Monday, March 13, 2017

A Charge of Forgery Supported by Forgery: The Smearing of a Genuine Auschwitz Photo

a guest post by Andras Szilagyi

[An introductory note by Sergey Romanov: as I was browsing through the denier accounts on Twitter, I noticed that a new wild denier "theory" has appeared regarding the famous Auschwitz Sonderkommando photos (whose authenticity is not in any doubt despite the denier allegations). Turns out the CODOH zombies discussed it too, in all earnestness. I also found a very neat refutation of this claim on a Hungarian skeptics blog, asked the author if I could re-blog it here and got the permission. This case shows once again that there is no half-baked, harebrained conspiracy scheme that the deniers won't latch onto in order to deny the proven facts of history.]

Unsurprisingly, the process of industrial-scale genocide perpetrated in the Auschwitz death camp has been documented only by a few photographs taken on the spot. The exceptions include four photographs clandestinely taken by a few members of the Sonderkommando, the prisoners forced to dispose of the huge amount of corpses coming from the gas chambers. The photos were smuggled out of the camp in a tube of toothpaste, along with an accompanying letter. Out of the four photos, the best known is this one, showing the area of an open-air burning pit behind Crematorium V:

The photo shows the members of the Sonderkommando doing their job around the cremation pit. Smoke rises from the pit, and plenty of corpses to be cremated lie all around.

The photo has been known since 1945. Although its original negative is lost, a number of contact prints can be found in the Auschwitz Museum, along with a large print over 18 inches wide. There is also a version with lower contrast, where more details can be discerned.

Holocaust deniers question the genuinity of most Auschwitz photos. However, they used to have only a few objections regarding this photo, except trying to argue about the number of corpses, their seemingly unusual anatomical positions and the causes of their death. Recently, however, a new suggestion appeared in a few holocaust deniers' forums. Someone watched an episode of Ghost Adventures, a paranormal television series on Travel Channel, and noticed that a photo showing surprising similarity to the Auschwitz photo was presented as an illustration of a 1912 train accident that occured near Dresden, Ohio:
However, the photo presented in the programme shows much fewer corpses than the Auschwitz photo; or maybe they are not even corpses but some debris or train wreckage. Immediately, the charge was raised that the Auschwitz photo is in fact fake; it is a modified version of what is actually a photo of an 1912 Ohio train accident.

Let's examine this claim! In this episode of Ghost Adventures, titled Prospect Place, several photos are presented (around 9:00 minutes) to illustrate the train accident:
train1.jpg train2.jpg
We can use Google's image search which has the nice feature that we can upload an image and search by it. Thus, we can upload screenshots from the episode and find corresponding images on the net. In a few seconds, it turns out that the first image is actually a photo of a Texas train accident (Bowie, TX) while the second one is that of a California train accident. Besides, others have already noticed that the photos of burn victims shown in the episode are actually modified versions of photos of Hiroshima bomb victims.

It is obvious, then, that Ghost Adventures didn't present photos of the actual 1912 Ohio train accident. The crew probably used Google's image search to find old photos to illustrate the topic, and they modified them to fit their needs. We cannot really blame them for this; after all, this is not a historical documentary. It is a paranormal show for entertainment purposes. The train accident is not the main topic of the episode, and these photos are only shown for a few seconds.

However, it is still possible that the photo shown in Ghost Adventures is the original one (possibly indeed showing a train accident), and the Auschwitz photo was created by modifying it. This is somewhat doubtful, though, as there seems to be no reason why an inward-curving barbed-wire fence would be set up along railroad tracks. Besides, we haven't been able to find on the net a copy of the photo shown in Ghost Adventures with a date earlier than 2010 (this particular episode was first aired in January 2010).

But let's examine the two photos more closely! There are a lot more corpses in the Auschwitz photo. Was the original photo the one shown in Ghost Adventures, and more corpses were added later to obtain the Auschwitz photo? Or the Auschwitz photo is the original, and most of the corpses were removed to create the version seen in Ghost Adventures?

Carefully examining the patterns of the ground in the lower part of the photos, it can be seen that some patterns are exactly repeated in the Ghost Adventures photo. These same patterns can also be found in the Auschwitz photo, but they are not repeated:
The upper image is the one shown in Ghost Adventures, and the lower one is the Auschwitz photo. Rectangles with the same color enclose identical portions of the images.

There is thus no doubt that the Auschwitz photo is the original one. The other photo was created by digitally removing most of the corpses by copying and repeating portions of the ground. Most likely, this editing job was done by the Ghost Adventures crew. They probably didn't do it for fraud. It was very unfortunate, however, that they couldn't find anything else but an iconic Auschwitz photo to illustrate a train accident, and they even adjusted it to fit their needs. And of course, it is no surprise that the extreme confirmation bias of holocaust deniers led them to jump to conclusions, immediately proclaiming that it must be the Auschwitz photo that is fake.

The location where the photo was taken can be easily identified, and its genuinity is supported by its match to the present view of the place. What's more, a British aerial photograph taken in August 1944 shows dense smoke rising from exactly the place where the photo was taken.


  1. You gotta love how CODOH zombies always fall into the trap of their own stupidity.

    Here's them discussing this article:

    Jonnie "Hannover" Hargis:

    "Upfront I will state that I believe they are ALL clumsy forgeries which have blown up in 'The 'holocaust Industry's face,"

    Yet Stupid Jonnie provides no evidence of them all being forgeries. But of course that's what he "believes". We are not to question his religious dogma.

    Another zombie chimes in:

    > by hermod » 16 hours 29 minutes ago (Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:08 pm)

    > March 2017? New wild denier theory? Are there still "deniers" claiming that the pic in Ghost Adventures is a photo of the 1912 train accident in Dresden, Ohio? What's next? Young researcher Jean-Claude Pressac defeats deniers with brand new discoveries???

    The embarrassment about the exposed underbelly of the zombie-level denial is palpable. "I, was young, I was just experimenting".

    And obviously the zombie is not up to date with the twitter, where types like this one are all the rage:

    Jonnie "Hannover" Hargis with more comedy stuff:

    "Of course 'holocaustcontroversies' & onetruth ignore the fake window, a prop placed in front of a faked photo for dramatic purposes, compare these two:

    from Zionist controlled Wikipedia*, not that TV show:


    but then compare this laughable dead giveaway:"

    Of course, Silly Jonnie once again provides no evidence of any "fake window" or another prop. The only thing he posts is the SK photo with a bit of *another* SK photo (the one with the bathing women) on the left side:

    Were the idiot not so ignorant, he would have spared himself some embarrassment.

    The harebrained Jonnie then hallucinates "laughable rubber armed Jews" nowhere to be seen on the photos, as well as "fake spaghetti women", which are nowhere to be seen on the original (nobody forced Jonnie boy to use the retouched versions and retouched versions don't disprove the originals).

    He then utters something he probably thinks is very deep and clever: "Their claiming 'The TV show digitally removed corpses' is beyond desperate. They would have no reason to bother, makes zero sense, compare these:"

    This ignores that the show did fake a photo and use it, as proven in the article.

    Borjastick, an especially dumb individual, offers this bit of wisdom:

    "I still think this photo, if taken at all at Auschwitz, was taken later in 1945 after liberation."

    Too bad he has no evidence for this wild claim.

  2. Isn't the burden of proof on the accuser, not the accused? Presupposing that Russel's proverbial teapot is actually based in unquestionable truth, and that the onus is on the shoulders of the accused, isn't an argument. That image is legitimate, but using ad hominem attacks and shifting the burden of proof isn't an argument. If the question is: "is the photo real or fake", those who are impartial and do not cast positive/negative conclusions on the image are not beholden to the burden of proof.

  3. Yes, the burden of proof is on the deniers since historians have met their thousandfold.

  4. A moron is spouting incoherent, offtopic gibberish as usual. The post was about how the Auschwitz Sonderkommando photo was modified and presented as something other than it was. The Moron's gibberish has no relevance or bearing on this topic whatsoever. He's illiterate, and ignorant.

  5. In what way have they met the burden of proof? Just citing demographic changes does not cement the feasibility of the methodology, and if drawing comparisons using modern technology or verifying the feasibility and finding different results that directly contradict the official claims are observed, you change the claims to match the facts, not the other way around.
    Euphemisms and telegrams, likewise, don't cement the absolute truth of the claims, either. The Soviet government also sent telegrams of their miraculous successes, but we do not appeal solely to the authority of the claim, but to the content and validity of the claim itself.
    Or that individuals claim to have seen it occur, while we simultaneously dismiss claims of the Loch Ness monster sightings because we can't be asked to rely on such flimsy evidence; also playing into this is the fallacy of numbers (that if more people say the truth, it makes it more "true" somehow: on this topic, when Einstein was told of the publication of a book entitled, '100 Authors Against Einstein', he replied: "Why one hundred? If I were wrong, one would have been enough.").

    I also appreciate the intellectual honesty and sound-proof arguments of Nathan, really makes you think, calling people morons sure is a coherent debate tactic.

  6. The Sonderkommando picture/s are genuine and depict the burning of bodies after a gassing operation. The "ghost adventures" crew edited it to make it appear like something else, and the Deniers repeat the mistake. The moron can try to derail all he wants, but that's a fact.

    -really makes you think, calling people morons sure is a coherent debate tactic.-

    You are a moron, and a liar too. Go fuck yourself.

    I believe this moron was banned before. Can he be banned again? It's clear what he's trying to do: the Deniers lied about the SK photo, and he's trying to distract from that fact by spoutig off topic crap.

  7. > In what way have they met the burden of proof?

    By writing documented history.

    > Just citing demographic changes does not cement the feasibility of the methodology,

    That's not what historians do though.

    > Or that individuals claim to have seen it occur, while we simultaneously dismiss claims of the Loch Ness monster sightings because we can't be asked to rely on such flimsy evidence

    Because all eyewitness statements are equal to those of the Loch Ness monster sightings. What circus have you escaped from?

  8. I already ceded that the image itself was accurate, but on it's own acting standalone, that isn't an argument for what you are claiming. In short, you need more evidence.
    "You are a moron, and a liar too. Go fuck yourself."

    "I believe this moron was banned before."

    When all else fails, ask for the opposition to be banned and call them idiots.

    If the claims you are making are so obvious, better to make them directly instead of dancing around the issue making ad-homs all day, eh?

  9. -but on its own acting standalone-

    Except it is not acting "standalone". It's part of a convergence of evidence proving mass murder by gassing.

  10. In fact, examples of auch convergence are cited in the fucking article, especially the RAF air photo matching the location. The moron is just being a troll, as usual

  11. "It's part of a convergence of evidence proving mass murder by gassing."
    "examples of auch convergence are cited in the fucking article, especially the RAF air photo matching the location."
    Again, the point of contention is not the image itself, but the efficacy of the image assisting the other assertions. The standards of evidence are deliberately lowered for your worldview and non-arguments are now allowed into the realm of discourse because the more you repeat them, the more "true" they become.
    Also nice ad homs, but it still isn't an argument.

  12. Who said I was "arguing" with you? Lmao. I'm stating facts and citing evidence. You're a lying piece of shit troll. Ad homs are all you deserve and get.

    Go fuck yourself.

  13. "Who said I was "arguing" with you? Lmao. I'm stating facts and citing evidence"
    Conjecture and speculation while skipping past all the hard parts of, you know, actually providing evidence that isn't flimsy or not accepted for other arguments isn't factual.
    "Ad homs are all you deserve and get.

    Go fuck yourself."

    Still not an argument, you can repeat yourself all you want but that doesn't make your empty claims "more true".

  14. Obviously evidence should not be interpreted in isolation. Duh.

    Here is the context:

  15. One of those morons from the CODOH forums accused you of "ignoring the fake window, a prop placed in front of a faked photo for dramatic purposes."

    Why does the photo look that way, and why does he think it's a "window?"

  16. Jonnie "Hannover" Hargis could have told this is not a "window" but the door to the northern gas chamber of crematorium 5 if he just checked out the standard work Pressac, Technique and Operation of the Auschwitz Gas Chamber.

  17. What is your opinion on this Holocaust denying meme?

    Where exactly did it come from?

  18. There's no reason to deal with unsourced photos, now, is there?

    1. After doing my research, I decided that the IHR altered the original photo.

      I have another question I'd like to ask you. How should one argue against deniers who think the emaciated corpses you see in Holocaust footage are "actually" silicone/wax props. (make-up
      artists didn't even use silicone for their movies back then).

      The denier I was agruing with sent me to this video.

      I don't understand how anyone can call the bodies blatant "fakes." If you ask me, they're quite convincing for "props" from the 1940's. Furthermore, we see the SS men handle and toss many bodies into the mass graves. Last, I noticed flies on the bodies in other videos. Therefore, they can't be props.

      What can I even say to this person? He thinks the Allies found a way to create hyperealistic, posable dolls - that can somehow withstand rough handling - on such short notice during the war.

      What should I do here?

  19. It's extremely simple - ask them for evidence of their assertion. Since they won't be able to cite any, they lose.


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