Tuesday, December 04, 2018

Some Initial Observations on Mattogno's Einsatzgruppen Handbook

Author: Jonathan Harrison
Mattogno's Einsatzgruppen study, which we have already addressed in its Italian version, has just been issued as Holocaust Handbook, Volume 39 in an English translation. Several members of the HC team will be posting their observations about this text on this blog shortly. My initial observations constitute seven parts, presented below.

1) Flawed Logic

Mattogno's key argument regarding German actions in the USSR is that Soviet Jews were killed because they were perceived by the Germans to be the "architects and supporters of Bolshevism" rather than because they were Jews (p.126). However, this is a "begging the question" fallacy because it does not acknowledge how this perception was connected to a racist worldview in which, as I showed here and here, the Jews were considered to be a Gegenrasse. Mattogno omits, for example, Hitler's message to the troops of October 2, 1941, in which both Communism and American plutocracy were blamed on "Jews and Jews alone." Given that the evidence clearly shows the perpetrators embracing this worldview, it is inescapable that Jews were killed "as Jews", as a perceived world-historical racial enemy. Mattogno simply feigns blindness to this racist, antisemitic framework of Nazi policy.

2) Orders

Mattogno has not corrected the weaknesses I noted in this posting. These include:

a) Not acknowledging the separation of Bolsheviks and Jews in orders issued before the invasion
b) Ignoring the targeting of Polish Jews in Heydrich's Einsatzbefehl No. 2, reproduced in Operational Situation Report No. 10.
c) Blindness to the fact that the shooting of Jews as "looters", as reported by Magill on August 12, 1941, was antisemitic
d) Exclusion of the Bila Tserkva massacre, including the killing of children, which took place under the overall command of Reichenau.

Mattogno also fails to address the antisemitic content of the Reichenau and Manstein orders, discussed here and here.

Moreover, Mattogno ignores the vast literature on the pattern of escalation in the summer of 1941, such as the work of Browning, Longerich and Matthaeus (for example, online here).

3) Lying about the Organization of Killing

Mattogno repeats his false claim about the organization of killing, stating that it was all done by "3,000 soldiers" with the "assistance" of SS and Police (p.190), ignoring the fact that the Wehrmacht,  HSPPF, Kommandostab, Order Police and native auxiliaries often provided the vast majority of manpower for killing actions, and the killing order or authorization was often given by a Wehrmacht or Higher SS and Police leader, even though he had acknowledged earlier that the Kommandostab had 25,000 men (p.39).

4) The Partisan Myth

Mattogno fails to account for the fact that mass executions were usually of unarmed civilians. For example, as noted here, "when Fegelein reported on the unit's killings in the two-week period from late July, it described the 13,788 dead Jews as "plunderers", whereas only 714 prisoners were captured" and in "the course of one month, units of Bechtolsheim's 707th Infantry Division shot 10,431 "captives" out of a total of 10,940, whilst incurring only two dead and five wounded."

5) Abuse of Sources on White Ruthenia

Generalbezirk Weißruthenien was under a civil administration headed by Wilhelm Kube and included Minsk, which received transports of Jews from the Reich that Mattogno claims were part of a resettlement policy, despite the documentation showing they were killed. Mattogno's Handbook (p.313) includes the following extract from Kube's letter to his superior, Hinrich Lohse, of July 31, 1942:
In addition to this clear attitude towards Jewry comes the difficult task of the SD in Byelorussia of over and over again taking new Jewish transports from the Reich to their destination. This constitutes an excessive material and emotional strain on the men of the SD and removes them from their tasks, which lie in the region of ​​Byelorussia itself.
The logical meaning of this paragraph, in the context of the full letter, is that using the SD to kill Reich Jews takes them away from the far more important task of killing partisans in White Ruthenia, which is being partly accomplished by exterminating the Soviet Jews there. This is also made clear in other parts of the letter. Whereas Mattogno claims that the Germans regarded Polish and Soviet Jews differently, Kube states:
The Polish Jew, exactly like the Russian Jew, is an enemy of the German nation. He represents a politically dangerous element, a danger which far exceeds his value as a skilled worker [A slightly different translation also appears in MGK, Aktion Reinhard Camps, p.663, proving Mattogno's prior knowledge of it].
This clarifies why Kube would insist on any transports arriving from Warsaw being shot. It also reveals an awareness that Polish Jews were to exterminated, as was happening to Soviet Jews.

Mattogno also omits from the Handbook text two facts which appeared in an extract from the same letter that was quoted by him elsewhere in Aktion Reinhard Camps (pp. 345-346). Firstly Kube states that the 55,000 Jews shot in the last ten weeks included 3,500 Jews unfit for work who had been deported from the Reich the previous Autumn. These were killed on July 28-29. Secondly, the 6,500 Russian Jews killed in Minsk on July 28-29 included "women and children." Both these facts refute the story Mattogno is trying to spin in his Einsatzgruppen text, whereby only Soviet Jews aiding Communism and the partisans were to be shot. Furthermore, Mattogno overlooks the prior correspondence between Kube and Lohse in which Kube had requested a humane killing of the Reich Jews (December 16, 1941) and referred to the inability to bury them yet due to frozen ground (February 6, 1942), as discussed here (in part g). 

Mattogno also ignores the elephant in the room, namely why the Germans would deport Polish and Reich Jews farther east when they were also viewed as a partisan threat in the Ostland. Farther east in July 1942 could only mean into areas that were not secure based on Kube's understanding. The military had objected to Jews being sent to White Ruthenia in the winter of 1941-42, forcing the suspension of the transports, but Mattogno asks us to believe that the Wehrmacht farther east would not have done likewise.

Mattogno's blatant dishonesty in continuing to interpret Kube's letter of July 1941 as supporting resettlement is further shown by the fact that he has not addressed the issues I raised in my previous posting about the letter back on March 24, 2014 (part g), where I noted:
The passages Mattogno does quote also cause him severe problems that he ignores. Most of the 3,500 Reich Jews killed in the Grossaktion of July 28-29 were from the 7,000 deported in the Autumn, leaving only 2,600 remaining in the ghetto. This leaves a huge hole where those deported in the second wave seem to be absent from the ghetto population. If these had been transported east, why weren't the 3,500 Reich Jews shot on July 28-29 transported east with them instead of being shot? If the second wave deportees were not transported east, where were they located, if not killed?
Mattogno's book also contains a false rendering of Gerlach's sources on Minsk. Mattogno claims (p.281) that the shooting of November 20, 1941 is only supported by witness statements. He cites Gerlach's footnote 685 from the relevant chapter. However, Gerlach's sources are in footnotes 686 and 695 and include this note from Janetzke (YVA O.18/167.1) reporting the remaining population as 15,000 to 18,000 Jews, which only makes sense if the killings of November 20 took place. It was followed by this letter and this document. The shootings in White Ruthenia were also reported by Stahlecker, but his report mistyped the figure of 18,000 as 1,800. Stahlecker noted that the shooting of the remaining Soviet Jews "must be postponed in consideration of their being used as labour." There was no mention of resettling those Jews, including the women and children.

A further dishonesty is that Mattogno assumes (pp. 207-208) that Jews from Oshmyany, Mikhailishki and Swieciany should have been included among the survivors in  Lithuania in the second Jaeger Report even though Mattogno had acknowledged in Aktion Reinhard Camps (p.686) that those districts had been in Generalbezirk Weissruthenien until April 1, 1942, therefore he must have known that those Jews were not in Jaeger's territory of operation at the time of the report.

6) Example of False Claims of No Documentation

Mattogno claims (p.272) there is no detailed documentation for all but 1,643 of the 44,125 deaths attributed to HSSPF Jeckeln for August 1941 in Operational Situation Report 94. In reality, these are documented in reports contained in YVA O.53/86 and O.53/93. Mattogno actually cites another section of the former file on page 137.

7) Example of Forgery Allegations

With regard to the Himmler order to "drive women into the swamps", as I noted here, Mattogno (pp.136-142) "commits a common self-contradiction within Holocaust denial of assuming that a document is simultaneously implausible and forged, going against the logic that a forger would actually strive as much as possible to make the document plausible. In this case, Mattogno believes Himmler would never have ordered drowning in a swamp, but he sees no contradiction in claiming that a forger would apply that order to Himmler's name. Moreover, Mattogno ignores the fact that driving Jews into "the morass" appears in Hitler's table talk of October 25."

When all these claims against better knowledge, otherwise known as lies, are added together, we must conclude that Mattogno had no intention of producing a Handbook that would impress any person who had even a rudimentary knowledge of Nazi policy in the occupied USSR and the associated primary documents. He is preaching to fellow Nazi apologists, who are willing to overlook his absence of quality control.

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