Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Graf's Russian Source, or How to Accumulate an Asylum of Loons

I recently wrote a blog post for our larger Holocaust Handbooks project on Ingrid Weckert's Jewish Emigration From the Third Reich. In the beginning, I pointed out that Weckert has the closest demonstrable ties to neo-Nazis among the living deniers, with Jürgen Graf a close second. Since writing that post, I had occasion to read Graf's The Giant With Feet of Clay -- his lengthy critique of the work of Raul Hilberg. I wanted to provide this brief post to make a few brief comments on the man generally and one of his sources.

First, Graf is easily the most overtly antisemitic of the Castle Hill/CODOH authors. Given how frequently he has collaborated with Carlo Mattogno -- who has comparatively much cleaner hands in this regard -- it doesn't really say much for Mattogno that he apparently regards Graf's work so highly. Should the accusation arise that this statement amounts to guilt by association -- well, yes, it does.

Second, Graf's writing of history is garbage. He doesn’t understand the basics of source analysis and seems to believe (or at least argues) that eyewitness statements are never reliable. He also shamelessly quote mines, often to suppress information that he must be aware would undermine his own theses. He just plainly doesn't know what he's doing most of the time. Mattogno's writing brings its own set of related -- but distinct -- problems. But compared to Graf's solo work, Mattogno should be shortlisted for the Pulitzer. Graf is really that bad.

We'll be elaborating on these points over the coming weeks. In the meantime, I wanted to describe my pursuit of a source that Graf cites in TGWFOC. Among the more striking claims made by Graf in this opus is buried in a footnote on page 36 of the most recent edition: "Of 531 leading personalities in the Soviet Union in 1920, 447 were Jews, cf. Juri K. Begunov, Tajnye Sily w istorii Rossij [sic], Isdatelstvo Imeni A.S. Syborina, St. Petersburg 1996." 

It took a bit of work, but I did manage to find a copy of the cited book by Yurij Begunov, about whom, it should be noted, enough has been written to firmly cast him into the group of conspiracy loons. Mina Sodman reported in Searchlight (March 2002) that Begunov was among the attendees of a Holocaust denial "conference" held in Moscow in January 2002; Graf was also in attendence.

Regarding the book and its claim about 447 of 531 "leading personalities" of the USSR being Jewish in 1920 (which, it bears mention, isn't 1941 and is, therefore, after the conscious Russification of the Soviet leadership undertaken under Stalin and after the Great Purges, in which many, perhaps most, of these leaders were shot), it seems Begunov cribbed his list at least in part from Robert Wilton. Our own Sergey Romanov has already discussed Wilton's lists in some detail, so I won't belabor his points.

I'll add only that, where Begunov has added individuals, he seems to have followed Wilton's basic rules of both creating people and positions where none previously existed and assuming that any person whose name doesn't end in -sky, -vich, or -ov must be a Jew, regardless of any other evidence. To be clear, both Russia proper and the Baltic States had large, influential German-speaking populations into the early 20th century who kept their German names. The White Army General P.N. Wrangel is just one prominent example. In addition, Begunov counts several people multiple times in multiple lists, so what the true numbers are of Jews and total people listed in his book are anyone's guess.

The bottom line is that Graf is a kook's kook and relied on a real garbage heap of a "study" to make this specific allegation.


  1. Wilton's made up list is full of names that either never existed (Spitsberg, Lilina) were not Jewish (Schlichter, Landers) or were Jewish but not affiliated with the Bolshevik party.

    Wilton and by extension Begunov and Graf are worthless.

  2. interesting thread exchange i had with penovich. His account is locked down but it might be interesting to have some feedback


    1. Low-IQ Mikey is ignoring the ground photo with corpses.

  3. IIRC - and this is really from memory - there is more on Begunov in Semyon Reznik's "Nazification of Russia" (which I recommend as a decent intro to the old-school Soviet-post-Soviet antisemitic milieu).


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