Saturday, September 07, 2013

Revisionist Article on Hydrogen Cyanide Chemistry Rejected by Peer Reviewed Journals

Germar Rudolf and Nick Kollerstrom recently released an article Differential Exposure of Brickwork to Hydrogen Cyanide during World War Two in Richard Widmann's non-peer reviewed Revisionist journal "Inconvenient History". The paper was previously rejected by the peer-reviewed journals "Analyst" and  "Chemistry - a European Journal".

The given reason for the straight away rejection by the editor of "Chemistry" (not "likely to attract a wider readership") is not incomprehensible.

Revisionists themselves consider their work a hot topic, but looking outside their little circle world, cyanide concentrations in brickwork ruins are of no particular interest within the scientific community and cannot expect to generate significant citations for the journals. The paper can be arguably seen as "too specialized for the general readership of Chemistry - A European Journal" and was consequently "returned to the authors without further external review (ca. 25%)" (from the author's guidelines of the journal).

The journal Analyst rejected it because "it did not have enough about analysis" (quote Widmann). The article is in fact not much more than comparing cyanide testing results in Auschwitz brickwork from the 90s and asking for enhanced analytical methods. Not exactly "analytical and bioanalytical research that reports premier fundamental discoveries and inventions, and the applications of those discoveries" as demanded by the journal.

Another problem would have been likely pointed out if the paper had made it into the peer review process. It is hard to see or has not been clearly emphasized what new essential findings Rudolf and Kollerstrom are reporting that have not been published previously in the Rudolf Report and subsequent publications.

And so the fact remains that - unlike 9/11 conspiracy theorists - Holocaust denier have not placed a paper in an academic peer-reviewed journal.

To make it clear, the peer review process as such does not guarantee a flawless scientific paper. It means that there is a good chance that the manuscript has been critically examined and questioned by people who are considered suitable experts on a related field by the editors of the journal. However, a paper not submitted for peer review was not critically read by other experts - or at least we have no reason to believe it was.

Now, what is interesting for me is that the article is much more carefully worded and cautious in its conclusions than most of their previous takes on chemical arguments (my emphasis):

Assuming for the sake of argument that the analytical results are reliable, only two options remain: either these other buildings exhibited unfavorable conditions for the formation of these compounds during the war years, or they were not at all or only rarely exposed to HCN, presumably for delousing of the respective premises...All other buildings of that camp where samples have been taken have much lower levels of total cyanide, if any. The reason for this has yet to be agreed upon scientifically.

Most importantly, Rudolf and Kollerstrom are not forcing the conclusion anymore that it has been demonstrated by chemical considerations that no homicidal gassings as reported have been carried out in the crematoria. They accept the possibility that the conditions may have been unfavourable for Prussian Blue formation.

This is striking different to for example Rudolf's claim in his Rudolf Report (2011 edition, not too long ago) that

On physical-chemical grounds, the mass gassings with hydrogen cyanide (Zyklon B) in the supposed “gas chambers” of Auschwitz claimed by witnesses did not take place.

Elsewhere Rudolf already relativated the impact of chemical arguments ("a high probability that the eyewitness statements about mass gassings are false"), but which is still a stronger statement.

Or Kollerstrom's claim that

Let's face it, the case is established: the cyanide poison...was not used where the US and UK (at Nuremberg) alleged.

A paradigm change in the Revisionist community? Or they bend over backwards, refrained for the moment from what they actually conclude and polished the article just to make it more acceptable? 

According to Kollerstrom, Rudolf "hoped that that might help the article to gain acceptance", but it is unclear whether "that" is referring only to "further sampling of the walls" or also to the adoption of "a somewhat sceptical tone".

1 comment:

  1. So the way my simple brain tries to understand this, Rudolf and friends tried to submit a slightly modified and more carefully worded Rudolf report to a scientific journal so that a broader peer review can happen, and to request more attention to truly solve the claim that HCN gas causes PB, but the journal's editor rejected it.

    Holocaust defenders celebrate this as denier material not receiving a peer review, but as a defender myself, I rather point out and want to focus on the fact that the issue still remains that we have not conclusively been able to solve the prussian blue matter once and for all.

    Chemists Dr. Richard Green, Josef Bailer and the Krakow Institute have offered the following explanations in their refutations to the Rudolf report as to why PB did not form in the gas chambers while it did in the delousing chambers:

    1) the fact that trace amounts of cyanide compounds did form is proof enough as to the homicidal nature of the chamber

    2) 4 decades of weathering, i.e. the ruins being exposed to the elements while the interior of the delousing chamber, was not.

    3) Deniers chiseling horizontally into the wall while taking samples (as seen in the video, at least the Leuchter samples), therefore diluting the PB samples as PB shouldnt form more than a few microns into the brickwork

    4) The walls being hosed down with water to clean human excrement and blood after a gassing compared to the delousing chamber, where this was not needed, and water prevents PB from forming

    5) the visible PB in the delousing chamber is paint residue

    6) 300ppm enough to kill warm-blooded humans while 16,000ppm is needed to kill cold-blooded lice

    7) PH values: the gas chamber walls are ph neutral, which makes it harder for PB to form than an acidic environment

    8) Longer exposure times (a gassing took 20 minutes approx. while delousing took hours, if not more than a day)

    9) iron cyanide compounds are not a reliable indicator of cyanide.

    Apart from 8), Rudolf has addressed the above refutations also summarized in his video "Auschwitz- the missing cyanide". I would like to hear from the experts whether his rebuttals to the rebuttals are sound, or not.


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