Sunday, December 27, 2015

How not to Help out Mattogno on Auschwitz

It was a bit surprising to see there was virtually no reaction in the (admittedly manageable) Revisionist community to the series Rebuttal of Mattogno on Auschwitz (not finished yet, but currently pending because of other projects), either from himself or at least from one of his cheerleaders.

It's not that we would expect them to engage in a constructive discussion - that would be a big surprise indeed -, but ignoring a detailed rebuttal of the latest state of Revisionism on Auschwitz does not exactly help when you are an obscure fringe group anyway (though I am not really unhappy with this as it enabled me to move on to the gas vans, which seemed to be the only remaining issue Holocaust deniers hadn't been thoroughly debunked yet).

Somebody named "Root Ofall", apparently a French Revisionist and supporter of Vincent Reynouard Vincent, has now provided a brief critique of Rebuttal of Mattogno on Auschwitz, Part 5: Construction Documents, F: Cremation with Simultaneous Special Treatment in the comment section. Such rare incident needs to be appreciated with its own posting. "Root Ofall" shows his good will to help out Mattogno, but as we'll see, sometimes well-meant is just badly done. 

There are some arguments against your thesis. But the most decisive is :

"The temporary elevator had not yet been installed. It was ordered by ZBL to Häftlingsschlosserei on January 26, 1943, but it was terminated only on March 13" (ATCFS, p.196).

Obviously, it should not be available for February 15, but it should be essential for mass gassings.
("Root Ofall" on Saturday, December 12, 2015)

First of all, it does not follow from the cited extract that it was known on 29 January 1943 (when the memo in question was written) that the elevator "should not be available for February 15".

Mattogno writes that it was ORDERED on 26 January 1943 and TERMINATED on 13 March 1943, but this says nothing about when its completion was EXPECTED on 29 January 1943. For all you know, it might have been expected to terminate the elevator by 15 February 1943, but was delayed because some material was missing or because of a change in priority since the ventilation wasn't ready yet anyway.

Secondly, even if the elevator was not expected to be installed by 15 February 1943 (for the sake of argument, because you still need to demonstrate this), the mass extermination could have nevertheless started by 15 February 1943 provided the ventilation had been installed. The corpses could have been transported from the basement to the oven room either via the stairs or via the space (plus provisional steps), where the elevator was to be installed. This is just a matter of men power, readily available in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Thirdly, even if the transport of corpses up to the furnace hall was limiting the extermination process without elevator (again, for the sake of argument), this would merely mean that a lower number of transports could have been exterminated, but not that mass extermination was not possible anymore. Say, if only half of the corpses could have been brought from the basement to the oven room per day, then the Germans could have still carried out one homicidal gassing every second day (instead of every day).

In summary, the elevator was neither essential for mass gassings nor did you show that by 29 January 1943 its installation was not anticipated for 15 February 1943, and therefore you did not provide anything to challenge my conclusion. Now, if this is already your "most decisive" argument, then I'm really curious about the others!

The "simultaneous special treatment" was a treatment of corpses in the ovens.
("Root Ofall" on Saturday, December 12, 2015)

But if so, the author of the memo meant to say that "a burning with simultaneous treatment of corpses in the ovens is made possible" by the power supply, which doesn't make much sense. Unless the author was mentally confused to write a reasonable sentence, the "special treatment" has to mean something else than the "treatment of corpses in the ovens", as this is already covered by "burning".

Mattogno knew from Sergey that his explanation is not really sound:
Romanov will find this explanation objectionable or tautological as he wants. In the absence of any other document, this is the best explanation I can offer.
(Mattogno, Il comitato di soccorso Zimmerman o gli olo-bloggers in (denigr)azione nel web)
The explanation I have proposed above may not be completely satisfactory, but it is the only one that can be deduced from the historical context into which Swoboda’s note fits.
(Mattogno, ATCFS, p. 198)

Of course, not completely satisfactory puts it very mildly, since one has to assume that the author Swoboda was not able to formulate a decent logical sentence. And it is exactly the claim that there is no other explanation that I have addressed here.

There is actually a more reasonable explanation. The "special treatment" referred to the operation of the gas chamber, which required electricity to drive the ventilation system (not only to extract the gas immediately after the gassing, but also during the entire process of clearing the room and cremating the corpses, which took the whole day). Swoboda was pointing out that the power supply to the crematorium will allow for the operation of the ovens and the ventilation system of the gas chamber at the same time, hence that "burning with simultaneous special treatment" is made possible, which was the minimum requirement for the crematorium to go into operation.

1 January 2016: corrected Reynouard's name


J Kelly said...

Speaking of Auschwitz,
Is there Sondercommando testimony regarding the cleaning of the gas chambers after the Jews were murdered in them? What is the earliest known testimony regarding this?
I know it's a little obscure but there is a denier on another blog who believes that such testimony only started after Leuchter's report. This denier claims that stories of cleaning the gas chambers only appeared after Leuchter's report.
I appreciate anything you guys have.
I've read testimony regarding cleaning the gas vans and the cleaning of the chambers at Auschwitz but I want something that is specific to the 1940's or fairly soon afterwards.

Hans said...

Hi J Kelly,

the Israeli historian Gideon Greif did some good interviews with former Sonderkommando members in the 90s and obtained a lot of details on the operation of the extermination sites, including on the cleaning of the gas chambers.

But these were not the first testimonies on the issue, if that is what this denier is saying. The section detail doctor Miklos Nyiszli working in crematorium 2 testified about the cleaning when Leuchter still soiled his nappy, on 29 July 1945:

"After thirty minutes the ventilators were switched on, members of the Sonderkommando on duty opened the door of the gas chamber and there lay 2000 corpses covered in blood (from bleeding noses) and faeces. Instead of being scattered evenly on the bunker floor, they were piled up on top of each other one story-high, explained by the fact that the chlorine gas reached the upper layers with some delay. The Sonderkommando washed the corpses with a hose and the bodies were then loaded in a freight elevator and transferred to the furnace room."

Dass Prussian said...

Does Mattogno usually respond to the blogs on here, Hans ?

And if he does, where does he do it ? Does he have his own website/blog ?

J Kelly said...

Thanks for the info. Deniers focus on some of the weirdest things.

Hans said...

Hi Dass Prussian,

so far Mattogno responded only to two blog postings (from Sergey and Joachim Neander) some years ago, but since then - nothing. His replies were posted at the inconvinient history blog ( ). The blog seems close to clinically dead by the way.

Mattogno's new Italian articles are usually released at

Hans said...

Here's Mattogno vs. Sergey:

And Mattogno vs. Neander:

That' some really good stuff you should check out. How Joachim Neander takes apart Mattogno is top notch. It's like sitting in the first row watching a heavy weight world champion vs. the local rookie from the beer festival.

Hans said...

Ah, actually Mattogno only responded to Joachim Neander's CODOH post and keeps ignoring his subsequent blog rebuttal.

Dass Prussian said...

Thanks for those links, Hans. How disappointing that Mattogno didn't respond.

It's a pity all the 'main players' of this subject matter don't come together and post on the same forum. It would be so much easier to keep track of all discussions and arguments.

Jeff said...

It seems that MGK lost any will to do anything new after they lost the K. That means that Roberto's defense of his chapters of the White Paper (which we await with the absolute utmost patience) will likely be the final word.

Anonymous said...

It is Vincent Reynouard, not Reynouard Vincent. At least try and get his very simple name right.

bhigr said...

"It was a bit surprising to see there was virtually no reaction in the... " It's not surprising, since you have presented no new arguments. Why should he repeat himself over and over again? Just agree to disagree and happy new year.

Hans said...

bhigr said...:
"It's not surprising, since you have presented no new arguments. Why should he repeat himself over and over again?"

Is this so? Then tell me specifically where the following argument has been presented before and most importantly where it was adressed by Mattogno:

"Suppose the "special treatment" was taken place in the gas chamber, the memo says that both blowers/forced air draft of the cremation ovens and the ventilation of the homicidal gas chamber can be turned on at the same time, without blowing a fuse or overheating the supply cable. This was already an important information from a practical point of view. You can start the blowers of the ovens without worrying if the ventilation of the gas chamber is really turned off, and vice versa.

Furthermore, the possibility to use the cremation devices and the ventilation of the gas chamber at the same time did actually make the extermination process faster and more efficient - or safer. If the ventilation had to be turned off as soon as the Sonderkommando prisoners started dragging out the corpses, there had to be either an extended ventilation time before opening the door (taking into account that HCN concentrations not harmful upon short time exposure may be harmful upon exposure for hours, desorption of HCN from the corpses and Zyklon-B pellets and poorly ventilated gas pockets in between the corpses), or there was a higher risk for the Sonderkommando prisoners as well as for anybody else in the building. On the other hand, if the ventilation could be kept running the whole time, a reduced ventilation time before opening the door could have been realised (because HCN concentrations, not harmful upon short time exposure but upon long time exposure, are reduced with increasing time, the number of outgassing corpses and Zyklon-B pellets are decreased over time and an increasing number of gas pockets are made more accessible for the forced ventilation).

Moreover, turning off the ventilation while the chamber is still filled with corpses and body fluids would have accumulated unpleasant smell in the chamber, that might have made the work for the Sonderkommando impossible without gas masks in the extreme case, but could also leak into the rest of the crematorium. In addition, the Germans would have needed to stop the cremation way before the next batch of victims arrive in order to ventilate the gas chamber before the actual gassing to remove the foul air.

Therefore, having both cremation and ventilation working at the same time with considerable overlap was not an essential but a desired feature for the most efficient and safe operation of the extermination site, which - in addition to its technical relevance - explains why the issue was raised by Swoboda in the memo if the special treatment was taken place in the gas chamber basement. "

Hans said...

Anonymous said...

"It is Vincent Reynouard, not Reynouard Vincent. At least try and get his very simple name right."

Thanks for your kind and very important correction!

And it would have certainly helped that non-French speaker get his not simple and not obvious name straight, if he didn't name his youtube channel wrong!