Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Carlo Mattogno's Scholarly Death Certificate

In a previous blog posting, the systematic falsification of death causes in Auschwitz was pointed out. The evidence is not new, available since some years and accessible for any researcher or interested person. How did Revisionists, namely their front man on Auschwitz Carlo Mattogno, deal with it? 

First it seems that Mattogno did not pay any attention to the important issue whether the death causes provided in the Auschwitz death books are reliable. As far as I know, it was only in 1999, when John Zimmerman confronted him with some of the evidence in his article Body Disposal in Auschwitz: The End of Holocaust Denial (which I would like to mention - since Mattogno erroneously labeled me in as part of his fictional "Zimmerman aid committee" - I do not think is without its flaws) that Mattogno commented on the issue in his Supplementary Response to John C. Zimmerman on his Body Disposalat Auschwitz

Mattogno made a valid point against Zimmerman that the case of a child supposedly died of an old-age disease may have been a “simple error”, but he entirely ignored the major evidence cited by Zimmerman, the testimonies of Wieslaw Kielar, Ella Lingens Reiner, Pery Broad and Jenny Schauner. He seemed to believe that testimonial evidence can be ignored (if one just does not like it), does not need to be discussed and does not contribute anything to the body of the evidence. But from a point of view of historiography, there is no excuse for not taking into account the testimonial evidence. 

Mattogno accepted – for real or just for the sake of argument– that 168 prisoners executed on a single day were issued false death causes, but disputed that these 0.2 % cases “would be the proof of the alleged mass falsification of causes of death in the certificates”. But this is distorting Zimmerman’s actual argument. He did not cite the incident as isolated proof for a mass falsification on a very large scale, but as corroboration of the testimonial evidence (still ignored by Mattogno) that the death causes were systematically and on mass falsified. 

Moreover, by putting the 168 falsifications in relation to the whole number of remaining death book entries, Mattogno was also distorting the meaning and proper interpretation of this evidence. If the 168 falsifications took place in a period of 800 days, then indeed in relation to the total number, the falsifications could be classified as casual, isolated incidents. However, the falsification of the 168 death causes on a single day is clearly evidence for a systematic mass falsification.  

It further shows that it was not a problem in Auschwitz to kill 168 people on a day and then systematically issuing fake death certificates and death book entries for them. But that such practise was possible immediately questions the reliability of any death book entry, and actually reverses the burden of proof: Since some mass falsification of death certificates occurred in Auschwitz, it is reasonable to demand independent corroboration if one wants to accept a natural death cause listed in the death books.

In 2003, so some four years later, enough time to work out a reasonable explanation, Mattogno brought forward the hypothesis that death certificates were falsified in Auschwitz because "it may be that the individuals responsible in some cases thought that it would be easier to bypass the bothersome bureaucratic paperwork and to list a false cause of death instead". 

So Mattogno was now seriously suggesting that SS doctors and members of the Political Department were falsifying documents - and committing a serious crime that could have resulted in drastic personal consequences for them - because it was too "bothersome" to do some paperwork.  By the way, what happened to the German perfectionism and exactness that Revisionists try to point out whenever it suits them against homicidal gassings? (this argument is directed to average Revisionists that one comes across in internet discussion forums who like to play with this kind of reasoning).

Now, Mattogno's explanation is unreasonable and contradicting any common sense. A falsification of the documents had to be ordered and approved by superiors or was considered justified by individuals for a serious reason - and "bothersome...paper work" is certainly none. A serious reason would be for instance to cover up a crime.

Secondly, he entirely ignored again the testimonial evidence which shows that the death certificates were systematically falsified not because of bothersome paper work but to cover up killings.

Thirdly, Mattogno's explanation is actually rebutted by the case of Alex Farkas. Farkas was shot on escape and some "bothersome bureaucratic paper work" was filled out and his case submitted to the SS court in Breslau - yet they issued a false death book entry in Auschwitz for him.

In 2005, Mattogno changed (?) his view and offered a different explanation in the book "Auschwitz Lies". He believed that "some complaisant camp physician had been willing to cover Grabner’s crimes by falsifying the death certificates of detainees illegally shot by Grabner". Admittedly, this new explanation is somewhat more reasonable, as Mattogno at least acknowledges a possible serious reason to justify the falsification. Yet one wonders what happened to his previous hypothesis of bothersome paper work? Is it still valid or dismissed? Did Mattogno find any fresh evidence that triggered the new view or does he change it at will?

There are some more problems with his 180 degree turn. First of all, he did not cite a single document that shows that Grabner was carrying out any crimes in Auschwitz. He relies on the well known IMT testimony of the investigating SS judge Konrad Morgen. While for any serious researcher, this would be a valid approach, it is a "no go" for any Revisionist researcher in general and Mattogno in particular.

In exactly the same book, Mattogno concluded that "it seems that he [Morgen] had seen precisely nothing but spoke - for the most part rambling - from hearsay. Therefore, as far as we are concerned, Konrad Morgen is a completely unreliable witness" simply because he confused some elements from Monowitz and Birkenau in his IMT testimony. And this "completely unreliable witness" is suddenly and in the same work and without further explanation considered highly reliable when he testified about Grabner's crime? How does Mattogno know that Morgen did not make this up, as he made up his trip to Birkenau as Mattogno apparently believes? Mattogno revealed that he is applying double standards at will.

Throughout the book, Mattogno never got tired to emphasise on large scale mass murder, that something without any documentary evidence does not exist and did not happen or at least does not has to be considered any further. The approach is evidence of poor historical methodology.  But even worse, he has no problem to dismiss this flawed standard of evidence, he usually applies on homicidal gassing, when he is trying to establish something himself and accepts Grabner's Black Wall shootings without citing documentary evidence.

Secondly, Mattogno is still ignoring the testimonial evidence, which shows that the falsification was not only carried out to cover illegal executions at the Black Wall, but also any other killings as well.

Thirdly, the claim that the death certificates were falsified to cover up some executions carried out by Grabner is also rebutted by the examples cited in the previous blog posting - Alex Farkas, Hans Redlich, Abram Warszawski, Janusz Poganowski - which have nothing to do with covering up crimes of Grabner. The first three were shot on escape and at least the case of Farkas was definitely communicated to the SS court in Breslau, while Poganowski was publicly executed in Auschwitz. These incidents corroborate that it was common practise and approved to cover up killings in Auschwitz in the death records and indicates that this common practise was only abused by Grabner to carry out his Block 11 clearings, but was not limited to these incidents.

In 2010, Mattogno turned by 180 degree again and stands exactly how he was seven years before. In his book "Auschwitz: The Case for Sanity", he changed back to his somewhat more flawed hypothesis that "the falsifications were used to avoid the laborious bureaucratic procedure". Note that this was obviously taken over from the earlier 2003 article, just translated differently this time into English. But what about the Grabner cover up hypothesis? Did Mattogno copy and paste from his earlier work and just forget about what he wrote in between? 

As far as I know, he has up to day not discussed the numerous testimonial evidence clearly showing the systematic nature of the mass falsification of the death causes in Auschwitz (at least not in the published English works). While it is one thing to dismiss an entire class of evidence, it is another thing to do so but not discussing and justifying why. His contempt for testimonial evidence is truly unscholarly.

I have named the title of this posting “Carlo Mattogno’s scholarly death certificate”, rather polemical as I admit, but which should not be a problem for the title of a blog posting. I believe, however, that I have justified in the above that Mattogno was acting very unscholarly when treating (or rather denying) the systematic falsification of the death certificates in Auschwitz. 

Change log:
14 February 2015: linguistic corrections.

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