Sunday, May 03, 2015

Reply to Nicholas Kollerstrom on the Auschwitz Death Books

The Revisionist Nicholas Kollerstrom, author of the book Breaking the Spell, has recently commented on my blog posting Open Letter to Nick Kollerstrom on the Auschwitz Death Books. Here's my reply to him.

 I think we can close this point, as we seem to agree that the death books are incomplete.

"You say that cause-of-death reports have been falsified. I’m merely saying that both the Arolsen Archives and the Death Books of Au show a lot of trouble to report the causes of death, at great length, and not one single one anywhere has death by gassing or by cyanide – just as nobody in any German labour-camp reported seeing a bright shocking pink body, which is what results from death by cyanide. I have simply stated a fact, that these death records do not report the murder of any ethnic group eg Jews: which is correct. Inmates were shot at Auschwitz, if they tried to escape. The decrypts make that clear."

I do not object to your statement that the deaths books do not mention any gassings (which is a fact of course). My problem is that you do so without pointing out that the death causes in the death books are unreliable anyway, but which is a very important information in this context. The lack of gassing (or injection) in the death books is little relevant for the question if anyone was gassed (or killed by injection) in Auschwitz, as this source has been systematically falsified by the Germans. I would like to kindly ask you to comment on this point (or if you disagree that death certificates have been falsified I would like to ask you to comment on the evidence presented here). 

"concerning the (mysterious) decline in reported Jewish deaths in 1943 (see here you aver that this ‘indicates’ that most Jewish deaths were not being recorded. That is mere conjecture on your part, which I try to avoid. You CANNOT SHOW any authentic Nazi document suggesting that such selective non-reporting was taking place."

Yes, I cannot show any German document that such selective non-reporting was taking place. But why is this supposed to be so crucial and relevant? Most of what was going on in Auschwitz is not known from any authentic German documents. This is already so because most of the Germans documents were destroyed by the Germans themselves. If we were only accepting what is told from German documents, we would know comparably little about this place. That would be a pity, from the point of view of "historical exactitude" as well. 

But it's also so because the SS in the concentration camps did not have to write down everything that is relevant and interesting for us these days. If there was an oral order from above not to record Jewish deaths from RSHA transports in 1943 than it is likely that this would have been done regardless if there ever existed a written document on it. Maybe there was such written order, maybe not. Since the surviving German Auschwitz records have more holes than Swiss cheese this is hard to tell now. 

But whatever was ordered in written form, what is clear from the available evidence is that most Jews, who died in the camp, were not entered into the death books anymore in 1943. This is not a "mere conjecture", but follows from testimonial evidence corroborated by the available German records. 

Already the German records allow to infer that there is something very fishy with the number of Jews in the death books in 1943. Let's collect some explanations for the heavy decline of Jewish deaths (compared to non-Jewish deaths) in the Auschwitz death books in 1943:

a) only few Jews stayed in the Auschwitz complex in 1943 → obviously false

b) the conditions in the Auschwitz complex were much better in 1943 → but non-Jews continued to die at high rate → highly improbable

c) the conditions for Jews were much better than for non-Jews in Auschwitz in 1943 (main camp vs. Birkenau) → absurd within the framework of the Nazi ideology and challenged by existing documentation on the conditions in the Jewish camps → highly improbable

Do you know any other explanations? Then please add them to this list. Here's the last one I can think of: 

d) most Jews who died were not recorded in the death books anymore in 1943 → possibly → in the absence of any reasonable alternative explanation the one most likely to be true.

So we have four different explanations, but only one of those is actually conceivable, while the other three are highly improbable. Unless you come up with a fifth explanation that is comparable conceivable, it is not a "mere conjecture" to say that most Jews were not entered into the death books anymore in 1943, but it's the most reasonable explanation. 

Moreover, this explanation is explicitly confirmed by testimonial evidence. For instance, one of the female prisoner's clerks working for the Political Department in the civil registrar's office in Auschwitz stated: 
"When it was decided not to write death certificates for the Jews anymore in 1943, we had of course much less to do."
(Jenny Spritzer, Ich war Nr. 10291, reprint from 1980, p. 53, my translation)

It worth to point out that Spritzer wrote this in 1946, i.e. more than 40 years before the bulk of the death books seized by the Soviets were made accessible or even evaluated. Spritzer's testimony and the statistical evaluation of the available death books corroborate each other. Spritzer claimed that Jews (more accurately would be: Jews from RSHA transports other than from Theresienstadt) were not longer registered in the death books in 1943 (more accurately: less frequently before and no longer after March 1943) and indeed the available death books show a drastic and otherwise incomprehensible decline of Jewish deaths compared to Non-Jewish deaths since February 1943. The statistical evaluation of the death books independently corroborates Spritzer's account and adds a lot of confidence to her testimony.

To sum this up, that most Jews were not entered into the death books anymore in 1943 was already the most likely explanation simply by elimination of the other possibilities, but it is further verified by multiple testimonial evidence (note that there are a some more testimonies from prisoner's clerks confirming this practise, cf. Grothum, Das digitale Archiv, p. 246).

"No it cannot be shown! I challenge you to do this. Its just an unverifiable phantasm, that hordes of Jews were gassed-on-arrival without being registered.

Concerning your next paragraph, many Jews unfit for work were lodged at Birkenau camp rather that Auschwitz. Your hunch that ‘specially lodged’ was a code for extermination is again a mere pipedream: that is not the way to do history. The ‘Special treatment’ here alluded to the preocedure, instigated in the summer of 1942 whereby all new arrivals were shaved, had their clothing removed and deloused, and showered, and it worked: slowly the dreadful mortality from the typhus epidemics were brought under control.

Your last paragraph assumes what you are trying to prove, that because ‘only’ 2841 Jewish deaths were reported, that ‘therefore’ jews selected as unfit for work were being exterminated. I believe You cannot produce any Nazi document to support this."

(Nicholas Kollerstrom, comment on Open Letter to Nick Kollerstrom on the Auschwitz Death Books)

Well, strictly speaking I did not say something about gassings on arrival (in fact, I did not use the term "gas" once in the Open Letter), I wrote "killed after their arrival". Here it is again:

"On 21 and 24 January 1943, 3.383 Jews considered unfit for work were “specially lodged” in Auschwitz. The term was a variant of “special treatment” (see telex from Heinrich Schwarz to SS-WVHA of 5 March 1943), which in turn was an euphemism at the concentration camp administrations for unnatural deaths without judicial decision.

However, the death books contain only 2.841 Jewish deaths for the entire months January 1943. Therefore, it is clear that Jews selected as unfit for work at the ramp and killed after their arrival without registration in the camp books were not registered in the death books either, even when this was still practiced for the deaths among registered Jews."

(Me, Open Letter to Nick Kollerstrom on the Auschwitz Death Books

You obviously disagree that "special treatment" meant killing in this context, but which is untenable as I've pointed out elsewhere some days ago. Note that it can be ruled out that special treatment "alluded to the preocedure, instigated in the summer of 1942 whereby all new arrivals were shaved, had their clothing removed and deloused, and showered", as you say, because in this case it would apply also those selected as fit for work (by the way, did you know that - in contrast to those selected as fit for work - none of the photographs in the so called Auschwitz Album shows any Jews selected as unfit for work after they were "deloused and showered"? Guess why?).

"Special treatment" meant extrajudicial killing on people in custody according to the language regime of the German police and paramilitary forces at the time. There are numerous "Nazi documents" which make this a solid case. The cited Auschwitz document says that Jews unfit for work in German custody were specially lodged, which was a variant of specially treated. From what we know about the SS language regime, those people were likely executed in Auschwitz.

To boost this from "likely" to "beyond reasonable doubt" we need to take into account further evidence. I've compiled some testimonies exclusively from German personnel from the commandant's office and the Political Department on the meaning of Sonderbehandlung in Auschwitz reports on prisoners:

We could add numerous testimonies from former prisoners working in the SS offices to this, but the point should be already clear. There is strong testimonial evidence confirming that special treatment aka specially lodged were euphemisms for killings in Auschwitz specifically when used on incoming transports of Jews in German custody. Thus, those 3.383 Jews unfit for work "specially lodged" on 21 and 24 January 1943 were beyond much reasonable doubt killed in Auschwitz. 

How were they killed? That's another issue. Unlike that they were killed, this does not follow from the documents themselves. According to the high number of victims and the overwhelming evidence on homicidal gassings in Auschwitz, these people were most likely killed with poison gas at the Bunker extermination sites.


unavailable man said...

It seem's as if the arguments in this post rely upon the absence of evidence as proof that something could have happened. We have no proof of forgery nor fraud here, merely speculation (that is in regards to the death books numbers; which are indeed largely corroborated by the British decrypts made public).

Your point seem's weaker than the one are you arguing against when you use conjecture as your main weapon in your academic arsenal.

Nathan said...

Kollerstrom's pathetic. It took him two years to reply, and all he has is hollow, hysterical ranting. These idiots insist on "death certificates showing death by gassing" and yet have never heard of the concept of plausible deniability.
Kollerstrom's fans are as pathetic as he is.

Great work as usual, Hans. I love Kollerstrom's CAPITAL LETTERS and his big nos! It's like talking to a ten year old.

Jeff said...

There is testimonial evidence to falsification, and some of the figures in the death books are absurd. It`s not conjecture if it`s plainly obvious son.

Arthur Crump said...

I watched the youtube video where Kollerstrom was giving a speech ( in front of what looked like a large flag of St George!! Quelle surpise! ) and I couldn't help but think this is a man with "issues".
Then I read he was a conspiracy theorist and an expert on 'Lunar Gardening' !!...ahem....say no more.

nicholas said...

Dear Sir,
Thanks for your reply, which focuses on the petering-out of recorded Jewish deaths February-April 1943 as given in the ‘Death books’ of Auschwitz: from which you are endeavouring to infer a selective killing process. There may have been, you surmise, an oral command to cease recording Jewish deaths – ie you concede there was nothing in writing.

To put this in context, you seem to have accepted my general point that no National-Socialist documents have been found ordering any extermination process or recording it happening, i.e presumably the whole thing was done by some sort of ESP, a ‘meeting of minds’ (Hilberg, 1983: p.213 of my book) to exterminate a race.

Whereas my view is, that if you actually read the British intelligence decrypts obtained by cracking the Enigma code, in relation to what was happening at the camps (, Jews were treated in a perfectly respectful manner, for their industrial-technical skills. Note their departures as well as arrivals from the various camps

You have 3,383 Jews ‘specially lodged’ on 21 and 24 January 1943 but give no source – are you claiming that they arrived on these days? The daily totals of recorded inmates given in the British intelligence decrypts do not show any great change in number of Jews or anyone else over this period.

You are implying that something happened in that spring of ’43 whereby ‘ze evil Germans’ suddenly became sensitive about recording Jewish deaths and realised they had to stop – what are you suggesting? If you believe there was a plan to exterminate the Jewish race in Europe – and that’s what you do believe – then why did ‘ze evil Germans’ certify any Jewish deaths at all?

Concerning your allegation of falsified death certificates, I believe you are implying that this falsification was done only for dead Jews. If so, why? We could speculate here - though there isn’t much point (but, you ask me) - that urgent commands had gone forth between December ’42 and January ’43 for a reduction in camp mortality (p.216 of my book) to be achieved, both by the special treatment hygiene delousing protocols, and by improved nutrition. If, despite this endeavour, lots of deaths were still occurring from typhus, could they have wanted to conceal this? After all who were they trying to fool by entering such apparently ridiculous causes of death as ‘weak heart’ for juveniles, for example?

Quoting from the November 1942 ‘WVHA Office Group D, procedure reporting deaths in concentration camps’ (English translation): ‘Deaths of male and female Jews will only be registered in a collective list (1 copy) which will contain the following statements’ – then specifying the various items that had to be recorded, eg date of birth, cause of death, etc. Why would such an order have gone forth, if a secret extermination program was in full swing?

A year later we find another Nuremberg document, cited by Dr Terry, (NO-1246) of 15 July, 1943
about ‘standardisation in reporting deaths’ in the camps, requesting that deaths in the camps had to be recorded in a more concise form in order to stop wasting paper. This itemised the several categories of camp deaths and then said: ‘The decease of Jews is –as ordered by the Reichsfuehrer – to be reported in roster form, as before.’ That clearly refutes your view, does it not? That notice was sent out to the 14 concentration camps and one transit camp (Bergen Belsen).

nicholas said...

I appreciate, you are alluding to an alleged oral command seemingly recorded by a Jenny Shaner (later, Spritzer). After a spell in Auschwitz – where she although Jewish wasn’t gassed, beaten or raped – she then went to Switzerland and allegedly wrote 1946 ‘Ich war no. 10291. Als Sekretaerin in Auschwitz’ which (you say) averred: "When it was decided not to write death certificates for the Jews anymore in 1943, we had of course much less to do." I don’t know anyone who has seen an original of this so I’m not in a hurry to comment. It would help here if the Arolsen Archive were prepared to properly release their data which would help resolve this matter, of what death certificates were being made.

Spritzer’s account has some fantastical colouring, eg she has Zyklon being introduced into the interior of the gas chamber through shower heads, whereas Zyklon was granular and could not have been used thus, and her account has flames shooting out of crematoria chimneys, which again cannot have happened. It doesn’t greatly sound as if she was there.

You are arguing that a secret jew-extermination program had then begun, with other inmates (Poles, Russians, German political prisoners) unharmed; while a jewess Ms Spitzer was in charge of the documentation (‘working for the Political Department in the civil registrar's office’), and was selectively not recording these deaths, but recording others. Are you sure this is credible?

Neither of the German letters here quoted say anything about the death certificate registration – had there been a covert plan as you are alleging, to cease producing these in ’43 just for Jews but continue with all the others, don’t you think these letters would have alluded to such a change?

I appreciate you are no fan of Mattogno. (I note your critique of his ‘special treatment at Auschwitz’ book here But, I like the conclusion of his book: ‘The prefix ‘special,’ which occurs in the documents examined, referred to various aspects of life in the Auschwitz camp: – the disinfestation and storage of personal effects taken from the prisoners; – the delousing facility of Birkenau (the central sauna); – the Zyklon B deliveries, which were shipped for the purpose of disinfestation; – the prisoners’ hospital planned for sector BII of the Birkenau camp; – the reception of deportees; – the classification of those suitable for labor. But in not a single instance did it have a criminal meaning… The claim that expressions beginning with the prefix ‘special’ belonged to a ‘code language’ which concealed unspeakable atrocities is exposed for what it really is: a cheap trick that substitutes magic words for evidence, evidence that these historians should long since have provided, yet have been quite unable to provide and in fact continue to be unable to provide.’

Clearly, my book (p.99 eg) advocates Mattogno’s conclusion, whereas you accept the exterminationist view that ‘Sonderbehandlung’ was a code for liquidating Jews (as George Pressac earlier claimed). Has not Mattogno’s book thoroughly refuted that case? For example, on October 28, 1942, a document has the Birkenau camp being assigned for “carrying out of the special treatment” and gives details included for construction of some delousing chambers, but not of any conceivable extermination bunkers. Today, Birkenau is the site of most of the little delousing chambers.

Jeff said...

Mr. Kollerstrom

Clearly you are unaware that the term `meeting of the minds`does not denote ESP, but is a common term for conspiracy related actions in criminal and civil jurisprudence. (
This is an example of either ignorance or dishonesty on your part.

The lowering of Jewish deaths in the period mentioned does no coincide with a lowering of deaths in non-Jewish nationalities as would be rationally expected if one were to accept your thesis.

Nathan said...

He and Faurisson are bloody idiots. Especially Faurisson - he's supposed to be a literature professor yet he can't grasp the subject of a metaphor Apparently, even a british English speaker like Kollerstrom here can't grasp the common concept of an idiom

Like minded people are working together towards a common goal. They all want the same thing and know what they need to do. It's that simple.

Kollerstrom and Faurisson's nitpicking really shows that they're trying to distract from the lack of evidence for any of their claims.

Nathan said...

Just to add, Hillberg never even used "Meeting of the minds" or the "telepathy" straw man that Kollerstrom and Faurisson attribute to him. It's a lie manufactured by Faurisson. Kollerstrom parroting it makes him a liar ,too.

I just read it via google translate, but perhaps Roberto Lucena can add more.

Hugh said...

The whole Holocaust story is like the official 9/11 story. It only takes a little bit of questioning and investigation to see that the official story is a big lie. Some people want to expose the lie, and others want to defend it. It's hard to do either one when a lot of necessary information is lost, hidden, or twisted into more propaganda. I think the revisionists have the more credible position, given that they are often history professionals, rely on physical evidence, and are persecuted for their findings. Legislation in a dozen countries punishes questioning the official Holocaust story. Why would this be necessary if truth fears no investigation? Why would court judges state to defendants charged under these laws that the truth is no defense? We are in bizarro world at this point, and given the real truth about how these global wars were orchestrated, I think we've been in bizarro world now for many generations.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«The whole Holocaust story is like the official 9/11 story. It only takes a little bit of questioning and investigation to see that the official story is a big lie.»

Do you think so? Then do a bit of "questioning and investigation", see if you find, say, any names of Jews "transited" via any of the camps known as extermination camps to the Soviet territories under German occupation, as per the "Revisionist" transit camp theory. So far several million Jews murdered by the Nazis have been identified by name, but there’s not a single name of a "transited" Jew in the aforementioned sense. That's but one of many indications that the "big lie" is all on the side of certain ideologically motivated propagandists who call themselves "Revisionists".

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«Some people want to expose the lie, and others want to defend it.»

No, some people accept a historical record based on abundant evidence, while others don't want to accept that record because it doesn’t fit their ideological beliefs, which are usually centered around hating Jews and/or venerating Nazi Germany, so they yell that said record is a "big lie". Without evidence to support their yelling, the best they can come up with is some pointless nitpicking, pseudo-scientific or otherwise, about supposed "inconsistencies" in the evidence they reject, which nitpicking is supposed to support their idiotic conspiracy theories about some monumental "hoax" that brought the historical evidence into being.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«It's hard to do either one when a lot of necessary information is lost, hidden, or twisted into more propaganda.»

A lot of documentary and physical evidence was lost because the Nazis destroyed it, but what was left behind is sufficient, together with eyewitness testimonies and demographics, to reconstruct their killing program and the execution thereof quite precisely. As to necessary information you believe was «hidden or twisted into more propaganda», please provide some examples you consider telling. With evidence showing such hiding or twisting, not mere unsubstantiated conjectures. As to the «twisted» evidence, if you manage to show any, you will also have to show that the historical record of the Holocaust couldn't do without that evidence (otherwise it's not «necessary»). Good luck.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«I think the revisionists have the more credible position, given that they are often history professionals,»

Not that it matters, but which of the known "Revisionists" are professional historians?

«rely on physical evidence»

Relying on one single category of evidence, instead of looking at all available evidence of all categories and determining how it adds up, is a rather un-historical and un-scientific approach. Criminal investigation would also go nowhere if it looked only at physical evidence where available and conclusive. In fact, criminal investigation often has to focus on other than physical evidence, especially when it comes to events long past.

Besides, "Revisionists" only rely on physical evidence when it suits their argument. Show them physical evidence that doesn't fit their argument (of which there is plenty), and you’ll see them jumping up and down trying to explain away such evidence or, when they realize that their explanation attempts are too silly to be taken seriously, squealing that the physical evidence must have been planted (without showing any evidence to such planting, of course).

«and are persecuted for their findings.»

They are outlawed for their hate speech in some countries. Not that I think they should be, but it's not their "findings" that are being targeted by such legislation.

«Legislation in a dozen countries punishes questioning the official Holocaust story. Why would this be necessary if truth fears no investigation?»

It's not necessary and actually stupid if you ask me (especially because it leads to arguments like yours), but some states are concerned that allowing pro-Nazi and/or anti-Semitic hate propaganda (which is what "Revisionism" essentially is) to be spread freely will give their country a bad name, lead to disturbances of the public order as the frustrated losers of their societies are taken in by such hate speech, or both.

«Why would court judges state to defendants charged under these laws that the truth is no defense?»

What "truth" exactly do you have in mind? The truth of historical facts that can be proven by evidence, or your ideological "truth", which is based on conspiracy theories and other BS and has no evidence to show for it (e.g. not one single name of a "transited" Jew, see above)? The latter is no defense indeed.

«We are in bizarro world at this point, and given the real truth about how these global wars were orchestrated, I think we've been in bizarro world now for many generations.»

People who believe they are in possession of some "real truth" of their (ideologically motivated) fantasies, which is being suppressed in what they claim is a "bizarre" world, are known as conspiracy theorists.

One might also call them true believers, for they cling to their beliefs despite all evidence to the contrary and the gaping absence of evidence in support.

Such people are not taken seriously outside their lunatic fringe, for good reason.