CLAIM: Holocaust deniers argue that if there were no holes in the roofs then the structures were not gas chambers and Auschwitz was not an extermination camp. If Auschwitz was not an extermination camp, then the Holocaust did not happen.
RESPONSE: However, extensive evidence of the gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau remains. Cremas 2 and 3 had holes in the roof for the introduction of Zyklon-B into the gas chamber below. Eyewitness and photographic evidence documents these holes, and a recent study has proved their precise location.
CLAIM: Brian Renk, of the deniers' Institute for Historical Review, claims that no one has been ". . . able to find physical evidence of Zyklon-induction holes at the site, or a single reference to them in the camp's voluminous design and construction records . . ."
RESPONSE: Despite the fact that the wire-mesh introduction columns can't be found today, their existence is confirmed by eyewitness accounts-both perpetrator and survivor-and by a surviving German documents that lists them in an inventory.
CLAIM: The gas chambers at Auschwitz were just air raid shelters equipped with gas-tight doors to protect the people sheltering inside from poison gas.
RESPONSE: However, closer examination of the materials on order and in use inside the gas chambers and the immense distance between the SS barracks and the gas chambers in Birkenau belie the claims of deniers. These were homicidal gas chambers.
CLAIM: Auschwitz-Birkenau was not a killing center. Collections of camp death certificates (Auschwitz Death Books) list a total of only 69,000 deaths -- all from natural causes.
RESPONSE: The Auschwitz Death Books only list 69,000 deaths because they do not include the more than 900,000 men, women and children who were sent directly to the Auschwitz gas chambers from the railroad car transports without being registered.
CLAIM: No order signed by Adolf Hitler authorizing the 'Final Solution' has ever been found. Since Hitler as supreme ruler signed other orders, the absence of a "Holocaust" order proves that it never happened.
RESPONSE: Although it is true that no document signed by Hitler authorizing the entire murderous campaign we call the Holocaust has been found, historians point to the convergence of evidence from all levels of the Nazi hierarchy that demonstrate Hitler's complicity in every facet of this murderous undertaking.
CLAIM: Objective science, represented by the Leuchter Report: The End of the Line? The First Forensic Examination of Auschwitz proves the non-existence of the Holocaust.
RESPONSE: Despite claims to objective truth, the Leuchter Report isn't "exact science." Leuchter's methods were fatally flawed and his conclusions false. The fact that even "insignificant traces" were found in the ruins of the gas chambers after all these years of being exposed to the elements is proof that there WERE gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
CLAIM: Auschwitz Museum officials have confirmed that the alleged gas chamber in Auschwitz I (the Main Camp) is a fake.
RESPONSE: Crematorium 1 (Crema 1) in the Main Camp is not a "fake" but an authentically restored space meant to be a memorial and symbolic representation of all the gas chambers and crematoria in the Auschwitz camp complex.
CLAIM: The crematory ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau were inoperable for long periods of time due to maintenance and breakdown, thereby reducing the number of bodies that could be burned in total.
RESPONSE: the ovens did suffer breakdowns and they did need maintenance. The use of some ovens was discontinued by German decision and others were destroyed in a prisoner uprising. However, when there were more bodies than could be burned in the crematoria, the Germans used open air pits which could burn thousands of bodies at once.
CLAIM: There are no authentic, contemporary documents that speak about the capacity of the ovens at Birkenau.
RESPONSE: Holocaust deniers refuse to accept the Germans' own documentation about the capacity of the ovens. They denounce this authoritative evidence as forgeries.
CLAIM: Carlo Mattogno, an Italian Holocaust denier, used complicated calculations to allegedly 'prove' the ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau couldn't possibly have cremated some 1.1 million bodies.
RESPONSE: Historical evidence shows that when the available ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau couldn't handle the load, open-air pit burning was used. Photographs from the air and on the ground show the open-air pit burning process and eyewitness evidence supports them.
CLAIM: A major denier theorized that since modern crematoria ovens can cremate one body in 1.25 hours, or 19.2 bodies in 24 hours that must mean it was the same at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Based on this observation and allowing for down time for maintenance and repairs, he concluded that 'only' 85,092 bodies could have been cremated.
RESPONSE: The authorities in Auschwitz were not concerned about respect for the dead and clearly did not abide by civilian laws of cremation. They burned multiple bodies at one time, continuously pushing in more to keep the fires hot.
CLAIM: While questioning Robert Jan van Pelt during his slander trial against Professor Deborah Lipstadt, David Irving pointed to a plastic water bottle and asked, "Do you really, sincerely believe that you can burn one body with enough coke that you could fit into one of these waters bottles, is that what you are saying?"
RESPONSE: We will probably never know exactly how much coke was delivered to Auschwitz or how much was required in the cremation process. Furthermore, the cremation of multiple bodies at the same time, continuous usage of the ovens, the use of alternate fuels and open-air burning pits make the question irrelevant.
CLAIM: Parts of Anne Frank's diary are written in ball point pen, while that technology was not available until after the war.
RESPONSE: Anne wrote the body of her diary with a fountain pen. The only ball point pen ink traces are two loose notes written by someone else and put with the papers later and some page numbers written on the sheets during the compilation process.
CLAIM: Anne Frank's diary is a forgery written by her father, Otto Frank, for monetary gain. One denier, calling her diary a "novel," wonders how a teenage girl could have written that "maturely."
RESPONSE: Physical testing of the notebooks, papers, and ink Anne used found that they are all authentic to the time. Furthermore, the handwriting and printing in the diary is the same as that in other writings known to have been penned by Anne Frank.
CLAIM: The living situation in the Secret Annex as described in Anne Frank's diary was impossible.
RESPONSE: Hidden in a landing accessed by a swinging bookshelf in a small office, the residents had some close calls during their 25 months in hiding, but they took care to be quiet and give no signs to the outside world that they were living there during the times people were present in the building.
CLAIM: 'International Jewry' funded Herschel Grynszpan's assassination of Ernst vom Rath and then used vom Rath's death as an excuse to start the Kristallnacht pogrom. They did so for the purpose of embarrassing the German government and to get international sympathy to open the doors for Jewish immigration, especially to Palestine.
RESPONSE: Herschel Grynszpan wasn't supported by 'International Jewry' or LICA. He bought the gun with his own money and went to the embassy where he shot vom Rath on his own. His first lawyer was provided by LICA at the request of his relatives and paid for by a defense fund raised in the United States. It was initiated by Hitler, set in motion by Goebbels, executed by the Gauleiters and the Stormtroopers under their control.
CLAIM: Hitler did not approve the Kristallnacht pogrom and did not know about it until it was well under way.
RESPONSE: Given the verifiable fact that Hitler was informed about the earlier disturbances at his meeting with Josef Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda, he must have authorized the larger attacks on Jews, their property and their businesses.
CLAIM: Deniers consistently downplay the loss of Jewish life, the savage assaults on their persons, and the extent of the destruction of Jewish property in order to minimize the suffering of the Jews.
RESPONSE: Between November 9 and 10, 1938, however, hundreds of synagogues were burned, thousands of Jewish businesses and homes were destroyed, at least 91 Jews were murdered and many others were assaulted and seriously injured. Over 20,000 male Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps where they were maltreated and terrorized.
CLAIM: Rudolf Hess, the head of the Nazi party and a member of Hitler's inner circle, "ordered the Gestapo and the party's court to delve into the origins of the night's violence and to turn the culprits over to the public prosecutors."
RESPONSE: In fact, Nazi leaders successfully prevented the vast majority of offenders from being prosecuted. Only the cases of two men were sent to the criminal court system, both for the crime of 'race mixing' which the Nazis found repugnant. All other crimes-up to and including the murder of Jews-were simply forgiven or ignored.
CLAIM: Between 100,000 and 250,000 people died in allied air raids on the historic German city of Dresden. This is at least as criminal as Auschwitz.
RESPONSE: Definitive research shows that the death toll in Dresden was around 25,000. Irving exaggerates the death toll in Dresden while minimizing the death toll in Auschwitz in an attempt to make Allied and Nazi atrocities seem equivalent. They were not.
CLAIM: the Allied bombing of Dresden was a war crime and an atrocity because it was an undefended cultural city of no military or industrial importance.
RESPONSE: However, Dresden was a legitimate military target. It was a key railroad junction and therefore an important transit point for military traffic.
CLAIM: The facts about Gerstein’s death and the disposition of his body are uncertain.
RESPONSE: Rassinier deliberately misleads his readers about the facts of Gerstein’s death in order to try to indict the Allies in a sinister plot of forgery, torture, murder and cover-up with the ultimate aim of discrediting Gerstein’s eyewitness testimony.
CLAIM:The "story" of mass murder of Jews in the Operation Reinhard camps in gas chambers using engine exhaust is based solely on the unbelievable post-war testimony of Kurt Gerstein, an SS officer who observed a mass gassing in Belzec.
RESPONSE: In order to erase the deaths of some 1.5 million Jewish men, women and children in Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka, the Holocaust deniers must discredit Gerstein and his report at any cost.
CLAIM: Gerstein’s report is so filled with absurdities and impossibilities that the entire report must be dismissed as a fabrication.
RESPONSE: The Holocaust deniers are desperate to discredit Gerstein’s account, so they hammer away at any minor points they can find so they can claim it must be discarded as incredible. But Gerstein’s story is remarkably consistent across all the versions that are known to be in his own hand when it dealt with things he saw with his own eyes: the mass gassing he observed at Belzec.
CLAIM: The Gerstein report was such a "clumsy forgery" that when the French text of it was presented as evidence at the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg on January 30, 1946 the Tribunal refused to consider it as evidence.
RESPONSE: Rassinier is lying in an attempt to discredit Gerstein’s report as evidence. The judges did not "throw out" Gerstein’s report. Once the supposedly missing certificate was pointed out, it was entered into evidence the same day.
CLAIM: Gerstein’s report about the mass gassings in Belzec and Treblinka is such an obvious "forgery" that the whole story cannot be believed. The testimony of Jewish survivors and SS perpetrators follows Gerstein’s account and so cannot be believed either.
RESPONSE: Responsible history is written by comparing eyewitness and documentary evidence to each other to determine the most reasonable interpretation between all the sources and work out errors and speculation. In this case, the evidence of perpetrators survivors corroborates Gerstein’s account and each other on all the major points of the process of mass murder.
CLAIM: Documents that explicitly discuss the construction and use of gas vans are "not credible" and of "dubious" origin.
RESPONSE: The letters about the gas vans are not "uncertain" or "dubious" and they are not forged. The Holocaust deniers fail to tell their readers the whole story. The testimonies of the men who designed, built and used the gas vans corroborate the information in them.
CLAIM: Eyewitness evidence about the use of gas vans in the death camp of Chelmno and by the Einsatzgruppen units in the East is based on hearsay that originated in questionable trials in the Soviet Union during the war. That "evidence" then influenced the trials held in Germany after the war.
RESPONSE: Weckert uses a common Holocaust denial technique for discrediting any eyewitness evidence that negates their thesis. She selects tiny, out-of-context examples from the large body of eyewitness evidence available, and then minutely picks each of them apart looking for any inconsistencies, no matter how small or inconsequential. The fact is that minor inconsistencies aide the overall credibility and convergence of the eyewitnesses accounts, since identical descriptions would seem rehearsed.
CLAIM: There are no contemporaneous documents proving the existence of gas vans. Therefore, they did not exist.
RESPONSE: Weckert is wrong. The gas vans did exist. The surviving documentations shows that they were designed and constructed in Berlin in late 1941 and early 1942 and sent to the Chelmno death camp and Einsatzgruppen units in the East to assist in the mass murder of Jews and others.
CLAIM: It is impossible that the Germans "buried roughly the equivalent to the stadium spectators of the Rose Bowl game" (about 80,000 people) in an area corresponding to the "size of a henhouse."
RESPONSE: Legal and modern forensic evidence show that the videomaker’s insinuations that the mass graves in Sobibor were about the same size as a "hen house" on the site are false. The facts are that there was plenty of room for both the graves and the incineration grills.
CLAIM: There are no graves at all in the death camp of Treblinka in Poland.
RESPONSE: Krege’s assertion that the soil in Treblinka is undisturbed so there are no mass graves is false. He has only provided one image that purports to show the undisturbed ground at Treblinka but it has never been documented. Without the proper documentation we have no proof that the image was even taken at Treblinka.
CLAIM: "At Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor an estimated 1.38 million bodies were allegedly buried . . . The problem is that there isn’t enough burial space in the maps and models for that many bodies."
RESPONSE: The American Holocaust denier video-maker’s calculations are deliberately exaggerated to achieve his final goal of "proving" Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor were transit camps and not death camps. His conclusions are based on faulty assumptions and as a result his conclusions are wrong.
CLAIM: The excavations that located and mapped 33 mass graves at the Belzec death camp from 1977 to 2000 revealed only traces of whole human remains in them. These traces are the result of death by disease and hardship of a handful of Jews as they were being deported farther to the East-not a program of mass murder.
RESPONSE: The facts show that two separate investigations 60 years apart show that the remains of the bodies of at some 450,000 Jewish men, women and children are buried in Belzec. Their deaths were part of a campaign of systematic mass murder by the Germans and not just the result of death by disease or hardship during the deportation process.
CLAIM: Diesel engine exhaust contains 18% oxygen so that a human being cannot die from asphyxiation from exposure to the fumes.
RESPONSE: The key to the ability to kill a person with diesel engine exhaust is that, in addition to flooding the atmosphere with a soup of toxic gases including carbon monoxide, it robs the atmosphere of oxygen. The very study deniers cite as proof that diesel engine exhaust always contains 18% oxygen, shows the exact opposite is possible if the engine is run just slightly outside the manufacturer’s specifications. Berg distorts, manipulates and omits evidence to arrive at his foregone conclusion that diesel engine exhaust cannot kill people.
CLAIM: The idea of having used diesel engine exhaust to murder 1.5 million Jews in the gas vans and the gas chambers of the three death camps of Operation Reinhard in southeastern Poland is "idiotic" and "simply incredible."
RESPONSE: Carbon monoxide is deadly in very small concentrations-as little as 4/10 of one percent (0.4%) or 4,000 parts in 1,000,000. Although diesel engines do produce less carbon monoxide in their exhaust than do gasoline engines, they are equally as deadly as we will see in Part 2 of this series.
CLAIM: The Germans would have used "producer gas" engines to murder people in the gas chambers and gas vans since they produce much more carbon monoxide in their exhaust than do diesel engines.
RESPONSE: In practice, producer gas engines or generators were too dangerous and ultimately less efficient than using readily available and easily-used gasoline or diesel engines. It does not follow that because the Germans chose to use gasoline or diesel engines and not producer gas engines or generators that the murder of some 1.5 million Jews never happened.
CLAIM: As the result of the work of Friedrich Berg, an American Holocaust denier, the "holocaust pundits" are "desperate" because they have "precious little" evidence regarding the murder of 1.5 million Jews in the Operation Reinhard camps using diesel engine exhaust.
RESPONSE: What the Holocaust deniers decry as the "holocaust specialists" changing their story in the middle of the stream in response to the challenges of the Holocaust deniers, is simply the normal and necessary correction of the historical record as more accurate information becomes available.
CLAIM: The black smoke and soot in diesel exhaust, according to Friedrich Berg, an American Holocaust denier, would have ". . . annoyed the hell out of any group of intended victims, but would have given them nothing worse than a headache."
RESPONSE: The heavy smoke and soot in diesel engine exhaust can kill. While it is highly unlikely that smoke and soot would have been the sole cause of death in the gas vans and gas chambers it could have been a contributing factor taken together with the carbon monoxide, lack of oxygen, and several other toxic gases in diesel exhaust.
CLAIM:Diesel engine exhaust "always" contains "less than 1% carbon monoxide."
RESPONSE: A diesel engine can easily be mistuned to produce a lethal amount of carbon monoxide.
CLAIM: There was not enough room in the extermination areas of the Operation Reinhard camps to crush the bones. The American Holocaust denier videomaker asks about Treblinka: "Where did they crush and sift the burnt remains of a population equivalent to San Francisco?"
RESPONSE: If this matter were not so gruesome and terrible, the American Holocaust denier videomaker’s scenario would be laughable. The American Holocaust denier videomaker has already demonstrated his tendency to make everything more complicated so that he can denounce it as unworkable. Sometimes the bones were crushed with machines and sometimes by hand. It was not a precision process but it worked. The contents of the mass graves in Belzec show that it happened.
CLAIM: If the design for the incineration grills had been similar to a Hindu funeral pyre that would have been more efficient because the remains rest directly on the wood because "as the wood sinks so does the body, the body staying close to the wood."
RESPONSE: In fact, Hindu funeral pyres are highly inefficient for the cremation of just one body, and a completely impractical model for incinerating thousands of bodies.
CLAIM: The ash left over from the incineration of 600,000 bodies and the wood used to burn them would have filled the entire volume of the known mass graves with "60 railroad freight cars" left over.
RESPONSE: The amateur experiment used to recreate the scenario does not even remotely resemble the conditions in the mass incineration, and based on more accurate figures, the mass graves would have provided ample room for the ash produced.
CLAIM: The incineration grills would not have worked efficiently, given the snow, wind and rain in Poland, and there is no evidence that the Germans made any attempt to protect the incineration grills from the elements that would have slowed or entirely stopped the burning process.
RESPONSE: The reality is that Poland's climate is temperate, with average annual precipitation of only 18 to 24 inches in the region of the camps. This left ample time to burn on days that were not wet and windy. Combined with testimony of the flames reaching 30 feet into the air, the evidence points to the German incineration grills burning very effectively.
CLAIM: The design of the incineration grills in the death camps of Treblinka, Sobibor and Belzec was faulty and they would not have worked.
RESPONSE: The Germans built huge fixed-height grills made from concrete and steel railroad rails over a pit full of fuel soaked with gasoline or oil that were primitive but very effective.
CLAIM: The heat from the incineration fires would have melted the railroad rails used to construct the grills.
RESPONSE: Railroad rails are hardened during manufacturing to withstand the weight of heavily-loaded trains in all types of weather, and the fact that they occasionally melted during incineration supports accounts of the gruesome efficiency of the grills built by the Germans.
CLAIM: Witness accounts that claim that bodies burned "like wood" were wrong: bodies could not have burned on their own.
RESPONSE: Although bodies do not ignite entirely on their own, the Germans developed techniques to increase the efficiency of their process. They found, for instance, that well-nourished bodies and those with more fat content, such as women, burned better and so were put on the bottom layer of the incineration grill to increase combustion.
CLAIM: The incineration fires used to burn bodies in Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka would have required unfathomable amounts of wood to burn bodies in the numbers that are reported.
RESPONSE: In fact, half of the remains burned in the incineration fires were children and infants and a full two-thirds of all bodies were exhumed remains that had been buried for months, greatly reducing the actual mass that was burned. Therefore the estimates used by deniers to calculate the amount of wood needed were false.
CLAIM: In order to incinerate the 600,000 remains in Belzec, 96,000 tons of wood would have been needed: where did it come from?
RESPONSE: The estimates of the amount of wood needed that are used by Holocaust deniers are grossly inflated, and the actual amount of wood needed for the incineration correlates to the amount of deforestation in and around the camp site.
CLAIM: The murder of 1.8 million people in Operation Reinhard would have resulted in 55 million teeth at the grave sites, and yet no teeth have been found.
RESPONSE: Forensic dentists have found that after short periods of time in fires that are hot enough to incinerate bodies (between 1400 to 2100 degrees Fahrenheit), teeth are mostly destroyed or rendered weak enough to be easily broken down, which would have happened in the bone crushing procedure that followed the incineration fires.