Saturday, August 11, 2018

Panagiotis Heliotis - The New Star Shining in the Revisionist Coffin? (With Added Comment on his Reply)

The Holocaust denier journal "Inconvenient History" gets increasingly spammed with articles by some Greek denier Panagiotis Heliotis mainly pasting together full quotes with his feeble-minded outpourings strictly following the style and fallacies of "Revisionist" orthodoxy. In fact, Heliotis sounds a bit like a cloned Carlo Mattogno (just minus rudimentary knowledge of sources, but plus even more pointless nitpicking).

For example, his article on the book Μαρσέλ Νατζαρή (Marcel Nadjari), Χειρόγραφα 1944-1947: Από τη Θεσσαλονίκη στο Ζόντερκομάντο του Άουσβιτς (Manuscripts 1944-1947 - From Thessaloniki to the Auschwitz Sonderkommando) consists to 2/3 of nothing but full quotes. Heliotis cannot even be credited for providing a translation from Greek of the contemporary war-time manuscript of the Sonderkommando prisoner Marcel Nadjari, since already in the last year the German and English translations of the manuscript were published in the scientific journal Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte and this blog, respectively.

If just the remaining 1/3 of the article actually written by him were of any value and advancing the issue. Instead, Heliotis leaves his couple of readers with his own helplessness on interpretating and explanining this source:
"Nadjari's [contemporary and post-war] manuscripts contradict both themselves and the official storyline, and even make it hard to determine whether he actually worked in a crematorium. What is certain is that they contain obviously false statements that any historian would pretend were never there."
Mattogno could not have said it any worse, congrats! So Heliotis ends up not knowing and not explaining anything - other than that Manolis was "the real first name of Nadjari" (thanks mate, but even this might be false as Manolis Lazaridis is mentioned as his nom de guerre, see Pavel Polian, Das Ungelesene lesen). 

Marcel Nadjari was a member of the Jewish prisoner's Sonderkommando in Auschwitz Birkenau. His manuscript is sufficiently detailed with insider knowledge to conclude it originated from first hand experience. Elsewhere I have demonstrated the poor knowledge on mass extermination among prisoners without access to the extermination sites for comparison. 

The "critique" - in sneer quotes, because Ancient Greek κριτική (kritikē), meaning "the faculty of judgment", which Heliotis is pretty much lacking - claims "serious inaccuracies" in Nadjari's description of the extermination site, like "he speaks of one large building with 15 furnaces where there were two" and that "the chambers were not underneath a garden as there was no garden" - except that Nadjari did not exclude there was another such building and except that there was a big garden in the yard of crematorium 2 and vegetation, possibly garden-like, in the yard of crematorium 3 as well. That the basements were actually next to the garden is a simplification in the description, certainly not a serious inaccuracy. Either Heliotis has no idea about the garden at the extermination complex or if he knows about it, cannot connect it to the description in the manuscript, which is pretty bad for a researcher in either case, if you think about. 

Absurd, but illustrating Holocaust denial's desperate grasping for arguments, even Nadjari's "two large underground vast chambers" is attacked because "the chambers were not completely underground, as their roof was one meter above ground" and "they were large but certainly not 'vast'". Yet, the semi-basements can be described as underground rooms or cellars (and have been so in the past also by deniers), as most of it was below ground with stairs leading down from the ground, and as "endless" given their elongated structure (besides that's subjective depending on what is taken as reference). If this description were really inaccurate, only in a completely irrelevant way on his credibility.

As usual for any orthodox denier, moaning on gas chamber capacity and cremation are not missed out:

On Nadjari's 3000 people in the gas chamber, Heliotis argues that with "a maximum possible packing density...that would amount to 2,100 people. But that would require military-style discipline to achieve!"  Uhm, no, but where have heard this one before? Viewer's Guide to "Auschwitz - The Surprising Hidden Truth" (Minutes 16 - 22), which discusses and refutes this assertion.  

Other than false, the whole point is also irrelevant for that Nadjari allegedly told "serious inaccuracies". It is obvious that such a mass of people passing into the crematorium over some hours cannot be estimated from direct observation and a large inaccuracy is to be expected in this case. Now, the fact that Nadjari's figure is in the actual range of the gas chamber loading (2000, perhaps 2500-3000) suggests that he learnt about this from superior and more reliable sources than his own observation of the people. In fact, the figure of 3000 people also appears in the extermination list of the Sonderkommando chronologist Salmen Lewenthal, so apparently it was some sort of generic knowledge on the gas chamber loading shared among the Sonderkommando prisoners. Hence, the figure provided by Nadjari does not only fail to challenge that he was working in the crematoria, but in contrary the knowledge supports his Sonderkommando affiliation.

Another argument close to imbecility: "the ashes would have amounted to some 3 kg, not just 640 grams" as given by Nadjari, as if he could have weighted the ash of corpses with a balance in the crematorium. Note that he was not estimating a figure of exact 640 g of ash, but half an oka, which is approx. the same weight but given with less accuracy. His point was to illustrate to the reader that of a living person only a small fraction was left after processed in the crematorium.

In another article on Nadjari, Heliotis gets likewise hopelessly lost in discussing cremation capacity (debunked here).

etc. pp.

addition of 27/29.9.2018:

Heliotis replied to this blog posting, though instead of damage control he has dug himself deeper into the hole. Had he only spent just as much time on actually critically analysing the testimony of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Sonderkommando prisoner Marcel Nadjari, as he did on creating several new names for me (something he should leave to those who come up with something less lousy than "Spider-Metzner"; I mean, seriously?), parading a spelling mistake he found (which had been already corrected anyway) as if it were an intellectual slamdunk, venting on my observation that "Inconvenient History" gets increasingly spammed by him (indeed, Heliotis has authored 12 pointless articles out of 22 published in total in 2018 - more than 50% - though I admit that the term spamming insinuated that the other authors were much better, when e.g. it is actually a head-to-head comparison between him and John Wear) and amusing himself about spaghetti (the name "Misko" of the comrade Nadjari addressed was taken from Polian's translation; it turns out to read "Mitso" but that's hardly something I can be hold responsible let aside mocked for).

In the meantime, the link to his reply has been removed from the CODOH main page, where it had been posted previously - which is, given its childish manner, quite understandable (it was hardly the lack of quality content, as this is more of a requirement to get one's article approved at CODOH).

Heliotis keeps asserting that Nadjari's description of one crematorium would exclude that he knew about more crematoria. Even if the misleading analogy about "an elephant in the back yard" were as funny as Heliotis thinks, it does not make his point. Memory recall and its communication strongly depends on the individuals and circumstances involved, which have to be considered in predicting behaviour. Nadjari described in his letter to his comrade his "workplace" in Birkenau, the crematorium (no. 3, probably). And he did this pretty well. His description of the crematorium is most valuable and leaves no doubt he was there. He did not mention the other four extermination sites, which was evidently not information of top importance for him at this moment (and it's not up to Heliotis to decide this for other people). Failing to report details farther away (in any aspect) is a perfectly human phenomenon, which exists in the real world.

The issue of the garden mentioned by Nadjari is discussed elsewhere.


  1. Good morning.
    Would you write debunk Harwood's book "Did Six Million Really Die?"?

  2. Maybe in the future, but his key points are debunked at the blog, use the search feature

  3. Harwood says 500 000 Polish Jews had emigrated before WWII from Poland. In my view, it is complete BS. Most states practised very strict immigration policy in the 1930s. What do you think about it?

  4. Off the top of my head, about 250,000 Jews fled into eastern Poland when the Third Reich invaded in 1939, putting about 1.5 million Jews in the Soviet occupied zone.

    About 175,000 of the 1.5 million Jews in eastern Poland were removed from the area before Barbarossa (100,000+ arrested/deported, 50,000 for labor conscription, etc).

    Fewer than 210,000 (this is the highest estimate) of those Jews living in the Soviet zone fled following Barbarossa. (Edele & Warlik think that the number was lower.)

    That means that of the 1.5 million Jews living in eastern Poland, maximum 375,000 got out, probably fewer, more like 300,000.

    Since the Jewish population of Poland was around 3.3 million in 1939, considering the above, you'd have about 3 million Jews left in former Polish territory after Barbarossa. Thus, these estimates for the number of Jews leaving Poland would still fit Raul Hilberg's total of 2.7 million Polish Jews (to take one scholar) who perished during the Holocaust. (Arad's estimates IIRC fit in with this, too.)

    (based on Edele and Warlik, in Edele, Fitzpatrick & Grossmann, Shelter from the Holocaust 2017)

    According to Gottschalk, about 150,000 Jews were repatriated from the USSR to Poland after the war.

    I will check my recollection later and correct this reply if I messed anything up.

  5. "Harwood says 500 000 Polish Jews had emigrated before WWII from Poland. In my view, it is complete BS. Most states practised very strict immigration policy in the 1930s. What do you think about it?"

    Prewar emigration on that scale is indeed complete BS. The Polish government published emigration statistics for the 1930s in their statistical yearbook broken down between Jews and Poles, and there was nothing like this scale of emigration.

    Natural population growth among Polish Jews caused the total number to rise in between the last census and the outbreak of war from 3.1 to 3.3 million, *despite* emigration of up to 100,000 Jews from Poland during the decade.

    Immigration statistics for Palestine, the US and Latin America are available; western Europe was definitely more tightly closed off in the 1930s than in the 1920s.

    The burden of proof is on any denier to show where Harwood's (or Sanning's) 500,000 emigres landed up.

  6. Whoops, sorry, I answered a question that wasn't asked - about wartime flight. Moral: don't reply to a post before having morning tea :)

  7. According to the AJC:

    '21 population = 2.9 million
    '31 population = 3.0 million
    '41 population = 3.3 million (like Nick said)

    But it's actually much more complicated given all of the border changes at the time. The fertility rate was high, Poland gained many Jews from its border changes, but many Polish Jews did indeed emigrate out of Poland.

    Nick is quite incorrect. Non-Revisionist historians have estimated up to 100,000 Jews PER YEAR emigrated from the areas that constituted the Poland of 1939 (not merely 100,000 for the decade).

  8. Lol, not this crap again.

    "He did this by citing a statement in a publication by Munich's Institute for Contemporary History that in the years following 1933 about 100,000 Jews annually emigrated from Poland. The Institute gives no source for this assertion. In fact, this is the only mention of Polish emigration in the article. The article deals mostly with German-Jewish emigration. Moreover, the article does not state to which countries these Jews immigrated from Poland whereas it does give such a discussion for German emigrants. The purpose of the article, as is clear from the title, is to deal with German emigration."

    1. And further:

      "The official Polish figures for the years 1931-1937 place total Jewish emigration at 109,716. These figures were published in 1940, before the Holocaust, so that Sanning could not claim they were "politically motivated". The figures also gave a breakdown as to which countries the Polish Jews immigrated.4 A Jewish emigration of the size claimed by the Institute would surely have been noticed. However, there is no mention of such a large scale emigration in any of the studies dealing with Polish Jews in the inter war years from 1919-1939.5 When figures are cited, the official ones are used.6 A study of minorities in Poland during the inter war years also cites the official Polish emigration figures.7 It is probable that few, if any, are even familiar with the Institute's numbers.

      Sanning did not take into consideration that there were simply not enough outlets for a Jewish emigration of the size claimed.8 Most Polish-Jewish immigration from 1931 onwards was to Palestine. However, there were severe restrictions on immigration to Palestine and Polish-Jews had to compete against other Jews. Moreover, within the Polish-Jewish Community there was a concerted effort to discourage Jewish emigration by such diverse groups as Jewish Bundists, assimilationists and even Zionists.9

      Faced with an overwhelming amount of evidence that the Polish-Jewish emigration of 100,000 annually could not have taken place, most scholars would probably relegate the Institute's statement to a footnote. At the very least, any serious writer who wanted to use such a number would ask the Institute how it obtained its figures and where these alleged emigrants went. It is obvious that Sanning never did this. However, this writer did make such an inquiry of the Institute. The Institute's reply failed to shed any light on its figures.10"

  9. The emigration issue is dealt with here:

  10. I was moreso referring to the '20s actually. I've written that the '41 population was 3.3 million - the same number as you. So what happened to Polish Jews before that date is of no concern to Holocaust numbers (same base number).

  11. Read the first paragraph on this page:

    That is more representative of the demographic challenge when encountering this question of Polish Jews.

    If I were taking the Sanning position (which I obviously was NOT - given my listing) I'd have contended a ridiculously lower '41 Polish Jew population.

  12. Not sure what you're trying to argue now, if you accept 3.3 million Jews in Poland at the start of the war (September 1939).

    The demographics of emigration and immigration are fairly well researched, much better than in the 1950s when the IfZ report made an offhand guesstimate about 100,000 Jews emigrating from *Eastern Europe* as a whole (not just Poland).

    Here's a decent summary with some stats and sources

    Emigration was much easier in the 1920s, e.g. 126,000 Jews from Poland arrived in the US in the early 1920s, before immigration acts imposed national quotas, whereas only 28,000 arrived from 1926-1937.

  13. There is a refutation of Harwood's book entitled "Six Million Did Die"
    written by Arthur Suzman and Denis Diamond in 1977. On the
    cheapest copy costs 10 euros (not including postage). The book could be
    updated and expanded but it does describe some of the falsifications,
    distortions and dishonest techniques of Harwood.


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