Thursday, June 25, 2015

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (6)

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (1)

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (2)

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (3)

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (4)

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (5.1)

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (5.2)

On "Revisionist" error nitpicking (7)

In another of his misfires, with the title Memo for the controversial bloggers, part Vc: Herbert Floss, Treblinka, and pyre systems based on pits, Jansson starts out on the wrong foot by misrepresenting an assumption of mine regarding the Treblinka cremation structures.

Referring to p. 446f of the HC critique, Jansson claims that
Discussing Treblinka, Muehlenkamp argues (p. 446f) that the cremations took place in a pit, which he believes helped in attaining especially favorable results.
In(side) a pit Mr. Jansson?

What I wrote on p. 446f of the HC critique and in this blog is the following (emphases added):
The presence of a pit underneath the grid, in which a fire was made in order to set the corpses on the grid on fire, also becomes apparent from the description provided by Ukrainian guard Pavel Vladimirovich Leleko:

[…] Details about the construction of the grid were also mentioned in the judgment at the 1st Düsseldorf Treblinka trial (Kurt Franz et al)35

[…] A comparison between Leleko's description and the ones contained in the above-mentioned Düsseldorf judgments suggests that the "furnaces" mentioned by Leleko were subdivisions of the pit by concrete blocks placed at certain intervals across the pit, which gave this witness the impression that each part of the pit between its ends and a concrete block or in between concrete blocks, in which fire was burning, was a "furnace". The description in the first Düsseldorf judgment suggests that the concrete blocks stood 70 cm above ground, which can be matched with Leleko’s description by assuming that these were either blocks 1.70 meters high placed inside the pit and protruding from the pit for 70 cm, or blocks 70 cm high placed on the rims of the pit, the distance between the bottom of the rails and the bottom of the pit being, in any case, 1.70 meters.
So I’m not talking about cremations in(side) a pit here, but about cremations on an above-ground grate structure placed on top of a pit.

This also becomes clear from further passages of the critique, e.g. the following on p. 464 (emphases added; the same passage is in the blog Mattogno, Graf & Kues on Aktion Reinhard(t) Cremation (2)):
As concerns Treblinka, the above-quoted descriptions of the cremation devices in the judgments at the Düsseldorf trials of Treblinka commandant Franz Stangl and Treblinka staff members Kurt Franz et al, and by Ukrainian guard Pavel Vladimirovich Leleko, mention a pit underneath the grid in which a fire was lit in order to set the corpses on the grid on fire. The procedure adopted at Treblinka seems to have been similar to those of Dr. Lothes & Dr. Profé's experiments in which the carcass was placed on a pit above ground, except that at Treblinka there was a space between the bottom of the grid and the top of the pit, corresponding to the above-ground height of the concrete blocks mentioned by Leleko and at the trial of Franz et al.
It beggars belief that Jansson, who seems to have gone through the critique (especially my chapters) with a fine toothcomb in search of errors to nitpick about, should have misunderstood the above-quoted and other passages as referring to cremation in(side) a pit at Treblinka. Nevertheless I’ll be generous and assume that Jansson has serious reading comprehension problems but did not, at least on this occasion, mean to set up a straw-man to argue against.

The assumption that there was a pit underneath the grate is not only mine, as Jansson well knows. Such pit is also mentioned in the judgment at the trial of Franz Stangl (LG Düsseldorf, 22.12.1970), and in Sara Berger’s account of cremation procedures at Treblinka on pp. 211-213 of Experten der Vernichtung. Berger mentions a flache Grube, i.e. a shallow pit, which is in line with my above-quoted considerations regarding the pit’s depth. She also mentions a tiefe Grube, a deep pit, in which the SS initially carried out the cremations, without much success even when special ventilators were used to improve air supply.

Now, what has Jansson got to offer against the evidence that led the LG Düsseldorf, Sara Berger and me to conclude that the final, essentially successful cremation structure at Treblinka was an above-ground grate placed on top of a pit?

First of all, a shot in his own foot, as he bemoans the limited extent to which eyewitnesses from among the camp inmates "tell a coherent story of the cremations at all". If there’s not much of a coherent "story" in eyewitness testimonies, this suggests the at least partially confused recollections of traumatized eyewitnesses testifying independently of each other, as opposed to the prepared and coordinated statements of inveterate liars that would presumably correspond to Jansson’s articles of faith, for such prepared and coordinated statements would certainly have been more coherent.

Then there’s Abraham Goldfarb:
In September 1944, Abraham Goldfarb stated that initial attempts at cremation made in February 1943 using a system involving a pit and forced air had very limited success, but that when the cremations were moved out of pits onto ground level (an innovation he attributed to a certain Scharführer who arrived from another camp, presumably identifiable with Herbert Floss), they proceeded much more successfully.[121] Thus according to Goldfarb, Floss’ innovation was not to bring the grid into the right position (as Muehlenkamp would have it) in a cremation system based on a pit, but to remove the cremations from pits altogether.
No contradiction here with the notion that the final structure was an above-ground grate placed on top of a pit containing flammable material, in which the corpses were burned above ground level, as opposed to being burned inside a pit as had been attempted before. Next.
Pinchas Epstein also gave testimony to the failure of an initial cremation system based on a grid in a pit, and the ultimate replacement of this system with a new one devised by Herbert Floss.[122]
Again, no contradiction. Not that it would help Jansson’s argument, but did Epstein (apparently unlike Goldfarb) really mention a grid inside a pit? Let’s have a comprehensive quote from his testimony, please. Next.
Yankiel Wiernik and Chil Rajchman also gave accounts of the failure of an initial cremation system.
No contradiction. Next.
At the Fedorenko trial, Epstein even testified that the cremation was carried out with a mobile apparatus:
This burning structure was a movable affair and could move to wherever it was needed. For example, to burn the bodies from pit number three, they moved it and set it up close to number three and burned the bodies from there.[124]

Evidently a “movable affair” like the one Epstein described cannot have been based on a system involving a pit.
Why not? Shallow pits could be dug at various places, and the movable elements of the structure (the rails making up the grate and the supports on which the grate rested) could be moved from one such pit to another. No contradiction.

Jansson ends his blog with this pearl:
Muehlenkamp’s fantasy that it was Herbert Floss’ expertise concerning the efficiencies of cremation in a pit that allowed the Germans to achieve such unexampled results in mass cremation must be rejected even on the basis of the Jewish Treblinka testimonies.
Muehlenkamp said nothing about Floss expertise being cremation in(side) a pit, as Jansson well knows.

And I also didn’t attribute those supposedly "unexampled" results in mass cremation (which actually have mass cremation parallels on the Dresden Altmarkt and individual cremation parallels in Lothes & Profe’s cremation experiments and the Mokshda Green Cremation Sytem) to "the efficiencies of cremation in a pit", as Jansson is also aware of.

Unless, of course, one is to assume that he also missed or failed to understand what I wrote on pp. 467-68 of the critique (emphasis added):
Aggarwal’s "raised human-sized brazier" may have achieved a ratio of 100 kg of wood vs. 70 kg of corpse = 1.43:1, and the carcass-burning experiments I to III conducted by Dr. Lothes and Dr. Profé in the early 20th Century (the comparatively less fuel-efficient of their experiments) achieved an average ratio of 0.56:1. Descriptions of the burning process at Sobibor actually suggest a similarity to the more fuel-efficient of Dr. Lothes & Dr. Profé’s experiments, the ones at which a ratio of 0.48:1 was achieved.[…]

Therefore the ratio of 0.56:1 that the veterinarians achieved in the comparatively less fuel-efficient of their experiments – ignoring the possibility of a lower ratio at Sobibor, for good measure – shall in the following be considered as the likely expression of wood or wood-equivalent expenditure on cremation grids at Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka and Chełmno, as soon as they had been properly arranged.
0.56:1, as Jansson well knows, is the average fuel to carcass mass ratio in those of L&P’s experiments in which the carcass was above ground on a grate atop a pit, and not the one in the experiments with the carcass inside a pit (on top of a grate over a smaller pit dug from the bottom of the larger pit). Should I also be generous and assume reading comprehension problems here, or should I assume that Jansson is (once more) arguing against better knowledge? Our readers may decide.

Funny to see Jansson trying to support his claims with the testimonies of eyewitnesses he otherwise dismisses as unreliable from start to finish, by the way. Could it be that it has not occurred to him what the essential correctness of these eyewitnesses’ accounts, which he is inferring here, implies for his articles of faith?

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