Saturday, June 24, 2017

Debunking David Cole's Auschwitz video

Author: Sergey Romanov
The video is available here.

First, a quick historical intro. The video deals with the gas chamber at Auschwitz I, the so-called main camp.

This small makeshift gas chamber was adapted from a morgue in the crematorium I of the main camp in late 1941. The gassings here were occasional, it's unlikely that more than 10000 people were gassed in this chamber in total, the main killings took place in Birkenau since early 1942, first in two peasant houses whose rooms were converted into makeshift gas chambers; then in the 4 big crematoria completed in the early 1943.

Crematorium I was converted into an air-raid shelter by the Nazis in late 1944 (to repeat, the killings at that time took place in Birkenau and in late 1944 were coming to an end anyway). The main modifications were documented by the Nazis themselves, so we know that the morgue/gas chamber was divided into 4 smaller rooms. After the war the authorities tried to reconstruct the original look of the crematorium but botched the job in several ways. The most important mistake was knocking down one wall too many: as they were removing the recently installed air-raid shelter walls of the small inner rooms, they also removed the wall between the morgue and the former washroom (hence the visible toilet drains, which originally were in the washroom).

Given that it was tampered with by the Communists (though not with a provable ill intent), the reconstructed small gas chamber in the main camp is in its current state not a "proof" of the gassings by itself. However the presence of the HCN residue in the original remaining walls of the gas chamber is highly suggestive and certainly corroborates the witness testimonies.

The video deals with misrepresentations of the gas chamber state by some people (incl. tour guides) in the video, but that is frankly irrelevant to the historicity of the Holocaust. We have the original documents and other sources and can examine the evidence for ourselves. Misrepresentations by third parties will always be there about any significant historical event, this does not mean they call these events into doubt. Also, nowadays the Auschwitz Museum is very explicit about the gas chamber having been reconstructed. Representation and misrepresentation of facts by museums is, of course, a fair and important topic to discuss. But not with the dishonest individuals who would spin such a discussion into a denial of history.

The video:

1:35: a claim that the evidence for Auschwitz comes mainly from the Soviet Union as presented at the Nuremberg trial is of course hogwash. There were numerous trials concerning Auschwitz after Nuremberg, including the ones in West Germany and Austria, where there is zero evidence that any coercion was applied.

Numerous incriminating documents do also come from the Soviet archives, and there's nothing wrong with that - e.g. the whole Auschwitz construction office archive used by Pressac is in Moscow and there is zero evidence that it was tampered with by anyone in any way.

For a short and incomplete overview of the evidence see Index of Published Evidence on Mass Extermination in Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau

8:10: Auschwitz theater, swimming pool: see Auschwitz swimming pool, hospital etc.

11:48: Cole deceptively conflates "proofs of the Holocaust" with "proofs of homicidal gas chambers". He then claims that these proofs consist only of witness testimonies and confessions.

However the homicidal gas chambers were but a part of the Holocaust. There's plenty of documents documenting the mass shootings of Jews (including women and children) by the Einsatzgruppen, Ordnungspolizei and others.

Just as a very small sample of the documentation on the shootings:

Evidence on the Babi Yar Massacre 29 & 30 September 1941: Contemporary Sources
The Jaeger report.

And for sure, there's documentary evidence of a Nazi extermination plan:

More Than 100 Nazi Extermination Remarks, 1939-1944

Including this in Hitler's address to the Gau and Reich leaders of 12.12.41:
As concerns the Jewish question, the Führer is determined to make a clean sweep. He had prophesied to the Jews that if they once again brought about a world war they would experience their own extermination. This was not just an empty phrase. The World War is there, the extermination of Jewry must be the necessary consequence. This question must be seen without sentimentality. We are not here in order to have sympathy with the Jews, rather we sympathize with our own German people. If the German people have now once again sacrificed as many as 160,000 dead in the Eastern campaign, then the authors of this bloody conflict must pay with their lives.
And this SS court judgment against Täubner:
The accused shall not be punished because of the actions against the Jews as such. The Jews have to be exterminated and none of the Jews that were killed is any great loss. Although the accused should have recognized that the extermination of the Jews was the duty of Kommandos which were set up especially for this purpose, he should be excused for considering himself to have the authority to take part in the extermination of Jewry himself.
And a judgment by a court-martial against Röttgermann in 1942:
Therefore shootings of Jews, which lately have been a task of SD, are acts of the state [Akte des Staates], ordered for extermination of these enemies in a certain manner [der die Austilgung dieser Feinde in einer bestimmten Art und Weise anordnet] and performed in this manner. In order to implement these measures, which the state deems to be necessary, special organs are used. These organs are subject to strict guidelines.
[...]When weighing any exculpatory circumstances it should be taken into account that liquidation of Jews [die Beseitigung der Juden] should not harm the Germans' authority since for these measures there are guidelines given by the state. This especially pertains to the SD activities, since they implement these measures within these guidelines.
The mobile gas chambers are also well-documented and are not supported merely by witness statements: Contemporary German Documents on Homicidal Gas Vans

And yes, gas chambers of Auschwitz are also supported by the German documents, such as naming the morgue 1 in the underground crematoria a "gassing cellar" ("Vergasungskeller") and a "gas cellar" ("Gaskeller"). This is exactly the morgue the credible witnesses described as a homicidal gas chamber. See: Index of Published Evidence on Mass Extermination in Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau

Mass murder of Jews in Auschwitz can also be proved with documents. See: the Kinna report: “imbeciles, idiots, cripples and sick people have to be removed from the camp within a short time by liquidation to unburden the camp… Poles have to die of a natural death contrary to the measures applied on the Jews”

And this article: "Separate accommodation" in Auschwitz: a code word for extrajudicial executions

This is just a very small sample of the evidence.

So Cole's claim is pure deception.

12:06: see Auschwitz decodes.

14:44: on the aerial photos see:

John Ball's Air Photo Evidence on Auschwitz
The Auschwitz Open Air Incineration Photographs as Evidence for Mass Extermination
Personal Movement in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Compound on 25 August 1944 Aerial Photographs

Cole implicitly lies about the photos not showing "bodies being burned" since they do show open-air cremation in exactly the place which witnesses described as one of the body disposal sites (and yes, we do know those were bodies, and not anything else, due to the other piece of objective evidence: the Sonderkommando photos taken at the same spot, see the 2nd link above).

15:12: Anne Frank not gassed:

See: Small children and people unfit for work in Auschwitz?
Also see: Anne Frank diary.

15:45: Cole claims that "revisonists" don't dispute that it was a real building.

However many did and continue to do so, claiming it was a post-war Soviet fake. If those folks don't dispute the existence of the crematorium, why do they repeat braindead memes like the detached crematorium chimney?

16:35: see the intro about the knocked down walls and the toilet drains.

16:45: he "maintains" that it was once 5 rooms. Obviously it was, during the air-shelter phase. It hadn't been before that. See the intro.

16:55: no blue staining - why should there have been, given that it wasn't a delousing chamber but a homicidal gas chamber with very different concentrations and gassing times? Yet HCN traces were found in the walls.

17:10: see Flimsy gas chamber door with a window?

21:40: see Revision of the Auschwitz plaque.

23:03: Cole outright lies about the Nuremberg tribunal accepting a 4+ million figure. The verdict did not directly accept any number, albeit it quoted Höß' statement about 3 million victims

At this point it should be noted that later Höß denounced his older death toll estimate and revised it down to about 1 million - all on his own, which we know because the official Communist figure was 4 million. We now know the number to be roughly accurate. See Van Pelt's report.

30:10: Cole is clearly ignorant about the pre-late 1944 state of the crematorium. He should know that before that the room is documented to have been a morgue - he should know this because he shows Pressac's book in the video, and it presents the original documents showing this. Yet he still gives an impression that it had always been an air-raid shelter with small rooms (see the links in the intro). Either Cole is being extremely deceptive or extremely ignorant.

30:30: he asks whether there is any evidence of a gas chamber having been there and claims to have seen none, which means that he dismisses all eyewitness statements as a form of evidence, which no historian ever does.

31:00: he asks a question: why were the gassings in the small chamber stopped, especially if Auschwitz was used as an extermination center. The answer is very simple: the mass gassings took place in Birkenau, whereas this makeshift gas chamber was inadequate for this purpose (long-term). The consideration may also have included secrecy concerns (as described in the video), but you couldn't gas more than a few hundred people in the chamber, and you couldn't dispose of their bodies quickly enough (if we are talking about mass exterminations that had been planned, not killings of a few thousand people that took place in the makeshift gas chamber).

34:08: about aerial photos allegedly contradicting the fact that the Nazis camouflaged the gas chambers.

Brian Harmon, See No Evil: John Ball's Blundering Air Photo Analysis
Ball also argues that a thick, dark line that he thinks is a fence around Kremas II and III seems to move over the course of several months in the photos. Available historical evidence suggests that this is no fence at all, and is in fact the security screen discussed in former Auschwitz Commandant Hoess's memoirs, the testimony of Jerzy Bielski, and in Nuremberg document 4463. A ground-level image of the security screen is available. This screen was erected to block any line of sight from the gas chambers to other parts of the camps, lest prisoners discover that people were being led to their death.
The document mentioned by Harmon, NO-4463, says:
On the basis of a directive of the camp commandant SS-Obersturmburführer Höss, the crematoria I and II in the POW camp are to be provided with a green belt as a natural camp border.
34:35: yes, there are appreciable HCN traces on the original gas chamber walls.

On Leuchter see: Leuchter's report.

The comparison between the gas chamber and the delousing chambers is irrelevant given the different gassing times and concentrations involved. As well as the fact that there were very few gassings in the makeshift gas chamber. Add to that that Leuchter also tested the areas with the Prussian Blue discoloration in the delousing chambers, whereas for a proper comparison he should have tested the areas only without the Prussian Blue, as the Polish experts have done. Otherwise it's comparing apples to oranges.

36:50: witness testimonies allegedly telling of repeated homicidal gassings in one day: sure, would have happened sometimes, but not in the main camp gas chamber, where there were only a relatively few gassings. Cole - deceptively or ignorantly - confuses this with the Birkenau gas chambers. More likely deceptively, since at 37:10 he asks Piper about specifically crematorium 3, not 1.

38:15: this is simply not true. The cremation would have been a bottleneck and it would have taken much longer than 30 minutes.

Limited gassing contradicts neither eyewitnesses nor the high death rates. Cole didn't bother to make any calculations to show this.

38:48: about the concept of limited gassings making the German intent "to completely wipe out entire Jewish population" is pure ignorant (or deceptive) hogwash.

The gassing rates would have been limited by the body disposal rates, having nothing to do with the Nazi "intent". Also, the Nazi intent was to wipe out the entire European Jewish population eventually, not immediately.

40:18: pure ignorance or deception, obviously not all Auschwitz inmates were to be killed (not all were Jews), and not all Jews were to be killed immediately (nobody had claimed that, another strawman argument). See: Small children and people unfit for work in Auschwitz?

40:40: nobody claims that the Communists reconstructed the gas chamber accurately. We know for a fact they partially botched the job. See the intro. Their tampering did indeed lead to the unsuitability of the gas chamber as a piece of evidence for the gassings (except for the HCN traces on the original walls, see above). It is likely, for example, that the Communists made more holes in the ceiling than there originally had been (2 or 3). See  On the Number of the Zyklon B Introduction Holes in the Roof of Crematorium I

41:30 The Soviet authorities have certainly not exaggerated the Holocaust deaths (i.e. the numbers of the Jewish victims) since it was the general Soviet policy (with only a few exceptions) to conceal the numbers of Jewish victims (it had to be "peaceful citizens" of whatever country, internationalism and stuff). So, for example, the Soviets never claimed that their 4 million Auschwitz death toll referred to Jews. See Revision of the Auschwitz plaque.

42:20: the actual death records held by the Soviets? Sure, but only of the inmates of the camp, whereas most Auschwitz victims were not its registered inmates, as Cole should well know. Hence no contradiction between any Auschwitz estimates and the Death Books.

42:40: steam chambers, electrocution chambers etc. - apply some common sense, the non-Nazi witnesses knew people were killed but not necessarily exactly how. No Nazi witness has ever testified about steam or electrocution.

Fake, unreliable or mistaken witnesses
The Revisionist Fabrication of the Myth of an Original Treblinka "Steam Narrative"
Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka. Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard. Chapter 1: The Hoax That Dare Not Speak Its Name (2). Wartime Reports.

43:25: there is nothing "discredited" about the Buchenwald shrunken head production. They were produced, it's an objective fact. How do we know it?

Their production as gifts (Geschenkartikel) in the Buchenwald pathology department was not ordered from above and was an own initiative. When the higher-ups learned about this, they ordered the Buchenwald Nazis to stop producing any such items, and here is the stop order.

The "human skin lampshades" were a rumor going around among the inmates. The rumor was largely not true, but it was based on a certain core truth. According the the Buchenwald Museum one such lampshade was produced for the commandant Koch's birthday in 1941. Mass production was, of course, a myth, which proves nothing either way.

43:42: on the "atomic bomb" claims see Deceit & Misrepresentation. The Techniques of Holocaust Denial. Nazi Atomic Bombs

43:43: "Jewish soap" was merely a rumor, not presented by most historians as a proven fact.

43:53: the photo of the Danzig soap is shown. This is deceptive on many levels.

1. Dr. Spanner, who was accused of experimenting with human soap production, admitted that the soap-like fatty byproduct of the maceration of corpses (remember, that was an anatomy institute) did indeed exist:
I repeat my statement given at the police and add: At the Danzig Anatomic Institute soap was manufactured to a limited extent from human fat. This soap was only used for the manufacturing of joint preparations.
2. This soap was never claimed by the Soviets to have been produced from Jewish victims. Cole outright lies about the Soviets having submitted "Jewish" soap. The scholars' opinion on the Jewish soap legend thus has no relevance to the real Danzig soap. That some people, like Wiesenthal (or some survivors) believed in the Jewish soap legend is, again, quite irrelevant to the historicity of the Holocaust.

There are two different soap stories which should not be confused with each other.

48:20: as pointed out above, the mobile gas chambers are extremely well-documented. The Auschwitz gas chambers are also well-documented, though there is no document explicitly saying "this group of people was gassed today", so one has to explain the context of the documents mentioning the gas chambers in the crematoria, and that's where the deniers jump in, offering "alternative explanations" that make no sense (whether those were delousing chambers - despite there having been dedicated delousing chamber facilities, or air-raid shelters, despite no such shelter documented for the period or making any sense in the morgues, with possibly infected corpses).

49:25: Arno Mayer is not an authority or an expert on Auschwitz in any way, shape or form. Also see
Deceit & Misrepresentation. The Techniques of Holocaust Denial. The Mayer Gambit.

50:58: Cole claims that a delousing chamber door was misrepresented by the "Soviets" as a homicidal chamber door and on this basis calls the other door into question.

Here is what Pressac actually wrote:
Gas chamber door produced as evidence of the existence of homicidal gas chambers by the LICRA lawyers during the "Faurisson" trial. Exhibit furnished by the archives of the Warsaw Central Commission for the investigation of Hitlerite crimes in Poland.
So it wasn't the "Soviets" that furnished the photo, and it was LICRA that misrepresented it. There is nothing about the Warsaw Central Commission claims about it being a homicidal gas chamber door in Pressac's text.

Moreover, Cole's argument is invalid for a simple reason: Pressac concluded that the next photo shows a homicidal gas chamber door on the following basis:
These two photographs accompanying the report drawn up by Judge Jan Sohn in volume 11 of the Hoess trial, on the "nature of the devices and installations" showing the exterior (31) and the interior (32) of a gas-tight door found in the Bauhof (place where construction materials for the Auschwitz camp were kept). The heavy hemispherical grid protecting the inside of the peephole makes it reasonable to conclude a homicidal use.
Pressac thus did not rely on the Commission's findings. And Cole did not cite any evidence to put the door's genuineness into doubt (the photo had been taken long before the crematorium was reconstructed anyway). Cole was being deceptive - or extremely obtuse - again.

55:00: Sure, re-examine things. Take into account that in general the Soviets tried to suppress the Jewish nature of the genocide in public, so they could not have been the originators of the "Jewish extermination at Auschwitz" narrative. Also take into account that privately they did know about the Jewish nature of the Auschwitz genocide, see What the Soviets knew about Auschwitz - and when.

Also don't forget that the claims about Auschwitz came from many non-Soviet sources, including the non-Soviet Auschwitz escapees, the Polish resistance, the West German and Austrian trials, and so on. The "Soviets" are thus a red herring. The Soviet interpretations (like the Auschwitz death toll) were never binding for most historians. Same applies to the other camps, because Cole raises the same strawman later.

55:20: Cole mentions other camps, like Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor. Cole has now come to accept the mass gassings of Jews there, see  "Unicornville and the Holocaust Deniers" (A Reply by David Cole):
Korherr’s figure of “evacuees,” of “departed” Jews that are not accounted for in ghettoes, camps, work enterprises, or emigration, might be off by tens of thousands. But with a figure of almost 2.5 million human beings, take away even a few hundred thousand and you still have a massive number of people to be accounted for.
And deniers can’t account for them. They have no alternate theory to debate. I have made this point again and again.
So you know what? I’ll just turn Bradley Smith’s own language around on you guys. Bradley’s demand, repeated endlessly over the decades: “Where’s the budget? Where’s the budget for the Holocaust?”
If you think that the “evacuees” were sent someplace to be resettled, to be kept alive, to be fed, clothed, and housed for three years until the end of the war, where’s the budget for that? “Where’s the budget” is no longer lookin’ like a great talking point, is it, Smith? I mean, if you take nearly 2.5 million people on a one-way trip to being killed, the “budget” won’t necessarily have to be so big. I mean, you won’t have to take into account lodging, food, clothes, medical treatment, etc.
But caring for 2.5 million people for three years? Uh, dudes, there’ll have to be a pretty large fucking budget for that. And whereas it’s plausible to say that the mass murders during the Reinhardt period were paid for “off the books” because it was an operation so secret that Goebbels in his own diary stated that it should not be spoken of in detail, if the “evacuees” were treated with kindness and compassion, why hide that budget?
I guess I’m just sayin’, if you expect to see a “budget” for a secret and short-term murder program, why don’t you expect to see a budget for the long-term care and feeding of almost 2.5 million “evacuated” Jews? It’s insane to expect a budget for one and not the other.
So where’s the budget, man? Think of the shipped to the “relocation town,” or “resettlement village,” or call it what you will (since it’s fictional anyway, I might as well call it “Unicornville”). Clothes, housing, medical supplies, sanitary facilities, running water, etc. Funny, but there are documents concerning the feeding and medical care of concentration camp inmates, and documents concerning the care and feeding of the Hungarian Jews sent to Auschwitz in ’44. But no documents, not one, concerning almost 2.5 million “evacuees” sent to Unicornville in 1942?
Not one? So the Nazis meticulously kept records of food (literally down to calculating calories, and literally down to Himmler suggesting meals for Hungarian Jewish women) and medical care for the camp inmates, but no documents covering the same concerns for Unicornville and its millions of residents?
Where are records of the shipment of supplies to Unicornville? Where are the records of the deployment of guards? Internal memos and coded transmissions about security concerns or black market trading (which we have for the camps, the General Government ghettoes, and the Ostland ghettoes)?
See, wherever Jews were kept alive, the Nazis kept records. Wherever Jews were kept alive, things like food, medicine, guards, security concerns, and black marketeering concerns were recorded. And no single camp would have had the enormous population of Unicornville.
Yet not a single document for Unicornville exists.
Shit, it seems to me there’s not one bit of evidence that Unicornville ever existed. Whereas, as I’ve painstakingly pointed out before, there’s plenty of evidence from contemporaneous documents that death was the ultimate destination of the majority of Reinhardt “evacuees.”
I am no longer going to debate the existence of Unicornville. It’s not up to me to prove it doesn’t exist; it’s up to the deniers to show evidence that it did. And if your point is, “Dave, don’t be silly. There wasn’t one resettlement reservation, there were probably several of them,” then show me proof of at least one Unicornville.
Just one.
He still doubts Auschwitz, but we have already seen that his doubts are not based on any rational arguments. Too bad he doesn't apply the same logic to the hundreds of thousands of Jews deported to Auschwitz and missing ever since.

57:15: Höß has already been dealt with above. Cole asks whether Höß' death sentence was just, considering that the main evidence at the trial was a tortured confession and a reconstructed air-raid shelter. There's a lot of deception packed in this claim.

First of all, Cole "forgets" that the small makeshift gas chamber was but one of the Auschwitz gas chambers. By carefully choosing his words to omit the Birkenau gas chambers he misleadingly leads his mostly unaware audience to believe that this was the only gas chamber in Auschwitz, because otherwise why would it (and not all gas chamber remains taken together) serve an important piece of evidence against Höß?

But of course it wasn't even used as such, the trial was not based on the reconstructed gas chamber at all, but rather on the cumulative evidence of the German documents and eyewitness testimonies.

Just before this fragment Cole spent some time telling about Höß' initial torture by the British (upon capture, in order to reveal his identity). But what does this initial tortured confession have to do with the Polish trial? Cole is basically deceptively implying to the mostly unaware audience that Höß was sentenced by the Polish court based on his British confession, which is of course nonsense since the Poles conducted their own investigations and interrogations of Höß, so the British confession is irrelevant.

In order to make a case, Cole had to mean that the Polish confession was also obtained by torture, but he has no evidence whatsoever for this. Had Höß been tortured by the Poles, he would have confessed to the 4 million number and kept mum about the initial torture by the British - instead he revised his death toll estimate to about 1 million and told about the British torture! Cole also repeats his confusion about the air-raid shelter always having been there, something refuted by Pressac, whose book Cole had read.

58:00: Cole relies on Bacque's ridiculous screed Other Losses to create a false equivalence. The screed has since then been debunked by the actual historians.

Summary: Cole's video is extremely ignorant and deceptive. At most he has exposed that some tour guides used to give inaccurate information about the makeshift gas chamber. Meh. His video does not call any part of the accepted Auschwitz historiography into question.


Dass Prussian said...

It's a pity Cole blocked me on facebook or I could have sent him the link to this excellent debunking ( even if it is a little overdue lol )

Gabi said...

Cole is really still a thing among modern HDs?

Sergey Romanov said...

Twitter HD is stuck in the 1980s-early 1990s.

Gabi said...

May ask politely ask you why ia your nickname "Negroid"?

Nicholas Terry said...

"Negroid" is permanently banned from this blog, so you'd have to ask him elsewhere, Gabi. He could sign up at Skeptics Society Forum or anywhere else that you nominate.

Note that the ban is personal and exclusive to "Negroid" (or any sockpuppets he creates that give off the same whiff of obnoxious tedium) and not a general ban on deniers commenting.