Friday, July 31, 2009

Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (5,2)

(1) - Introduction and 1. Nature and Purpose of Kola’s Archaeological Investigation

(2) 2. Location and Form of the Mass Graves

(3) 3. Corpses Found

(4,1) 4. Volume of the Mass Graves, Human and Wood Ashes
4.1 The Capacity of the Graves

(4,2) 4. Volume of the Mass Graves, Human and Wood Ashes
4.2 Wood Requirements
4.3 Duration of the Cremations

(4,3) 4. Volume of the Mass Graves, Human and Wood Ashes
4.4 The Soil removed from the Graves
4.5 The Ash

(4,4) 4. Volume of the Mass Graves, Human and Wood Ashes
4.6 The "Actual" Surface Area of the Graves
4.7 Density of Corpses in the Graves

(5,1) 5. Alternative Explanations

5. Alternative Explanations (continuation)[374]

In section 5 of my original article [375] I asked the pertinent question why, in order to bury "some tens of thousands" (Mattogno) of corpses at most, the SS would have created 21,310 cubic meters of grave space, sufficient, even according to Mattogno’s "maximum" capacity of 8 bodies per cubic meter, to bury about 170,000 corpses.

Mattogno’s lame response is that the 170,000 figure is a "polemic concession" based on a certain corpse density assumed "for the sake of argument", just like the volume of the graves he supposedly showed to be "completely arbitrary".

The fact is that Mattogno has not refuted Prof. Kola’s findings about the area and volume of the mass graves[376] – which, according to Alex Bay’s research, would require an upward rather than a downward correction[377] –, and that the capacity of 8 corpses per cubic meter that Mattogno generously "conceded" is unrealistically low because it is based on assumptions that, under the particular circumstances of this case, can only be called preposterous[378]. And even if the capacity he "conceded" as being physically possible under the circumstances were realistic, Mattogno would still have to explain why on earth the SS should have dug so much more grave space than would have been physically needed according to this capacity in order to bury "some tens of thousands" or corpses at maximum, especially why they would have made the mass graves as deep as they made them. As I pointed out in section 5 of my original article, the mass graves from Treblinka I that are the subject of Mattogno’s apples and oranges comparison were only about 2 meters deep, little more than the proverbial 6 feet below ground. On the other hand, some the mass graves found by Prof. Kola at Belzec reached depths of 5 meters or more, going down to ground water level and in places even beyond that and thus creating a possible groundwater pollution problem that Mattogno tried to sell as one possible reason for cremating the bodies. Mattogno’s dodging of this point is obvious.

Mattogno tries to turn my argument "on its head" by rhetorically asking what would have prevented the SS from using the grave space in question more lavishly in burying a "rather limited number of corpses". Well, digging mass graves is a lot of work, and making them as deep as the groundwater level is likely to create groundwater pollution problems. So unless we are to believe that the SS were fond enough of digging to make mass graves much bigger than required and then use them lavishly and wastingly, and also dumb enough to unnecessarily create groundwater pollution problems by digging down to groundwater level, Mattogno’s objection is a rather stupid one.

This example of ill-reasoning is preceded by another as Mattogno muses that his estimate of "some tens of thousands" of victims "may, however, be an excessive concession to the exterminationist thesis". He seems to have been criticized by his fellows-in-faith for this "concession". Someone should tell the fellow that the less dead bodies he postulates, the harder it will be for him to explain, among other inconvenient facts, why there were at least 21,310 cubic meters of mass grave space in the Belzec area.

One of Mattogno’s strangest arguments is the one that precedes what is commented in the previous paragraph: "while the argumentation of the exterminationists demands the assumption of a theoretical maximum limit of burial volume (which, if insufficient, would invalidate the mass gassing thesis and render all eyewitness testimony false and useless), the argument of revisionism demands nothing and remains opened to every possibility".

So the "Revisionist" thesis is supposed to be better because it is open to the possibility that the mass graves could not take in the bodies of all documented deportees as well as the possibility that they could? First of all that is not true; with the presence of mass graves that could take in hundreds of thousands of dead bodies the "Revisionist" hypothesis is as shattered as the "exterminationist" hypothesis would be if it turned out that the mass grave space existing at Belzec is incompatible with the murder of hundreds of thousands. Second, one measures the quality of a hypothesis by how well it takes into account and explains all known evidence, and by how many or how little assumptions not supported by evidence it requires. The "Revisionist" hypothesis does not explain any of the known evidence and is wholly reliant on assumptions that are supported by no evidence whatsoever. It is therefore worthless. The "exterminationist" hypothesis, on the other hand, is the one that explains all known evidence, from eyewitness testimonies via documents to the results of archaeological investigation, and requires no or very few additional and unevidenced assumptions. It is therefore the only hypothesis that can be called reasonable and scientific.

Following this disastrous venture into logic, Mattogno turns to discussing semantics. He feels slandered by the following remarks in my original article, regarding his description of a murderous transport of over 8,000 Jews from Kolomea in Galicia to Belzec:

In case anyone was still in doubt where Mr. Mattogno comes from, the fellow considers the above as showing a very "severe" German attitude towards the Jews (page 99).

Apparently it didn’t occur to someone who uses the euphemism "severe" for the charnel-house of the Kolomea transport that

• The killing on the spot of the "old, infected, frail, or untransportable Jews" might have served the purpose of speeding up both the loading of the train and the unloading and "processing" of the deportees at Belzec extermination camp, while the fact that the infirm were killed and not just left behinds indicates a policy of extermination towards those Jews deemed "useless" by the Nazis;

• There is nothing "humane" about transporting 100 people in a railroad car as in the transport on 7 September 1942, especially when they are given no and even kept from receiving water during the whole journey (See Cornides’ description, quoted in section 4.1, of what Mattogno would probably consider one of the more "humane" transports to Belzec: «As soon as the train halted, the Jews attempted to pass out bottles in order to get water. The train, however, was surrounded by SS guards, so that no one could come near.». Ever travelled like that, Mr. Mattogno?), the likely reason why the cars were not loaded further on that transport being an endeavor to carry out the deportations as quickly and efficiently as possible, to which the overloaded and crawling Kolomea transport did not exactly contribute;

• The unloading of the deportees deemed able to work at a forced labor camp is no indication against an extermination policy but merely emphasizes the fact that the Jews taken to Belzec were those considered unable to work and therefore useless;

• The constant and desperate breakout attempts in the Kolomea transport, to such an extent that the train guards had fired all their ammunition well before the train arrived at its final destination, is an indication not only of the horrendous conditions of the transport itself but also of a certain awareness or suspicion on the part of the Jews that they were being taken to their deaths.

One wonders why Mattogno would shoot himself in the foot as he did with his detailed and lamely apologetic descriptions of what transports reflecting the Germans "severe" attitude towards the Jews looked like. The possible reason is that a lack of basic humanity, which is especially suggested by his invoking the shooting of the infirm on the spot as an indication against exterminatory intent, kept Mattogno from realizing the horror of these descriptions and what they revealed about the Nazis’ intentions towards the Jews deported to Belzec. One of Mattogno’s problems, apparently, is that he can’t help being who he is.

Mattogno’s first objection to the above is that he spoke not of a "severe" but of a "very severe" German attitude towards the Jews, i.e. that I unforgivably omitted the "very" when accusing him of referring to the events described in a euphemistic manner. He seems to have missed the first sentence of the above-quoted passage.

Next Mattogno points out that he described the transport in question as "catastrophic", which he argues was hardly a euphemism.

Actually it was, insofar as "catastrophic" suggests an unintended calamity due to bad organization, which is what Mattogno expressly claimed the Kolomea transport to have been, and that in the same paragraph in which he used the term "catastrophic" [379]:

The catastrophic transport of September 10-11, 1942, was caused by logistical deficiencies rather than homicidal intent; when it was possible, transports took place under more humane conditions, like the one on September 7, when the deportees traveled 100 per car.

As concerns the other disgusting euphemism, the one that Mattogno’s translator translated as "very severe", Mattogno well knows that he used this term not only as concerns the particular conditions of the railway transport from Kolomea, but as concerns the Kolomea action and other documented deportations in general. One of the aspects of the Kolomea deportation that Mattogno calls "very severe" (or let's make it "very harsh" – if Mattogno thinks that this better reflects the term "molto duro" in the Italian original, he should have a word with his translator) is this:

Each car was loaded with 100 persons. Other Jews were, however, shot: "On September 7, 300 old, infected, frail, or untransportable Jews were executed."
During the days following there were more shootings:
"During the actions in the Kolomea area on September 8, 9, and 10, 1942, about 400 Jews had to be liquidated by shooting for the usual reasons."

Mass shooting of infected, frail or untransportable Jews is not considered indicative of homicidal let alone of exterminatory intent by our fine friend, or so the sentence I originally took issue with suggests[380]:

Only a few original documents concerning the deportations to Belzec (from Galicia) have survived. While they show a very severe German attitude toward the Jews, they do not confirm the alleged extermination policy.

And right after the above-quoted passages about mass shootings comes the one in which Mattogno blames the "catatrophic" transport of September 10-11,1942 (which these shootings were a part of) on "logistical deficiencies rather than homicidal intent".

How does one bump off 700 defenseless people without homicidal intent, Mr. Mattogno?

My remark that there is nothing "humane" about transporting 100 people in a railroad car as in the transport on 7 September 1942 also seems to have given Mattogno headaches, for he feels in need to point out that the term he used in Italian correctly translates as "less inhuman" rather than "more humane" as one reads in his book's English translation. I suggest that Mattogno take up this issue with his translator rather than with me.

Mattogno complains that "Muehlenkamp dwells minutely upon mere conjectures formulated by me for the lack of any documentary evidence, while opposing them with contrary conjectures of the same value". Here I'm a bit at loss as to what the poet is trying to tell us. What conjectures formulated by himself is he talking about, and what absence of documentary evidence to the contrary? Maybe this lame babbling is all he has got to say in response to my deconstruction of his conjectures about why the bodies at Belzec were cremated:

Now to another of Mattogno’s poor arguments in trying to explain away the Belzec mass graves and their contents: if, as Mattogno claims, the incineration was related to avoiding contamination of the ground water (this was actually one of the reasons for the incineration operations at the camps of Aktion Reinhard(t), according to evidence presented at trials before West German courts), why were the mass graves dug as deep as the ground water level in the first place, although for "several thousands, perhaps even some tens of thousands" of dead bodies one really didn’t need pits that deep?

Next one: if, as Mattogno also surmises, concern about the Soviets using for propaganda purposes "mass graves full of corpses dead of disease or malnutrition" was what led to the incineration operation, what other cases are known of work-, transit or POW camps with a high mortality at which this measure was adopted? Why, then, were the corpses of Soviet prisoners of war at a number of camps where there were tens of thousands of them, victims of executions, starvation or exposure, not removed by incineration? Why were the mass graves found by the Soviets or Poles at Treblinka I labor camp, which Mattogno mentions, not removed by incineration? Why would the Germans at Belzec make an effort they obviously didn’t consider necessary at Treblinka I, in the face of considerations that according to Mattogno’s thesis would have been exactly the same?

If so, I’ll take this as a Mattogno’s admission that his conjectures about the reasons for cremation do not hold water. As to his claim that my own "conjectures" are no better, I guess this takes us to Mattogno & Graf’s lamentable performance in connection with the Nazis’ attempts to cover up the traces of their extermination policy in the east[381], which together with concerns about ground water contamination at some places (e.g. Sobibor[382]) were the reason why corpses were exhumed from mass graves and burned at a large number of Nazi killing sites including the Aktion Reinhard(t) camps Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka.

Now we finally get to the main issue of section 5 of my original article and Mattogno’s response thereto: why were hundreds of thousands of Jews transferred to Belzec, a camp with an area of no more than 6 ha, if not to be murdered there as all known evidence shows them to have been? And where are they supposed to have been taken from Belzec, if they were not murdered there? I pointed out that

This is an essential question one would expect Mattogno to dedicate most of his book to answering, for unless he is able to plausibly account otherwise for the fate of ca. 434,000 deportees he claims were not murdered at Belzec, all his nitpicking against his selection of the evidence to Belzec extermination camp is rather pointless. Yet Mattogno dedicates a full six pages (103 to 106) to "Belzec as Part of the German Policy of Deporting Jews to the East", and nowhere in this chapter does he even attempt to trace the trajectory of any part of those 434,000 "to the East" he claims they went to, i.e. to the occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

Mattogno calls my question "simply ridiculous" on grounds that "there exists merely a handful of documents on the Bełżec camp, most of them going back to March 1942, and from these only hypotheses can be drawn". The former is true and obviously due to the fact that documentation related to Aktion Reinhard(t) was systematically destroyed, as can be inferred from Globocnik's letter to Himmler dated 5 January 1944[383]. But the latter is not, insofar as the few existing documents a) help us establish how many Jews were deported to Belzec, b) show Belzec to have been a final destination for the deportees taken there and not a stopover en route to somewhere else[384] and c) also give us an idea of the murderous conditions in which these transports were carried out, conditions that leave little if any room for doubt, except perhaps in "Revisionist" minds, about what the intended fate of the deportees was[385]. And then there is the utter absence of any documentation or other evidence about transports from Belzec to the Nazi-occupied Soviet territories, which Mattogno expressly mentions in his response:

If there were documents on "at least 434,000 Jews" being transported from Bełżec "to the east", the controversy which has caused me to write my study would not exist: Bełżec would unquestionably be considered nothing more than a transit camp. But since no such documents can be found, the six pages devoted to this issue are a lot already.

No such documents can be found. This is quite a significant statement. For there is no reason whatsoever why there should not be a lot of documentation about transportation from Belzec "transit camp" to the East if such transportation had taken place, both in related railway records and other documentation pertaining to the organization and execution of the transports but also in the largely recovered files of the civilian and military administrations of the occupied eastern territories, who would have had to deal with these hundreds of thousands of resettled Jews. While it is understandable that the Nazis would destroy incriminating documents related to a mass murder operation, there is no reason whatsoever why they should have destroyed documentation about resettlement via transit camps to the occupied Soviet territories. On the contrary: not only could such documentation have been paraded as a means to counter wartime reports that the Nazis were massacring the Jews ("hey look here, we're not killing them but just deporting them to the Russian East"), but every official big and small who was involved in Aktion Reinhard(t) would have had a vital interest in preserving these documents in order to invoke them in his defense in case of being accused of war crimes. After Stalingrad at the latest the hypothesis of Germany losing the war had to be taken into consideration, and as early as February 1943, following the Casablanca Conference announcement of "punishment and retribution in full" upon Nazi Germany's "guilty, barbaric leaders" [386], officials involved in measures against the Jews had to count on being held to account as war criminals. Later in the same year, the Moscow Conference's "Statement on Atrocities" made it clear beyond doubt what the Allies' policy regarding prosecution of and punishment for Nazi atrocities was, and that "all officers and men and members of the Nazi party" (not just the top leaders) would be held accountable for crimes they had been involved in[387]. Under these conditions, the organizers and executors of Aktion Reinhard(t), from Himmler, Globocnik and Höfle down to the staff manning the supposed "transit camps", would have been suicidal masochists if they had destroyed documentation proving that they had been involved in mass deportation but not mass murder, documentation that was their life insurance. Yet no such documentation exists, as big "Revisionist" guru Mattogno (who, I am sure, has spent more time and effort than anyone else trying to find such documentation) has just confirmed. That alone should be enough to make Mattogno realize and admit how worthless all his theories and hypotheses are, if he had the common sense and intellectual honesty that should be expected from who calls himself a historian. He obviously has not.

In my original article I wrongly assumed that Mattogno didn’t know Kolomea was in Galicia, for which I duly apologize. Whether he is conscious of the geographical position of Kolomea and Galicia as a whole in relation to Belzec and the implications thereof is another matter. For the conclusion that any reasonable and honest person would have drawn from looking at a map like the one below[388] is that deporting people to the occupied Soviet territories via Belzec from places like Kolomea and especially Lemberg, Brody, Zloczow, Tarnopol and Skalat would have been sort of like travelling from Messina to Catania via Palermo [389]. Visitors of beautiful Sicily may have reasons to take such a long detour. But what reasons would the Nazis have had to transport Jews to Belzec from Lemberg, or from places as close to the Soviet border as Tarnopol and Zloczow[390], if their intention was to deport them to the occupied Soviet territories?

I’m looking forward to Mattogno’s explanation.

Mattogno "reproaches" me for having "omitted" the fact that on October 28, 1942, the SS-Obergruppenführer Friedrich Wilhelm Krüger, in his position of Höherer SS- und Polizeiführer of the General Government, promulgated a "Police Decree on the Establishment of Jewish Residence Zones in the Districts Warsaw and Lublin" which established 12 Jewish residence zones in those districts. On November 10, 1942 another 4 Jewish residence zones were designated in the district of Radom, 5 in the district of Kraków, and 32 in the district of Galicia. Hilberg’s writings whereby Belzec was intended for the extermination of the Jews in the districts Kraków and Galicia is supposed to be contradicted by the creation of these "residence zones", by the fact that of the 434,329 Jews "evacuated or transferred" from Galicia according to the report of SS-Gruppenführer Fritz Katzmann from June 30, 1943, only 254,989 Jews had been "evacuated or transferred" until 10 November 1942, and by the presence, according to the Korherr Report, of 161,514 Jews in the Galicia district at the end of 1942, when Belzec had already ceased operating.

In his attempt to teach me history, Mattogno again reveals himself as an ignoramus in the field of historiography – and that’s giving him the benefit of doubt. He obviously hasn’t heard of the phenomenon known as the "second ghettoization", which is described in some detail by historian Frank Golczewski[391]. Golczewski shows that the institution of ghettos in the General Government in October and November of 1942 was related in part to difficulties in transporting the Jews to extermination camps due to military transport needs during the battle of Stalingrad, but mainly to a top-level decision to use Jewish forced labor in the armament industry a little longer. Replacing Jewish skilled workers with non-Jews was particularly difficult in the Galicia district, as is expressly pointed out in the Katzmann Report[392]: due to the specific circumstance that almost 90 % of all craftsmen in Galicia were Jews, the "task to be accomplished" (i.e. the extermination of the Jews) could only be carried out step by step, as an immediate removal of Jewish labor would not have been in the interest of the war industry. This also explains the fact that a relatively high number of Jews (as compared with other districts of the Generalgouvernement) were still alive in the Galicia district at the end of 1942, even considering that the figure given in the Korherr Report was probably too high. However, as Golczewski points out, the policy of retaining Jewish skilled laborers in the armament industry did not last very long. The Jews of the Generalgouvernement who had survived the year 1942 thanks to this policy were mostly wiped out in the course of 1943. According to Sandkühler [393], one of the purposes of the decrees for creation of closed ghettos dated 28 October and 10 November 1942 was to induce the return of Jews who had managed to flee from previous actions. Mass deportations to Belzec and local killings continued taking place after these decrees. Thus on 20 November there were mass shootings in Boryslaw after a transport to Belzec had been cancelled, on 29/30 November there were deportations from the Drohobycz county to Lemberg-Janowska and Belzec[394], and women and children of Jewish workers were taken to Belzec from several places in the district between 9 November and 8 December 1942[395].

The above answers Mattogno’s question why these "residential zones" were created in the Galicia in November 1942. As to why Belzec ceased operating soon thereafter, the answer is simple: because it was no longer necessary. Even while Belzec was in operation, a considerable portion of the Galician Jews murdered were killed in mass shootings, one reason why this method was largely resorted to being frequent difficulties in arranging sufficient transports to Belzec. It even happened that planned transports to Belzec were cancelled and the Jews earmarked for these transports shot on site[396]. The original Jewish population of at least 530,000 Jews that came under German rule in the Galicia district had fallen by about 100,000 by April 1942, mainly due to hunger and disease, brutal treatment in labor camps and mass shootings, but also due to flight into the neighboring district and a border correction undertaken at the end of 1941[397]. The total number of Jews "evacuated or transferred" according to Katzmann's report (434,329) is considered by Sandkühler[398] to be an exaggeration, motivated by the fact that reporting the district as free of Jews was of interest to Katzmann's career (apparently Katzmann reported the number of Jews that had been living in Galicia in April 1942). The actual number killed under Katzmann's rule between April 1942 and June 1943 was about 375,000 - this was the figure he repeatedly mentioned to his driver towards the end of the war, when he was concerned about being held accountable for his deeds[399]. Of these 375,000 about 20,000 had succumbed to starvation and disease, 255,000 had been deported to extermination camps and 100,000 had been shot[400].

What happened to the 161,514 Jews who, according to the Korherr Report, were still alive in the Galicia district after Belzec had ceased killing operations? According to Sandkühler, the figure was closer to 120,000[401]. Except for about 5,000[402] who survived as indispensable skilled workers or in hiding, they all died. 15-25,000 were taken to Sobibor extermination camp in the spring and summer of 1943, and there were also deportations to Majdanek [403]. But most of the killing was done in "local evacuations" (örtliche Aussiedlungen), i.e. mass shootings on site[404]. A large part of the shootings during and after the operation period of Belzec was done in and around the Janowska labor camp in Lemberg/Lvov/Lviv[405], which despite having no gas chambers was also a killing center that took some "burden" off Belzec in a situation of chronically sparse transportation capacity[406]. About 100,000 to 120,000 Jews were killed in the "sand" behind the Janowska labor camp and in the Lisincki Forest [407].

So much for my oh-so-reproachable "omissions" and the "contradictions" that Mattogno makes such a fuss about.

"Before clarifying the truly essential issue", Mattogno now proceeds to discussing the documentary evidence I accused him of having omitted, i.e. the documents mentioned in the excerpt from Prof. Browning’s expert report that I quoted in section 5 of my original article[408].

The first of these documents commented by Mattogno is Goebbels’ diary entry of 27 March 1942, of which Browning provides the following translated excerpt:

Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said about 60 percent of them will have to be liquidated whereas only about 40 percent can be used for forced labor.

Mattogno’s argument is that this document does not mention Belzec and therefore does not refer to Belzec. Never mind that it refers to "a pretty barbaric procedure" that even the merciless Goebbels[409], considered something "not to be described" more definitely in his own diary. Never mind that it refers to something after which "not much" would remain of the Jews. Never mind that it refers to a process of "liquidation", obviously nothing other than physical killing, whereby an expected 60 % of the General Government’s Jews would be wiped out. Never mind that it was written on 27 March 1942, ten days after the transportations from the Lublin ghetto to Belzec started[410]). And if we read read the part of the diary entry not quoted by Browning[411], we see that it was related to an operation directed by "the former Gauleiter of Vienna", who was none other than Odilo Globcnik, the head of Aktion Reinhard(t) [412]. So what, other than deportations within the scope of Aktion Reinhard(t), could Goebbels possibly have been referring to? Nothing. And where were those deportations directed at the time this diary entry was written, namely the deporations from Lublin, if not Belzec extermination camp? Nowhere. To claim that Goebbels’ diary entry of 27 March 1942 was not related to Belzec is willful blindness or dishonesty of the highest order[413].

The remaining documents that Mattogno refers to as mentioned by Browning but not discussed by himself "do not shed much light on the matter", according to the Mattogno. Let’s have a look at them:

• Weekly report circulated by the propaganda division on 21 March 1942, about the clearing of the Lublin ghetto starting 16 March 1942: this is evidence to the very process of deportations from Lublin referred to by Goebbels, in his diary entry of 27 March 1942, as "a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely" and connected to an expected liquidation of 60 % of the General Government’s Jews. Mattogno is apparently unable or unwilling to put two and two together.

• Report of 17 March 1942 by Richard Türk about a conversation with Hermann Höfle on 16 March 1942: this is the same document that Mattogno shot himself in the foot with because it shows that Belzec was a place where the unemployable Jews were sent, as I pointed out in section 5 of my original article. Small wonder that Mattogno doesn't want to talk about it again and accordingly omits it in this context.

• Report of 20 March 1942 by Türk about a discussion that had taken place between Höfle and two Kreishauptmänner (county heads) in the Lublin district. The translation featured by Browning reads as follows (emphasis added):

Kreishauptmann Weienmeyer has as yet been able to learn nothing about final outcome of the deportation; all that is known is the existence of a collection camp some distance from the Belzec train station on the district border, that is entirely closed off, and the arrival of a SS-commando of some 60 men.

Mattogno refers the term "entirely closed off" to the border rather than the camp, even though Browning’s translation suggests that the term refers to the camp. And the original German text, transcribed by Browning in a footnote, clearly shows that the camp and not the border is what is being referred to as "entirely closed off" [414]. Apparently Mattogno preferred to avoid trying to explain why the camp near the Belzec railway station was "entirely closed off", a situation hardly compatible with a transit camp. It also means nothing to him that the "final outcome of the deportation" was something so hard to discern for administration officials of some rank, which is hardly compatible with an innocuous procedure like deportation to the occupied Soviet territories, and that the county heads were not able to trace the deportation beyond what they called a "collection camp".

• Report dated 19 March 1942 from the Oberfeldkommandant (hereinafter "OFK") in Lwow/Lemberg (see above map for geographic position of Lemberg in relation to Belzec and the occupied Soviet territories); Browning’s translation reads as follows (emphasis added):

Within the Jewish population of Lemberg a noticeable unrest has spread in regard to a deportation action that has begun, through which some 30,000 elderly and other unemployed Jews shall be seized and allegedly transferred to a territory near Lublin. To what extent this evacuation can be equated with a decimation remains to be seen.

Mattogno addresses only the last sentence, arguing that it is "a reference to the potential partial mortality of the Jewish deportees due to the evacuation process, not to a complete extermination at Bełżec". But that's not what the OFK is saying, if you mind the context in which this "decimation" is mentioned. The report is about the unrest of the Jewish population in regard to an upcoming deportation that will alledgedly take them to a territory near Lublin. The OFK knows nothing specific yet but suspects that the deportation may result in decimation not of the deportees, but of the Jewish population of Lemberg, as he considers it possible that the deportees, or a part of them, will be killed. But what is most important (and conveniently omitted by Mattogno) is that those deported to this "territory near Lublin" will be "elderly and other unemployed Jews". They will not be taken to the "territory near Lublin" to do any labor, so why the heck will they be taken there? The Jews obviously sensed that a deportation of the elderly and other unemployed meant a sinister fate for these people, and so did the OFK, who may furthermore have noticed the contradiction between deportation to an area north-west of Lemberg and information that the Jews would be deported eastward to the occupied territories of the Soviet Union. The deportations went to a "territory near Lublin" indeed - and that "territory" was Belzec. The deportation in question lasted from 16 to 31 March 1942, though the total number of deportees was eventually only half the number assumed in the OFK's report[415].

• Report dated 18.4.1942 from the same OFK, translated as follows:

The Jewish population displays the deepest depression, which is completely understandable because on the one hand in various locations in the district the well-known actions against the Jews occur again and on the other hand in Lemberg the temporarily interrupted resettlement of Jews resumes; in the meantime it is whispered also among the Jews that the evacuees never reach the resettlement territory that is alleged to them as the destination.

Mattogno doesn't address this document. He may have found it difficult to explain why the OFK considered the "deepest depression" among the Jews to be "completely understandable", unless he was aware that the Jews were being taken to their deaths, and why he considered it necessary to point out that rumors about the evacuees never reaching the alleged resettlement territory were making the rounds.

• Report dated 17.10.1942 from the same OFK, translated as follows (emphases added):

The resettlement actions continue undiminished. The Jews are informed of their fate. Indicative is the statement of a member of the Lwow Jewish council: We all carry our death certificates in our pocket--only the date of death is not yet filled out.

Mattogno lamely tries to explain away the above as "a hyperbole relating to the fear and expection[sic!]" of the "potential partial mortality of the Jewish deportees due to the evacuation process". It must have escaped this specialist in text analysis and critique[416] that the OFK is stating that the Jews are informed of what he, the OFK, knows to be their fate, and supports this statement by quoting a statement from a member of the Jewish council whereby the expected fate is certain death, and not just for some but for all future deportees ("we all carry our death certificates in our pocket"). "The Jews know what I know, i.e. that they are all going to die" – that’s the OFK’s statement in a nutshell. Who does Mattogno think he is fooling?

• Protocol of a meeting in Berlin on September 26 and 28, 1942, to plan allocation of transportation for the future "evacuation of 600,000 Jews" of the General Government, which contains a passage translated as follows:

After the completion of the restoration of the line Lublin-Chelm, probably from November 1, 1942, the other urgent transports can also be carried out, namely: 1 train per day from the district of Radom to Sobibor; 1 train per day from the northern Lublin district to Belzec and 1 train per day from the central Lublin district to Sobibor.

While not included in the quote from Browning’s expert report in section 5 of my original article, this document, which Mattogno refers to without a comment, is interesting insofar as it shows Belzec to have been a final destination for 1 train per day from the northern Lublin district starting 1 November 1942. If Belzec had been a mere stopover en route to some other final destination, why mention it at all, moreover in a protocol of what must have been a high-level meeting? Why not mention the deportees' final destination(s) after passing through Belzec instead? I hope for Mr. Mattogno that he can explain this.

After these disastrous and at least on one occasion dishonest attempts to defuse incrimininating documents he admits to having mostly never addressed before, Mattogno turns to what he considers "the truly essential issue". Here we are treated to all of Mattogno’s ill-reasoning and mendacity, for his "truly essential issue" is a collection of beaten old "Revisionist" straw-men, a lengthy sermon about the "black propaganda"[417] of obvious inaccuracies in early reports about mass killing at Belzec, namely accounts of killing by electrocution, underground asphyxiation or with quicklime, incineration on a red-hot floor, human soap, etc. Any historian or researcher who has got screws together and priorities right would dismiss these sometimes absurdly inaccurate accounts as what they are, the product of inaccurate observations or speculations by witnesses with a limited or no access to the killing site and/or a poor understanding of what they were observing, or simply of the rumor mill that inevitably came into being regarding Belzec as it did in regard to other catastrophic or horrific places or events (one needs only recall the stories in connection with the Allied bombing of Dresden on 13/14 February 1945 about "puddles of melted human flesh" and people "glowing blue (or orange) and disintegrating"[418], or about phosphorous raining from the sky and low-flying fighter planes chasing refugees in the dead of night through the firestorm[419]). Accordingly these accounts haven’t made their way into any work of serious historiography or any court judgment, at least that I know of. But for Mattogno these "macabre fantasies" are "the truly essential issue", and I'm supposed to have omitted them because "they have a devastating consequence for the official thesis". Actually the fuss he makes about these irrelevant inaccuracies in early accounts of Belzec extermination camp has a devastating consequence for whatever is left of Mattogno's credibility as the historian he pretends to be, for it makes him come across as a lunatic nincompoop whose greatest argumentative weakness is his inability to stop being himself.

Mattogno relates the "macabre fantasies" that mean so much to him to the detailed knowledge that adjacent villagers are supposed to have had of what was happening inside Belzec extermination camp. He quotes an excerpt from an article by Michael Tregenza mentioning the lively contact between the camp staff and the local villagers, some of whom even worked or were allowed to take pictures inside the camp. This, Mattogno reasons, implies that the villagers would also have known all details of the killing process and there would thus have been no room for "macabre fantasies" about that process.

While I can understand Mattogno’s eagerness to jump to this convenient conclusion, the same is not borne out by what Tregenza wrote. There can be no doubt that everyone in the neighborhood of Belzec knew that the place was an extermination camp (and so did the Polish resistance, as becomes apparent from various reports, the first as early as April 1942, that are quoted by Arad[420]). But from knowing that Belzec was an extermination camp to being informed about the particulars of the killing and body disposal process (which even Ukrainian guards or SS supervisors outside the killing sector didn’t necessarily have a wholly accurate idea of) it is quite a stretch, and furthermore what the surrounding population knew was not necessarily transmitted (the villagers mentioned by Tregenza, who benefited from their collaboration with the camp staff, were not exactly the likeliest persons to report on a crime in which they were themselves shamefully involved), let alone transmitted accurately and not colored by the rumor mill that is bound to start operating in such situations, to whoever reported about what was going on at Belzec. If inaccurate notions of how the people were killed at Belzec were still around until 1947, as Mattogno claims, the likely reason is that it was only then that insider witnesses with a more accurate knowledge of the killing method and process were systematically interrogated. Mattogno’s own quotes in his Belzec book shows that neighboring villagers and other outside observers were merely guessing about what the killing method was – and some of them seem to have guessed right, as is suggested by the testimony of Eugeniusz G. that Mattogno quotes[421]:

"Being afraid for my own life, I did not ask the '‘blacks' who worked in the extermination camp at Belzec by what means the Jews were killed. In general, people said that in the Belzec camp the Jews were annihilated by means of gas, others thought that electric current was used, others still maintained that they were killed in a chamber from which the air was pumped out for them to suffocate."

Maybe Mattogno should have re-read certain parts of his own book before arguing that local villagers must have known all details of the killing process.

The villagers Eustachy U. and Wojchiech I., mentioned by Tregenza and who Mattogno would like to have been "moving freely through the camp as if in their own homes, and even being permitted to take photographs", may have been allowed to own photo cameras and even encouraged to take photographs of the camp’s staff. Some of these photos may even have been taken inside the camp, as Tregenza claims. But would this necessarily mean that villagers were allowed to circulate inside the camp at will, as Mattogno would have it? Certainly not; it is also possible, and actually likelier, that they were escorted into the camp for the photo session and taken out again after it was over. The photographers need not have seen anything of the camp other than the more "amenable" parts thereof, the quarters of the SS and Ukrainian staff. The photos, like the photos that SS-men and Trawniki guards took of each other, were obviously made for private family albums like the one that was found with Kurt Franz of Treblinka, except that the absence of photographs by Belzec staff showing anything other than friendly comrades[422] suggests that they were more careful in violating the secrecy undertaking forbidding them to take photographs[423] than Kurt Franz was when he photographed the excavators at Treblinka[424]. The only villager mentioned by Tregenza who could be expected to have a wholly accurate idea of the killing process was the electrician Michal K., who "installed cables and lighting in the second gas building, the so-called 'Stiftung Hackenholt' and is said to have occasionally assisted in the gassings" (Tregenza) – and that only if his alleged participation in the gassings was more than just a rumor. However, we don't know what description of the killing process, if any, was provided to investigators or historians by this witness, who had every reason to for not wanting to talk about the matter.

On the other hand, at least one report mentioning killing by gas alone reached the outside as early as 1943[425]. And at least one Jewish source was accurately informed about the killing method, as early as April 1942[426]. The first Polish resistance report about Belzec[427] shows that as early as April 1942 the Polish resistance had a rather precise idea of what was going on inside Belzec extermination camp, the issue of uncertainty being how the Jews were being killed. In this respect three possibilities were considered: electricity, gas, pumping out the air. The second, which was incorrectly considered questionable (the observers apparently didn't think of the possibility that the gas was engine exhaust), turned out to be the correct one after testimonies from insider eyewitnesses became available. The other two hypotheses turned out to be mistaken assumptions, period. How they came into being is easy to understand by reading this report and the above-quoted testimony of Eugeniusz G. Uncertainty about the particulars of a well-known horror is a fertile ground for rumors and speculations, both of which tend to spread and have a long life – not only around Belzec extermination camp.

So much for Mattogno’s first "point".

The second "point" ("the result of Kola’s archeological survey demonstrates that neither 600,000 nor 434,508 corpses could have been buried at Bełżec") was tumbling after section 4.1 of my original article[428], and has been completely knocked out in section 4.1 of this riposte to Mattogno's response [429].

The third point ("the same survey shows the alleged gas chamber buildings described by witnesses to have never existed") has been dealt with earlier in this section[430], where it was demonstrated that, whatever one may say against Prof. Kola’s theses as concerns building "G", they do not exclude the existence of the gas chamber buildings described by eyewitnesses in parts of the camp not explored in Prof. Kola’s archaeological investigation.

The fourth point "the inconsistency of the entire story of the eastern extermination camps and of the alleged gassings with Diesel engine exhaust", as "briefly summarized above", has been shown earlier in this section[431] to be a sack full of nonsense.

The fifth point "relates to the origin of the Bełżec camp within the framework of the so-called 'Generalplan Ost'". Before becoming head of Aktion Reinhard(t), Mattogno tells us, Odilo Globocnik was put in charge of "constructions of bases for the SS and Police in the new eastern territories". In this capacity, Globocnik on 26 November 1941 ordered the Lublin Zentralbauleitung to construct "a transit- and supply camp" [Durchgangsnachschublager - a transit camp for supplies would be a better translation] for the Höhere SS- und Polizeiführer of Southern Russia, which camp was completed and delivered on September 11, 1942. And Höfle, acting as Globocnik’s deputy, operated within the framework of "Generalplan Ost", which "planned for large population transfers to the east".

All very interesting, but where is this supposed to get us? Globocnik obviously wore more than one hat, and organizing logistics and a supply depot for construction in the eastern territories on the one hand and Aktion Reinhard(t) on the other were two different pairs of boots. As to the "Generalplan Ost", it was a massive program of ethnic cleansing and genocide directed chiefly against the Slav population of Eastern Europe and mostly to be carried out after Nazi Germany had won the war. Most of the documentation related to this plan was destroyed before the end of the war, but there is one surviving document that makes it possible to rather accurately recreate this plan's contents, an appraisal of the plan headed Stellungnahme und Gedanken zum Generalplan Ost des Reichsführers SS ("Opinion and Ideas Regarding the General Plan for the East of the Reichsführer-SS") dated April 27, 1942 and written by Dr. Erhard Wetzel, the director of the Central Advisory Office on Questions of Racial Policy at the National Socialist Party (Leiter der Hauptstelle Beratungsstelle des Rassenpolitischen Amtes der NSDAP). This appraisal was completely transcribed in 1958 in the Vierteljahreshefte für Zeitgeschichte, the publication of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich[432]. We learn from this document that the Generalplan Ost, in the version that was brought to Welzel's knowledge in November 1941, foresaw that 31 million out of an estimated 45 million Poles, Balts, Ukrainians and Belorussians in German-occupied territory were to be deported to Siberia and the remainder retained as slave laborers. Welzel criticized the 45 million figure, which he considered too low; according to his analysis the actual figure without considering future population growth (an omission he also criticized) was 51 rather than 45 million, except if one assumed that the 5 to 6 million Jews leaving in the areas where the plan was to be implemented had already been "removed" prior to the planned "evacuation". Wetzel wrote the following[433] (my translation, emphasis mine):

Thus for the territories to be taken into consideration here there results a total population of 51 million. The number of those to be in principle evacuated according to the plan should thus be actually higher than foreseen in the plan. Only if one assumes that the about 5 to 6 million Jews who live in this area are already removed prior to the evacuation one reaches the number of 45 million alien peoples mentioned in the plan. The plan’s considerations, however, show that the Jews are still included in the mentioned 45 million.

Wetzel discussed the deportation measures proposed for the various ethnic groups to be affected by the plan and recommended that the projected forced resettlement to Western Siberia be abandoned as concerns the Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian people's, whose "racially undesirable" elements should rather be encouraged to emigrate voluntarily. As concerns the Jews, he pointed out that the "solution of the Jewish question" would make an evacuation unnecessary[434] (my translation, emphasis mine):

An evacuation of the Jews also mentioned in the plan is no longer necessary due to the solution of the Jewish question. An eventual transfer of the Jews still remaining after the end of this war to forced labor camps in the northern Russian and Siberian territory is no "evacuation". Of the alien peoples to be considered for evacuation there thus remain to be discussed only the Poles, Western Ukrainians (it is not quite clear if by "Galicians" the plan means Poles or Ucranians) and White Ruthenians.

The above statement clearly shows that the "solution of the Jewish question" a) was not an evacuation (in the literal sense of the term) to anywhere, but on the contrary would make such evacuation unnecessary and b) would remove the Jewish population altogether or reduce it to an eventual small remnant the transfer to forced labor camps of which didn't deserve being called "evacuation". This can only have meant that the Jews were to be physically eliminated, exterminated, wiped out. And just in case Mr. Mattogno or some other "Revisionist" wisecracker should indulge in mental gymnastics to come up with a ridiculously far-fetched alternative interpretation, Welzel also spelled out what exactly was to happen to the Jews a few pages later, as he discussed the plan's proposal on how to deal with the ethnic Poles[435] (my translation, emphases mine):

It should be clear that one cannot solve the Polish question by liquidating the Poles like the Jews. Such a solution of the Polish question would incriminate the German people until a distant future and take away our sympathies everywhere, especially as all other neighboring peoples will have to count on being treated similarly when the time comes.

So the Poles were not to be wiped out like the Jews were being wiped out, because exterminating the Poles like the Jews would make the German people look bad for a long time, especially as other peoples would fear the same happening to them in due time. Regarding the Jews there were apparently no such concerns, probably because it was assumed that the other peoples mentioned in the "Generalplan Ost" hated the Jews so much that they would not mind their extermination.
Things had obviously changed since the version of the plan assessed by Wetzel had been written, and it was no longer intended to include the Jews in mass evacuation measures together with the Balts and Slavs but to kill them off instead. Wetzel, whose above-quoted statements are among the most explicit and unequivocal references to the genocide of the Jews contained in contemporary German documents, not only knew what he was talking about but was also himself involved in killing program. As pointed out by Heiber[436], Wetzel was exactly informed about the destruction of Jewry in the German area of domination, which had just begun at the time. As representative of the Eastern Ministry he had, for instance, participated on 6 March 1942 in a meeting in the Reich Main Security Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt) about the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question". (Nuremberg Document NG-2586). Wetzel was even among the first to be introduced to this macabre plan. Already in October 1941 he knew about the deportations of Jews from German Reich that had just begun. He was busy at that time, in cooperation with head of service Viktor Brack from Bouhler’s Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP, with the manufacture and installation of "required shelters and gassing devices" for the "solution of the Jewish question". "As things now are", Wetzel wrote on 25 October 1941 to the Reich Commissar for the Eastern Territories, Hinrich Lohse, "there are no objections if the Jews who are not capable of work, are eliminated with the Brackian remedy"[437].

Taking the above into consideration, Höfle's involvement in the "Generalplan Ost" can hardly be seen as an indication that he had something to do with mass resettlement rather than mass murder of Jews, which is obviously the idea that Mattogno means to convey. On the contrary: considering Wetzel's unequivocal references to mass extermination in his appraisal of the Generalplan Ost, Mattogno's unreflected mention of Höfle's operating with in the scope of this plan was another glorious shot in Mattogno’s own foot.

So, what has Mattogno shown that would support his obviously pre-ordained conclusion that "these Jews were not killed at Bełżec"? Nothing. He has only succeeded in further showing how feeble and nonsensical his arguments against the historical evidence are.

And things don’t get better as he repeats that there is "no documentation" regarding the "precise destination" of the Jews he claims were not killed at Belzec and lamely refers to "several indications" in this direction. The "indications" of massive resettlement in the eastern territories that Mattogno & Graf dream up in their Treblinka book[438] for lack of the documentation that, as pointed out above, should exist if such resettlement had taken place, are frankly pathetic. One of them is discussed by my fellow blogger Jonathan Harrison in another blog [439]. The two others presented in Mattogno’s response shall be discussed below.

The first of these two is the 1943 demographic study The Displacement of Population in Europe by Canadian demographer Eugene M. Kulischer, where a Nazi policy of systematic extermination is not mentioned but it is stated that the great majority of Jews deported from Eastern Europe were sent "to the General Government and, in ever growing numbers, to the eastern area, that is, to the territories which had been under Soviet rule since September 1939 and to the other occupied areas of the Soviet Union". Kulisher’s mention of deportation "to the eastern area" is supposed to be an "indication" that the Nazis deported large numbers of Jews to the occupied territories of the Soviet Union via transit camps including Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka.

It looks bad enough on Mattogno that he ignores not only publications contemporary to Kulisher’s study[440] that pointed to mass murder of the Jews rather than the deportation to the occupied Soviet territories that Kulisher surmised, but also and especially postwar publications which incorporated lots of information that was not available to Kulisher in 1943. It looks at least as bad on Mattogno that one of the few "indications" he supports his absurd wishful thinking with is a study written in 1943 in Canada, by a demographer who, for all his presumable hard work and competence, only had limited if any access to information other than could be openly obtained from official sources (as opposed to secret reports from underground organizations or secret Nazi documents like Wetzel's appraisal of the Generalplan Ost) and therefore couldn’t possibly know all that was going on in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe. What Kulisher wrote about the ultimate destination of Jews deported from the General Government comes across as having been not a conclusion "undergirded by a copious documentation"[441], but rather an educated guess based on very limited information [442].

Kulisher obviously didn't know why the Jews were being removed "further and further eastward"; he simply assumed that this was "doubtless connected with the need for supplying the army's requirements near the front". So when he learned of "a new large-scale transfer from the Warsaw ghetto" (his source: "Unser Zeit, quoted by Novy Put, 10 Jan. 1943. On 22 July 1942, the Jewish Council of Warsaw received an order to prepare 6,000 persons to be sent away daily. Deportation started the next day, and several thousand persons are said to have been deported every day." [443]) he assumed that the Jews were being taken to the occupied Soviet territories for the purpose of "supplying the army's requirements near the front", i.e. what he had previously surmised to be the general purpose of deportation "further and further eastward". Whence he concluded on the specific destinations mentioned thereafter ("labour camps on the Russian front; others to work in the marshes of Pinsk, or to the ghettos of the Baltic countries, Bielorussia and the Ukraine"[444]) is not clear; it may have been his own conjectures together with the "official" destinations of the deportation mentioned in the article in Unser Zeit, which he learned from through another source (Novy Put) quoting that article. Actually, as is known from evidence including but not limited to the Stroop Report[445] and Ganzenmüller's letter to Wolff of 28 July 1942[446], the destination of the Jews deported from Warsaw starting 22 July 1942 was not the Soviet-occupied eastern territories, but Treblinka extermination camp.

Kulisher was not unaware, however, that German policies towards the Jews involved physical extermination, for he used the term "extermination" at least twice in a context in which it can only mean physical killing [447].

The reference to extermination in the obvious sense of physical killing on page 111 of Kulisher’s book ("It is hardly possible to distinguish how far the changes in the Jewish population of the General Government are due to deportation and how far they are attributable to "ordinary" mortality1 and extermination.") suggests that Kulisher suspected that the transports from Warsaw mentioned just before were not actually going where he wrote they were going, but refrained from putting to paper this sinister conclusion, because he had no evidence in his hands to support it and/or because it seemed too sinister to contemplate.

The two passages referred to above are not mentioned by Mattogno & Graf in their discussion of Kulisher's book[448], at the end of which the authors triumphantly proclaim the following:

Nowhere does Kulischer speak of ‘extermination camps’ or of a German policy of the physical extermination of the Jews!

Neither do M&G mention the passage on page 110 regarding the deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto[449]; M&G may have reckoned that quoting this passage would make it obvious that their cherrypicked source was basing his conclusions on an inadequate and incomplete data base.

Also not mentioned are the caveats about the accuracy of the data presented and conclusions reached, stated by Kulisher in his Introduction[450] and in the preceding Prefatory Note from The International Labour Office (emphasis added):

In spite of the plentiful material which it has been possible to assemble with the help of a number of institutions and individuals, public and private, who have kindly made their information available, it is clear that under present circumstances the results of a survey of this kind must necessarily be regarded in many ways as of a preliminary and provisional nature.

So a study expressly stated by its author and editors as being "of a preliminary and provisional nature" was touted by Mattogno & Graf[451] as "written with scientific exactitude" and "undergirded by a copious documentation", in a puny attempt to place it above contemporary publications pointing to mass murder rather than mere displacement and posterior studies based on a more complete data base, especially including secret Nazi documentation that Kulisher couldn't possibly have access to at the time.

Kulisher himself was more professional and honest than to remain stuck with the limited knowledge he possesed in 1943. In 1948 he wrote another book, for which he obviously took into consideration the copious documentation of systematic extermination that had come to his knowledge in the meantime[452]. Mattogno & Graf, for obvious reasons, did not move beyond the status of Kulisher’s knowledge in 1943. And that's supposed to be scientific.

If the first "indication" presented in Mattogno’s response is a blatant showpiece of "Revisionist" dishonesty and desperation, the second is arguably even more deplorable. In its issue Number 71 of April 1944, the Jewish underground paper Notre Voix published a news item referring to a broadcast by Radio Moscow, in which it emphatically thanked the "heroic Red Army" for having rescued "8,000 Parisian Jews" in Ukraine. This is supposed to indicate that there were large-scale deporations of Jews, also from Western Europe, to the Nazi-occupied territories of the Soviet Union.

According to Serge Klarsfeld’s document collection about the "Final Solution" in France, a total of almost 74,000 Jews were deported from that country, thereof ca. 69,000 to Auschwitz-Birkenau, 2,000 to Majdanek or Sobibor, 2,000 to Sobibor and 1,000 to Kovno, Lithuania. Of these almost 74,000 deportees, 2,577 were recorded as having survived the deportationa [453]. If, as Mattogno’s Radio Moscow source claims, 8,000 Jews from France (all of them Parisian) were rescued by the Red Army in Ukraine, how come that people who studied in detail the deportation of Jews from France never heard of them? How come there are no records of any number of Jews from France remotely that high having even been transported to the Nazi-occupied Soviet territories (only 1,000 transported to Kovno are known)? How come that only 2,577 survivors of deportation have been recorded by historiography, and that the only source pointing to a much higher number rescued in Ukraine is a broadcast by Radio Moscow mentioned by a Jewish underground paper?

This Radio Moscow broadcast is obviously what its tone suggests it to be - a propaganda claim meant to ingratiate the French underground, especially it's Jewish and or Communist components, with the glorious Red Army of the Soviet Union. And it speaks volumes about Mattogno's desperation that he invokes such a dubious source, which he would (rightly, for a change) not hesitate to brush away as propaganda if it did not support his claims.

As pointed out before, the deportation of many hundreds of thousands of Jews to the occupied territories of the Soviet Union would have created a huge paper trail, which it would have been in the interest of Nazis involved in this deportation not to destroy but to carefully preserve as evidence in their defense. And what is more, it would have produced thousands upon thousands of eyewitnesses, from among the organizers and executors of the deportation, from among German officials and the local population at the places of destination, and especially from among the deportees themselves. Yet Mattogno has admitted that he can produce no documents, and he cannot even produce a single one out of the thousands upon thousands of eyewitnesses who should be able to confirm so massive a resettlement operation (almost 1.3 million people in 1942 alone, according to the Höfle report). All he can provide are "indications" as feeble as a necessary ill-informed demographer's 1943 writings and an obvious propaganda claim from Radio Moscow. How come it doesn't dawn on Mattogno that it's time for him and his "Revisionist" colleagues to pack up and stop making fools of themselves?

The note of 17.3.1942 that Mattogno shot himself in the foot with, as I pointed out in section 5 of my original articlea [454], still seems to be giving him sleepless nights. He mentions it in the last argument of his response, which is that the Galicia district of the General Government bordered with the Reichskommisariat Ukaine (something I supposedly failed to realize – I’ll take this quip as another indication that Mattogno has a sense of humor, after all) and that therefore the statement in the document whereby the (unemployable) Jews taken to Belzec would "cross the border and never return to the General Government" was not necessarily the cynical lie I had stated it to be, "since the Jewish transports arriving from the west (districts of Cracow and Lublin) or those coming from the south-east (district of Galicia) could cross the eastern border".

I’m sure the author of this overwhelming argument will be glad to explain why Jews were being deported to Belzec from places in Galicia that were far closer to the Reichskommissariat Ukraine than Belzec, places like Kamionka-Strumilowa, Brody, Zloczow and Tarnopola [455].

And he should also tell us what makes him think that the Nazi potentates of the Reichskommissariat Ukraine, where the local Jews had been bumped off since 1941, would have received masses of unemployable Jews from the General Government – considering, among other evidence, Governor Hans Frank’s statement in his famous speech on 16 December 1941a [456]:

But what should be done with the Jews? Do you think they will be settled down in the 'Ostland', in villages? This is what we were told in Berlin: Why all this bother? We can do nothing with them either in the 'Ostland' nor in the 'Reichkommissariat'. So liquidate them yourself.

However much Mattogno kicks and screams, this and other evidence clearly shows the "cross the border and never return to the General Government" remark in the note of 17.3.1942 to have been a rather transparent euphemism, a cynical lie. The only "border" that these Jews were to cross was the border between life and death.


Mattogno ends his response by thanking me for having given him an occasion to "reconfirm and deepen" the results of his "study" on Bełżec, and for "indirectly demonstrating", thanks to the "foolishness" of my criticisms, the "value and soundness" of that "study".

Actually I’m the one who must be grateful to Mattogno. I thank him for having given me the opportunity not only to delve more deeply into the issues addressed in my original article, but also to take apart his deplorable claims and conjectures regarding the Belzec mass graves, Prof. Kola's archaeological investigation and the nature and purpose of the Belzec camp, and to once more show the readers of this blog what nonsense and what a hollow hoax his "Revisionist" theses are.

It goes without saying that this demonstration of the sloppiness of Mattogno's research, the fallaciousness of his reasoning and the dishonesty that pervades his argumentation is yet another devastating verdict about "Revisionism" as a whole.

For if Mattogno is the best "scholar" of this "movement", or one of the best (as my fellow blogger Sergey Romanov considered him to be [457]), then what can be said about the others?

PS, 03.08.2009:

The originally drafted text of my acknowledgment, in which I address Mattogno directly and with contemptuous familiarity, is transcribed below in Italian, into which it was kindly translated at my request by a friend of mine, an Angolan lady who loves the Italian language:

A dire il vero sono io che dovrei essere grato, Charlie. Ti ringrazio per avermi dato la possibilità, non solo di approfondire le questioni indicate nel mio articolo originale, ma anche di smontare le tue deplorevoli affermazioni e congetture riferite alle fosse comuni di Belzec, così come alle investigazioni archeologiche di Prof. Kola e alla stessa natura e scopo del campo di Belzec, e di mostrare ancora una volta ai lettori di questo blog quanto le tue tesi "revisioniste" sono senza senso e un buco nell'acqua.

Va da se che questa dimostrazione di trascuratezza della tua ricerca, la falsità del tuo ragionamento e la disonestà che pervade la tua argomentazione è un altro devastante verdetto sul "revisionismo" nel suo insieme.

Quindi se tu sei il miglior "erudito" di questo "movimento", o uno dei migliori (come ti considera il mio collega blogger Sergey Romanov), cosa si può dire degli altri?


[374] Controversie, Pages 55-63; see also the English translation, which I use for quoting Mattogno's response.

[375] Carlo Mattogno on Belzec Archaeological Research - Part 5 and Conclusion.

[376] See section 4.6 of this riposte.

[377] See section 2 and section 4.1.

[378] As demonstrated in section 4.1.

[379] Mattogno, Belzec, page 101.

[380] As above, page 99.

[381] See Sergey Romanov’s article That's why it is denial, not revisionism. Part I: Deniers on Sonderkommando 1005.

[382] Regarding the decision to burn the bodies at Sobibor see the quotes in my article "But wait", the Ugly Voice's fans will say ….

[383] See note 353.

[384] This becomes apparent from both the Höfle report (see note 77) and from Ganzenmüller’s letter to Wolff of 28 July 1942, where it is stated that "Since 22 July one train per day with 5,000 Jews goes from Warsaw via Malkinia to Treblinka, as well as two trains per week with 5,000 Jews each, from Przemysl to Belzek" (emphasis added).

[385] See Mattogno’s own quotes from reports about the transport from Kolomea to Belzec on September 10-11, 1942, Belzec, pages 100/101; online transcription of one of the reports after Peter Longerich, Die Ermordung der europäischen Juden, Munich 1989 pp. 216f; Report of Wehrmachts Officer Wilhelm Cornides.

[386] Online page Casablanca Conference 1943.

[387] Online page MOSCOW CONFERENCE.

[388] Copied from the inside cover of Sandkühler, Endlösung (complete reference see note 101).

[389] Map of Sicily.

[390] Regarding the liquidation of the Zloczow ghetto, see my article What it was like.

[391] Frank Golczewski, "Polen", in: Benz et al, Dimensionen, pages 411-497, here: pages 470 ff., online transcription and translation.

[392] Trial of the Major War Criminals before the International Military Tribunal, Document 018-L, Volume XXXVII, online digital copy[large PDF], pages 391 and following, especially page 394: "Durch die Eigenart, dass das Handwerkertum in Galizien fast zu 90 % aus jüd. Arbeitskräften bestand, konnte die zu lösende Aufgabe nur Zug um Zug durkgeführt werden, da eine sofortige Entfernung nicht im Interesse der Kriegswirtschaft gelegen hätte." ("Due to the particulariety that craftsmanship in Galicia consisted almost 90 % of Jewish labor, the task to be solved could only be carried out step by step, as an immediate removal would not have been in the interest of war industry." - my translation).

[393] Endlösung, page 181.

[394] As above, pages 359/360.

[395] As above, page 181.

[396] As above, pages 183, 253, 354, 359.

[397] As above, page 459.

[398] As above, pages 198, 460.

[399] As above, page 460.

[400] As above, page 461.

[401] As above, page 460.

[402] As above.

[403] As above, pages 195, 461.

[404] As above, page 195.

[405] See ARC page Janowska.

[406] Sandkühler, Endlösung, page 183.

[407] As above, page 280. The "sand" was a large area behind the camp known as the Piaski sand hills, see source in note 405.

[408] Browning, Evidence, section 5.3.

[409] See online excerpts from Lochner, Louis, Ed., trans., The Goebbels Diaries, Doubleday & Company, New York, 1948.

[410] Browning, as note 408; see also ARC – page Lublin Ghetto.

[411] As note 409, March 27, 1942 (pp. 147-148).

[412] See ARC page Odilo Globocnik.

[413] Mattogno refers to a "critique of Hilberg" ("Raul Hilberg e i «centri di sterminio» nazionalsocialisti. Fonti e metodologia. 2008. 9. Goebbels e il presunto sterminio ebraico, pp. 38-39"), in which he supposedly demonstrated that the diary entry in question "has a meaning very different from that ascribed to it by Browning". Mattogno argues that the reference to 40 % of the Jews meant for forced labor contradicts the notion that Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka were wholesale extermination camps (it obviously didn’t occur to him that Goebbels was referring to the General Government's Jewish population as a whole, of which those able to work were at that time not yet earmarked for transportation to and killing in extermination camps – see section 4.1 of this riposte for details about the development of Nazi exterminatory policy). "Liquidated", in Mattogno’s cloud-cuckoo-land, does not mean what it all too obviously means (physical killing) but can be interpreted as transportation of Jews unable to work beyond the border of the General Government. And the conditions of transportation, which the sensitive Mr. Goebbels is supposed to have been referring to when he spoke of "a pretty barbaric procedure", were not so barbaric after all, according to Mattogno. Pathetic.

[414] Browning, as note 406, footnote 107, emphasis mine: "Türk Vermerk, 20.3.42, in YVA, O-53/79/476. (Krieshauptmann Weienmeyer hatte über den Endablauf der Aussiedlung noch nichts erfahren können; lediglich bekannt ist das Vorhandsein eines Sammellagers in einiger Entfernung von Bahnhof Belzec an der Distriktgrenze, das aber völlig abgeschlossen ist und die Ankunft eines SS-Kommandos von ca. 60 Mann.)". The neuter article "das" shows that the camp (the camp = das Lager, in German) and not the border is being referred to as "völlig abgeschlossen", i.e. "entirely closed off". If the border were being referred to, the article would be "die" instead of "das" (the border = die Grenze, in German).

[415] See ARC page Lviv Ghetto.

[416] That’s what they call him on this page.

[417] A term that Mattogno would do well to look up before throwing it around, e.g. on the Wikipedia page Black Propaganda.

[418] The Mad Revisionist, "Exposing the Dresden Deception" (a spoof).

[419] Among other Dresden myths exposed as such by German historian Götz Bergander, himself a survivor of the Dresden bombing; see Bergander, Dresden im Luftkrieg, 1994 Böhlau Verlag GmbH & Cie, Cologne, pages 186 ff. Introductory remark on pages 186/187: Tiefangriffe bei Nacht, Abregnen von Phosphor, amerikanische Tiefangriffe am Tage und dabei ein fast noch grösseres Blutbad – das sind, neben den gigantischen Flüchtlings- und Totenzahlen, die hartnäckigsten Legenden im Zusammenhang mit dem Untergang Dresdens. Sie sind entstanden, wie es üblich und wohl unvermeidlich ist: aus Gerüchten. Einer hat es dem anderen erzählt, einer hat es dann aufgeschrieben, und daraufhin hat es einer beim anderen abgeschrieben. Wer macht sich schon Mühe, zum eisernen Bestand gehörende Geschichten zu überprüfen? My translation: Low-flying attacks in the night, raining down of phosphorous, American low-flying attacks in the daytime leading to an almost even larger bloodbath – besides the gigantic numbers of refugees and dead these are the most stubborn myths in connection with the downfall of Dresden. They came into being the usual and inevitable way: through rumors. One told the other, then one wrote it down, and then one copied it from the other. After all who will make the effort of checking stories that are part of the standard account?

[420] Reinhard, pages 349f; online transcription.

[421] Mattogno, Belzec, page 36.

[422] See the ARC page Belzec Photos.

[423] See the THHP page Operation Reinhard Secrecy Oath.

[424] See the ARC page Treblinka Excavators - All Photos.

[425] Arad, Reinhard, page 350; online transcription.

[426] Nowe Tory (New Tracks), Bund newspaper, quoted in Arad, Reinhard, pages 242/243, online transcription.

[427] As note 420.

[428] Carlo Mattogno on Belzec Archaeological Research - Part 4 (1).

[429] Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (4,1).

[430] Belzec Mass Graves and Archaeology: My Response to Carlo Mattogno (5,1).

[431] As above.

[432] Helmut Heiber, "Der Generalplan Ost", in: VfZ Jahrgang 6 (1958), pages 281 to 325, online digital copy.

[433] As above, page 300: "Damit ergibt sich für die hier in Betracht kommenden Gebiete eine Gesamtbevölkerung von 51 Mill. Die Zahl der an sich nach dem Plan zu Evakuierenden dürfte damit tatsächlich größer sein als in dem Plan vorgesehen ist. Nur wenn man davon ausgeht, daß die etwa 5 bis 6 Mill. Juden, die in diesem Raume wohnen, schon vor der Evakuierung beseitigt sind, kommt man zu der in dem Plan erwähnten Ziffer von 45 Mill. Fremdvölkischen. Die Ausführungen des Planes ergeben jedoch, daß die Juden in den genannten 45 Mill. noch enthalten sind."

[434] As above, page 305: "Eine Aussiedlung der weiter in dem Plan genannten Juden erübrigt sich mit der Lösung der Judenfrage. Eine etwaige Überführung der nach Beendigung dieses Krieges noch verbleibenden Juden in Zwangsarbeitslager im nordrussischen oder sibirischen Raum ist keine 'Aussiedlung'. Es bleiben daher im folgenden von den für eine Aussiedlung in Betracht kommenden Fremdvölkern nur noch die Polen, Westukrainer (ob der Plan unter "Galiziern" Polen oder Ukrainer versteht, ist nicht ganz klar) und Weißruthenen zu besprechen."

[435] As above, page 308: "Daß man die Polenfrage nicht in dem Sinne lösen kann, daß man die Polen, wie die Juden, liquidiert, dürfte auf der Hand liegen. Eine derartige Lösung der Polenfrage würde das deutsche Volk bis in die ferne Zukunft belasten und uns überall die Sympathien nehmen, zumal auch die anderen Nachbarvölker damit rechnen müßten, bei gegebener Zeit ähnlich behandelt zu werden."

[436] As above, footnote 21 on page 308.

[437] Nuremberg Document NO-365, NO-996/97, online digital copy, transcription and translation.

[438] Chapter VIII, pages 233-273.

[439] Mattogno and Graf Screwed By Their Own Source.

[440] Among other works listed in a bibiliography prepared by Dr. Nick Terry: The mass extermination of Jews in German Occupied Poland. London : Published on behalf of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs by Hutchinson , 1942. 16p. FBP/K/30 [SPEC]: FRY PAMPHLETS; Apenszlak, Jacob (ed.), The Black Book of Polish Jewry, American Federation for Polish Jews, New York 1943; Hitler’s ten-year war on the Jews : [published by the] Institute of Jewish Affairs of the American Jewish Congress, World Jewish Congress / [edited by] Boris Shub. New York, 1943. [iii], 311 p. : tables. D810.J4 S56 – published August 26, 1943.

[441] Mattogno & Graf, Treblinka, page 268. The authors praise the section of Kulisher's book about "the expulsion and evacuation of Jews" as being "written with scientific exactitude" and "undergirded by a copious documentation".

[442] Kulischer, Eugene M., The Displacement of Population in Europe. Published by the International Labour Office, Montreal 1943 (hereinafter "Kulisher, Displacement"), pages 110/111: (emphasiss added) "But, generally speaking, deportation to the east is for the Jews the equivalent of the recruitment for work in the Reich to which the rest of the population of German controlled Europe is subject, and their removal further and further eastward is doubtless connected with the need for supplying the army's requirements near the front. For the Polish ghettos are not the last stage in the forced eastward migration of the Jewish people. On 20 November 1941, the Governor General, Hans Frank, broadcast the information that the Polish Jews would ultimately be transferred further east. Since the summer of 1942 the ghettos and labour camps in the German occupied Eastern Territories have become the destination of deportees both from Poland and from western and central Europe; in particular, a new large-scale transfer from the Warsaw ghetto has been reported.2 Many of the deportees have been sent to the labour camps on the Russian front; others to work in the marshes of Pinsk, or to the ghettos of the Baltic countries, Bielorussia and the Ukraine."

[443] Kulisher, Displacement, page 110, footnote 2.

[444]As above, page 111.

[445] Digital scan and translation on the THHP site, page 10: "The first large resettlement action took place in the period from 22 July to 3 October 1942. In this action 310,322 Jews were removed."

[446] See note 384: "Since 22 July one train per day with 5,000 Jews goes from Warsaw via Malkinia to Treblinka,…".

[447] Displacement, pages 106/107, emphasis added: "Before the German invasion, Yugoslavia had a Jewish population of 80,000 citizens and 6,000 refugees. With the invasion, many Jews fled into neighbouring countries. Thirty thousand remained in the new State of Croatia and 8,000 to 9,000 in Serbia, some of them having escaped into the mountains. In May 1942 the Grenzbote (Bratislava) announced that only 6,000 Jews remained in Croatia. Some 3,000 succeeded in escaping to Italian-controlled Yugoslav territory and Italy. 1 All those who remained in Serbia were either exterminated or deported, mostly to Poland or to the Pilsen district in the Protectorate.2"; page 111, empases added: "It is hardly possible to distinguish how far the changes in the Jewish population of the General Government are due to deportation and how far they are attributable to "ordinary" mortality1 and extermination. Moreover, the number of Jews remaining in the General Government is in any case uncertain.2"

[448] Mattogno &Graf, Treblinka, pages 269 to 273.

[449] See note 442.

[450] Displacement, page 4, emphases added: "Even so far as the total volume of the movements is concerned, the information available does not always give a clear picture of the situation, especially for the most recent period. In many cases statistical information from official or semi-official sources is obtainable, for instance in respect of the resettlement of German populations and the recruitment of workers in the countries under German control. In other cases, however, there are only estimates from indirect sources, and those which appear to be the most trustworthy have been selected from the data available. As it is clearly impossible at the present juncture to make a strict statistical study of the population movements concerned, all that has been attempted is a preliminary inventory of the available material."

[451] Treblinka, page 268.

[452] Kulisher, Eugene M., Europe on the Move: War and Population Changes, 1917-47. New York: Colombia U P, 1948. Some excerpts, courtesy of Dr. Nick Terry: "More than 30,000,000 Europeans were transplanted, deported or dispersed between the outbreak of the war and te beginning of 1943. This total includes millions of uprooted Jews, of whom about 1,500,000 escaped Nazi rule, some 300,000 through emigration overseas and to neutral countries and the remainder through evacuation to the interior of the Soviet Union . Up to the end of the war more than 5,000,000 Jews were deported to extermination camps in Poland and elsewhere. Almost all perished." (p. 264); "Two and one half million Jews [of the Soviet Union] were exterminated." (p. 276); "The practice of exterminating the peaceful population of conquered countries became obsolete many centuries ago. The Germans restored this practice on a scale never before recorded. The main victims were the Jews. Of 5.5 million exterminated Jews, nearly 3 million Jews were nationals or residents of European countries and territories lying now outside the Soviet Union." (p. 279).

[453] Juliane Wetzel, "Frankreich und Belgien" in: Benz et al, Dimensionen des Völkermords, pages 105 to 135.

[454] Mattogno (Belzec, page 103) attributes this note to Fritz Reuter, "an employee of the Department of Population and Welfare in the Office of the Governor General for the District of Lublin". According to Browning (Evidence, section 5.3), the author was Richard Türk of the Lublin district's Department of Population and Welfare (footnote 106: Türk Vermerk, 17.3.42, in YVA, O-53/79/470-1, printed in: DiM, II, 32-33.).

[455] Arad, Reinhard, pp. 383-389; Sandkühler’s map of the Galicia District in 1943, as note 388.

[456] Nuremberg Document 2233- D-PS, official translation in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression Volume 1 Chapter XII - The Persecution of the Jews .

[457] Sergey Romanov, If they're the best, what about the rest?.

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