Friday, September 09, 2016

Mattogno's waffling on the Zigeunerlager gassing

In his article "Gypsy Holocaust? The Gypsies under the National Socialist Regime" Carlo Mattogno tried to respond to our criticisms in the posting "Correction Corner #4: Auschwitz Museum and the number of Gypsy victims". I say "our", because the key argument in the critique belongs to Nick Terry. To recap:

- Danuta Czech based her number of Roma gassed on 2/3.8.44 on the male labor deployment reports, assuming for some reason that they contained the stats both for male and female Roma in the so-called "Gypsy camp" (further: Zigeunerlager).

- After I shared some documents with Auschwitz statistics with Nick, he pointed out that one batch of the documents actually contained the reports on the numbers of Roma females in the Zigeunerlager.

- These documents showed that Czech's number of 2897 Roma gassed in Auschwitz on 2/3.8.44 is based on a fundamental misreading of the documents. Unfortunately, this absolutely incorrect number is still cited by most mainstream sources when talking about this mass gassing.

- In his initial article "The "Gassing" of Gypsies in Auschwitz on August 2, 1944"  Mattogno based his argument against the historicity of the gassing on Czech's data. Refutation of Czech was therefore automatically a refutation of Mattogno.

- In his initial attempt Mattogno badly misread another of Czech's claims and accused her of a basic arithmetic mistake. I have shown that Mattogno's interpretation of Czech's words was mistaken.

- I tentatively concluded that most probably up to 3613 Roma could have been gassed on that night (assuming that yet another of Czech's assumptions was wrong - as it seems to be).

In his new article Mattogno concedes his misreading of Czech:
Since, therefore, Danuta Czech considers the 1,408 transferred Gypsies as forming part of these 1,500 sent to Auschwitz, according to her logic, they should not be subtracted from the 2,898 Gypsies presumed gassed, as I had done in the first draft of this article.69 Apart from this rather unimportant point, this alleged fact in no way influences the structure of my argument.
While it is true that his larger argument was not affected, this incident shows Mattogno's carelessness, possibly caused by a "hostile" reading of Czech. Czech may have been wrong (and I tentatively assume that she was wrong on this issue), but Mattogno added his own mistake on top of hers.

 Anyway, that matter cleared up, what about Mattogno's main argument? Mattogno writes now:
Danuta Czech claimed to have documentarily proven the gassing of 2,897 Gypsy men and women based on the Arbeitseinsatz reports (labor deployment reports) from the male camp at Birkenau; for my part, I have limited myself to showing that her interpretation is documentarily unjustified. The discovery of the Stärkemeldung reports from the female sector of the camp only confirms my refutation.
I'm afraid Mattogno is trying to pull a fast one here. He wants to pretend he was merely refuting Czech's interpretation. However back then he wrote at the end of his original piece, which was called simply "The "Gassing" of Gypsies in Auschwitz on August 2, 1944" and not "Czech's interpretation of ... etc.":
Consequently, we can be certain that the story about the gassing of the gypsy-camp is not grounded in historical fact.
Note that he doesn't say "Czech's interpretation is not grounded in historical fact". Neither does he say "grounded in documentary evidence" (historical facts are not necessary established on the basis of "documentary" evidence in Mattogno's sense). Since there is evidence, even if it may not be documentary, it means that he dismisses the whole "story", and that - merely on the basis of Czech's faulty interpretation. But refuting Czech is just that - it doesn't refute the gassing itself (as has been shown). Therefore Mattogno went outside of what was allowed by evidence. In other words, he was plain wrong and he was shown by us to have been plain wrong.

In this light Mattogno's claim that the "discovery of the Stärkemeldung reports from the female sector of the camp only confirms [his] refutation" is simply laughable bluster. Mattogno tried to show on the basis of Czech's reconstruction that there were simply not enough Roma in the camp to be gassed (otherwise his conclusion is groundless). Czech's reconstruction was shown to be wrong, the pool of the Roma available for gassing at the time was expanded very considerably by the new published Stärkemeldung,  In what way then does the report "confirm" his "refutation"? No, it absolutely debunks it.

Mattogno goes on:
On the other hand, while it is true that I perforce based my findings on the manpower of the male Gypsy camp, I did not neglect the women’s camp at all. In fact, I mentioned the Gypsy women’s transport which departed Birkenau on 1 August 1944 and reached Ravensbrück concentration camp on 3 August. The number of camp inmates is unknown, and it is not even known whether there were other Gypsy transports to other camps. But there is nothing to indicate that all 3,422 of the Gypsy women in the female section of BIIe Camp were not transported to other camps on 31 July 1944. Upon what documentary basis can one assert that all or any of them were gassed?
If one argues that there is documentary evidence for this gassing, one would indeed have to provide it, but not having this evidence doesn't mean that there aren't other kinds of evidence that historians routinely use. Whether or not Mattogno accepts other kinds of evidence rather than documents is neither here, nor there. He does not set the rules of history-writing. The question is rather the reverse: is there any evidence, documentary or otherwise, that the gassing did not take place as described? No, there isn't.

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