Saturday, November 03, 2018

Mattogno's Major Problem with a Gas Van Document

Among the contemporary German documents on homicidal gas vans is a letter from Walther Rauff to the Criminal Technical Institute at the Reich Criminal Police Office of 26 March 1942 on "special wagons" and "gas bottles with carbon monoxide". Since the document challenges a core belief of Holocaust denial of no Nazi homicidal gas-chambers, it had to be declared dubious or insinuated forged by leading deniers (debunked in Rebuttal of Alvarez on Gas Van: Part V: The Rauff Letter to the Criminal Technical Institute with updates 1, 2, 3 and specifically on Mattogno here).

One of the arguments: the head of the Security Police motor pool Friedrich Pradel is referred to as "Major" in the letter, allegedly a false rank. Recap what Santiago Alvarez and Carlo Mattogno - one parroting the other - claimed on the issue:

Alvarez, The Gas Vans (September 2011), p.298:

Mattogno, Inside the Gas Chambers, 1st edition (June 2014), p. 146 and 2nd edition (October 2016), p. 145:

You have to have hand it to Mattogno that he sounds maximum confident. It's not that he doubts that Pradel was a Major or that most likely Pradel was not a Major, but "Pradel was not a 'Major' in any way". Boom. You can really sense this guy just has to know what he is talking about. 

By the way, in case your eyes have been wandering to the end of the quotes, desperately looking for a reference number or something, there is none. Such a clear statement advanced with full confidence and then not even a footnote, wouldn't that be foolish unless it was common knowledge and fact without the slightest doubt? 

Let's do the test. Fortunately, several files on Pradel have survived the war, among these his personnel SS officer file (BArch R 9361-III/548320), a personnel police file (BArch ZR/93) and an RSHA file on internal affairs (BArch R 58/863).

Now I have already said it, if there is a personnel file of the police, then he also had to have a police rank at some point. It's a big file full of CVs, personnel reviews, officer's training orders, his delegation to the Security Police, his take-over by the Security Police, his commission to the Waffen-SS and last but not least also of his promotions.

The Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler proposed the appointment of Pradel to Major of the police on 4 February 1942, which was granted by Hitler's office at the bottom of the document six days later:

The Reichs Minister of the Interior
Pol.O-Kdo.II P II (2a) Pra.VI 23.                        

Proposal for the appointment of Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Friedrich Pradel to Major der Schutzpolizei.


The head of the party's chancellery has no objections against the appointment.

Berlin, 4 February 1942.

On behalf

[signature "H.Himmler"]


In the name of the German people I appoint the above mentioned official. The promotion document is to be prepared with today's date and my signature as facsimile.

Führer-HQ, 10 February 1942.
The Führer and Reichs Chancellor, signed Adolf Hitler
(BArch ZR/93, p. 157, my translation and emphasis).

On 18 February 1942, the promotion was communicated to the Main office of the Orderly Police informing that "the Führer has appointed the Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Pradel, Friedrich as Major" (BArch ZR/93, p. 38).

A copy of the promotion document can be found in an RSHA file:
Certified true copy

In the name of the German People I appoint the Hauptmann der Schutzpolizei Friedrich Pradel as Major der Schutzpolizei.


Führer-HQ, 10 February 1942

The Führer
signed Adolf Hitler

signed H.Himmler
on behalf of the Reichs Minister of the Interior

For the correctness of the copy
[signature "Karge"]
office employee

[rubber stamp "Der Chef des Sicherheitsdienstes"]
(BArch R 58/863, p. 17, my translation and emphasis)

On 12 March 1942, his superior Walther Rauff (head of RSHA department II D) mentioned the promotion towards the SD office at the RSHA:
II D Rf/Hb.                                       Berlin, 12 March 1942

1.) Letter to the SD office in-house

Subject: SS-Hauptsturmführer and Major der Schutzpolizei Pradel.

The submitted assessments of 1 May 1941 and 16 February 1942 are still valid. Pradel has been promoted to Major der Schutzpolizei with effect from 1 January 1942. His promotion to SS-Sturmbannführer is supported.

2.) To the files II D

[signature "Rauff"]

(BArch R 58/863, p. 19, my translation and emphasis; note that this document contains the same office/author identification "II D Rf/Hb" as the letter in question further confirming its formal authenticity and again directly refuting Alvarez, who is also relied on by Mattogno)

These docs prove that Pradel was a Major of the police when the letter of 26 March 1942 was written with the remark to forward it to "Major Pradel".

Once again, the duo Alvarez and Mattogno have been shown to have used a completely baseless argument to attack an incriminating German document.


  1. Hans , Werd from Rodoh has discovered some information that you may find interesting regarding
    Pradel's rank . It confirms his rank as Major but ironically it comes from Mattognos book.

    Werd wanted to contact you with the news but he asked me to do so via here as he thought it may be a quicker way of getting the info to you.

    Here is the post

  2. Dass Prussian,

    yes, this fits to the pattern.

    In January 2016, lacking the documents I cite above, I had instead posted testimonial evidence that Pradel was a Major:

    "August Becker:

    "The deputy of Rauff was Pradel, at the time Hauptmann and later Major. Pradel also had an equivalent SS rank, but he called himself Major."

    Friedrich Pradel:

    "Sergeant Hünecke from Hannoversch-Münden, who was evaluating accidents in my department in the RSHA during the war, can bear witness that I always gave Major of the Police as my rank until the end of the war. Furthermore, Fähnrich can testify that I wore the uniform of the Major of the Police next to the uniform of the SS-Sturmbannführer of the Waffen-SS until the end."


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