Breaking the Spell by Nicholas Kollerstrom Review and Commentary Part Six

In the last post I discussed the death toll in Auschwitz. Kollerstrom writes that the corpses were cremated (Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, 2014, p 56),

“All bodies had to be cremated, because the ground around was too swampy for burial.” (Breaking the Spell, p 72).

BreakingtheSpell-200x300

However, he also writes that “there are no trace of bodies anywhere as remains from the six million gassed.” (Breaking the Spell, p 52, see also p 30, 54, 220)

As I have said earlier, only ignorant revisionists say six million Jews were gassed in the Holocaust.

He also claims there have been no diagnosis or autopsies showing anyone died from hydrogen cyanide gassing (Breaking the Spell, p 28, 30, 61, 70).

If he says the corpses were cremated, how is anyone supposed to diagnose whether they died from HCN poisoning? The Nazis cremated the bodies of their gassed victims and then their apologists argue we cannot tell if they were gassed.

In an article “The Plunder of Victims and Their Corpses” Andrzej Strzelecki writes,

“Ashes and bones from the bodies incinerated in the crematoria were crushed with wooden mortars, then buried in pits or sunk in the Sola and Vistula rivers or in ponds near Birkenau. The ashes and bones were also used as fill in the terrain and bogs as fertilizer for fields belonging to the camp. Camp authorities sought to scatter the remains as broadly as possible  to prevent their being used as evidence of the crimes committed in the camp.” (Andrzej Strzelecki, “The Plunder of Victims and Their Corpses” in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998, p 261)

anatomy-auschwitz-death-camp

There are trace of their remains. Franciszek Piper writes,

“In 1965, Hydrokop, a chemical mining technical enterprise based in Kracow, was commissioned by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to carry out geological tests at Birkenau aimed at determining the location of incineration pits and pyres. Specialists at Hydrokop bored 303 holes up to 3m deep. Traces of human ashes, bone and hair turned up in 42 sites. Documentation of all the holes and the diagram of their distribution are preserved in the Conservation Department of the museum.” (Franciszek Piper, “Gas Chambers and Crematoria”, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, p 179)

During the 2000 David Irving Trial, Robert Jan van Pelt described how he had visited Auschwitz in 1990 with Jean Claude Pressac  and was able to pick up burned bones.

Kollerstrom writes that victims of hydrogen cyanide gassing should have pink skin, but witnesses said the victims had blue skin (Breaking the Spell, p 44-45, 63). He does not give any examples of witnesses saying the corpse were blue, but  Henryk Tauber, a member of the Sonderkommando, who worked on the gas chambers, said in his post-war testimony, “We found heaps of naked bodies, doubled up. They were pinkish and in  places red” (Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2002, p 197)

Shlomo Venezia, another member of the Sonderkommoando, said, “Some bodies were all red, others very pale, as everyone reacted differently.” (Shlomo Venezia, Inside the Gas Chambers, Polity, Cambridge, 2009, p 64)

Kollerstrom makes similar claims about skin colour and the absence of remains at Treblinka where the Jews were gassed using carbon monoxide. He claims the skin of carbon monoxide poisoning victims should also be pink, not blue, so all the witnesses, who described blue skin, which he does not give any examples of, cannot be trusted (Breaking the Spell, p 45, 63).

However, according to the Red Cross, blue skin is a symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning,

“A pale or bluish skin colour that indicates a lack of oxygen may indicate carbon monoxide poisoning. For years, people were taught that carbon monoxide poisoning was indicated by a cherry-red colour of the skin and lips. This, however, is a poor initial  indicator of carbon monoxide poisoning.” (Australian Red Cross, First Aid Responding to Emergencies, Mosby Lifeline, Sydney, 1995, p 161)

Kollerstrom says that Jews were gassed in Treblinka by carbon monoxide from diesel engines and this is impossible because diesel engines do not produce enough carbon monoxide to kill (Breaking the Spell, p 135, 182, 188, 222-223). This is based on the arguments of the revisionist Friedrich Berg. Actually, although Berg said diesel engines did not produce enough carbon monoxide to kill under normal circumstances, he said it could produce a fatal amount with a full load on the engine, i.e., put a heavy load on a diesel truck and drive it up a steep hill as fast as possible (Friedrich Berg, “The Diesel Gas Chambers: Ideal for Torture – Absurd for Murder” in Ernst Gauss (editor), Dissecting the Holocaust, Theses and Dissertations Press, Alabama, 2000, p 445-451). Berg said this could be replicated on  a stationary engine by reducing the air supply to the engine which would produce more carbon monoxide, He writes,

“It must be conceded that it would have been theoretically possible to commit the deeds alleged for Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor with Diesel engines.” (Dissecting the Holocaust, p 464)

However, there may have actually been petrol engines at Treblinka, not diesel. The authors of Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka, Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard writes,

“[W]itnesses who had closer experiences to the actual gassing engine share a large agreement that they were run by gasoline/petrol, while those witnesses with only an indirect hearsay knowledge of the engine were more likely to identify it as diesel.” (Jonathan Harrison, et al., Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard, 2011, p 315)

At Treblinka and the other Operation Reinhard camps, Belzec and Sobibor, the corpses were buried, then dug up and cremated on pyres. Kollerstrom doubts this is possible and actually says that “human bodies are not flammable” because they are 70% water (Breaking the Spell, p 17, 135) He writes that Treblinka “enjoys not one but two Holo-miracles: there was the gassing of 875,000 Jews by diesel exhaust, a non-lethal gas, followed swiftly by their thousands of somehow flammable corpses burning in the huge, Hellish pyres (just watch Schindler’s List, O scoffing Unbeliever).” (Breaking the Spell, p 135)

I have focused on Kollerstrom’s arguments, rather than his angry tone.

As mentioned earlier, the most reliable witnesses said the Jews at Treblinka were gassed using petrol engines. Moreover, they were not cremated “swiftly” after being gassed. Many of the corpses would have been buried for several months and become dehydrated so they would have easier to burn (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Holocaust Denial and Operation Reinhard, p 469, 475).

It is still possible to mass cremate bodies  even when they have just died. Here is a photo from David Irving’s website of the mass burning of bodies after the bombing of Dresden in February 1945

dresden-pyres

Kollerstrom also discusses the archaeological work of Dr Caroline Sturdy Colls at Treblinka beginning in 2006. He writes that Sturdy Colls did not find a single body at Treblinka (Breaking the Spell, p 73, 183), even though he also discusses how the bodies were cremated (Breaking the Spell, p 73, 135, 183). What does he expect?

Treblinka is now basically a park. It has been tidied up since 1945 when there was a lot more evidence of human remains. In 1946 the Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes said about Treblinka,

“For example, in the north-eastern part, over a surface covering about 2 ha. (5 acres), there are large quantities of ashes mixed with sand, among which are numerous human bones, often with the remains of decomposing tissue.

As a  result of an examination made by an expert it was found that the ashes were the remains of burnt human bones. The examination of numerous skulls found in the camp has shown that they bear no external injuries. Within a radius of several hundred yards from the camp site an unpleasant smell of burnt ash and decay is noticeable, growing stronger as one approaches.” (German Crimes in Poland, Vol. I, Central Commission for the Investigation of German Crimes in Poland, Warsaw, 1946, p 96-97)

Kollerstrom does not mention these earlier findings nor the mass graves  which were discovered at Belzec between 1997 and 1999. The revisionist response to the Belzec findings is discussed here.

Kollerstrom also writes about Treblinka,

“Miraculously enough, the wicked Nazis also removed completely from the site “all buildings, all concrete foundations, all fresh water and waster water pipes, all the rubbish. all glass fragments, all barbed wire fences, all narrow-gauge rails, all air0raid shelters and all roads, and they left the area as if the camp never existed.” (Breaking the Spell, p 186)

It sounds like Kollerstrom is saying that the Treblinka camp did not exist at all, but elsewhere he writes that Treblinka was only a transit camp. Kollerstrom claims that Treblinka, along with Belzec and Sobibor, were transit camps, the Jews were sent through them further East and resettled (Breaking the Spell, p 182, 187-189, 228).

In a section headed, “The Final Solution Finally Solved” (as though he is the one who thought of it and other revisionists have not been saying it for years) Kollerstrom quotes from Nazi documents, including Goebbels’ Diary, about deporting the Jews and resettling them in the East (Breaking the Spell, p 214-216).

As mentioned earlier, Kollerstrom ignores the passage from Goebbels’ Diary which said that 60% of the Jews would have to be liquidated.

I also mentioned earlier that there is no denying there are Nazi documents saying the Jews would be deported and resettled in the East. The “controversy” is what happened when they got there  – were they really resettled or were they killed? In his post-revisionist conversion book Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, David Irving described how the Jews in Germany were told they were going to be resettled and put on trains, but when they arrived, they were killed (David Irving, Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, Focal Point, London, 1996, p 374-403).

In 1943 Himmler commissioned the SS statistician Richard Korherr to prepare a report on the final solution to the Jewish question. Kollerstrom writes that the Korherr Report said that by the end of 1942,  1,274,166 Jews “were sifted through the camps in the General Government”, that is, Belzec, Lublin, Sobibor and Treblinka (Breaking the Spell, p 226-227).

This may sound like the camps were transit camps and the Jews were channelled through them and resettled further East. However, Kollerstrom does not tell his readers there are two versions of the Korherr report and he is only quoting from the second one.

In Hitler’s War David Irving describes how the original version the 1,274,166 Jews had bene subjected to “special treatment”, but Himmler told Korherr to change it. Irving writes,

“According to the new text, the Jews would have been “channelled through” the camps to Russia – not “subjected to special treatment” at the camps. As he wrote on April 9, the report would serve magnificently for “camouflage purposes” in later years.” (David Irving, Hitler’s War, 1942-1945, Macmillan, London, 1977, p 504)

As mentioned earlier, there are times when “special treatment” meant killing. If it only meant delousing as Kollerstrom claims, why did Himmler feel the need to change and camouflage it?

Modern day Holocaust revisionists are doing exactly what Himmler hoped they would do, using the second version to camouflage what happened to the Jews.

Kollerstrom admits in a footnote (literally in the fine print) that “there may be no records of where they went.” (Breaking the Spell, p 188) There are no records of where they went because they did not go anywhere, they were killed in Treblinka and the other camps.

Like other revisionists, Kollerstrom demands an impossibly high standard of proof from conventional historians, autopsies of cremated corpses and documentary proof of undocumented arrivals, but when it comes to their version, they put forward a theory for which there is no historical evidence.

008

In my 2011 article “What is Wrong with Holocaust Revisionism Part II” which was published in Hard Evidence, Volume 11, No 5, Sept-Oct, 2011, and can be found here, I argued that the fatal flaw with Holocaust revisionism is that they cannot show what “really” happened to the Jews, if they were not killed. There is a lot of speculation, but no evidence, i.e.. resettled Jews.

Kollerstrom is no different.

 

 

Breaking the Spell by Nicholas Kollerstrom Review and Commentary Part Four

In my previous post I looked at some of Nicholas Kollerstrom’s comments about the evidence of Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz. Hoess had originally claimed that 2.5 million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz. In his memoirs written in November 1946, Hoess wrote that 1,230,000 Jews had been killed in Auschwitz (Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, Phoenix press, London, 2000, p 194).

In May 1945 the Soviet Extraordinary State Commission concluded that four million people had died in Auschwitz. They based this on the capacity of the crematoria. But just because it was theoretically possible to cremate four million bodies does not mean that four million were killed in Auschwitz (Franciszek Piper, “The Number of Victims” in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998, p 65).

In spite of all the revisionist claims that Hoess was coerced into writing his confessions and memoirs, he was clearly not coerced into going along with the “official” Communist estimates of Auschwitz deaths.

Kollerstrom writes,

“Franciszek Piper, Director of the Auschwitz museum in the early 1990s when David Cole got to interview him, shockingly reduced the number who died in the Auschwitz camp from four million to one, or 1.1 million – and he somehow kept his job. The notice up at Auschwitz saying four million had to be changed, but the total remained: Six million minus three million equals six million.” (Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, 2014, p 30)

Piper began his study of the number of victims in Auschwitz in 1980. The first draft of his results was completed in 1986 and it was published in 1991 (Franciszek Piper, “The Number of Victims”, in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum (editors), Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indian University Press, Bloomington , 1998, p 68, 74).

His comments were only “shocking” to those who do not follow Holocaust research. Even before 1991, hardly any western historians believed that four million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz. The revisionist Jurgen Graf writes,

“Shortly after the Red Army’s takeover of the Auschwitz camp in January 1945, the Soviets told the world that four million persons had died there. Although this absurd figure was widely cited in the West, and was officially defended in Poland until 1990, few Western historians accepted it.” (Jurgen Graf, “What Happened to the Jews Who Were Deported to Auschwitz But Were Not Registered There?”, Journal of Historical Review, Vol. 19, No. 4, July-August 2000)

Thus, Kollerstrom’s argument that the “official” reduction of the Auschwitz death from four to one million means that the overall death toll in the Holocaust should also be reduced by three million is flawed because Western historians never believed that four million Jews had been killed in Auschwitz.

Their estimates for the total number of Jews killed in the Holocaust  was not worked out by adding up the number of Jews killed in each of the camps, including four million in Auschwitz. Their estimates were based on the number of missing or unaccounted for Jews at the end of the war.

While it is widely believed that six million Jews were killed, some historians have come up with lower estimates. In 1961 Raul Hilberg wrote that one million Jews had died in Auschwitz and 5.1 Million Jews had died in the Holocaust (Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1961, p 572, 767). In 1968 Gerald Reitlinger wrote that 700,000 Jews had been  killed in Auschwitz and between 4,2 and 4.57 Jews had been killed in the Holocaust (Gerald Reitlinger, The Final Solution, Valentine, Mitchell, London, 1968, p 501, 546).

Kollerstrom and other revisionists point to the Jews  who survived the war, as though this somehow proves there was no mass murder program (Breaking the Spell, p 210, 212). He writes,

“Supporters of the Holocaust legend cannot have it both ways. If they are taking endless “reparations” from Germany claiming to be “Holocaust survivors”. then how can they allege that such numbers of Jews were liquidated in Europe?” (Breaking the Spell, p 46)

“One can either have an ongoing program of extermination or have workers capable of doing skilled work – but not both.” (Breaking the Spell, p 102)

They did have both. This argument reveals their ignorance of the nature of the Holocaust. The Holocaust was not a pogrom in which the Nazis killed every Jew they could find. No historian has ever said this was the case. In general, the unfit Jews were killed, while the fit Jews, who could be used for slave labour, were kept alive for a while. Some of these survived the war. This policy is outlined in a well-known  March 27, 1942 passage from Joseph Goebbels’ diary,

“Beginning with Lublin, the Jews are now being deported eastward from the Government-General. The procedure is pretty barbaric, and one that beggars description, and there’s not much left of the Jews. Broadly speaking, one can probably say that sixty percent of them will have to be liquidated while only forty percent can be put to work.” (David Irving, Goebbels, Mastermind of the Third Reich, Focal Point, London 1996, p 388)

The Wannsee Protocol is the minutes of a January 1942 conference on the implementation of the Final Solution. Part of it explains what will happen to the Jews who were deported,

“In pursuance of the final solution, the Jews will be conscripted for labour in the east under appropriate supervision. Large labour gangs will be formed form those fit for work, with the sexes separated, which will be sent to these areas for road construction and undoubtedly a large number of them will drop out through natural wastage. The remainder who survive – and they will certainly be those who have the greatest powers of endurance – will have to be dealt with accordingly. For, if released, they would, as a natural selection of the fittest, form a germ cell from which the Jewish race could regenerate itself.” (J. Noakes and G. Pridham (editors), Nazism 1919-1945, A History in Documents and Eyewitness Accounts, Volume 2, Schocken Nooks, New York, 1988, p 1131)

Like Goebbels’ diary, the Wannsee Protocol says that the fit Jews would be used for slave labour, but it does not say what would happen to the unfit Jews. If it was nothing sinister, why didn’t they just say so? It looks like they did not want to put into writing that the unfit Jews would be Jews.

Furthermore, there is no evidence that Jews were actually used to build roads in the East.

Kollerstrom quotes from both Goebbels’ diary and the Wannsee Protocol, arguing that the Final Solution only meant deporting the Jews to the East (Breaking the Spell, p 214). That part is true. The issue is what happened to the Jews when they got there. He quotes several passages from Goebbels’ diary about the deportation of the Jews and concludes, “Let’s hope this settle the matter.” (Breaking the Spell, p 216)

However, he ignores the two passages quoted above. How can someone ignore the most famous passage in Goebbels’ diary on the fate of the Jews when discussing the fate of the Jews?

Kollerstrom argues that there could not have been any mass murder program because there were 5 million Jews still alive at the end of the war (Breaking the Spell, p 46, 48). If there were about 11 million Jews n Europe at the start of the war and 5 million Jews at the end, this does not prove that around 6 million Jews were not killed.

However, Kollerstrom claims there were only 3 million Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe (Breaking the Spell, p 46, 50). He even says there were only 1.1 million Jews in Poland (Breaking the Spell, p 46).

Seriously?

I think the Nazis would have known how many Jews they had. The Wannsee Protocol said there were 11 million Jews in Europe, including 2.7 million in Poland (Nazism, 1919-1945, Volume 2, p 1130). In a diary entry for March 7, 1942, Joseph Goebbels wrote, “There are 11 million Jews still in Europe.”

Before the Wannsee Conference Hans Frank, Governor of the General Government (part of Nazi-occupied Poland), said in a speech on December 16, 1941,

“We have an estimated 2.5 million Jews in the General Government; if one includes those married to them and all their dependents, perhaps 3.5 million. We cannot shoot these 3.5 million Jews, we cannot poison them, but we must be able to intervene in away which somehow achieves a successful extermination.” (Nazism, 1919-1945, Volume 2, p 1126-1127)

This does not sound like a resettlement policy.

In The Holocaust and the Soviet Union Yitzhak Arad estimates there were between 2.6 and 2.7 million Jews in the Nazi-occupied areas of the Soviet Union, including the Baltic States and eastern Poland, and 2.5 to 2.6 million were killed (Yitzhak Arad, The Holocaust and the Soviet Union, University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, 2009, p 525).

Kollerstrom deals with the issue of the Jews killed in the soviet Union by ignoring them,

“We are not concerned with Jews in Russia, namely because the German pay-outs for “Holocaust survivors” excluded these until the collapse of the Soviet Union.” (Breaking the Spell, p 46)

What is that supposed to mean? Because the post-war West German government did not pay reparations to the surviving Russian Jews, the Jews, which came under Nazi rule, do not count?

To be continued.

 

 

 

 

Breaking the Spell by Nicholas Kollerstrom Review and Commentary Part Three

This is the third of a series of posts on the book Breaking the Spell by the Holocaust revisionist Nicholas Kollerstrom.

BreakingtheSpell-200x300

An important source for Auschwitz is the testimony and memoirs of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, however revisionists claim that his evidence is unreliable because he was tortured. Kollerstrom writes, “Rudolf Hoss was seized by a British army hit team and tortured until he gave his torturers the story they wanted to hear” (Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, 2014, p 42) and in 1983 it was disclosed “that Rudolf Hoss had been tortured for three days and nights by a British army hit team” (Breaking the Spell, op cit., p 60).

commandantauschwitzrudolfhosspaperbackcoverart1

His source is Legions of Death by Rupert Butler who says that Hoess was bashed when he was arrested, but he does not  say he was tortured into confessing (Rupert Butler, Legions of Death, Arrow Books, London, 1986, p 237).

The evidence that Hoess  was tortured into confessing comes from Hoes himself, who wrote in his memoirs,

“At my first interrogation, evidence was obtained by beating me. I do not know what was in the record, although I signed it. Alcohol and the whip were too much for me.” (Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, Phoenix Press, London, 2000, p 174)

Holocaust revisionists are arguing in circles. They say Hoess’ memoirs are unreliable because he was tortured but the evidence he was tortured comes from his memoirs.

Even though Hoess’ evidence supposedly cannot be trusted, Kollerstrom still relies on Hoess when it suits him. He quotes Hoess saying at Nuremberg that the reason for the poor conditions in the concentration camps at the end of the war, with thousands of inmates dying from starvation and disease, was the fault of the Allies who bombed the railways so no food could get to the inmates (Breaking the Spell, p 207-208).

The fact, that Hoess was able to blame the Allies, suggests that he was not the show trial witness which revisionists make him out to be. He could say what the wanted.

Modern revisionists use the same argument as Hoess and blame the Allies for the conditions in the camps at the end of the war. They do not just deny the existence of the gas chambers. They are hard-pressed to admit the Nazis ever did anything wrong.

There are films of German civilians being made to visit the concentration camps at the end of the war. They all look well-fed.

 

If there was still enough food getting through for the German civilians, it seems implausible that there was not enough the concentration camp inmates.

Starvation was also a problem for the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto in the first half of the war.

This cannot be blamed on Allied bombing. It was Nazi policy in action.

Kollerstrom claims that Hoess changed his story about how the gassings took place,

“We’ve alluded to the two stages of Rudolf Hoss’s confession: after being tortured by a British army hit team, he finally agreed to sign the story which was the climax and meaning of Nuremberg, now believed by the entire world. Firstly Hoss confessed that people went into the shower units expecting a shower,  and then cyanide gas came out of the shower heads, and they were all dead in twenty minutes. Then, someone presumably murmured to him that the cyanide came in granular form as slow-release Zyklon and it would not be very easy to have this result in gas emerging from shower heads. Also, psst, hydrogen cyanide is lighter than air, so it would not very quickly descend to the captive and naked crowds below expecting their shower. So the story changed, and the famous roof holes made their appearance: the Zyklon was poured down onto the seething masses of bodies  through the holes in the roof. This was not part of Hoss’s original confession because he knew perfectly well that there were no buildings in Auschwitz with such holes. But they became an imaginary necessity owing to the logistic flaw in  the earlier shower unit concept.

A third step in Hoss’s confession came about because the sprinkling of Zyklon through the roof holes was not felt to be adequate, so pipe cylinders appeared, stretching from those roof holes down to the ground, where the dropped Zyklon would then reside in bowls and slowly release it deadly gas.” (Breaking the Spell, p 58-59)

First of all, Hoess’ confession was not “the climax and meaning of Nuremberg”. The Nuremberg trials were not all about the Holocaust. About 90% of the proceedings dealt with other war crimes than the killing of the Jews. David Irving commented that more time was devoted to the shooting of RAF officers who had escaped from the POW camp at Sagen than the extermination camps (David Irving, Nuremberg, The Last Battle, Focal Point, London, 1996, p 235).

It is not clear which of Hoess’ statements Kollerstrom is referring to. Hoess’ first statement “after being tortured by a British army hit-team” was dated 14 march 1946 and designated NO-1210. In this statement Hoess described the gassings in Bunkers I and II,

“The people, now undressed,  then went into the rooms. Each had a capacity of 200-300 people. The doors were bolted and two cans of Zyklon B were sprinkled through the hatches into each room. The Zyklon B was a crystalline mass of prussic acid. It took between three and ten minutes to take effect, depending on the weather conditions.” (cited in Ernest Klee, et al, (editors), The Good Old Days, Konecky and Konecky, New York, 1991, p 270)

At the Bunkers the Zyklon B was thrown in through openings in the walls which were then shut (Franciszek Piper, “Gas Chambers and Crematoria”, in Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998, p 162).

In this statement Hoess also described Crematoria II and III,

“Here too it was explained to the people through interpreters that they were going to be bathed and deloused and that they should make sure they knew where they had left their clothes. Then, still underground, they went into the next-door room, which was equipped with water pipes and shower attachments, creating the impression that it was a shower-room. Right up to the end, two Unterfuhrer had to stay to stay in the room to prevent people from getting worried.” (The Good Old Days, p 271)

Hoess did not say how the Zyklon was inserted in Crematoria II and III. He did not say it came out of the showerheads as Kollerstrom claims.

Hoess made a second statement signed April 5, 1946 and designated PS-3868. He described the gassings,

“So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz, I used Cyclon B which was crystalized Prussic Aid which was dropped into the death chamber from a small opening. It took 3 to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber depending on climatic conditions.” (PS-3868, cited in Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 2002, p 250)

This sounds like a description of Crematorium I in Auschwitz I, where there were no insertion columns, The Zyklon B was dropped through the holes in the roof onto the floor.

Hoess testified at Nuremberg on April 15, 1946, where parts of this statement were read out.

On April 9, 1946, Dr Gustave Gilbert interviewed Hoess in his cell where Hoess said,

“The killing was easy; you didn’t even need guards to drive them into the chambers; they just went in expecting to take showers and, instead of water, we turned on poison gas.” (G. M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary, Eyre and Spottiswood, London, 1948, p 149)

This is the closest Hoess came to saying the gas came out of the showerheads. It was not the first version which he was told to change, as Kollerstrom claims. It was a private conversation. He had previously said in his statement on March 14 that the shower attachments were only to give the impression it was a shower. The words “instead of water, we turned on poison gas” sound more like hyperbole than a technical statement on how the gas chambers worked.

In November 1946 Hoess gave a more detailed description of the gassings in an appendix to his memoirs,

“Experience had shown that the preparation of prussic acid called Cyclon B caused death with far greater speed and certainty … After undressing, the Jews went into the gas chambers which were furnished with showers and water pipes and gave a realistic impression of a bath house … The door would now be quickly be screwed up and the gas immediately discharged by the waiting disinfectors through vents in the ceilings of the gas chambers, down a shaft leading to the floor. This ensured the rapid distribution of the gas.” (Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, London, 1995, p 197, 198)

The revisionists’ claim that there are no holes in the roofs of the gas chambers have been addressed by the former revisionist Charles Provan here and by Daniel Keren, Jamie McCarthy and Harry Mazal in “The Ruins of the Gas Chambers: A Forensic Investigation of Crematoriums at Auschwitz I and Auschwitz-Birkenau” published in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 18, No. 1, Spring 2004.

There is no evidence that Hoess’ interrogators whispered into his ear to get him to change his story. His story did not really change. In his March 14 statement he was describing Bunkers I and II and he did not describe how the gassings took place in Crematoria II and III.  In his April 5 statement he was describing Crematorium I. His later statements were describing the operation of Crematoria II and II which he had not described previously.

To be continued.