Jonathan Harrison has recently posted a number of critical comments regarding the initial section of my discussion of Nick Terry’s failed attempt to defuse the November 15 Treblinka steam chamber report. At the center of his criticism is a September 20, 1942 article in the publication Oyf der Wach, which claimed that at Treblinka the Jews entered a barrack, whose floor then opened up causing the Jews to fall into a machine in which they were killed. (Does Harrison believe that this is accurate?) After mentioning a story about an “investigator” who got no closer to Treblinka than Sokołów Podlaski, some 20 miles away, Harrison claims that I have done the following:
a) Mischaracterized the Oyf der Wach article, omitting its discussion of gassing
b) Omitted the discussion of that article in the Critique
c) Overlooked the significance of the Oyf der Wach article in the timeline concerning the Warsaw ghetto’s publication of Treblinka accounts.
d) Overlooked the accounts of gassing that had already been disseminated in August 1942.
I will first address these four claims in turn.
First, to the claim that I “mischaracterized the Oyf der Wach article, omitting its discussion of gassing”: there is, in fact, no characterization of the Oyf der Wach article in my post. Rather, that vaguely-sourced article is solely used for its similarities with what Terry thinks is an early attributable witness report by Rabinowicz, whose first-hand account rises above rumor and confusion. As I showed, this latter document had in fact not described a precise killing method, and Terry’s claims as to the authorship of said document are called into question by the similarity of its story with elements of the Oyf der Wach article.
Second, to the claim that I “omitted the discussion of that article in the Critique”: it would hardly have been to Terry’s advantage to point out that he failed to note the similarities between a one-page Polish document he could not read and another source he had quoted Arad excerpting. Moreover, the “discussion of that article in the Critique” was limited to the following:
As with many other such sources, this report is ignored by Mattogno, although one might expect the references to ‘electrical current’ to excite him.
There is simply not any “discussion” for me to omit or include.
Third, to the claim that I “overlooked the significance of the Oyf der Wach article in the timeline concerning the Warsaw ghetto’s publication of Treblinka accounts”: in fact, no statement was made as to the significance of the Oyf der Wach article. Furthermore, it is precisely Terry’s timeline – which claims that while confusion reigned, certain reliable witnesses had the killing method correct early on – that was refuted. As it happens, the second portion of my discussion of the steam chambers did provide further context regarding the timeline of reports, although as my topic was the failure of Nick Terry’s attempted neutralization of the November 15 report, such material goes beyond the call of duty.
Fourth, to the claim that I “overlooked the accounts of gassing that had already been disseminated in August 1942”: Harrison would have done well to wait for the remainder of my discussion of the steam chambers, which contains information on this broader context.
In short, if there is any valid point that Jonathan Harrison is trying to make in his “Personal Notes”, it is probably known only to him – as the title of his blog entry suggests.