trawniki camp every few days, and the selectees go either to Sobibor or to a peat-cutting about six km from the camp. The pit or its surrounding area serve as an execution site for persons deemed unfit for work.
Polish underground newspapers reported on the deportation of Dutch Jews to Sobibor and Bulgarian Jews to Treblinka in the spring of 1943, while the Pro Memoria monthly report for July 26 to August 26, 1943, synthesised information from sources such as the weekly report quoted above to note the presence of Dutch Jews in the Dorohucza forced labour camp, the same site as the “peat-cutting about six km from” Trawniki mentioned above.
Contrary to a rather wild claim by Mattogno, the Polish underground also reported on the open air cremations at the death camps. It takes a special effort to ask in regard to open-air cremations at Treblinka “how does it happen that there is no mention of this in any of the reports of the Polish resistance movement?”, and not realise that your own source spells it out while the standard work on the Reinhard camps quotes the same point. But apparently that is the standard of research and level of accuracy that Mattogno thinks is acceptable when discussing this issue.
Although we could recapitulate even more examples, the essential point has been made: wartime reports of Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka consistently identified them as extermination camps, and such reports reached multiple recipients while originating from multiple points of origin. The killing methods were not always clear, but this is unsurprising given the organisation of all three camps into ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ camps as well as the relatively small number of escapees until the revolts in Treblinka and Sobibor during August and October 1943. Nonetheless, the preponderance of reports about the killing method identified gas or gas chambers. The most prevalent misinterpretations, steam and electricity, are not difficult to trace back to plausible origins, namely in exhaust fumes seen from a distance and the presence of electricity generators. Above all else, the Polish underground was able to track the course of the deportations with considerable accuracy and could observe transports entering the camps and not coming out.
It is not the task of this critique to detail every available wartime report on Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. It is, however, Mattogno’s task, if he wants to stand a chance in hell of advancing a coherent explanation for them. Quite possibly, Mattogno might retreat to the seeming safe haven of whining that many wartime reports were vague, or lacked this or that precise detail, or failed to live up to whatever other exacting but entirely arbitrary standard he can think of. The assumption underlying this particular fallback gambit is that there could somehow be perfect transparency and clarity of information, and that the inner workings of the death camps were somehow on public display and could be described perfectly from the get-go. No attempt, of course, is made by Mattogno to justify this assumption, although it clearly lurks beneath his presentation of the wartime reports. Inaccuracy or vagueness, however, doesn’t equal ‘hoax’ any more than contradiction or anomaly equals ‘hoax’.
On the contrary: the ability of the Polish underground as well as other observers to hit the intelligence jackpot and learn such precise details as the presence of Wirth at Belzec in the spring of 1942, as well as the week-by-week tracking of developments in 1943, beg serious questions about the plausibility of Revisionist claims that reports of extermination and gassing in the six camps of Poland where gassing took place can be dismissed as mere “propaganda”. For the Polish resistance succeeded in identifying not just one or two but all six camps as sites utilising gassing. This begs a set of questions which are nowhere even vaguely answered by Mattogno, Graf or Kues, starting with: why? If this really was just some kind of Polish underground “propaganda”, why would they misidentify six camps that MGK declare to be ‘transit camps’ one and all, as death camps? Why would they write false reports about camps swallowing up train after train, if in fact there were other trains taking the deportees on their merry way to Russia or wherever the hell it is they supposedly went? Why would they do so starting from the very beginning of 1942 with Chelmno and Belzec? Why did other observers – Jewish organisations in Poland and Slovakia, Ukrainian nationalists and churchmen, German officials, Swedish diplomats, the Dutch resistance and so on – also receive such reports? Why is there literally no report from this time mentioning trains continuing onwards from these specific camps to the occupied Soviet territories en masse? MGK’s claims are simply wildly implausible.
The implausibility increases exponentially when one considers the Nazi response to the spread of knowledge of the extermination of the Jews across Europe. It is now well established that from 1941 onwards, the Nazis said as little as possible about the deportation of the Jews in the press, while continuing to pump out antisemitic propaganda and publish speeches by Hitler as well as other leaders which proclaimed, time and again, their intention to ‘destroy’ or ‘extirpate’ the Jews of Europe. Simultaneously, knowledge spread widely across Germany and into neutral countries of the mass shootings in the occupied Soviet Union, another subject that was taboo in the Nazi press. Knowledge of the ‘Riga Bloody Sunday’ and the mass execution of the Jews of Borisov reached into Catholic and military circles on the home front with little difficulty, and spread quickly to the wider population as soldiers wrote letters home or when they returned on leave. Deserters from the Einsatzgruppen even reached Switzerland and recounted their involvement in mass shootings in considerable detail to Swiss military intelligence.
The regime response was both belated and transparently nonsensical. On October 9, 1942, the Party Chancellery sent a circular to offices of the NSDAP with “confidential” instructions on how to spin the Final Solution of the “Jewish Question”, in which it was claimed that Nazi policy, “starting in the Reich itself and then extending into other European countries included in the Final Solution,” was to move the Jews “into large camps in the East, some already in existence, others yet to be set up.” This was fine and good, were it actually the policy, but in fact, deported Jews were disappearing from across Europe to “unknown destinations” where they could not be reached by post or any other form of communication and would be reported as “whereabouts unknown.” The absence of news from the deportees was a major red flag for neutral and Allied observers alike. Thus when reports began to roll in of mass killings and extermination, Swiss newspapers asked “are the deported Jews being killed?”, and were met with silence from the Nazi press and media.
Indeed, Goebbels and the Propaganda Ministry were quite clear that they could not stem the tide of reports of extermination because they could not provide a plausible alibi, cover story or proof-of-life. A conference on December 12, 1942, was devoted in part to figuring out how to distract attention from the reports. Goebbels admitted “that we do not have all that much to bring forth by way of counter-evidence.” The same day, he wrote in his diary that
The atrocity campaign about Poland and the Jewish Question is assuming enormous dimensions on the other side. I fear that over time we cannot master the issue with silence. We have to have some kind of answer... It is best to go over to the offensive and talk about English atrocities in India or the Middle East. Perhaps that will get the English to keep quiet. In any case, by doing so, we change the subject and raise another issue. 
Two days later, Goebbels admitted that “there can be no question of a complete or practical refutation of the allegations of anti-Jewish atrocities.” The half-hearted denials and denunciations of the United Nations Declaration on the Extermination of the Jews, issued on December 17, 1942, prompted the following response from the Polish government in exile:
Sir - In view of the German allegation that the stories of German atrocities, published here, are "British propaganda lies", it may be a useful suggestion that Mr. Eden should officially challenge Germany to allow a special commission, consisting of neutrals and International Red Cross representatives, to visit Poland.Let the Germans show to this commission on the spot: (1) Where have the millions of Jews been deported to? (2) Where are, and how many are still alive out of, the nearly 3,500,000 Polish Jews and between 500,000 and 700,000 Jews deported to Poland from other occupied countries during the year 1942?Yours faithfullySzm. Zygielbojm,Member of the National Council of the Republic of PolandStratton House, Stratton Street, W1
No such international or neutral commissions, of course, ever visited the “large camps in the East” which the Party Chancellery had spoken of in October 1942. The sole visit to any camp in Poland organised by the Nazis to refute the reports of extermination was in fact conducted by a tame Slovakian journalist, who was taken on a tour of the Organisation Schmelt forced labour camp complex in Upper East Silesia in December 1942 by Eichmann’s office. It may need to be pointed out to geographically-challenged negationists that the Schmelt camps were to the west of Auschwitz. When in the spring of 1943, the Catholic Church in Slovakia began to denounce the deportations of Slovakian Jews and to ask what had happened to them, the best that Eichmann and his men could think of was to offer to arrange a visit to the Potemkin ghetto of Theresienstadt, hardly capable of accommodating the several million missing deportees. Seventy-eight years after Zygielbojm’s letter, we are still waiting for a coherent response from Hitler’s willing defense lawyers regarding the whereabouts of the ‘missing Jews’, as we will see in Chapter 4. Alas for them, Nazi Germany and its apologists forfeited the right to be taken seriously on this question in 1943.
 The term propaganda can be found in the titles of Mattogno, Bełżec; Carlo Mattogno, The Bunkers of Auschwitz: Black Propaganda versus History, Chicago: Theses & Dissertations Press, 2004; Mattogno, Chelmno; MGK, Sobibór.
 Mattogno, Bełżec, pp.22, 26; MGK, Sobibór, p.47, 180, 187
 Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret: An Investigation into the Suppression of Information about Hitler’s “Final Solution”, New York, 1998, p. 230.; cf. Mattogno, Bełżec, p.22;
 Carlo Mattogno, La soluzione finale. Problemi e polemichi, Padova: Edizioni di Ar, 1991, p.145. The relevant passage is repeated verbatim in Mattogno, Bełżec, p.22
 For background on the Polish government-in-exile’s reactions to the Holocaust, see David Engel, In the Shadow of Auschwitz: The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews, 1939-1942. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987, and Facing a Holocaust. The Polish Government-in-Exile and the Jews 1943-1945. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1993
 Janusz Gmitruk et al (eds), Pro Memoria (1941-1944). Raporty Departmentu Informacji Delegatury Rzadu RP na Kraj o zbrodniach na narodzie polskim. Warsaw/Pultusk, 2004/2005
 M&G, Treblinka, p.47
 On the Polish underground press, see Klaus-Peter Friedrich, Der nationalsozialistische Judenmord in polnischen Augen: Einstellungen in den polnischen Presse 1942-1946/47, PhD, Universität zu Köln, 2002.
 Cf. Ruta Sakowska, ‘Biuro Informacjii Propagandy KG Armii Krajowej a Archiwum Ringelbluma (luty-lipiec 1942), BZIH 162-163, 1992.
 Most notably, the Bund report of June 1942 and the report of November 1942 written by Hersz Wasser on the liquidation of the Warsaw ghetto and the Treblinka extermination camp.
 This approach is embedded into the title of Chapter I of Mattogno, Bełżec, pp.9-34: ‘Literary Origins and Development of the Alleged Methods of Murder’.
 Crowell, Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes, p.50
 A good summary of this phase is in Dariusz Stola, ‘Early News of the Holocaust from Poland’, HGS 11/1, 1997, pp.1-27; the most recent and most exhaustive account is in Adam Puławski, W obliczu Zagłady. Rząd RP na Uchodźstwie, Delegatura Rządu RP na Kraj, ZWZ-AK wobec deportacji Żydów do obozów zagłady (1941-1942). Lublin: Instytut Pamięci Narodowej, 2009.
 Andrzej Zbikowski, (ed.), Archiwum Ringelbuma: Konspiracyjne Archiwum Getta Warszawy, vol. 3: Relacje z Kresów, Warsaw: Zydowski Instytut Historyczny IN-B, 2000.
 Puławski, W obliczu Zagłady, pp.153-4; Stola, ‘Early News’, p.4.
 The identity of ‘Szlamek’ has been clarified beyond reasonable doubt in Przemyslaw Nowicki, ‘Zanim “przybył z zaświatów”, nazywał się Winer. Krąg rodzinny i konspiracyjny Szlamka, uciekiniera z ośrodka zagłady w Chełmnie nad Nerem, Zagłada Zydow, 2009, pp.162-192.
 Puławski, W obliczu Zagłady, p,83ff. The AK continued to report on Chelmno through 1942, cf. Michael Alberti, Die Verfolgung und Vernichtung der Juden im Reichsgau Wartheland 1939-1945. Wiesbaden, 2006, p.451 n.403.
 Kassow, Who Will Write Our History? p.291. This has caused a number of authors to misidentify Szlamek’s real name as Grojanowski.
 Esther Farbstein, ‘Diaries and Memoirs as a Historical Source – The Diary and the Memoir of a Rabbi at the ‘Konin House of Bondage’,’ YVS XXVI, 1998, pp.87-128.
 Mattogno, Chelmno, pp.66-76. The criticisms levelled are mostly paranoid nitpicks or statements of incredulity and incomprehension, for example Mattogno does not consider that the description of the internal workings of the gas van in Szlamek’s report are closer to the previous generation of vans used by Sonderkommando Lange in its euthanasia operations across the Warthegau in 1940-41. Cf. Patrick Montague, Chelmno and the Holocaust. The History of Hitler’s First Death Camp. London: I.B. Tauris, 2011, pp.203-4, who comes to the same conclusion.
 Reproduced in facsimile in Ruta Sakowska (ed), Archiwum Ringelbluma. Konspiracyjne Archiwum Getta Warszawy. Tom 1: Listy o Zagładzie. Warsaw, 1997, p.131
 Michal Grynberg and MariaKotowska (eds), Zycie i zaglada Zydow polskich 1939-1945. Relacje swiadkow. Warsaw: Oficyna Naukowa, 2003, p.151-4 (from AZIH zespol 302/122); cf. Hilberg, Vernichtung, Bd.2, p.518.
 Zygmunt Marikowski, Zwiazek Walki Zbrojnej, I, Armia Krajowa w Okregu Lubelskim, London. 1973. Book Two, Documents, pp.34-35, also translated and cited in Arad, Belzec, Sobibor Treblinka, pp.350-1
 Zygmunt Klukowski, Dziennik z lat okupacji, Lublin, 1959, p.254; cf. Musial, Deutsche Zivilverwaltung, p.324; Puławski, W obliczu Zagłady, p.291. The reference to the burning of corpses is a typical example of ‘slippage’: it is not unlikely that rubbish was burned at the camp, which together with the fact that deportees were entering the camp and not coming out, would be easily misinterpreted at this stage. Later testimonies and reports about open-air cremations are more detailed, as will be seen in Chapter 6.
 Biuletyn Informacyjny, the official organ of the AK, repeated the uncertainty over ‘poison gas or electric current’ in August 1942: see edition Nr 32 (136), published in Biuletyn Informacyjny. Czesc II: Przedruck rocznikow 1942-1943, Warsaw, 2002, p.1045; cf. Friedrich, Der nationalsozialistische Judenmord in polnische Augen, p.113; Markus Roth, Herrenmenschen: Die deutschen Kreishauptleute im besetzen Polen – Karrierwege, Herrschaftspraxis und Nachgeschichte, Osnabrück: Wallstein, 2009, pp.227-8.
 Stola, ‘Early News’, p.7. In a recent article, Thomas Kues has highlighted a report appearing in the Polish exile newspaper Dziennik Polski on 11 July 1942, in which Mikolajczyk is quoted as referring to deportations to ‘Belzec and Treblinka’. As the official protocol of the cabinet meeting apparently says ‘Trawniki’, the gambit – trying to stir up suspicion about a too-early referece to deportations to Treblinka – fails utterly. Somewhere along the chain of transmission from local underground organisation to London and thence to the Dziennik Polski journalist, the information became garbled – something which was clear from re-reading Stola’s article for this critique. The present author previously expressed the suspicion that Udo Walendy had altered the original newspaper to score a revisionist ‘goal’, and is happy to accept that he was acting like, well, a Revisionist. See Thomas Kues, ‘A Premature News Report on a ‘Death Camp’ for Jews’, Inconvenient History 3/3, 2011.
 Sprawozdanie z sytuacji w kraju w okresie 26 VIII – 10 X 1942, in Gmitruk (ed), Pro Memoria, p.251
 Gila Fatran, ‘The “Working Group”,’ HGS 8/2, 1994, pp.164-201, here pp.182-3
 Dieter Pohl, Nationalsozialistische Judenverfolgung in Ostgalizien 1941-1944. Munich: Oldenbourg Verlag, 1996, p.326
 Press Reading Bureau Stockholm to PID London, 24.2.43, PRO FO 371/34427. The report was first highlighted in 1990 in David Bankier, The Germans and the Final Solution: Public Opinion under Nazism, Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1992, p.110.
 PRB Stockholm to PID London, 18.5.43, PRO FO 371/34430; cf. Bankier, p.110
 Stefan Szende, Adolf Folkmann, The Promise Hitler Kept, London: Victor Gollancz, 1945
 New York Times, 12.2.1944, p.6
 Folkmann was also the most likely source for Stefan Tadeusz Norwid, Landet utan Qusling, Stockholm: Bonniers, 1944, pp.102-4, which likewise mentioned electricity at Belzec.Cf. Ingvar Svanberg and Mattis Tyden, Sverige och förintelsen. Debatt och dokument om Europas judar 1933-1945. Stockholm: Dialogos, 2005, pp.364-8, also including a full excerpt of Norwid’s account. Mattogno, Bełżec, p.21, quotes from the German edition, Martyrium eines Volkes, 1945..
 Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, The Complete Black Book, pp.213-4.
 Simon Wiesenthal, ‘Seifenfabrik Belsetz,’ Der neue Weg, Nr. 19/20, 1946. We thank Dr. Joachim Neander for a copy of this article. On Wiesenthal’s rather complex self-presentation after the war, see the engaging recent biography by Tom Segev, Simon Wiesenthal. The Life and Legends, London: Jonathan Cape, 2010, which unlike denier rantings aimed at one of their favourite hate-figures, at least has the virtue of being readable.
 Mattogno, Bełżec, pp.33-34
 Jürgen Graf, The Giant With Feet of Clay. Raul Hilberg and his Standard Work on the "Holocaust". Chicago: Theses and Dissertations Press, 2001., p.83
 This was emphasised by the Polish underground press in the first half of1942 regarding Belzec, which was identified as “a special camp, where the expelled Jews are concentrated and apparently murdered” (WRN, 7/89, 27.4.1942, a socialist paper), and about which “all signs indicate that the murder of thousands of people takes place in this camp” (Biuletyn Informacyjny Nr 22 (126), 3.6.1942) and that it was a camp “from which no one returns” (Szaniec, Nr 12 (86), 15.6.1942, a right-wing paper), citations from Friedrich, Der nationalsozialistische Judenmord, pp.174-5, 112, 235. The degree of unanimity across the political spectrum is also worth emphasising.
 Jozef Lewandowski, ‘Early Swedish Information about the Nazis’ Mass Murder of the Jews’, Polin, 2000, pp.117-8
 Cf. Steven Koblik, The Stones Cry Out: Sweden’s Response to the Persecution of the Jews 1933-1945, New York: Holocaust Library, 1988, p.58ff
 Actes et documents du Saint Siège relatifs à la seconde guerre mondiale. Le Saint Siège et les victimes de la guerre. Tome 3/2. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1967, pp.625-9, esp. 625; cf. also Pohl, Ostgalizien, p.329-330. On Sheptyts’kyi see also Hansjakob Stehle, ‘Der Lemberger Metropolit Šeptyćkyj und die nationalsozialistische Politik in der Ukraine’, VfZ 34/3, 1986, pp. 407-425; Shimon Redlich ‘Metropolitan Andrei Sheptyts’kyi, Ukrainians and Jews Before, During and After the Holocaust, HGS 5/1, 1990, pp.39-51
 The report is facsimiled in Louis de Jong, Een Sterfgeval in Auschwitz, Amsterdam, 1967 and 1970, without pagination. On the Ubbink report see also Louis De Jong, ‘Die Niederlande in Auschwitz’, VfZ 17/1, 1969, pp.1-16, and more recently Florent Brayard, ‘An Early Report by Kurt Gerstein’, Bulletin du Centre de recherche francais a Jerusalem 6, 2000, pp.157-174.
 M&G, Treblinka, pp.128-132.
 Carlo Mattogno, Il rapporto Gerstein. Anatomia di un falso. Monfalcone: Sentinella d’Italia, 1985.
 MGK, Sobibór, p.63.
 Sakowska (ed), Archiwum Ringelbluma. Listy o Zagładzie, pp.151-155
 Ruta Sakowska, Die Zweite Etappe ist der Tod. NS-Ausrottungspolitik gegen die polnische Juden gesehen mit den Augen der Opfer, Berlin: Edition Hentrich, 1993, p.40ff; cf. Kassow, Who Will Write Our History? p.293
 Hilberg, Vernichtung, p.525, citing Emanuel Ringelblum’s diary entry of 17.6.1942, published by Joseph Kermisz in YVS VII, 1968, p.178. Cf. similar entries in diary of Hersh Wasser, Joseph Kermisz, ‘Daily Entries of Hersh Wasser’, YVS XV, 1983, pp.201-282, esp entries of 26.5.42 and 30.5.42, pp.277, 282
 Havi Ben-Sasson and Lea Preiss, ‘Twilight Days: Missing Pages from Avraham Lewin’s Warsaw Ghetto Diary, May-July 1942’, YVS XXXIII, 2005, pp.7-60, here pp.48-51, citation p.51
 On the history of the Jews of Pinsk and the ghetto in 1941-2, see E.S Rozenblat and I.E. Elenskaia, Pinskie evrei: 1939-1944 gg. Brest, 1997.
 Ben-Sasson/Preiss, ‘Twilight Days’, p.51
 Lewin, A Cup of Tears, p.107ff
 See Chapter 3.
 Chaim Kaplan, Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary of Chaim A. Kaplan, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999, p.370
 Tatsachenbericht eines aus der Slowakei deportierten und zurückgekehrten Juden, 17.8.43, VHA Fond 140/59, pp.41-50 (Papers of J. Kopecky)
 Schelvis, Vernichtungslager Sobibór, pp.253-259
 At this time, the rail line to Sobibor north of the camp was being regauged; Rejowiec is however to the south.
 Tatsachenbericht eines aus der Slowakei deportierten und zurückgekehrten Juden, 17.8.43, VHA Fond 140/59, p. 50
 Friedrich, Der nationalsozialistische Judenmord im Augen der Polen, p.335, citing Przez walke do zwyciestwa mit, wdz Nr 18 (56), 10.8.42
 See Chapter 3.
 Lithuanian auxiliary police, also known as Shaulists.
 Cited in Stola, ‘Early News’, p.9
 Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski, The Secret Army, London, 1950, pp.97-99
 Stola, ‘Early News’, pp.10-12
 Józef Lewandowski, Swedish contribution to the Polish resistance movement during World War Two (1939-1942), Uppsala: Uppsala Universitet, 1979
 The Times, 17.8.42, cf. Gilbert, Auschwitz and the Allies, p.63
 Stola, ‘Early News’, p.12
 Krakowski, Holocaust in the Polish Underground Press, p. 250
 Informacja Bieżąca Nr 30 (55), 17.8.1942, published in Marczewska/Waźniewski, ‘Treblinka w świetle Akt Delegatury’, pp.136-7
 A mobile gas chamber was also recorded in the diary of Wehrmacht captain Wilm Hosenfeld on 6.9.1942. In our view, this would trace back to the same original source. Entry published in Wladyslaw Szpilman, Das wunderbare Überleben. Warschauer Erinnerungen 1939-1945. Düsseldorf, 1998, p.197ff
 Informacja Bieżąca Nr 33 (58), 5.9.1942, published in Marczewska/Waźniewski, ‘Treblinka w świetle Akt Delegatury’, pp.137-8
 M&G, Treblinka, p.48
 See Chapter 6.
 Daniel Blatman, For Our Freedom and Yours: The Jewish Labour Bund in Poland, 1939–1949. London: Vallentine Mitchell, 2003, pp.102-4.
 Cited from Arad, ‘Reinhard’, pp.244-6
 Kassow, Who Will Write Our History?, p.192, citing AR-II, No.289 (9.10.1942)
 Jacob Sloan (ed), Notes from the Warsaw Ghetto. The Journal of Emmanuel Ringelblum, New York: ibooks, 2002, pp.320-1
 Rabinowicz’s report is published in Ruta Sakowska (ed), Archiwum Ringelbluma, getto warszawskie: lipiec 1942-styczen 1943. Warsaw, 1980.
 Abraham Krzepicki, ‘Treblinka’, BZIH 43-44, 1962, pp.84-109; on Auerbach’s role see Kassow, Who Will Write Our History?, pp.309-11
 The Polish original is published in Marczewska/Waźniewski, ‘Treblinka w świetle Akt Delegatury’, pp.138-145; for English translations, see below.
 J. Apenszlak (ed), The Black Book of Polish Jewry, pp.141-7. This title can be read free of charge at Hathi Trust Digital Library, so will not be reproduced here.
 ‘2,000,000 Murders by Nazis Charged, Polish Paper in London Says Jews Are Exterminated in Treblinka Death House’, NYT, 8.8.1943, p.11, citing an article published in Polish Labor Fights on 7.8.1943. Poland Fights, a related organisation, recorded the existence of a ‘Tremblinka III’ for Jews alongside a ‘Tremblinka II’ for Poles in an enumeration of camps in Poland appended to Poland Fights, Oswiecim – Camp of Death, New York, 1944, pp.45-6. The ‘Tremblinka’ report referencing steam was also published in the Canadian Jewish Chronicle, 20.8.1943.
 Adolf Silberschein, Les camps d’extermination en Pologne III, Geneva, 1944
 M&G, Treblinka, pp.51-64
 Sprawozdanie z sytuacji w kraju w okresie 26.VIII-10.X.1942, in Gmitruk (ed), Pro Memoria, p.273
 Pro memoria o sytuacji w kraju Generalnie Gubernatorstwo i Ziemie Wschodnie w okresie 25.III-23.IV.1943 r., in Gmitruk (ed), Pro Memoria, p.323
 Breitman, ‘Other Responses to the Holocaust’, p.51; the report was already highlighted by Hilberg, Vernichtung, Bd. 3, p.1202 n.220.
 Canadian Jewish Chronicle, 14.1.1944.
 Adam Kopciowski and Dariusz Libionka (eds), ‘Życie i Zagłada w Hrubieszowie w oczach młodej warszawianki’, Zagłada Zydow, 2007, pp.229-240
 Aneks nr 45 za czas od 1 do 15.I.1943 r., published in Marczewska/Waźniewski, ‘Treblinka w świetle Akt Delegatury’, also cited in Arad, ‘Reinhard’, p.356
 Ref.Zeg/IX, Informacja tygodniowa, 30.6.1943, AAN 202/XV-2, fols. 341-42.
 Dutch transports: Friedrich, Nationalsozialistischen Judenmord, p.309, citing Prawda Nr 4, 4.43 (Catholic newspaper); Bulgarian transports: ibid, pp.178-9, citing Dziennik Polski Nr 528, 5.6.1943
 Pro memoria o sytuacji w kraju. Generalne Gubernatorstwo i Ziemie Wschodnie w okresie 26.VII-26.VIII.1943 r., in Gmitruk (ed), Pro Memoria, p.437
 Ibid, p.437. The burning of bodies at Treblinka had indeed long been mentioned in the underground press; cf. Friedrich, Nationalsozialistischen Judenmord, p.178, citing Dziennik Polski Nr 517, 13.5.1943.
 M&G, Treblinka, p.148
 Marczewska/Waźniewski, ‘Treblinka w świetle Akt Delegatury’, p.154
 Arad, ‘Reinhard’, p.358
 Mattogno has elsewhere tried to repeat the same isolationist nitpicking spam-quote routine for Auschwitz and Majdanek, utilising Polish publications excerpting reports on the individual camps, most notably the compilations ‘Oboz koncentracyjny Oswiecim w swietle akt Delegatury Rzadu RP na Kraj’, Zeszyty Oswiecimskie, 1968, special issue 1 for Auschwitz, as well as Krystyna Marczewska and Władysław Waźniewski, ‘Obóz koncentracyjny na Majdanku w świetle akt Delegatury Rządu RP na Kraj,’ and Jolanta Gajowniczek, ‘Obóz koncentracyjny na Majdanku w świetle 'Dzennika Polskiego' i 'Dziennika Polskiego i Dziennika Żołnierza' z latach 1940-1944,’ Zeszyty Majdanka, VII, 1973, pp. 164-241, 242-261. It has evidently not occurred to him to examine all the camps in tandem, or if it has, he has realised that doing so would severely undermine his methdology of the non-argument argument mixed in with vague conspiracising and arguments to incredulity.
 See on reactions and knowledge within Germany Peter Longerich, ‘Davon haben wir nichts gewusst!’ Die Deutschen und die Judenverfolgung 1933-1945. Munich, 2006; Dörner, Die Deutschen und der Holocaust; Frank Bajohr and Dieter Pohl, Der Holocaust als offenes Geheimnis. Die Deutschen, die NS-Führung und die Alliierten. Munich: C.H. Beck, 2006; on antisemitic propaganda see Jeffrey Herf, The Jewish Enemy. Nazi Propaganda during World War II and the Holocaust. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2006. All of these important studies appeared in 2006-7.
 The Reich Press Office ordered on 7.1.1942 that nothing was to be mentioned regarding “the Jewish question in the occupied eastern territories”. Herf, Jewish Enemy, p.138
 On reactions to the Riga massacre in the Berlin episcopate, see Michael Phayer, ‘The Catholic Resistance Circle in Berlin and German Catholic Bishops during the Holocaust’, HGS 7/2, 1993, pp.216-229; on the rapid spread of knowledge of the Borisov massacre among officers of OKH and OKW, see Johannes Hürter, Hitlers Heerführer. Die deutschen Oberbefehlshaber im Krieg gegen die Sowjetunion 1941/42. Munich: Oldenbourg, 2006, pp.563-5
 Michaela Kipp, ‘The Holocaust in the letters of German soldiers on the Eastern front (1939-44)’, Journal of Genocide Research, 9/4, 2007, pp.601 -615
 See the extensive documentation of reports among the German population in Otto Dov Kulka and Eberhard Jäckel (eds), Die Juden in den geheimen NS-Stimmungsberichten 1933-1944, Düsseldorf, 2004
 Einvernahme-Protokoll des deutschen Deserteurs Unteroffizier xyz, 28.2.42, published in Diplomatische Dokumente der Schweiz, Bd. 14, Berne, 1997 (doc nr. 296)
 Vertrauliche Informationen der Partei-Kanzlei, Folge 66, 9.10.1942, 3244-PS, also published in Peter Longerich (ed), Die Ermordung der europäischen Juden, Munich; Piper, 1989, p.433ff. This document is quoted verbatim in MGK, Sobibór, pp.210-212, as if it constitutes actual proof of “resettlement”.
 FS RSHA IV B 4 A an BdS Frankreich, Betr.: Ausstellung von Bescheinigungen für Evakuierte, 9.12.1942, gez. Eichmann, T/37 (65).
 This is very apparent from Jean-Claude Favez, The Red Cross and the Holocaust, New York : Cambridge University Press, 1999 (French original 1988).
 Toggenburger Tageblatt, 10.10.1942, cited in Dörner, Die Deutschen und der Holocaust, p.271. On Swiss knowledge in general, see Gaston Haas, ‘Wenn man gewusst hätte, wass drüben im Reich abspielte’. Was man in der Schweiz von der Judenvernichtung wusste 1941-1943. Frankfurt am Main, 1994.
 Minister Conference of 12.12.1942, published in Willi Boelcke (ed), The Secret Conferences of Dr. Goebbels: The Nazi Propaganda War, 1939-1943, New York: Dutton, 1970.
 TBJG II/6, pp.438-9 (13.12.1942).
 Minister Conference of 14.12.42, published in Boelcke (ed), Secret Conferences, pp.308-9.
 Letter to the Editor, The Times, 20.1.1943, p.5
 On the visit to the Schmelt camps and proposed tour of Theresienstadt see RSHA IV B 4, Aussiedlung der Juden aus der Slowakei – Hirtenbriefe der slowakischen Bischöfe gegen die staatlichen antijüdischen Massnahmen, 3.6.1943, gez. Eichmann, T/1108. On the reactions of the Slovakian Church see Michael Phayer, The Catholic Church and the Holocaust, 1930-1965. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000, p.86ff