Tuesday, February 23, 2016

"Alleged" Mass Graves and other Mattogno Fantasies (Part 3)

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


Human Remains Found

Belzec

Sobibor

Treblinka

The section of the critique’s chapter 7 about findings of human remains (in a restrictive sense including only whole corpses or larger human body parts not or only partially burned, to the exclusion of the human cremation remains like ashes and bone fragments) began with a deconstruction of Mattogno’s claim that of 137 (by Mattogno’s count) core drilling samples from mass at graves Bełżec visually represented in Kola’s book, "obviously the most significant ones of the 236 samples taken altogether" in such mass graves, only 5 out of 17 visualized samples from graves nos. 3, 10 and 20 contained human remains [59].




Belzec

I provided the following arguments against Mattogno’s assessment[60]:
1. The samples mentioned by Mattogno (482/XV-30-60 and 486/XV-25-50 and 485/XV-30-50 from grave no. 10, 286/XVI-90-40 and 332/XVI-85-40 from grave no. 3 and 1042/XIV-45-80 from grave no. 20) add up to 6 and not 5.
2. A 7th sample visualized in Prof. Kola’s book[61], 484/XV-30-55 in grave no. 10, shows the stylized "x" shapes designating "human bones and wax-fat mass", and mentions a "canine tooth" and a "blockade", the "blockade" being in all probability a spot where the drill couldn't go further because of bodies in wax-fat transformation.
3. Contrary to Mattogno’s claim, the core sample drawings shown in Figures 12 to 16 on pp. 14 to 18 of Kola’s book (which include samples showing corpse layers from only 3 out of 10 graves in which corpse layers were found, and samples from only 11 out of 33 graves altogether) were not "the most significant ones of the 236 samples taken altogether", but expressly stated to be "examples of graphic illustration of the results".
4. Also contrary to Mattogno’s claim, the aforementioned figures in Kola’s book do not show 137 core drilling samples from mass graves, but 77 samples from mass graves and 60 samples from areas other than mass graves.
5. By far not all drillings were so deep that they could even have hit layers of corpses, which as a rule were at the bottoms of the graves. This makes Mattogno’s juxtaposition of the claimed number of "positive results" (core drillings hitting corpses in wax fat transformation) vs. the total number of drillings in mass graves, a misleading and therefore dishonest comparison. Of those core drillings shown in Kola’s illustrations that went as deep as the bottom of the graves, all hit corpses in wax-fat transformation, i.e. the "positive" ratio in an appropriate juxtaposition was 100 %.

How does Mattogno reply to these arguments?

As concerns the first, Mattogno admits to a mistake in his writing.

As concerns the second, Mattogno points out (p. 1217) that sample 484/XV-30-55 from grave no. 10 «does not show at all "the stylized ‘x’ shapes designating ‘human bones and wax-fat mass,’" which are represented with a symbol similar to open scissors with the tips facing down, but a simple "x" describing "Burned human bones"». This is correct, but it doesn’t affect my main argument in this context, whereby it is unlikely that the blockade in sample 484/XV-30-55 was due to underground waters, because the adjacent drills came upon bodies in wax-fat transformation at a greater depth and only 485/XV-30-50 touched ground water (after passing at least two layers of bodies in wax-fat transformation), and an omission of the mention "human corpses" behind "blockade" in the drawing of sample 484/XV-30-55 is more probable. I might have added that samples 485/XV-30-50 and 485/XV-25-50, represented to the right of sample 484/XV-30-55 in Kola’s Fig. 13 show "human bones and wax-fat mass" (the symbol "similar to open scissors with the tips facing down") at about the same depth of the "blockade" in sample 484/XV-30-55, which further supports the likeliness of the "blockade" in that sample being due to "human bones and wax-fat mass".

In response to the third of my above-mentioned arguments, Mattogno regurgitates a quip from his "previous reply", in which he mused whether Kola may have wanted to "save paper" by not including in his book visual representations of all core drillings made in mass graves, and rhetorically asks the question (implying an accusation of the archaeologist’s dishonesty) why Prof. Kola did not publish the other mass grave samples "if they were not, in fact, irrelevant"[62]. This argument of Mattogno’s is all the poorer (to put it politely) in view of the fact that only 77 of the 137 samples shown in Kola’s book (which refer to only 3 out of 10 graves in which corpse layers were found, and to only 11 out of 33 graves altogether) were from mass graves. Prof. Kola’s intention was obviously not that of showing "relevant" samples from mass graves but rather that of showing examples of what he had found both inside and outside mass graves, and Mattogno conveniently overlooked this fact, as well as the fact that the results of excavations in non-grave areas take up about as much of Kola’s 84-page book as do finds regarding mass graves, in his insinuative conjectures about Prof. Kola’s not having published drawings of all core drillings in mass grave areas.

How does Mattogno address the fact that, contrary to his claim, only 77 of the 137 core drilling samples of which drawings are included in Kola’s book are from mass graves, i.e. the fourth of my arguments mentioned above? Well, he simply ignores it and continues writing about 137 samples from mass graves, as if nothing had happened – which is understandable in a sense, considering that Mattogno was caught red-handed in trying to mislead his readers. Maybe this revelation of his dishonesty is what Mattogno refers to when mumbling about "insignificant subtleties" whereby I’m supposed to be "trying to distract the reader" in order to "dodge" the "fundamental question", regarding which he produces the following pearl (p. 1219):
Given that Kola identified some corpses in a state of saponification, what was their number? 15,000, as estimated by Tregenza? In this perspective, if the remaining 99 samples would have proven the presence of such corpses in great numbers, can one really believe that Kola would have refrained from publishing them in order to save three pages?

If we give Mattogno the benefit of not again trying to mislead his readers (whose intellectual capacities he apparently doesn’t think much of), what we have here is a showpiece of Mattogno’s ill-reasoning, considering that
a) Prof. Kola was obviously not concerned with estimating the number of corpses in wax-fat transformation, and
b) Neither the 77 mass grave core samples shown nor the (236-137 =) 159 core samples (not 99, as Mattogno would have it) not shown could conceivably prove the number of corpses contained in the respective mass graves, already for the reason that they were mere samples. The thickness of the samples and the area of corpse layers they suggested could merely provide indications for estimating the number of corpses in the mass graves – which was what Tregenza, independently of Prof. Kola, seems to have done based on these parameters.

The fifth of my above-mentioned arguments Mattogno characterizes as "stunning", on grounds that the discussion is not based on the corpses which could be found in the Bełżec soil, but on "those actually found by Kola with his drillings" – as if that were an argument against my demonstration of the fallacy and dishonesty of Mattogno’s "5 out of 236" juxtaposition. Actually what matters in the context of my discussion with Mattogno is the number of corpses that can be reasonably expected to be in the Bełżec mass graves based on Prof. Kola’s sampling, not "those actually found", which is why the discussion cannot be limited to how many corpses Prof. Kola’s team actually drilled into but must go on to establish what conclusions can reasonably be drawn from Kola’s sampling as concerns the amount of human remains in the graves in question. This assessment was obviously done by Tregenza, and I did a similar assessment with similar results.

Before addressing my estimate of the number of corpses that can be expected to be lying in the soil of Bełżec, Mattogno indulges in a bit of sophistry in connection with my observation[63] that he had briefly mentioned the description of the contents of grave no. 27 but omitted those of mass graves nos. 1, 4, 13, 25, 28 and 32, thereby creating the impression that they contain no mention of corpse layers and thus contradict Kola’s assertion that corpses were found in these mass graves. He contests this observation by pointing to his previous quotes of Kola’s assertion, as if he had not earlier justified his omission by claiming that Kola’s description of grave no. 27 "is the only one providing quantitative data: a layer of saponified corpses measuring 1 meter in depth"[64], and as if his above-quoted claim that "from all 236 drilling samples, we have only 5 ‘positive’ cases, that is, 2%!" were anything other than an accusation that the omitted descriptions contain unsubstantiated information.

Now to my estimates of the number of corpses lying in the 10 Bełżec mass graves where corpses were found by core drilling. Considering the thickness of corpse layers reported by Kola for the graves numbered 3, 13, 25, 27 and 32, and assuming that the spots where the drilling device hit corpses were part of layers with a below-ground area equal to the surface area of the mass graves, I had calculated that the corpse layers in these graves could have a total volume of 607.75 cubic meters, which would correspond to 4,862 corpses at a concentration of 8 corpses per cubic meter (the maximum considered possible by Mattogno) or 9,116 corpses at the concentration of 15 corpses per cubic meter I had considered in my first series of articles addressing Mattogno’s claims re the Bełżec mass graves[65]. Assuming – despite information in Kola’s book suggesting thicker layers – that corpse layers in the graves numbered 1, 4, 10, 20 and 28 were no thicker than 40 cm (the thinnest layer found in the graves numbered 3, 13, 25, 27 and 32), these 5 graves would have corpse layers with a total volume of 527.60 cubic meters, corresponding to 4,221 corpses at a density of 8 corpses per cubic meter or 7,914 at a density of 15 corpses per cubic meter. All 10 graves would thus contain 9,083 to 17,030 corpses, the latter a higher figure than the estimate of Michael Tregenza that Mattogno decried as wildly exaggerated. [66]

Mattogno challenges these estimates by arguing that they are not supported by Kola’s descriptions of the mass graves in question or that these descriptions are based on arbitrary assumptions and/or a sloppy or even fraudulent handling of data by the archaeologist.

Starting out with Kola’s description of grave no. 3, Mattogno characterizes the archaeologist’s mention of a layer of bodies in wax-fat transformation at the bottom of that grave[67] as "arbitrary, if not deceitful", on grounds that "exactly 2 samples of 9 (the 286/XVI-90-40 and the 332/XVI-85-40) refer to human remains" - a baseless accusation considering that only those two samples were from drills in that grave taken to a depth at which human remains could be found (it would be different if equally deep drills in between these two had not come upon human remains), and that it was entirely reasonable, for reasons I shall explain below, to assume that human remains were present not only at these two drill spots but also in between the same.

Mattogno laments that Kola "does not provide a scale for the columns representing the drillings", but doesn’t draw the obvious conclusion that the core sample drawings in Kola’s book[68] were not meant to be on scale (unlike the plans and sections of the mass graves, for which a scale is provided). Instead he fabricates a scale, by assuming that "the longest column", representing sample 485/XV-30-50 in grave no. 10[69], corresponds to the stated maximum depth of drills in grave no. 10, i.e. 5.20 meters[70], and that, as the column is 70 mm high in the drawing, this suggests "a scale of (5.2 ÷ 0.07 =) approx. 1 : 75". Based on this scale, Mattogno then goes on to "calculate the thickness of the indicated layers of corpses based on the height of the segments marked as such by the corresponding symbol in the two relevant columns", and concludes that this thickness was ca. 30 cm in sample 286/XVI-90-40 from grave no. 3 and 70 cm in sample 332/XVI-85-40 from the same grave, and furthermore that "in the first drilling the layer of corpses starts at a depth of ca. 2.90 m, in the second at ca. 3.50 m". This in turn is supposed to prove that "there was not a uniform layer of corpses as big as the surface of the grave", and that Kola’s description suggesting otherwise "shows his great sloppiness with real data, from which he draws unfounded conclusions".

Hefty accusations, but unfortunately for Mattogno they are without foundation. First of all, the scale calculated by Mattogno would not be "approx. 1:75" but 1: 74.28571429 or approx. 1:74. Second, the column representing sample 485/X-30-50 is not 70 mm but 75 mm high, which would mean a scale of approx. 1:69. Third, the column representing sample 332/XVI-85-40 in grave 3 is 65 mm high, which would mean that the drill was taken down to 4.485 m (scale 1:69) or 4.810 meters (scale 1:74). However, in the plan and section of the grave on page 22 the scale bar is 180 mm long (corresponding to 5 meters), and the bar representing drill 332/XVI-85-40 is 200 mm long (180 mm until the end of the first pair of lines, after which there is a gap followed by another, very short pair of lines), suggesting that the depth of this drill exceeded five meters – as does the grave’s description whereby the grave (as established by core drills) had a depth of over 5 meters. Now, if in the core sample drawings on pp. 15 and 17 one drill going to a depth of over 5 meters is represented by a column 75 mm long whereas another drill going to a depth of over 5 meters is represented by a column 65 mm long, this means that Mattogno’s scaling considerations are just hollow conjectures devoid of any value. What is more, the bar representing drill 286/XVI-90-40 in Fig. 20 on page 22 is about 150 – 170 mm high, suggesting a depth over 4 meters, but the column representing this drill in Fig. 15 on page 17 is about 51 mm high, which would mean a depth of just 3.825 m according to Mattogno’s 1:75 scale and an even lower depth (3.519 m) according to the 1:69 scale resulting from my measurements. This means that it is not necessary to further discuss Mattogno’s considerations based on his artificial scaling of drawings obviously not meant to be true to scale.

His scaling exercise aside, Mattogno’s argues that the identified or presumable drills having encountered corpses (Mattogno complains that Kola didn’t tell how many of the drills whereby he identified a given grave were "positive" in this sense) were too few in number to sustain the assumption of a layer of corpses extending throughout the bottom of each grave in which corpses were found. Regarding graves 3, 13, 25, 27 and 32, Mattogno reaches the following conclusion (p. 1223):
The supposition that from the small number of performed drillings one can deduce that these five graves contained a continuous layer of corpses is completely arbitrary. All one can deduce with certainty is that two drillings encountered corpses; it can further be deduced that at most 20 more drillings were positive, which would determine the presence of corpses in 22 points of the five mass graves, that is 22 times 33 cm2 (the surface area of the drilling probe with 65 mm diameter) of a total surface area of the graves of 685.75 m2 according to Muehlenkamp. The drilling therefore hit upon 22 layers of corpses (2 certain and 20 supposed); even assuming 15 corpses for each drilling, Kola would have "ascertained" at maximum the presence of (22 × 15 =) 330 corpses.

Mattogno is making some progress here in a sense, for in his book about this extermination camp[71] he had written that "the most probable interpretation" (considering both corpse layers drilled into and expectable corpse layers adjacent to those drilled into) was that "the graves contained at most several hundred corpses". Now he’s at least considering the possibility that several hundred corpses were positively identified by core drilling. On the other hand, Mattogno seems to have forgotten about his reasoning on the previous page of the same book[72] whereby "one cannot exclude the presence of other layers of corpses near those identified by Kola; this is even probable". This assumption, while uncharacteristically reasonable for Mattogno, was something of an understatement if one considers the following aspects:
- Those drills made by Prof. Kola’s team that came upon human corpses in wax-fat transformation were the deepest among a series of drills, made in disturbed soil containing human cremation remains, on the basis of which the respective grave was identified. The corpses thus lay in soil whose structure and contents indicated a mass grave.
- The reason why there were whole corpses below layers of soil mixed with human remains at the bottom of a mass grave, suggested by both common sense and related eyewitness evidence, was that corpses at the bottom of that grave had not been extracted and cremated because the depth at which they lay made their extraction more difficult than that of corpses in the upper layers. The problem posed by the depth at which the corpses lay would be the same throughout the area of the grave’s bottom, making it unlikely that corpses would be extracted from some parts of that bottom but not from other parts.
- If corpses had only been lying around here and there at the bottom of a mass grave, drills going beyond a certain depth would not necessarily have hit corpses. On the contrary, drills hitting corpses would have been an improbable coincidence. Yet the core sample drawings in Prof. Kola’s book suggest that, in those mass graves in which whole corpses were found, every drill taken to a certain depth came upon corpses. [73]

If one takes these aspects into consideration, it seems altogether reasonable to assume – as Prof. Kola apparently did – that corpses found by core drilling at the bottom of soil whose structure and contents indicated a mass grave were not isolated corpses scattered here and there, but part of one or more layers covering the whole of that grave’s bottom area. Rather than exposing any fallacies on the part of Prof. Kola, Mattogno’s denigration of the archaeologist’s methodology and conclusions reveals Mattogno’s incapacity for sound reasoning that takes into account the historical context of the archaeological finds in question.

In his further attempts to discredit Prof. Kola’s archaeological research, Mattogno makes a fool of himself on several occasions.

In regard to grave no. 4 he takes issue with Kola’s statement that "The drilling was given up here at the depth of 2.30 m, because of a layer of bodies in wax-fat transformation."[74], arguing that
The graphical representation of the 4 drillings (293/XVI/90-5, 294/XVI/90-0, 295/XVI/85-0 and 296/XVI-85-10)2744 does not at all show the symbol of the "bodies in wax-fat transformation," and therefore the related statement is either a mistake or a display of Kola’s excessive zeal.

Actually this grave, according to Kola’s description, was "estimated on the base of 4 deep drills (No 293, 294, 406, 407)". In Figure 15 on page 17 of Kola’s book, samples of only two of these four drills (293/XVI/90-5 and 294/XVI/90-0) are shown as pertaining to grave no. 4, whereas the other two samples mentioned by Mattogno (295/XVI/85-0 and 296/XVI-85-10) are samples from a non-grave area. There is nothing to rule out that core drillings "406" and "407" penetrated into human remains in wax-fat transformation whereas the other two core drillings (293 and 294) stopped short of that. So a mistake or a display of "excessive zeal" must be sought with Mattogno, not Kola.

As concerns grave no. 10, to which he even dedicates a drawing, Mattogno argues that drillings 485 and 499, among others, are "not even part of those used by Kola to determine the outline of the grave" – even though both are expressly mentioned in Kola’s description as having been used for the grave’s identification[75], and drill 485/XV-30-50 it is also shown in Fig. 13 on p. 15 as pertaining to grave no. 10 (whether these drills were used to determine the grave’s shape is irrelevant in this context). Mattogno also argues that the term "blokada" = blockade marking drills 484, 487 and 488 "does not necessarily mean that they were interrupted by the presence of human corpses, because in such cases the term used is "blockade (human corpses) [blokada (ciała ludzkie)]," as for drillings 483 and 486.". But what, if not human corpses, could have caused the blockade of these drills, or at least of the deepest among them, drill 484/XV-30-55? A blockade by ground water, as was already pointed out[76], is highly unlikely regarding this drill, because the drills shown next to it in Fig. 13 came upon bodies in wax-fat transformation at a greater depth and only 485/XV-30-50 touched ground water (after passing at least two layers of bodies in wax-fat transformation). An omission of the mention "human corpses" behind "blockade" in the drawing of sample 484/XV-30-55 (which goes almost as deep as 486/XV-25-50, in which human corpses are expressly mentioned) is more probable.

Another example of Mattogno’s reading skills is found in his claim (p. 1225) that grave no. 20 "did not contain corpses in a state of saponification". Mattogno somehow managed to overlook the part of Kola’s description of this grave whereby "The drill No 1042 in its sponge part 40 cm thick layer of bodies in wax-fat transformation covered with a layer of lime was reported."[77]

Sagacious observations like the above are also directed at Mattogno’s opponent, who he accuses of, among other things having "invented" that the corpse layer in grave no. 32 was 40 cm thick. Mattogno should have been more attentive in reading the following part of this grave’s description[78]:
In bottom view with the shape of a lengthened rectangle it reached the sizes of about 15,00 x 5,00 m, with the depth of over 4,00 m. The contents is mixed in structure; the bottom part contains bodies in wax-fat transformation, covered with lime at the depth of about 3,60 m.

He might have realized that deducting the depth of the lime layer covering the bodies in wax-fat transformation (3.60 meters) from the depth of the grave (4.00 meters) yields 0.40 meters as being the thickness of corpse layer.

Needless to say, the ill-reasoning and blunders (or shall we say falsehoods?) mentioned above are no refutation of my arguments and estimates, so Mattogno’s heavy-handed claim to have exposed "all the aberrations" of my "calculation" rings rather hollow.

The corpse layer in grave no. 32 (0.40 m) was the thinnest of corpse layers in those graves for which the thickness of corpse layers are stated in Kola’s book, so I conservatively assumed that the corpse layers in the other five graves containing whole corpses (graves nos. 1, 4, 10, 20 and 28), whose thickness is not stated in the respective description, was no more than 0.40 meters – even though, as I pointed out, the descriptions of the graves numbered 1, 4, 10 and 28 suggest thicker layers and Kola mentioned, in his description of the archaeological work done in the areas containing mass graves, that in some of the graves the layer of corpses reached a thickness of ca. 2 meters[79]. Mattogno lamely criticizes my conservative assumption as "a simple supposition", acknowledges that there is information suggesting thicker layers in Kola’s book, takes issue with "the Polish archeologist’s usual uncertain statements", and asks why Kola "did not publish the complete documentation" of his archaeological work. The answer to Mattogno’s question is simple: the "complete documentation" was not published for the obvious reason that it is far too voluminous to fit into an 87-page report. Mattogno seems to have no idea of just how voluminous archaeological documentation tends to be. Kola expressly stated where all this voluminous documentation, of which the report is a mere short summary, can be found[80]:
The result of the excavation works was a detailed archaeological documentation together with the basic report delivered to The Council of Protection of Memory of Struggle and Martyrdom as to the principal, together with the preliminary reports. The other, non archaeological documentation collected simultaneously were chemical analysis and microscope studies of samples taken during the probing works. They were made to verify the conclusions emerging from archaeological analysis.

Notwithstanding Kola’s clear statement as to where the complete documentation can be found, Kola’s not having included all of it in his publication "confirms that Kola’s working method is very approximate and lacks seriousness". What this conclusion confirms is how little Mattogno knows about archaeological work, namely the enormous amount of documentation it involves[81], how eager he is to discredit evidence in support of his articles of faith, and how poor his arguments in support of this endeavor are.

It also shows how minds as divorced from reality as Mattogno’s are bound to suspect sinister machinations or manipulations – as does Mattogno’s subsequent theory whereby my "eccentric calculations" (against which, as we have seen, he produced no substantial arguments) "most likely parallel those presumably performed by Tregenza in estimating the presence of 15,000", which "would explain why Kola did not furnish any indication about the drillings containing corpses remains (with the exception of the few mentioned above) and why he did not investigate the issue in a more thorough way, for instance by drilling every meter or meter and a half into the graves containing corpses in a state of saponification." So, in Mattogno’s mind, Kola is supposed to have refrained from furnishing certain information and from investigating "in a more thorough way" so as to allow for or to avoid discrediting the estimate made by Tregenza – a researcher independent of Kola about whose estimate the archaeologist, who didn’t see it as his job to quantify the corpses contained in the graves’ bottom layers, didn’t care at all, as far as I know. But then, I’m not one of those ever-suspicious conspiracy theorists who hear the grass grow, unlike Mattogno. As to why he drilled every five meters and not at shorter intervals as would correspond to a "more thorough" investigation, Prof. Kola clearly explained this on page 14 of his book:
Because of the vast area of former camp in Bełżec, which required examining, the basic drills were located only in the knots of 5 m net, realising relatively little accuracy in defining the borderline shapes of the located objects (mass graves and non-grave objects)[Footnote 15: The acceptation for such a module of drills resulted from both general purpose of the expedition, concerning the establishing places free from mass graves at the camp area and time limit of the works defined and financed by the ROPWiM to commemorate the camp.]

In other words, Kola’s job was to establish what areas were free from mass graves, and for that job he had a certain time limit and budget. What information he gathered about the contents of the graves in the course of performing his task was secondary to this main purpose. There was neither time nor money available for the more time-consuming task of drilling at shorter intervals to confirm an assumption that was reasonable anyway given the historical context, namely that in graves containing layers of corpses these layers covered the whole bottom of the respective grave.


Sobibor

Human remains in wax-fat transformation were also found in the lower layers of graves nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 at Sobibór, and I estimated, based on the area of these mass graves and a conservatively assumed corpse layer thickness of 0.40 meters, that these layers may contain as many as 7,392 to 13,860 corpses, considering the same densities (8 or 15 corpses per cubic meter) as were assumed regarding the Bełżec mass graves. [82] In their Sobibór book, MGK had argued that, as only 2 of 15 core samples taken during a preliminary survey in 2000 on the eastern side of the memorial mound had come upon remains of saponified corpses (besides another 4 that found human cremation remains), this meant that corpses in bottom layers were not distributed over the entire area of these mass graves. [83] I dismissed this reasoning as inconclusive on hand of various arguments, which Mattogno now attacks (again disgracing himself with his pathetic "plagiarist" accusation) as having been made in ignorance of Kola’s text not quoted in MGK’s book.
Quoting a longer excerpt from Prof. Kola’s "Report about the archeological research on the site of the former Jewish extermination camp in Sobibór in the year 2000", Mattogno argues that 8 of the 15 drills in the preliminary survey were made "in the area of the graves which Kola numbers as 3, 4, 5 and 6", and claims that the plan attached to Kola’s article, which is shown later in the same chapter, "although merely partly describing his activities, enables us nevertheless to ascertain that at least 5 of said drillings were performed by him in the area of grave no. 4". Not bothering to reveal which 5 drillings exactly he had in mind, Mattogno then concludes that "Since the odor of fat-wax was determined in only two samples, it is evident that the corpses in a state of saponification were not present everywhere in grave no. 4".
Like on several occasions before, Mattogno wasn’t very attentive in reading the text that is supposed to support his conclusions, the essential part of which reads as follows in Mattogno’s translation (p. 1227):
15 successive drillings were performed in hectare XVIII on the eastern part of the memorial. The drillings numbered 15/XVIII-40-60, 16/XVIII-40-70, 17/XVIII-40-80, 22/XVIII-30-60, 23/XVIII-20-60 and 24/XVIII-10-60 contained remains of burned human bones and of wooden charcoal and in two cases – 23/XVIII-20-60 and 24/XVIII-10-60 – even hair was found, and the peculiar corpses odor was determined typical for mass graves due to an incomplete putrefaction process, characteristic of corpses laying in a very humid soil due to the lack of oxygen (a state of corpses in the so-called transformation into wax-fat). In both surveys the drillings were stopped at a depth of 230 and 250 cm.

First of all, it doesn’t become clear from this text whether the "peculiar corpses odor" was noticed only in the two cases in which "even hair was found" or in all six drillings in hectare XVIII that came upon human remains. Second and perhaps more important, the drillings were stopped at a depth of 230 and 250 cm. If already at this depth the characteristic smell of wax-fat transformation was noticed, this can mean either of the following:
a) The samples in question were not from Grave no. 4, which was about 5 meters deep, but from the shallower Grave no. 6, which was only 3.05 meters deep.
b) The samples were from a part of Grave no. 4 exceptionally containing corpses closer to the surface, way above the layer of corpses lying at the bottom of the grave.
c) The samples collected soil that for some reason was imbued with the smell of decomposition from corpses somewhat below.

None of these possibilities supports Mattogno’s conclusion.

Mattogno’s conjectures about Prof. Kola’s preliminary survey of the Sobibór mass graves area are followed by a lengthy and somewhat confused tirade about an unidentified "subsequent objection" of mine, whose length is supposed to be out of proportion to the reduced importance of a certain "simple hypothesis" presented by MGK regarding the question "to whom the corpses in a state of saponification could be attributed and why they were not cremated". Readers are left wondering what "simple hypothesis" and related "subsequent objection" Mattogno might be talking about, and the obvious reason for Mattogno’s beating about the bush is that he and his associates have a major problem in that they cannot produce a plausible explanation, compatible with the “Revisionist” faith, for the presence of corpses in wax-fat transformation at the bottom of the Sobibór mass graves, covered by layers of soil mixed with cremation remains.

The explanation they attempted in their Sobibór book[84] was that these corpses were of Jews executed in the aftermath of the Sobibór prisoner’s revolt on 14 October 1943, and that the SS had reopened the existing mass graves and dug to the very bottom of these graves in order to place the corpses of those executed Jews below the soil mixed with cremation remains of Sobibór’s other victims. This explanation was refuted by pointing out a) the absurdity of the hypothesized scenario, b) the absence of any parallel case in which the Nazis underwent such an effort just to conceal a few hundred corpses (on the contrary, documentary evidence suggests that they sometimes left civilian victims of anti-partisan operations unburied even when they numbered in the thousands), and c) the testimonies of former SS-men whereby the corpses of the Jews executed after the Sobibór uprising were not buried, but cremated[85].

MGK’s lame explanation attempt having been thus cut to pieces, Mattogno now feebly mumbles that said attempt was made because he and his co-authors "deemed it necessary not to leave the question unanswered" but might as well have left it unanswered (note the contradiction) and could as well have proposed "other ones" (which presumably would have been no less far-fetched), but it seems that despite their protestations to the contrary MGK’s fantasy doesn’t go that far and they don’t have an explanation to take the place of the one that was soundly refuted.

After trying to cover up his inability to explain the corpses at the bottom of the Sobibór mass graves by arguing that this is an issue of reduced importance, Mattogno turns around his rhetoric in the very next paragraph and argues that the only "important fact" is my not giving "any explanation regarding the presence of corpses in a state of saponification in the abovementioned mass graves". Who they were and why they were not cremated is supposed to be "a problem from an exterminationist perspective, not from a revisionist one", because the non-cremation of some of the bodies (mind that whole bodies were found underneath layers of soil mixed with human cremation remains) is supposed to be at odds with the notion that Sobibór was an extermination camp whose victims were cremated to erase the traces of the crime. Thus Mattogno displays not only his propensity for arguing on both sides of his mouth, but also his incapacity for sound reasoning taking into account the known evidence. What this evidence suggests, without any evidence pointing in another direction, is that the corpses in question were of Jews deported to Sobibór and murdered there. As to why some of the corpses were left at the bottom of the graves, there are several possible explanations, the likeliest one being that these corpses were rather difficult to extract due to the great depth of the pits (for which Mattogno and his co-authors have no consistent explanation) and the SS decided to leave them there, reckoning that it was unlikely that investigators would dig to such depths. So the corpses in the graves are no problem whatsoever from the point of view of "exterminationism" (read: serious and objective historical research). On the other hand, the effort undertaken by the SS to cremate the overwhelming majority of the corpses – which is why the graves are mostly filled with cremation remains rather than whole corpses – is a serious problem for who claims that Sobibór was a mere transit camp with a comparatively reduced mortality (about 10,000 in total, according to MGK’s conjectures bereft of evidentiary support[86]). For no effort was made to cremate the corpses in labor or concentration camps with a similar mortality (e.g. the Treblinka I labor camp), and neither in any of the Wehrmacht POW camps where tens of thousands of Soviet POWs died[87]. So why did they cremate most of the corpses at Sobibór (and, for that matter, also at the other two AR camps)?


Treblinka

As concerns human remains on the grounds of Treblinka extermination camp, Mattogno again displays his utter incomprehension of the purpose and limitations of ground photography, already discussed in Part 1, with the claim that crime site investigation finds, whereby cremation remains as well as skulls, bones and other parts of human bodies covered an area of at least 1.8 hectares, are "in total contradiction to the related photographic documentation". That claim is nonsense, to put it politely. The aspect of the site that becomes apparent from photographic documentation[88] is fully compatible with the description of the site in the site investigation report. To be sure, the photos show only a fraction of those 1.8 hectares and the human cremation remains covering them. But that is due to the limitations of the photographic medium, as even Mattogno (who might as well argue that the World War II claimed only a few thousand victims, judging by the number of war-related corpses that have been photographed) should understand. Photos are not meant to provide proof of large events, but to illustrate what other sources of evidence tell us about such events.

Mattogno’s claim implies that Judge Łukaszkiewicz, who described the aspect of the Treblinka extermination camp’s site in his crime site investigation reports dated 13 November and 29 December 1945[89], did not report his finds in good faith – an insinuation that is as far-fetched as can be, considering that the judge honestly admitted to not having found the foundations of the Treblinka gas chamber building[90] and to having found no human remains in what he believed had been the mass grave of the "Lazarett"[91]. Moreover the judge’s observations are in line with those of others who inspected the site (e.g. Rachel Auerbach[92]) and with what becomes apparent from all other known evidence about Treblinka extermination camp.

Following this baseless innuendo, Mattogno returns to his equally hollow theory that the area of Treblinka extermination camp was "intentionally" bombed by the Soviet military, with the sinister intent of giving that area the aspect of something it had not actually been. The supposed bombing, in Mattogno’s fantasies, would have "shattered and scattered the remains of an insignificant number of corpses (insignificant from an exterminationist perspective, that is), originally concentrated in single spots – real evidence– across a vastly wider surface, thus creating the false impression that extermination on a huge scale had indeed taken place at the site". This is supposed to be a realistic scenario in the mind of conspiracy theorist Carlo Mattogno, while on the other hand my "conjecture", whereby Soviet troops "joined the Polish peasants like vulgar marauders, bringing with them explosives" is supposed to be "far-fetched".

Mattogno doesn’t even try to demonstrate that it would have been possible to shatter and scatter through bomb explosions the remains of a comparatively reduced number of corpses (Mattogno doesn’t reveal what order of magnitude he has in mind) in such a manner that these remains (mostly ashes and other cremation remains, which also takes us to the question why the dead of "transit camp" Treblinka II were cremated whereas those of Treblinka I labor camp were not) covered an area of 18,000 square meters and were found in that area to a depth of 7.5 meters, as described by Judge Łukaszkiewicz.

Another problem with Mattogno’s speculation, apart from its being at odds with all known evidence about what happened at Treblinka extermination camp, is that there is no evidence whatsoever pointing to an organized Soviet operation of bombing the camp’s area. On the other hand, there is evidence to the use of explosives by robbery diggers. Rachel Auerbach[93] expressly mentioned this phenomenon as follows:
All kinds of scavengers and marauders come here in droves, shovels in hand. They dig, search and ransack; they sift the sand, they drag parts of half-rotted corpses from the earth, bones and scattered refuse in the hope that they may come upon at least a coin or a gold tooth. These human jackals and hyenas bring along live artillery shells and unexploded bombs. They explode several of them at once, tearing huge craters into the desecrated, blood-drenched soil which is commingled with the ashes of Jews.


(Emphasis added.)

So did an inhabitant of Treblinka by the name of Dominik Kucharek[94]:
Dominik Kucharek, a gleaner from Treblinka who had been served with an indictment for violating foreign-exchange laws—he tried to sell in Warsaw a diamond he found at Treblinka and purchase gold coins on a black market—explained in his deposition that “everybody” from his village went to dig there. "I didn’t know that looking for gold and valuables at the site of the former camp at Treblinka was forbidden, because Soviet soldiers also went there with us to search. And they detonated explosives in places where they expected to find something."

(Emphasis added.)

It is rather ironic to see Hitler’s willing defense attorney Mattogno defend the honor of the Red Army by considering "far-fetched" the "conjecture" that Soviet soldiers behaved like vulgar marauders at Treblinka. For it is well known that the Soviet armed forces in World War II, for all merit they deserve on account of their essential contribution to the demise of Nazi Germany, were not exactly the most disciplined of their kind, except for crack frontline units. In several countries of Eastern Europe[95] and especially on German soil[96], Soviet soldiers indulged in plunder, rape and other violence to an extent that makes robbery-digging at Treblinka seem trifling by comparison. Are we asked to believe that Mattogno never heard or read about these outrages?

Notes

[59] Mattogno, Bełżec, pp. 76-79; see also Controversy, section 3 "Corpses Found" ([link]).
[60]Critique, pp. 407 to 409.
[61]Kola, Bełżec, Fig. 13 on p. 15.
[62] Controversy, section 3 "Corpses Found" ([link].
[63] Critique, p. 409.
[64] Controversy, section 3.
[65]See the blog "Carlo Mattogno on Belzec Archaeological Research - Part 4 (1)" under [link].
[66] Critique, pp. 409-411.
[67]Kola, Bełżec, p. 23.
[68] As above, Fig. 12 to 16 on pp. 14 to 18.
[69] As above, Fig. 13 on page 15.
[70]As above, p. 27.
[71] Mattogno, Bełżec, p.79.
[72]Mattogno, Bełżec, p.78.
[73]As pointed out on pp. 408f. of the Critique, only 4 of the drills in grave # 10 visualized in Kola’s Figure 13 were taken to the bottom of this grave, and all of these hit layers of corpses, a "positive" ratio of 100 %. The same goes for the one drill in grave # 20 visualized in Figure 16 and the two drills in grave # 3, visualized in Figure 15.
[74]Kola, Bełżec, p. 23.
[75] As above, p. 27.
[76] Critique, p. 408.
[77] Kola, Bełżec, p. 33.
[78] As above, p. 38.
[79] Critique, pp. 410f.
[80]Kola, Bełżec, pp. 10f.
[81] In the summer of 2010 my eldest daughter and I spent a day watching an ongoing archaeological excavation in a small historical building in Lisbon, supervised by one of my daughter’s former schoolmates who is a student of archaeology. I distinctly recall having seen shoebox upon shoebox with finds from this small excavation in an apartment used by the archaeological team for storing their finds, and having wondered what part of these finds, if any, will ever be displayed to the public eye.
[82] Critique, p. 411.
[83] MGK, Sobibór, p. 121.
[84] As above.
[85] Critique, pp. 411-413.
[86] MGK, Sobibór, p. 169. The authors "find it probable that the number of Sobibór victims is in the vicinity of 10,000 dead".
[87] See Critique, pp. 515f.
[88] Which, besides the photos shown on pp. 396 f. of the critique and in the blog "Photographic documentation of Nazi crimes" [link], includes further photos that are part of Yad Vashem’s online photo archive [link].
[89] Partially quoted (after M&G, Treblinka, pp. 84-87) on pp. 394f. of the Critique.
[90] Report dated 13 November 1945, entry for 11 November 1945, quoted in M&G, Treblinka, p. 85.
[91] As above, entry for 9 November 1945.
[92]Quoted in M&G, Treblinka, pp. 83f., and (after Alexander Donat (ed), The Death Camp Treblinka. A Documentary, New York 1979) on p. 415 of the Critique.
[93] Quoted on p. 415 of the Critique after Donat, as above p. 71.
[94] Jan T. Gross, "The Treblinka Gold Rush", in: Tablet. A New Read on Jewish Life, May 12, 2012, online under [link]
[95]For example in Hungary. Regarding the behavior of Soviet troops in conquered Budapest, see Krisztián Ungváry, Battle for Budapest. 100 Days in World War II, translated by Ladislaus Löb, 2006 by I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., London, pp. 279-295.
[96] See Manfred Zeidler, "Die Tötungs- und Vergewaltigungsverbrechen der Roten Armee auf deutschem Boden 1944/45", in: Wette/Überschär, Kriegsverbrechen im 20. Jahrhundert, Darmstadt 2001, pp. 418 to 432. My translation of this article is available under [link].

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