[The Van Pelt Report]: Electronic Edition, by Robert Jan van Pelt

Table of Contents
IX. The Leuchter Report >>

VII Auschwitz and Holocaust Denial

Frankfurter: "Dr. Münch, what would you say to those who say today that all of this did not happen, that Auschwitz is a lie, that Auschwitz is a hoax?"
Münch: "When someone tells that Auschwitz is a lie, that it is a hoax, I feel hesitation to say much to him. I say, the facts are so firmly determined, that one cannot have any doubt at all, and I stop talking to that person because it has no use. One knows that anyone who clings to such things, which are published somewhere, is a malevolent person who has some personal interest to want to bury in silence things that cannot be buried in silence."533
Dr.Hans-Wilhelm Münch, former SS doctor in Auschwitz.
Given the way the memory and image of Auschwitz has become central in the discourse of the Holocaust, it is not surprising that holocaust deniers focus much of their attention on the camp. To understand the centrality of Auschwitz for the negationist cause, it is important to know that one of the very few full confessions given by any German official involved in a key role in the Holocaust concerns the statements Auschwitz Kommandant Rudolf Höss made in Nuremberg, during his own trial in Warsaw, and the autobiography, accompanied by an essay entitled "The Final Solution of the Jewish Question in Concentration Camp Auschwitz." Other key figures in the Holocaust either died before the end of the war (Heydrich), or committed suicide immediately after the German defeat (Himmler), or made less than full confessions (Eichmann). The first instalment of Höss' confession was available within a year of the end of the war, and his writings were published in the 1950s. As he acknowledged the central role of Auschwitz in the Holocaust, and as he described the organization, development, procedures, and problems of the extermination program in great detail, any attempt to refute the Holocaust must engage and refute Höss.
 
A second reason that Auschwitz is the focus of Holocaust denial arises from the historical certainty of the central role of Auschwitz as an extermination centre that arises from the convergence between eyewitness' accounts, Höss's writings, the physical remains, the extensive building archive of the Auschwitz Central Building Office (which survived the war) and various other archival sources. The evidence for the role of Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor--sufficient as it may be to come to a moral certainty as to the war-time history of those places--is much less abundant. There are very few eyewitnesses, no confession that can compare to that given by Höss, no significant remains, and few archival sources.
Given this situation, Holocaust deniers seem to have concluded that it makes strategic sense to concentrate their energies on debunking the Höss account and showing that Auschwitz could not have accommodated an extermination program. Their strategy is explained by the wellknown Holocaust denier Arthur R. Butz who, in 1982, claimed that impartial scientific, forensic and scholarly analysis of the evidence showed that Auschwitz had not been a centre of extermination. "It follows," Butz argued, "that the basic tactic of the defenders of the [extermination] legend, in controversies to come, will be to attempt to make claims that cannot be tested by the normal method of placing them as hypotheses in appropriate historical context and seeing if they cohere." According to Butz, those who want to maintain that the Holocaust existed despite the evidence to the contrary would prefer to discuss extermination camps like Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka--places of which little remain in terms of physical or archival relics, and knowledge of which is largely based on witness testimony of survivors like Jankiel Wiernik and post-war confessions of Treblinka commandant Stangl and others. "The consequence," Butz concluded, "is that it is much easier to disprove the legend as it applies to Auschwitz than as it applies to the others." For Auschwitz there were the remains of the crematoria, and there were ample archival sources, and these all pointed, as Butz confidently believed he had proved, to a non-genocidal intent and use. Therefore Butz declared that, confronted with Auschwitz, "the defenders of the [extermination] legend are in an impossible position."
They cannot concede Auschwitz without conceding the whole issue, for the reason   that there is no sort of evidence they offer for the others that is not also offered for Auschwitz. If the "confession" of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss is fanciful, then who will believe the "confession" of Treblinka commandant Franz Stangl? If the Auschwitz accounts of Rudolf Vrba and Miklos Nyiszli are not credible, and their books sick jokes, then who will believe the equally sick Treblinka accounts of Jankiel Wiernik and other obscure people? If the Nuremberg and postwar German trials have not established the truth about Auschwitz, then who will believe that they have established the truth about Treblinka? If the large numbers of Jews admittedly sent to Auschwitz were not killed there, then who will believe that the large number of Jews sent to Treblinka were killed at that camp? My advice, then, to those who would engage in controversy is not to permit the defenders of the legend to get away with ignoring Auschwitz. The fact is that it is very easy to bring down the legend as it applies to Auschwitz and Auschwitz in turn, on account of the nature of the evidence involved, brings down the rest of the legend with it.554
Butz confidently claims that Auschwitz, seemingly the strongest proof of the Holocaust, is in fact the easiest to attack. Subsequent history has shown that he has a point. In the last fifteen years holocaust deniers have fired a barrage of arguments to show that Auschwitz could not have been an extermination camp, that the gas chambers could not have worked, or that the crematoria ovens could not have incinerated the great number of bodies claimed. Every time they adduce specific technical arguments, which for technological laymen--which is the great majority of us, and includes virtually all students of the Holocaust--are difficult if not impossible to refute. Their arguments are based on the premise that the Holocaust is a hoax created and maintained by sinister forces such as the British Secret Service or some Zionist outfit, or which arose as the result of some mass hysteria of eastern Jews. And they argue that Auschwitz, which was during the war an ordinary concentration and labour camp of extraordinary size, was selected by those same forces or identified by those same hysterics as a death camp equipped with installations for mass extermination. And they see their own task to rip the veil of falsehood and   deception. They see themselves as successors of Sherlock Holmes, looking for clues that give access to the hidden truth. Their confidence that they can do so is based on their assumption that the "Hoax" that is the Holocaust centers on the premise that Auschwitz was an extermination camp, and the assumption that Auschwitz was an extermination camp centers on the premise that it was equipped with homicidal gas chambers, and that our knowledge of the gas chambers is based on only a very few and very unreliable sources: mainly hearsay and a few scraps of paper. Therefore, they assume that the whole "legend" will dissolve when one can show one error, one mistake, one inconsistency, or one contradiction.
The assumption that the discovery of one little crack will bring the whole building down is the fundamental fallacy of Holocaust Denial. It would be a legitimate argument if indeed our knowledge of the Holocaust depended on our knowledge of the extermination installations of Auschwitz, and if the existence and operation of the gas chambers was proved by very few bits of information. This is obviously nonsensical. First of all there is the fact that if we assume the Holocaust to have happened more or less as told, all the evidence becomes intelligible, while if we assume it was a hoax, most of the evidence does not make any sense. When this was the case, the father of "debunkment," Lord Bolingbroke, counselled to desist and accept a fact as true. "Force your imagination as much as you please, you will find insurmountable difficulties in your way, if you suppose the fact to be invented: but all these difficulties vanish when you suppose it true."555 Furthermore, our knowledge of the Holocaust depends on tens of thousands of individual pieces of information, many of which have nothing to do with Auschwitz, and if we do consider Auschwitz, then we may safely state that our knowledge of the gas chambers depend on thousands of individual pieces of evidence of different kinds and classes. All those data converge to a conclusion. Even if one can point at erroneous information, inconsistencies and contradictions--normal occurrences in everyday historical practice--this does not mean that these disprove the existence of the gas chambers, or the Holocaust.
 
Holocaust deniers have, however, found ways to address this question by trying to deny that there is a convergence of evidence. Michael Shermer described the way they respond to the evidence.
We have an eyewitness account by a survivor who says he heard about gassing Jews while he was at Auschwitz. The revisionist says that survivors exaggerate and that their memories are unsound. Another survivor tells another story different in details but with the core similarity that Jews were gassed at Auschwitz. The revisionist claims that rumors were floating throughout the camps and many survivors incorporated them into their memories. An SS guard confesses after the war that he actually saw people being gassed and cremated. The revisionist claims that these confessions were forced out of the Nazis by the Allies. But now a Sonderkommando--a Jew who helped Nazis load dead bodies out of the gas chambers and into the crematoria--says he not only heard about it, and not only saw it happening, he actually participated in the process. The revisionist explains this away by saying that the Sonderkommando accounts make no sense--their figures of bodies are exaggerated and their dates are incorrect. What about the camp commandant, who confessed after the war that he not only heard, saw, and participated in the process, but that he orchestrated it!? He was tortured, says the revisionist. But what about his autobiography written after his trial, conviction and sentencing to death, when he had nothing to gain by lying? No one knows why people confess to ridiculous crimes, explains the revisionist, but they do.
No single testimony says "Holocaust" on it. But taking many together the story begins to unfold. And now the revisionist's defense is beginning to unravel. Instead of the historian having to present "just one proof," the revisionist must now disprove five pieces of historical data, with five different methods of disproof. But there is more. We have the blueprints for both the gas chambers and the crematoria--huge structures built for processing large numbers of bodies. Those were used strictly for delousing, claims the revisionist, and thanks to the Allies' war against Germany, the Germans were never given the opportunity to deport the Jews to their own homeland, and instead had to put them into overcrowded camps where disease and lice were rampant. What about the huge orders of Zyklon-B gas? It was strictly used for delousing all those diseased inmates. What about those speeches by Hitler, Himmler, Frank, and Goebbels   talking about the "extermination" of the Jews? Oh, they really meant "rooting out," as in deporting them out of the Reich. What about Eichmann's confession at his trial? He was coerced. Hasn't the German government confessed that the Nazis attempted to exterminate European Jewry? Yes, but they lied so they could rejoin the family of nations.
Now the revisionist must rationalize no less than 14 different bits of evidence that "jump together" to a specific conclusion. But our convergence continues. If six million Jews did not die, where did they go? They are in Russia, and America, and Israel, and scattered throughout the world. But why can't they find each other? They do--haven't you heard the occasional stories of long lost siblings making contact with each other after many decades? What about those photos and newsreels of the liberation of the camps with all those dead bodies and starving/dying inmates? Those people were well taken care of until the end of the war when the Allies were mercilessly bombing German cities, factories, and supply lines that were feeding those camps--the Nazis tried valiantly to save their prisoners but the combined strength of the Allies was too much. But what about all those accounts by prisoners of the brutality of the Nazis--the random shootings and beatings, the deplorable conditions, the freezing temperatures, the overwork, etc.? This is war. The Americans put Japanese in camps. The Japanese imprisoned Chinese. The Russians tortured Poles and Germans. War is hell. The Nazis are no different from anyone else.
Post Hoc Rationalization. We are now up to 18 proofs all converging toward one conclusion. The revisionist is desperately swinging away at them all, steadfastly determined not to give up his belief system. He is relying on what might be called post hoc rationalization--an after-the-fact reasoning to justify contrary evidence. In addition, the revisionist then shifts the burden of disproving all this evidence to the historian by mistakenly demanding that each one of these pieces of evidence independently prove the Holocaust.556
Indeed, in the case of Auschwitz, it is important when dealing with the arguments   of deniers that, despite the claims to the contrary, the onus is on them to make their case. This means, above all else, that they must transcend their nihilist agenda. Despite their claim to be "revisionists," holocaust deniers have not yet begun to undertake the task of "revising history." True revisionist history not only destroys an inherited view of the past, but also provides an alternative. For example, Michel Foucault argued in his famous Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (1975) that the Enlightenment ascent from the world of explicit judicial violence enacted on the body had been, in fact, a descent into a closed universe of total surveillance and unrelenting discipline, a world ruled by some cunning, shadowy and ultimately sinister power. Foucault's argument was shown to be a blatant misconstruction, and as a result we read Discipline and Punish today more for its historical value as a representative of the intellectual climate of the 1970s than for its value as history of the Enlightenment. Yet the fact remains that in its time it offered a revisionist interpretation of the history of punishment that was plausible and therefore was taken seriously. And it could be taken seriously because Foucault had taken the trouble to write a history, that is to offer what seemed at least at first reading to be a narrative in which he put forward his thesis. He created something one could engage with. And he created something one wanted to engage with.
Up to today holocaust deniers have been unable to produce, in forty years of effort, a counter-narrative to the inherited history of Auschwitz. The deniers claim to be revisionist historians, but they have yet to produce a history that offers a plausible, "revised" explanation of the events in question. Until now, they have had a nihilist agenda. They have attacked the inherited account on the unproven assumption of some general conspiracy, but they have not been able, or willing, to produce serious revisionist historiography that gives us the origin and development of this conspiracy, the reason why and how it seized on, of all places, those very "ordinary" Auschwitz concentration camps as the fulcrum of its effort to hoodwink both gentiles and Jews, to leverage the international community in general, and defraud the Germans and the Arabs in particular. At the moment the best the negationist have done in this respect is either Arthur Butz's rambling and highly implausible suggestion that the origin of the conspiracy was somehow tied to the American need to accelerate in 1942 its synthetic rubber program, or a certain "Samuel Crowell's" more recent attempt to describe, in good post-modern fashion,   Auschwitz as the result of "intertextuality."557 And if the actual war-time history of Auschwitz and Birkenau was indeed one of relative normality, comparable to the histories of Dachau, Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen, with only typhus epidemics as an extra permanent fixture to explain the increased mortality, then one should expect holocaust deniers to produce, accepting the criteria and constraints of accepted historical scholarship, a transparent and coherent account to that effect. At the moment nothing exists even resembling this. Certainly, the negationists have shown great creativity in inventing many alternative explanations for each aspect of the camp's history that seems to point to a deliberate program of genocide, but none of them are reconciled in one plausible narrative--a history that would force the negationists to choose between the many options they have imagined, to seriously engage with issues of relevancy and causation, and to apply judgement.
In the following pages I will show that the work of these so-called revisionist historians constitutes a travesty of historical scholarship. I will consider the most important statements made by these negationist scholars, beginning with the Frenchman Paul Rassinier.558 At this point I will not consider why and how he became to be convinced that the Holocaust was a Hoax, but simply review his most important statements on the subject, giving particular attention to the way he interprets the evidence from Auschwitz. I will demonstrate that, as a scholar, Rassinier is grossly inaccurate at best, intellectually dishonest as a rule, and mad at worst.
According to Rassinier, the genealogy of the gas chamber hoax began in 1943. In the case of the German camps, the agent provocateur was not Victor Kravchenko, but Rapheal Lemkin.  
After some fifteen years of historical research, I have come to the following conclusion: it was in 1943 that National Socialist Germany was accused for the first time of the systematic extermination of the Jews in the gas chambers. The author of this first, horrible and infamous accusation was a Polish Jew, a refugee in England and a jurist by profession, by the name of Rafael Lemkin. And, he made that accusation in a book published in London, and in English, in that year, entitled Axis Rule in Occupied Europe....And, the view maintained in the book was supported by the Kasztner Report on the tragedy of the Hungarian Jews, a report which was also talked about in the corridors during the [Nuremberg ] trial..But, we must be precise and say that it was only after January 30, 1946, the date when French Prosecutor DuBost made public his discovery of the Gerstein document, that these two pieces of writing took on importance. In fact, it was on that day that, in the world press, the gas chambers mythology began its dance to every tune and diabolical rhythm; that unrestrained saraband full of missteps has not stopped since.
Let us try to reconstruct the facts. Until January 30, 1946, aside from the Axis Rule in Occupied Europe and the Kasztner Report which were only secondhand testimonies, the prosecution and judges at Nuremberg had only direct testimonies which, juridically, were not much authentic, given the way in which they were adduced by their authors. All of these witnesses had been interned at Auschwitz, and,as for gas chambers, either they knew nothing about them, or they knew about them through their prison comrades who were "trustworthy" and who they generally did not name, or who were already dead, if they did name them. Second hand testimony again. An example of this kind of testimony is provided by Dr. Benedikt Kautski, who did not appear in court, but,as we have seen, who wrote a book and had his short hour of fame. Another is that of Madame Vaillant-Couturier who arrived at the Auschwitz camp in January 1943, who was a communist, who, for that reason, was hidden away in the hospital where she was an important personage in the Häftlingsführung and who, in answer to the question as to whether the hospital had been open to Jews when they were sick, coldly replied to French Prosecutor DuBost, "No, when we got there the Jews did not have the right to go there; they were taken directly to the gas chamber if they were sick." (T. VI, p. 219) Now, never was a false witness   brought before the bar of a Tribunal with such calm assurance, since in January 1943 there existed--if indeed there ever existed--no gas chamber at Auschwitz, the official word being that they were not installed until the end of February 1943. There is no end to the number of false witnesses of this kind that could be cited. But, for the first time, with the Gerstein document, the prosecution had a first-hand witness. But wasn't Gerstein dead? Yes, but he had written, or, at least, he had signed, a statement--at least that is what was claimed. Was not this statement about Auschwitz? No, not in so far as it concerned what he had seen; but invoices for Zyklon B that was delivered to that camp were appended. His description of extermination by gas in other camps portrayed the operation in such a degree of horror that the journalists assigned to the trial decided that their emphasis of that theme would be sure to sell newspapers at home. The judges themselves accorded much less importance to the Gerstein allegations, but they allowed the journalists a free hand; even though they did not actually encourage them, they never gave them their true impressions of the Gerstein document, which was presented to public opinion as though it had been admitted into evidence when actually it had been rejected (as was discussed in the preceding chapter).
Dr. Benedikt Kautksi's book did not come out until the end of 1946. Therefore, it did not play a part in the trial of the Major War Criminals. As a secondhand testimony on gas chambers it would not have been any great help. To have a description of the gas exterminations at Auschwitz as precise as that of the Gerstein document on Belzec, the prosecution had to wait until 1951 and Médicin à Auschwitz by Miklos Nyiszli, about whom we learned what to think in the preceding chapters. Since then, nothing. No other de visu witnesses. The literature of the concentration camps--the historians like Hans Rothfels, Golo Mann, or Raul Hilberg, the War Crimes Commission of Warsaw, and the Centres of Contemporary Jewish Documentation, their propagandists like Leon Poliakov or Hannah Arendt, the Institut für Zeitgeschichte at Munich, or showmen and film directors like Piscator (producer of Der Stellvertreter by Hochhuth)--has never been able to bring forth, as far as I know, any more than those two testimonies, both of which I believe I have proved were obviously apocryphal. I shall not   belabor the point.559
Before we consider the historiographical importance of these paragraphs, let us just look at their accuracy. It will be clear that accuracy is the first virtue of any historian, and there is a general consensus that a constant lack of accuracy in the description of small things generates a quite legitimate concern about one's honesty in one's judgement of the big issues. Rassinier disappoints. First of all Raphael Lemkin's Axis Rule in Occupied Europe did not accuse the Germans of conducting a "systematic mass extermination of Jews in the gas chambers." What did Lemkin write? In a chapter entitled "Genocide" Lemkin introduced the neologism "genocide" with the justification that "new conceptions require new terms."
By "genocide" we mean the destruction of a nation or of an ethnic group. This new word, coined by the author to denote an old practice in its modern development, is made from the ancient Greek word genos (race, tribe) and the Latin cide (killing), thus corresponding in its formation to such words as tyrannicide, homicide, infanticide, etc. Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accompanied by mass killing of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.560
Given this definition, Lemkin saw that genocide involved first of all the destruction of the national pattern of a given group, and second of all the forced imposition of a new pattern. It was therefore mainly a political, cultural, and economic process. This, so he believed, occurred with varying intensity all over German-ruled Europe, but especially in German   annexed Alsace, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Bohemia, and western Poland. Lemkin did discuss German policies of biological genocide in the annexed parts of Poland, where the German authorities tried to decrease the birthrates of Poles, and physical genocide through racial discrimination in feeding, the endangering of health, and mass killings. In all three categories he included most of the non-German nations that had come under Nazi rule.561 The section dealing with mass killings reads as follows:
Mass Killings. The technique of mass killings is employed mainly against Poles, Russians, and Jews, as well as against leading personalities from among the non-collaborationist groups in all the occupied countries. In Poland, Bohemia-Moravia, and Slovenia, the intellectuals are being "liquidated" because they have always been considered as the main bearers of national ideals and at the time of occupation they were especially suspected of being the organizers of resistance. The Jews for the most part are liquidated within the ghettos, or in special trains in which they are transported to a so-called "unknown" destination. The number of Jews who have been killed by organized murder in all the occupied countries, according to the Institute of Jewish Affairs of the American Jewish Congress in New York, amounts to 1,702,500.562
The next paragraph deals with the religious persecution of Luxembourgeois and Polish catholics. There is no mention of gas chambers either in Lemkin's text, nor in the reference he quotes from the December 17, 1942 "Joint Declaration by members of the United Nations," in which the Germans are accused of working the able-bodied to death in labour camps and in which they leave the infirm to die of exposure or starvation, or massacre them in mass executions.563 Lemkin does not mention anywhere the systematic mass extermination of Jews in gas chambers.
 
Similarly the records do not support Rassinier's account of the events on January 30, 1946--the day that the "gas chambers mythology began its dance to every tune and diabolical rhythm." First of all, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Charles Dubost did not announce his discovery of the famous Gerstein Report--the very detailed eyewitness account of the extermination process in Belzec written by SS-Obersturmführer Kurt Gerstein. What did happen is that Dubost mentioned that he had possession of ten invoices addressed to Gerstein for the delivery of Zyklon B to the Oranienburg and Auschwitz concentration camps, and that he wanted to submit them as evidence under Exhibit Number RF-350.564 There is no evidence anywhere in the official transcript of that day's proceedings that justifies Rassinier's claim that on that day the "unrestrained saraband" of the gas--chamber legend began. There is no evidence anywhere that justifies Rassinier's observation that, "for the first time, with the Gerstein document, the prosecution had a first-hand witness," and that "the judges themselves accorded much less importance to the Gerstein allegations." No allegations were read, no "description of extermination by gas" provided. The only thing that happened was that DuBost mentioned the ten invoices, and that he encountered some difficulties in having it and many other documents accepted as evidence that day because of the inability of DuBost's small staff in completing all the required administrative procedures in arranging and numbering them.
Rassinier elsewhere suggested that the refusal of the judges to initially admit Exhibit Number RF-350 as evidence was due to its mistrust of the authenticity of the document. "For reasons which the reader will not fail to understand,the Tribunal, in fact, did not want to hear anything about either Kurt Gerstein or his testament," Rassinier observed. "[O]ut of the bundle of documents that were produced by Mr. DuBost, it accepted only two invoices of April 30, 1944, each for 555 kilos of Zyklon B, one for Auschwitz and the other for Oranienburg."565 Elsewhere Rassinier gives a slightly different version of the same event.  
It was this fantastically gruesome account that Mr.DuBost--not just anyone, but a prosecutor, and, doubtless, a well known one too, since he was chosen from among his peers to represent France at Nuremberg--wanted to have accepted by the International Tribunal on January 30, 1946. The Tribunal did not go along. But, one must say that for the Tribunal not to go along it had to be really a little thick, because in other circumstances it swallowed, apparently without a flick of an eyelash, lots of other tricky things of this kind.566
Again, the record of the proceedings do not support Rassinier's suggestion. The Gerstein Report was never at issue, and the (temporary) problem, resolved that same afternoon, was of a procedural nature.
Georges Wellers, former inmate of Auschwitz and editor of "Le Monde Juife," could not resist showing his rage at Rassinier's suggestion, which later transformed into a conclusion, that the refusal of the Tribunal to initially accept Exhibit Number RF-350 into evidence proved "that the Gerstein document was an historical forgery."
This "argument" is a model of hypocrisy and outrageous deceit typical of all the procedures currently employed by Rassinier. It is a model of hypocrisy, for God knows how much spleen Rassinier vented on the Tribunal of Nuremberg and its decisions, how many documents admitted by the Tribunal were declared by him to be "forged," "apocryphal," "falsified," "worthless," "not conclusive," etc. to not take seriously his sudden and virtuous indignation that the Gerstein document is still considered authentic and essential. Outrageous deceit, for in reality the Tribunal, during its morning session on January 30 did in fact "refuse to hear the reading" of the Gerstein report, but not at all because it considered it "inconclusive," but rather for a purely technical reason: a certificate establishing its origin, obligatory required by the Tribunal for every paper produced, was   lacking.567
And after describing how, later in the afternoon the Tribunal apologized to Mr. DuBost for causing some difficulties earlier that day, Wellers asked "[i]s that sufficiently clear? The incident is closed for anyone...Except for Rassinier, naturally."568
Let us return to the passage under discussion. Finally, of course, is Rassinier's blunt dismissal of Claude Vaillant-Couturier's testimony. Labelling her a "communist" and conveniently ignoring that she was a member of the Constituent Assembly and a Chevalier in the Legion d'Honneur, Rassinier passed in silence over her amazingly detailed and responsible account of life and death in Auschwitz, dismissing her whole testimony because he wrongly assumed that in January 1943, when she arrived in Auschwitz, there were no gas chambers. Whenever Madame Vaillant-Couturier mentioned something she had not witnessed herself, she mentioned this specifically in her declaration, and provided the name of her informant.569
Thus Rassinier's genealogy of the gas chamber story is inaccurate, to say the least. Equally non-sensical is his account of how the legend of the concentration camps and the hoax of the Holocaust were the result of the cold-war.
[I]t is no secret that there are certain features of the foreign policy of the United States which are expressly designed to prevent any serious breakdown of relations with the Soviet Union; the contrived danger of a re-birth of Naziism and Fascism in Europe is one of them. Both Stalin and Truman fully exploited this myth [of the camps], the former to keep Europe from achieving economic and political   unity and from integrating Germany into such a European community, and the latter to justify in part the huge cost of maintaining an army of occupation in Germany.570
When in the early 1950s the prospect of a united Europe appeared, the Soviets and the Israelis had new reasons to whip up the myth of the gas chambers, the former to prevent the isolation of Russia, the latter to prevent an end to the German reparation payments to Israel. The main centers of propaganda were two organizations that were a figment of Rassinier's imagination: the Warsaw Committee for the investigation of crimes and war criminals and the World Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation. 571
The target was Germany. The theme was that the horrors and atrocities that had been committed during the Second World War by the Nazis were a natural vocation of Germany. Therefore, in order to prevent a re-emergence of this horrible propensity, the Germans had to be kept under severe control and very carefully segregated.572
Thus appeared, on orders of propaganda organizations centred in Warsaw and Tel Aviv, Miklos Nysizli's memoir Auschwitz: A Doctor's Eyewitness Account and Leon Poliakov's Harvest of Hate and finally Rudolf Höss's memoirs.
In his historiography of our knowledge of the gas chambers, Rassinier introduced a technique which other negationists were to copy: he summarily dismissed all eye-witness testimonies that affirmed the existence of, for example, gas chambers as lies of Ulysses, and ignored (or perhaps proved ignorant of)the vast array of other evidence. Of course, he   did profess at occasions his good will:
For fifteen years, everytime that I heard of a witness anywhere, no matter where in the portion of Europe that was not occupied by the Soviets, who claimed to have himself been present at gas exterminations, I immediately went to him to get his testimony. And, each time the experience ended in the same way. With documentation in hand, I would ask him so many precise and detailed questions that soon it became apparent that he could not answer except by lying. Often his lies became so transparent, even to himself, that he ended his testimony by declaring that he had not seen it himself, but that one of his good friends, who had died in the camps and whose good faith he could not doubt, had told him about it. I covered thousands and thousands of kilometres throughout Europe in this way.573
It is a pity, for posterity's sake, that Rassinier did not keep a log of his travels, or his interviews, as it would have helped later generations of historians in their work!
It will be clear that the publication of Höss's autobiography and his essay on the Final Solution of the Jewish Problem troubled Rassinier. Unlike the memoirs of the deportees, he could not simply dismiss the book as another "Lie of Ulysses." Therefore he had to engage the text closely, and discredit Höss as a witness by revealing alleged contradictions, miscalculations and other reasons for doubt as to the accuracy of his memory or the veracity of his statements.
In reply to the question put by Dr. Kaufmann, Kaltenbrunner's legal counsel at Nuremberg, "Did Eichmann tell you in fact that more than 2,000,000 Jews were destroyed at Auschwitz camp?" Hoess answered, "Yes, that is right." (T. XI, p. 409.) Behind the scenes he is supposed to have told the American psychologist, Gustave Gilbert, that "Every day two trains brought in 3,000 persons, for 27 months" (therefore, for the whole length of the period of deportation, from March 1942 to July 1944). "So that makes a total of about 2,500,000 people." (Statement of Professor Gilbert before the Jerusalem Tribunal in judgement on   Eichmann, May 30, 1961). But, when it came to giving details about these 2,500,000 people he wrote in the Le Commandant d'Auschwitz parle (p. 239, French ed.):
As for me, I never knew the total number, and had no way of determining it. I can only remember the number in the most important cases, often pointed out to me by Eichmann or one of his deputies.
From Upper Silesia, or Poland in general: 250,000
From Germany, or Theresienstadt: 100,000
Holland: 95,000
Belgium: 20,000
France: 110,000
Greece: 65,000
Hungary: 400,000
Slovakia: 90,000
TOTAL: 1,130,000

The figures concerning cases of less importance are not graven in my memory, but they were insignificant compared with the above. I think the figure of 2,500,000 much too high "574
Rassinier's text is full of mistakes, misinterpretation, and falsification. "Behind the scenes [Höss ] is supposed to have told..." is refuted by reading either Gilbert's book The Psychology of Dictatorship (1950) or the transcripts of the Eichmann trial. In the book Gilbert wrote and during the trial he stated under oath that Höss wrote these things down in a short autobiography created on Gilbert's behest. On May 29, 1961, the day of Gilbert's testimony, the original document was produced in court as evidence, and marked as T/1170.575 In his autobiography Höss provided a detailed description of the   arrival, selection and killing of the deportees. I will provide a rather lengthy quotation, to provide the full context for the two sentences Rassinier chose to quote.
In Birkenau there were five installations--two large crematoria, each of which had a capacity for receiving 2,000 persons in the course of 24 hours. That is to say, it was possible in one gas chamber to put to death up to 2,500 persons; in five double ovens heated with coke, it was possible to burn at most 2,000 bodies within 24 hours; two smaller installations could eliminate about 1,500 people, with four bigger double ovens to each of them. Furthermore, there was also an open-air installation--that is, an old farmhouse was sealed and turned into a gas chamber, which could also contain 1,500 persons at one and the same time. The incineration was carried out there in an open pit on wood, and this was practically limitless. In my estimation, it was possible to burn there, in 24 hours, up to 8,000 persons in this way. Hence it was possible to exterminate and eliminate up to 10,000 people within 24 hours in the installations described above. As far as I am aware, this number was attained only once in 1944, when delays occurred in the arrival of trains, and consequently five transports arrived together on one day. The ashes of the burnt bodies were ground into dust, which was poured into the Vistula in remote places and swept away with the current.
On the basis of the figure of 2.5 million, which is the number of people who--according to Eichmann--were brought to Auschwitz for extermination, it may be said that on average, two transports arrived daily, with a combined total of 4,000 persons, of whom twenty-five per cent were fit for work, the balance of 3,000 were to be exterminated. The intervals in the various operations can be computed together at nine months. Thus there remain 27 months, with 90,000 people each month--a total of 2,430,000 people. This is a calculation of the technical potential. I have to keep to the figure mentioned by Eichmann, for he was the only SS officer who was allowed to keep records concerning these liquidation operations, according to the orders of the Reichsführer-SS. All other units which took part in any way had to destroy all records immediately. Eichmann mentioned this number in my presence when he was called upon, in April 1945, to present a report to the Reichsführer-SS. I had no records whatsoever. But, to the best of my knowledge, this number appears to me much to   high. If I calculate the total of the mass operations which I still remember, and still make allowance for a certain percentage of error, I arrive, in my calculation, at a total of 1.5 million at the most, for the period from the beginning of 1941 to the end of 1944. But these are my computations which I cannot verify.[Emphasis added]
Nuremberg, 24 April 1946 (Signed) Rudolf Höss (At the bottom of the document): Hungary - 400,000; Slovakia - 90,000; Greece - 65,000; Holland - 90,000; France - 110,000; Belgium - 20,000; the region of the Generalgouvernement and Upper Silesia - 250,000; Germany and Terezin - 100,000. Total - 1,125,000.576
Considering Höss's statement given to Gilbert and read in court during the Eichmann trial, it is clear that first of all the contradiction that Rassinier noted between the figures of 2.5 million and 1.1 million does not exist. Höss clearly states that he took Eichmann's figure of 2.5 million deportees as a point of departure, and that, at least in theory, this number of victims could have been achieved with an average of 90,000 victims arriving over 27 of the 36 months that mass killing took place in Auschwitz. However, Höss warned that the number of (27 x 90,000 =) 2,430,000 should only be seen as "a calculation of the technical potential." Having no records of his own, he felt obliged "to keep to the figure mentioned by Eichmann, for he was the only SS officer who was allowed to keep records concerning these liquidation operations, according to the orders of the Reichsführer-SS." But, having said so, Höss immediately proceeded to make his own calculation, which was "1.5 million at the most, for the period from the beginning of 1941 to the end of 1944. But these are my computations which I cannot verify." As to the second quotation Rassinier provided, which came from the French version of Höss's autobiography, again we can see that he failed to provide the context. The paragraph that preceded the one with the calculation of 1,130,000 million deportees that Rassinier quoted reads as follows:
During my earlier interrogations I gave the number of 2.5 million Jews who arrived at Auschwitz to be exterminated. This figure was given to me by   Eichmann, who had given this figure to my superior, SS General Glücks, when Eichmann was ordered to make a report to Himmler shortly before Berlin was surrounded....I myself never knew the total number, and I have nothing to help me arrive at an estimate. I can only remember the figures involved in the larger actions....577
Again, the context is the same. Höss mentions Eichmann's calculation of 2.5 million deportees in order to reject it in favour for a lower figure of his own.
Quoting partially and out of context, Rassinier gave the false impression that Höss came to one conclusion in one place, and another elsewhere--in short that Höss was an unreliable witness. It seems, after some closer scrutiny of the evidence, that Höss showed, after all, a remarkable consistency in his computations--especially so if one remembers that he did the two calculations Rassinier quoted at different periods and without the opportunity to compare them. The contradiction does not exist, except in Rassinier's mind.
Having established the less than stellar practice of Rassinier as a scholar and having reestablished the credibility of Höss as a witness, we return to Rassinier's text.
[W]e are concerned here with the witness Hoess, not the general statistics. And about those two trains that for 27 months brought 3,000 people to Auschwitz everyday, witness Hoess does not seem very certain. On this subject I invite the reader to think about these three propositions:
  • 1."As far as I can remember the convoys arriving at Auschwitz never carried more than 1,000 prisoners." (p.220).
  • 2."Following some delays in communication, five convoys a day, instead of the expected three, arrived." (p.236).
  • 3."In the extermination of Hungarian Jews, convoys were arriving at the rate of 15,000 persons a day." (p.239).
From which it appears that under certain circumstances five trains per day of   1,000 persons each delivered a total of 15,000 persons.578
So let us follow Rassinier's proposal, and consider these three propositions. First of all, let us establish their context. The first quote appears in a discussion about the early transports of Upper Silesian Jews to Auschwitz.
I am unable to recall when the destruction of the Jews began--probably in September 1941, or perhaps not until January 1942. At first we dealt with the Jews from Upper Silesia. These Jews were arrested by the Gestapo from Katowice and transported via the Auschwitz-Dziediez railroad and unloaded there. As far as I can recall, these transports never numbered more than a thousand persons (Emphasis added).579
Comparison between the German original and the English translation shows that the latter has some problems, but on a crucial point it is correct: when Höss discusses the size of the transports, he only refers to those early transports. "These transports never numbered more than a thousand persons." He does not refer to other transports. In fact,the use of the demonstrative adjective "these" and the double adverb "never...more" suggest that other, that is later, transports were larger. By changing "these transports" for "the transports," Rassinier distorted Höss's text.
A misrepresentation of a different kind occurs when he quotes that "following   some delays in communication, five convoys a day, instead of the expected three, arrived." The context of this sentence, in the translation of Andrew Pollinger, is as follows:
The highest total figure of people gassed and cremated in twenty-four hours was slightly more than nine thousand. This figure was reached in the summer of 1944, during the action in Hungary, using all installations except Crematory [IV]. On that day five trains arrived because of delays on the rail lines, instead of three, as was expected, and in addition the railroad cars were more crowded than usual.580
Rassinier is quite brazen with his third quotation: "In the extermination of Hungarian Jews, convoys were arriving at the rate of 15,000 persons a day." It does not appear in the original. He seems to have made it up. In conclusion, Rassinier suggests a discrepancy between three figures that does not exist. The two that could be traced back applied both to specific, and what proved to be atypical situations--one at the (hesitant) beginning of the history of Auschwitz as a site of the Shoah, and one extraordinary situation during its peak.
In the next paragraph Rassinier, who has shown poor exegetic skills, provides an example of his mathematical skills.
To the Tribunal on April 15, 1946, Hoess had stated that these trains carried 2,000 persons each (T. XI, p. 412). To Professor Gustave Gilbert he said that they contained 1,500 each, and in his book, he comes down to 1,000. What is certain that for the period given none of these estimates on the capacity of the trains corresponds to a total of 1,130,000. The last one is the closest to the truth with an exaggeration of only 300,000. Since Mr. Raul Hilberg takes under consideration six "killing centres," an exaggeration of 300,000 for each one would yield a total exaggeration of nearly 2,000,000 persons and, out of six million a total exaggeration of that magnitude is quite important.581
  I will not comment on the easy way Rassinier was able to bring back to life, at the end of this paragraph, almost 2 million Jews with a stroke of the pen. Of greater interest is his statement about the capacity of the trains, and his conclusions. First of all the contradiction between the numbers. As we have seen, Höss mentioned the figure of 1,000 in relation to the transports of early 1942 from surrounding region of Upper Silesia. The figure of 2,000 that he mentioned on April 15, 1946, referred to "the whole period up until 1944."
Dr. Kaufmann: "And then the railway transports arrived. During what period did these transports arrive and about how many people, roughly, were in such a transport?"
Hoess: "During the whole period up until 1944 certain operations were carried out at irregular intervals in the different countries, so that one cannot speak of a continuous flow of incoming transports. It was always a matter of 4 to 6 weeks. During those 4 to 6 weeks two to three trains, containing about 2,000 persons each, arrived daily.582
Again, where Höss is specific and where he makes historically important distinctions, Rassinier chooses to lump things together. He also seems incompetent as an accountant when he states that there is no way one could reach, on the basis of trains with between 1,000 and 2,000 Jews, a total number of 1,130,000 arriving deportees. Yet a simple calculation that does not exceed the abilities of a ten-year old shows otherwise. Let us take as our basis the figure of that the deportations occurred over a period of 27 months (a figure which Rassinier endorsed a little earlier). This is a little over 800 days. This means that, on average, Auschwitz would have received 1,412 deportees per day. This is the average of the three figures Rassinier quoted--that is the total number of 1,130,000 deportees could have been easily reached if over a period of 27 months one train of 1,500 people per day arrived at the camp. But, as Höss wrote, during many actions the average   rate was between two and three trains per day, and during the Hungarian action the normal rate was three trains per day. And I wonder how Rassinier could state with such conviction that, "for the period given none of these estimates on the capacity of the trains corresponds to a total of 1,130,000."
In the next paragraph Rassinier showed his general ignorance of the meaning of the documents of the Zentralbauleitung found in Auschwitz at the time of the liberation.
The same observation holds for the soundness of [Hoess's] testimony. "In the middle of spring, 1942, hundreds of human beings perished in the gas chambers." (p. 178.) But, as we have seen, Document No. 4401 establishes beyond any doubt that the so-called "gas chambers" were not ordered for Auschwitz until August 8, 1942 and Document No. 4463 establishes that they were not actually installed until February 20, 1943. At Nuremberg, Hoess had already stated in his deposition that "in 1942, Himmler came to visit the camp and was present at an execution from beginning to end," (T. XI, p. 413); no one called his attention to the fact that even if it were possible that Himmler had gone to Auschwitz in 1942, it was not possible for him to have been present at an execution, since the gas chambers had not been constructed yet. And,furthermore, we know that it would have been unlikely for Himmler to have been present at an execution because as we learned after the war from his physician, Dr.Kersten, he could not bear the sight of an execution.583
Two documents that relate to the construction of the four new crematoria equipped with gas chambers in no way preclude the existence of other gas chambers in Auschwitz. In fact, Bunker 1 had been in operation since March of that year, and Bunker 2 since July. These were converted farmhouses and, in fact, Höss mentions them as the place of execution in the paragraph preceding the sentence Rassinier chose to quote as well, more obliquely, in the sentence itself, which Rassinier chose to quote only partly, suppressing amongst other things not only the location, but also Höss's sickeningly sentimental attempt at poetry. "In the spring of 1942 hundreds of people in the full bloom   of life walked beneath the budding fruit trees of the farm into the gas chamber to their death, most often without a hint of what was going to happen to them."584 ("Im Frühjahr 1942 gingen Hunderte von blühenden Menschen unter den blühenden Obstbäumen des Bauerngehöftes, meist nichtsahnend, in die Gaskammern, in den Tod."585)It is in this context significant that Rassinier uses the definite article "the" when he mentions the gas chambers: "it was not possible for him to have been present at an execution, since the gas chambers had not been constructed yet. [Emphasis added]" The definite article "the" suggests there were only one set of gas chambers at the site that came into operation in 1943. In fact, there were many different gas chambers, some which were used for longer periods, and some for a shorter time, some were spaces converted from other uses, others were designed as gas chambers.
Finally there is Rassinier's treatment of Himmler's visit. Höss provided a few short accounts of this visit in his autobiography, and in his essay on the Final Solution.586 In the latter text the account reads as follows.
During his visit in the summer of 1942, Himmler very carefully observed the entire process of annihilation. He began with the unloading at the ramps and completed the inspection as Bunker 2 was being cleared of bodies. At that time there were no open-pit burnings. He did not complain about anything, but he didn't say anything about it either. Accompanying him were District Leader Bracht and SS General Schmauser. Shortly after Himmler's visit, SS Colonel Blobel from Eichmann's office arrived and brought Himmler's order, which stated that all the mass graves were to be opened and all the bodies cremated. It further stated that all the ashes were to be disposed of in such a way that later on there   would be no way to determine the number of those cremated.587
It is obvious that Himmler did not like the sight, but was more of a "man" than both Kersten and Rassinier assumed.
Finally Höss provided a very long (four pages) and very detailed account of this visit in his biographical essay on Himmler, which was attached to and published with his autobiography. In this essay Höss described once more Himmler's response to the killings.
After inspecting Birkenau, Himmler witnessed the complete extermination process of a transport of Jews which had just arrived. He also looked on for a while during a selection of those who would work and those who would die without any complaint on his part. Himmler made no comment about the extermination process. He just looked in total silence. I noticed that he very quietly watched the officers, the NCOs and me several times during the process.588
The next paragraph of Rassinier's text is even more problematic.
Hoess' comments concerning the capacity of the gas chambers and the crematories also are grossly contradictory. For example, he says on one page that: The maximum figure for the number of people gassed or incinerated every 24 hours was a little more than 9,000 for all the installations (p.236, emphasis added.) But, then, he says a few pages later: As I have already said, Crematories I and II could incinerate about 2,000 bodies in 24 hours; it was not possible to exceed this if one wanted to avoid damage. Installations III and IV were supposed to incinerate 1,500 corpses in 24 hours. But, as far as I know, these figures were never reached. (p.245, emphasis added.) How can one fail to deduce from these flagrant contradictions that here is a document which was fabricated hastily after the event by   illiterates?589
So let's look again at what Höss really says. For the record: with Anlage II (Installation II) Hoess points at Bunker 2., As we have already seen, Bunker 2 was a peasant cottage west of Birkenau that had been transformed into a gas chamber in the summer of 1942. It had been taken out of commission after the completion of the crematoria in 1943, but brought back into operation during the Hungarian Action in 1944 and renamed as Bunker 5. Outside Bunker 2/5 were large burning pits, where bodies were cremated in the open. The remains of these pits, together with the ashes, are still visible today.
Installation II, later designated as Open Air Installation or Bunker V, was in operation until the very end, especially as a standby in case of breakdowns in crematoria I to IV. In the case of actions with train transports arriving shortly after each other daytime gassings were conducted at V, and nightly arriving transports at I to IV. The cremation possibility at V was practically unlimited as long it was still possible to burn both by day and night. Because of enemy air activity it was not possible anymore from 1944 onwards to burn at night. The highest total figure of gassings and cremations within 24 hours was a little over 9,000 at all locations except at III in the summer of 1944 during the Hungarian Action, as due to train delays five instead of the expected three trains arrived within 24 hours, and these were also more heavily loaded (Emphasis added).590
  In other words, there is no contradiction. The open air cremation pits at V allow for the much higher figure. By partially quoting the paragraph, Rassinier either incompetently or malevolently tried to change the record.
Elsewhere Rassinier is just sloppy.
Finally, a careful analysis of the following language reveals a pearl: Toward the end of 1942, all the mass graves were cleaned [crematory ovens had not been built yet, and incineration was done in mass graves]. The number of cadavers buried there exceeded 107,000. This figure [as Rudolph Hoess explains farther on] includes not only convoys of Jews gassed from the beginning, until the moment when they went on to incineration, but also the cadavers of all the prisoners who died in Auschwitz-Birkenau camp (p. 231). From this statement one infers that in nearly three years 107,000 persons died. I say "in nearly three years" because the two phrases "toward the end of 1942" and "until the moment when they went on to incineration," are paradoxical, since the cremations could not have begun, according to the official thesis, before February 20, 1943. Therefore, for the two to be concomitant, which is called for here, it is absolutely necessary that both should have occurred on this last date. Since the camp was opened on June 14, 1940, one has to speak of almost three years. Hence the cremation of 107,000 cadavers before February 1943 must mean that all of the rest were cremated at a later date. Taking into account that between February 1943 and October 1944 (the official end of the exterminations) there are 17 months and that, as the Kasztner Report tells us, for 8 or 9 months (the autumn of 1943 to May 1944) the gas chambers at Auschwitz were out of order and not working, it remains to be established how many persons more than 107,000 could have been "incinerated," from February 1943 to October 1944, when the camp was equipped with four crematoria ovens of 15 burners each. I would be very astonished if a cremation expert, given these facts, should reply that it was possible to cremate the million bodies that are claimed by Mr. Raul Hilberg, or even the 900,000 of the Institute   of Jewish Affairs.591
Rassinier begins his argument with a quote from Höss's report. Let us carefully examine this quote in its proper context. In the preceding paragraphs Höss records the beginning of the extermination of Jews in Bunker I, describing the procedure in some detail.
During the spring of 1942 we were still dealing with small police actions. But during the summer the transports became more numerous and we were forced to build another extermination site. The farm west of crematoria 4 and 5, which were built later, was chosen and prepared. Five barracks were built, two near Bunker 1, and three near Bunker 2. Bunker 2 was the larger one. It held about 1,200 people. As late as the summer of 1942 the corpses were still buried in mass graves. Not until the end of the summer did we start burning them. At first we put two thousand bodies on a large pile of wood. Then we opened up the mass graves and burned the new bodies on top of the old ones from the earlier burials. At first we poured waste oil over the bodies. Later on we used methanol.The burning went on continuously--all day and all night. By the end of November all the mass graves were cleared. The number of buried bodies in the mass graves was 107,000. This number contains not only the first Jewish transports which were gassed when we started the burnings, but also the bodies of the prisoners who died in the main Auschwitz camp during the winter of 1941- 42 because the crematory was out of order. The prisoners who died at Birkenau [Auschwitz 2] are included in that number.592
 
Examination of the text shows how non-sensical Rassinier's comments are. Let's look at them sentence by sentence. "From this statement one infers that in nearly three years 107,000 persons died." In fact, this inference is wrong. All the statement says is that 107,700 people were buried in mass graves until the beginning of the incinerations on the pyres, that is until the end of the summer of 1942. It does not even include those people who arrived after the end of the summer to be killed and cremated immediately upon death without having been buried first in a mass grave. It only includes those who were killed and initially buried without the intention of later cremation.
The largest group of these people were Jews who had arrived mostly after the spring of 1942--the transports in the spring were still classified as "small police actions." So these were people who were killed in the camp between let's say June and September, that is three months and not three years. Added to that were two smaller groups--inmates who had died in Auschwitz I in the winter of 1941/42 when the crematorium there was in repair, and the prisoners who had died in Birkenau since its opening in the beginning of March 1942. Ignorant of the context, Rassinier's following sentence is non-sensical. "I say 'in nearly three years' because the two phrases 'toward the end of 1942' and 'until the moment when they went on to incineration,' are paradoxical, since the cremations could not have begun, according to the official thesis, before February 20, 1943. "The paradox does not exist, because it is absolutely clear that Höss refers in his "bis zu Beginn der Verbrennungen [until the beginning of the incineration]" to the open--air incinerations discussed earlier in the same paragraph, and not to the in-house incinerations in the crematoria mentioned 10 paragraphs later. As these open-air incinerations began at the end of the summer, they could very well have ended by the end of November 1942.
 
As a result Rassinier's conclusion that between June 1940 and February 1943 only (!) 107,700 people were cremated is nonsense: it only applies to three distinct groups of murdered people which represent according to current data about half of the total mortality of Auschwitz in 1942. Furthermore these cremations took place in very primitive circumstances, and hence any attempt to extrapolate from the number of 107,000 the number of total cremations in Auschwitz is inappropriate given the fact that in early 1943 four new crematoria with 46 ovens became available. Official figures of the Zentralbauleitung mentioned a total cremation capacity of 4,756 corpses per day. Yet Rassinier has no qualms about trying to make some suggestion that there should be some balance between the (false) figure of 107,000 corpses cremated before February 1943, and the total amount of cremations between February 1943 and October 1944.
Since the camp was opened on June 14, 1940, one has to speak of almost three years. Hence the cremation of 107,000 cadavers before February 1943 must mean that all of the rest were cremated at a later date. Taking into account that between February 1943 and October 1944 (the official end of the exterminations) there are 17 months and that, as the Kasztner Report tells us, for 8 or 9 months (the autumn of 1943 to May 1944) the gas chambers at Auschwitz were out of order and not working, it remains to be established how many persons more than 107,000 could have been "incinerated," from February 1943 to October 1944, when the camp was equipped with four crematoria ovens of 15 burners each. I would be very astonished if a cremation expert, given these facts, should reply that it was possible to cremate the million bodies that are claimed by Mr. Raul Hilberg, or even the 900,000 of the Institute of Jewish Affairs (Emphasis added).593
With "all of the rest" I assume that Rassinier means the other 900,000 (Hilberg) or 800,000 corpses (Institute of Jewish Affairs).
This is what Rassinier had to say about Auschwitz. It will have become clear that it cannot pass even the most superficial examination. Rassinier did not have either the accuracy, nor the logic, nor the honesty required of a researcher.
 
One could go on, but I assume that the foregoing discussions will have amply demonstrated the worthless nature of Rassinier's scholarship. I will leave his other arguments, such as for example his demographic argument that the total number of Jewish victims was either 1,589,492 or 987,592 (!), and that the "lie" involves the "murder" of 4,419,908 Jews who never existed, for others to tackle.594 On the basis of our analysis of what he has to say about Auschwitz, it is clear that one need not expect much of his contribution to the demographics of the Final Solution.
Negationism was born in France, and it there it became the focus of public debate. Yet, in the wake of Rassinier's pioneering work, considerable negationist activity arose outside of France. As I have already mentioned in the section on "Auschwitz and Holocaust Denial," the most important American practitioner of negationist historiography is Arthur R. Butz. A full refutation of Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century requires a dissertation. Therefore I will concentrate my analysis of Butz's scholarship on his central argument: his assertion that no extermination of people took place in Auschwitz.
Butz assumed that a hoax, in order to be successful, will not be based on a story that is false in all or most of its details. "[N]inety nine per cent valid fact can be present in a story whose major claim has no truth whatever to it," Butz argued, "and recognition of this leads the author of the hoax to the maximally safe approach to his deed: distort the meaning of valid facts."595 And he continued:
This is the basic structure of the Auschwitz extermination legend. It is shown here that every real fact contained in the story had (not could have had, but had) a relatively routine significance, having nothing to do with the exterminations of a people. Thus those who claim extermination must advance a thesis involving a dual interpretation of the facts, but by then the impartial reader, in consideration of what has just been noted, should be on my side; the need for a dual   interpretation of fact, the trademark of the hoax, has emerged.596
Butz assumed, in other words, that procedures or structures have only one meaning or purpose, and that if we find that they have more than one--that is one "routine" meaning or purpose and one "extra-ordinary" meaning or purpose, the latter will be a fictional significance grafted on the factual one. For example: Butz rightly noted that people had to undress when subjected to delousing, that Zyklon was used for delousing purposes, that morgues were used to store corpses, that crematoria incinerated the corpses of people who had died as the result of starvation, exhaustion, mistreatment, or because of natural causes, and that chemical factories create stench. He therefore jumped to the conclusion that the author of the hoax intelligently created a fiction in which people had to undress when subjected to gassing, that Zyklon was used for killing purposes, that morgues were used as gas chambers, that crematoria incinerated the corpses of people who had been murdered in the gas chambers, and that the cremations create stench. In other words, the hoax criminalized "routine" activities. What Butz did not consider was that people had to undress both when subjected to delousing and when subjected to gassing, that Zyklon was used for delousing purposes and for killing purposes, that some morgues were used to store corpses and others as gas chambers, that crematoria incinerated the corpses of people who had died as the result of starvation, exhaustion, mistreatment, or because of natural causes, and that they incinerated the corpses of people who had been murdered in the gas chambers, and that both chemical factories and crematoria create stench. And what Butz did not consider either is the rather simple explanation, proven to be true, that the various procedures or structures had historically two meanings or purposes because the second one evolved from, or was grafted onto, the first. For example, Zyklon was used in the camp for delousing purposes, but when searching for a simple, effective and cheap killing agent for humans, the SS discovered that hydrogen cyanide did not only kill lice, but people also, and at much lower doses. And when the Auschwitz crematoria were under construction, they were assigned to function as killing stations also, and the well-ventilated morgues proved easily adaptable into gas chambers. In other words contingency marked the development of the camp, and as in all cases where contingency   rules, things designed to do one thing ended up doing something else also.
So let's look in some detail at the substance of Butz's argument. He began with an analysis of the Höss affidavit of April 5, 1946.
I commanded Auschwitz until 1 December, 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease, making a total dead of about 3,000,000. This figure represents about 70% or 80% of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries.597
Butz commented rather tamely that "[i]t would have been helpful in putting things into slightly better focus and perspective if Hoess had briefly indicated what the nature of the 'concentration camp industries' at Auschwitz was, and the enormous importance this industry had for the Germans."598 He did not go into detail why this would have been helpful, but assumed that the reader would remember an earlier discussion in which he claimed that because Auschwitz was the site of many industries using the slave labour of the camp, it could not have been a center of extermination also. As to the number of two and half million people Höss claimed to have gassed in Auschwitz, Butz noted that a year later Höss mentioned a figure of 1,135,000 people murdered. And he continued as follows:
The lowest figure to be claimed by those who claim that gassings took place is 750,000. The Russians claimed 4,000,000, including some killed by "injections, ill   treatment, etc", but the highest figure claimed seems to be 7,000,000.599
The reader is left to draw his own conclusions, but the suggestion is clear: when the lowest and highest estimate differ a whole order of magnitude, there is no reason to trust any of them.
Mass executions by gassing commenced during the summer 1941 and continued until fall 1944. I personally supervised executions at Auschwitz until the first of December 1943 and know by reason of my continued duties in the Inspectorate of Concentration Camps WVHA that these mass executions continued as stated above.600
Butz suggested that there was a contradiction with another statement Höss made in which he said that when, in 1941, Himmler ordered him to transform Auschwitz into an extermination camp, the Inspector of the Concentration Camps Glücks was not to know about this. Thus how could Höss have known about the exterminations after he had left the camp to take up a post at Glücks's Inspectorate?601 Butz did not consider the probability that Himmler's order of secrecy visa-vis Glücks in 1941 made sense in a context of the initial preparation of the Final Solution, and had become obsolete by 1943, when the genocide of the Jews had been underway for more than a year.
The "final solution" of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe. I was ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941. At that time there were already in the general government three   other extermination camps; BELZEK, TREBLINKA and WOLZEK.602 These camps were under the Einsatzkommando of the Security Police and SD. I visited Treblinka to find out how they carried out their exterminations. The Camp Commandant at Treblinka told me that he had liquidated 80,000 in the course of one-half year. He was principally concerned with liquidating all the Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto. He used monoxide gas and I did not think his methods were very efficient. So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz I, I used Cyclon B, which was crystallized Prussic Acid we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took from 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber depending upon climatic conditions. We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped. We usually waited about one-half hour before we opened the doors and removed the bodies. After the bodies were removed our special commandos took off the rings and extracted the gold from the teeth of the corpses.603
Butz commented on this paragraph with a lengthy discussion that took more than three densely-printed pages. The first issue was the contradiction that existed between Höss's account of the date of the Himmler order, June 1941, and his assertion that, at that time, Treblinka was already in operation. As Treblinka came only in operation in the summer of 1942, Butz dismissed the first part of the paragraph as "the sorts of contradictions that one should expect to emerge from a pack of lies."604 Then he continued with a discussion on Zyklon as a delousing agent.
The constant menace of typhus as carried by lice has been noted, and the calamitous results of a complete breakdown of disinfection measures at Belsen has   been seen. In view of the particular hospitability of the Auschwitz-Kattowitz operations to the typhus-bearing louse, in view of the fact of epidemics at Auschwitz which actually forced work-stoppages, and in view of the tremendous importance of the Auschwitz industry to the German war effort, it is not surprising that the Zyklon was used in liberal quantities at Auschwitz, and in the surrounding region, for its intended purpose....
It is not correct to say that the insecticide role of the Zyklon has been concealed; the WRB report mentions the anti-parasite role of the Zyklon and a dual role for the Zyklon at Auschwitz is explicitly claimed in the IMT transcript. We must be careful at this point to note the significance of the legend's Zyklon B allegation. Here we have, on a major point, the main attribute of a hoax as we begin to examine the details of the Auschwitz extermination claims: the fact requiring a dual interpretation.605
Having noted the "dual interpretation," Butz did not find it necessary anymore to engage and refute Höss's graphic description of the gassing procedure itself. By implication, this was now a phantasm because Zyklon was also used to kill lice. And as Butz felt confident enough to pass over the rest of the paragraph in silence, it will be no surprise that he never mentioned or engaged any of the other testimonies that corroborate Höss's account.
Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2,000 people at one time, whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each. The way we selected our victims was as follows: we had two SS doctors on duty at Auschwitz to examine the incoming transport of prisoners. The prisoners would be marched by one of the doctors who would make spot decisions as they walked by. Those who were fit for work were sent into the Camp. Others were sent immediately to the extermination plants. Children of tender years were invariably exterminated since by reason of their youth they were unable to work. Still another improvement we made over Treblinka was that at Treblinka the victims almost always knew that they were to be exterminated and at Auschwitz we endeavoured to fool the   victims into thinking that they were to go through a delousing process. Of course, frequently they realized our true intentions and we sometimes had riots and difficulties due to that fact. Very frequently women would hide their children under the clothes but of course when we found them we would send the children in to be exterminated. We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz.606
Butz's comment on this paragraph from Höss's affidavit is all over the place. First of all he complained that it was highly irregular that Himmler would have chosen to bypass the normal chain of command and personally give instructions to Höss. Then he was puzzled at the way the German Government "left the means of killing, and the materials required, a matter for the judgement and ingenuity of the local camp commandant." In the case of Auschwitz this meant that Höss decided on his own that two cottages would do as gas chambers, and that Zyklon, which he found "kicking around the camp," would work as a killing agent. "All of this is idiotic," Butz concluded.607
Then he turned to Höss's account of the selections. According to him, those unfit for work were immediately killed. Butz challenged Höss's statement by referring to the fact that in 1943 a large group of Jews from Theresienstadt were initially not subjected to selection, but were lodged as families in Birkenau. "Since these people were put into 'quarantine' it is certain that their quarters had been disinfected with the Zyklon just prior to their moving in," Butz speculated. And then he 235 noted with indignation: "Now we are asked to believe that the Germans planned to kill them with the same chemical product later on!"608 And one wonders, why not? But for Butz it did not make any sense at all.  
The part of the Auschwitz legend touching on the Theresienstadt Jews is obvious nonsense even without contrary evidence, however. It is not believable that the Germans would quarter for six months at Birkenau each of three distinct groups of people of a category for which there exists an extermination program at Birkenau.609 The dual role of the Zyklon in this story merely effects passage from the nonsensical to the incomparably absurd.610
Then Butz turned to the selections.
With the "selections" we are offered another fact for dual interpretation. There is no doubt that the extensive industrial and other activities required "selections" of people for various conventional purposes. We are then asked to add an "extermination" purpose to these activities.611
  Having no doubts as to the real meaning of the word selection, Butz failed to provide evidence for the selections "for various conventional purposes," and neither did he feel obliged to engage Höss's testimony on this issue, or the many other testimonies that corroborate it. The only thing that mattered was that the word selection can be interpreted in two different ways, which "proves" that the idea of selection as a part of the process of extermination is a fabrication.
The last sentence of the paragraph under consideration forced Butz to employ his wits as never before. "We were required to carry out these exterminations in secrecy but of course the foul and nauseating stench from the continuous burning of bodies permeated the entire area and all of the people living in the surrounding communities knew that exterminations were going on at Auschwitz." Butz admitted that this subject "is a big one," and then proceeded to argue that the crematoria in Auschwitz only served the "routine" purpose of incinerating corpses, and did not serve as extermination installations. His first argument was that the crematoria were already planned before Himmler ordered any extermination program in the summer of 1942.
It is claimed that the new crematoria were intended for extermination of Jews but we have suggested a more routine purpose in the preceding chapter. Let us review their history. The construction was well into the preliminary stages of planning and ordering early in 1942 and this fact, in itself, makes it difficult, to say the least, to believe that they were related to any extermination program ordered by Himmler in the summer of 1942. The construction plans for four structures containing crematory furnaces are dated 28 January 1942.612
It is a nice try, but this reasoning is first of all wrong, in that only the designs of two of the crematoria were dated January 1942, while the others dated from the summer of 1942. Second of all Butz did not take into account the possibility, proven in the late 1980s to be historical fact, that the designs of the two earlier crematoria were modified later in order to accommodate gas chambers. Again, he was not prepared to admit the possibility of the SS changing its mind.
 
Then Butz developed the argument that the capacity of the crematoria came nowhere close to that required to support the claim that between 800,000 (Reitlinger)and 2.5 million (Höss) people had been killed in Auschwitz. I will consider the evidence for the incineration capacity of Auschwitz in some detail in our discussion of the Leuchter report. Here I will limit myself to noting discrepancies between Butz's argument and the evidence that will be presented in the discussion of Leuchter's numbers. Butz wrongly assumed that "[e]ach oven was designed to take one body at a time, as are all standard cremation ovens."613 He provided no evidence for that, and ignores statements by Höss and the testimony by surviving Sonderkommandos that the average load per oven was three corpses at a time. Then he continued with his rough-and-ready calculation.
The limit on the rate at which people could have been exterminated in a program of the type alleged is not determined by the rate at which people could have been gassed and the gas chambers ventilated, but by the rate at which bodies could have been cremated. In estimating the capacity of the crematoria, it is possible for arithmetic to produce some impressive figures. At that time an hour was a very optimistic time to allow for the reduction of one body, and the body's being wasted would not have made much difference. If we allow for one hour of cleaning and miscellaneous operations per day, one oven could reduce perhaps 23 bodies per day so 30 ovens could reduce 690 and 46 ovens could reduce 1058 per day. This could accommodate exterminations at the respectable rate of about 240,000 to 360,000 per year, but of course one must bear in mind that, since the exterminations are supposed to have been halted in the autumn of 1944, Auschwitz could not have had 46 ovens for more than about one year of exterminations.
However the logic leading to such figures as the preceding is rubbish; things do not work that way. People, especially concentration camp inmates, who manned the crematoria, do not work with such efficiency, such equipment cannot be used in such a continuous manner, and equipment needs do not occur with such mathematical regularity in any case. If we allow operations to relax toward something more realistic, take into account downtime for regular and irregular   maintenance and allow for usual engineering margins of excess capacity we have figures that are generally in line with anticipated epidemic conditions. It is also possible that, as the WRB report asserts, there was a backlog of buried bodies to dispose of.614
In his calculation Butz ignored however war-time German documentation, Höss's testimony and that of the Sonderkommando which mentioned that the ovens had a capacity of at least 4,500 corpses per day. Butz's coup-de-grâce was, however, the fact of "dual interpretation."
It is obvious that, given a policy of cremating dead inmates, a vast operation such as Auschwitz would naturally provide relatively elaborate crematoria facilities for this purpose. Thus again we have a fact for dual interpretation if we are to believe the extermination legend; to the commonplace interpretation of these ovens, unquestionably valid, it is proposed that we also accept as valid a second interpretation of exterminations.615
This, of course, cannot be.
Butz generally, but not always, ignored inconvenient evidence. He does try to tackle one particularly important piece of evidence for the existence of gas chambers in the Auschwitz crematoria: the letter written on January 29, 1943 by the Chief Architect of the camp, Karl Bischoff, to his superior, the Chief of the SS Building Department in Berlin, Hans Kammler. As we have seen in the discussion of Dawidowski's forensic investigation, and in the discussion of the documents, the letter has been well-known since its discovery in 1945, and was admitted, with the number NO-4473, as evidence in the Nuremberg Trials. Hence Butz could not easily ignore it. It reads as follows:
29 January 1943   To the Chief Amtsgruppe C, SS-Brigadeführer and General-Major of the Waffen-SS, Dr. Ing. Kammler.
Subject: Crematorium II, condition of the building.
The crematorium has been completed--save for minor constructional work--by the use of all the forces available, in spite of unspeakable difficulties, the severe cold, and in 24 hour shifts. The fires were started in the ovens in the presence of Senior Engineer Prüfer, representative of the contractors of the firm of Topf and Sons, Erfurt, and they are working most satisfactorily. The planks from the concrete ceiling of the cellar used as a mortuary could not yet be removed on account of the frost. This is, however, not very important, as the gas chamber [literally Vergasungskeller or "gassing Basement"] can be used for that purpose.
The firm of Topf and Sons was not able to start deliveries of the installation in time for aeration and ventilation as had been requested by the Central Building Management because of restrictions in the use of railroad cars. As soon as the installation for aeration and ventilation arrive, the installing will start so that the complete installation may be expected to be ready for use 20 February 1943.
We enclose a report of the testing engineer of the firm Topf and Sons, Erfurt.
The Chief of the Central Construction
Management,
Waffen-SS and Police Auschwitz,
SS-Hauptsturmführer

[Bischoff]
Distribution: 1 - SS Ustuf Janisch and Kirschneck
1- Filing office (file crematorium)
Certified true copy:[signature ] SS--Ustuf (F)
 
The meaning of the letter is quite clear, especially if one compares the text with a plan of the basement of crematorium 2. The basement plan shows two large spaces indicated as "Leichenkeller," or morgues. Originally designed as spaces to store corpses, the smaller of the two morgues, Leichenkeller 1, was transformed during its construction into a gas chamber. The second morgue, Leichenkeller 2, initially was meant to function both as a morgue and an undressing room, but quickly was fully committed to the latter purpose. The letter, thus, mentions that there are problems with completing Leichenkeller 2, and that therefore the gas chamber--formerly Leichenkeller 1--will have to serve (temporarily)its original purpose, and store corpses.
The letter is important because there was a general policy in the architectural office in the camp, as was attested by the SS architects Fritz Ertl and Walther Dejaco during their trial in 1970, never to use the terms "gas chamber" in documents or blueprints. Drawn up hastily in response to an urgent request from Berlin for information on the progress of construction, Bischoff did not notice the "slip." When the letter was archived in the crematorium dossier of the Auschwitz Zentralbauleitung, however, someone did, and marked the forbidden word "Vergasungskeller" with a red pencil, writing on the top of the letter the words "SS-Ustuf (F)Kirschneck!" It was clear that Kirschneck was responsible for the slip, and should be told of it.616
Butz argued that the noun Vergasungskeller should not be translated as gas chamber or, more precisely, gassing cellar. I will give his reasoning in full.
The final subject in paragraph 7 [of Höss's affidavit] is the gas chambers which, except for Hoess' early sealed--up huts, are supposed to have been integrated into the crematoria buildings. Reitlinger and Hilberg take different approaches to making this claim. Reitlinger interprets NO-4473, whose translation as it appears in the NMT volume is presented above (p.116), as evidence for a gas chamber in crematorium II. This is a result of a mistranslation.
The crematoria at Auschwitz are frequently referred to as "gas ovens" but   this is hardly informative since, with the exception of electric cremators which enjoyed a brief existence during the Thirties, all modern crematoria consist of "gas ovens"; a fuel-air mixture, which may be considered a "gas", is introduced into the oven to start, control, and finish the burning. The fuel used may be "gas"; town gas or some sort of liquefied gas is popular. Such a cremator is termed "gas-fired" on account of the use of gas as a fuel. Other types are "oil- fired" and "coke (or coal)-fired", but all are 'gas ovens" since in all three cases it is a fuel--air mixture which is injected, under pressure, into the oven.
The customary German word for the concept in question here is "Gaskammer", but the word in NO-4473 which was translated "gas chamber" is "Vergasungskeller", which Reitlinger also mistranslates as "gassing cellar".
Now the word Vergasung has two meanings. The primary meaning (and the only one in a technical context) is gasification, carburation or vaporization, i.e. turning something into a gas, not applying gas to something. A Vergaser is a carburetor and, while Vergasung always means gasification in a technical context, it usually means, specifically, carburation in such a context....
The translation "gassing cellar" is thus not absolutely incorrect; it is just over-hasty and presumptuous. A "gas oven" requires some sort of gasification or carburation. In the case of the gas fired-ovens of Utting and Rogers in 1932: "Burners set in the crown and sole of the furnace are fed by a mixture of air and gas under pressure; the mixture is regulated by fans, housed in a separate building. Separate control of both air and gas provides better regulation of the furnace temperature."
That building is just a big carburetor. Oil-fired crematoria are so similar in design that most gas-fired ovens can be easily adapted for use with oil.
The ovens at Birkenau seem to have been coke or coal-fired, and with this type there is an extra stage of fuel processing due to the initially solid state of the fuel. The two most common methods of producing fuel gasses from coal to coke are, first, by passing air through a bed of burning coke to produce "coke oven gas" and second, by passing steam through the coke to produce "water gas". The first coke cremators employed what amounted to coke oven gas. Processes for generating such gases are termed "Vergasung" in German, as well as processes of mixing them with air....
In any case it is obvious that the crematoria at Auschwitz required   equipment for doing Vergasung in order to inject a fuel-air mixture into the ovens and the translation of NO-4473 should be revised, possibly to "gas generation cellar". I have confirmed this interpretation of the "Vergasungskeller" with technically competent sources in Germany. The reasons for installing such equipment in special separate rooms or even buildings are most probably the considerable noise that must be made by the fans and, in coal-fired ovens, the heat of burning coal.
The primary meaning of the word Vergasung is of necessity applicable to document NO-4473. It is written in a technical context; it is a letter from the chief of the Auschwitz construction management to the head of the SS engineering group. It makes reference to a process, Vergasung which is standard with all crematoria, and the wording of the letter is such that it is implied that it would normally be peculiar to find bodies in the Vergasungskeller since bodies are normally stored in what is correctly translated as the "cellar used as a mortuary".
Document NO-4473 tends, in fact, like so many prosecution documents, to rejection of the prosecution's claim when it is properly understood. We see that in crematorium II there were at least two cellars, a Leichenkeller and a Vergasungskeller and that neither was a "gas chamber".617
Nowhere in the whole correspondence between the makers of the ovens Topf and the SS, and nowhere in the technical specifications of the ovens is there any mention of a carburation room. Nothing in the blueprints support Butz's contention--that none of the two large underground spaces is in any way connected to the ovens in such a way that they could function as carburation rooms? It is sufficient to note that Butz himself, in 1992, was forced to publically distance himself from the truly insane interpretation of the Vergasungskeller. The occasion was the publication of Pressac's tome Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers (1989)--a book that made available in published form a massive amount of archival material concerning the construction of the gas chambers and the crematoria which had been used in the 1945/6 forensic investigation at Auschwitz, and which had been presented again during the trial of the Auschwitz architects Walther   Dejaco and Fritz Ertl, but which had since been forgotten.618 In Part Four, Chapter One, "Auschwitz explained by the revisionists," Pressac refuted Butz's argument that the Vergasungskeller had been a carburation room. Remarkably enough, Butz did reconsider the issue in light of Pressac's refutation, and acknowledged that he had been wrong.
I interpreted the Vergasungskeller mentioned in the 1943 document as a place where coke or coal was converted into a combustible gas, mixed with air, and then introduced under pressure int the cremation ovens.
While this interpretation is not "technically worthless," Pressac shows that it is not correct in this instance. His proof consists of (1)many engineering drawings of Crematorium 2, in various stages of design, which show no such facility, and (2)engineering drawings of, and other data on, typical Topf company crematory ovens, which show that they were not of the design I   assumed, and which used as fuel coke supplied directly behind the ovens.619
Having admitted that his original interpretation did not hold, Butz had to come up with another challenge to the common sense interpretation of Bischoff's letter that the two underground rooms were a mortuary and a gas chamber, and that due to the delay in completion of the mortuary, the gas chamber was going to be temporarily used as a mortuary.
As noted by others, Pressac is in the strange position of claiming that a room consistently designated Leichenkeller 1 on all engineering drawings was to be used only temporarily as a Leichenkeller, either instead of normally as a gas chamber, or simultaneously as a gas chamber and a morgue. In the latter case the unsuspecting victims must presumably stand on the corpses. In the former case (the only interpretation worth considering), the implied delay in the use of the building for extermination was "unimportant," a major contradiction if one claims, as Pressac does, that the primary role of the building was for mass gassing.620
The adverb "unimportant" now acquired great importance. In the letter it clearly referred to the delay in the removal of the formwork for the reinforced concrete ceiling of morgue 2, which prevented the room to be used at short notice as a storage place for corpses. In other words, it applied to a temporary situation. We must remember that the ovens were not yet to be operational for another month and half! During that time, no gassing should start, and so for that month-and-a-half the gas chamber could easily be used as a morgue.
But Butz was undeterred.
Because the document confirms that in January 1943 the Germans were working,   under great pressure, to make this installation operational as an ordinary crematorium, I regard it as further evidence against the claim that it had been decided in the summer of 1942 that the primary purpose of these crematoria was extermination by lethal gassing. The use of the Vergasungskeller as a morgue not only did not interfere with bringing Crematorium II into operational status, it advanced it. Here I am arguing, in passing, for a focus on what the document says rather than on the term Vergasungskeller mentioned in it.621
Of course, the primary purpose of the crematoria always was incineration and not gassing because, as Höss observed in his conversation with Dr. Gilbert, and experience in Auschwitz and the other camps taught, incineration capacity and not gassing capacity was the bottleneck. Gassing could be done in simple sealed rooms, as the experience with the Bunkers amply demonstrated. In fact, Butz admitted this already in 1976, when he wrote that "[t]he limit on the rate at which people could have been exterminated in a program of the type alleged is not determined by the rate at which people could have been gassed and the gas chambers ventilated, but by the rate at which bodies could have been cremated."622 Yet in 1992 he chose to forget his earlier assessment.
Butz continued as follows:
In any case, Pressac's logic in interpreting the Vergasungskeller as a gas chamber depends entirely on the assumption that there was a gas chamber in Crematorium 2. Without that assumption we have the following situation:
  • (1)One (and apparently only one) document concerned exclusively with the operational status of Crematorium II makes reference to a Vergasungskeller to be temporarily used, in support of the Crematorium, as a morgue and not for its intended or normal function,
  • (2)In the many engineering drawings of the crematoria that Pressac has examined, there is no mention of a Vergasungskeller, Gaskammer, or anything similar, and
  • (3)Nothing in those engineering drawings implies or calls for something describable as a Vergasungskeller. For example the cremation ovens have been shown to be of a design not calling for such a facility.
The appropriate conclusion, I believe, is that the Vergasungskeller was not in Crematorium 2 at all. I assume that it was somewhere in the vicinity, but in the light of the current knowledge the only basis for inferring that it was in the Crematorium building is an assumption that there was a gas chamber there. In the absence of the massive documentation presented by Pressac, it seemed logical to assume that the Vergasungskeller was located in Crematorium II. I made just that assumption in writing my book, and the assumption seemed confirmed for me by the observation that crematorium technology could call for such a facility. However Pressac has shown, without realizing it, that the Vergasungskeller was not in Crematorium II because it did not appear on the many engineering plans, and is not implied or called for by anything that appears on those plans. Only an unfounded or arbitrary prior assumption can place it there.
If the Vergasungskeller was not in Crematorium II, then the questions of what and where it was are only of limited importance. It suffices, I believe, to show that the term could have applied to operations that transpired, or may have transpired, elsewhere in the camp.623
Butz's argument began with the observation that "Pressac's logic in interpreting the Vergasungskeller as a gas chamber depends entirely on the assumption that there was a gas chamber in Crematorium 2." Is this an unwarranted assumption? According to Butz it was, but given the fact that there are many eye-witness testimonies that place a gas chamber in the basement of crematorium 2, it is a valid point of departure. If one posits as a hypothesis, based on the eye-witness testimonies, that morgue 1 was a gas chamber, then all kind of different pieces of evidence fall into place, such as the fact that this morgue was designed to be heated, and that construction documents refer to a "gasdoor" with a "spy-hole of double 8 mm glass with a rubber seal and metal fitting" for that space, or that the other large underground space (morgue 2) is referred to as an undressing basement. The hypothesis that "Vergasungskeller" referred to morgue 1 of crematorium 2, and that this   space was used as a gas chamber, can therefore be tested, and confirmed. This is what Pressac did, and this is what Dawidowski had done forty years earlier. Consequently, the burden of proof was on Butz to show that the assumption was wrong. And indeed: in his original argument he did accept this principle, and tried to show how the general assumption was invalid, and that the "alleged" gas chamber in crematorium 2 had been, in all probability, a carburation chamber.
The three points of Butz's argument do not support the conclusion that "the Vergasungskeller was not in Crematorium 2". It is obvious why he desired to relocate it elsewhere: as long as it remained likely that the Vergasungskeller was in crematorium 2, and more specifically the basement of this building, the only possible conclusion remains that Bischoff designated morgue 1 as such, and the question remained if it was not a homicidal gas chamber, what was it then? The logic of Bischoff's letter suggests that if the Vergasungskeller was not in the crematorium, it must have been very close, or at least at a reasonable distance. However there is no trace of any basement space close to the crematorium, or for that matter anywhere in Birkenau!
Butz went to search for the Vergasungskeller in the wider environment of Auschwitz. It is worthwhile to quote his journey, in which he allowed to let his imagination run wild, in full.
If the Vergasungskeller was not in Crematorium 2, then the questions of what and where it was are only of limited importance. It suffices, I believe, to show that the term could have applied to operations that transpired, or may have transpired, elsewhere in the camp.
To give my favored interpretation first, it is unlikely that the town of Auschwitz had preexisting means for production and/or distribution of fuel or town gas sufficient for the needs of the huge complex of camps we call "Auschwitz." Such needs could have been for cooking, heating, or incineration of waste, and so forth. On account of the paucity of natural gas, but abundance of coal in Europe, the Germans had extensively developed the gasification of coal. In the Auschwitz region coal was particularly abundant, so processes of coal or coke gasification were suited for the conditions there.
In offering my earlier interpretation of the Vergasungskeller as a fuel gas   generator for the crematorium ovens I wrote: "The two most common methods of producing fuel gases from coal or coke are, first, by passing air through a bed of burning coke to produce 'coke oven gas' and second, by passing steam through the coke to produce 'water gas'." I now offer almost the same interpretation, but modified so that the specific location of the Vergasungskeller is no longer known, and the gas generated is for general application and not specifically for cremation. This seems entirely justified by the engineering plans that indicate no Vergasungskeller in the crematoria, by the great likelihood that the camp required fuel gas, and in view of the easy availability of coal there.624
Butz proved unable to point at any structure in or adjacent to the camp designed as a plant for coal or coke gasification. In fact, there was none. In order for his assumption to warrant any discussion, he should have at least suggested where this building could have been! There is, however, more. Butz assumed "the likelihood" of the camp having been supplied by gas. It would not have been too difficult to establish a certain level of certainty in this matter. Both inspection of the site, the buildings, and the engineering plans would have shown him that the infrastructure to pipe gas to the camp and its buildings was neither designed nor constructed.
Yet Butz did not limit himself to the chimera of his "favored" or "preferred" suggestion. He also dreamed up some others.
It has already been remarked that fuel gas generated in the camp could have been used, among other things, in waste incineration. That is, the fuel has could have served as the auxiliary fuel. There is also a second sense in which "Vergasung" can apply to waste incineration, because the technology views the waste as a combustible fuel being turned into gases. Incineration (or Verbrennung) is actually a special case of gasification (or Vergasung) in which all combustibles are oxidized to the highest degree possible, for example, producing carbon dioxide (CO2) instead of carbon monoxide (CO, a combustible gas, in which case it would be said that Vergasung had taken place). Since perfect incineration does not exist in this sense, the line between Verbrennung and Vergasung can be blurred. What is   termed waste gasification, or Müllvergasung in ordinary technical German, was developed as a practical process only after the war. It appears that during the war Vergasung could have been used in the waste incineration context only in the sense of one of many specific processes taking place inside a plant viewed as performing Müllverbrennung. Thus this second sense of application of "Vergasung" to waste incineration does not seem to apply, and it is very unlikely that at Auschwitz any waste incinerator would have been spoken of as performing Vergasung.
This possibility is nevertheless worth mentioning. There was a waste incinerator in what I would call the chimney housing behind the cremation ovens in Crematorium II. The effluent gases from the incinerator combined with the effluent of the ovens in sharing the chimney and the suction type forced draft system. I do not believe that the "Vergasungskeller" was this chimney housing because, apart from the reasons already given, it was not referred to as such on the drawings, and seems to have had insufficient free space to serve as a plausible temporary substitute for the huge Leichenkeller 2. All the same, it is at least worth noting that "Vergasung" could apply as an inclusive description of the two processes (cremation and waste incineration) involved there. However I do not consider a waste incineration interpretation of the Vergasungskeller a likely possibility.625
It is unnecessary to comment on these two paragraphs of a book that is claimed on its jacket to be "unsurpassed as the standard scholarly refutation of the Holocaust extermination story," and which in a German negationist review of the literature is still celebrated as the "revisionist standard work."626 Perhaps all we need to do to comment on Butz's vaporous yes/no/yes/no argument is to add the observation that the word "Vergasungskeller" indicates a basement space, and the incineration room in the chimney housing was above ground.
 
Butz finally arrived at a third possibility, as preposterous as the preceding:
In the vicinity of the crematoria at Birkenau there were three sewage treatment plants (Kläranlagen) in various stages of completion. Sewage treatment amounts basically to the acceleration of the natural processes in which bacteria metabolize solid waste into gases and inoffensive solids (sludge), and to the disposal or use of these products. There are several senses in which Vergasung could arise.627
Butz proceeded to discuss the possible use of the term "Vergasung" in the processes of aeration and chlorination of sewage, in spontaneous methane production from sewage, sewer gasification, and sludge incineration. Yet all his speculations were to no avail, as he had to admit himself.
I have not located the Vergasungskeller in the sewage plants. Rather, I have listed five senses in which generation of, or treatment with, a gas comes up in sewage technology. I have not found the term "Vergasungskeller" or "Vergasungskammer" in the German literature on wastewater treatment, but that is not necessary. The document in question [i.e.Bischoff's letter of 29 January 1943] was not written by a sewage engineer; it was written by a construction engineer for the information of another construction engineer, and the author never imagined that half a century later people would be poring over his hurried note. Nevertheless, I still favour the first interpretation offered, namely that the Vergasungskeller was a generator of fuel or town gas intended for general use.
Only the study of complete engineering plans for the camp could settle this question.628
Mr.Butz may rest assured that in none of the plans for the sewage treatment plant, which have all been preserved, there are any spaces, and to be more specific basement spaces, for the aeration or chlorination of sewage, the removal of methane, sewer gas, or   the incineration of sludge. Neither do the engineering plans of the camp indicate any space, certainly not below ground, that could have served any such function.629
Butz obviously did not really believe the arguments he had proposed in 1992, because in 1997 he came back to the issue. He promised to offer an interpretation "more plausible than any earlier offered by me or anybody else."630 The Vergasungskeller had been a gas shelter! "[W]e should view all three cellars in Crematorium 2 as emergency air raid shelters, with only one being provided with the additional measures to make it effective as a gas shelter."631 As Butz derived this last interpretation from one proposed eighteen years earlier by a certain Wilhelm Stäglich, I will leave my refutation of this proposal for my discussion of Stäglich's suggestion.
As more documents produced by the Central Building Office became available in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Butz faced the need to address other issues than the problem of the Vergasungskeller. One of these documents was the order, dated February 26, 1943, for 10 gas detectors.632 The French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, whom I will discuss at length in the following chapter, had responded to the discovery of the order for the gas detectors with the argument that this order should not surprise. According to him the gas detectors had been meant to detect carbonmonoxide and carbondioxide. "[T]he firm Topf & Sons, manufacturers for crematory ovens, routinely supplied detectors for CO and CO2." And Faurisson added, "why try to convince us that this type of company, on receipt of an order for "gas detectors," would have understood by way of telepathy than in this case it was to supply detectors for HCN (and not CO and CO2)   and...that it would be in a position to furnish an item that it didn't manufacture?"633 This convinced the negationists for some time. Then Jean-Claude Pressac found Topf's response, dated March 2, 1943, to the order of the gas detectors.
Re: Crematorium, Gas detectors.
We acknowledge receipt of your telegram specifying "Immediately send ten gas detectors as agreed, price quote to follow."
We hereby inform you that two weeks ago we inquired, of five different companies, concerning the residual prussic acid detection devices sought by you. We have received negative responses from three companies and two have not yet answered.
When we receive information on this matter, we shall immediately contact you, in order to put you in touch with a company that makes these devices.634
 
Faurisson's initial "attack"635 had failed. Then he regrouped, and explained that it was to be expected that the Central Construction Office would have ordered HCN gas detectors because morgue 1, the gassing cellar, was used as a delousing room.636 Yet this explanation did not satisfy Butz. He rightly noticed that if the gas detectors had been indeed used for normal delousing operations, the SS Central Construction Office would not have ordered them from the furnace maker Topf, but from the Degesch company, the firm with normally supplied delousing equipment.637
So how to explain the gas detectors without assuming the use of morgue 1 as a gas chamber. Butz, as may be expected, came up with a very ingenious solution. He noticed in the plans for crematoria 2 and 3 a waste incinerator, located close to the chimney.
[...] HCN release was possible in the waste incinerator, which shared the chimney with the crematory ovens. Many materials may release HCN when burned. Among these are many fabrics, a highly relevant observation because the waste incinerator was most likely used to incinerate used camp fabrics (such as inmate uniforms, bed linen, and mattresses).638 For example, Nylon and wool can release HCN when burned, a fact that has been known since the Thirties.639
  Thus began Butz's speculation that because ersatz cloth that had become popular in wartime Germany had a high rayon content, the camp uniforms were also made from rayon. He had to admit that rayon itself did not produce hydrocyanide when burned as it had no nitrogen in its chemical composition. Yet he was not going to be stopped by this.
The burning of rayon can generate HCN gas if the rayon is impregnated with, but not chemically bound to, compounds of ammonia, which supply the necessary nitrogen.[...] [A]mmonium compounds are added to many fabrics to make them flame retardant (this is sometimes called "fireproofing," but that cannot be done literally with ordinary fabrics).
[...]
While I do not have a document that says so, I consider it very plausible that many concentration camp fabrics were treated with flame retardants for security reasons, that is, to limit the effects of fires started by inmates. This would have been particularly the case with bed linens and mattress fillings. Thus I am proposing the possibility that fabrics used in the camps, destined to be disposed of ny incineration, were known to present a danger of evolution of HCN in such incineration.640
It is obvious that Butz had not the ability to stretch anyone's imagination to the point of absurdity. Not only is there no evidence that the Germans fireproofed the inmate uniforms and their (non existent) bed linens and (non existent) mattresses, it is even more highly implausible that they would have cared to do so.
At the end of his highly original and also highly implausible interpretation of the purpose of the gas detectors Butz offered some general observations on the problems revisionist have in dealing with the kind of evidence Faurisson and he had tried to interpret.
[T ]he revisionists may not be able to immediately offer correct replies to the   defenders of the [extermination] legend. This appears to me to have been the case with the Topf letter. I don't believe Faurisson's immediate replies (which I would also have made) were correct. In fact nobody could be relied on to be correct under the circumstances and on the time schedule involved. A comparison: there is much building activity at Northwestern University now. Does anybody believe that, 50 years from now, perhaps after some cataclysm, anybody could reliably interpret individual documents that were records of this construction? Of course not.641 Nobody could do that, and nobody could infallibly interpret every Auschwitz document from the period 1941-1945.642 Indeed, the hypothesis I have advanced here may be wrong, even though I have had a few years to consider the solitary document in question.643
Some years ago I warned of these dangers. It is not our of the question that, some day, an authentic Auschwitz document might utterly confound the revisionists--that is, raise some apparently relevant question of detail that they will be unable to answer. In the event of such a development, I can only urge that the context--that is, the massive documentation and historical context supporting the revisionist position--be kept firmly in mind.644
It is obvious that Butz, for all his bravado, is not comfortable with the position he is in.
And he has reason to be.   Rassinier did not only inspire negationist activity in the United States. He also urged two German eyewitnesses of Auschwitz "to come out" in order to present their exculpatory testimonies to the world. The first person was a certain Thies Christophersen, who served in one of the satellite camps of Auschwitz in 1944, and who published in 1973 a booklet entitled Die Auschwitz Lüge (The Auschwitz Lie). Richard Harwood, author of Did Six Million Really Die?, considered Christophersen's account as "one of the most important documents for a re-appraisal of Auschwitz."
[It] adds to a mounting collection of evidence demonstrating that the giant industrial complex of Auschwitz (comprising thirty different installations and divided by the main Cracow-Vienna railway line) was nothing but a vast war production centre, which, while admittedly employing the compulsory labor of detainees, was certainly not a place of "mass extermination."645
So what does one read in a document so celebrated by the negationists?
I was in Auschwitz from January to December 1944. After the war I heard about the alleged mass murders of Jews and I was quite taken aback. Despite all the testimony submitted and all the reports in the media, I know such atrocities were never committed.646
How could he be so certain? Christophersen was willing to give a full account.
In May my wife, for the first time, came to visit me. She was a teacher in agricultural home economics and was curious about my work at the concentration camp. This fact alone, that we were able to have our relatives visit us at any time, should prove that the camp administration had nothing to hide. Had Auschwitz   been the death factory it is reputed to have been, such visits would certainly not have been permitted.647
Christophersen did not take into account that the killings took place in a separate zone some miles away from where he was stationed, and that this zone was a "Sperrgebiet" absolutely "verboten" for not only the wives of SS men, but even for any SS man who had no direct business there. This zone was at the eastern edge of Birkenau. Most parts of the camp at Birkenau were, however, open to SS men like Christophersen, and he indeed recalled visiting the camp once.
"The death camp was not in Auschwitz, it was at Birkenau." This is what I heard and read after the war. Well, I was also in Birkenau. This camp I did not like. It was overcrowded and the people there did not make a good impression on me. Everything looked neglected and grubby. I also saw families with children. It hurt to see them, but I was told that the authorities felt it kinder not to separate children from their parent when the latter were interned. Some children played ball merrily enough....
I had ben commissioned to pick 100 workers for hoeing the Kok-Sagis plants. At roll call the inmates were asked if they were interested in this work and if they had done it before. Then followed the "selection" of the workers. This "selection" was later completely misinterpreted. The purpose was to give the inmates something to do and they themselves wanted to be occupied. Selecting them meant no more than to inquire about their inclinations, their capabilities, and their physical state of health with regard to the work they were to do.648
Christophersen obviously suffered from Butz's logic, or for that matter Faurisson's hermeneutical principle, that a word can have only one meaning, or that it has no meaning it all.
In the same way that Rassinier claimed to have travelled the whole of Europe in   search for authentic eyewitnesses of the gassings, Christophersen began an Odyssee in search of the crematoria, following the directions of his maid Olga.
One evening my mother asked about the crematorium where corpses were supposed to be burned. I knew nothing about this, so I asked Olga. She could not tell me anything either. She did intimate, however, that around Bielitz there always was what seemed to be a reflection against the sky, as if from a fire.
So I went in the direction of Bielitz and there found a mining camp in which some inmates also worked. I travelled around the entire camp and examined all fire grates and all smoke stacks, but found nothing. I asked my colleagues; the answer...a shrug of the shoulder and "don 't pay any attention to those rumors." Actually there was a crematorium in Auschwitz, I was told for there were 20,000 [in the German edition 200,000!] people there and any city of that size has a crematorium. Of course people died here as they did elsewhere, but not only inmates at the camp. The wife of one of our supervisors [in the German edition Obersturmbannführer A.] had also died there. As far as I was concerned, that was enough of an answer.649
After the publication of Die Auschwitz Lüge Simon Wiesenthal urged in a letter to the President of the German Bar Association that Mr. Roeder, who had written a preface and published the book, warranted an investigation by the ethics committee. Wiesenthal's letter was handed to Roeder, who replied in a letter of 30 May 1973 that the gassing and burning of Jews had been technically impossible.
There would not have been enough fuel to be found during the war in the entire sphere of German influence to burn just a fraction of so many human bodies. And the huge installations necessary for such an undertaking have disappeared from the face of the earth without a trace. Nothing, absolutely nothing could be found after the war. It might interest you that I know enough eyewitnesses now who were in Auschwitz after the war who confirm all the observations made by Mr.Christophersen: there have never been such extermination installations! But these   witnesses fear reprisals by the Poles and certain Jewish organizations, should they come out in the open with the truth.650
One other witness, however, was prepared "to come out in the open with the truth." In response to Christophersen's account, a Hamburg Judge, Dr.Wilhelm Stäglich, testified in an article published in the ultra-right Nation Europa that in the summer of 1944 he had served with an anti-aircraft battery unit near Auschwitz. In order to obtain food, Stäglich had gone a few times to the camp, which had its own slaughterhouse and bakery.
If memory serves, I was inside the camp three or four times altogether. On none of these visits did I see gassing installations, crematoria, instruments of torture, or similar horrors. The camp gave on the impression of being well-kept and very well-organized.651
Flattered by the attention he had received, Stäglich went to work on his magnum opus his massive Der Auschwitz Mythos (The Auschwitz Myth), which was published in 1979. Stäglich's aim, as set out in the introduction, was "to survey, examine, and assess as objectively as possible the evidence that has thus far been presented for the claim that Auschwitz was a 'death factory.'" Stäglich acknowledged that other camps were connected to the Holocaust. But he did not feel obliged to consider them. Like Butz had already declared in his book, he was convinced "that the extermination thesis stands or falls with   the allegation that Auschwitz was a 'death factory.'"652
Stäglich began systematically. He divided the material into three groups: documentary evidence which was produced at the time of the camp's operation, post-war personal accounts, and post-war legal proceedings. In his chapter on documentary evidence Stäglich first dealt with the basic documents, such as the Göring decree of July 31, 1941 that charged Heydrich to create a comprehensive proposal for the intended Final Solution of the Jewish Question, and the Protocol of the Wannsee Conference.
Then Stäglich turned to the documents regarding Auschwitz. First of all he found it suspicious that the Soviet prosecutors in the Nuremberg Trial, after announcing that they had recovered a voluminous correspondence concerning the construction of the crematoria, had chosen not to bring that material in evidence, with exception of a few documents. One of these documents was Bischoff's letter of January 29, 1943, which mentioned the noun Vergasungskeller Stäglich referred to Butz's interpretation, and then added a second "plausible" explanation: "this room was intended for the fumigation of clothing and other personal effects, a common practice in all concentration camps. The proprietary hydrocyanic fumigant Zyklon B used for this purpose is supposed to have been used for the 'extermination of Jews' as well."653 This was the first of many alternative suggestions Stäglich was to offer, and which like all of them is characterized by a total ignorance of the circumstances. The rooms designed for fumigation of clothing and other objects were always constructed in such a way that they had two doors: one entrance and one exit. The entrance door opened to the unreine (unclean) side, the exit door opened to the reine (clean) side. This arrangement conformed not only to common sense, but also to specific SS regulations issued by the SS construction bureau in 1941, and determined the design of the special delousing facilities constructed in Auschwitz and Birkenau.654 Furthermore the SS built a very large delousing installation, the so-called Cenral Sauna, right between crematoria 3 and 4. It was constructed following the guidelines issued by   the SS construction bureau. One wonders why the SS would have erected the Central Sauna if the crematoria already provided such ample delousing capacity. Even in Auschwitz there was a limit to the need for delousing instllations. Yet not held down by any specific knowledge, Stäglich rushed to his conclusion:
Since Bischoff's letter of January 29, 1943 is the only known document from the Auschwitz camp files in which the word "Vergasung" is used in connection with the crematoria, one should now realize that there is no documentary evidence for the allegation that chambers for killing people by means of lethal gas were part of the crematoria.655
After doubting the evidence when the crematoria were completed, Stäglich went on to dispute even whether there had been four crematoria in Birkenau. Invoking the post-war sketch book of Alfred Kantor, Stäglich observed that none of his drawings showed more than one crematorium or more than one crematorium chimney. This argument is simply wrong because on p. 34 of his sketchbook Kantor shows in a general overview of the camp at the horizon three columns of black smoke, which through comparison with other depictions of those same columns of smoke (pages 53, 54, 60, 68, 72, 73) clearly refer to three crematoria bellowing smoke.656 Furthermore Stäglich argued that "a person who toured the grounds of the former Birkenau camp without a guide and who is unquestionably reliable, so far as I am concerned, told me he saw the ostensible remains of crematoria 2 and 3, but could find no trace of crematoria 4 and 5."657 This statement only proves that it pays to hire a guide when visiting Birkenau: the remains are there to be seen, and indeed are seen by most visitors as they are adjacent to the pond where, for a short time in 1944, the Germans dumped the ashes produced by crematorium 4--the   pond which made televison history when, in the 1973 BBC television series The Ascent of Man, Jakob Bronowski was filmed walking into that pond whilst giving a peroration on the darker side of technological progress.
Stäglich also reviewed the incineration capacity of the crematoria, and he claimed there were no reliable data.
In the literature on the camp, yet another report by SS-Sturmbannführer Bischoff, dated June 28, 1943, is frequently cited. It states that the individual crematoria were capable of incinerating the following number of corpses daily.
1.old crematorium (parent camp) 340 corpses
2.new crematorium (Birkenau) 1,440 corpses
3.new crematorium (Birkenau) 1,440 corpses
4.new crematorium (Birkenau) 768 corpses
5.new crematorium (Birkenau) 768 corpses
Total 4,756 corpses
Where this report was discovered is not mentioned. On the subject of the incineration capacity of the crematoria one usually cites as the authority a "Kalendarium der Ereignisse im Konzentrationslager Auschwitz-Birkenau ("Chronology of Events in the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp"), complied by Danuta Czech, Custodian of the Polish States Museum at Auschwitz. I have been unable to determine whether this lady was ever interned at the camp or what her source of information may be.
The estimates listed above strike one as absurd. The sheer punctiliousness of the accounting--right down to the very last corpse--is suspicious, for cremation is a complicated technical process, involving so many variables that the incineration capacity of a crematorium is not always the same.658
Some research would have helped.Stäglich would have found that the document   was found in the archive of the Zentralbauleiting and that it was held in the Auschwitz museum. What is truly astonishing, however, is that he did not compare Bischoff's numbers to what Stäglich refers to as the "alleged" number of ovens in Birkenau. On the following page he mentions that the Polish State Auschwitz Museum claims that the four crematoria in Birkenau had 46 "cremation units," or muffles, and that even Butz had accepted that number. Later he mentions that the Report of the Soviet War Crimes Commission made the "careless" statement that "the four crematoria in Birkenau had, altogether, 12 'ovens' with 46 'retorts.'"--a number which, at that point, Stäglich considers "not many."659 Be that as it may, what is interesting is that if we take the total capacity of crematoria 2 to 5 (1,440 +1,440 +768 +768 =4,416) and divide this number by 46, we come to the exact number of 96 corpses per "cremation unit" or "retort" or "muffle" per day. This should have given Stäglich some reason to reconsider the validity of the information provided by the museum and the Soviets. Even a cursory comparison between the document and information available to him would have shown that crematorium 1 had in 1943 six muffles, crematoria 2 and 3 fifteen muffles each, and crematoria 4 and 5 eight muffles each, and that as a result Bischoff assumed for accounting purposes for crematoria II to V a cremation capacity of 96 corpses per muffle per day, or an average of 4 corpses per muffle per hour (24 x 4 =96; 15 x 96 =1,440; 8 x 96 =768). The old crematorium had a lower capacity per muffle per day, because the ovens were of an older design and construction. Of course: these numbers are averages, and include down time for cleaning and so on. It is important to note here that Bischoff's numbers are conservative. In his notes on the Final Solution in Auschwitz, Höss noted that "[j]e nach Körperbeschaffenheit wurden bis zu drei Leichen in eine Ofenkammer gebracht. Auch die Dauer der Verbrennung war durch die Körperbeschaffenheit bedingt. Es dauerte im Durchschnitt 20 Minuten. [Depending on the size of the bodies, up to three corpses could be brought into one muffle. Also the duration for the incineration was determined by the size of the body. On average it took 20 minutes.]"660 This means that one muffle could burn a maximum of nine bodies per hour. Bischoff's number is less than half.
 
Undeterred, Stäglich soldiered on. Taking as his point of departure a double-muffle oven delivered to Mauthausen with a capacity of ten to 35 corpses per ten hours, he assumed that the Auschwitz ovens would be the same.
Starting with the premise that there really were four crematoria in Birkenau, and that each crematorium contained one oven capable of cremating at most 35 corpses per diem then the highest capacity of all four crematoria would be a total of 140 corpses daily. That does not seem excessive for a complex the size of Auschwitz, each component camp of which was planned for over 100,000 inmates--all the more so, since contagious diseases were rampant there....
While these are no more than purely hypothetical estimates, they are probably closer to reality than the absurd figures given in the letter attributed to SSSturmbannführer Bischoff--even if one assumes that all four crematoria had 46 units....
The claim that the Birkenau crematoria were built only for use in a "mass extermination program" thus proves to be totally false.661
It will be clear by now that Stäglich refuses to consider the evidence at hand. He complains in the next page that he has copies of the plans of the crematoria, but he did not find it necessary to consult them when "hypothetically" establishing the number of crematoria ovens. They are only useful to him when it concerns his argument that they did not reveal a provision for a gas chamber.
We can continue analysis of Stäglich's arguments at nauseatam only to reveal that his total inability or unwillingness to responsibly and rationally weigh the evidence at hand. He mentions, for example, a letter that talks about a gas door for corpse cellar I in crematorium, equipped with a peep-hole made of 8-mm glass.
Could this be the famous peep-hole through which the SS physicians who allegedly supervised the "gassing" of inmates are said to have observed the death--throes of the victims? Probably not. Like the other documents of its kind, it really   proves nothing. At that time, gas-tight doors were not uncommon, since every cellar had to double as an air raid shelter. The peep-holes in these doors were a source of light and a means of observing the outside....Air raid shelters had to be secure not only against explosives, but against gas as well. Considering that Birkenau had no other fortified places, it would only have been common sense to make the cellars of the crematoria into air raid shelters.
Stäglich's speculation is non-sensical. First of all if, as he assumed, corpse cellar 1 was used as a mortuary, then the problem arises about the protocol during an air raid. Would the living join the putrefying dead for the duration of the alarm? Furthermore the design of the structure does not indicate an air-raid shelter. The concrete columns are enough to support the roof, but not to withstand a bomb. In fact, when the gas chamber of crematorium I was adapted into a air raid shelter in 1944, the room was subdivided that very reason in many small rooms, divided by heavy walls designed to support the reinforced roof. Finally the location; unlike crematorium I, crematorium II and III were very far from any location where SS were present in sufficient numbers to warrant such a facility. In Auschwitz I, crematorium I was adjacent to the SS hospital and the SS Kommandantur, and thereby was the obvious structure to be made into an air raid shelter; in Birkenau the alleged air raid shelters of crematoria II and III were more than a mile distant from the SS quarters.
In conclusion Stäglich determined that those who believed that the documents he presented supported the extermination hypothesis revealed their critical ineptitude, gullibility, and prejudice. "No historian who holds to the traditional scholarly methods of researching and evaluating sources would accept a mode of argumentation based on the premise that documents can be made to serve a desired end by the use of unwarranted assumptions and arbitrary interpretations."664 After a critical examination of his methods,       it is clear that his judgement certainly applied to his own mode of argumentation.
Stäglich's book was enthusiastically received by the negationists, and continues up to today to be one of the staples in their mail-order catalogues. He was invited to join the editorial advisory committee of the Journal of Historical Review, and gave a paper on his book and experiences at the fifth International Revisionist Conference in 1983.665
And then there was, of course, Richard Harwood's Did Six Million Really Die? The Truth At Last. Like all the other negationist works, it claimed direct descent from Rassinier's work.
Since the war, Rassinier has, in fact, toured Europe in search of somebody who was an actual eye-witness of gas chamber exterminations in German concentration camps during World War Two, but he has never found even one such person....Certainly, the most important fact to emerge from Rassinier's studies, and of which there is now no doubt at all, is the utter imposture of "gas chambers".666
For Harwood, the whole Holocaust was a piece of atrocity propaganda created by Jews to swindle the Germans.
With exception of the writings of Robert Faurisson, which will be discussed in the next chapter, the work of Rassinier, Butz, Christophersen, Stäglich and Harwood constituted the main body of revisionist scholarship on Auschwitz in the year that Irving joined that cause. After slogging through a significant and representative cross-section of their arguments, it will be clear that none of the writings considered are worthy of the designation "scholarship."
29 January 1943   To the Chief Amtsgruppe C, SS-Brigadeführer and General-Major of the Waffen-SS, Dr. Ing. Kammler.
Subject: Crematorium II, condition of the building.
The crematorium has been completed--save for minor constructional work--by the use of all the forces available, in spite of unspeakable difficulties, the severe cold, and in 24 hour shifts. The fires were started in the ovens in the presence of Senior Engineer Prüfer, representative of the contractors of the firm of Topf and Sons, Erfurt, and they are working most satisfactorily. The planks from the concrete ceiling of the cellar used as a mortuary could not yet be removed on account of the frost. This is, however, not very important, as the gas chamber [literally Vergasungskeller or "gassing Basement"] can be used for that purpose.
The firm of Topf and Sons was not able to start deliveries of the installation in time for aeration and ventilation as had been requested by the Central Building Management because of restrictions in the use of railroad cars. As soon as the installation for aeration and ventilation arrive, the installing will start so that the complete installation may be expected to be ready for use 20 February 1943.
We enclose a report of the testing engineer of the firm Topf and Sons, Erfurt.
The Chief of the Central Construction
Management,
Waffen-SS and Police Auschwitz,
SS-Hauptsturmführer

[Bischoff]
Distribution: 1 - SS Ustuf Janisch and Kirschneck
1- Filing office (file crematorium)
Certified true copy:[signature ] SS--Ustuf (F)

Notes

533. Bernhard Frankfurter ed., Die Begegnung: Auschwitz--Ein Opfer und ein Täter im Gespräch (Vienna: Verlag für Gesellschaftskritik, 1995), 102.
554. Arthur R.Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry (Torrance CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1992), 363f.
555. Henry Saint John, 1st Viscount of Bolingbroke, "The substance of some letter s written originally in French, about the year 1720, to M.De Pouilly ," The Works of Lord Bolingbroke, 4 vols. (London: Henry G. Bohn, 1844), vol. 2, 492.
556. Michael Shermer, "Proving the Holocaust: The Refutation of Revisionism & the Restoration of History," Skeptic, vol. 2, no. 4 (1994), 42f.
557. Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry (Torrance CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1976), 53ff.
558. Rassinier developed these ideas in a number of books: Le Passage de la ligne (1949), Le Mensonge d'Ulysse (1950), Ulysse trahi par les siens (1961) and Le Drama des Juifs européens (1964). An English-language compilation of selected portions of these books appeared in 1978 under the title The Holocaust Story and the Lies of Ulysses., transl. Adam Robbins (Costa Mesa: The Institute for Historical Review, 1978). Officially designated "the only authorized edition available in the English language" this book quickly became, and has remained to today, a negationist best-seller.
559. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 288f.
560. Raphaël Lemkin, Axis Rule in Occupied Europe: Laws of Occupation--Analysis of Government--Proposals for Redress (Washington: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 1944), 79.
561. Ibid., 87f.
562. Ibid., 88f.
563. Ibid., 89.
564. Proceedings of Wednesday, 30 January 1946 in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol. 6, 332.
565. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 252f.
566. Ibid., 256.
567. Georges Wellers, "Reply to the Neo-Nazi Falsification of Historical Facts Concerning the Holocaust," in Serge Klarsfeld, ed., The Holocaust and the Neo-Nazi Mythomania, transl. Barbara Rucci (New York: The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1978), 126.
568. Ibid., 127.
569. Proceedings of Monday, 28 January 1946 in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol. 6, 203ff.
570. Ibid., 115f.
571. Given Rassinier's inability to be accurate, it is possible , even likely, that the organizations he meant were the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, with its headquarters in Warsaw, and the Center of Jewish Documentation in Paris.
572. Ibid., 116.
573. Ibid., 270f.
574. Ibid., 237f.
575. Gustave M. Gilbert, The psychology of Dictatorship: Based on an Examination of the Leaders of Nazi Germany (New York: The Ronald Press Company, 1950), 245ff.; State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Curt of Jerusalem, 5 vols. (Jerusalem: The Trust for the Publication of the Eichmann Trial, 1992), vol.3, 1005ff.
576. State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, vol. 3, 1005f.
577. Rudolf Höss, Death dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz, ed. Steven Paskuly, transl. Andrew Pollinger (Buffalo NY: Prometheus Books, 1992) , 38f.
578. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 238f.
579. Höss, "The Final Solution," in Death Dealer, 31. The German reads as follows: "Zu welcher Zeit nun die Judenvernichtung begann, vermag ich nicht mehr anzugeben. Wahrscheinlich noch im September 1941, vielleicht aber auch erst im Januar 1942. Es handelte sich zuerst um Juden aus Ostoberschlesien. Diese Juden wurden durch die Stapoleitstelle Kattowitz verhaftet und in Transporten mit der Bahn auf einem Abstellgleis auf der Westseite der Bahnstrecke Auschwitz-Dziedzice gebracht und dort ausgeladen. Soviel ich mich noch erinnere, waren diese Transporte nie stärker als 1000 Menschen" [emphasis added]. Rudolf Höss, Kommandant in Auschwitz: Autobiographische Aufzeichnungen des Rudolf Höss, ed. Martin Broszat (Munich, DTV, 1987), 159f.
580. Höss, "The Final Solution," in Death Dealer, 37.
581. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 239.
582. Proceedings of Monday, 15 April 1946 in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol. 11, 399f.
583. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 239.
584. Höss, "[My Life]," in Death Dealer, 159.
585. Höss, Kommandant in Auschwitz, 129.
586. Höss, "The Final Solution" and [My Life]" in Death Dealer, 32, 136, 145, 147.
587. Ibid., 32f.
588. Ibid., 287.
589. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 240.
590. Because of the confusing substitution of terms in Pollinger's translation, I have retranslated this section from the German original that follows. "Die Anlage II, später als Freianlage oder Bunker V bezeichnet, war bis zuletzt im Betrieb, und zwar als Ausweichmöglichkeit bei Pannen in den Krematorien I bis IV. Bei Aktionen mit dichterer Zugfolge wurden die Vergasungen bei Tage in V durchgeführt, die nachts ankommenden Transporte in I bis IV. Die Verbrennungsmöglichkeit bei V war praktisch fast unbegrenzt, als noch Tag und Nacht verbrannt werden konnte. Durch die feindliche Lufttätigkeit ab 1944 durfte nachts nicht mehr gebrannt werden. Die erreichte höchste Zahl innerhalb 24 Stunden an Vergasungen und Verbrennungen war etwas über 9,000 an allen Stellen außer III im Sommer 1944 während der Ungarn-Aktion, als durch Zugverspätungen anstatt der vorgesehenen drie Züge fünf Züge innerhalb 24 Stunden einliefen und diese außerdem noch stärker belegt waren." Höss, Kommandant in Auschwitz,165.
591. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 240f.
592. Höss, "The Final Solution," in Death Dealer, 32. The German original reads as follows: "Während es sich im Frühjahr 1942 noch um kleinere Aktionen handelte, verdichteten sich die Transporte während des Sommers, und wir waren gezwungen, noch eine weitere Vernichtungsanlage zu schaffen. Es wurde das Bauerngehöft westlich der späteren Krematorien III und IV ausgewählt und hergerichtet. Zur Entkleiding waren beim Bunker I zwei und beim Bunker II drei Baracken entstanden. Der Bunker II war größer, er faßte ca. 1200 Personen. Noch im Sommer 1942 wurden die Leichen in die Massengräber gebracht. Erst gegen Ende des Sommers fingen wir an mit der Verbrennung; zuerst auf einem Holzstoß mot ca. 2000 Leichen, nachher in den Gruben mit den wieder freigelegten Leichen aus der früheren Zeit. Die Leichen wurden zuerst mit ...lrückständen, später mit Methanol übergossen. In den Gruben wurde fortgesetzt verbrannt, also Tag und Nacht. Ende November 1942 waren sämtliche Massengräber geräumt. Die Zahl der in den Massengräbern vergrabenen Leichen betrug 107,000. In dieser Zahl sind nicht nur die vergasten Judentransporte vom Anfang bis zu Beginn der Verbrennungen enthalten, sondern auch die Leichen der im Lager Auschwitz verstorbenen Häftlinge des Winters 1941/42, als das Krematorium beim Revier längere Zeit ausgefallen war. Ebenso sind darin enthalten sämtliche verstorbenen Häftlinge des Lagers Birkenau." Höss, Kommandant in Auschwitz, 160f.
593. Rassinier, The Holocaust and the Lies of Ulysses, 241.
594. Ibid, 381, 393.
595. Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry (Torrance CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1976), 100.
596. Ibid.
597. Document 3868-PS, "Affidavit of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess," in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 41 vols. (Nuremberg: Secretariat of the Tribunal, 1947-49), vol. 33, 276.
598. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 103.
599. Ibid.
600. Document 3868-PS, "Affidavit of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess," in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, 276.
601. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 103f.
602. Probably Höss referred with "Wolzek" to Sobibor, the third Operation Reinhard extermination camp.
603. Document 3868-PS, "Affidavit of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess," in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 33, 277.
604. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 104.
605. Ibid., 105.
606. Document 3868-PS, "Affidavit of Rudolf Franz Ferdinand Hoess," in International Military Tribunal, Trial of the Major War Criminals, vol. 33, 277f.
607. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 108.
608. Ibid., 109.
609. In fact, the reason for the existence of the so-called "family camp" in subsection BIIb of Birkenau, where the Jews from Theresienstadt were lodged for six month before their destruction was straightforward. The "family camp" was created in September 1943 in order to provide "proof" that Jews deported from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz were not killed. The inmates of the family camp were asked to write after six months postcards to their relatives in Theresienstadt, and during Red Cross visits to Theresienstadt these postmarked messages of people who had been sent six months earlier to Auschwitz were given to the delegation to counter rumors that Auschwitz was an extermination camp. Furthermore these inmates were kept alive as some Red Cross delegates to Theresienstadt had mentioned their wish to visit these people in Auschwitz. When during the June 23, 1944 Red Cross visit to Theresienstadt the SS proved able to convince the delegates that no transports had left the ghetto, and that the town was indeed a permanent abode and not a transit point to Auschwitz, the delegation decided that there was no need to visit Auschwitz. Subsequently the SS decided there was no need to preserve the family camp in Birkenau, and liquidated it. See Nili Kern, "The Family Camp," Gutman and Berenbaum, eds., Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, 428ff.
610. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 109.
611. Ibid., 111.
612. Ibid., 115.
613. Ibid., 115.
614. Ibid., 118.
615. Ibid., 118
616. Letter Bischoff January 29, 1943, Archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, ms. BW 30/34.
617. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 120f.
618. Jean Claude Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gaschambers (New York: The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, 1989). Pressac's book is both important, and problematic. Its importance is based on the fact that it reproduced many of the important architectural documents concerning the construction of Auschwitz which were discovered in 1945 by the Russian and Polish forensic investigators of the camp. This archive was known throughout the late 1940s, 1950s, 1960s and 1970s by the specialist historians who worked on the history of Auschwitz, but after Professor Roman Dawidowski's use of its material for his forensic report on the construction of the camp and the crematoria (1945/6), few considered the construction documents in detail. Only when Faurisson began to use arguments derived from the architecture of the gas chambers and the crematoria as "proof" that Auschwitz could not have operated as an extermination camp, did interest return to the construction documents. Jean-Claude Pressac began to undertake in the early 1980s research in this archive with the ambition to find what he called "criminal traces" indicating the use of the crematoria as instruments of mass extermination. Pressac's approach was, in my view, fundamentally flawed in that he implicitly assumed the legitimacy of Faurisson's demand that each one blueprint of the crematoria, each written construction document, independently proves the use of the crematoria as tools of mass extermination. Obsessively trying to find "criminal traces," Pressac failed to come to a historical understanding of the development of the camp and its changing purpose. This constitutes the fundamental flaw in his otherwise useful publication.
619. Butz, "Some Thoughts on Pressac's Opus:," in Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry (Torrance CA: Institute for Historical Review, 1992), 380.
620. Ibid., 381.
621. Ibid.
622. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, 118.
623. Butz, "Some Thoughts on Pressac's Opus," 381f.
624. Ibid., 382.
625. Ibid., 383.
626. Jürgen Graf, Der Holocaust auf dem Prüfstand: Augenzeugenberichte versus Naturgesetze (Basel: Guideon Burg Verlag, 1992), 112.
627. Butz, "Some Thoughts on Pressac's Opus," 383.
628. Ibid., 385.
629. The many plans and construction documents for the sewage treatment plants are preserved in the Archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, BW 29.
630. Arthur R. Butz, "The Nagging 'Gassing Cellar' Problem," The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 16 (July /August 1997), 20.
631. Ibid., 21.
632. Telegram Pollok to Topf, February 26, 1943, Archive of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oswiecim, ms., BW 30/34.
633. Robert Faurisson, "Auschwitz: Technique & Operation of the Gas Chambers Or, Improvised Gas Chambers & Casual Gassings at Auschwitz & Birkenau According to J.C. Pressac (1989), Part 1," The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 11 (Spring 1991), 59.
634. "Wir bestätigen den Eingang Ihres Telegrammes lautend:/ 'Absendet sofort 10 Gasprüfer wie besprochen Kostenangebot später nachreichen'./ Hierzu teilen wir Ihnen mit, dass wir bereits vor 2 Wochen bei 5 verschiedenen Firmen die von Ihnen gewünschten Anzeigegeräte für Blausäure-Reste angefragt haben. Von 3 Firmen haben wir Absagen bekommen und von 2 weiteren steht eine Antwort noch aus. / Wenn wir in dieser Angelegenheit Mitteilung erhalten, kommen wir Ihnen sofort näher, damit Sie mit einer Firma, die diese Geräte baut, in Verbindung setzen können." Letter Topf to Central Construction Office Auschwitz, March 2, 1943, Osobyi Moscow, ms. 502/1-313; USHRI Washington, microfilm RG 11.001M.03--41. As printed in Jean-Claude Pressac and Robert-Jan van Pelt, "The Machinery of Mass Murder at Auschwitz," in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, eds. Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 230f.
635. The term "attack" is derived from the militaristic jargon the negationist habitually use. Faurisson mostly describes his engagement with the "exterminationists" in terms of some Napoleonic land battle; Irving prefers imagery derived from the War on the Atlantic, firing "torpedoes" at the opponent "battleships."
636. Robert Faurisson, "Jean-Claude Pressac's New Auschwitz Book, "The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 14 (January /February 1994), 23.
637. Arthur R. Butz, "Gas Detectors in Auschwitz Crematory II," The Journal for Historical Review, vol. 16 (September /October 1997), 24.
638. The barracks in Birkenau were not equipped with either bed linen or mattresses, and camp uniforms were in such a short supply that they were worn until rags.
639. Butz, "Gas Detectors in Auschwitz Crematory II," 26.
640. Ibid., 27.
641. Of course yes. This is exactly what architectural historians do.
642. But is it necessary to be "infallible"? A good architectural historian can create a fair and useful reconstruction of a building's design, construction and subsequent history without having to be "infallible."
643. That is why one mostly considers documents not in isolation, but with reference to other documents. For example, we know that more or less at the time that the gas detectors were ordered, the Central Construction Office also ordered for the crematorium a gas door with a spy hole. One wonders how that door figures in the anticipated problems with hydrocyanide development in the waste incinerator.
644. Butz, "Gas Detectors in Auschwitz Crematory II,"29
645. Richard Harwood, Did Six Millions Really die? The Truth At Last (Toronto: Samisdat, n.d.), 16.
646. Thies Christophersen, Auschwitz: A Personal Account, Introduction by Manfred Roeder, revised edition (Reedy: Liberty Bell Publications, 1979), 3.
647. Ibid., 13.
648. Ibid., 15f.
649. Ibid., 19.
650. Letter Manfred Roeder to Simon Wiesenthal, May 30, 1973, in Thies Christophersen, Auschwitz: A Personal Account, Introduction by Manfred Roeder, revised edition (Reedy: Liberty Bell Publications, 1979, 30.
651. Wilhelm Stäglich, "My Impressions of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in 1944," as printed in Wilhelm Stäglich, The Auschwitz Myth: A Judge Looks at the Evidence (S.L.: Institute for Historical Review, 1986), 293.
652. Stäglich, The Auschwitz Myth, 2f.
653. Ibid., 47.
654. See Van Pelt and Dwork, Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present, 220ff.
655. Stäglich, The Auschwitz Myth, 47.
656. Alfred Kantor, The Book of Alfred Kantor, preface John Wykert (New York: McGraw Hill Book Company, 1971), 34.
657. Stäglich, The Auschwitz Myth, 49.
658. Ibid.
659. Ibid., 50, 143.
660. Höss, Kommandant in Auschwitz, 171.
661. Stäglich, The Auschwitz Myth, 50.
662. Ibid., 53.
663. Ibid., 54.
664. Ibid., ***
665. Wilhelm Stäglich, " 'Der Auschwitz Mythus': A Book and Its fate in the German Federal Republic," Journal of Historical Review (vol.5, 1983), 47-68.
666. Richard E. Harwood, Did Six Million Really Die? (Toronto: Samisdat, n.d.), 29.
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