Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Rothstein canard

In a vain attempt to find a single Jewish prisoner transited through Belzec, Treblinka, Chelmno or Sobibor to the "Russian East" the Holocaust deniers turned to the electronic Holocaust names databases. In "Gassed at Treblinka and deceased in Minsk" Jean-Marie Boisdefeu claimed to have found one such person:

Thus, 10 convoys finally left Theresienstadt for Treblinka in 1942. In one of them was Siegmund Rothstein from Berlin, whose name is found in the Yad Vashem database.
But still more interesting is the journey taken by this deportee that is described in the database. Rothstein, born in 1867, was 75 years of age when he was deported from Berlin to Theresienstadt in August 1942, which means that he could only be deemed unfit for work and therefore, according to official historiography, had to be sent to the gas chamber; in this case, why was he sent to Theresienstadt? This is one of the many mysteries of the Holocaust religion, but let’s move on. From there, he was deported again to Treblinka on September 26, 1942 (transport Br), where, according to the historians, he was gassed at arrival. The editors of the Czech entry consequently go no further: for them, Rothstein died at Treblinka, too:
However, when the German entry mentions the death of Rothstein, it places it much further east, in Belarus—to be precise, in Minsk!
As already mentioned, S. Rothstein is in fact no special case: many Berliners (in addition to elderly Jews from other parts of Germany) were deported to Theresienstadt and then from there to Treblinka, but for the German authorities none of those unable to work died at Treblinka and all of those who didn’t return died in Minsk or elsewhere.
It is impossible not to see the evidence that those unable to work who were sent to Treblinka weren’t gassed but sent further east to Belarus (where, incidentally, many transports of Jews arrived directly from Germany and Austria, even from Theresienstadt).
(As a side note: the "researcher" Boisdefeau seems to have been unaware of the basic historical facts about Theresienstadt, which was to be used for propaganda purposes, hence old people and children being there.)

Germar Rudolf parroted Boisdefeau's "findings" in the desperate "One Survivor, One Single Survivor! Treblinka Transitees":
How about Jews actually transited to “the East”? Jean-Marie Boisdefeu has documented an interesting case he stumbled over while skimming Vad Vashem’s database of Holocaust victims.[22] This case, too, is based on a memorial book published by government authorities, in this case of Germany. It concerns the Berlin Jew Siegmund Rothstein, born in 1867, who was first deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto for elderly Jews in August 1942. Barely a month later, however, on September 26, he was deported to Treblinka at the age of 75. But that was not his end at all, because the German authorities found life signs of him further east, as they finally determined that Rothstein died in Minsk, the capital city of Belarus, some 240 miles (286 km) east of Treblinka. I doubt 75-year-old Mr. Rothstein jumped off the train prior to arriving at Treblinka and ran all the way to German-occupied Minsk, Hence, he must have traveled there by train. I also doubt that the German authorities reserved a train just for him or put just him on a military train going to Minsk. Rather, he must have made that journey on a deportation train together with hundreds or thousands of fellow deportees from Theresienstadt.
There is of course zero evidence of any transports that went through Treblinka and arrived in Belorussia, or of any camps there for deported Jews unable to work. Had there even been such transports, they would have had a single goal: to bring those Jews to Maly Trostinets for extermination, since by that time the Nazis didn't need Western Jews unable to work in the Russian East (one other obvious fact that shows the whole "resettlement" thesis to be a crude fantasy).

Rothstein's case is no exception. The only thing that Boisdefeau found were two contradictory informational streams that did not even intersect (i.e. the sources that say he went to Minsk don't say he went through Treblinka and vice versa).

Now, any database, especially such a complex one, will contain errors and contradictions. A database is not a primary source in any case, so if Boisdefeau wanted to use Rothstein's case, he would have to do the necessary legwork and get the primary sources to exclude the chance of a typo or a mix-up. Instead he blindly relied on an electronic instrument that is liable to contain mistakes. It might have been a passable "secondary" argument, but it was a purported refutation of the exterminatory role of Treblinka. When one makes such grand claims one should rely on more than some electronic database.

That said, the mistakes in these entries stem not from the database itself but from the underlying sources. Rothstein is identified as transferred from Theresienstadt with the transport Br on 26.09.1942.

According to most up-to-date sources the transport Br with 2004 Jews went to Treblinka. The Yad Vashem database description says:
The transport, designated “Br”, departed from Theresienstadt on September 26, 1942 and was the fourth in a series of eight transports of sick and elderly Jews (“Alterstransporte”). On board were 2,004 inmates of Theresienstadt. It arrived in Treblinka on September 28 or 29. The transport was composed entirely of Jews who had been deported earlier from Germany and Austria, among them 617 deportees from Vienna and 584 from Berlin. Their average age was 72.
But when at the same webpage we look at the sources, we see one of them listed as follows:
List of 2, 004 Jews deported from the Theresienstadt Ghetto to Maly Trostinec camp (to the East) on Transport Br, 26/09/1942
Further internet search shows this at EHRI:
List of 2,004 Jews deported from the Theresienstadt Ghetto to Maly Trostinec camp (to the East) on Transport Br, 26/09/1942 Br Osten 26.IX.42
Identifier O.64.2/WSZ.3/304
In other words in the Hermann Weisz Collection part of the Yad Vashem Archives Theresienstadt Collection the transport Br is mistakenly identified as a transport to the extermination camp Maly Trostinets near Minsk in Belorussia. This shows that at least one secondary source (and actually there were more) mistakenly misidentified the destination of this transport. Hence the contradictory information in the database entries. All the entries relied on secondary sources, like the Bundesarchiv Gedenkbuch and the Yizkor book of the Kitzingen community. These secondary sources in turn used the information from other sources, both primary and secondary, some more reliable, some less. The Yizkor book of the Kitzingen community happened to rely on a secondary source mistakenly claiming that the transport arrived in Maly Trostenets (Minsk).

Note that in these lists of Jews the exact end station was not given, the destination was usually given as "East" ("Osten"). So it's not hard to see why some earlier researcher (like Weisz) could have misidentified destinations of particular transports.

To sum up: the mistake stems from two different interpretations by secondary sources of a single underlying primary document, a transport list with names, which by itself doesn't provide the destination. One of the interpretations is mistaken. They do not "complement" each other.

So the only example the deniers could muster for a person transferred through the Aktion Reinhardt camps and Chelmno "to the Russian East" predictably turned out to be a dud. The attempted amalgamation of various Rothstein entries to form a single one, "proving" he went through Treblinka to Minsk, turned out to be chimeric.

The "resettlement" thesis remains as fantastical as before. No person that is both sane and well-informed will ever accept it.

(Slightly updated on 30.03.2017.)


  1. Boisdefeu died about a decade ago, would suggest the past tense - claimed not claims, seemed not seems. The fact that Rudolf had to rummage around in the scribblings of a dead man to pull this sleight-of-hand doesn't say much that is good about the health of revisionism, intellectually or physically.

  2. I think this is a deliberate failure by Boisdefeu and Rudolf to apply Occam's Razor. If you see two contradictory death places, there's no documentation ever showing transports between them, and the route is nonsensical logistically, the default conclusion is a clerical error not that entire transports have disappeared down some historical hole.

    Rudolf's culpability and mendacity are arguably greater than Boisdefeu's because he seems to be smarter than Boisdefeu, has access to more recent sources (Boisdefeu being long dead) and also cites Karny in his sources, which shows that he could acquire the correct information but chooses not to do so.

  3. The Kitzigen memorial book is a very faulty source - I recived a scan of the relevant pages ion so far as Mr. Rothstien is concerned from YV, and no mention at all is made of his presence at Terezin.

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  5. Some moron at RODOH writes:

    "The obvious alternative interpretation, is that the entries do NOT contradict, but complement."

    However in order to prove the crazy "resettlement" hypothesis they can't assume that these entries complement each other, rather they must *prove* it.

    Since the mistake lies in purely secondary sources, the Occam's razor's application here is clear: the underlying secondary sources contradict each other, not complement each other. The whole is but a simple error.

    The moron then writes something about "documents", apparently not realizing we are talking about *the same and only transport list with names*, which was differently *interpreted* by various secondary sources.


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