Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Mattogno on Klooga

In chapter 13 of Mattogno, Graf and Kues’ magnum opus[1], with the self-descriptive title "Asinine, Judeophantic Arrogance", Mattogno dwells at length (pp. 1481 to1484, plus images on pages 1485 and 1486) on the massacre of mostly Jewish inmates of the Klooga forced labor camp in Estonia in September 1944. I’ll address his arguments in this respect because they briefly touch the subjects of fuel requirements and duration of cremation[2] and my name is mentioned, and also because they further reveal Mattogno’s ill-reasoning and intellectual dishonesty.



Mattogno addresses the Klooga massacre in the context of my co-author Jason Myers’ argument, on p. 520 of the HC critique[3], that MGK’s "attempt to poison the well by blaming the Soviet investigators for effectively hoaxing mass graves ignores the fact that western journalists were shown human remains at Babi Yar, Klooga and near Majdanek, and a huge store of plundered property in Lublin". Earlier in the critique (p. 256), Jason had referred to the Klooga massacre as follows:
For example, around 2,000 were killed at Klooga, where their remains were photographed and published in western sources soon after liberation. Foreign journalists were shown the unburied corpses of partially burned victims on October 2, 1944. The New York Times journalist W.H. Lawrence wrote that he had personally “seen and counted recognizable parts of 438 complete and partly burned bodies of men, women and children.”

Mattogno quotes Israeli historian Yitzhak Arad’s description of the massacre and claims uncertainty about "who ordered this massacre, why it was ordered and who performed it" - conveniently omitting that one of the Soviet investigation reports he later quotes from[4] is quite definite about the perpetrators responsible:
III. PERPETRATORS OF THE CRIME
Materials of the preliminary investigation determined that the following military men of the fascist army were organizers and direct executors of the mass execution and burning of Soviet civilians, including babies, women and old men, in the Klooga Concentration Camp on September 19, 1944:
1. Chief of the central administrative board of camps in Estonia Hauptsturmführer BRENNEISEN.
2. Head physician of concentration camps in Estonia Obersturmführer fon BODMAN.
3. Chief of the Klooga Camp Unterscharführer VERLE.
4. Clerk of the Klooga Camp Unterscharführer SCHWARZE.
5. Chief of office of the Klooga Camp Gauptscharführer Max DALMAN.
6. Chief of the medical unit of the Klooga Camp Unterscharführer GENT.
7. Manager of the household of the Klooga Camp Oberscharführer GELBICK.
8. Oberscharführer FRUIVIRT.
Except the names listed above, 50 SD soldiers directly participated in convoying, guarding, and execution of 50 people, their last names are not determined by the investigation.

Following this misinformation, Mattogno feebly suggests that a shot in the neck of the victims already lying on the pyre would not be a "time-saving method" (why not, he doesn’t explain) and that the Germans’ having "lit the stacks and left during the same night without bothering to ensure that the corpses incinerated properly" is "untypical for the “Aktion Reinhardt” camps and also inconsistent with the traceless removal of evidence otherwise claimed".

The last of these comments is particularly silly, not so much because Mattogno doesn’t reveal who is supposed to have claimed that a "traceless removal of evidence" was "otherwise" endeavored or achieved, but because Klooga labor camp in Estonia and the Aktion Reinhard(t) (AR) extermination camps in Poland were entirely different pairs of boots (except for the fact that they were both camps run by Nazi Germany and their inmates were forced laborers), not only as concerns their function and the organization they were subordinated to but also as concerns disposal of their victims’ bodies. At the AR camps enormous numbers of murder victims were cremated until about a year before the Red Army arrived, with plenty of time, on grates made of railway rails, a procedure that was comparatively effective as concerns fuel and time and gradually improved by trial and error. What happened at Klooga, on the other hand, was a hurried, improvised attempt to burn the corpses of murdered inmates on makeshift pyres consisting of wood alone, which wasn’t completed because the killers were more concerned with getting away from the approaching Soviet troops than with finishing their body disposal job.

Mattogno then quotes, from a Soviet investigation report dated 29 September 1944 (which I will hereinafter refer to as "Report 1")[5], excerpts whereby the investigating commission had found four pyres, each with an area of 6 x 6.5 meters, consisting of "6 logs put on the ground with a number of poles with 75 cm pine and fir-tree logs on it", of which one was "only prepared" while the other three were "already burned down". On two of the pyres two layers of corpses were visible according to the report, while on another pyre there were three layers of corpses. On the remaining parts of the fires, the report continued, it had been possible to "make out 254 burnt corpses, that is 20-25% of the overall number of corpses that were laid on the fires."

Another Soviet report of the same date (hereinafter "Report 2")[6] is quoted by Mattogno as mentioning that "three firewood fires of 8-10 rows of the corpses" had been lit using 14 "barrels" of gasoline and burned "for two and a half days", whereas "The base of the fourth fire prepared by the Germans remained untouched as they had no time; it forced the Germans to finish executing the remained prisoners in barracks.". According to this second report "The larger group (about 800 people) was destroyed by the Germans in an empty house – a barracks that consisted of eight rooms."

A third report dated 12 October 1944 (hereinafter called "Report 3")[7], from which Mattogno also quotes, estimated the total number of victims at "up to 1,800 to 2,000".

From the quoted parts of these three reports Mattogno concludes that according to the Soviets "(2,000 – 800 =) about 1,200" corpses were burned on the pyres. Postulating that one layer of corpses on a pyre with an area of 6m x 6.5m = 39 m² could consist of 50 corpses at most ("the surface occupied by each corpse was of (39 ÷ 50 =) about 0.8 m², as I already assumed for the Treblinka pyres"), Mattogno then argues that the 8-10 "rows" of corpses mentioned in the second Soviet report would actually need to be layers of corpses placed on top of each other (with layers of wood in between), resulting in a heap "considerably bigger than what the Soviets claim to have found". He even provides a "photoshop" reconstruction model on p. 1486 (see image below) that is supposed to illustrate what that heap would have looked like.



Mattogno wouldn’t be who he is if he had not withheld from his readers important information that runs contrary to his argument, namely information from Report 1. In the following quote, emphases were added to highlight those parts of the report that Mattogno also reproduced.
Corpses of men and women randomly lay in front of the door in the premises of the ground floor of the building, and also in the first and second aisles between plank beds. The bodies in the aisles lay with their faces down in two-three rows lengthwise the aisle, one on another, like a tile roof; heads of the top corpses lay on the middle of the body that is bellow, with their legs towards the doors.
There are 79 corpses in total, with their outer clothing on. Prison clothes are on corpses of three men and one woman. On clothes of six corpses, numbers are sewn on the left side of the chest. The corpses have bullet wounds in the nape; all bodies are in the stage of decomposition with a strong putrid smell.
There are clothes and bedding everywhere scattered in disorder.
200 meters away from the camp, to the north from the railway, near a ditch, there is a burned down building with a stone base and two pipes remaining. At a corner of the base on a stone the date of 7/21/1944 is engraved. The base is 45 centimeters high. On the site of fire, in ashes, there are plenty of burnt skulls, vertebras, and other bones and remains of corpses. Most of the corpses were completely burned down that is why it is not obviously possible to define the exact amount of corpses. Only 133 of the burnt corpses, which are 13-15% of the total, can be possibly recognized. On the southern side of the house, outside of the base, two female corpses lay. The burnt head of one corpse and burnt feet of the other are directed towards the base.
At the east side, 15 meters away from the burnt-down building, among ridges of cabbage, lies a corpse of a man with a bullet wound in his nape.
On the same side, 30 meters away from the burnt-down house, lies a corpse with scorched clothes and strong burns on his hips and on the bottom part of his stomach. The corpse has an entrance bullet wound on the right side of his back and an exit wound on the right side of the chest. On the western side, 5 meters away from the burnt-down building, lies a corpse of a man with two bullet wounds on the left side of the chest.
Between the burnt-down building and the camp, in a ditch, at the distance of one meter from the road, from the left side, lies a corpse of a man with many bullet wounds on the right hand, on his neck and back.
700 meters to the north from the camp, on a glade that is 27 meters away from the wood road there are four fires situated 4 meters away from each other; one of them was only prepared, the other three were already burnt down. The area of the fires is 6 x 6.5 meters. The fires consist of 6 logs put on the ground with a number of poles with 75 cm pine and fir-tree logs on it. In the middle of the fire four poles are hammered by a quadrangle at the distance of 0,5 m from each other. Thin logs are rarely fixed on a pole, which, most likely, should represent a pipe. On the three burned down fires corners remained at the western side. On the bottom layer of firewood lie corpses with burnt-down bottom parts of the body. Corpses lay with their faces downwards, some of them with overhanging hands. Two corpses are with their faces closed by hands, the palms densely pressed to the face and eyes closed by the fingers. By the remaining parts of the corpses it can be said that there were 17 corpses put on the fire in one row, and there were 5 such rows, heads of corpses of the second and the following rows lie on the feet of the previous row. A layer of firewood is placed on the first layer of corpses and the second layer of corpses lies on it. On the second and on the fourth fire two layers of corpses are visible, and on the third fire - three layers. The middle and eastern parts of the fires have completely burnt down. On the remaining parts of the fires, it is possible to make out 254 burnt corpses that is 20-25% of the overall number of corpses that were laid on the fires.
At the northern and the northeastern side at the distance from 5 up to 200 m, 18 corpses of men with bullet wounds in the area of the nape, back and legs lie on the glade.

According to the above, the investigators counted 79+133+1+1+1+1+254+18 = 488 recognizable corpses. They estimated that the burned-down building where 133 corpses were recognizable contained the remains of at least (133 ÷ 0.15 =) 887 people (thereof 754 burned beyond recognition), and that the three pyres whose middle and eastern parts had completely burned down contained the remains of at least (254 ÷ 0.25 =) 1,016 people (thereof 762 burned beyond recognition). The minimum number of victims they counted or estimated was thus 2,004, thereof 488 recognizable and 1,516 unrecognizable. The estimate regarding the pyres, which would imply that each of the (2+2+3 =) 7 layers of burned bodies visible consisted of about 145 corpses, seems to be in contradiction with the earlier statement that "By the remaining parts of the corpses it can be said that there were 17 corpses put on the fire in one row, and there were 5 such rows, heads of corpses of the second and the following rows lie on the feet of the previous row.", as this would imply only (17x5 =) 85 corpses per layer, (85 x 7 =) 595 corpses in all 7 layers of the three pyres, and a minimum total of 1,583 instead of 2,004 counted or estimated victims. Apparently the investigators assumed that each row had consisted of more corpses than could be established on hand of the remaining parts. 145 corpses in 5 rows (the latter being quite a reasonable figure if a pyre was 6.5 meters wide, the heads of a subsequent row lay on the feet of a previous row and the heads or feet of the outermost row extended beyond the pyre’s outermost logs) would imply 29 corpses in each row. This is also not implausible, as can be established on hand of Mattogno’s illustrations 13.1 to 13.3 on p. 1485, reproduced below.



On the first of these three images, "Illustration 13.1", one sees 8 logs of different sizes at the bottom, with their heads facing the foreground. Above these one sees, from left to right, 5 logs of about equal length and diameter lined up lengthwise, with an empty space between the fourth and the fifth log, and the picture’s extension to the right suggesting that there was a sixth log with the same length and diameter as the other five. These could have been the "6 logs put on the ground" mentioned in the first Soviet report quoted by Mattogno. If each of these logs was one meter long, the length of the pyre as shown from the left to the right of the picture can be assumed to have been 6 meters, i.e. the length stated in Report 1. From the picture’s foreground to the picture’s background one sees several rows of apparently similar logs lined up side by side, with the row on the right side of the picture seemingly wider (about 14-15 logs) than the other rows, which suggests that the pyre was not finished or had already been partially dismantled at the time the picture was taken.

The last of the three images – Mattogno’s "Illustration 13.3" – shows how many persons could be aligned, with their heads on or beyond the log, along the length of each of the aforementioned six logs. There is room enough for four or five heads and upper body parts along the length of each log, i.e. 24-30 heads and upper body parts along the length of six logs lined up lengthwise. This means that, with 5 rows of corpses along the pyre’s width, the 145 corpses per layer mentioned above (which is almost three times the maximum number postulated by Mattogno) are quite feasible. And that Mattogno’s photomontage in "Illustration 13.4" is utter nonsense.

Report 2 differs from Report 1 in that it estimates 800 (instead of at least 887) killed and burnt inside the building and assumes 8-10 rows of corpses (instead of the 5 assumed in Report 1) along the width of the pyres. Whether this higher number of rows is plausible depends on how the bodies were aligned. If
a) the bodies of every two rows were placed in such a way that their lengths overlapped, and
b) the heads or feet of the outermost rows of bodies extended beyond the logs on each side of the pyre’s width,
then it is not implausible that each two rows would cover about 1.60 meters[8] and that 8 rows could thus fit on a stretch of 6.5 meters. However, such arrangement would contradict the description in Report 1, whereby there was only an overlapping of heads and feet. As Report 2 doesn’t state on what observations the stated higher number of rows was based, I’ll stick with the 5 rows mentioned in Report 1 and the 145 corpses per layer on the pyres. If the number killed inside the burned building was 800 as per Report 2 instead of at least 887 according to Report 1, the total number of victims is reduced from at least 2004 to at least 1,917. Thus the conclusion in Report 3, whereby "up to" (i.e. a maximum of) 1,800 – 2,000 people were killed in the Klooga massacre, is in line with the finds on site recorded in the other two reports, even comparatively conservative.

Mattogno claims that the pictures he shows "even partly contradict the Soviet statements mentioned above", without explaining wherein the contradiction is supposed to consist. Then he triumphantly proclaims that the pictures "further tear to pieces Muehlenkamp’s thermo-technical delirium, because they show an impressive amount of wood for only two layers of corpses". Outside Mattogno’s wishful thinking, all this "impressive amount of wood" means is that more wood in relation to corpse mass was used at Klooga than on the pyres set up at the Dresden Altmarkt after the bombing attacks on 13/14 February 1945 and their closest match, the cremation pyres at the AR extermination camps, which, due to the method applied (especially the placing of the corpses on a metal grate removed from the ground) and the types of fuel used for cremation (with a clear predominance of liquid fuel at Dresden and a likely predominance of such fuel also at the AR camps) managed to burn corpses with a far less "impressive" amount of wood[9].

Wishful thinking also guides Mattogno’s argument derived from the duration of burning claimed in the second Soviet report (two and a half days), as he contends that if this claim is taken for granted, "and even without taking into consideration the time needed to erect the pyres", the times required to burn the corpses at the AR camps would be "1,012 for Bełżec (against the 105 available), 2,690 for Sobibór (against 365), 1,472 for Treblinka". Apart from the farcicality of Mattogno’s assumptions regarding the available cremation grate area at these camps and (except as concerns Sobibór) the respective cremation period borne out by evidence, a cremation period of two and a half days at Klooga would have to be attributed to the comparatively much less efficient construction of these pyres, consisting of wooden logs placed on the ground and on top of each other alone, the reduced amount of accelerant employed (14 "barrels" of gasoline according to Report 2, for three pyres with a total area of 117 square meters), and the fact that the fires, unlike those at the AR camps, were untended as the killers left the camp after setting the pyres on fire. [10]. Cremation was done much more efficiently at the Dresden Altmarkt, where corpses were burned at a rate of 500 per day (including the presumably considerable time required for bringing the corpses to the square, trying to identify them and building each pyre) on a grate area that I estimated at just 14 m², little more than a third of a Klooga pyre’s area. At the AR camps, where the corpses just had to be dragged out of nearby mass graves and their identity was indifferent to the organizers, the number of corpses burned per day and square meter of pyre can hardly have been lower than at Dresden. [11].

Mattogno’s fantasizing about AR cremation times is preceded by what is arguably the most despicable part of his musings about the Klooga massacre. Mattogno refers to an article by a certain Jan Kuras, who in an article in a "Revisionist" publication[12] claimed to have "critically analyzed" a number of Klooga images he had received from the Yad Vashem archives and found that "they strongly suggest that these photos were staged by the Soviets using living people". So what Mattogno is suggesting here is that the Soviets made up the Klooga massacre and that American journalist W.H. Lawrence, who claimed to have "seen and counted recognizable parts of 438 complete and partly burned bodies of men, women and children" at Klooga, was an inveterate liar.

What makes Kuras’ "analysis" rather ridiculous is not so much the fact that he provides no backup for his claims whereby certain features of the bodies shown on the "analyzed" pictures suggest living people as the fact that, besides the photographs he "analyzed", the Soviets also took photos of unburned or partially burned corpses found on or by the Klooga pyres that are among the most shockingly graphic images of Nazi atrocities I have seen. These images can be accessed on the USHMM website[13], and some of them have been included in one of my photo collections on this blog site[14]. Furthermore graphic footage of corpses found at Klooga was included in the Soviet documentary film "The Atrocities committed by German Fascists in the USSR", shown at the Nuremberg Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal on 19 February 1946[15].

It should be obvious to whoever sees these images that at Klooga the Soviets would have had no need whatsoever to do any staging with "living people", had they been thus inclined.

I can give Mr. Kuras the benefit of doubt and assume that he indulged in his photo-analysis fantasies without having seen the harrowing Klooga images that show said fantasies to be just that. But it’s more difficult to give the same benefit to Carlo Mattogno, who on p. 1201 of the magnum opus quotes my reference to the collection of photographs I mentioned on p. 396 of the critique, which includes some of these Klooga images.

It beggars belief that Mattogno did not follow the link in note 35 on p. 396 of the critique, which leads to this collection[16] and lists 12 images of the Treblinka site (nos. 1.1.79, 1.1.84, 1.1.85, 1.3.1 to 1.3.7, 2.7.1 and 2.7.2) contained therein, of which only 4 are shown in the critique. Unless, of course, one is to assume that sensitive Mattogno didn’t want to disturb his peace of mind by looking at pictures of atrocities committed by his Nazi clients.

Notes

[1]The “Extermination Camps” of “Aktion Reinhardt” An Analysis and Refutation of Factitious “Evidence,” Deceptions and Flawed Argumentation of the “Holocaust Controversies” Bloggers, 2013 Castle Hill Publishers, UK, online under [link].
[2]These subjects are discussed at length, regarding the Aktion Reinhard(t) extermination camps Bełżec, Sobibór and Treblinka and Chełmno extermination camp, in the series "Mattogno’s Cremation Encyclopedia", starting under [link].
[3]Jonathan Harrison, Roberto Muehlenkamp, Jason Myers, Sergey Romanov, Nicholas Terry, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. A Critique of the Falsehoods of Mattogno, Graf and Kues, A Holocaust Controversies White Paper, First Edition, December 2011, online i.a. under [link].
[4] "Concluding remarks of Deputy Public Prosecutor of the Estonian SSR on materials of investigation of mass executions of prisoners and destruction of their bodies in Klooga concentration camp (Harjumaa Uyezd)", October 12, 944, Tallinn, in: Estonia. The Bloody Trace of Nazism 1941-1944. Selection of Archival Documents on Crimes of Estonian Collaborators in the Second World War, pp. 36-44 (p. 43). This document collection, which I will hereinafter refer to as Estonian Collaborators, is available online under [link].
[5] "Report of survey of the Klooga concentration camp held by the Office of Public Prosecutor of the Estonian SSR", September 29, 1944 (Estonian Collaborators, pp. 28-29).
[6] "Report about atrocities of Nazis and their Estonian accomplices against prisoners of the Klooga concentration camp", September 29, 1944 (Estonian Collaborators, pp. 32-35).
[7] As note 4.
[8]This would be the average stature of Jews (male and female) in eastern Poland at the time, see the blog ""Alleged" Mass Graves and other Mattogno Fantasies (Part 4, Section 1)" ([link]), namely the reference to my related discussions with Friedrich Jansson about the subject. Klooga held both male and female prisoners, mostly from Lithuania and Latvia. Observed statures of male and female Jews in Lithuania are mentioned in The unedited full-text of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia ([link]).
[9] For details see the blog series mentioned in note 2.
[10] An approximate match in inefficiency can be found in the disastrous pyres at Epynt in Wales during the 2001 foot and mouth epidemic in the UK, which burned for five months although the British Environment Agency’s original feasibility report "only allowed for 2-3 days of burning of 900 cattle using 525 tons of coal in total" (Epynt Action Group, A Report on the damage to the environment caused by water pollution, plus possible air pollution and risks to human health resulting from the disposal of animal carcasses at an unlicensed site at Mynydd Eppynt (Epynt) in mid-Wales during the 2001 Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK, p. 4. See the blog "Mattogno’s Cremation Encyclopedia (Part 2, Section 3)", which contains a link to this report, downloadable as a Word document in note 168).
[11]For details see Part 3, Section 1 ([link]) and Section 2 ([link]), of the series "Mattogno’s Cremation Encyclopedia".
[12]"Sowjetische Bildfälschungen. Eine Analyse gestellter sowjetische Fotos aus dem Lager Klooga in Estland", Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, no. 3, 1999, pp. 278-283, online under [link].
[13]Search results for "Klooga" ([link]).
[14]See the blog "Photographic documentation of Nazi crimes" ([link]), images 1.2.13 to 1.2.21.
[15]See the blog "The Atrocities committed by German-Fascists in the USSR (2)" ([link]).
[16]That is, to the blog mentioned in note 14 above.

4 comments:

Jonathan Harrison said...

This is the report by W.H. Lawrence:

KLOOGA, Estonia, Oct. 2 (Delayed) Foreign correspondents were shown today the scene of the German executions on Sept. 19 - an act that demonstrated most conclusively that the Germans are in full scale retreat and are capable of cold- blooded slaughter even when it will serve little, if any, military purpose.

Here at the Nazis’ Klooga labor camp, built originally to house the last survivors of the Vilna Ghetto, I have seen and counted recognizable parts of 438 complete and partly burned bodies of men, women and children, including one child who could not have been more than three months old, but whose skull had been shattered by a bullet and who lay on the arm of her dead mother in cold, bleak country in the midst of a pine forest. I have seen three huge funeral pyres that first were built of pine logs by prisoners whose captors then shot them and burned their bodies. Near these piles, now almost completely reduced to ashes, I counted recognizable parts of at least 215 bodies. and an unknown number of other skeletons that had been reduced to bone ash by a hot fire made by burning pine logs and bodies soaked in gasoline. In a field nearby...were the bodies of a dozen other persons who had tried to escape but were cut down by bullets.

Prisoners Burned in Barracks

I have seen the charred remnants of a barracks building into the eight rooms of which the Germans crowded an estimated 700 persons, who were shot. The barracks then was set afire and destroyed, crematíng the bodies that remained inside. Alongside this building there was a row of at least 150 bodies, some of persons who obviously had been cut down while attempting to escape from the building.

Some bore little marks of fire, but others were merely charred, shrunken skeletons of men and women. Inside the barracks great piles of bone ash mixed with wood ash testified to the large number of other persons who had died in the building. In the central part of the camp itself there was one other ghastly scene. In a courtyard I counted the bodies of sixty-four persons, including men, women and children and it was there that I saw the young baby, dressed in a red sweater, white woolen panties and a blue shirt.

These were the bodies of persons who had been machine-­gunned to death inside one of the central barracks, but which the Germans, in their anxiety to flee before the approaching Red Army, did not have time to burn.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=9903E5DF1E31E03BBC4E53DFB667838F659EDE&legacy=true

Jonathan Harrison said...

Report filed by Eddie Gilmore:

https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1817&dat=19441005&id=3-U-AAAAIBAJ&sjid=E00MAAAAIBAJ&pg=2232,3818364&hl=en

Jonathan Harrison said...

JTA:

http://www.jta.org/1944/10/08/archive/wish-survivors-of-nazi-mass-murder-in-estonia-seek-relatives-through-jta

Nathan said...

. Mattogno refers to an article by a certain Jan Kuras, who in an article in a "Revisionist" publication[12] claimed to have "critically analyzed" a number of Klooga images he had received from the Yad Vashem archives and found that "they strongly suggest that these photos were staged by the Soviets using living people".

So the "flagship" of "Revisionism" is revealed to be nothing more than a 2 bit conspiracy theorist, no better than most of his sheep. You're right, Roberto: he's just a blind man leading the blind.