Saturday, September 17, 2016

Mattogno and the Activity & Situation Report of Einsatzgruppe B on its Gas Vans

The operation and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B of 1 March 1942 explicitly mentions four "Gaswagen" (gas vans) in the group's motor pool. The report, which was published in the 90s, corroborates earlier evidence such as the testimony of the gas vans' drivers, and vice versa. This independent, mutual corroboration results in more powerful evidence on the reality of Germans homicidal gas vans.

As starter and to provide some context, the activities of the group, which demanded the use gas vans, and the contribution of the group to the development of gas vans will be outlined. The main part looks at what the Einsatzgruppe B report stated on its gas vans and relates this to other sources. The final part addresses why the "Revisionist" Carlo Mattogno failed once again with his denial of German homicidal gas vans.

The Historical Context of the Document

Einsatzgruppe B

On 22 June 1941, Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union and the Einsatzgruppen advanced into the Soviet territory in the slipstream of the Army Groups. The tasks of the Einsatzgruppen were summed up in Heydrich's briefing of the Higher SS and Police Leaders in the East of 2 July 1941 as manhunt, intelligence and executions (Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion II, p. 44 f.) The executions comprised the targets communist politicians, functionaries of the communist party and state, Jews in party and state position. This was a well defined and limited group of people, which can be expected to have been mostly evacuated upon the Soviet retreat anyway. Indeed, the number of killed people among these groups are almost negligible within the overall death toll of the Einsatzgruppen.

But Heydrich added another category of targets, which were to become the main victims: "other radical elements". Ill-defined and vague as it was formulated and open for interpretation, it gave the Einsatzgruppen the license to physically exterminate anything considered necessary and useful for the Nazi agenda. It meant not only the killing of insurgents, political dissidents, opposition and criminals without any trial whatsoever but also the liquidation of beggars, gypsies, so called racially inferior people, mentally ill and - most of all - the Jews.

The Einsatzgruppe B followed the Army Group Centre into Soviet territory. Its Einsatz- and Sonderkommandos advanced via Brest, Wilna, Bialystok and Minsk deep into White Ruthenia and reached the Russian city Smolensk. The first killings were carried out in Wilna among "Jewish communist party functionaries" (activity report USSR no. 11 of 3 July 1941, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion I, p. 70), but the shootings were quickly extended to Jewish "intelligentsia", "political activists" and "wealthy Jews" (activity report USSR no.17 of 9 July 1941, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion I, p. 98). 321 Jews were killed between 3rd and 8th July 1941 in Wilna. Yet, this was only a first sign and warning shot of what was to come about for the Eastern European Jews. The Einsatzkommando 9 ordered 150 local police men "to take part in the liquidation of the Jews" and "about 500 Jews and other saboteurs are liquidated every day". The group further reported that "1050 Jews were liquidated" and "more are continuously brought to execution every day" in the detention camp for civilians in Minsk (activity report USSR no. 21 of 13 July 1941, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion I, 113 f.).

The first 100% quota of killed Jews was officialy reported on 23 September 1941 for Lahoysk. The Einsatzkommando 9 and members of the SS division Das Reich "executed" 920 Jews and the report concluded that the "place can be now called free of Jews" (activity report USSR no. 92 of 23 September 1941, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion I, p. 546). The chief of Einsatzgruppe B Arthur Nebe only won the third place of this challenge though, as Einsatzgruppe A and D reported the extermination of all Jews in whole areas already in the earlier activity reports of 19 and 20 September 1941 (activity reports USSR no. 88 & 89, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion I, p. 494 & 511; however, according to Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, 2012, p. 569 f. relying mostly on testimonial evidence, entire Jewish communities were liquidated already since late August 1941 by units of Einsatzgruppe B). Other places shot free or nearly free of Jews by units of Einsatzgruppe B according the various activity reports USSR were Krupka (912 victims), Sholopenitsche (812), Mogilev (about 5000), Bobruisk (7079), Smalyavichy (1401), Vitebsk twice (about 3000 in October 1941 and 4090 in December 1941), Nevel (714), Janovichi (1025).

In total, Einsatzgruppe B reported the killing of about 71,600 people between July and December 1941. Another 62,600 victims were added to the death toll until mid-December 1942. The accumulated body count of Einsatzgruppe B over time is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Accumulated killings reported by Einsatzgruppe B between 24 June 1941 - 31 March 1943. Figures from activity report no. 31 & 73 & 108 & 125 & 133 of 23 July & 4 September & 9 & 26 October & 14 November 1941 (reproduced in Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion I), operation and situation report of 1 March and 1 September 1942 (Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen II, p. 296 & 404), operation and situation report for 15 November to 15 December 1942 (BArch B162/21579, p. 94), operation and situation report for 1 to 31 March 1943 (Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen II, p. 574). The figure of 22 December 1941 was calculated from the sum of the summary total of 14 November 1941 and the individual killing actions further reported up to 22 December 1941.

For 1941, the activity reports provide the killing reason for 59,877 victims of Einsatzgruppe B. The breakdown is depicted in Figure 2. The category "others" covers the execution of communist functionaries, NKVD agents & informers, supporters of partisans, saboteurs and criminals. Together with the category "partisans", it accounts for 5% of the victims of Einsatzgruppe B. It's exactly this group of people the Einsatzgruppen should have been limited to if they had no genocidal and democidal task. Yet, these made up only a fraction of their executions. The vast majority of victims (95%) were Jews, mentally ill people and so-called "racially inferior elements" ("rassisch vollkommen minderwertige Elemente") from army detention camps for civilians.

Figure 2: Breakdown of the victims of 59,877 killings mentioned by Einsatzgruppe B in 1941.

The Problem of Mass Shootings

The mass killing by individual shootings of men, women and children, even though numerically quite effective, posed considerable strain on the shooting squads.

The adjutant of Einsatzgruppe B Karl Schulz testified that "the nerves of the members of the shooting squads were subjected to tremendous strain" (interrogation of Schulz of 9 March 1959, BArch B 162/5066, p. 114). Erwin Cz. of the police reserve battalion 9, whose companies were assigned to the Einsatzgruppen up to December 1941, recalled that "my comrades and I - and I can easily say all comrades - were physically and mentally totally done after such action" (interrogation of 23 January 1962, BArch B 162/3275, p. 196).

According to Albert Hartl, head of the RSHA office IV B on ideological enemies and "visitor" of Einsatzgruppe C, the group's head Max Thomas explained that people assigned to the shooting squads developed "the worst sadistic drives" or suffered from "hysterical crying" and "health breakdown" (interrogation of Hartl of 16 January 1957, BArch B 162/1254, p. 986). Georg Bi. of the police reserve battalion 9 remembered a case when some "Sergeant Gan. got a nervous break down during the [two day lasting] execution" (interrogation of of 25 July 1965, BArch B 162/5654, p. 3547). As the police battalion was withdrawn from Russia in December 1941, its new commander Arthur Se. noticed that "these people had experienced rough times" and that they "had to disable one man and sent them to an asylum after he made use of his duty pistol without any reason" (interrogation of Seidel of 12 December 1963, BArch, B 162/964, p. 1320).

Figure 3.
Von dem Bach-Zelewski himself suffered under a "nervous state of exhaustion" related to the "shooting of Jews supervised by himself and other heavy experiences in the East" according to a contemporary document from the Reichsarzt SS Ernst-Robert Grawitz (letter Grawitz to Himmler of 4 March 1942, Figure 3, from Bartoszewski, Erich von dem Bach, p. 97).


Minsk, 15 August 1941

On 15 August 1941, the Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had the following appointment in the morning according to his diary:
"Attending an execution of partisans and Jews near Minsk"  
(Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers, p. 195)

The people to be shot were summoned to the execution site by members of the first platoon of the 2nd company of the police reserve battalion 9, which also carried out the execution together with members of Einsatzkomando 8. The battalion's platoon leader Paul Di. described the shooting as following:
"120 - 150 prisoners from the Minsk prison were brought in the morning by our men...mostly Jews....When Himmler arrived, the first group of about 15 men was already in the pit. The delinquents laid down in the pit with their face down. I had allocated the execution squad so that each two men were shooting on a delinquent. When Himmler came with his entourage, Dr. Bradfisch reported to him and the shooting was immediately started. Two pits had been prepared. At one pit the Jews were shot by my platoon, at the other pit the Security Service was shooting. The pits were at 30 m distance. Himmler and his entourage stayed in between to closely observe the shooting. When I gave the firing command, Himmler was right next to me. After the first volley, Himmler directly approached me and looked into the pit. He observed that one was still alive. He told me: "Lieutenant, shoot him!" I received a carbine and gave this man a coup de grâce. Himmler stayed next to me."
(interrogation of Di. of 8 January 1963, BArch B 162/5033, p. 1103 ff.; )

In the post-war narrative of Himmler's adjutant Karl Wolff, "a piece of brain splashed onto [Himmler's] coat", who was "disgusted..threw up" and "seemed to sway a bit" (interrogation of Wolff of 13 February 1962, BArch B 162/5027, p. 14, see also Karl Wolff on Himmler's Visit to Minsk). This incident has been not confirmed by anybody else who had been at the scene. While the Higher SS and Police leader of Russia-Center Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski stated that Himmler was "pale", he also testified that "the reading that Himmler cried or threw up is false" (interrogation of von dem Bach-Zelewski of 19 December 1962, BArch B 162/5033, p. 1079).

In any case, Himmler's physiological reaction could not have been too strong as he was still able to give a speech to the members of Einsatzkommando 8 after the shooting. His impressions and/or the wish of SS leaders made Himmler to justify and take responsibility for the mass killing of people, mostly Jews for no legal reason and without any trial. Both von dem Bach-Zelewski and the Einsatzkommando 8 leader Otto Bradfisch claimed they pushed Himmler into this (von dem Bach-Zelewski's account quoted in Aufbau, 23 August 1946, p. 2 and interrogation of Bradfisch of 9 June 1958, BArch B 162/5029, p.11).

The essence of Himmler's speech is summarised in the trial judgement against Karl Wolff based on seven witnesses:
"Himmler declared after the shootings that the hard struggle that the German people had to undertake made harsh measures such as this imperative. The Jews were the bearers of world Bolshevism and they must therefore be destroyed. He and Hitler had assumed responsibility for this before the court of history. The task was difficult, but it had to be carried out."
(Justiz und NS-Verbrechen Band, vol. 20, p. 436, English translation from Richard J. Evans, David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust Denial: Electronic Edition)

In their post-war testimonies, Wolff and von dem Bach-Zelewskis explained away the execution that it concerned only convicted partisans and their helpers. In reality, it had been just another mass killing of people picked up as supposed "radical elements", an extremely broad term set by the Nazi ideology. As the police platoon leader in charge of the shooting noticed:
"It is incomprehensible to me how anybody, who has experienced the execution at the time, could get the idea that this was a military execution of criminals."
(interrogation of Di. of 8 January 1963, BArch B 162/5033, p. 1107).

After the show killing, Himmler visited a transit camp for Soviet POWs, took lunch and then a drive through the Jewish ghetto in Minsk. The next station of the trip reads as follows:
"Visiting the asylum"
(Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers, p. 195)

This "sightseeing tour of a small insane-asylum, near Minsk" was also mentioned by von dem Bach-Zelewski in 1945/46 way before Himmler's diary was available. He further stated that the visit was followed by a talk between Himmler, Nebe, Wolff and himself, where "Himmler orders Nebe to 'free' the insanes from their suffering" and "to make use of a more human method of killing" than the shooting in the morning putting too much strain on the execution squad. Nebe was supposed to try explosives (handwritten manuscript of von dem Bach-Zelewski, NARA Record Group 238, M1270/1/111, p. 42, English translation from p. 36; Wolff's presence is mentioned in Aufbau, 23 August 1946, p. 2).
 
Von dem Bach-Zelewski's testimony is the only direct source on this conversation and so it should be taken carefully. But the order to liquidate the asylum is plausible given the Euthanasia in the Third Reich and the fact that Nebe's Einsatzgruppe B reported the killing of 632 mentally ill in Minsk about sevens weeks later. The subsequent events, which will be described in the following, support the essence of von dem Bach-Zelewski's account that Himmler ordered to kill mentally ill in the area with supposedly more human methods of killing.

Enhanced Killing Method for the East

The day after the show execution with Himmler, von dem Bach-Zelewski cabled to the Higher SS and Police Leader of the Warthegau Wilhelm Koppe, who had previously carried out the gassing of mentally ill in Soldau, to get a demonstration of the "procedure" applied by the SS-Sonderkommando Lange (Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, 1999, p. 648, also Der Dienstkalender Heinrich Himmlers, p. 195). This procedure concerned the killing of mentally ill people as suggested by Koppe's later request of early October 1941 "to sent Sonderkommando Lange with suitable repair [recte: apparatus] for the clearing of three of their asylums near Novgorod" (Gassing of Mental Patients by Sonderkommando Lange in Novgorod). Whereas in the German Altreich mentally ill people were killed in stationary gas chambers using carbon monoxide gas bottles, the Sonderkommando Lange operating in annexed Polish territory mounted the carbon monoxide bottles on a trailer attached to truck, whose cargo box served as gas chamber (see Beer, Die Entwicklung der Gaswagen beim Mord an den Juden, English translation here).

There is no evidence that Sonderkommando Lange actually managed to demonstrate their mobile gas chamber in Minsk. Instead, Nebe went forward to carry out some new killing methods. Nebe was not only in charge of Einsatzgruppe B, but also head of the Reichskriminalpolizeiamt (RKPA) in Berlin (RSHA office V), to which also the Criminal Technical Institute (KTI) of the Security Police belonged. The institute had already assisted in implementing the Euthanasia gassings with carbon monoxide bottles.

In September 1941, Nebe called his specialist on explosives and toxicology Albrecht Widmann from the KTI to Minsk and Mogilev for the killing of mentally ill people with explosives and engine exhaust because "he could not demand from his men to shoot incurable mentally ill" (interrogation of Widmann of 11 January 1960, BArch B 162/5066, p. 130). The dating September 1941 follows from the testimony of Widmann (interrogation of 27 January 1960, Institut für Zeitgeschichte, ZS3120, p. 11) and his laboratory assistant Hans Sc. (interrogation of 6 April 1960, BArch B 162/4338, p. 215, cf. Angrick, Besatzungspolitik und Massenmord, p. 369) as well as the strength of the Mogilev asylum of "910 persons" on 3 September 1941 (cited in Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, 2012, p. 649) and the Einsatzgruppen report of 9 October 1941 that "in Minsk and Mogilew 632 and 836  mentally ill people were specially treated" (activity report USSR no. 108 of 9 October 1941, Angrick et al, Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion, p. 663).

The KTI staff (Albrecht Widmann  & Hans Sc.) and two RKPA drivers (Alfred Ba. & No.) left Berlin to Belorussia to implement the homicidal gassing of mentally ill with engine exhaust in Mogilev (see German Footage of a Homicidal Gassing with Engine Exhaust. Part 4: Responsibility (II)). The asylum earlier visited by Himmler near Minsk (Novinki) was likewise liquidated in September 1941 using engine exhaust (examination of Akimova of 18 November 1946, quoted in Aly, Aussonderung und Tod, p. 88 f.). Nebe also attributed this killing  in Minsk to his group in the above cited activity report USSR no. 108. It is, however, not known so far who was the "chemist" mentioned by Akimova on the scene, whether Widmann or yet somebody else (Gerlach suggests it may have been the KTI chemist Heinrich Hoffmann, see Gerlach, Kalkulierte Morde, p. 649).

The KTI/RKPA team also carried out Nebe's idea of killing with explosives and blew up a bunker with mentally ill in Minsk. It succeeded only in a second attempt and the result was a mess to clean up (interrogation of Albert Widmann of 11 January 1960, BArch B 162/5066, p. 130ff.; interrogation of Hans Sc. of 6 April 1960, BArch B 162/4338, p. 215 ff.; interrogation of Alfred Ba. of  17 March 1960, BArch B 162/4338, p. 141 ff.; interrogation of Wilhelm Ja. of 5 April 1960, BArch B 162/4338, p. 209 f.; interrogation of Paul Di. of 8 January 1963, BArch B 162/5033, p. 1108; interrogation of Andreas von Amburger of 27 December 1945, BArch B 162/21555 p. 1327). 

One may wonder why Nebe tried such rather crude method. He may have genuinely considered it as an option. The explosion brings immediate death if done properly. Nebe was familiar with explosives: he was an officer of an engineering battalion in World War 1 (see Nebe's curriculum vitae, quoted in Rathert, Verbrechen und Verschwörung, p. 18) and led the investigations into the assassination attempt on Hitler of 8 November 1939 with explosives by Johann Georg Elser. More speculative is whether Nebe actually tried to test an assassination attempt under the disguise of the Euthanasia. Note that in 1943, there had been another killing action with explosives near Minsk. After the removal of mass graves at the extermination site Maly Trostinez, members of the so called Sonderkommando 1005 blew up their working prisoners, which had been locked up in a bunker (interrogation of Adolf Rübe of 7 September 1959, BArch B 162/1325, p. 55f.).

In any case, the killings in Mogilev and Minsk in September 1941 showed Nebe that the "killing with exhaust gas is to be preferred" (interrogation of Widmann of 11 January 1960, BArch B162/5066, p. 130 ff.). So far, the actions were limited to mentally ill people in asylums, which made up only a small fraction of the victims of Einsatzgruppe B. The bulk of the killing - Jewish families - was still carried out by bullets for some time.

Prototype Gas Van with Engine Exhaust

For the decentralised mass shootings in the huge Russian territory, the most suitable killing method to replace mass shootings was considered the use of mobile gas chambers with engine exhaust. This technique merged the mobility of the gas vans of Sonderkommando Lange using carbon monoxide bottles with the readily available exhaust gas from gasoline engines.

In collaboration with the KTI, the RSHA motor pool department constructed homicidal gas vans operating with engine exhaust. The exhaust of a truck (possibly an Opel Blitz) was to be pumped into the cargo box mounted on its chassis. The vehicle was brought to the KTI, where the carbon monoxide concentration which developed in the cargo box was measured. The first test gassing on human beings was performed on Russian POWs in Sachsenhausen concentration camp (interrogation of Theodor Le. of 6 February 1959, BArch B 162/5066, p. 106 ff., interrogation of Helmut Ho. of 13 October 1958, BArch B 162/5066, p. 88f., interrogation of Hans Schmidt of 11 December 1958 [only on gas analysis], BArch B 162/1602, p. 21, cf.  Beer, Die Entwicklung der Gaswagen beim Mord an den Juden).

There is no evidence that the killing in Minsk ordered by Himmler was originally meant as test run for homicidal gas vans employing engine exhaust. Von dem Bach's activity to get Sonderkommando Lange with its carbon monoxide bottles to Minsk suggests that this was not an issue yet by August 1941. However, it stands to reason that Nebe's killings in the Minsk and Mogilev asylums in September 1941 were also related to the development of the gas vans operating with engine exhaust, because 

a) they employed the same murder technique 

b) both the gassings in Mogilev and Minsk and the development of the homicidal gas vans were carried out by the Criminal Technical Institute of the RSHA 

c) the gas van prototype was likely constructed and tested after the asylum gassings. Ho. and Le. dated tests on the prototype gas van to Winter 1941/1942. Taking a temperature drop close to zero as beginning of "Winter", the tests had to be taken place in or after late October 1941 (see e.g. temperatures here).

d) Nebe's staff member Andreas von Amburger testified that "based on these experiments, the so called gas vans were subsequently produced" (interrogation of 27 December 1945, BArch B162/21555, p. 1329)

First Series of Gas Vans of Einsatzgruppe B

After the tests at the KTI and in Sachsenhausen turned out as successful, further gas vans based on 3 tons Diamond T (possibly also on French/other American) chassis were constructed and distributed among the Einsatzgruppen and Sonderkommando Chelmno at the end of 1941, mainly for the extermination of the Jews. The gassing boxes were constructed and mounted on the chassis by the Gaubschat company in Berlin.
 
Two Diamond T gas vans were sent to Riga to Einsatzgruppe A in December 1941 and passed on to Minsk in Spring 1942. They were operated by the gas van drivers Karl Gebel and Erich Gnewuch. Another gas van driven by Wilhelm Findeisen was delivered to Einsatzgruppe C in Kiev in November/December 1941. A fourth gas van was supposedly employed by Einsatzgruppe D since December 1941 (according to Justiz und NS-Verbrechen Band XL, Verfahren 816, p. 287, cf. Beer, Die Entwicklung der Gaswagen beim Mord an den Juden, p. 413; it is unclear from the judgement on what evidence the dating is based on; however, according to Angrick, Besatzungspolitik und Massenmord. Einsatzgruppe D, the first gas van was used by Einsatzgruppe D since spring 1942). Two gas vans ended up in Chelmno in December 1941. Mathias Beer has designated these six vehicles as the first series of gas vans. The figure seems to be confirmed by the head of the technical department of the RSHA Walther Rauff ("In so far as I can recall I only supplied 5 or 6", affidavit Rauff of 19 October 1945, 2348-PS; this would have omitted the big Saurer series of gas vans though, see below).

However, such distribution of the first gas vans among the Einsatzgruppen is insofar odd as they would have been only supplied to Einsatzgruppe A, C and D, but not to Einsatzgruppe B. Despite the fact that Nebe was head of Einsatzgruppe B until November 1941 (then replaced by Erich Naumann) and also in charge of the RSHA department contributing to the gas van prototype, none of the first series of gas vans, which were supposed to decrease the strain on the killing squads, was dispatched to his former group if this were true. There are several sources not known to Beer at the time, which raise doubts on this representation.

On 13 December 1941, around the time the first series of gas vans were delivered to the Einsatzgruppen and Sonderkommando Chelmno, Nebe cabled to his successor Naumann that "[t]wo of the special vehicles we dealt with in our last discussion will be deployed in course of the following week to the Einsatzgruppe" (document 2 here). Although "special vehicles" could apply to other types of vehicles as well (see Operation and Situation report of Einsatzgruppe B of 14 July 1941, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgrupen in der Sowjetunion II, p. 58 f.; it summarises sanitary vehicles, radio car, mobile workshop as special vehicles), it was also a common term for homicidal gas vans in the correspondence (see letter from Walther Rauff to KTI of 26 March 1942, RHSA office II D 3 a memo of 27 April 1942, telex from Emanuel Schäfer to Friedrich Pradel of 9 June 1942).
 
Indeed, the existence of two gas vans of the first series is documented in the Einsatzgruppe B motor pool for early 1942. The groups activity and situation report of 1 March 1942 summarises the fleet of vehicles and includes two smaller gas vans operating for Einsatzkommando 8 (Figure 4):
Figure 4.
"Both smaller gas vans will be sent to SK 7a and SK 7b after the completion the operation at EK 8."





(activity and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B of 1 March 1942, cf. Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen II, p. 293)

The gas vans were assigned to the Einsatzgruppe before 16 February 1942, since they are not mentioned among the new additions in the reporting period. It stands to reason that these "two smaller gas vans" are identical to the two "special vehicles" Nebe promised Naumann on 13 December 1941.

This interpretation is somewhat supported by the testimony of the gas van driver Gebel. According to him, he and Gwenuch were not alone with their gas vans on the way to Einsatzgruppe A in Riga, but there had been 3-4 "vehicles of this kind" (interrogation of Gebel of 23 October 1962, BArch B162 / 5068, p. 624). Hence, it's conceivable that a convoy of three to four gas vans was splitted among Einsatzgruppe A and the neighbouring Einsatzgruppe B. In case there had been only three gas vans, two were first assigned to Einsatzgruppe B (including either Gebel or Gwenuch), while one of those was later forwarded to the BdS Minsk.

In the later judgement against the RSHA motor pool members Pradel and Wentritt of 1966, Gebel is cited as having said the other two gas vans were based on Saurer chassis (which made up the second much bigger series of gas vans), which would contradict that these had been smaller gas vans from the first series. However, Gebel made no mention of this in his above cited earlier interrogation. In fact, he stated that the other vehicles (including Gwenuch's) were "a bit larger" than his own, whereas both his and Gwenuch's vehicle had to be much smaller than the Saurer. Furthermore, the judgement pretty much screwed other related facts - based on the misleading testimony of Friedrich Pradel, head of the Security Police motor pool department - and claimed e.g. that already the first gas van prototype with engine exhaust was a Saurer.

According to the Einsatzgruppe B report, the two smaller gas vans ended up in the motor pool of Einsatzkommando 8 and were supposed to be passed on to Sonderkommando 7a & b after finishing their task. This is confirmed by the gas van driver Johann Haßler, who remembered that he had to transfer a small gas van he identified as Diamond T chassis to Sonderkommando 7b some time after his arrival in Smolensk in February 1942:
"Before I resettled to Briansk, where Einsatzkommando 7b was located at the time, a closed box vehicle was given to me together with a document. I had to transfer this vehicle to Einsatzkommando 7b in Briansk. I cannot remember anymore, if I already knew in Smolensk that it was a gas van or only later in Briansk...It was a Diamond van with a capacity of 25 persons."
(interrogation of Haßler of 12 September 1962, BArch B 162/5068, p. 639f.)

According to Haßler, the gas van was employed in 1942 in Baranovichi and Minsk on Jews deported by train and in Orel on partisans as well as in October 1943 on prisoners carrying out the destruction of mass grave sites ("Enterdungsaktion") in Barysaw. Another driver of Sonderkommando 7b confirmed that Haßler took over and drove a 3 ton gas van for Sonderkommando 7b (interrogation of Heinrich Mü. 27 March 1962, BArch B162/18154, p. 44; he remembered the chassis of the gas van as a "Chevrolette").

Second Series of Gas Vans of Einsatzgruppe B

In 1942, the motor pool department of the Security Police obtained several France made Saurer 4.5 - 5 tons chassis with gasoline engines from a Wehrmacht vehicle park for a second series of gas vans. The Einsatzgruppe B was equipped with two of such bigger gas vans since late February 1942 (in addition to the two "smaller gas vans"), which are also mentioned in the above cited activity and situation report of the group. The new vehicles obtained in the period 16 to 28 February 1942 are listed with make, license plate and the unit to which they were assigned. The fleet was extended by ten cars and two Saurer "gas vans":
"The gas vans, which arrived in Smolensk on 23 February 1942, were allocated as follows:

EK 8: Truck Saurer Pol 71462
EK 9: Truck Saurer Pol 71457

Both vehicles arrived damaged in Smolensk and were given to the Einsatzkommandos after fixing of the damage."
(activity and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B of 1 March 1942, Figure 4, cf. Deutsche Besatzungsherrschaft in der UdSSR 1941-1945. Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen II, p. 293)

The transfer of the two Saurer gas vans from Berlin to Smolensk in February 1942 is corroborated by the testimonies of the gas van drivers Johann Haßler and Josef Wendl (interrogation of Wendl of 12 February 1969 YVA TR.10/1118, vol. 1, p. 40ff.; interrogation of Haßler of 26 September 1966, BArch, B162/18154, p. 56f.). Each vehicle was provided with two drivers. The gas vans assigned to Einsatzkommando 9 and 8 - Saurer Pol 71457 and 71462 according to the Einsatzgruppe B report - were driven by Heinrich Miller(?)/Haßler and Wendl/Richard (2nd name unknown), respectively.

According to Wendl, both gas vans crashed into each other before Warsaw, later the brake of his gas van was frozen and damaged near Brest-Litowsk (interrogation of Wendl of 12 February 1969 YVA TR.10/1118, vol. 1, p. 40ff.). This was a typical defect of the Saurer gas vans as confirmed in the letter from August Becker to Walther Rauff of 16 May 1942 (see also Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans: The Becker Letter). The damage of the vehicles is consistent to the Einsatzgruppe B report, which noted that both gas vans had to undergo repairs upon their arrival in Smolensk.

Haßler, the co-driver of the Saurer assigned to Einsatzkommando 9 (Saurer Pol 71457), recollected the trip as following:
"It was in January or February 1942 that I received marching orders to Berlin...We were four drivers, who received marching orders to Smolensk. Two closed trucks of the make Saurer were given to us. Each vehicle was provided with a driver and co-driver...We drove with the two trucks from Berlin to Smolensk. As far as I remember, we went via Posen, Warsaw, Minsk, Orscha to Smolensk....At the beginning, I did not know it was a gas van. I only learnt this on the trip from Berlin to Smolensk from the drivers...I know that that one of Saurer vehicles came to EK9 and the other to EK8."
(interrogation of Haßler of 26 September 1966, BArch, B162/18154, p. 56f.; Haßler recognised Heinz Schlechte as the driver of his gas van when photographs were shown to him; this is contradicted by his earlier testimony that the driver's name was Heinrich Miller; the first name Heinrich is also confirmed by Wendl)

It is noteworthy that the activity and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B of 1 March 1942 confirming the testimonies was not known and available to West-German investigators, who interrogated the drivers of the gas vans. The report is never mentioned or hinted to in the files nor is it included in the collection of activity and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B obtained by the West-German from the Soviets (see BArch B 162/21579). In fact, the report was only supplied to East-German investigators, presumably after March 1969, to assist in their case against the former Einsatzkommando 8 member Georg Frentzel (see also Grundmann, Georg Frentzel, p. 50). The report became available in the West by the opening of Russian and East-German archives after the breakdown of the Soviet Union.

Wendl drove the gas van with the license plate Pol 71462 for Einsatzkommando 8 until September 1943. He was  temporarily replaced by Heinz Schlechte during his holidays in Summer 1942. The gas van was employed for the killing of Jews in Baranovice/Minsk and the clearing of the Security Service prison in Mogilev (on the former, interrogation of Wendl of 10 March 1964, YVA TR.10/1118, vol. 1, p. 11f.; on the latter, examination of Walter Fi. of 30 September 1968, YVA TR.10/1118/7b, p. 402 ff; examination of Hans Br. of October 1968, YVA TR.10/1118/7a, p. 87 ff; interrogation of Willy Kr. of 16 August 1962, BArch B 162/3298, p. 290;  interrogation of Otto Bu. of  15 June 1962, BArch B 162/3298, p. 222; interrogation of Karl Kä. of 30 August 1960, BArch B 162/3297, p. 45; examination of Karl Str. of October 1968, YVA TR.10/118/7a, p. 149f.; interrogation of Hans Ha. of 10 January 1963, YVA TR.10/1118/5, p. 271; examination of Adolf Pr. of October 1968, YVA TR.10/1118/7b, p. 249; interrogation of Hermann Bo. of 8 May 1968, BArch B 162/17033, p. 3 ff.; examination of Günther St. of 17 September 1968; YVA TR.10/1118/7b, p. 286).

In September 1944, the gas van was stationed with the so called Sonderkommando Ruryk from Lithuania in Maczki, about 30 km north of Auschwitz concentration camp, according to Auschwitz resistance reports. It was driven by some Oberwachmeister Arndt and was employed to execute convicts of the Kattowitz drum head court-martial (secret message of September 1944, reproduced in How the convergence of evidence works: the gas van of Auschwitz; secret message of 21 September 1944, Nathan Blumental, Dokumenty i Materialy, vol. 1, p. 121). According to Sergey's most recent finding the gas van was brought to the so called Praga-Halle of the Auschwitz motor pool for maintenance (see More evidence converges on the homicidal Auschwitz gas van).


Revisionist Arguments

Carlo Mattogno first commented on the document in his Chelmno book (cited via Christian Gerlach's Failure of Plans for an SS Extermination Camp in Mogilëv, Belorussia)  and elaborated his argument in Schiffbruch (English: Inside the Gas Chambers), to which Mattogno also refers in Christian Gerlach and the "Extermination Camp" at Mogilev and  The "Extermination Camps" of "Aktion Reinhardt".

Inside the Gas Chambers is Mattogno's response to Neue Studien zu nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas (book presentation and review in German), which also featured Sergey's finding that the Saurer gas van of Einsatzkommando 8 operated near Auschwitz in 1944. Notice this pointless and bizarre review of Mattogno's book by some denier Ezra MacVie, who did not even read the study being attacked ("I have not perused the work...that our maestro demolishes in Inside the Gas Chambers"). Let's see how "our maestro" performed here:
"This document proves in no way that the 'Einsatzgruppen' employed 'gas vans' for homicidal purposes. In fact, all Saurer trucks had diesel engines, the exhaust gases of which were totally unsuitable for murder, a fact now even acknowledged by orthodox historians, as we have seen earlier."
(Mattogno, Inside the Gas Chambers, p. 113)

The Saurer = Diesel canard has been exhaustively refuted in Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans. Part I: Why the Diesel Issue is Still Irrelevant (update). Quite on the contrary, many Saurer trucks were equipped with gasoline engines, which were totally suitable for murder.

"The word 'Gaswagen,' in the sense of 'mobile homicidal gas chamber' was coined only after the Second World War by the victorious powers.
(Mattogno, Inside the Gas Chambers, p. 113)

The assertion is utterly refuted by the evidence. The contemporary use of the term Gaswagen (or its abbreviation G-Wagen) is shown by abundant testimonial evidence. Some are compiled in the following:



Mattogno's predictable response to such damning evidence will be as usual that "a simple testimony...has no value at all" (e.g. as in The "Extermination Camps" of "Aktion Reinhardt", p. 263). His straight rejection of any testimonial evidence is defying any historiographical practice and common sense. It's a simple treatment like that of Mattogno categorically rejecting a whole class of evidence without any comprehensible and founded justification whatsoever, which has no value at all.

Mattogno is also wrong that the term homicidal Gaswagen "does not appear in any other wartime document and which began to circulate as a designation for homicidal vehicles using exhaust gases only after the war" (Chelmno, p. 16).

Figure 5.
In February 1944, a member of the German Security Service wrote a report for the Swiss intelligence, which includes a section on the Einsatzgruppen killings in the East and a description of the homicidal gas vans (Schweizerisches Bundesarchiv, E27#1000/721#9928-6*, p. 60, Figure 5, cf. Haas, Wenn man gewusst hätte, was sich drüben im Reich abspielt, p. 164; Gerlach, The Extermination of the European Jews, p. 83; Huonker, Roma Sinti Jenische, p. 136, who assigns the report to Paul Dickopf).

The (hearsay) description captured the layout and operation of the gas vans well, except for its mention of a "tipping device" (although such was indeed considered and requested - see memo of 27 April 1942 on a "fast unloading device for the special vehicles", which explains why it was referred to here; the report has also exaggerated the gas van capacities by at least a factor of two). The insider of the German of the Security Service termed the gas vans as "Nebe'sche Gaswagen". Nebe played indeed a major role in the developement of the gas vans via his gassing experiment in Mogilev and Minsk and the involvement of the Criminal Technical Institute (see previous part).

In short, the term Gaswagen was clearly used by the Germans during the war to describe their mobile gas chambers. Mattogno's assertion that the term was coined after the war by the Allies is merely derived from his faith that there had been no Germans homicidal gas vans, so that the term Gaswagen in a homicidal sense had to be necessarily coined by "victorious powers". Of course, since both Mattogno and his Holocaust denier buddy Alvarez have utterly failed to explain and rebut the overwhelming evidence on German homicidal gas vans, including contemporary German documents, the claim is historically unfounded.

"Earlier, a 'Gaswagen' had simply been an abbreviation for 'Holzgaswagen' (a vehicle using gas from the gasification of wood)"
 (Mattogno, Inside the Gas Chambers, p. 113).

Actually, the term Gaswagen used to have several meanings:
  • abbreviation for Holzgaswagen (producer gas vehicle); note that Mattogno did not do his homework to provide even a single example for such, so let's do the job for him:
    "Wenn der Gaswagen mit dem Dieselwagen konkurrieren will, darf der Holzpreis nicht über 2,5 Pf. je 1 kg liegen."
    (Brennstoff-Chemie: Zeitschrift für Chemie und chemische Technologie der Brenstoffe und ihrer Veredlungsprodukte, Band 14, 1933, p. 315)

  • abbreviation for Gastransportwagen (vehicle for transporting gas), e.g.
    "Um die Kosten für die Rohrleitungen zu sparen, wurde den Abnehmern Flaschengas geliefert ('Portativ-Gas'); Frankfurter Gaswagen fuhren bis nach Wiesbaden."
    Technikgeschichte: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik und Industrie, Band 25, 1936, p. 152

  • homicidal gas van, see above.

  • antiquated: any vehicle with an internal combustion engine (Küster, Personen- und Lasten-Dampfwagen, 1908, p. 36)

The interpretation of the Gaswagen in the Einsatzgruppe B report as producer gas vehicle can be ruled out on several grounds.

First of all, there is no evidence that Einsatzgruppe B used any producer gas vehicles in 1942. There is no Holzgaswagen reference among the contemporary German documents as well numerous testimonies of group members and related witnesses in the files (BArch B162/4338 - 4340, 2265, 3339, 3608-3610, 30896, 3275, 3297, 26742, 2264, 3314, 3315, 3298, 1817), including that highly relevant ones of the motor pool heads Johannes Mö. (Einsatzgruppe B staff), Heinrich Mü. (Sonderkommando 7b), Hermann Bo. (Einsatzkommano 8) and  Ernst El. (police battalion attached to Einsatzkommando 8).

Secondly, there is no reason why the Einsatzgruppen should have employed inferior performing producer gas vehicles in 1942 at all. According to Eckermann, Fahren mit Holz, p. 126, the conversion to producer gas meant "reduced perfomance, poorer effeciency, cumbersome handling, higher maintenance and new supply provisions". The decree of Reich Minister for Weapons, Munitions, and Armaments Albert Speer on the conversion of trucks on non-liquid fuels of 24 September 1942 excluded the fire fighters and authorities receiving special contigents of fuel, and so were therefore also certainly the police forces (Kroll, Der Gasgenerator, 1943, p. 131).

The Einsatzgruppe B received their gasoline largely from the army and even had their own tank trucks to supply its commandos. In January 1943, the group complained they received "only amounts of 200-400 Liters" of gasoline since several tank wagons failed to appear (operation and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B on the period 16 to 31 January 1943, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion II, p. 508). The report did not mention any producer gas vehicles to be used instead but remarked that "the use of vehicles is only possible in the most urgent cases". In the report for March 1943, the group discussed the supply and reserve of gasoline/Diesel, but did not mention any producer gas vehicles or its fuel supply either (operation and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B on the period 1 to 31 March 1943, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion II, p. 553). This also supports that there had been no producer gas vehicles in the group.

Thirdly, the Einsatzgruppen report does not break down the vehicles into their type of fuel used but into the type of vehicles. Any supposed producer gas trucks were likely to be listed in the category LKWs (trucks) instead of making up a new category, see breakdown for Einsatzkommando 8:
"35 cars, 3 trucks, 1 ambulance, 1 gas van"
(activity and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B of 1 March 1942, Deutsche Besatzungsherrschaft in der UdSSR 1941-1945. Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen II, p. 294)

This was also realized by Alvarez, who refuted his denier colleague on this point:
"It is possible that these trucks were equipped with wood gas generators. However, in this case the term “gas van” is unlikely to refer to them potentially having such a gas generator, as the report appears to list the vehicles not by fuel source but rather by general vehicle type."
(Alvarez, The Gas Vans, p. 93)

Mattogno entirely ignored this critique despite that Alvarez' book is cited on the very same page in Inside the Gas Chambers and in the same paragraph in his Inconvenient History article!

Fourthly, the gas vans were obviously performing some special task. The report mentions that the smaller gas vans were carrying out an "operation at EK 8" and then were supposed to be equally distributed among the commandos (in contrast to this, it would have made more sense to cluster producer gas vehicles within one motor pool to concentrate maintenance and fuel supply).

Since the term Gaswagen was a functional description of their purpose, these vehicles were meant to apply or transport some sort of gas. Since the main task of the Einsatzgruppen was to liquidate people as shown out in the first part of this post, it is most reasonable to conclude that these vehicles were used to kill people with poison gas, as is also corroborated by numerous testimonial evidence.

Another piece of evidence supporting the homicidal nature of the Saurer Gaswagen can be found in the set of telexes in Nuremberg evidence PS-501 (see Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans: The Schäfer, Trühe & Rauff Telexes). According to the documents, a "special vehicle Saurer" with the license plate Pol 71463 was supposed to be sent to Minsk with "exhaust hoses" to carry out the "special treatment" of Jews. The license plate was registered right after the "Gaswagen...Saurer Pol 71462" of Einsatzkommando 8 and close to the "Gaswagen...Saurer Pol 71457" of Einsatzkommando 9 suggesting that there had been a batch registration of Saurer gas vans. Indeed, there was a whole series of Saurer gas vans is also confirmed by other RSHA correspondence according to which 20 "special vehicle bodies" for Saurer chassis had been constructed. The "special vehicles", whose "empty space also needs to be filled with CO" and which were to be equipped with a "fast unloading device", could be replaced by the use of "steel bottles with carbon monoxide or respectively other remedies" (memo of 23 June 1942; memo from Just of 5 June 1942; letter from Rauff to the Gaubschat company of 30 April 1942; letter from Rauff to the Criminal Technical Institute of 26 March 1942). The contemporary German documents mutually corroborate that they are talking about homicidal gas vans.

Mattogno also asserts that "in all likelihood" the Gaswagen POL 71462, which turned up near Auschwitz in 1944, is actually identical to a producer gas vehicle used by the central construction office Auschwitz at least since September 1942 (Mattogno, Inside the Gas Chambers, p. 113f.). Only Mattogno knows where this "likelihood" comes from; certainly not from the facts. Quite the opposite, it is completely unlikely that a vehicle just assigned to Einsatzkommando 8 in Mogilev on 23 February 1942 would pop up four months later 1000 km westwards at some entirely different authority not even part of the RHSA, the central construction office Auschwitz motor pool. There is no evidence connecting the producer gas vehicle by the central construction office Auschwitz in 1942 to Einsatzgruppe B's former gas van, which was only spotted in Auschwitz in 1944 anyway. In fact, according to the driver Josef Wendl and his motor pool head Hermann Bo., the vehicle stayed in Mogilev until mid 1943.

This blunder gets right away accompanied by an internal contradiction in the same book, even on the very same page. Mattogno cites an Auschwitz document of 6 September 1944, according to which a producer gas truck was supplied to the central construction office, and claims that this was the Saurer Gaswagen from Einsatzkommando 8. In The "Extermination Camps" of "Aktion Reinhardt", p. 263, he explains that this is to be understood as that "the Saurer truck with the number plate POL 71462...was later sent to Auschwitz at the beginning of September 1944". So which one is it? Either the Gaswagen operated in Auschwitz in September 1942 or was it sent to Auschwitz "at the beginning of September 1944". Mattogno does not seem to mind throwing around two contradictionary theories both not backed up by any evidence. As said, there is absolutely nothing that links the Saurer Gaswagen Pol 71462 to the producer gas vehicle in the motor pool of the central construction office Auschwitz.

The gas van was assigned to the so called Sonderkommando/Einsatzkommando Ruryk in Lithuania, which was stationed  "on the sandy soil near Maczki" after its retreat from the East (resistance report of 21 September 1944, from Nathan Blumental, Dokumenty i Materialy 1, 1946, p. 121, cf. Filip Friedman, To jest Oswieciem!, 1945, p. 70 f.). The vehicle was used "to execute civilians convicted by the so-called Polizei-Sondergericht", the drumhead court-martial of the Gestapo Kattowitz (How the convergence of evidence works: the gas van of Auschwitz). Mattogno thinks "it would have spoken volumes about the local SS men’s intelligence, had they added such a vehicle to the many killing methods allegedly already practiced in that 'extermination camp'" (Inside the Gas Chambers, p. 115). However, already in 1945 Filip Friedman (cited above) provided a plausible explanation for the use of the gas van, which was available anyway: the Germans considered it more suitable for killing small groups of a dozen to 30 people without attracting anyone's attention. It says volumes about Mattogno's intelligence that he could not figure this out for himself.

Figure 6.
The nature of the Gaswagen as producer gas vehicle can be also ruled out on another ground. As Mattogno himself points out, "the structure of a generator vehicle differed greatly from an ordinary truck" (see also Figure 6, from Eckermann, Fahren mit Holz, p. 182). Yet, precisely the highly visible producer gas generator mounted behind the driver's cabin on such vehicles is completely absent from the resistance reports and witness accounts (1 2). Already for this reason the Gaswagen Pol 71462 was clearly not a producer gas truck.

 Conclusion

The Einsatzgruppen were mobile killing units mostly engaged in decimating and eliminating the Jewish population in 1941/1942. According to a contemporary German document, Einsatzgruppe B operated four "Gaswagen" (gas vans) since March 1942 to perform their tasks. The license plates and make of the two larger "Saurer Gaswagen" fit to that of another "Saurer special vehicle", which had carried out the "special treatment" of people using "exhaust hoses" in Serbia according to another, independent set of documents. The dispatch and operation of homicidal gas vans among Einsatzgruppe B is independently corroborated by numerous testimonial evidence. Furthermore, one of the Saurer gas vans was independently identified as gas van in September 1944 near Auschwitz.

Mattogno's arguments that the Gaswagen could not have been homicidal gas vans because Saurer - making up two of the four vehicles - were always Diesel and because the term Gaswagen as homicidal gas van was coined only after the war are both demonstrable false. His own explanation that the Gaswagen were producer gas trucks is implausible and not supported by any evidence.

32 comments:

Sergey Romanov said...

> However, it stands to reason that Nebe's killings in the Minsk and Mogilev asylums in September 1941 were also related to the development of the gas vans operating with engine exhaust, because

In this respect it should be noted that in the '45 testimony von Amburger makes the direct connection between Mogilev and the development of the gas vans.

Hans said...

Yes, added von Amburger's testimony.

Gilles Karmasyn said...

Congrats, and thanks, for this extremely well researched (and clear) piece.

Reactionary said...

Hello,

Is it not time for a in real life debate like this today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4l8ZUVVB4z8


Why not organize a conference in present times like this and debate? Holocaust Controversies vs Mattogno/Graf and others?

If not, why not?

Nicholas Terry said...

@Reactionary: while you may think a real-time debate might 'resolve' the issue, nobody else does.

The revisionists would prefer to debate the big name historians if they could, but they will never get that chance, because academia does not believe they have deserved the opportunity. So from the revisionist perspective, debating lowly amateur bloggers is not worth it, especially if there is a danger of being shown up.

This is quite aside from the technical issues. There's no evidence that Mattogno speaks English fluently enough to think on his feet, and he has not given a talk in over 20 years as far as I am aware (maybe he does quietly in Italy, but I've never heard about one).

From our perspective, we prefer to continue, at our leisure, with the written criticisms that appear on this blog, and there are many more still to present. We also prefer to do actual research, as can be seen in Hans's blog article above.

The deniers clearly haven't researched the subject deeply enough, and it's entirely up to them to do that job, if they want to participate in a serious discussion. It doesn't matter whether they are arguing against us or against mainstream historians - if they haven't seen the files Hans cites, they can't talk about them knowledgeably. And nobody is going to do their homework for them, however much they might whine.

Bottom line: historical research is not football and is not arranged as a series of debate matches. So please stop acting as if that is the case.

Gilles Karmasyn said...

@Nicholas : funny you should state that (indeed) « historical research is not football », some anonymous french denier blogger has recently multiplied the football metaphor to wine about the lack of « debate » (in real time)... I would add that, imho, debating deniers is a futile and useless nearly impossible task: they add three lies when you have not finished refuting one (which takes ten times the length it took the denier to utter his first lie). Doing research and *refuting* them is more interesting and more efficient. Moreover one should refrain from legitimizing deniers by « debating » them (hi Deborah!).

Sergey Romanov said...

Oral debate is not how scholarship progresses. It's all about show and gotcha. That's why for example creationists like to debate scientists: it's almost always a win for the creationists regardless of the fact that they are dead wrong.

We are open to *written debate* proposals from the gurus though.

Nicholas Terry said...

Gilles,

do you have a link to the French denier whining?

Nicholas Terry said...

A blatant diversion attempt by BRoI to minutiae about the Mogilev gassing not mentioned in the blog post above was given the boot.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

"Why not organize a conference in present times like this and debate? Holocaust Controversies vs Mattogno/Graf and others?

If not, why not?"


Due to denial laws in Europe, such a conference could only take place in the U.S., or Iran, or some non-servile banana republic; the Federated States of Micronesia is an obvious no-no.

Even though we have no denial laws in Britain, on 15 November 1991 Fred Leuchter was taken into custody by the police at Chelsea Town Hall [London] when he was about to give a speech at a revisionist meeting. He was deported after being locked in a cell for several hours. British police also arrested Fredrick Toben under a European arrest warrant in 2008. But unfortunately for his pursuers, a British judge refused to have him extradited to Germany.

Even if the theoretical conference did take place in a country where the authorities would allowed it, the revisionists would still have violent "protesters" to content with.

It's a shame, it would be amusing to watch NT "think on his feet" when quizzed by M&G about what some Polish text says.



Nicholas Terry said...

BRoI: "It's a shame, it would be amusing to watch NT "think on his feet" when quizzed by M&G about what some Polish text says."

As opposed to M&G being asked about documents in files they haven't read? Or all kinds of other 'gotchas' that could be fired back at them? Congratulations for illustrating why a live debate format doesn't work with a subject as complex as this one.

The Shermer-Weber debate took a conventional debate format, with two speakers giving 30 minute presentations followed by 20 minute rebuttals. Hmm, so each side gets half an hour to, theoretically, summarise their respective literatures and cover the evidence. A moderate speaking pace would cover about 2500-3000 words at most in half an hour.

It'd be fun to see Mattogno writing even 3000 words before introducing a block quote, I'll grant you that much. I'm not sure if he's ever written anything that long without launching into a block quote, table of statistics or some other interruption to the flow of what would be a conventional undergraduate essay.

J Kelly said...

"Even though we have no denial laws in Britain, on 15 November 1991 Fred Leuchter was taken into custody by the police at Chelsea Town Hall [London] when he was about to give a speech at a revisionist meeting. He was deported after being locked in a cell for several hours."

The British Goverment told Leuchter not to enter their country otherwise they would do exactly what they did....arrest and deport him. So, Leuchter flew to Britain anyway and the British arrested and deported him.
Like they said they would.
You can also blame David Irving for this. Apparently he made a huge deal about Leuchter being there, this is how the British authorities found out.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

NT >>> As opposed to M&G being asked about documents in files they haven't read?

At least they don't pretend to have read documents in files they evidently haven't.


NT >>> It'd be fun to see Mattogno writing even 3000 words before introducing a block quote, I'll grant you that much. I'm not sure if he's ever written anything that long without launching into a block quote, table of statistics or some other interruption to the flow of what would be a conventional undergraduate essay.

It's his blockquotes that make his books a must have for all those truly interested in the Holocaust; those and the facsimiles of documents. Why else would the USHMM library and the Wiener Library keep have so many of his books? Certainly not for his take on things. Even Hans and RM have admitted to me in the past that his books are useful for the documents and translations of them.

HC could do with more blockquotes, particularly from >>removed on threat of post deletion<<


_________________________________


JK >>> The British Goverment told Leuchter not to enter their country otherwise they would do exactly what they did....arrest and deport him. So, Leuchter flew to Britain anyway and the British arrested and deported him.

Well, they told his dad *he* was banned from the UK:

In the spring of 1991, David Irving asked me if I would consider a speaking engagement in England later that year. I said that I would, and I was advised in mid-summer that this would take place during the second week of November.

Irving apparently announced the speech sometime later. This apparently enraged Jewish groups in London which protested to UK Home Secretary Mr. Kenneth Baker in an effort to prevent me from travelling to London. This is a clear infringement of the rights of British people to hear me speak. This certainly also curtails my right to travel to England as any other American citizen.

As a result of pressure by these Jewish groups, Mr. Baker apparently promised to take action. The Jewish Chronicle, a London weekly paper, reported in its issue of October 4, 1991, that Home Secretary Baker had banned my travel to the United Kingdom. This was the only mention of the ban in the British media, and was not a particularly reliable source.

A week or so later, my father, Fred A. Leuchter, Sr., received a letter, ostensibly from the Immigration and Naturalization Department of Her Majesty's government, informing him that, by direction of the Home Secretary, he was not permitted to travel to the United Kingdom. My father communicated this letter to me.

Because my father had no such travel plans, my first assumption was that this letter was meant for me. However, a closer reading of it suggested that it might be a fraud. The signatory, Mr. "G.P.J. Catt," had no title, and part of the date was written by hand. Certainly, the Home Secretary and Her Majesty's Immigration Office would not be so sloppy and unbusinesslike as to send off an amateurishly prepared letter to the wrong person. My address is publicly known, and is easy to ascertain.

I turned the questionable document over to my attorney, Kirk Lyons, to authenticate. He, in turn, formally protested the letter to the UK Consulates in both Houston and Boston. In each case, the Consulate advised him that his protest was unfounded because there was no ban on travel to the UK by me (or my father, for that matter). He was informed that the letter must be fraudulent, and that it did not prohibit my travel to Britain in any way. Lyons was also informed that all Home Office documents must contain a reference number, which this did not. Based on all this, I confirmed my travel plans to London.

http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v12/v12p429_leuchter.html

So this farce make what they did to him okay in your eyes then?

Jeff said...

Leuchter was a fraud and had a criminal conviction IIRC for fraud. He had also recently been involved in a public spectacle where he explicitly gave support to a Neo-Nazi with a long record of hate speech. It is not out of the ordinary for someone with criminal convictions or a record of ties to hate speech to be banned from certain countries. It happens in Canada all the time.

Reactionary said...

Jeff, and you support that? "hate speech" could be anything, for example mild criticism of immigration policy, recognizing the existence of races among mankind, referring to the research showing that there are racial differences, referring to research showing that some racial groups are over-represented in a particular crime category etc., it does not necessarily at all mean that someone expresses hatred or threats against any particular racial group. Such laws usually break against the right of freedom of speech and other fundamental freedoms of Western laws and so on.

That law is often misused to bust people whose opinions is not liked by the system, which goes against the its ideology, and is disguise that it "protects minority groups" and similar bullshit.

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

"NT >>> As opposed to M&G being asked about documents in files they haven't read?

At least they don't pretend to have read documents in files they evidently haven't."

Yes, they do. In TECOAR they allegedly cite Albert Widmann from a ZStL file (previously also in Mattogno's Chelmno):

"ZStL 202 AR-Z 152/59, vol.1, p. 45."

They cite nothing else from this file, although it contains way more material on the killing experiments (incl. von Armbruster and Bauer; it is now filed as BArch B162/4338). Strange, no? They also cited an interrogation of Kallmeyer (and nothing else from this file):

"ZStL 439 AR-Z 340/59 Ord. Euthanasie"

And guess what, precisely these two interrogations (and nothing else from the corresponding files) are reproduced in Archives of the Holocaust, volume 22, which Kues obtained in 2008 and e-mailed other Revisionists what he should scan from there.

Whoops.

Nicholas Terry said...

BRoI: "It's his blockquotes that make his books a must have for all those truly interested in the Holocaust; those and the facsimiles of documents. Why else would the USHMM library and the Wiener Library keep have so many of his books? Certainly not for his take on things."

LOL. USHMM actually only stocks hard-to-find (i.e.: undigitised) Italian editions of Mattogno's shorter polemics with just a few of the books on camps - to emphasise, in Italian. The Wiener doesn't have any titles after 2004, and then only six of them plus two articles in a journal, both libraries have other denier books but neither has a comprehensive collection.

Documents are usually transcribed/translated or facsimiled in separate document editions or in appendices, they're not plonked in the middle of a text with minimal commentary. Mattogno's block quote problem also extends to repeating large chunks of secondary literature.

Take a look at history books in general: they do not do this to anything like the same extent, no matter what the subject. Transcribed/translated/facsimile sources go into separate editions or sometimes documentary articles, with an introduction followed by the document, with critical annotations in footnotes/endnotes.

Bottom line: Mattogno might have had more of an impact if he wrote conventional books and then presented separate document editions. Might.

"Even Hans and RM have admitted to me in the past that his books are useful for the documents and translations of them."

And yet Hans, Roberto, Sergey, myself and others *also* criticise Mattogno repeatedly for omitting any mention of literally hundreds of sources.

"HC could do with more blockquotes, particularly from >>removed on threat of post deletion<<"

Ask your question to Hans on a Mogilev series post comments thread. You asked about something that was not mentioned in the essay above, because the post is about a different subject; getting to the Einsatzgruppe B Gaswagen document requires mentioning the Mogilev gassing, sure, but that in no way means that Hans was 'hiding' anything by not digressing into a point of detail.

You have this bizarre expectation that Hans will remember your every whim and slavishly transcribe sources for you: grow up.

Roberto Muehlenkamp said...

"Even Hans and RM have admitted to me in the past that his books are useful for the documents and translations of them."

I wrote that, but I didn't thereby "admit" anything. I was rather pointing out that, as a collection of sources belying "Revisionist" beliefs that are very poorly dealt with in the considerations in between, Mattogno's works are counterproductive from a "Revisionist" point of view.

Jeff said...

"Even Hans and RM have admitted to me in the past that his books are useful for the documents and translations of them."

I cannot speak for others, but I personally think that Mattogno's constant mistranslation, misinterpretation, and distortion of sources leaves any observer with no choice but to assume that anything he quotes is inaccurate/made up until proven otherwise. One cannot go by anything he writes unless it is matched up by the primary documents, and if some of the more recent HC treatments of his screed is any indication that rarely is the case, if at all.

J Kelly said...

@BROI:
"So this farce make what they did to him okay in your eyes then?"

Don't spin this back on me, wabbit. I'm a free speech advocate (as I've stated here, at the Skeptics Forum and FG's blog). I couldn't care less if Leuchter flew to London to address a room full Neo-Nazi skinheads, Nazi apologists and Holocaust deniers. But, Britain (and the US, Germany, whoever) has the right to deny entry to whoever they wish. I have no reason to trust your account of what happened.

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...

Hans >>> [...] Whoops.

Clearly you've different standards when it comes to evidencing false citations from CM and those by your colleagues in their WP.

But, sure, he should've cited AotH:22 [he cites the Widmann interrogation in ItGC as well]. Although you're not contesting they have actually seen copies of the interrogation records of Widmann 11 January 1960 and Kallmeyer 20 July 1961, just that they've not seen the originals. And it's not like CM passed off a dishonest paraphrasing by David Bankier as being a quote from an original document, à la Dr. Nicholas Terry.

_____________________


NT >>> LOL. USHMM actually only stocks hard-to-find (i.e.: undigitised) Italian editions of Mattogno's shorter polemics with just a few of the books on camps - to emphasise, in Italian.

Did you "LOL" before or after you googled to find out that I was right?

Seventeen of Mattongo's works can been found in the USHMM collection:
http://collections.ushmm.org/search/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=mattogno&search_field=all_fields

Eight in the Wiener Library's:
http://wiener.soutron.net/Portal/Default/en-GB/Results/AdvancedSearchResults?searchResultId=1174899


NT >>> You have this bizarre expectation that Hans will remember your every whim and slavishly transcribe sources for you: grow up.

I really don't. Hans was happy to swerve addressing my post about the Widmann trial judgment; hiding behind abusive shitpostings from Jeffrey and SR in which the latter did a good Hungover impression: victory dancing and spamming links that don't support stated assertions.

_____________________


Jeffrey >>> I personally think that Mattogno's constant mistranslation,

You've spotted these yourself have you?

Excluding this French-to-English one pointed out by JN and this Russian-to-Italian-to-English one pointed out by SR, why don't you list, say, ten, mistranslations by Mattogno or his translators in his enormous back-catalogue.

Should be a doddle for a master linguist such as yourself, especially considering they're "constant".

_____________________

RM >>> I wrote that, but I didn't thereby "admit" anything.

Don't panic; things aren't so bad already that you to worry about *conceding* that his work has value. So, no need to quibble over the meaning of "admit".

Sergey Romanov said...

> It's a shame, it would be amusing to watch NT "think on his feet" when quizzed by M&G about what some Polish text says.

Considering Mattogno's idiotic mistranslations that would be amusing indeed.

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...:

"Clearly you've different standards when it comes to evidencing false citations from CM and those by your colleagues in their WP."

I'm just correcting your statement that MGK "don't pretend to have read documents in files they evidently haven't". Well, which is precisely what they did here. They cited from a Zentralstelle Ludwigsburg file, but had only accessed a book reproducing the interrogations. But frankly, MGK's problem is not so much the false citation, mistakes happen, but the garbage they made with it.

And I have yet to see evidence that the HC Critique cited from files that at least one of the authors has not examined.

Sergey Romanov said...

> It's his blockquotes that make his books a must have for all those truly interested in the Holocaust;

So you've reduced him to a mere, how to put it, collector, basically damning the wannabe great historian with faint praise.

It is true that some of the materials he has published were useful (not necessary, not must-have... useful), but they constitute what, 0.0001% of his oeuvre? Whereas his fraudulent "scholarship", his absurd interpretations, his mistranslations, the things he omits (knowingly or not) make his overall "contribution" a big pile of manure. You may think that owning a big pile of manure is a must if you know there's a pearl there, somewhere, but sane people might just disagree.

Sergey Romanov said...

> Did you "LOL" before or after you googled to find out that I was right?

It's hard to search for "our" topics on USHMM with any regularity and not to stumble upon something by Mattogno a couple of times. So that was a silly question. But then, it's BRoI.

Of course, USHMM also has Fauri, Leuchter et al.

Hans said...

The Black Rabbit of Inlé said...:

"Hans was happy to swerve addressing my post about the Widmann trial judgment; hiding behind abusive shitpostings from Jeffrey and SR in which the latter did a good Hungover impression: victory dancing and spamming links that don't support stated assertions."

Now, that's utter rubbish. I did not have the time yet to look at your comment in detail. You are not setting my priorities.

Sergey Romanov said...

> > And it's not like CM passed off a dishonest paraphrasing by David Bankier as being a quote from an original document, à la Dr. Nicholas Terry.

While it is a case of a flawed citation, it is not a case of plagiarism, contrary to the dolt you link to. The claim was that at least one of the authors has "seen" the document. Since Nick has seen it, the claim is true, albeit in the end he relied on Bankier (who is mentioned). Such minor fuck ups happen when you have to manage as many sources and footnotes as we did.

What is more interesting is that Jansson transformed "at Lemberg" into "in Lemberg". There is, of course, a crucial difference, since the report did not claim that the gas chambers were "in" Lemberg, so the reasonable interpretation is that as far as these particular Germans were concerned, Belzec was "at" (i.e. near) Lemberg.

Sergey Romanov said...

> Excluding this French-to-English one pointed out by JN and this Russian-to-Italian-to-English one pointed out by SR, why don't you list, say, ten, mistranslations by Mattogno or his translators in his enormous back-catalogue.


Yeah, you missed the comical Polish->Italian->English mistranslation in the same article, you have also missed the mistranslations of Prüfer, Tauber, Heepke.

Nicholas Terry said...

BRoI: "Did you "LOL" before or after you googled to find out that I was right?

Seventeen of Mattongo's works can been found in the USHMM collection:
http://collections.ushmm.org/search/?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=mattogno&search_field=all_fields"

After. All 17 titles by Mattogno held at USHMM are in Italian, not a single one in English or German, just as I said.

"Eight in the Wiener Library's:
http://wiener.soutron.net/Portal/Default/en-GB/Results/AdvancedSearchResults?searchResultId=1174899"

And none more recent than 2004, just as I said.

I also checked Kollerstrom - not at USHMM, but the Wiener has a copy, as well as Dalton - USHMM has a copy. Neither bothered to get Victor Thorn's Holocaust Hoax Exposed, but USHMM had an IHR-era edition of Staeglich.

The "LOL" is really based on my experience with librarians, including those at USHMM. Libraries like USHMM and the Wiener will endeavour to stock all titles they think are relevant, both libraries have incomplete collections of revisionist literature while the Wiener has long had a research interest in antisemitism and the far right as well. Librarians order books based on publisher, some might be persuaded by catalogues or pitches, and of course they don't see the contents of the books before they order them.

So, yeah, ROFLMAO.

Jeff said...

@Sergey

"Yeah, you missed the comical Polish->Italian->English mistranslation in the same article, you have also missed the mistranslations of Prüfer, Tauber, Heepke."

Don't forget the Reuter file note and the personal note by Himmler on the transport from Berlin to Riga. They really are constant.

Gilles Karmasyn said...

@Nicolas The french page with comparisons with football: https://gayssoteries.wordpress.com/2016/09/10/5-miilions-de-juifs-assassines-temoignages-devoir-de-memoire-extraits/

Sergey Romanov said...

"What is more interesting is that Jansson transformed "at Lemberg" into "in Lemberg". There is, of course, a crucial difference, since the report did not claim that the gas chambers were "in" Lemberg, so the reasonable interpretation is that as far as these particular Germans were concerned, Belzec was "at" (i.e. near) Lemberg."


Some context to understand why this falsification by Jansson matters:

http://holocaustcontroversies.blogspot.com/2016/01/german-pows-on-homicidal-gassing-in.html

"ROTHKIRCH: All the gassing institutions are in POLAND, near Lvov. I know that there are large gassing centres there but I don't know any more."


Obviously for some Germans Lemberg (Lvov) was the handy name to bring up in relation to the gassings in the region, not being big on geography etc. So when the escapees told about their talks with the Germans who said that there were gas chambers "at Lemberg" it obviously meant in the vicinity, particularly in Belzec. Not "in" Lemberg, as the dishonest Jansson wantes to pretend.