Thursday, October 10, 2019

Vincent Reynouard And The Franke-Gricksch Report (Part 2)

Vincent Reynouard And The Franke-Gricksch Report Part 1Part 2 , Part 3

According to Reynouard, Franke-Gricksch was supposed to take "extremely precise notes" of the details of the extermination sites. Just why, curious minds would like to know? Was he a technical inspector of mass extermination (such as August Becker, who wrote a technical report on the gas vans for this reason)? Was he supposed to set up or operate an extermination camp? Did he organize the Jewish deportations perhaps?

Alfred Franke-Gricksch was an SS officer of the SS-Personalhauptamt (SS Personnel Main Office). As such, he was concerned about the personal matters of the SS leaders. According to his post-war notes, his superior von Herff instructed him to "take the most accurate notes of all events and conversations, because this is not just about SS leaders who are in the most difficult personal decisions, but also order must be kept clean from guilt." Thus, his task was to detail the organisational and personnel issues related to the mass extermination - not technical and architectural minutiae.

How many gas introduction columns existed in the crematorium? Would v.Herff have axed him if he noticed not all of them? How many doors the gas chamber had? The killing time? Could AFG resign from his position if he did not get it "most accurately"? It was all not crucial for his task, unnecessary to double-check and nothing on which he had to take "the most accurate notes".

Franke-Gricksch wrote about some technical details perhaps to get a rough idea of the process for understanding the situation of the SS men at the extermination sites, but quite likely also for their curiosity - it was a unique opportunity that he got in touch with a Secret State Affair of utmost importance for the National Socialists. But he did not write about it from the view of a Holocaust denier. He did not challenge his tour guide Rudolf Höß on the information provided to him; there is no reason why he should have doubted if no other than the Auschwitz Commandant told him so.

Conversely, the négationniste Reynouard projects his obsession into the account of Franke-Gricksch. The gas introduction columns are an utmost important subject for deniers. Because they think of it as a weak point or Achilles' heel in the Holocaust narrative that saves them from actually engaging with the bulk of the evidence ("No holes, no holocaust"). Apart from the methodological problem with such an approach, they are also entirely wrong about the lack of the gas openings (see also Rebuttal of Mattogno on Auschwitz, Part 2: Gas Introduction at the Crematoria)

Franke-Gricksch did, of course, not share this obsession. He did not have to investigate how many gas columns there had been or how these had been constructed. He noticed three gas introduction columns in the gas-chamber of crematorium 2. He missed one that might have been covered by one of the concrete support columns in the cellar (as we know from comparison with numerous other sources)

On Pressac's explanation that "it could be that the figure ten was the total he was given for the capacity of Krematorien II and III together (10 three muffle furnaces)", Reynouard says that "this argument seems worthless to me, because the factual report is clear: the author is content to describe the furnace room of the crematorium he visits. That's all. At no time does he mention additional information would have been provided to him."

Any account is a selective, filtered representation of impressions. Thus, the presumption that the author knew only what is mentioned in the report is defying common sense.

At no point did Franke-Gricksch clarify that he is talking only about this biggish house he mentioned at the beginning all the time. Reynouard wants it to be like that. But it's no more than his wishful thinking without any proof in the text.

Franke-Gricksch likely recognized crematorium 3 at the other side of the road as another killing site (even if he does not mention it; it is not exactly uncommon that people miss providing some piece of information). There is also a hint in the text that a mental cut might have occurred in the account, where the author switched from a description of one single crematorium to the unity of killing sites:

The report speaks firstly about "the door on the other side is opened, leading to an elevator", but a few lines later explains that "the corpses are loaded into the elevators". If the author knew there was one elevator at the exit door, then why would he speak of elevator in plural later on - unless he was now talking about both crematoria 2 and 3. Accordingly, it is certainly possible that the figure of ten ovens referred to both big crematoria in Birkenau.

Also, Reynouard ignored an alternative explanation provided in the blog posting: Franke-Gricksch might have remembered five double-muffle furnaces (= 10 oven openings) instead of the five three-muffle furnaces (=15 oven openings). The thesis that a one-time visitor would err on the number of muffles per oven is not far fetched. Both Otto Moll and Rudolf Höß, who had seen the ovens numerous times, gave mistaken figures after the war (see Appendix D here).

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