Tuesday, June 09, 2015

Personal Notes on how Jansson treats early reports from Treblinka (Jonathan Harrison)

Back in 2007, Roberto posted “The Stroop Report is a Forgery” (Part 4) which included a comprehensive account by Edelman, published in the 1980s, of how the Warsaw ghetto confirmed that extermination was taking place at Treblinka. This is the relevant part of the quote:

So that we might learn conclusively and in detail about the fate of the human transports leaving the ghetto, Zalmen Frydrych (Zygmunt) was ordered to follow one of the transports to the "Aryan side". His journey "to the East", however, was a short one, for it took only three days. Immediately after leaving the ghetto walls he established contact with an employee of the Warsaw Danzig [Gdanski] Terminal working on the Warsaw--Malkinia line. They travelled together in the transport's wake to Sokolow where, Zygmunt was told by local railroad men, the tracks forked out, one branch leading to Treblinka. It proved that every day a freight train carrying people from Warsaw travelled in that direction and invariably returned empty. No transports of food were ever seen on this line. Civilians were forbidden to approach the Treblinka railroad station.

This in itself was conclusive proof that the people brought to Treblinka were being exterminated somewhere in the vicinity. In addition, Zygmunt met two fugitives from the death camp the following morning. They were two Jews, completely stripped of their clothes, and Zygmunt met them on the Sokolow market place and obtained the full details of the horrible procedure. Thus it was not any longer a question of rumours, but of facts established by eyewitness accounts (one of the fugitives was our comrade Wallach).

After Zygmunt's return we published the second issue of On Guard with a detailed description of Treblinka. But even now the population stubbornly refused to believe the truth. They simply closed their eyes to the unpleasant facts and fought against them with all the means at their disposal.

The publication to which Edelman refers is, I believe, the issue of Oyf der Wach [this name has various spellings] dated September 20th, 1942. Jansson discusses the Oyf der Wach issue in this blog piece but downplays it as being far more minor than the report of November 15, 1942, which contains the "steam room" description. Whilst it is less detailed than the later report, it was certainly not a minor piece, as shown by Edelman's recall so many decades later. Furthermore, Jansson omits the fact that the Oyf der Wach article mentions gassing and electricity, but not steam, as Jansson would have seen on page 245 of Arad: 
The bath was actually a house of murder. The floor in this barrack opened up and the people fell into a machine. According to the opinion of some of those who escaped, the people in the barrack were gassed. According to another opinion, they were killed by electrical current.

The German text of the same document is printed from page 443 here

It is known that Zalmen Frydrych (Zygmunt) returned to Warsaw "on the sixth day of the deportation" [Report from the Jewish Workers Underground Movement · 22 June 1943], which would be 27.7.42, two months before Rabinowicz is quoted by Lewin as mentioning "steam". This would seem to refute any notion (which Jansson appears to imply) that steam preceded or exceeded gassing as the method claimed in the sources.

Jansson is also apparently unaware that Oyf der Wach was published by the Bund, whereas the Rabinowicz testimony and the November 15th report were produced by Oneg Shabbat.

Most importantly of all, Jansson omits the fact that Nick Terry quoted the Oyf der Wach extract, including the reference to gassing on pages 60-61 of the Critique. Moreover, Jansson ignores how the four preceding pages of Nick's chapter included an account of how the Armia Krajowa had heard about gassing in August. Jansson has thus:

a) Mischaracterized the Oyf der Wach article, omitting its discussion of gassing

b) Omitted the discussion of that article in the Critique

c) Overlooked the significance of the Oyf der Wach article in the timeline concerning the Warsaw ghetto's publication of Treblinka accounts. 

d) Overlooked the accounts of gassing that had already been disseminated in August 1942.

Update 10.6.2015 Jansson's latest effort shows his failure to grasp logic:
Within a few days of the onset of deportations from Warsaw there were reports that the resettlers were going to their death.[42] What killing method would be claimed took some time to determine.

Jansson fails to explain why this should be unusual. It was easy to determine that Jews were being killed, from the fact that masses of Jews were entering the camp daily but never leaving, and that some of the escapees were gravediggers. It was far harder to determine how they were being killed, because nobody was being given a grand tour of the killing facilities. 

Jansson is also still blissfully unaware that two organizations were involved in gathering the information, the Bund and OS, and their sources were different. Of course the sources were imperfect, because nobody had direct access to a gassing engine and there were three different ways to infer what could be seen or heard indirectly. Thus we get gas, electricity and steam. No sane person should be surprised that such a range would exist in 1942-43, or that it would take time for the real method to emerge. This is indeed acknowledged by Ringelblum, whose final entries focus on the range of information coming in - "gas, steam, electricity." Only deniers would find that odd in 1942-43.    


  1. Apart from his pointless "Nick Terry got it wrong" nitpicking, what point does Jansson think can make with his "steam chamber" spectacle?

    Independently of how this inaccurate account of the killing method at Treblinka came into being (whether it was the account of a witness who saw but didn't understand the procedure, or the conjecture of someone who saw Jews entering but never leaving Treblinka, or the rumor mill, or an invention by someone who had every reason to assume that Jews were being murdered at Treblinka based on information he had received from various sources, and wanted to add some drama by claiming a particularly horrible form of killing, or whatever else), the existence of this inaccurate description of the killing method doesn't change the facts that

    a) the actual method of mass killing at the AR camps was as described by knowledgeable witnesses, namely operators of gassing engines or mechanics or others who installed or serviced such engines or were otherwise familiar with them,

    b) all known eyewitness, documentary, demographic and physical evidence points to the AR camps having been places of mass killing, and not "transit camps", and

    c) "Revisionists" have to this day not been able to produce a consistent, evidence backed account of their "transit camps" version of events, even though such evidence should be plentiful for reasons explained for instance here and here. In 72 years since the AR camps were closed down, these pathetic losers haven’t been able to produce even a single name of a Jew who was "transited" through these camps to the RK Ostland, the RK Ukraine or the Soviet territories under German military administration, even though such names would be all over the place if such "transit" had taken place.

    Considering the above, Jansson might as well argue against the factuality of the Dresden bombing on 13/14 February 1945 on account of demonstrably mistaken or even preposterous accounts about meter-high waves on the Elbe, phosphor raining down from the sky and setting everything on fire, fighter planes strafing refugees inside the burning city at night (a physical impossibility), and other legends gratefully passed on by storytellers and "bombing Holocaust" propagandists and partially believed by lots of people including survivors of the bombing to this day, despite detailed refutations by historians like Götz Bergander, who Jansson is familiar with.

  2. I've been in discussion with the esteemed Mr. Ford on this matter.

    Basically, on the matter of the steam garbage, all uses of that method can be traced back to one Jacob Rabinowicz. The OS interviewed him after his escape from TII in September, thus setting off the "steam" domino trail.

    What few know is that the Bund investigation of TII that leads to the article mentioned above predated the OS report by at least a month or two.

    So what we have here is two lines of evidence.

    Line 1: Bund article - incorporating some material from II/298 (on the air raids), originated in July I believe.

    Line 2: Rabinowicz - OS - Black Book of Polish Jewry - that FUCKING report submitted to the IMT.

    All of this is irrelevant IMO because the Vendel report, produced by someone in the know to a completely neutral third party, mentions gas as the killing method and predates all of this.


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