Monday, December 05, 2011

Mattogno and Policy (Part 1)

The following discussion contrasts Mattogno’s fantasies about a Nazi resettlement decision with the real historiography of the decision-making process. It shows how, in order to promote his thesis, Mattogno has to suppress evidence whilst distorting the meaning of documents that actually prove extermination.

Mattogno’s distortions begin by softening the reality of the plans that preceded the Final Solution. On page 198 of Sobibór, Mattogno claims that the Madagascar Plan formulated by Franz Rademacher[1] proposed for the Jews an “autonomous state under German supervision.” He then translates one of Rademacher’s lines as, “Within this territory, the Jews will be given autonomy in other respects: their own mayors, their own police, their own postal and railroad services, etc.” However, he omits the key sentence preceding that line, which transforms the passage in a way that Mattogno has intentionally concealed:

That part of the island not required for military purposes will be placed under the administration of a German Police Governor, who will be under the administration of the ReichsFührer SS. Apart from this, the Jews will have their own administration in this territory: their own mayors, police, postal and railroad administration, etc. [2]

Rademacher’s wording, omitted by Mattogno, clearly shows that the Madagascar reservation would have been an SS enclosure. Mattogno also omits Rademacher’s insistence that the Jews would be hostages:

Moreover, the Jews will remain in German hands as a pledge for the future good behaviour of the members of their race in America.

Mattogno’s “an autonomous state” is directly contradicted by Rademacher’s insistence that “our German sense of responsibility towards the world forbids us to make the gift of a sovereign state to a race which has had no independent state for thousands of years.” Mattogno also omits Rademacher’s rejection, in an earlier document[3], of the idea of sending Jews to Palestine, because of the “danger of a second Rome!”, even though this phrase was quoted by fellow denier David Irving in Hitler’s War. [4]

Mattogno provides contradictory versions of when the Madagascar Plan was abandoned. Treblinka (p.186) claims it was “temporarily shelved” in September 1941; Sobibór (p. 209) gives February 10, 1942, as the date. However, this is further contradicted by Graf’s insistence that Goebbels was discussing the Madagascar Plan in his March 7, 1942, diary entry:

Being one of the leading figures of the Third Reich, Dr. Goebbels would of course have known about such an extermination policy, so how do the “holocaust” historians explain the fact that he spoke of the concentration of the Jews in the East and advocated assigning them Madagascar (or another island) as late as on 7 March 1942? [5]

Mattogno and Graf get themselves into this muddle because of their insistence upon clear policy breaks that allow no overlaps, and because they wish to pretend that Madagascar and ‘resettlement to the East’ were both benign plans rather than genocidal ones.

Mattogno also ignores the fact that the Madagascar Plan evolved at the same time as written exchanges between Wetzel and Himmler on racial policy. Mattogno cites selectively from this documentation in Sobibór[6], in a lame attempt to neutralize it, but ignores its implications for the decimatory nature of ‘resettlement’. On November 25, 1939, Wetzel and Hecht stated that “We are indifferent to the hygienic fate of the Jews. Also for the Jews the basic principle is valid, that their propagation must be curtailed in every possible way.” This clearly converges with developments in 1940 ignored by Mattogno such as Brack’s proposals for sterilization by X-ray[7] and Hitler’s authorization of forced abortions. In May 1940, Himmler said that:

...I hope that the concept of Jews will be completely extinguished through the possibility of large-scale emigration of all Jews to Africa or some other colony. It must also be possible, in a somewhat longer period of time, to let the national concept of Ukrainians, Gorals and Lemcos disappear in our territory. Whatever is said concerning these splinter peoples applies on a correspondingly larger scale to the Poles.

...Cruel and tragic as every individual case may be, this method is the mildest and best if, out of inner conviction, we reject the Bolshevist method of physical destruction of a people as un-Germanic and impossible.... [8]

Himmler was thus proposing, at the very least, a short-term extermination of Jewishness as a cultural identity through emigration to Madagascar. How else would this have been achieved apart from decimation? Mattogno clings to the latter sentence about how “we reject the Bolshevist method of physical destruction of a people as un-Germanic and impossible” but this assumes that Himmler included Jews in his definition of “a people”, which is clearly very unlikely; both Wetzel and Himmler stressed that Jews were to be treated differently from the other eastern nationalities discussed in these documents. Even in the unlikely event that Himmler was rejecting the physical extermination of Jews in 1940, it would be the snapshot fallacy to cite this to try and neutralise the 1941-44 paper trail. It is possible but unlikely that Himmler rejected the idea of extermination in May 1940, but utterly ludicrous by June-December 1941.

Mattogno’s policy chapter in Treblinka (Chapter VI), duplicated in Sobibór (Chapter 7), relies heavily upon a note sent by Zeitschel, an advisor at the German embassy in Paris, for the attention of ambassador Otto Abetz, suggesting that all the Jews in places occupied by the Germans be deported to “a special territory presumably marked off for them.” Mattogno claims that:

Zeitschel's proposal was thus accepted some months later by Hitler himself, who resolved to temporarily shelve the Madagascar Plan and to deport all Jews living in the occupied territories to the east. This decision of the Führer was probably made in September 1941. [9]

The vagueness of ‘probably’ contradicts Mattogno’s demand for precision in the policy thresholds he imposes on his strawman version of the proper historiography. Moreover, the focus on Zeitschel and Abetz is selective because it ignores three crucial facts. Firstly, on the previous day, Zeitschel had proposed the sterilization of all Jews on German-controlled soil. [10]

Zeitschel’s intentions therefore clearly had a genocidal purpose, and reflected sterilization experiments that were already taking place in Berlin. [11] Secondly, when Hitler met with Abetz on September 16, 1941, the Führer discussed plans to starve millions of people in Leningrad:

The Petersburg 'nest of poison' from which for so long Asian poison had flowed into the Baltic, must vanish from the earth. The city [Leningrad] was already surrounded: all that remained to do was to pound it with artillery and from the air. Everything the population needed to survive, such as the water pipes and the power stations, would be destroyed. The Asians and Bolshevists must be chased out of Europe, the episode of '250 years of Asianness' was at an end. [12]

Abetz was therefore fully aware that the fate awaiting the Jews would involve highly attritional death rates, as Hitler had already told him that he would remove “Everything the population needed to survive” from the “Asians and Bolshevists.” Mattogno ignores this context because, by implication, it shows that Hitler would not allow Jews, who were automatically defined as enemies of the Reich, to survive in the USSR. Thirdly, Mattogno ignores the literature that shows how deportation policy in France evolved from reprisals policy. On December 14, 1941, Goebbels described impending deportations from France “to the eastern region” as “In many cases…equivalent to a death sentence.” In April 1942, a Hitler decree stipulated that “for each future assassination…500 Communists and Jews are to be turned over to the RFSS and the German Chief of Police for deportation to the East.” [13]

By May 31, 1942, 6,000 Communists and Jews had been deported as “reprisals.” [14] Deportations from France should therefore be understood as having been commenced in lieu of shooting: as an equivalent death sentence. This alone is sufficient to place Zeitschel and Abetz’s correspondence in the timeline of extermination, not (as Mattogno’s title chapter claims) ‘emigration’.

Mattogno cites Goebbels’ diary entry for August 20, 1941, but overlooks the parts of that entry, cited by Browning, which quote Hitler’s statements that Jews deported to the USSR “will be worked over in the harsh climate there” and:

As for the Jewish question, today in any case one could say that a man like Antonescu, for example, proceeds much more radically in this manner than we have done until now. But I will not rest or be idle until we too have gone all the way with the Jews. [15]

Hitler would have known that Antonescu’s Rumanian police had been liquidating Jews since July, in co-operation with Einsatzgruppe D, and driving those unfit to work into Transnistria, where most would starve or be shot. For example, Einsatzkommando 11A reported that “551 Jews have been liquidated in Kishinev.” [16]

Mattogno also discusses Goebbels’ meeting with Heydrich on September 24, 1941, in which the latter stated that Jews deported from Berlin “in the end are all supposed to be transported [...] into the camps built by the Bolsheviks” [17]; and he cites Hitler’s statement of October 6, 1941, reported by Koeppen, that “Together with the Jews of the Protectorate, all the Jews of Vienna and Berlin must disappear.” [18] However, he fails to make the obvious connection between these two statements: Heydrich’s “camps built by the Bolsheviks” had become places where the Jews of Berlin would “disappear.” How does disappearance in camps equate to a policy of resettlement?

Furthermore, Mattogno cites Heydrich’s Prague meeting of October 10, 1941, but ignores a key passage referring to how Jews would be “decimated” (dezimiert). [19] Eight days earlier, a Heydrich speech in Prague had referred to the need “to gather the plans and the raw material” and to “test the material.” [20] This indicates that the forthcoming deportations were associated with experiments taking place with “raw material.”

In pages 274-276 of Sobibór, Mattogno attempts to neutralize Wetzel’s draft to Lohse of October 25, 1941 (three weeks after Heydrich’s “raw material” speech), concerning the proposed construction of “Vergassungsapparate” (also referred to as “Brack’s device”) in Riga to kill Reich Jews incapable of work. [21]

The context of this draft should be noted. Wetzel also drafted a covering letter on behalf of Rosenberg, so claims of forgery would need to account for both drafts, not just one. [22]

Both drafts had been prepared for Lohse’s attention but must have been given to him verbally because he arrived in Berlin on the same day to protest against the planned deportation of Reich Jews to Riga and Minsk. Furthermore, only two days before this draft, and on the same day that Wetzel was meeting with Brack, Paul Wurm had written from Berlin to Franz Rademacher advising him that “many of the Jewish vermin will be exterminated through special measures.” It is thus certain that Lohse was aware of plans to kill deported Jews in the Ostland before he left Berlin. [23]

Mattogno attempts to negate this entire process by claiming that “Brack’s device” proposed by Wetzel to be used in Riga would have been “carbon monoxide cylinders”, but this is highly doubtful given that Widmann had already discussed “the impossibility to transport the CO-cylinders in Russia"[24] (and gassing tests in Mogilev using engine exhaust had already taken place) when Wetzel wrote his draft on October 25. The eventual use of gas vans in the Minsk-Mogilev area was confirmed by EK 8 driver Josef Wendl in court testimony in 1970[25], whilst Sergey Romanov of Holocaust Controversies has published a document cited by Gerlach showing the arrival of two “gas vans” (Gaswagen in the original German) in Smolensk in February 1942. [26]

Court proceedings have also uncovered that, around the end of May 1942, EK 8 received a gas van from Smolensk. The driver was SS-Hstuf Sch., who belonged to the driver Staffel of the EK. [27]

Against this raft of evidence, Mattogno cites only Brack’s Nuremberg testimony on CO cylinders, and states that this applied to the same device as in Wetzel’s draft[28], but the exchange he cites was referring only to the gassing of mental patients in T4 euthanasia centres[29] so was irrelevant to the proposed gassing of Jews in Riga.


[1]Mattogno incorrectly refers to him as ‘Fritz Rademacher’; MGK, Sobibór, p198.

[2]] Rademacher, The Jewish Question in the Peace Treaty, Berlin, 3.7.40, NG-2586-B. Online at .

[3]Peter Longerich, Holocaust. The Nazi Persecution and Murder of the Jews. Oxford, 2010, p.162, citing Rademacher an Luther, Gedanken ueber die Arbeit und Aufgaben des Ref. D III, PA, Inland II AB 347/3; synopsis Rademacher an Dannecker, 5.8.40, NG-5764.

[4]David Irving, Hitler’s War on-line edition, p.136: .

[5]Jürgen Graf, ‘Hungarian Holocaust Debate: Otto Perge vs. Dr. Laszlo Karzai’. Online at .

[6]MGK, Sobibór, pp.196-97 and pp.236-39.

[7]Brack an Himmler, 28.3.41, NO-203.

[8]Himmler an Hitler, 25.5.40, NO-1880.

[9]M&G, Treblinka, pp.184-86, citing Zeitschel an Abetz, 22.8.41, 1017-PS. Note that this Mattogno paragraph contains a direct contradiction between “some months later” and “September 1941”: Zeitschel’s proposal was dated 22.8.41, so a September decision would be one month or less afterwards.

[10]Zeitschel, 21.8.41, CDJC, V-8, published in Serge Klarsfeld, Vichy - Auschwitz. Die Zusammenarbeit der deutschen und französischen Behörden bei der "Endlösung der Judenfrage" in Frankreich. Nördlingen, 1989, p.367.

[11]Brack an Himmler, 28.3.41, NO-203.

[12]Note on the Führer's comments to Abetz, 16.9.41, ADAP [Akten zur Deutschen Auswärtigen Politik], Serie D, Bd. 13/2. Goettingen: Vandenhoek & Ruprecht, 1970, pp.424-25.

[13]Erlass des Militärbefehlshaber im Frankreich, 10.4.42, RF-1241; for context, see Ulrich Herbert, ‘The German Military Command in Paris and the Deportation of the French Jews’, in Ulrich Herbert (ed), National Socialist Extermination Policies. Contemporary German Perspectives and Controversies. London, 2000, pp.128-62; Christopher Neumaier, ‘The Escalation of German Reprisal Policy in Occupied France, 1941-42’, Journal of Contemporary History, 41/1, January 2006, pp.113-31.

[14] Herbert, ‘The German Military Command in Paris’, p.144, citing Das Geiselverfahren im Bereich des Militärbefehlshabers in Frankreich vom Aug. 1941–Mai 1942, p.40ff. BA RW 35/524.

[15]TBJG, II/1, p.266 (19.8.41) and p.278 (20.8.41).

[16] EM 45, 7.8.41.

[17] TBJG, II/I, pp.480-81 (24.9.1941).

[18] M&G, Treblinka, pp.185-86; Broszat, ‘Hitler und die Genesis der “Endlosung’, pp.739-75: TBJG II/I, pp.480-81 (24.9.41);; Miroslav Karny, Jaroslava Milotova and Margita Karna (eds), Politik im 'Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren' unter Reinhard Heydrich 1941-1942. Berlin, 1997, p.97, citing Notiz Koeppens, 6.10.41.

[19] Minutes of a discussion in Prague on the Solution of the Jewish Question presided over by Heydrich, Prague, 10.10.41, T/294.

[20] Karny, Politik im 'Protektorat Böhmen und Mähren' unter Reinhard Heydrich 1941-1942, pp.107-22.

[21] Wetzel draft an Lohse, 25.10.41, NO-365.

[22] Wetzel draft an Lohse, 25.10.41, NO-996 and NO-997.

[23] Browning, Origins, p. 369, citing Wurm an Rademacher, 23.10.41, Political Archives of the German Foreign Office, Inland II A/B 59/3.

[24] Deposition by A.Widmann, Head of Abt. V D 2 (Chemistry and Biology) in the KTI, 11.1.1960; StA Duesseldorf, Az. 8 Js7212/59 [ZSL, Az.202 AR-Z 152/59], Bl.46.

[25] Patricia Heberer, 'Justice in Austrian Courts?' in Patricia Heberer and Jürgen Matthaeus (eds), Atrocities on Trial: Historical Perspectives on the Politics of Prosecuting War Crimes. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008, p.237, citing testimony of Josef W., Strafsache gegen Josef W., Bd. IX, ON 117, p.16; see also on the gassing of mental patients in Mogilev, Andrej Angrick, Besatzungspolitik und Massenmord. Die Einsatzgruppe D in der südlichen Sowjetunion 1941-1943. Hamburg, 2003, p.368ff.

[26] EGr B, Tätigkeits- und Lagebericht, 16-28.2.42, p.7, RGVA 500-1-770; cf. Christian Gerlach, ‘Failure of Plans for an SS Extermination Camp im Mogilew’, Holocaust and Genocide Studies 11, 1997, p.77 n.83; Sergey Romanov, ‘>How the convergence of evidence works: the gas van of Auschwitz’, Holocaust Controversies, 6.10.06. Scan of document, p.7: .

[27] JuNSV, Bd. 23, Nr. 624, p.344 (Urteil LG Frankfurt/Main 4 Ks 1/65 gegen Josef Har., 12.3.66); cf. also JuNSV Bd. XXXIII, Lfd. Nr. 720; JuNSV Bd. XXXII, Lfd Nr. 702.

[28] MGK, Sobibór, pp.274-75.

[29] NMT, I, pp.876-86: .

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