Another case of Nicholas Terry not reading the works he cites

As I have previously pointed out, the bloggers of holocaust controversies are not particularly honest in their citation practices. This dishonesty extends beyond the fraudulent citations of archival documents: the bloggers also enjoy padding their bibliography and upping their footnote count (to which they attach considerable importance) by citing books and articles they have not actually used in preparing their writings. The following example illustrates this dishonest practice.

In the holocaust controversies manifesto, Nick Terry writes that John Demjanjuk’s death sentence “was overturned on appeal due to the emergence of new evidence and the realisation that this was a case of mistaken identity”. He gives the following citation:

The most comprehensive examination of the mistaken identity aspect of the case is in Willem A. Wagenaar, Identifying Ivan. A Case Study in Legal Psychology. Hemel Hempsted, 1988. Wagenaar was an expert witness for Demjanjuk’s defense.

Later, Terry states that “the entire affair was a case of manifestly mistaken identity, whose origins however could easily be traced back to the fact that Demjanjuk did indeed look rather like Ivan Marchenko, the real ‘Ivan the Terrible’” and cites “Wagenaar, Identifying Ivan” – again without giving any specific page number.

It’s evident that Terry did no more than skim Wagenaar’s book – evident because the book does not confirm Terry’s statements. Wagenaar never mentions the name Ivan Marchenko. Nor, for that matter, does Wagenaar confirm Terry’s claim that this was a case of mistaken identity. In fact, his book concludes with the statement “If the reader wants an answer to the question whether John Demjanjuk is Ivan, I can only refer to the court’s verdict. It is the best answer we have.” Whatever doubts he may have had, Wagenaar went along with the Jerusalem court’s verdict that Demjanjuk was “Ivan the Terrible” – so how can Terry cite Wagenaar for the “mistaken identity aspect of the case”? Certainly Wagenaar might be cited for the flaws in the identification procedures, but not for the “mistaken identity aspect”. This is another giveaway that Terry did not read Wagenaar’s book with any care.

In fact, Terry habitually cites books he has not studied. For example, in a discussion with me (intermediated by Roberto Muehlenkamp), he revealed a shocking ignorance of the contents of David Engel’s two books on the Polish government in exile, despite having cited them both in his writings. This behavior is particularly hypocritical coming from the leading member of a team that likes to polemicize against their opponents’ “lack of reading”.

Will Nick Terry ever offer an open and honest confession to his dishonest bibliographic puffery? The upcoming second edition of the manifesto offers the opportunity for him to make a clean breast of it, but I’m not holding my breath.

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