Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Kollerstrom and the 1948 Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on the Holocaust

Nicholas Kollerstrom presented the three volume Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on its Activities During the Second World War (hereafter 1948 ICRC report) as a highly relevant source on the fate of the European Jews during World War 2 and on Auschwitz even as an "authentic eyewitness account" (Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, p. 233) supporting his Holocaust denial. But this publication is not an "eyewitness account", last on Auschwitz, it's a report compiled by people of the International Committee of the Red Cross in 1948 based on (usually not referenced) other sources. The report was never studied by Kollerstrom, it does neither really say what he claims nor is it a historically reliable and competent source on the fate of most Jews during the war. In short, this episode illustrates the disturbingly low level of research and study in Breaking the Spell.

Kollerstrom writes:
"One could ask the same question about the International Red Cross, who visited Auschwitz and other German labour camps on a regular basis to check up on camp hygiene. Why did their bulky volume on the subject make no mention of the Holocaust? Because it didn’t happen, of course. It’s just a phantom."
(Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, p. 142).

Yet, some dozens pages later, he concedes in a footnote that the "report mentions 'death camps' and 'extermination' on several occasions" (BTS, p. 218). So which one is it? Either the report "make[s] no mention of the Holocaust" or "it mentions 'death camps' and 'extermination' on several occasions". He cannot have it both ways.

Kollerstrom further claim that "[t]he three volumes clearly show that the International Red Cross never made an effort to investigate in detail any claims about death or extermination camps". The allegations on the Holocaust were all around during and after the war. So if the ICRC didn't even make "an effort to investigate" these, it couldn't have have any competence on it to begin with. In fact, as a neutral, humanitarian, relief organization, the ICRC did not simply investigate atrocities on its own (it only agreed to do so if it was called by all parties, e.g. it refused to sent a commission to Katyn without the Soviets' consent). 

But let's break this issue down into a number of relevant questions, probing content, competence and reliability of the 1948 ICRC report as well what the ICRC really knew at the time.

Was the ICRC competent to verify details of the Holocaust? 

The Holocaust was not carried out in German camps and at sites actually inspected by the ICRC. Its delegates did not tour through Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, Chelmno, Auschwitz-Birkenau or followed the Einsatzgruppen through the occupied territories. The closest a delegate got to mass extermination was when Maurice Rossel visited the commandant's office of Auschwitz main camp in late September 1944 (but not the actual extermination site Auschwitz-Birkenau further 2 km away as the crow flies). Rossel could not inspect the site and question prisoners, and he did not dare to ask the commandant's office in Auschwitz on the extermination of Jews ("Oh, this was absolutely out of the question..."), and even if he did they would have rather lied to him straight in his face instead of admitting the mass murder of people.

Hence, the ICRC couldn't have possibly verified the large scale mass extermination directly from their own inspections. They were not even given open access to concentration camps until shortly before the end of the war and - except for the cover up site Theresienstadt - camps "exclusively reserved for Jews were not open to inspections for humanitarian purposes until the end" either (1948 ICRC report, volume 1, p. 643).

Its delegates spoke to selected prisoners, mostly non-Jews and POWs, from some non-extermination camps, whose inmates were not subjected to extermination and involved in extermination, and who could only provide more or less vague hearsay knowledge at best, even if they did trust and speak open to the delegates.

Did the ICRC learn about the Holocaust during the war? 

The ICRC knew about the Holocaust via two channels, a) conversations and inference directly from their own delegates and b) reports passed on to them by other organizations.

In August 1942, the chief delegate in Berlin, Roland Marti, heard from POWs in Rawa-Ruska about executions of Jews by the Ukrainian Auxiliary Police (Favez, Das Internationale Rote Kreuz und das Dritte Reich, p. 133).The ICRC official Carl Jacob Burckhardt was supposedly informed by Gerhart Riegner in August or September 1942 on the content of the so called Riegner telegram (Favez, p. 135). In November 1942, Burckhardt was told by the American consul in Geneva, Paul Squire, about reports that "Hitler gave a written order for the extermination of the Jews" to which Burckhardt replied that he knows from reliable Germans that Hitler ordered to make Germany "free of Jews by end of 1942" and "since there is no place, where to sent these Jews and since the territory shall be cleared from this race, the final outcome is obvious" (Favez, p. 137). 
 
In November 1942, Marti reported that the weakest members of the French Jews deported to Riga have been eliminated and that 60,000 Jews were murdered in Latvia (Favez, p. 139). In April 1943, he noted that there is "neither a report nor a trace of the 10,000 Jews leaving Berlin between 28 February 1943 and 3 March 1943. It is assumed that they are dead" (Favez, p. 139, my translation; indeed, the unfit people of these transports were immediately murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau). On 8 March 1943, the ICRC received a report from the Polish Red Cross in London on the "death camps" Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor  (Favez, p. 139).

A second wave of information reached the ICRC in 1944 in the course of their visits to concentration camps and the destruction of the Hungarian Jews. Jean de Bavier, previously the ICRC delegate in Budapest, noted in an internal memo of 30 May 1944, which was seen by several ICRC officials including its president Max Huber:
"On 13 May, the day before I left Budapest, I was informed by the Jewish community that a railway meeting was due to take place on 15 and 16 May concerning the conveyance of 300,000 Jews to Kassa and possibly to Poland. As far as the general public and the authorities are concerned, this movement of persons is simply a matter of providing a labour force but, since the deportees will include children and old people, the meaning of this transport is quite different. It has been stated to me, not only by the Jewish community but also by a highly placed Hungarian official, that the destination of these trains is in Poland, the up-to-date installations for putting people to death by means of gas. The Jewish community states that it has proof of the disappearance, by the same means, of their fellow Jews in Poland"
(Ben-Tov, Facing the Holocaust in Budapest, p. 126)

On 26 June 1944, the president of the Swiss Protestant Church Federation Koechlin wrote a letter to the ICRC that 300,000 to 400,000 Hungarian Jews had already been murdered, to which it replied that "a detailed report on the situation in Upper Silesia was recently sent to us by a Jewish organization. The report corresponds to others which we have received from various sources. I hardly need to say that I myself am deeply shocked by these reports, even though it is not possible to verify their contents...We have been concerned with the plight of the Jews for many months....We have recently realized with deep regret that the willingness to help has come too late" (Ben-Tov, Facing the Holocaust in Budapest, p. 174 and 182).

Also on 26 June 1944, the ICRC delegate in charge of the activities on concentration camps, Johannes Schwarzenberg, sent the reports of the Auschwitz escapees Jerzy Tabeau, Alfred Wetzler and Rudolf Vrba to the head of the Swiss Alien Police Heinrich Rothmund with the comment that "from all atrocity reports, and we have legions, it is the one most precise and provides information on the process of the gassing of Jews (page 11 etc.)". Even the (discrete) antisemite Rothmund was "anew shocked, how 'careless' certain elements handle the fate of the decent German people" (Schwarzenberg, Erinnerungen und Gedanken eines Diplomaten im Zeitwandel 1903-1978, p. 271 and 272, my translation).

Already in 1944, details of deportation and mass extermination of Jews were published by a Swiss protestant aid organization in an entire book containing reports on the Holocaust. The information on the deportation and murder of the Hungarian Jews were further spread by the press in the ICRC's homeland Switzerland. According to the Israeli historian Arieh Ben-Tov:
"The Auschwitz report and the report on the Hungarian deportation were printed throughout the Swiss press (following the Exchange Telegraph report). It was the first breakthrough tolerated by the censorship, which was of course due to the changed military situation. Within 18 days more than 300 reports and articles about the extermination of the Hungarian Jews were published."
(Ben-Tov, Facing the Holocaust in Budapest, p. 126)

Also in 1944, the ICRC delegate Maurice Rossel learnt of rumours on homicidal gassing in Auschwitz from a British POW in Teschen...
"Spontaneously, the British main man of confidence in Teschen asked us if we knew about the 'shower room'. It is rumored that there is a very modern shower room in the camp, where the detainees would be gassed in series. The British man of confidence, through his Auschwitz Kommando, tried to obtain confirmation of this fact. It was impossible to prove anything. The prisoners themselves have not talked about it.

Once again, coming out of Auschwitz we have the impression that the mystery remains well guarded." 
(Report of 29 September 1944 on Maurice Rossel's visit in Auschwitz, my translation)

...and more serious from a prisoner in Ravensbrück concentration camp who previously passed through Auschwitz: 
"These are information on Auschwitz known in Ravensbrück. This infamous camp, where almost only Jews are interned, is a 90% extermination camp. Mrs. Salomon, born Helene Langevin, daugther of the physicist, has made the following statement:

1) Every prisoners passing through Auschwitz gets his number tattooed in blue on his arm.

2) Gas chambers: Mrs. Salomon has experienced terrible scenes herself, heard the screams of several groups of prisoners. The unfortunates selected for the gas chamber are forced into a special block and know what awaits them. They are left here for a time, so they slowly starve until they are taken away in groups and gassed. These are mostly sick, elderly and children
(Report from Maurice Rossel of 14 October 1944 on his visit in Ravensbrück, from Favez, Das Internationale Rote Kreuz und das Dritte Reich, p. 145, my translation)

Does the 1948 ICRC report not mention the Holocaust? 

In contrary, the report does mention the Holocaust. It is very clear (and not "ambiguous" as Kollerstrom would like it to have, see Breaking the Spell, p. 218) that Jews were systematically exterminated by the Germans and sent to "death camps":
"Under National Socialism, the Jews had become in truth outcasts, condemned by rigid racial legislation to suffer tyranny, persecution and systematic extermination...They were penned into concentration camps and ghettos, recruited for forced labour, subjected to grave brutalities and sent to death camps, without anyone being allowed to intervene in those matters which Germany and her allies considered to be exclusively within the bounds of their home policy. "(Volume 1, p. 641)

"In Germany and the countries occupied by her, or under her domination, especially Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania and Jugoslavia 1, no other section of the population endured such humiliation, privation and suffering. Deprived of all treaty protection, persecuted in accordance with the National-Socialist doctrine and threatened with extermination, the Jews were, in the last resort, generally deported in the most inhuman manner, shut up in concentration camps, subjected to forced labour or put to death." (Volume 3, 513)
(Report of the International Committee Of The Red Cross On Its Activities During The Second World War)

Does the report never hint at any human gas chambers? 

Kollerstrom claims that "in all its 1,600 pages the Report never hints at any human gas chambers" (Breaking the Spell, p. 218). Leaving aside that this point lacks relevance, as the report is not a historical study of German camps, it is not even correct:
"At 7 a.m. the first group of one hundred women arrived - it was a terrible and pathetic sight to see these poor creatures, famished, dirty, frightened and suspicious - they could not believe they were to be set free, and took me for an agent of the SS, sent to fetch them for the gas chamber."
(Report of the International Committee Of The Red Cross On Its Activities During The Second World War, Volume 1, p. 625)

Is the 1948 ICRC report a neutral, objective historical study of what happened to the Jews?

The report is not a historical study of what happened to the Jews in World War 2, but it's a subjective account on the activities of a relief organization. As such, it would focus on the positive actions of the organization and if it went on suffering, it would first of all detail those which the organization managed to decrease. It would, however, not necessarily focus on suffering they did not, could not or failed to cope with. In contrary, this might be something to flush down the memory hole. The Holocaust is exactly one of the issues the International Committee of the Red Cross failed on most. It could not really help hundreds of thousands of Jews from its sphere of activity who were murdered by the Germans.

The 1948 ICRC report turns out to be a poor historical source on the fate of the Jews before the systematic mass extermination was halted. For instance, it does not even mention the deportation of more than 400,000 Hungarian Jews in summer 1944 despite ICRC delegates being in the country at the time. In fact, it is this big omission in the report that made the Holocaust denier Arthur Butz erroneously believe that these people were not deported at all (Butz, The Hoax of the 20th century, p. 186).

Actually, the ICRC was informed about the deportation of the Jews in summer 1944, see de Bavier's internal memo of 30 May 1944 quoted above and on 30 June 1944 Schwarzenberg explained to Riegner that the International Committee has "unfortunetely no possibilities to protest towards the corresponding authorities, because they refuse any discussion on the question of the deportation of the Jews, as they regards this as an internal problem, on which the International Committee has no right to interfere" (Favez, Das Internationale Rote Kreuz und das Dritte Reich, p. 444, my translation). The ICRC knew about the mass murder of the Hungarian Jews - at latest - when the testimony of Auschwitz escapees (Jerzy Tabeau, Rudolf Vrba, Alfred Wetzler, Arnost Rosin and Czesław Mordowicz) was passed on among political, religious and relief organizations. This testimony was powerful evidence at the time (whatever Revisionists think about it today) and the ICRC obtained further confirmation through their own channels such as from the female prisoner in Ravensbrück. 

After the war, the available evidence and reports on the Holocaust drastically increased even further. Therefore, if its most terrible details didn't make it into the 1948 ICRC report on their WW2 activities, it was considered as irrelevant, inconvinient or its authors were helplessly incompetent. Take your pick, but in either case, it withdraws the report any historical reliability and authority on mass extermination, i.e if and to what extent the Holocaust is described in the report is little relevant to the question if it occurred.

In fact, around the year 2000 there was a series of Revisionist articles exactly on the historical reliability of the report on the deportation of Hungarian Jews (Butz vs. Graf and Mattogno). Mattgono concluded that "the report of the International Red Cross on Hungary has no historical value" (Mattogno, Die Deportation ungarischer Juden von Mai bis Juli 1944, my translation; an English translation of this article was published here). Graf attributed "this report’s defects" to "incompetent persons" - not the most plausible explanation, that the person who wrote the detailed passage on the ICRC's help of the Hungarian Jews after the transports to mass murder in summer 1944 didn't know anything of what happened just few months earlier, but then Graf is not the most competent Revisionist either -, whereas Mattogno explained it as deliberate deception out of "deadly embarrassment that they did not speak about it at the time and that they did do anything to prevent this terrible tragedy". Hence, Kollerstrom's naive trust in the report has been smacked down by his fellow Revisionists long ago. It's not really surprising that Kollerstrom didn't study any more serious literature on the subject, but what is not much less worrying is that he didn't even check out relevant Revisionist publications.

If the ICRC knew about the Holocaust, then why didn't it publicly protest against it? 

According to its perspective, the ICRC did not publicly protest and try to exert their influence on the Germans because it did not want to risk the ongoing relief activities for other groups of people and it was considered fruitless anyway. The ICRC president Huber explained his position to the president of the Swiss Protestant Church Federation Koechlin on 5 July 1944: 
"We know from experience that in the case in question, we would achieve virtually nothing with a protest, no matter how strong it might be, and, moreover, our humanitarian work in other fields would only be jeopardized thereby." 
(Ben-Tov, Facing the Holocaust in Budapest, p. 174)

27 comments:

Jeff said...

I'm starting to think that Kollerstrom may be a bit daft. I was under the impression that he deliberately omitted the information discussed above, but now it seems that he just doesn't know much of anything. Bear in mind that he is a 9/11 truther and a 7/7 truther as well.

excellent work as always.

Martin V said...

Jeff:

Re your:

" Bear in mind that he is a 9/11 truther and a 7/7 truther as well. "

Are you suggesting (I hope not) that this is a 'reason' to DISBELIEVE Nick K, or to believe him ?

Hardly a Litmus Test of his credibility either way, I'd have thought.

Now, if you're talking about his Paul McCartney theories...............

Aaron b said...

Hello Hans,Roberto,Jonathan and others.As yo certainly know,Mattogno has written "The "Extermination Camps" of "Aktion Reinhardt": An Analysis and Refutation of Factitious "Evidence," Deceptions and Flawed Argumentation of the "Holocaust Controversies" Bloggers" in 2013,have you answer him on this publication?
Best regards

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Hi Aaron,

Jonathan has addressed parts of MGK's magnum opus in several blogs on this series. He can tell you more about it. I have addressed a number of Mattogno's claims and arguments in discussions with a "Revisionist" blogger who calls himself "Friedrich Jansson" (look up the blogs with the label "Jansson"). I'm also working on a rebuttal of chapter 11 of MGK's book, to be followed by a rebuttal of chapter 12. Unfortunately I haven't had much time over the past two years, mainly due to demanding new job commitments, and interest in the subject has also waned. I often find myself struggling to not fall asleep when commenting Mattogno's dreary hysterics. Nevertheless, you can expect something from me to be published on HC over the next few months.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

PS:
The waning interest I mentioned in my previous post has something to do with saturation after years of going round and round the same points with denier imbeciles, but the main reason is the slow progress of archaeological research about the mass graves, especially as concerns Treblinka, which in turn is largely due to restrictions imposed upon such research by Orthodox Jewish religious beliefs. It's not that I have a general contempt for everything religious, but I don't understand why a bunch of black-coated religious fanatics should have a say in archaeological research and force archaeologists to work with one hand tied behind their backs, when they don't impede their work altogether. At Belzec, Prof. Kola's investigation in 1997-99 produced good initial results that should have been followed up upon, especially as air photo evidence suggests that there are further mass graves not discovered by Kola. But idiotically a memorial was built at the place, covering the whole area with slag and thus preventing enhancement of archaeological knowledge for good. At Sobibór, Haimi and Mazurek did as good a job as they could possibly have done considering the restrictions facing them, especially a long struggle for funding and the "dig here but not there" instructions of religious watchdogs. At both these camps the mass graves have nevertheless been identified and mapped with a reasonable degree of accuracy. Not so at Treblinka, where Caroline Sturdy-Colls seems to have made no further progress since she published her finds of a number of burial areas - which were obviously but a fraction of the total - back in 2012. Besides the religious watchdogs, what seems to be at work here is the lady's ego, which has led her to make a big fuss about preliminary discoveries with a book about the prospects of Holocaust archaeology and a program on Smithsonian Channel, instead of devoting all her energy to what matters here, which is identifying and mapping Treblinka's mass graves in their entirety. I was hoping that she would produce more results in 2014 or 2015, but so far nothing. Considering that at this time only archaeology can enhance historical knowledge about these camps (it's unlikely that there will be any further groundbreaking documentary evidence finds like the Höfle report in 2000), CSC's pussyfooting (as it looks from here) is most lamentable.

Jonathan Harrison said...

See our previous discussion of this question:

https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=24597325&postID=7056592522918698852&bpli=1

Jeff said...

Roberto

I unfortunately share your opinions on CSC. I emailed her some considerable time ago and she informed me that she had further plans for fieldwork in 2015, but no news seems to have come out. I imagine that she has lost interest in the subject. Her book (which I have read) seems to be a manual for archaeologists more than anything else really. I recall her saying that she could not search accurately under the monument because of the fuckupery in the soil that it's installment had caused. So that gives us a 17,500 square meter (rough estimate) black hole that we know was built on top of the mass grave sites and the areas of robbery digging. Conclude what you may.

I look forward to your rebuttal of Mattogno, I know you are a very busy man and I am not impatient. However, it will be immensely satisfying to know that he did not get the last word.

Having read Dr. Harrison's analysis of Mattogno's flip-flopping on Nazi policy, I have to conclude that he had no real response to the timeline provided in the white paper. Some of his assessments of critical documents were desperate and quite silly. "Liquidation" as resettlement?" "SB" as resettlement? Using "hyperbole" as an excuse about ten times? Citing Butz's laugh riot on the Riga massacre as credible source materiel? What a joke.

I cannot prevent anyone from losing interest, but I can say that we will miss you gentlemen. Never before has so many infantile, unchallenged conspiracy theories met their rightful fate at the hands of research and logic. History has been done a great service by all of you and we are grateful.
I don't think this gap will be easily filled.

Reactionary said...

Roberto these religious watchdogs do they have so much influence over the Polish government? For it ought to be the Polish Government that one must will ask if you want to dig into Sobibor and Treblinka? Is not there any way to get around this and get permission to dig out and thoroughly investigate these mass graves and to finally put an end to "revisionism"?

If you can get permission to this what is required more? Does it cost much? What equipment is required, etc.?

These mass graves should be dug up and everything should be filmed with Graf and Mattogno Faurisson, etc . should be invited and participate and see for them selves! This would be enough to end the" revisionism" of all future and it should be in the every government's interest in Europe? All Jewish organizations' interest? And so on


How can one help to make this become a reality?

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Jeff,

Thank you for your message, and don't worry. Unfortunate though the hindrances to or stagnation of archaeological research on the AR camps may be, I don't intend to leave Mattogno with the satisfaction of believing that his self-defeating hysterics are the "last word".

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Reactionary,

Your wish is also mine, but I don't think the Polish government cares much about the issue (if the victims had been Christian Poles it might be different).

As to Jewish organizations, religiously-minded ones seem to have much influence, and I believe there are also some influential ones that, while not holding strong religious beliefs, are not exactly interested in putting an end to "Revisionism", assuming that this is possible (ideologically motivated true believers will try to explain away any evidence contrary to their beliefs, however absurd their "explanations" might be). For as long as such organizations can point to "Revisionism" as the big bad bogeyman, they can better justify their existence, their remembrance activities and their calls for donations.

Reactionary said...

Ok Roberto but let us speak with the Polish state and ask if it's ok that we hire archaeologists to investigate these two camps, if we get an ok we start a financial fundraising and engage archaeologists to do this while we document it and invite the "revisionists"

If we get permission from the Polish state, I will assume that these crazy religious groups do not have anything to say?

Jonathan Harrison said...

Digging out the mass graves would not "finally put an end to "revisionism"". Deniers would find a way to claim the evidence was false. Mattogno has already done this with his absurd denials of Belzec, despite the extensive finding of human remains in clearly mapped and verified locations by Kola.

Reactionary said...

Well Jonathan, but if you thoroughly dig out these graves and document it and film it all and that you invite Mattogno etc. in place so it will probably be impossible for them after to claim that no mass murder took place at these sites right?


By the way Roberto which Jewish organizations is that profit from revisionism lives on is there any special you think of? Might be good to know

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Reactionary,

I don't think any archaeological work in Poland is done without authorization from Polish state authorities. If you ask them whether excavation of mass graves is permitted, the probable answer will be "fine with us, but you'll have to sort it out with Orthodox Jews". Who I don't think will care much about what the Polish government says, and with the importance that religion has in Jewish life both in Israel and abroad, they have enough influence to mark their position as to what may and may not be done on an archaeological excavation site.

Fundraising is a good idea in principle, but I doubt that many funds would be collected because the number of potential funders who are against such excavations (namely on religious grounds) is probably higher than the number in favor of such excavations, while the great majority is doesn't care either way and will not fund the project for this reason. Better wait until you or I win a lottery jackpot.

As to Jewish organizations paying lip service to the struggle against "Revisionism" while benefiting from its existence, I had organizations like the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center in mind. Just a hunch, based on the fact that tackling "Revisionism" is essentially left to private citizens like us despite the means that such organizations have at their disposal.

Reactionary said...

Roberto thank you for your answers

I intend to contact the Polish state and ask the question in any case. They should have more say in whether a small click religious Jews but who knows.

And as for religious Jews is it not that according to Judaism that one must not digging up Jewish graves? However, is it not according to the same religion that there are exceptions to this for example for investigations of criminal murders, etc? So then one should be able to highlight this and how it is in the Jewish interest also.

When it comes to collecting money do you have any idea what such a project would cost? If it is done in a clearly objective manner without political points so should even the "revisionists" and similar support this then of course they also can "refute" and "prove" you wrong because they are confident that no evidence of traces of bodies in the amount available under the ground, etc.

What says Yoram Haimi about all this, if you know?

Aaron b said...

Hi Roberto,
Thank you for your answer, I perfectly understand your boredom and I remercy again your courageous and excellent work. As I know,HC is the only website which answers to the voluminous Mattogno's work.I also agree that science must be a priority on religion but I still want to remind you that the best evidence that Treblinka was a camp where Jews were murdered is the Stroop report :-)

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Reactionary,
You’re not facing a small clique of religious folks but people and organizations who had enough influence to restrict archaeological investigation of extermination sites to non-invasive methods. Their influence also extends to the entities that are or would be prepared to finance archaeological research projects at these places. I’m sure that Yoram Haimi would dig to the bottom of every mass grave and leave no stone unturned if he were allowed to, but he knows that if he doesn’t comply with his religious watchdog’s instructions his funds – for which he had to fight long and hard – will be cut.
I wish you good luck in contacting the Polish state. Please keep us informed about your progress.
As to exceptions to Jewish religious laws, they obviously do not include archaeological research meant to further historical knowledge. An exception would apply if the dead could be identified and reburied at their place of origin, but that’s obviously impossible with the remains lying in the AR camps’ mass graves. If the contents of the graves consisted only of whole skeletons like in the mass graves excavated by Father Desbois at Busk in Ukraine, one might still think of obtaining a permit from the religious folks on condition that remains found are left lying where they are and not moved in any way. But you cannot do one delve of spade without moving human remains, which are mostly cremation remains or unburned fragmented remains, in a place like Sobibór. Haimi has already gone as far as he could there. Every time his excavations came upon large numbers of bone fragments, Rabbi Shudrich’s supervisor instructed him to stop.
As to fundraising, I’ve never done that and have no idea how it is done. I could find out, but before I try I suggest you gauge the support potential by posting a petition for unrestricted archaeological research, see how many signatures you get. I can do that for you on this blog if you want. Just tell me who you want this petition to be addressed to. I predict that it won’t get any more signatures than my Petition to the German legislator (which was signed by a full 24 people, including myself and just one "Revisionist", since it was posted in February 2008). I hope I'm wrong, but it's a very dim hope.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

Hi Aaron,

I don't believe in any single piece of "best evidence". A historical record consists of all evidence put together - and of the absence of evidence supporting an alternative explanation.

The absence of any evidence to resettlement in the "Russian East" via the supposed "transit camps" more than seven decades after the event is arguably the strongest argument against "Revisionist" fantasies. Yad Vashem has collected millions of names of Jews murdered by the Nazis, and the name of every German and Dutch Jew murdered at Belzec, Sobibór or Treblinka has been recorded in the respective country’s historical archives, while on the other hand Mattogno and his fellow true believers cannot produce one single name of a Jew they can prove to have been "transited" via these places to the occupied Soviet territories they are supposed to have been "transited" to. That alone makes these "Revisionists" folks a joke, in my opinion.

Reactionary said...

Hello again Roberto

ok what a shame about these religious groups but I'm still contact the Polish government and see what can be done and I will contact you afterwards

ok but would not it be more reasonable for Jewish religious to dig up all the remains and give the Jewish victims a real jewish burial in a mass grave that not Nazi murderers have dug? It would be more dignified for the victims and could be done after an excavation and study of the remains

But let us assume that these religious groups would give in and realize the importance of an excavation of mass graves and to give their permission for this, or that the Polish government gives its approval to implement this despite the religious requirements then what can be assumed that the finding of human remains for the victims would be?

"cremation remains unburned or fragmented remains" you write but can we in some way distinguish and prove that these residues are from about 900 000 people in Treblinka, and about 300 000 (?) people from Sobibor? For example by DNA analysis or the like? Can you prove that it is Jewish victims? DNA analysis? Can you find and prove the remains of Zyklon B (or any gas now used at these camps?) in these human remains?

Or how will it be due? And how to find and prove this through an excavation? What do you use for practice?
And which methods have the "revisionists" said that they accept as approved to how to go about it? What are their archaeological requirements for how an excavation should go to Treblinka and Sobibor as they consider reasonable and acceptable as approved rebuttal of their own theories?

Yes please help me start a petition about it but maybe you should wait until I received a reply from the Polish government and hear what they say? The petition may then be directed to Poland? It is after all the Polish state who should have the final word on what may be done in their country they rule over, I guess

With all due respect for your and your colleagues' important work, but have you really tried and marketed your petition? You can go out on forums, blogs, etc. in many countriesI can help

I have a pretty large network, and can probably get a lot of writing during'll I will check on it!

Best regards

Jonathan Harrison said...

Strong evidence is also that in December 1942 Goebbels told his staff he had no evidence with which to refute the reports that were coming out of Poland, which at that time would have centred on Treblinka.

Jonathan Harrison said...

http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2015/10/goebbels-total-war-and-extermination.html

Jeff said...

Let us not forget the Himmler-Brack correspondence, or the Foreign office docs from the Netherlands that Dr. Harrison posted earlier.

Aaron b said...

Hi Roberto,
This argument is excellent :-)

Jeff said...

One of you gentlemen may wish to address Chapter 7 of the BLOB as well. A revisionist acolyte is basically copying and pasting from said chapter on SSF and it seems to be the only section of the BLOB that brings up any new sources at all.

Just by doing some basic googling, a total amateur like myself with less than a year of experience was able to discover that many of the sources mentioned by the acolyte were taken out of context or were red herrings. A more thorough examination by more experienced researchers like yourselves would likely reveal much more rot behind the facade so to speak. I know that we at SSF would support such an endevour and would provide assistance when requested.

Only one chapter. No time limit, the refutation could come out in 2019 for all I care. I just think that it would be in the best interests of all of us that the only pivotal (i.e attempts to tread new ground) chapter of the BLOB would be addressed.

Just a thought.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

@Reactionary

«"cremation remains unburned or fragmented remains" you write but can we in some way distinguish and prove that these residues are from about 900 000 people in Treblinka, and about 300 000 (?) people from Sobibor? For example by DNA analysis or the like? Can you prove that it is Jewish victims? DNA analysis?»

You can prove by DNA analysis that bone fragments are human bone fragments. If you had DNA samples of individual victims before they were killed, maybe you could also identify individual victims, but I don't think there are any such DNA samples.

«Can you find and prove the remains of Zyklon B (or any gas now used at these camps?) in these human remains?»

I don't think so, unless the poison leaves traces in the bones, which I don't think is the case.

«Or how will it be due? And how to find and prove this through an excavation? What do you use for practice?»

I have no excavation practice. I figure that what could be done, if allowed, would be to dig out all the soil from mass graves (after they have been duly located), sift out and collect every bone or bone fragment or tooth found in there, quantify these and then estimate how may human beings they belong to. Such quantification would probably take months if not years, also because there are bone fragments so small that it would be hard to tell them from the surrounding soil, especially decades after the events. And the resulting estimate would hardly be more reliable than quantifying the deaths on the basis of evidence about the number of deportees. Rather the opposite.

«And which methods have the "revisionists" said that they accept as approved to how to go about it? What are their archaeological requirements for how an excavation should go to Treblinka and Sobibor as they consider reasonable and acceptable as approved rebuttal of their own theories?»

If you ask "Revisionists" what method they will accept they will either evade the question or name a method that they know has not yet been applied and think is unlikely to be applied. If that method should eventually be applied, they will ask for another method, and so on. The question should not be what methods "Revisionists" would accept, but what methods are accepted in historical research and criminal investigation. And the answer would be, any methods that are suitable to provide reliable evidence.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«Yes please help me start a petition about it but maybe you should wait until I received a reply from the Polish government and hear what they say? The petition may then be directed to Poland? It is after all the Polish state who should have the final word on what may be done in their country they rule over, I guess.»

The Polish state should have the final word but it also has an eye on international public opinion, and if it allows something that influential religious groups in the US and other countries can decry as an offense to their religious beliefs, it will probably think twice about having the final word.

Besides the Polish state, the petition should be addressed to the Chief Rabbi of Poland. He is the main brake in the process, after all.

«With all due respect for your and your colleagues' important work, but have you really tried and marketed your petition? You can go out on forums, blogs, etc. in many countriesI can help

I have a pretty large network, and can probably get a lot of writing during'll I will check on it!»

OK, you can try your luck after the petition is blogged. My Petition to the German Legislator was "marketed" or at least pointed on the RODOH forum, and also on the SSF forum IIRC. It is also known to the CODOH chimps, one of whom signed the petition. Even so it didn't get many signatures.

Reactionary said...

Roberto wrote:

"You can prove by DNA analysis that bone fragments are human bone fragments. If you had DNA samples of individual victims before they were killed, maybe you could also identify individual victims, but I don't think there are any such DNA samples. "

Look what I found:

"Skeletal remains can often also give clues to sex, race and in some instances country of origin as advances in forensic science have allowed us to extract mineral samples from the bones and cross reference them against the various drinking waters to be found across the globe.
This can be useful if the individual is someone from another country who has perhaps not been reported as missing because they are in a country illegally or simply because there are no other means of identification."

http://www.exploreforensics.co.uk/skeletal-remains.html

"Through the study of bones, an array of information can be ascertained regarding the remains including, but by no means limited to, age, gender, ethnicity, cause of death, and even indications of lifestyle such as where a person might have lived. "

"Mitochondrial DNA is solely inherited from the maternal bloodline, thus it does not contain any genetic information from the individual’s father. If mitochondrial DNA can be successfully extracted and analysed, it may be possible to compare it with living maternal relatives to aid in identification."

http://aboutforensics.co.uk/forensic-anthropology/

So maybe if we could dig up some graves like Treblinka or Sobibor, and take some bone fragments, and then do DNA analysis to see if they are from Jewish DNA, which would be further evidence. Then they can not come and say, "Sure residues from dead bodies, but how do you know that it is the remains of dead Jews and not residues from dead Germans or Poles?" Then it can be proved not only by documents but also through DNA testing possible?

Roberto wrote: "I have no excavation practice. I figure that what could be done, if allowed, would be to dig out all the soil from mass graves (after they have been duly located), sift out and collect every bone or bone fragment or tooth found in there, quantify these and then estimate how may human beings they belong to. Such quantification would probably take months if not years, also because there are bone fragments so small that it would be hard to tell them from the surrounding soil, especially decades after the events. And the resulting estimate would hardly be more reliable than quantifying the deaths on the basis of evidence about the number of deportees. Rather the opposite. "

Yes, sound like a good proposals that should be implemented. But in one of your radio debate with Berg some years ago, where he suggested that you should dig out the graves, so you replied that there is another method, and it is ground penetrating radar, like Krege in Treblinka. What about using that if we never are allowed to dig up the graves? And what can we prove with that?