Saturday, February 20, 2016

"Alleged" Mass Graves and other Mattogno Fantasies (Part 2)

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4, Section 1
Part 4, Section 2
Part 5, Section 1
Part 5, Section 2


Nature and Purpose of Archaeological Investigations

In the section of the critique’s chapter 7 dedicated to the nature and purpose of the archaeological investigations conducted at Bełżec in 1997-1999, I had addressed Mattogno’s attempt to present the archaeological investigations carried out in the area of that camp as a (failed) attempt to "furnish the ‘material proof’ of the alleged extermination at Bełżec."[35], and refuted his contentions that the head of these investigations, Prof. Andrzej Kola, had been hired in order to obtain corroboration of eyewitness testimonies through physical evidence, and that the reason why he restricted his work on the mass graves to core drilling instead of excavating the graves and exhuming the corpses had been a concern – motivated by the core drilling results – that excavation would lead to conclusions incompatible with the historical record of Bełżec extermination camp.


After spending a whole paragraph castigating me for the "maniacal insistence" with which I "brooded" during the past years over this "question of absolutely no importance", Mattogno tries to make it look as if I had falsely attributed to Prof. Kola a statement in the foreword to Kola’s book about the Bełżec investigations[36], authored by Miles Lerman, Chairman Emeritus of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, whereby the purpose of the archaeological investigation had been to "thoroughly examine the topography of the former camp, so as to exclude areas with human remnants" and avoid the disturbance of such areas during the building of the memorial, which was to cover the entire former camp area. Actually I had expressly mentioned Lerman as the author of this statement. [37]

Mattogno then tries to make the point that the purpose of Prof. Kola’s investigations essentially consisted in obtaining archaeological and historical information (and not in pinpointing mass grave areas so as to avoid their disturbance during museum construction) by quoting Prof. Kola to the effect that the general purpose of the project had been to "obtain the basic knowledge of how the camp had been planned, particularly to establish where the mass graves had been located". The quote is taken out of a context that, contrary to Mattogno’s argument, does not contradict the statement of Miles Lerman[38]:
The architectural elements commemorating the camp in Bełżec, mainly as the enclosure and the monument require changes at present. The Council of Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom (Rada Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa - ROPWiM) in Warsaw together with the United States Holocaust Memorial Council and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington have decided to take up new actions to commemorate the camp. The general purpose, essential for the project works taken up already, is to obtain the basic knowledge of how the camp had been planned, particularly to establish where the mass graves had been located.

As one can see, Kola was referring to his employers and the commemoration purpose of their "new actions". Obtaining "basic knowledge of how the camp had been planned", and particularly to "establish where the mass graves had been located", served that commemoration purpose.

A later statement of Kola’s (whereby "The big number [of mass graves] contains mainly ashes of bodies, which make killing and burying hundreds of thousands of people in one place possible."[39]) is interpreted by Mattogno (p. 1205) as an explicit statement "that the real purpose of the investigation was to deliver archeological ‘proofs’ to orthodox holocaust historiography". Chances are that Prof. Kola, who considered the mass extermination at Bełżec a proven historical fact, and not a mere possibility to be checked by archaeological research, would be as amused about this far-fetched interpretation as I am.

Further bolstering his theory, according to Mattogno, is the fact that "archaeological research at Chełmno and at Sobibór had nothing to do with the erection of monuments in these areas, but were part of a general project, exactly, of ’Excavating Nazi Extermination Centres.’". This happens to be the title of an article describing past and ongoing archaeological work at former Nazi extermination camps[40], and there’s no such thing as a "general project" of "Excavating Nazi Extermination Centres" outside Mattogno’s wishful thinking. The Chełmno archaeological investigations "were carried out by Ł. Pawlicka-Nowak on behalf of the Konin Museum in three phases during the years 1986-1987, 1997-2002 and 2003-2004"[41], which suggests a local initiative of the Konin museum, as do Pawlicka-Nowak statements whereby the museum, after 10 years of forced inactivity, obtained support from the Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom in Warsaw because it asked for such support[42]. The Sobibór investigations in 2000-2001 were conducted at the behest of the Polish Board for the Protection of Monuments of Combat and Martyrdom in Warsaw[43], whereas the Bełżec investigations were a joint initiative of this Board and the USHMM. Different initiators for each project, at different times.

Mattogno makes the point that Prof. Kola’s book "presents itself as an archeological book with historiographical claims", describing finds "which would have been completely unnecessary for mere museal purposes". This indeed suggests that – as already mentioned in the critique[44] – a broader archaeological investigation eventually resulted from the initial purpose under a "as we’re at it, les us also …" perspective, as Prof. Kola expressly pointed out when writing that the archaeological works in the Bełżec camp area, which "had originally the only aim to locate the mass graves by probing drills", revealed structures that "opened a chance to widen the research programme" into one that involved reconstructing the camp buildings and establishing the function of located objects[45]. However, as already pointed out[46], this doesn’t validate Mattogno’s conjectures and insinuations. For independently of whether identifying the mass grave areas was Kola's only task or he was eventually also commissioned to attempt an archaeological reconstruction of the camp’s buildings (and independently of whether all information about the mass graves included in Prof. Kola’s report was necessary for the planning and construction of the memorial), the archaeologist was bound by his employers' religiously motivated concerns about disturbing the dead to keep physical contact with human remains to the minimum indispensable for identifying the areas containing such remains.

Mattogno therefore needs further arguments to substantiate what I appropriately called his conspiracy theory. Mattogno balks at the term ("This phantom ‘conspiracy theory’ is a real obsession for the ‘plagiarist bloggers.’" - p. 1207), apparently oblivious of his claims of a false pretext and un-confessed ulterior motives, quoted hereafter: [47]
This only confirms my assertion: that the primary goal was to locate the mass graves. The real issue here is the purpose behind the attempt to identify the mass graves. The official explanation, that of the new memorial, is clearly deceptive. [...] It is clear that the story of the memorial is merely a pretext, allowing for a thorough examination of the entire camp area in the hope of localizing mass graves (presumably able to contain 600,000 corpses) and archeological remains (of the alleged gassing installations) that would provide material evidence for the alleged exterminations at Bełżec, and thus silence historical revisionists. When the results of the surveys failed to meet these expectations, the team fell back on the official alibi of the memorial: human remains had not been searched for and the minor remains discovered could eventually not be exhumated for "moral" reasons.

(Emphases added.)

If the above-quoted conjectures don’t qualify as a conspiracy theory, I don’t know what does.

Always the cynic, Mattogno follows up his protestations against my characterization of his conjectures with another conspiracy theory, showing a photo of the current Bełżec memorial and musing on p. 1209 that
If the main goal was to prevent any future verification of the data referred to by Kola and to prevent any further research, one could not have done any better to achieve this than by what was done to the area of that former camp.

After that he tries to demonstrate that the religious-ethic objections against opening the Bełżec mass graves are questionable.

Mattogno argues that the rulings of Orthodox Jewish courts mentioned by Father Patrick Desbois[48], whereby the remains of victims of the Nazi genocide should be left in peace, have not prevented Desbois from "opening a mass grave and to expose human bones (Illustration 11.11), and then to take a picture on its edge (Illustration 11.12)". The illustrations show Father Desbois by a mass execution site uncovered at Busk in the L’viv region of Ukraine, in which a layer of skeletons has been laid bare. Desbois described the Busk excavations in great detail, expressly mentioning the constraints due to Jewish religious laws under which his team was forced to work[49]:
The challenge was doubly complex. On the one hand we had to respect Jewish laws and on the other hand we wanted to obtain scientific results as precise as possible in terms of the identity of the victims, their number, and the cause of death. The Jewish law, the Halakha, specifies that bodies must not be moved under any circumstances, particularly the victims of the Holocaust. According to Orthodox Jewish tradition, these victims are resting in the fullness of God, and any movement of the bodies would disturb that peace. Hence the archaeologist could only uncover the first layer of bodies, taking care not to move any bones. In addition, the bodies had to be covered up again as soon as the archaeologist finished working.

(Emphasis added.)

Mattogno either didn’t read Desbois’ book or omitted the above information on account of its inconvenience to his argument.

Why, one might ask, is excavation of human remains at extermination camp sites not allowed by Orthodox Jews although Father Desbois was allowed to conduct the excavations at Busk? A possible reason is that digging without dislocation of human remains (thus in compliance with Halakha) was possible at a place like Busk, which contained whole skeletons. At places where human remains mostly consist of ashes and smaller or larger bone fragments mixed with soil, on the other hand, every spade movement would imply dislocating human remains and thus violating Jewish law.

Mattogno presents several cases in which corpses of Jews murdered by the Nazis or their allies were exhumed – near Iaşi (Romania) on 12 September 1945, near Kerecsend and Budapest (Hungary) on 5 November 1957, near Lithuanian Jurbarkas in 1958, near Białystok (Poland) in November 1945, in concentration camps in Germany in 1958, in Popricani (Romania) in April 2011, and reburials of Jews killed in Czestochowa, Kurenets and Kozienice (Kozhnits) according to photographs featured in the Ghetto Fighters House Archives, Photo Archive section. With one possible exception[50] , the exhumed corpses were reburied in a Jewish cemetery, according to the sources provided.

Mattogno argues (p. 1214) that, assuming the corpses (found in the Bełżec mass graves) belonged to Jews[51] "the religious dictates would not have impeded the exhumation of corpses in a state of saponification and their re-burial in a Jewish cemetery".

This argument fails to take into account a source pointed out by Mattogno himself in an earlier publication[52], namely the article "Exhuming the Dead" by Rabbi Myron S. Geller[53]. Geller summarizes the applicable rules as follows:
From the perspective of halakhah, the removal of remains from a grave is generally barred because of concern for the dignity of the dead. Under certain circumstances, remains may be transferred:
A. to move the remains to a family burial plot;
B. to move the remains to Eretz Yisrael;
C. for the security of the remains against vandalism or natural catastrophe;
D. for public need; or,
E. if the remains were buried in a plot belonging to someone else.

Exception A - "to move the remains to a family burial plot" is obviously the reason why corpses of murdered Jews were exhumed from the mass graves into which their killers had buried them and transferred to the local Jewish cemetery. For Jews from a certain location murdered at or near that location, the location’s Jewish cemetery would be the "family burial plot", the place where their ancestors and other members of their extended family had been buried. But how was anyone to tell, from the partial remains saturating the soil of Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka, which remains belonged to what "family burial plot"? Impossible. And because it was impossible to determine what "family burial plots" the remains in the soil of the extermination camps should be transferred to (as concerns remains other than corpses in wax-fat transformation, it was even impossible to establish what specific human being these remains pertained to), exhumation under Exception A to the Halakhah rules (the only one that could have applied) was out of the question. Thus Mattogno’s examples don’t support his argument.

Mattogno refers to the complaints of Rabbi Weiss against the archaeological investigations at Bełżec and the construction of the memorial[54], claiming (pp. 1214-15) that they show "that the Jewish political-cultural authorities in the whole matter of the museum of Bełżec kept an attitude of total indifference in respect of Jewish religious dictates" and that "Rabbi Weiss interpreted the museum project as a desecration "in the name of ‘archaeological research,’" confirming that this was the primary goal for the Jewish and Polish authorities involved in it". Actually what Rabbi Weiss did was express an understanding different from that of other Jewish religious leaders about what was and what was not allowed by Jewish religious rules about not disturbing the peace of the dead, and he expressly lamented this disagreement[55], a fact that Mattogno conveniently omits. Considering that Rabbi Weiss’ concerns of "desecration" were obviously not shared at the time by other leading figures of the Jewish religious community, a reasonable person might conclude that there were differences in the Jewish religious community as to the interpretation of rules governing burial places and the exceptions of such rules, or at most that the archaeological research and subsequent construction work at Bełżec were indeed what Rabbi Weiss called them – a "monumental failure" under the aspect of respecting the dead and their burial places according to Jewish religious beliefs, a blunder due to insufficient care and diligence. Conspiracy theorists like Mattogno, needless to say, are not reasonable persons.

Moving from Bełżec to Sobibór, Mattogno accuses me on p. 1215 of dishonestly contorting the sense of a long slab of text from MGK’s Sobibór book[56], without explaining what the claimed dishonest contortion is supposed to consist of. In said long slab of text, which Mattogno quotes in all its splendor, MGK complain about "persons not satisfied with mere belief in eye witness claims and fanciful interpretations of documents" being "equated with flat-earthers and simply not debated with", and about the supposed cardinal scientific sin of accepting "as an a priori fact" the Sobibór gas chambers "for which there exist only the weakest type of evidence, namely eye witness testimony". "If this is not ‘pseudoscience,’ then what is it?", Mattogno rhetorically asks.

Well, it’s a reasonable scientific approach, as reasonable as it was to accept the existence and destruction of Roman Pompeji based on contemporary eyewitness accounts independently of what archaeological research revealed. What Mattogno derides as "the weakest type of evidence, namely eye witness testimony" is an essential element for reconstructing all sorts of historical events, including mass crimes that Mattogno probably professes no doubt about because they were committed by people he doesn’t like or against people he likes. The "weakest type of evidence" has been the main source on the basis of which the criminal justice authorities of democratic states, acting according to defendant-friendly procedural rules that Mattogno cannot show to have been violated, reconstructed mass crimes like those committed at Bełżec and Sobibor. It has also been the main source for reconstructing a great many Soviet crimes. Would Mattogno, say, accuse the German Federal Archives, who in the 1970s reconstructed 3,300 sites of crimes committed by Red Army troops against the German civilian population, and attributed 24,500 victims to 2620 of these crimes sites[57], essentially on the basis of eyewitness accounts, of having been "satisfied with mere belief in eye witness claims"? No, he would not, obviously aware of the importance of eyewitness testimony for reconstructing the majority of crimes committed by the Soviet Union, regarding which little or no assessments of physical evidence are available. And as to documents regarding the AR camps and deportations thereto, the only "fanciful" interpretations thereof are those of Mattogno et al, who to this day have not been able to provide a single name of a Jew supposedly transited to the Nazi-occupied territories of the Soviet Union even though such names would be all over the place if such transit had occurred.[58]

Notes

[35] Mattogno, Bełżec, p. 90.
[36] Andrzej Kola, Bełżec: the Nazi Camp for Jews in Light of Archaeological Sources: Excavations 1997-1999, Warsaw-Washington: The Council for the Protection of Memory of Combat and Martyrdom and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, 2000.
[37]Critique, footnote 50 on page 401.
[38]Kola, Bełżec, pp. 8-9.
[39]As above, p. 40.
[40]Isaac Gilead, Yoram Haimi and Wojciech Mazurek, "Excavating Nazi Extermination Centres" in Present Pasts, I, 2009, online under [link].
[41]Gilead et al, as above.
[42] Pawlicka-Nowak, Chelmno Witnesses Speak, p. 42; see also the Konin Museum’s website under [link].
[43] Andrzej Kola, ‘Badania archeologiczne terenu byłego obozu zagłady Żydów w Sobiborze w 2001 r’ (‘Archaeological Research of the Former Jew Extermination Camp at Sobibór in 2001’, Przeszłość i Pamięć. Biuletyn Rady Ochrony Pamięci Walk i Męczeństwa Nr. 4/21 z 2001 r, pp.115-123. Translated into English by Katarzyna Piotrowska. The translation is available on the thread "Archaeological Research of the Former Jew Extermination Camp at Sobibor in 2001" ([link]).
[44]P. 405.
[45]Kola, Bełżec, p.69.
[46]Critique, p. 406.
[47]From the paper "Belzec or the Holocaust Controversy of Roberto Muehlenkamp" - [link].
[48]Father Patrick Desbois, The Holocaust by Bullets, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008, pp.129-130.
[49]Desbois, as above p. 176.
[50]Illustrations 11.16 and 11.17 are from the Ghetto Fighters House Archives’ Catalog No. 105, whose caption reads as follows: "A proper burial for the victims of camps in Germany, whose remains were disinterred from mass graves. Attached: a report, prepared in 1958, explaining the activity in Germany and France of Miriam Novitch, who took part in this work. In French; a complete Hebrew translation is included." It is not stated that the skeletons unearthed from the soil of former concentration camps in Germany pertained to Jews let alone how it was established that they did.
[51]" … a probable fact but not a certain one; in 1940 the camp received some gypsies, among whom contagious diseases like typhus broke out, and it is likely that a certain number of gypsies died and were buried there," Mattogno is referring here to the Bełżec labor camp that operated in 1940, which is mentioned on the USHMM’s page about Bełżec ([link]).
[52]"LE ULTERIORI CONTROVERSIE OLOCAUSTICHE DI ROBERTO MUEHLENKAMP Parte I.", now under [link], commented in the article "Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology - Continuation (1)" ([link]).
[53] Online under [link].
[54] Avi Weiss, "A Monumental Failure at Belzec", online under [link].
[55] Avi Weiss, "A Tribute That Desecrates Rather Than Sanctifies", online under [link]. Weiss writes that "The Belzec trench controversy has been particularly painful as it involves my disagreeing publicly with my cherished friend Rabbi Irving Greenberg as well as the American Jewish Committee, whose noble work under the leadership of David Harris has been exemplary. I know that their motives are pure. Still, with all my heart and soul, I believe the position they have taken is terribly misguided, so misguided that we at Amcha-The Coalition for Jewish Concerns have now been forced to go to the courts."
[56] MGK, Sobibór, pp. 166 f.
[57]Vertreibung und Vertreibungsverbrechen 1945-1948. Bericht des Bundesarchivs vom 28. May 1974, 1989 Kulturstiftung der deutschen Vertriebenen, Bonn, pp. 38 and 55.
[58]See my "Challenge to Supporters of the Revisionist Transit Camp Theory" under [link], which remains without takers well over four years after it was published.

40 comments:

Nathan said...

- Considering that Rabbi Weiss’ concerns of "desecration" were obviously not shared at the time by other leading figures of the Jewish religious community, a reasonable person might conclude that there were differences in the Jewish religious community as to the interpretation of rules governing burial places and the exceptions of such rules, -

It happens all the time. Pope Francis, IIRC is quite loose on the subject of contraceptives. Catholics in other parts of the world aren't. As "monolithic" as Religious doctrine is, different people will always interpret it differently.

Dumbass antisemite Mattogno is too stupid to realize this.

Andrew E. Mathis said...

Reminds me of a conversation w/my wife several years ago on some point about Judaism and Jewish Law -- not a topic often visited by us since the wife is uber-secular. Nevertheless, she was reading from some source and read the following line: "There was great disagreement among the rabbis." To which I replied, "There's a big fucking surprise."

Complicating the matter even further is that the ruling that Mattogno cited is from a Conservative Rabbi, whose opinions would have zero traction in the Orthodox community generally and with a Orthodox Rabbi like Weiss in particular.

Jeff said...

^ the fact that ICDTN cited a ruling by a Masorti Rabbi is hilarious. I'm a Shegetz layman and I know that the dominant Jewish denomination in Poland at that time was Orthodox. That is undoubtedly an example of dishonest omission on his part.

r thomas said...

It would be an interesting blog post if more attention would be paid to the mass graves of Bunker 1 and the subsequent burning pits of Bunker 1 which are supposed to be quite a distance away from each other and the mass graves of Bunker 2 which were supposed to be in the same area as the mass graves there in 19 42/43 and the Hungarian action of 1944. maybe something such as this could be addressed

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Always the cynic, Mattogno follows up his protestations against my characterization of his conjectures with another conspiracy theory, showing a photo of the current Bełżec memorial and musing on p. 1209 that

"If the main goal was to prevent any future verification of the data referred to by Kola and to prevent any further research, one could not have done any better to achieve this than by what was done to the area of that former camp."



Sturdy Colls is peddling the very same "conspiracy theory", altho she widens it to included the memorial erected at Treblinka in the '60s:

In some cases, the construction of a monument may have been expressly designed to ensure that no forms of ground disturbance could take place. For example, at Treblinka, the monument was placed over the areas believed to contain mass graves and structural remains, whilst at Bełżec the same trend can be witnessed (Figs. 2.6 and 2.8). In actual fact, such obstructions may prevent many forms of archaeological investigation, not only excavation.

Perhaps booby should send a tin foil hat to Dr. Sturdy Colls.


- Caroline Sturdy Colls, Holocaust Archaeologies: Approaches and Future Directions, Springer International Publishing, 2015, p.95.


The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

^booby [recte: bobby]

Andrew E. Mathis said...

I rather think Dr. Sturdy Colls stated what she did with specific regard to religious reasons.

But you knew that, of course.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

An old codoh post on moving the remains of Jews.

Perhaps you ladies can actual cite the real sources in the Halakhah that forbid the disturbances of Jewish remains instead of relying on the what 20th/21st rabbi says.


"If you want to know what Jewish Law has to say on exhuming the bodies of Jews, you should read the following tracts in the Babylonian Talmud:

Baba Bathra 101b, 102b and Nazir 64b, 65a, 65b, which all cite Oholoth, Chapter 16, Mishnah 3. The Mishnah is considered the Word of God; the Oral Law that was given to Moses on Mount Sinai along with the Torah.

The rule of exhuming dead Jews is complicated, but I can summarise it as follows, if the reader bears in mind that these laws were created to protect the priest class, the kohanim, who are forbidden from entering Hebrew cemeteries or going near dead Hebrews (close relatives are an exception, and gentiles don't even count), and that the Talmud suggests these laws were introduced due to discovery of bodies during construction projects in ancient Israel.

1. Jews should not desecrate Jewish graveyards, if the rabbinate rules an area was an old Jewish graveyard, the remains can not be removed.

2. Jewish graveyards only contain Jews buried with in Jewish rite, the Talmud specifically excludes an area where Jews were killed and buried for "convenience" from becoming Jewish graveyards.

3. If Jews chance across a corpse which was obviously buried in Jewish rite, they can remove it and the soil which immediately surrounds it for reburial elsewhere. If they find two corpses near each other and both were obviously buried in Jewish rite, they can remove them both and the soil (like before), but if they find three together, things get complicated and they have to do searches for others to find out whether the land was ever a Jewish graveyard.


I read once, although I can't recall where now, that Rashi (a hugely influential 11th century French rabbi), effectively took the mickey out of how seldom the rabbinate in ancient Israel would declare an area as a Jewish cemetery following the discovery of buried remains, because doing so would result in an area (of prime real estate, possibly) becoming a no go zone for the priestly class: the Kohens.

On a final note before I quote the cited Talmud passages; the following teaching states that the discovery of any Hebrew corpse or skeleton which is not complete, will not count toward the minimum of three corpses needed for an area to even be considered as a graveyard. The remains of Jews which are buried in Treblinka 2, would of course fall into this category, even if they had been buried in Jewish rite, which of course they weren't:"


https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?p=68814&sid=8b645d9b5b61bfbef20769aeebe5c9ce#p68814



Andrew E. Mathis said...

Here you go, Mary:

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Translation:Shulchan_Aruch/Yoreh_Deah/363

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

AM: I rather think Dr. Sturdy Colls stated what she did with specific regard to religious reasons.

But you knew that, of course.


Well, you think wrong. Can I suggest that, going forward, you check sources before announcing what they're about.

The entire paragraph from which the above quote was taken:

Practicalities of fieldwork—in other cases, it may not be possible to excavate sites for a variety of practical reasons. Landscape change may be one such reason and may take the form of modem buildings, car parks, dense vegetation and even memorials/monuments. In some cases, the construction of a monument may have been expressly designed to ensure that no forms of ground disturbance could take place. For example, at Treblinka, the monument was placed over the areas believed to contain mass graves and structural remains, whilst at Bełżec the same trend can be witnessed (Figs. 2.6 and 2.8). In actual fact, such obstructions may prevent many forms of archaeological investigation, not only excavation. Where sites have taken on alternative functions since the Second World War, they may now be under housing, supermarkets, shops or playing fields. Issues of health and safety also have to be considered. Where buried remains exist at a considerable depth (more that 1 m), excavation may become unsafe without adequate shoring, the remains and the ground may become unstable and the water table may be breached. In some parts of Europe, Holocaust sites may be located in areas that are active conflict zones or where considerable local opposition may exist with regard to their investigation. Therefore, alternative means of investigation may need to be sought.

Andrew E. Mathis said...

Great, LB. Now do demonstrate the reasons provided at both camps for the erection of the monuments. Thanks!

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Translation:Shulchan_Aruch/Yoreh_Deah/363

Fair enough. I see now that this was mentioned in the May 8, 1968, declaration of US rabbis AJ Herschel and W Kelman opposing an idea to open the mass graves at Belsen:

"It is prohibited to exhume the dead since this definitely involves disrespect and desecration of the dead, as decreed in our Code of Laws (Shulchan Aruch—Yoreh Deah 363): 'It is forbidden to exhume the dead and their remains; it is forbidden to transfer them from one honorable grave to another honorable grave or from one dishonorable grave to another dishonorable one, and not even from a dishonorable grave to an honorable one and certainly not from an honorable grave to a dishonorable one.'"

cf. The Mass-Graves of Bergen-Belsen: Focus for Confrontation, by Menachem Z. Rosensaft
Jewish Social Studies, Vol. 41, No. 2, Spring, 1979, p. 163.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Great, LB. Now do demonstrate the reasons provided at both camps for the erection of the monuments. Thanks!

Why? Are you now claiming the '60s Treblinka and '00s Belzec memorials were erected for religious reasons?

Andrew E. Mathis said...

No, I'm suggesting it's more likely than their being erected to "prevent truth-seeking heroes from finding out the real truth."

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

«In actual fact, such obstructions may prevent many forms of archaeological investigation, not only excavation.

Perhaps booby should send a tin foil hat to Dr. Sturdy Colls.»

CSC is referring to an unintended effect, Mattogno to a baselessly suspected purpose, and rabbit can't tell the difference.

Jeff said...

"CSC is referring to an unintended effect, Mattogno to a baselessly suspected purpose, and rabbit can't tell the difference."

having read the entirety of her book, as opposed to our pet idiot who likely skimmed it looking for bits to quot out of context, I can say the same. How anyone can reach another conclusion is beyond me.

Jeff said...

<"On a final note before I quote the cited Talmud passages; the following teaching states that the discovery of any Hebrew corpse or skeleton which is not complete, will not count toward the minimum of three corpses needed for an area to even be considered as a graveyard. The remains of Jews which are buried in Treblinka 2, would of course fall into this category, even if they had been buried in Jewish rite, which of course they weren't:">

Cherry-picking. It is very likely that there were many more than three complete corpses left at the bottom of the graves for the reasons cited above. Thus: the remains in Treblinka II easily fit into this criteria.

Jeff 3, Fluffy Bunny 0

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

According to Polish historian Martyna Rusiniak, cited in a Polish newspaper article whose translation is available here, the Treblinka memorial "was given this shape in order to avoid the digging-up of the area". I guess this is supposed to mean that the memorial was erected in the area where robbery digging was most intensive, which must have been where the mass graves were located.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Mathis: No, I'm suggesting it's more likely than their being erected to "prevent truth-seeking heroes from finding out the real truth."

You could argue that for the '60s Treblinka and Sobibor's 'ash mountain' monuments, but it's a stretch to believe that it was genuine fear of shovel-owners that forced Miles Lerman et al. of the American Jewish Committee's Belzec Memorial Project to decide in the late '90s-early—'00s to cover most of site the in concrete or rocks.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

barely literate jeff: "On a final note before I quote the cited Talmud passages; the following teaching states that the discovery of any Hebrew corpse or skeleton which is not complete, will not count toward the minimum of three corpses needed for an area to even be considered as a graveyard. The remains of Jews which are buried in Treblinka 2, would of course fall into this category, even if they had been buried in Jewish rite, which of course they weren't:"

Cherry-picking. It is very likely that there were many more than three complete corpses left at the bottom of the graves for the reasons cited above. Thus: the remains in Treblinka II easily fit into this criteria.

Jeff 3, Fluffy Bunny 0


Yawning at your obligatory and spurious "cherry-picking" accusation. And, no, it doesn't, because the Nazis didn't bury them with full religious rites, obviously.

However, as has been pointed out, the Yoreh Deah 363 rules:

"It is forbidden to exhume the dead and their remains [...] not even from a dishonorable grave to an honorable one [...]"

Which is the relevant bit here, obviously.

Andrew E. Mathis said...

LB, you're gonna want to posken to Isserles, not Karo, on this point, since the burial sites are all in Ashkenazi territory. Luckily for you, most editions of the Shulchan Arukh provide Isserles's own rulings beside Karo's. Your Kitzur Shulchan Arukh won't do here. That said, I'm not sure Isserles has ever been translated in its entirety.

Regarding YD 363 in Karo, here it is in the original:

http://www.sefaria.org/Shulchan_Arukh,_Yoreh_De'ah.363

I don't see Isserles in there.

Jeff said...

The Daft Rabbit: "You could argue that for the '60s Treblinka and Sobibor's 'ash mountain' monuments, but it's a stretch to believe that it was genuine fear of shovel-owners that forced Miles Lerman et al. of the American Jewish Committee's Belzec Memorial Project to decide in the late '90s-early—'00s to cover most of site the in concrete or rocks."

There was still likely a small risk of robbery digging. Recall that the digging at Treblinka only stopped after the monument was put in.

But it is more likely that the backlash against core drilling may have played a role as well. This of course is not evidence of some imaginary "ewiw Joo conspiwacy" like the one that floats around in your head, but rather of a restive degree of sensitivity on part of Jewish religious authorities. The fact that you immediately jump to conspiraloonery is a fine exposè on how childlike you really are.

Jeff 4, Daft Rabbit 0

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Albertson said: "There was still likely a small risk of robbery digging. Recall that the digging at Treblinka only stopped after the monument was put in."

Prove that digging was only stopped at Treblinka by the monument.

There was zero risk of digging at Belzec in the 21st century when the Belzec Memorial Project decided [conspired?] to cover virtually the entire site in concrete or rocks.

For your information—I know you've never visited—the Belzec memorial is completely surrounded by an 7+ft fence which is perfectly sufficient for keeping your phantom graves robbers away.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CzQd8ENp-lY


Albertson said: "But it is more likely that the backlash against core drilling may have played a role as well."

!?

A few people complained about the drillings, so you think it's "likely" the AJC altered their plans for the memorial, deciding to appease them by covering most of the site with hundreds of tons of rock. But (very big BUT) they still opted to proceed with the excavation of the 570ft x 8ft x (up to) 70ft trench right through the middle of the former camp.


Albertson said: "The fact that you immediately jump to conspiraloonery is a fine exposè on how childlike you really are."

No one's jumped to conspiraloonery, Albertson. That's just your imagination.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

LB, you're gonna want to posken to Isserles, not Karo, on this point, since the burial sites are all in Ashkenazi territory.

Thanks for heads-up, I'll be sure to demand Isserles' ruling from anyone who merely cites the Kitzur Shulchan Arukh in future.

Jonathan Harrison said...

Is the Rabbit claiming that this letter by Rabbi Weiss was a hoax, designed to disguise the lack of actual remains?:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/2003/10/12/disturbed-good-intentions/5ff97f55-a711-4b84-ae95-12f3cdf52afe/

Jeff said...

"Prove that digging was only stopped at Treblinka by the monument."

It was explicitly stated by Sturdy-Colls and at least one polish journalist that the monument was put in to prevent robbery digging. It is a known fact that robbery digging persisted well into the fifties and beyond. Do the math. Did you graduate secondary school? Stop ignoring the obvious.

"A few people complained about the drillings, so you think it's "likely" the AJC altered their plans for the memorial, deciding to appease them by covering most of the site with hundreds of tons of rock. But (very big BUT) they still opted to proceed with the excavation of the 570ft x 8ft x (up to) 70ft trench right through the middle of the former camp."

The covering occurred after loud and aggressive protests by Polish Jewish Religious authorities. That is not a coincidence. The "trench" is irrelevant because the backlash was due to the core drilling.

Are you really suggesting that some imaginary cabal of "ewiw Joos" conspired (your exact words) to prevent further digging by covering the grounds up? Honestly that is so ridiculous that it simply refutes itself. It's past your bedtime.

The score is now 5-0 for Jeff. The rabbit now risks demotion to the first division.



The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

JH said: Is the Rabbit claiming that this letter by Rabbi Weiss was a hoax, designed to disguise the lack of actual remains?

A strawman Harrison! Surely you can do better? Then again....

But thank you for posting his letter, as it further demolishes Albertson's silly theory about the decision to bury the site in rocks was to placate "the backlash against core drilling".

The design selected for the Belzec memorial -- an enormous trench running through the camp -- has massively disturbed, and will continue to disturb, the bones and ash on the camp's surface and the human remains that lie beneath.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Albertson said: It was explicitly stated by Sturdy-Colls and at least one polish journalist that the monument was put in to prevent robbery digging. It is a known fact that robbery digging persisted well into the fifties and beyond. Do the math. Did you graduate secondary school? Stop ignoring the obvious.

And not a single source was cited. Must do better, Albertson.

Albertson said: The covering occurred after loud and aggressive protests by Polish Jewish Religious authorities. That is not a coincidence. The "trench" is irrelevant because the backlash was due to the core drilling.

Haha.

The design selected for the Belzec memorial -- an enormous trench running through the camp -- has massively disturbed, and will continue to disturb, the bones and ash on the camp's surface and the human remains that lie beneath.

- Avi Weiss, senior rabbi at the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale, October 12, 2003
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/opinions/2003/10/12/disturbed-good-intentions/5ff97f55-a711-4b84-ae95-12f3cdf52afe/


Albertson said: Are you really suggesting that some imaginary cabal of "ewiw Joos" conspired (your exact words) to prevent further digging by covering the grounds up? Honestly that is so ridiculous that it simply refutes itself. It's past your bedtime.

"Conspired" is one word, Albertson.

I could describe what hyperbole is, but it'd be a waste of time. Instead, ask your care worker to help you understand it. He can draw you one of those diagrams you usually find helpful in these all-to-frequent situations.

Jeff said...

<>

"For example, at Treblinka, the monument was placed over the areas believed to contain mass graves and structural remains, whilst at Bełżec the same trend can be witnessed"

This is from a source that you cited in this very thread. Do you even read your own snippets? You cannot possibly be that stupid.


<>

Is that all you've got? You are one yellow little pussy now aren't you?
In the very next paragraph Weiss states that the goal of the monument was to Protect the Belzec site. He opposed the construction of it for the disturbance that it caused, but his initial protest was related to the core drilling (learn to read and then check this out http://www.hir.org/amcha/belzec.html)

And now we find ourselves back to square 1: do you opine that the insertion of the monument is a conspiratorial act? yes or no.

You make ridiculous, libelous accusations against the AJC and then you claim that we are dealing in "strawmen" and "hyperbole" when we call you to account for your BS? That's called backtracking and its not a good look.

Thank you for proving your stupidity.

I'll be back in case you want more punishment ;)




Jeff said...

It comes down to this: Prove to us that the monument was put in to prevent "the truth" from being discovered. Prove that to us. If you can't then shut up because the clear statements by the relevant authorities say otherwise.

Jonathan Harrison said...

Rabbit:

"You could argue that for the '60s Treblinka and Sobibor's 'ash mountain' monuments, but it's a stretch to believe that it was genuine fear of shovel-owners that forced Miles Lerman et al. of the American Jewish Committee's Belzec Memorial Project to decide in the late '90s-early—'00s to cover most of site the in concrete or rocks."

Lerman was not a member of the AJC, and the AJC did not own the Memorial Project initially. Lerman was part of the original pre-Kola planning and wrote the foreword to Kola's book. The project was handed over to the AJC after Kola did the digs and Weiss did his protest; Weiss was hoping that the handover to the AJC would cause the trench proposal to be scrapped.

http://www.hir.org/amcha/belzec.html

If Rabbit us unaware of this context, he needs to step away from the thread.

Jeff said...

^ He already ran away like a little girl because he knew he'd been beat. He demanded proof that the insertion of the monuments was done for the purposes of combating robbery digging and I gave it to him from his own source, basically rendering his thesis irrelevant and exposing him as a drooling imbecile. He makes Monstrous from SSF look like a scholar LOL.

The Score is now 10-0 for Jeff, the rodent is relegated to first division and has his house demolished as punishment for wasting our time.

Jonathan Harrison said...

This is the final word on the trench issue, as far as I can see. Some Jews opposed the trench but there was clearly a prolonged and detailed plan to ensure it was done within rabbinical law:

"Rabbis Baker and Michael Schudrich, the chief rabbi of Warsaw, also contend that Jewish law is on their side. Rabbi Schudrich said he brought the desecration issue to Israel's then-Chief Rabbi Israel Lau, who advised him to consult Rabbi Elyakim Schlesinger of London, an international authority and chairman of the Committee for Preservation of Jewish Cemeteries in Europe. In August 2002, Rabbi Schlesinger inspected Belzec. "He concluded that the proposal, including the descending path, was acceptable according to halacha [Jewish law] and a great improvement over the current situation," Rabbi Schudrich said. "He recognized that no mass graves would be disturbed, something that would be strictly forbidden, while ash and bone fragments, if unearthed, would be returned to the mass graves where they were originally buried." Rabbi Schudrich said he also met "at length" with Rabbi Lau's assistant, Rabbi Rafael Franks, who in January wrote that Rabbi Lau endorsed the project. But Rabbi Weiss disputes these rabbinic approvals. "I have spoken to Rabbi Lau and he has told me that he has no personal knowledge of the specifics of the memorial," Rabbi Weiss said. He also claimed Rabbi Schlesinger "was misled." "Rabbi Schlesinger told me that he gave his approval when he was informed that the only memorial possible at Belzec is a trench," Rabbi Weiss said. "It's obvious that there are many options other than a trench for Belzec, such as covering the entire area, surrounding it with a protective fence and building a memorial above ground and on the outside." Rabbi Weiss said he has consulted with other rabbis who agree with him, including Rabbi Moshe Tendler of Yeshiva University. Rabbi Weiss said it is impossible for Rabbi Schudrich to monitor every shovel of earth to see if it contains bones or ash. Lieberman suggested that towers could be built overlooking the camp so visitors can look in but not desecrate the site. Rabbi Baker said suggestions are too late. Salsitz, who lost his mother and five sisters in Belzec, told The Jewish Week he opposed the trench because it was disrespectful and violated Jewish law. But Atlanta attorney Ken Kaplan, whose dozens of relatives from Zaklikow, Poland, were killed in Belzec, supported the trench. "I would feel the same way I would feel if somebody barred me from visiting a cemetery where my relatives were buried," he said. "For those of us who lost family there and the millions of Poles who don't know history, to keep it a closed memorial denies the world the right to learn what happened there and to visit a sacred place." Kaplan toured Belzec in 1999 with his mother, Mildred, and witnessed an abandoned, weed-choked, rock-strewn site. "There was no sense that a horrific event took place there," he said. "It was sad." "Closing the camp wouldn't fill the need of the mourners," agreed Rabbi Schudrich, who said a November dedication for the memorial is planned. "They want to walk on the grounds where their ancestors walked. And the fact is we have a way to do that that is halachic."

http://www.thejewishweek.com/features/death_camp_dispute

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Harrison:

Lerman was not a member of the AJC, and the AJC did not own the Memorial Project initially. Lerman was part of the original pre-Kola planning and wrote the foreword to Kola's book. The project was handed over to the AJC after Kola did the digs and Weiss did his protest; Weiss was hoping that the handover to the AJC would cause the trench proposal to be scrapped.

If Rabbit us unaware of this context, he needs to step away from the thread.



Lerman was precisely what I said he was: head of the AJC's Belzec Memorial Committee.

Evidence:
http://fotos.fotoflexer.com/2d7398bb35769b9b2cdd491200c55ce8.jpg
http://www.ajc.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=7oJILSPwFfJSG&b=8479733&ct=12488559

Whether he was actually a member of the AJC itself, I don't know, but I never claimed he was.

Lerman headed the project Belzec project from the beginning when the USHMM was running the show. When they transferred the handling of project to the AJC, it made little difference to Lerman, he was still in charge.

Strange you should have opted not to mention this.


________________________________



Here's evidence that the AJC was behind the design of the Treblinka memorial:


February 5th, 1962.

To Mr Akiva Kohane
American Joint Distribution Committee
64 Rue du Stand
Geneva


Re Treblinka monument

Dear Akiva

Thank you for your letter regarding this matter. I am sorry that Mr Fisgrund at last will be disappointed. It is true that here in Stockholm we have founded a small committee which tries to collect a contribution. We count with about 10-15.000 Swed.Crowns. But nobody are yet interested in giving money or working for the matter as they do not know if the monument on the whole will be made.

It is true that Mr Storch with his usual generosity has promised Mr Fisguard that he would obtain the necessary means namely 40.000 dollars for purchase of granite in Sweden. Mr Storch has also used his usual method to give a promise but then do nothing. We have not yet got any contribution from him and I do not know wherefrom he would get it. Perhaps he has thought of World Jewish Congress but it is very doubtful if they are willing to give a contribution.

We all hope that there really will be a monument in Treblinka but if it will be made as suggested and with the tremendous expenses which will occur is not yet good to know. I have wanted to inform you about this but as mentioned until now nothing has happened.

With kindest regards,
Yours sincerely,


Ragnar Gottfarb

http://search.archives.jdc.org/multimedia/Documents/Stockholm/ST_003/ST_003_0690.pdf#search=ragnar gottfarb treblinka

Jonathan Harrison said...

Rabbit: "When they transferred the handling of project to the AJC, it made little difference to Lerman, he was still in charge."

Nope:

"In November 2002, the American Jewish Committee signed an agreement with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to assume responsibility as the international partner with the Polish government to bring the Belzec Memorial Project to completion. The project is being undertaken with the personal support of Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller. Miles Lerman maintains a leadership role in the project and is spearheading efforts to secure the necessary contributions. Key staff members of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum continue to provide assistance, while Rabbi Andrew Baker, AJC's Director for International Jewish Affairs, has assumed overall responsibility for coordinating the project."

That reads to me like Baker is in charge, with Lerman kept on board in a "leadership role".

But the key issue is that I don't see any proof here that the decision to cover the site with rocks was taken pre-Kola rather than post-Kola.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Harrison: That reads to me like Baker is in charge, with Lerman kept on board in a "leadership role".

According to that source, Baker was the Project Co-ordinator, and Lerman "maintains a leadership role."

Does "leadership" have a different meaning in the States, Harrison?

You'll notice on this still from some footage I recorded at the memorial, that Lerman's name appears at the top and Baker's at the bottom on the plaque at the site; Lerman is described as the Chairman and Baker as the Co-ordinator.

Who holds the more senior role in a company: a project co-ordinator or the chairman?

FYI, Lerman's family, inc. his mother, were sent to Belzec.


Harrison: But the key issue is that I don't see any proof here that the decision to cover the site with rocks was taken pre-Kola rather than post-Kola.

Why the hell does that matter?


The design for the memorial was announced at a presentation at the USHMM on July 18, 1998, by then-Polish PM Jerzy Buzek.

BBC: "the Polish government has announced it's going to build a new, more appropriate monument -- a replica of Jerusalem's Wailing Wall."


I found this unsourced and undated quote from the design team on deathcamps.org, but it has been on the internet since at least August 11, 2003, so almost a year before the memorial was dedicated

The surface of the gravesite will be covered with a layer of special sterile soil, half a metre thick, while maintaining the original contours of the land.

Andrzej Solyga
Zdzislaw Pidek
Marcin Roszczyk

Sculptors

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Why have you reintroduced comment moderation? I guess it must be all those racist and homophobic comments jeff posts.

Nicholas Terry said...

Comments on posts older than 2 weeks are moderated, one reason is to prevent spam, the other is that it becomes difficult to have genuine discussions on older posts. The window can be varied (by the day), so if you think 3 or 4 weeks is more reasonable, then offer a suggestion. Some may not notice new comments on posts further down the front page.

There hasn't been a discussion about exactly what to do with comments on really old posts, since nearly all commenting falls on newer posts, and we were most concerned with screening for spam with the older posts, so your comment on a post from December 2008 is still held back until that discussion takes place. We simply wanted to free up current discussion from moderation. Which is what Hans did.