Saturday, September 24, 2016

Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans: The Einsatzgruppe B Activity & Situation Report

Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans
Part IX: The Just Memo

The Einsatzgruppe B report of 1 March 1942 on its gas vans has been already discussed elsewhere, including a rebuttal of denier Mattogno on this source. The following post will look at what his fellow denier Alvarez has written on the subject.

Alvarez' treatment report can be found in The Gas Vans, p. 92ff. As Mattogno, he plays the dovetailed Diesel = Saurer card to discard a homicidal interpretation of Gaswagen. The argument is well known as a complete fraud by now (see Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Vans: Why the Diesel Issue is Still Irrelevant).

He contradicts Mattogno's explanation of the Gaswagen as designation of a truck running on producer gas, because "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". Yet, this does not prevent him to keep it as one of "three options left" to him to explain the document. Mattogno's producer gas hypothesis is thoroughly refuted in Mattogno and the Activity & Situation Report of Einsatzgruppe B on the Gas Vans.

The second explanation for Alvarez is that the Gaswagen were "disinfestation vans". He cites no evidence that such term was ever used for disinfestation vehicles. But more importantly, there is no evidence that any delousing action was carried out among Einsatzgruppe B in 1942. Such activity is not mentioned in Einsatzgruppe B report in question, which also features a section on the health of the group members, where such activity should be expected to get mentioned. It is even contradicted as the report points out that the "state of health can be described as normal". In fact, typhus was only an issue for the group in 1943 (operational and situation report of Einsatzgruppe B of 1 April 1943, Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion II, p. 549). There is further no testimonial evidence for any delousing van among Einsatzgruppe B and no group member tried to explain away homicidal gas vans with actual delousing vans that were around. To the contrary, the Gaswagen have been clearly identified as homicidal gas vans to kill people.

Alvarez' third explanation is - as usual - that the Einsatzgruppe B report is a forgery, because "this document was discovered in the 1990s among the papers of the Staatssicherheit, which was Communist East Germany’s secret service until 1990...[and] isn’t exactly a trustworthy source" but were "infamous for their lies and forgeries". Actually, the document stems from Russian State Military Archive (RGVA, 500-1-770, citation from Angrick et al., Dokumente der Einsatzgruppen in der Sowjetunion II, p. 303) and was only copied to the East Germans in course of their investigations against Einsatzgruppe B member Georg Frentzel in the 70s. As far as I know, there is not a single demonstrated case that a forged document was placed into the German files in the Russian State Military Archive. The document is consistent to other situation and operation reports of the Einsatzgruppen and its content on the Gaswagen is heavily corroborated by independent testimonial evidence (see also Mattogno and the Activity & Situation Report of Einsatzgruppe B on the Gas Vans). The document is furthermore not explicit enough and of too limited scope to even rationalize a motive for a supposed forgery. Therefore, this hypothesis is unfounded and false, too.

What is entirely missing in Alvarez' contextless "analysis" is what the Einsatzgruppen were actually doing, and so what would be most likely the purpose of the Gaswagen. And driving around with inferior performing producer gas cars hoping "that it does not take 15 minutes again" to start-up the vehicle in the morning (Eckermann, Fahren mit Holz, p. 127) and carrying out delousings was none of them. As pointed out here, the main executive task of Einsatzgruppe B in the period in question was the killing of people. Given the expected and documented strain on the execution squads upon shooting innocent men, women and children, it is already the most likely explanation that any Gaswagen (unless proven otherwise) in operation among the Einsatzgruppen would be simply be a homicidal gas van assisting in the killing of people. This is even more so since other explanations such as producer gas or desinfection/desinfestation vehicles can be ruled out based on the absence of any positive evidence.

It is pointless from Alvarez when he writes that "the text does not prove in any manner that this car was used for homicidal purposes". The test does not say the Gaswagen was used for killing people, but seen in the Einsatzgruppen context it is prima facie the most plausible interpretation. It is further proven to be historically correct by taking into account the testimonies of the gas van drivers and other commando members of Einsatzgruppe B, see again Mattogno and the Activity & Situation Report of Einsatzgruppe B on the Gas Vans.
"Here the reader needs to keep in mind that there exist literally thousands of documents by the Einsatzgruppen listing in cruel detail, among other things, when they executed whom and why. But gassings are not mentioned once...."
(Alvarez, The Gas Vans, p. 93)

First of all, only a fraction of the documents produced by the Einsatzgruppen have survived. Alvarez claim that "thousands of documents" are available sounds exaggerated. Secondly, many of the documents are actually from the year 1941 - before the gas vans were even operated by them. Thirdly, the use of gassing was heavily camouflaged in the records. For instance, the clearing of the asylums in Mogilev and Minsk was denoted as "shooting" and "special treatment" respectively in the available Einsatzgruppen records, however it is well known that most of the victims were killed with engine exhaust (see German Footage of a Homicidal Gassing with Engine Exhaust. Part 5: Responsibility (III))  Therefore, it cannot be surprising that there not too many explicit gas vans references in incomplete/concealing records. By the way, aside this Einsatzgruppe B report, there is at least another explicit reference to a "G-Wagen" in the German documents, which will be featured in a forthcoming post.

In conclusion, Alvarez cannot provide any reasonable, evidence-based explanation for the "Gaswagen" among Einsatzgruppe B. He entirely ignored the historical context and evidence supporting a homicidal interpretation. His main reason against homicidal gas vans - that the Saurer trucks were always Diesel - has been proven as categorically false.

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