Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Struthof-Natzweiler Camp

There is a camp, which was not strictly speaking a direct extermination camp (but indirectly through labour so difficult that few survived), and which was equipped with a gas chamber where some gassings took place, especially the gassing of almost one hundred Jews selected at Auschwitz.
The distinctive feature of this camp is that it was situated in France, on the Alsatian mountainside of Vosges and that it was evacuated very quickly by the Germans faced with the unexpected advance of the Allies: the Germans did not have the time, as almost everywhere else, to destroy the compromising documents and buildings; its gas chamber (which was first used for gas mask training by the SS.) had been returned to its original use before the camp was liberated; it remained practically intact as compared to the period of the homicidal gassings.

Miloslav Bilik has written about this camp in French, and Michael stein has translated the work into English.

This camp is Struthof, place name of the town of Natzweiler (or Natzwiller according to German spelling) near Schirmeck. The French do not like the name Natzweiler (which is that of their town) and to not sully their name, prefer that of Struthof which is the name of the place situated some kilometers above the real location where this took place; nevertheless, the German correspondence naturally prefers the official location: Natzwiller (German spelling) or Natzweiler, because it is the name of the common territory.
These pages aim to present the essence of the Struthof camp. We have scrupulously taken up again some of the documents that were published at this time and a bit later. You can note the contradictions, the errors: it is the lot of historical documents and testimonies to contradict each other on certain points. On the French Revolution and still today, one can discuss about what happened to Robespierre at Thermidor: did he want to commit suicide, was he wounded by a policeman? But no one disputes that he was wounded before being guillotined the same day.

Here you will find the same uncertainties of detail: perhaps the witnesses exaggerate their actions, and if they have seen many things they spoil their testimony by indicating things that they did not directly see (having found out about them later) without them in any way being completely false; others (Germans, guards) minimize their role out of fear of being implicated; some reports, written quickly, are in error on several points; excesses (often because of lack of time in which to carry out the contradictory examination;) the perpetrators who attempt to sneak in impossibilities so they can eventually claim that they were extracted by force -- whereas those who interrogated them attempt to obtain material details, even going so far as to suggest them in aberrant cases that they hope to verify later on in order to strengthen the value of the confession. It is thus today that criminal trials unfold, with uncertainty about testimony, but allowing the court to build a strong case for conviction.

The articles may be found here:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Reichskristallnacht: A Response to Ingrid Weckert

Kristallnacht was a nationwide, state-sponsored pogrom (a spree of violence directed against Jews) conducted throughout Germany and Austria (which had been annexed by Germany in March 1938) from the evening and night of November 9 through the following afternoon. It was presented by the Nazi regime as a spontaneous public outburst provoked by the assassination of a minor German diplomat in Paris, Ernst vom Rath, by a seventeen-year-old Polish Jew, Herschel Grynszpan. The pogrom's name comes from the German word for beveled plate glass (Kristallglas) and refers to the broken shop windows of the Jewish stores, hence Kristallnacht, or Night of the Broken Glass.

A standard argument by Holocaust deniers is that, while they do not believe that there was an organized plot by Nazi Germany to exterminate the Jews of Europe, that gas chambers were used to this end (among other methods), or that the number of fatalities was nearly six million (and perhaps more), they "[do] not deny the tragedy that the Jews suffered in World War II" (Kulaszka). However, as time has gone on, this gambit has been dropped, so much so that there are self-styled "revisionists" unwilling to admit that any innocent Jew died at the hands of the Nazis. Falling into this camp of Holocaust deniers are such apologists as Friedrich Paul Berg, Carlos Whitlock Porter, and the godfather of American Holocaust denial, Willis Carto.

The article by Andre E. Mathis, Andrew Mathis, Reichskristallnacht: A Response to Ingrid Weckert, addresses denier inaccuracies and disinformation related to Kristallnacht.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Reconstruction of Treblinka

The studies which have resulted in this report were begun several years ago. Having worked extensively as a professional in the use of aerial reconnaissance imagery, Alex Bay had long been interested in the questions concerning the Holocaust. Beginning in 1998, he began researching the available facts about the death camps. During this period, he came across the CIA study of Auschwitz by Brugioni, and upon reading this he decided that a thorough and modern analysis of all the death camps was called for. This was to include Auschwitz, Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka. He soon came to realize that, despite the limited aerial photographic coverage, the task entailed much more time than he had anticipated. In part this was due to the difficulty of reconstructing events and physical plant, now 60 years in the past, using just a very few frames of aerial photography, secondary published sources, verbal testaments by victims and perpetrators, and a few scattered snapshots taken within the camp grounds. He  spent many hours trying to verify just a single fact. Much effort was spent on obtaining high quality copies of the photographs. To do this, he used the latest professional digital camera. Due to the increasing complexity of the project and personal time pressures, he  had to concentrate my efforts. Treblinka became the sole object of my research. Treblinka was chosen because it was the first camp he began to study, and the most familiar when he had to restrict the study to one camp at a time.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Reconstruction of Belzec

Of the tragedies that played out at the three Action Reinhard camps, Belzec is the most mute. There are only two known survivors of Belzec to describe what they saw and experienced. One of the men, R. Reder, wrote a book published in Crakow in 1946. the second, named Chaim Herszman, was a witness before a Polish commission set up to investigate German war crimes. Herszmen had escaped from a train transporting him and last Jewish workers to Sobibor for execution Thet were being carried from from Belzec after the demolition of that camp. Hirszman lived to see the end of Nazism and had completed part of his deposition beore the Polish commission when it adjourned. He was to return the next day to complete his testimony. He never made it; he was murdered by Polish anti-Semites. Other first hand testimony exists from Polish and German Sources. The former were very restricted in the time and place they had to observe. The latter suffer from the obvious interest they had had in limiting their culpability.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Photographs Documenting the Holocaust in Hungary

When the Soviet Army captured Budapest on January 17-18, 1945, it was too late to save the lives of 564,500 Jews who had been sent to the various death-camps run by the Nazis. The Budapest SS headquarters, however, was over-run by the Soviets before the Nazis were able to destroy a huge number of papers which documented their efforts to annihilate the Hungarian Jews. These documents, together with many of the photographs that are part of this essay, were bundled up by the Soviets and stored in the basement of the Hungarian Ministry of the Interior where they remained unseen for over forty years. When Hungary regained its independence from the Soviet block, the new Minister of the Interior discovered these documents and gave them to the Jewish Museum and Archives of Hungary where Dr. László Karsai is presently cataloging and scanning them. We are pleased that the Museum has selected The Holocaust History Project as the site in the United States where eventually all of the tens of thousands of documents may be viewed. The small sampling at the Holocaust History Project  bears witness to those dreadful years.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Irving's War

From January 11, 2000, through March 16, 2000, an extraordinary trial captioned "Irving v. Penguin Books and Lipstadt" took place in London. The Holocaust was not on trial in London. Neither was this case merely about whether statements made in Prof. Lipstadt's book "Denying the Holocaust" (1993) about David Irving were false and defamatory. This trial was about the freedom to criticize bigotry masquerading as scholarship. This case was nothing other than a single battle in a war waged by David Irving to silence his critics.

In the sense that a historical event like the Holocaust can be put "on trial," the Holocaust has been in that position since the IMT trial at Nuremberg and it has withstood all challenges. The fact that the Third Reich engaged in the planned genocide known as the Holocaust has been established in hundreds of civil and criminal trials under American, British, French, Canadian, German and Israeli law in the half century since the end of World War II. None of the fraudulent allegations of the lunatic fringe which denies the Holocaust has even been established as worthy of belief in any of those trials.

We have a series of articles entitled Irving's War  by Yale F. Edeiken.  These articles do not deal with the issues, direct or indirect, of that trial. They are about the legal realities of the trial and reasons why David Irving failed to prove his case.

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Wannsee Protocol: Object of Revisionist Falsification of History

The Wannsee Conference - which was initially scheduled for December 9, 1941 but postponed on short notice - took place on January 20, 1942 at a suburban villa on the shores of Berlin's Wannsee lake. Chaired by Reinhard Heydrich, chief of the Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt), 15 high-ranking officials of the German bureaucracy, the SS- and police-apparatus discussed the "Final Solution of the Jewish Question", while enjoying the lovely sight of the villa's gardens and the lake. It was only after the Protocol (minutes) of the conference was found in 1947 that the conference was named "Wannsee Conference" after its location.

The Holocaust History Project is proud to present a text based on a paper by Christian Mentel delivered in November 2009 at the memorial site House of the Wannsee Conference in Berlin, Germany. A longer German version is available here. An even more detailed German-language article with complete references can be downloaded here. In addition, the memorial site's multi-language webpage at offers a wealth of material, including scans of historical documents. For generous and invaluable assistance in translating the text and beyond, the author wishes to thank Gord McFee.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Einsatzgruppen Reports (Ereignismeldungen)

Holocaust deniers claim there was never any Nazi policy to exterminate the Jews. They claim that no documents exist that are both unambiguous as to such a policy and unquestionably authentic. However, such documents do indeed exist: the Einsatzgruppen (Operational Group) reports filed by the units operating in the Soviet Union that carried out this extermination policy in the occupied areas. This series of questions and answers put together by Nick Terry demonstrates that the Ereignismeldungen (EM) are authentic and that the Einsatzgruppendemonstrably mass-murdered over a million Jews.

Monday, January 2, 2012

An Introduction to the Einsatzgruppen

Like every historical event, the Holocaust evokes certain specific images. When the Holocaust is mentioned most people immediately think of the concentration camps. They immediately envision emaciated victims in dirty striped uniforms staring incomprehensibly at their liberators or piles of corpses, too numerous to bury individually, being bulldozed into mass graves.

Those are accurate images. Those horrific scenes are real. They happened. But they are not all of the Holocaust. They are merely the end product of the systematization of the genocide committed by the Third Reich. The reality of that genocide began not in the camps or in the gas chambers but with four small groups of murderers known as the Einsatzgruppen formed by Himmler and Heydrich immediately before the invasion of the Soviet Union. They operated in the territories captured by the German armies during the invasion of the Soviet Union and, with the cooperation of German army units and local militias, murdered over a million men, women, and children. It was a story that did not end until 1952 when Otto Ohlendorf, the last surviving commander of an Einsatzgruppe (Einsatzgruppe D), climbed the steps of the gallows to pay for the more than 90,000 murders his command committed.

An article at the Holocaust History Project by Yale F. Edeiken introduces the Einsatzgruppen.