Sunday, September 20, 2015

Kollerstrom's Deception on the Visit of the International Committee of the Red Cross to Auschwitz

The British Revisionist Nicholas Kollerstrom has been nominated for the most blatant example of a denier deception. They're surely many good candidates out there, but Kollerstrom is in a good position with this contribution (submitted by iwh and and called to my attention by Jeff_36 of the Skeptics Society Forum).

Kollerstrom claimed that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) inspected shower units in Auschwitz. However, the passage he quoted from an ICRC report to support his claim doesn't refer to Auschwitz, but to camps for civilians from belligerent nations such as those for Germans in the Near East. The only known visit of an ICRC delegate to Auschwitz consisted of nothing but a 30 - 45 min talk to an SS man in the commandant's office of the main camp in late September 1944.

Here's what Kollerstrom wrote in his book Breaking the Spell:
"By way of contrast with these fantastic holohoax tales, we have encountered three different authentic eyewitness accounts of the Auschwitz camps in the course of this treatise. There was, firstly, the International Red Cross’s three-volume report published in Geneva in 1948. They regularly inspected the camps. This commented for example upon the shower units at Auschwitz:
'Not only the washing places, but installations for baths, showers and laundry were inspected by the delegates. They had often to take action to have fixtures made less primitive, and to get them repaired or enlarged.'
These are the real shower-units – not the ones which metamorphosed into the hallucinatory homicidal gas chambers!"
(Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, p. 233; note the lack of proper reference for the quote and his unscholarly vocabulary of "fantastic holohoax tales", as if did not want to leave a doubt that he did not even try to deliver a reasonable piece on the subject)

Earlier in the book Kollerstrom wrote that "the International Red Cross...visited Auschwitz regularly throughout the war to checkout its hygiene standards" (Breaking the Spell, p. 75).
So according to Kollerstrom, the International Committee of the Red Cross "regularly inspected" the Auschwitz camps including the "shower units at Auschwitz". Wow, didn't know that. Neither you? That's because Holocaust deniers have made it up. The extract quoted by Kollerstrom doesn't mention Auschwitz, but is embedded in a paragraph on German and Italian civilians interned in the Near East:

"In the first place, the delegates had to satisfy themselves that water, the chief factor in hygiene, was available in sufficient quantities. In dry districts they recommended the internees not to waste it, and gave advice for planning its use in a rational manner. Thus, in Saudi Arabia, sweet water was completely lacking, and the German and Italian internees learned how to obtain it by the evaporation and condensation of sea water. At Fayed (Egypt), water was available only for two or three hours a day, at a rate of 50 litles for each person for all requirements of the camp, which means that it was impossible to have showers.
Not only the washing places, but installations for baths, howers and laundry were inspected by the delegates. They had often to take action to have fixtures made less primitive, and to get them repaired and enlarged. They supplied quantities of toilet articles (linen, soap, shaving soap, blades, tooth brushes, tooth powder, etc.). At Mansurah (Egypt) German, Italian and Greek women internees were living in such a deplorabe hygienic conditions that, on his first visit in 1942. the delegate gave the camp commandant a sum of 20 Egyptian pouns to meet immediate needs (purchase of insect powder, disinfectants, linen, etc.)."
(Report of the International Committee Of The Red Cross On Its Activities During The Second World War, Volume 1, page 594, my emphasis)

The only German camps mentioned in this section "Visits to Internee Camps" are Biberach, Milag Nord, Vittel, Würzach, Liebenau, Laufen, Tittmoning, Kreuzburg and Würzburg, i.e. it is on camps for civilians from belligerent nations. The German camps for political prisoners are covered in the next section "Other Civilian Internees (Political Detainees, Deportees, Hostages and others)" and Jewish prisoners have their own part in another section termed "Special Categories of Civilians". The quote, presented by Kollerstrom as referring to Auschwitz, has nothing to do with Jewish people deported to concentration and extermination camps from Germany, its Allied states and occupied countries.

It seems obvious that Kollerstrom didn't study the ICRC Report (despite being in his bibliography) and copied & pasted the extract from another Holocaust denier without checking the context. His source of inspiration may have been something from, which he cited on p. 75. However, this article does not specifically relate the quote to Auschwitz (instead to German camps for Jews generally; this claim appeared in Richard Harwood's Did Six Million Really Die? and was rebutted in Deborah Lipstadt's Denying the Holocaust; Lipstadt was right that the passage "had nothing to do with German concentration camps" but it does not necessarily refer only "to Allied camps for civilian internees in Egypt"). Hence, Kollerstrom would have distorted this source even further. Or he may have helped himself with, where the quote is already related to Auschwitz. But perhaps Kollerstrom wants to explain this to us himself?

There is no evidence that any delegates of the ICRC inspected the Auschwitz camps. On 29 September 1944, the ICRC delegate Maurice Rossel visited the commandant's office of Auschwitz main camp. He wrote a report about his trip. It is clear that Rossel did not manage to enter and inspect its prisoner's compound (let aside Birkenau, where the extermination sites were located). The prisoner's compound of the main camp consisted of 25 barracks, yet Rossel only saw "six to eight very large red brick barracks". Hence, he only saw it from the commandant's office. Furthermore, Rossel did not speak to Auschwitz prisoners. He only talked to what he thought was the camp commandant and had to trust his word ("We have no evidence but our impression is that the commandant told the truth when he says that these distributions are regularly and that theft is punished very severely").

This is confirmed by the memoirs of Johannes Schwarzenberg, who was in charge of the ICRC's activities in the concentration camps, as well as how Rossel himself described his visit after the war:
"I arrived at that Kommandatur where I was received very correctly by the camp commander. [...] I asked him...if it would be possible that we would support the infirmary, that we would visit....He said: – No, these are internees, you have no right to see whatever. But if you would like to send help to the infirmary, or medications, you can do that.' [...]

[Lanzmann:  How long did this last, your meeting?]

Half an hour, 45 minutes.

[Lanzmann: And what did you see of the camp?]

Nothing. Of the camp. I saw barracks. I saw those from where I was. [...] Wooden barracks. They were.... Possibly they were barracks for the guards. But at any rate, I did not see the crematory ovens in action from where I was sitting

 [Lanzmann: Because Auschwitz is not built of wood, it is bricks, red bricks.]

Yes, bricks, but... these were regular barracks, military barracks. I have seen detainee groups, I crossed their paths; I crossed the path of several of those groups of detainees. [...] The striped pajamas, a little cap on the head. These people were slim, like.... there is no need to say it, is there? And .... they watched this car pass with... a pennant 'International Committee of the Red Cross,' with their eyes....

[Lanzmann: And you did not suspect anything of Birkenau, for example....]

No, Birkenau, I did not...."
(Maurice Rossel interviewed by Claude Lanzmann in 1979)


Arthur Crump said...

Hello Hans, sorry if this isn't related to the topic but I have 2 questions I would like to ask. I have a feeling you may be sick and tired of being asked one of them, so I hope you don't let out a huge 'sigh' when you've read it lol :

1) Will you and the HC team be producing a response to MGK's 'reponse' to your AR white paper ? I'm sure I read a while ago you were in the process of doing so, but then I think I heard from somewhere that you were not going to bother. (That was the 'sigh' question ! )

2) Is Roberto still a member of your team ? He hasn't posted anything since early July .

Cheers Hans

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Hi Arthur,

Don't know about my co-authors (which do not include Hans, whose specialty is Auschwitz), but I intend to publish a blog response to chapters 11 and 12 of MGK's magnum opus. When it will be ready I don't know, as I again have a lot of other things (some of them far more interesting than Holocaust denial topics in general and Mattogno's boring and often infantile ravings in particular) on my plate, like I had over most of the past two years.

Jonathan Harrison said...

I wrote a long response last year which I posted here:

I have been doing a lot of work in other fields since 2011, especially on Florida history, which is increasing each year, so that would limit my ability to add any further to the above, but in any case, it seems from recent trends that Mattogno can only repeat himself at this point and I doubt any new ideas will be forthcoming from him that require further rebuttal.

Thus I suspect that my contribution to any co-ordinated reply with my fellow authors would be largely a reiteration of the above, plus various blog articles I have written since that date, such as the replies to Jansson of a few months ago.

John Reid said...

Please let me know how I can join this blog ( in order to post a NEW SUBMISSION (new thread). I have read, and reviewed on Amazon, "The Six Million" (Peter Winter) and "Breaking the Spell" (N. Kollerstrom), and am currently battling "Mr. White" in the Amazon "comments" forum regarding my reviews of these books. I wish to move my battle with "Mr. White" from (which I do not believe to be an appropriate forum) to a blog on the subject, but have been unable to find a way to submit a new thread to any of the available forums on the subject. I would very much like to invite "Mr. White" to join me in a further discussion (and thus open it up to a wider audience), but I simply cannot find a way to get into an appropriate forum, and further to invite "Mr. White" to join me in that forum.
I confess to having a low level of expertise when it comes to blogs, but I'm not internet-incompetent. It seems to me that there ought to be some relatively easy way for me to join an appropriate blog.
Can you help?
Please reply to this comment, or by e-mail to
Thank you.
John Reid

J Kelly said...

I've found articles that indicate that Red Cross knew about the Holocaust.
I understand some of the reasoning for not reporting but it does help explain why the RC was silent during the war.

John Reid said...

Can anyone tell me how I might be able to create an original post on this site? I recently wrote reviews (favorable) on Amazon for "The Six Million" (Winter) and "Breaking the Spell" (Kollerstrom), and wanted to move discussions that got started in the Amazon "comments" (regarding my reviews) to a more appropriate forum. Specifically, a chap by the name of "I. White" wants to challenge assertions made in these two books, and I'm looking for a forum where the community might be able to help me in responding to him. I'm relatively new to the whole topic, so some of you more experienced researchers might be able to help me out to this end. Also, I'm trying to reconcile some of the numbers and dates in the "Wannsee conference" docs and would like to ask some questions and get some input from the community.
I confess that I'm relatively new to this whole "blogging" thing, so any advice you can offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks, and I look forward to "blogging" with you all in the future.
John Reid

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

@John Reid

You can join this blog site only if invited, and if you wrote favorable reviews of Winter's and Kollerstrom's books you won't be invited already for the reason that this is not a "Revisionist" blog site but an anti-"Revisionist" blog site.

Try joining a "Revisionist" blog site, or open a blog site of your own.

You can also take your Amazon discussions to an online forum, e.g. the Skeptics Society Forum or RODOH.

Hans said...

J Kelly said...

"I've found articles that indicate that Red Cross knew about the Holocaust.
I understand some of the reasoning for not reporting but it does help explain why the RC was silent during the war."

Then it might interest you that right now I'm preparing a follow up posting on Kollerstrom's other argument that the 1948 report of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) "make[s] no mention of the Holocaust? Because it didn’t happen, of course" (Breaking the Spell, p. 142). This will also address the ICRC's wartime knowledge of the Holocaust.

Hans said...


I skimmed over your amazon review of Breaking the Spell and I fear to say that Roberto seems right that you not really fitting as a blogger of Holocaust Controversies. However, I'm curious as to what "relevant information which raises doubts about the Holocaust story" you think Kollerstrom provided. Feel free to post them here as a comment.

An appropriate discussion forum for you seems to be

Hans said...

John, one more thing. I've seen you started a thread at the CODOH forum ( Note that "anti-Revisionists" (but also Revisionists disagreeing too much with the moderator Hannover) are censored over there, so this is not the best choice for a controversial discussion.

J Kelly said...

Thank you, I'll be on the look out for it.

Jonathan Harrison said...

I agree with Hans. You need this forum:

Arthur Crump said...

John, you can also post on Rodoh. Here you can choose from about 20 deniers to pick a fight with. You may receive assistance from someone called 'Nessie', who I believe has dedicated his entire life to debating with deniers, and informing them when they make unevidenced assertions and strawman arguments.
There is also a character on there called 'DasPrussian' - who appears to despise deniers so much, he is in danger of internally combusting, if his disgusting language is anything to go by.
Other 'non-revisionists' turn up now and again and on the whole it is monitored fairly, although I believe by those of a denier persuasion.

Arthur Crump said...

Thanks Jonathon and Roberto for informing me of , in Jonathon's case, last years blogs on Mattognos deceptions, and from Roberto, his plans to publish a response to chapters 11 and 12.

Although I welcome both, I find it slightly disappointing you haven't gone for the 'full monty' and basically published a follow up 'white paper' which demolishishes MGK once and for all, as well as addressing any new criticisms and comments that they raised, point by point. I guess you could say the 'demolishing' was already achieved in your original 'white Paper' , and I agree generally, but I believe by the HC team not responding 'thoroughly', then you have given MGK and their supporters an excuse to 'claim victory'.

It appears to me, every time MGK produce a 'debunking' of 'mainstream' holocaust historians, be it Zimmerman, Van Pelt and now yourselves, it always ends in a 'withdrawal' from the 'mainstream' side. Now I believe the HC team have more about them than the others, so I would expect you to respond accordingly in your own unique manner, AND GIVE THEIR ASSES THE KICKING THEY DESERVE !

I am also surprised by Roberto's admission that he doesn't know what his co-authors plans are regarding a response. I'm not suggesting you all live in the same house or anything, (like the Beatles in their films !), but I would have thought you would have had a get together of some kind to 'plan' your response and then inform your adoring public of such plans( I'm not being sarcastic there ! I adore you all lol ) .

I noted that Roberto spent a good while in debate with Friedrich Jansen recently, so surely he isn't that 'bored' of debating deniers, yet.

Don't take this as criticism, it's just a shame you haven't combined your collective talents one more time, to finish off the job !

Jeff said...

"I agree with Hans. You need this forum:"

Bring it on, I'll be waiting.

Hans said...

Hi Arthur,

I'm entirely with you that it is desirable that there is a full blown response to MGK. But Holocaust denial is Mattogno's work of his lifetime and I don't think he will leave anti-deniers having the last word here until he bites the dust. He will just produce another inadequate response to a full blown rebuttal. Is this worth the effort and freetime of people, who have actually a life next to Holocaust denial? Perhaps or perhaps not, but most of the white papers' authors have already moved on and are bored to death to engage with Holocaust deniers. One cannot really blame them (I will move on too at some point).

But don't worry, there will be a new "generation" of anti-Revisionists coming (just as HC filled the place left by the alt.revisionism, nizkor, THHP generation). As long as there are Holocaust deniers there will be anti-deniers giving them a proper asskicking.

Jonathan Harrison said...

No sane person is going to address "point by point" 1,500 pages of junk. If Mattogno had produced a condensed argument, with no spamming and endless repetition, there might be some ground for discussion, but Mattogno's 1,500 pages was meant to be too long-winded to be able to answer point-by-point without spending ten years doing nothing else.

Jeff said...

Re Hans: "Holocaust denial is Mattogno's work of his lifetime and I don't think he will leave anti-deniers having the last word here until he bites the dust"

Respectfully disagree. Mattogno and Graf are both 64 years old and might not have the jam to crank out another BLOB. A response to them would absolutely be the last word at this stage IMO.

Jeff said...

Re Aruthur: "There is also a character on there called 'DasPrussian' - who appears to despise deniers so much, he is in danger of internally combusting, if his disgusting language is anything to go by."

Das Prussian is a fine individual who is much better at debating and debunking deniers than Nessie.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«Respectfully disagree. Mattogno and Graf are both 64 years old and might not have the jam to crank out another BLOB. A response to them would absolutely be the last word at this stage IMO.»

Besides, they have already announced that they won't respond, IIRC.

Arthur Crump said...

Re Roberto "Besides, they have already announced that they won't respond, IIRC."

Roberto, what's the betting that they WILL respond to your planned debunking of chapters 11 and 12 ? It would be rude not too !

And even if they don't, I'm sure your new pal Friedrich Jansson will oblige ! Even more reason for you and the HC team to regroup and hurl some more misery their way.

Jeff said...

That would mean that your response to chapters 11 and 12 will be the definitive final authority on this matter methinks.

One of your colleagues is planning a massive refutation of Jansson, judging by the drafts it is quite excellent.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Re Arthur "And even if they don't, I'm sure your new pal Friedrich Jansson will oblige ! Even more reason for you and the HC team to regroup and hurl some more misery their way."

I'm working on my part, and I'm not exactly in a hurry.

The discussions with Jansson earlier this year were quite useful in that they gave me some ideas. As I told him here, his input will be duly acknowledged in footnotes.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Re Jeff: "That would mean that your response to chapters 11 and 12 will be the definitive final authority on this matter methinks."

Maybe so, but it wouldn’t matter much. The fact alone that Revs are unable to respond to this challenge means they are screwed, in my opinion. Their inability to produce a single name of a "transited" Jew when there should be names all over the place, and that more than seventy years after the events in question, renders Mattogno's lengthy hysterics about mass graves and cremation rather irrelevant.

Jeff said...

Like I said, our mutual associate's opus touches upon the "transit" nonsense: it is clearly a fact that the trains returned to Warsaw empty. If they were to return to pick up the Jews after an overnight stay and take them to Siam or wherever then it would make sense, but there are two issues
1. TII had no facilities for overnight accommodation
2. the trains returned with more Jews to drop off, and returned empty to Warsaw again.

As I pointed out in an SSF post, the only alternative is if the Nazis installed an inter-dimensional portal in Treblinka II.

That and the fact that the Minsk transport did not stop in TII (or any other transport directly from Germany to the RK's) basically kills the denier bitching on this issue.

Good luck on the response. Do not feel harried, we are all patient and understand that you are extremely busy.

J Kelly said...

I read your White Paper, I found it quite interesting. I found the chapter on the gas chambers at the Reinhard Camps very informative. It helped clear up the issue of diesel exhaust (though I think that diesel exhaust in an air tight room would still be fatal).
I tried to read MGK's article rebutting you but I found it incomprehensible. I had a hard enough time reading some of the shorter "Holocaust Handbooks" enough of a chore, I couldn't read 1500 pages of ranting.
Keep up the good work.