Friday, March 5, 1999

A Revisionist Monograph on Majdanek

To Fred Leuchter, of whom I have lost all trace

In June 1998, the Swiss Jürgen Graf and the Italian Carlo Mattogno published jointly a monograph, in German, on the Majdanek-Lublin (Poland) concentration camp; some chapters were written by J. Graf and others by C. Mattogno. Only one chapter is signed by both authors (1).

Majdanek's negligible importance for the exterminationists

In the exterminationist propaganda arsenal, the camp at Majdanek is of a significance which one may today deem either non-existent or at most altogether accessory. The two authors of this monograph ought to have apprised their readers of that fact.

"Liberated" by the Soviets on 23 July 1944, the Majdanek camp played an important role in allied propaganda (on the basis of accounts of atrocities) only for a few months during that year (2). Then, in 1945, Majdanek was to be, from that perspective, definitively supplanted by such camps as Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, Buchenwald, and Auschwitz.

The two authors ought necessarily to have drawn attention to the following five points which they instead passed over in silence:

1) In 1945-1946, at the Nuremberg trial, Majdanek-Lublin was practically a nonentity. To begin, the name of the camp itself was not once to be mentioned in the judgement, whose English version amounts to 149 printed pages. In February 1946, the chief Soviet prosecutor, colonel L. N. Smirnov, made, in the course of his raving diatribes against the Germano-Fascists, no mention of any gas chambers in his enumeration of the procedures used at Majdanek "for the mass extermination of inmates"; this was only eighteen months on from the moment in the summer of 1944 when Soviet propagandists, followed by the western allies, had with much fanfare launched the myth of gassings at Majdanek. L. N. Smirnov was to be content with reading out, on 19 February 1946, an extract of the report submitted by the Polish-Soviet Investigative Commission, of which only part of one sentence furtively evokes mass shootings and the mass murder in gas chambers of nearly... 1,500,000 persons; no details were to be added (3);

2) in 1951, for Léon Poliakov, Majdanek was not an "extermination camp" but a "labour camp" (4);

3) in 1953, for Gerald Reitlinger, it was "a place which had never specifically been a centre of extermination" (5);

4) German historian Martin Broszat, for his part, quite simply does not mention this camp in his famous list of "mass extermination camps" (6);

5) as early as 8 May 1950 a Berlin court had stated that, unlike the Auschwitz camp, that of Majdanek "did not possess any gassing equipment".

J. Graf and C. Mattogno might have made a better effort than they in fact have done at pointing out the total confusion which reigns among other tenors of the Jewish extermination thesis who have maintained that Majdanek was an "extermination camp" with execution gas chambers. This confusion is not limited to considerable variations in the purported number of victims. Among these orthodox historians there may be observed a flaccid conviction, a broad vagueness, and a fine cacophony, as revealed by a look into the respective writings of Raul Hilberg (1961 and 1985), Olga Wormser-Migot (1968), Lucy Davidowicz (1975), Leni Yahil (1990), and other authors of the same school including, in particular, Adam Rutkowski (8). In short, Majdanek has hardly been profitable for the exterminationists of Europe and the United States. In Poland, Jozef Marszalek has published a monograph on Majdanek and has had it translated into English and German. In Düsseldorf, at the very long Majdanek trial which began in 1979, the court stated, without the benefit of evidence, that Majdanek had been an "extermination camp"; some of the accused protested that they had never witnessed acts of "extermination" there but were soon made to understand that there was no point in insisting.

Hence, Majdanek's negligible importance for revisionists

Precisely because of Majdanek's insignificance in the panoply of exterminationist or orthodox arguments, revisionists have hardly dwelt on the subject. They have mainly concentrated on Auschwitz for, as A. R. Butz has written, "Auschwitz is the key of the whole story" (9) and, as Wilhelm Stäglich has reckoned, "it is with 'the Auschwitz death works' that the proposition, as such, of 'the planned extermination of the Jews' stands or collapses" (10). This is not to say that all revisionists have chosen to ignore that other camp, and it is regrettable that J. Graf and C. Mattogno have not seen fit to remind their readers of the relevant contributions made by Dietlieb Felderer and... by Robert Faurisson. Might I take the liberty of pointing out that, after my visit to Majdanek in April 1975, I had concluded that its alleged execution gas chambers could not have been used for killing human beings and that, as will be seen below, they had, for the most part, been but disinfestation facilities? If Fred Leuchter went to Majdanek in 1988 it was at my instigation and after consulting my own documentation on the camp, particularly my photographs. His conclusions confirmed mine, and now J. Graf and C. Mattogno have merely borne them out.

The two authors ought not either to have neglected the book by Barbara Kulaszka (11) which is known to all revisionists and in whose index, under "Majdanek", they could have noted what other revisionists well before them had either declared under oath in court at Toronto in 1988 or brought out in various publications. Space is wanting for me to give the references for what I myself have written here and there on Majdanek, without -- needless to say -- dwelling too long on the subject, for "one does not shoot at an ambulance"; in a work of over 2,000 pages which has just appeared under the title Ecrits révisionnistes ("Revisionist Writings") and which gathers several articles, studies, and reviews from a span of twenty-five years (1974-1998), some of those references can be found. They pertain, for instance, to texts published in Serge Thion's Vérité historique ou vérité politique ? ("Historical Truth or Political Truth?", Paris, La Vieille Taupe, 1980), to a piece about an exhibition on the wartime deportation of Jews from France held in Paris in 1982 (a "show" which was scuttled as a result of the article's appearance), to an interview for the Spanish magazine Cedade (March 1989), as well as to studies published in French or English (Revue d'histoire révisionniste, The Journal of Historical Review, Nouvelle Vision). In 1979 I had got in touch with a German lawyer called Ludwig Bock, who was defending one of the accused at the aforementioned trial in Düsseldorf, and suggested, without success, that he demand a forensic examination of the "crime weapon", indispensable in such criminal proceedings and potentially beneficial for the defendants. I had also recalled in one of my pieces Olga Wormser-Migot's significant critique of the "museological frenzy" (her own words) which had led the Majdanek Museum authorities to dissemble the premises. Finally, when in 1993 the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington dared to show a "Majdanek gas chamber door", I intervened several times in order to denounce that trickery and, as I had always done, to draw attention to the fact that the said execution gas chamber could have been used solely for disinfestation. I again indicated that what is honestly presented to today's visitors to Majdanek as a shower room had, just after the war, been branded an execution gas chamber, and thus raised the following point: if the Germans, on abandoning the camp in July 1944, had left intact all of these structures which thereafter were to be presented by Polish-Soviet propaganda as execution gas chambers, it was precisely because there was no question of their having been used for killing. They were disinfestation facilities, designed with a view to protecting men's and women's health and life, not to putting to death the camp's Jewish inmates. There had been nothing to hide, and nothing had been hidden.

A target: the Leuchter Report

At the end of his 1988 report, F. Leuchter concluded that, as I had for my part discovered in 1975, there had never been, nor could there ever have been any murderous gas chambers at Majdanek. This conclusion was shared, in 1998, by J. Graf and C. Mattogno; it is thus all the more surprising to note the virulence of their attacks on a report whose conclusions they are obliged to endorse, and which are fixed so firmly in time.

To begin, C. Mattogno does not even bring forth F. Leuchter's arguments. He does not cite them but instead reproduces J.-C. Pressac's (an avowed enemy of F. Leuchter) critique of them. And he states his approval of this critique (p. 154-155). One would have preferred to read a text of F. Leuchter's own writing rather than a confused piece which mixes what he is alleged to have said with J.-C. Pressac's critique of it. Who would ever consult a Guelph to ascertain the reasoning of a Ghibelline, or vice versa? Who would trust a staunch enemy of a scientific, historical, political, or religious opinion to inform him fairly about it? Have we not here an instance of faulty method? Instead of letting J.-C. Pressac speak twice, first to show F. Leuchter's arguments and then to denounce their purported errors, would it not have been more fitting to allow both men an equitable space in which to state their cases, the better to assert one's preference between them?

In August 1944, the swindlers and propagandists of the Polish-Soviet commission on Majdanek drafted a professed expert report. C. Mattogno does them the honour of quoting it at length, in its entirety, without at any point cutting in to make criticisms or remarks (p. 119-128). F. Leuchter, for his part, has no right to such favourable treatment. Only minute fragments of his report are quoted, on the subject of which, on page 156 of his book (and on that page alone) C. Mattogno employs the following words: "Here we have another contradiction of Leuchter's own statements" ... "again, fallacious arguments" ... "technically absurd" ... "in contradiction of his own statements" ... "the first argument is lacking in clarity, the second in foundation" ... "shallowness and ignorance" ... (12).

Until the present, living near Rome in his native Italy, C. Mattogno seems to have worked in peace and quiet; unless I am mistaken, he has experienced neither prosecution, nor fines, nor police seizures, nor prison sentences. F. Leuchter, on the other hand, weakened by imprisonment, by ignoble legal actions, by the loss of his livelihood, by the ruin of his health, and by cruel personal trials arising from his brave and very efficient public stands, has been forced to go into a kind of hiding from which he has only recently emerged for a poignant interview with a Jewish-American film-maker. C. Mattogno knew when, in June of 1998, he published his virulent criticisms — on whose merit I shall not tarry as they concern only minuscule points — of F. Leuchter that the man whom he was thus attacking was at the time in no position to offer a rebuttal. One can only deplore this behaviour on the part of the Italian researcher.

An incomplete portrait of J.-C. Pressac

In the book's sixth chapter, devoted to the gas chambers, C. Mattogno quotes in a laudatory manner Jean-Claude Pressac's study entitled "Les carences et incohérences du rapport Leuchter" ("The shortcomings and discrepancies of the Leuchter Report"), which covered nine pages in the December 1988 issue of Serge Klarsfeld's Jour J ("J[ewish] Day"). He cites it at length. Unhappily, he says nothing of the study's weaknesses and, more important, he does not reveal the extent of J.-C. Pressac's criticisms of what one must call the lies of the Majdanek Museum authorities. C. Mattogno could have referred his readers to one of my own pieces on this article by J.-C. Pressac, a piece which appeared in 1989 in a French revisionist review and, in 1991, in an American one (13). In my conclusion, based on referenced quotations, I wrote that on Majdanek, I do not think it an exaggeration to say that Pressac does not believe in the existence of execution gas chambers in this camp. In subsequent years this impression was to be reinforced, particularly by the reading of a special issue of the French bimonthly Historia of which I wrote a critique entitled precisely "Un étonnant numéro spécial d'Historia sur 'les camps de la mort' (mars-avril 1995)" ("A surprising special issue of Historia on 'the death camps' - March-April 1995 -)". I therein termed J.-C. Pressac's article on Majdanek "devastating" and evoked his denunciation of the Majdanek Museum's lies about the "gas chamber". C. Mattogno does not mention this article by J.-C. Pressac, so relevant to his subject but, it is true, embarrassing for one who is looking to pour contempt on F. Leuchter at all costs.

In short, in December 1988, J.-C. Pressac, then linked to and financed by S. Klarsfeld, criticised the Leuchter Report, though all the while embracing certain of its conclusions; some time afterwards, no longer dependent on S. Klarsfeld, he had so evolved on the Majdanek question that one may ask oneself whether today, in 1999, his positions are not, effectively, quite close to those of F. Leuchter or of L. Poliakov, G. Reitlinger and M. Broszat. Besides, a few months after publishing his piece on "The shortcomings and discrepancies of the Leuchter Report", J.-C. Pressac, still under the thumb of S. Klarsfeld, had already done right by F. Leuchter in acknowledging that the symbolic gas chamber at Majdanek, presented to the world as a killing machine, was a disinfestation gas chamber! C. Mattogno does not state this.

Over-erudition

Two chapters of the book would have gained from a greater conciseness and simplicity. In them (chapter V, on the crematoria, and chapter VIII, on the Zyklon consignments), C. Mattogno demonstrates an erudition of which one may perhaps doubt the usefulness and need.

When one truly has command of a subject one can, it seems to me, attain the scholar's or professional's simplicity of expression. Keeping to but this one example, if one wishes to show that the capacity attributed by the exterminationists to the crematoria in German concentration camps of the early 1940s is beyond reason, there is no need for highly technical considerations on the crematoria's structure and workings; it will be enough to tell us of today's incineration capacity in the crematoria of our own large cities, after half a century of steady technical progress. The figures will speak for themselves. At the second Zündel trial in Toronto in April 1988, Mr Ivan Lagacé, director of the crematoria at Calgary, Alberta (640,000 inhabitants), offered just such a brief description, masterfully and with modesty.

The unsolved mystery of the Erntefest

C. Mattogno devotes chapter IX of his book to what has come to be called "the Erntefest massacre" of 3 and 4 November 1943. The German word Erntefest means "[grape] harvest- or crop-festival". According to the exterminationist argument, the operation known by that name consisted in executing more than 40,000 Jews in the district of which Lublin is the principal town (Majdanek is a suburb of Lublin). For reasons of a mainly material nature, it may be assumed that in fact it must have been rather a question of a police undertaking to arrest and deport the Jews of the region. C. Mattogno allots some very interesting pages to the subject but, suddenly, at the chapter's end, just when it seems that he is about to provide the key to the mystery, he concludes that "quite probably" it was a question of a population transfer (p. 231-232). The reader is left unsatisfied.

A first in the history of revisionism

On the back of the dust jacket, this book on Majdanek is described as "a first". The two authors are said to have made a "stupendous discovery", summed up in words to this effect: There has, generally speaking, been no serious work on Majdanek in the exterminationist literature of the West; as for that of the East, it must be approached with caution since it is tainted with Polish-Soviet propaganda. Hence this book fills a gap and our two authors — who, as it happens, are revisionists — are the first to devote a "work of reference" (Standardwerk), thus oriented, to the Majdanek camp.

The advertisement is mistaken.

If the two authors had outlined the exterminationist opinion on the truly secondary role of Majdanek in "the extermination of the Jews", they would have been unable to tell us of a "stupendous discovery". In effect, whenever a subject is held to be truly secondary or negligible, few pains will be taken to study it, and such has been the case here: the exterminationists have not insisted on Majdanek. Besides, if the two authors had taken the trouble to mention scrupulously what the revisionists, beginning with D. Felderer, R. Faurisson, and F. Leuchter, had in various places published on the matter, they would have made it obvious that the revisionists had, with their arguments and material inquiries, rather quickly solved the "problem of the Majdanek gas chambers". If, in addition, J. Graf and C. Mattogno had given a full account of J.-C. Pressac's stand on the subject in 1988 and his subsequent evolution towards a firm scepticism, they would have had to admit that there was effectively no longer any "problem of the Majdanek gas chambers". As far back as the early 1950s, there was – as I have pointed out above – no such problem for a Léon Poliakov. Why not say so in a work which is presented as being "of reference"?

If this book amounts to a "first", I fear that it is not so in the way our two authors intended, but rather in the sense that, for the first time (as it seems to me) in the historiography of the revision of the "Holocaust" story, revisionists have attacked other revisionists, virulently and in public. More or less muffled clashes had, of course, always been possible but they were confined within the revisionist circle. Today that is no longer the case. J. Graf and C. Mattogno have attacked F. Leuchter without properly showing his arguments, knowing their victim to be, at the time, unable to reply. In so doing, they have assumed a responsibility which exposes them to being, in their turn, criticised for a work devoid of the value which they hope to see bestowed upon it. Today they resemble those who are obliged to admit that Galileo was right but who nonetheless consider, perhaps like the Holy Inquisition, that on some minute details he was mistaken.

Did the two authors believe that, by publishing such a book, they might account for themselves in the eyes of those who had sponsored their expedition to the East (Poland, the Baltic countries, and Russia), an undertaking whose results were not to come up their expectations, or to ours? I wonder. Let us hope that the new expedition of 1999 will be more fruitful, giving rise to the publication of a work on a subject which truly poses a problem, and which needs to be addressed in all its essential aspects, without for any reason omitting a single one. Let us also hope that the new book will be devoid of cheap personal attacks against defenceless opponents.

Revisionists certainly need to know how to criticise one another. Such criticism is indeed indispensable. But, in their individual work, in their investigations, they must, first and foremost, search out difficulty, foster rectitude, and attack the lies of the world's mighty.

N.B. — Few revisionists are acquainted with the full text of the Leuchter Report on Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek. Unfortunately, all of the numerous editions which are thought to present it give but an approximate idea of the wealth of the 193 pages submitted in evidence at the April 1988 Toronto trial. For instance, David Irving's Focal Point Publications edition of June 1989 is incomplete and contains elements which do not appear in the original. In order to have a whole and faithful version, one would be well advised to contact Ernst Zündel in Toronto and order from him the gilt-edged, 196 page-book with, on the back cover, the following notice:

This is a reproduction of the original Leuchter Report I, as it was presented to the court in Toronto, except for the foreword by Dr Robert Faurisson and the letter by Fred Leuchter to Ernst Zündel regarding the roof vents in his drawings, reproduced on page 42 of this version.

One cannot stress enough the importance of that letter "regarding the roof vents".

There are three others besides that first "Leuchter Report". Number 2 is on Dachau, Mauthausen, and Hartheim; number 3 concerns the execution gas chamber in the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchmann, and number 4 constitutes a critique of J.-C. Pressac's Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers (1989) (see n. 14).

March 5, 1999

***

Notes

(1) Jürgen Graf and Carlo Mattogno, KL Majdanek, Eine historische und technische Studie, Hastings (UK), Castle Hill Publishers, 1998 [June-July], 319 p., 21 x 14 cm.

(2) "Lublin remained the propaganda's leading extermination camp well into the autumn of 1944" (Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, Richmond (Surrey, UK), Historical Review Press, 1976, p. 171).

(3) TMI, VII, p. 456-457, 590; IMG , VII, p. 497-499, 648.

(4) Léon Poliakov, Bréviaire de la haine ("Breviary of Hatred"), Paris, Livre de Poche, 1974 [1951], p. 289.

(5) Gerald Reitlinger, The Final Solution, London, Aronson, 1987 [1953], p. 450, 452.

(6) Martin Broszat, "Keine Vergasung in Dachau", Die Welt, 19 August, 1960, p. 16.

(7) C. F. Rüter, Justiz und NS-Verbrechen, Amsterdam University Press, vol. VI [1971], p. 547.

(8) Adam Rutkowski in NS-Massentötungen durch Giftgas, Frankfurt, S. Fischer, 1983, p. 241-245; Les Chambres à gaz, secret d'Etat, Paris, Editions de Minuit, 1984, p. 218-222. In the 1960s and '70s I met A. Rutkowski many times at the Paris Centre de documentation juive contemporaine and, in our frequent conversations, was able to notice his growing embarrassment on the subject of the Nazi gas chambers, an embarrassment which can be sensed in reading the few above-cited pages which he devotes to Majdanek.

(9) op. cit., p. 35.

(10) "Mit der 'Todesfabrik Auschwitz' die These von der 'planmäßigen Judenvernichtung' als solche steht oder fällt", Der Auschwitz-Mythos / Legende oder Wirklichkeit? Tübingen, Grabert-Verlag, 1979, p. XI.

(11) Barbara Kulaszka, Did Six Million Really Die? Report of the Evidence in the Canadian "False News" Trial of Ernst Zündel, 1988, Toronto, Samisdat Publishers, 1992, viii-564 p.

(12) "Dies wiederum widerspricht Leuchters eigener Aussage" … "noch trügerische Argumente" … "Dies ist technisch gesehen unsinnig" … "Im Widerspruch zu seinen eigenen Aussagen" … "Das erste Argument ist unklar, das zweite unfundiert" … "Oberflächlichkeit und Unkenntnis" …

(13) "Pressac devant le rapport Leuchter", Revue d'histoire révisionniste, November 1990, p. 145-146; "Pressac versus the Leuchter Report", The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1991, p. 164-166.

(14) See Barbara Kulaszka, op. cit., p. 267-271.