Memo for the controversial bloggers, part IV: The technical and testimonial blunders of Jason “Myers”

Moreso than Harrison or Terry, the pseudonymous Jason “Myers”, who contributed chapters on resettlement, gas chambers, and witnesses, attempts to attack specific revisionist arguments, many of these of a scientific or technical character. Unfortunately, he does so with such a uniform incompetence that one is almost tempted to suspect that he might be a cryptorevisionist making poor arguments aimed at embarrassing his exterminationist colleagues, and meanwhile benefiting from a fellowship from the famously corrupt ‘Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.’ Unlike another former revisionist whose work performed under Jewish largess gave rise to suspicions that he was secretly a cryptorevisionist,[75] Myers fails to perform any significant original research. In light of the somewhat discursive nature of Myers’ work, and the detailed replies which he has already received from Mattogno, Kues, and Graf, I have opted to treat several brief topics, regarding either technical issues or witness statements, about which the discussion to date has omitted some important points.

First, we consider the question of corpse color, to which Myers devotes a section (pp. 328-333). We will not concern ourselves with arguing the question in general, as Myers’ ill-informed remarks have already received a very good response from Thomas Kues.[76] Our present ambitions are limited to correcting one recurring error. Myers argues (p. 332) that the pressure which the corpses brought to bear on each other prevented the visibility of the red coloration associated with CO poisoning. This argument reveals a total lack of comprehension of the mechanism behind the formation of lividity. What causes lividity? The answer is: blood. In fact, blood also plays a role in the skin color of living people. A simple experiment will illustrate this: press firmly on your arm with two fingers held close together. Upon releasing the pressure, you will find that the areas on which you pressed are pale, while there are red areas between and outside of the pale areas. This occurs because the pressure pushed the blood out of the areas to which it was applied, which consequently appear pale, while the areas into which it was pushed appear red. Simple enough. This illustrates the key fact for interpreting the impact of pressure on lividity. Pressure moves blood around, but it does not remove blood. After death, as the blood settles and thickens, the ability for the color to return to a spot after it has been pressed on wanes, and with more time elapsed the blood sets up to the point where pressure will not move it at all. Kues gave a reply which focused on the timing on this process, which is all very well, but misses a simpler fact: when books say that lividity can be removed (or prevented from forming) by pressure, they are referring to the lividity in the specific regions to which the pressure is applied. As no packing of Jews in chambers could ever attain uniform pressure on all portions of the bodies, the pressure between the bodies could not under any circumstances have led to a disappearance of lividity.[77]

Second, Myers faults revisionists for ignoring research on which aspects of memory are most reliable (p. 351). While it is certainly true that the specific criticisms revisionists have made of witness errors vary widely in strength, this is largely a result of the natural tendency for pioneers in the field to compile arguments, and only later to sift through and separate the truly compelling from the merely suggestive. Given the youth of the revisionist literature on the Reinhardt camps, it is no surprise that it has sometimes only reached the initial phase of compilation of arguments. This said, Myers’ argument on this point is notably feeble, as he fails to draw the distinction between memories of specific events and memories pertaining to an extended period of time or a sequence of repeated events. That recollections of the first type of event are often filled with errors is a familiar fact, but genuine recollections of the second sort should be more reliable. To mistake the color of a car that you saw used in a drive-by shooting is normal. To forget the color of a car that you drove for years is abnormal. Not to know the difference between the two is a sign that you may be a member of holocaust controversies.

Our next issue, intermediate between witnesses and technical questions, is engine type at the Reinhardt camps. This is the domain of the bloggers’ main innovation, namely the attempt to convert Belzec and Treblinka from diesel to gasoline engines. As Carlo Mattogno has already commented on this maneuver in detail, I wish to focus on the less novel, but still interesting, topic of the Sobibor engine. At this camp mainstream holocaust historians had already accepted a gasoline engine, on the basis of statements from the 1960s trial of camp staff. The best known of the statements in favor of a gasoline engine is that of Erich Fuchs, which Myers quotes twice (pp. 283, 317). Fuchs described the engine as being a V-8 water-cooled Russian engine presumably from a armored vehicle or tractor.[78] Myers, however, twice writes (pp. 283, 317), copying a doubtful translation from Jules Schelvis,[79] “traction engine” rather than “engine of a tractor”. In fact, a traction engine is a type of steam engine, not an internal combustion engine at all. While Zugmaschine (tractor) can be used in the sense of Dampfzugmaschine (traction engine), it seems doubtful that Fuchs had this in mind, and if we are to take the interpretation seriously one might well ask how precisely the Jews were to be killed with the exhaust from a steam engine.

As Fuchs gave a rather detailed account of the engine with which he was held to have had such an intimate connection, it is reasonable that we attempt to ascertain its make and model. The results of such investigation are startling: on the basis of reference works on Soviet tanks, tractors, and other vehicles, the engine described in Fuchs’ statement does not appear to correspond to any real engine. To add to the confusion, Fuchs also gave a completely different description of the engine in a later statement. By this latter account, the engine had four inline cylinders, and Fuchs didn’t know whether it was air- or water-cooled.[80] Myers even cites this very document (p. 318) but, in a stunning display of dishonesty, neglects to mention the contradictory description of the engine. Given that holocaust controversies has raised Fuchs to the level of chief witness on the gassing engine, stressing his importance (pp. 34, 291-292) and labeling him a “knowledgeable mechanic” (p. 317) they should explain why he gave two completely contradictory descriptions of this engine, the first of which does not correspond to any real engine. One can only pity the country whose ‘competent mechanics’ are unable to say whether the engines which they have themselves repaired and repeatedly operated have a V-8 or inline 4 engine, and who alternate between knowing that an engine is water-cooled and having no idea whether it is air- or water-cooled.

As I pointed out in my previous review,[81] Myers neglects to mention key portions of the testimonies of the witnesses he uses to give his depiction of the gas chambers. For example, he neglects to mention that three witnesses (Shalayev, Shevchenko, and Leleko) which he proffers in connection with his account of the Treblinka gas chambers (two of which he relies on heavily) reported that the larger gas chamber building at that camp was built in 1943, a date clashing dramatically with the standard story. This pattern of selective use of witness testimonies on Myers’ part extends also to another of his favorite witnesses, Abraham Goldfarb. Despite repeatedly citing Goldfarb’s testimony, Myers neglects to mention Goldfarb’s statement that due to the inadequacy of the motor initially supplied, the killing in the new gas chambers was done with chlorinated lime until April 1943, when the killing method was switched to engine exhaust.[82] This account obviously contradicts the standard version of Treblinka’s history. In another convenient omission – although here he may be excused by ignorance – Myers hushes up Goldfarb’s later attribution of a diesel engine to Treblinka.[83]

Finally, Myers makes much of the testimonies of railroad workers (pp. 250-251). His arguments on this front have received an excellent reply from Thomas Kues,[84] but recently digitized sources allow for a few additional remarks. One minor point is that, copying an error from Alfred Mierzejewski, Myers attributes a testimony actually given by a ‘Kurt M’ to Eduard Kryschak.[85] More serious is the case of Myers’ appeal to the testimony of railroad worker Hans Prause (p. 251). Myers recounts how Prause was supposedly told about extermination in Treblinka by an SS officer whom Myers identifies as Georg Michalsen, and invited to tour the camp. The impact of this story is rather blunted by the fact that Prause reports being told of killings with cyanide in showers at Treblinka.[86] Moreover, Myers’ attempt to identify the “Michaelson” with whom Prause spoke as Georg Michalsen founders on the fact that Prause clearly stated that he was uncertain of the man’s name.[87] If Prause himself didn’t know the name, how can Myers be so certain? Prause also remembered the SS officer as appearing younger than he, while Georg Michalsen was a year older.[88] Thomas Kues has already pointed out to the absurdity of supposing that random railroad workers were invited to tour Treblinka,[89] but on examining Prause’s testimony the story becomes still more absurd. The conversation about Treblinka also included the mother of the local stationmaster, who happened to be visiting, and the invitation to visit Treblinka and see how humanely the killing was carried out (with hydrogen cyanide) extended to her as well. Apparently Myers imagines that Georg Michalsen enjoyed inviting not only random railroad personnel to tour Treblinka, but also the visiting mothers of stationmasters.

While Myers might point to his own ignorance of the sources to defend his silence on the fact that Prause claimed that Jews were killed with hydrogen cyanide at Treblinka, this excuse would not extend to Prause’s interview with Claude Lanzmann, which has been online since before the bloggers published their manifesto, in a collection which the controversial bloggers knew perfectly well. In this interview, Prause’s story is a little different: now the invitation to visit the extermination camp came from the Treblinka commandant, and was relayed to Prause by the Malkinia stationmaster, who also told him about the extermination with hydrogen cyanide in Treblinka.[90] The main lesson that can be drawn from such accounts is just how extraordinarily weak late testimony is as evidence, particularly concerning a widely publicized topic which has been the focus of ‘re-education’ and ‘politische Bildung’.

——

[75] Namely Jean-Claude Pressac. For suspicions of Pressac’s cryptorevisionism, see: In Memoriam Jean-Claude Pressac, Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, Vol. 7, Nos. 3&4, 2003, pp. 406-415, here p. 407.
[76] Carlo Mattogno, Thomas Kues, and Jürgen Graf, The “Extermination Camps” of “Aktion Reinhardt”: An Analysis and Refutation of Factitious ‘Evidence,” Deceptions and Flawed Argumentation of the “Holocaust Controversies” Bloggers, 2013, pp. 856-868, cf. Carlo Mattogno’s remarks on pp. 842-843.
[77] The only circumstance in which pressure is likely to remove lividity from the entire corpse is when the body is submerged in deep water, as in this case there is uniform pressure on all portions of the skin.
[78] Fuchs statement, 2.4.63, ZStL 208 AR-Z 251/59, Vol. 9, p. 1784, copy in NIOD, archive 804, inventory 47.
[79] Myers quotes the passage from Schelvis on p. 283, while on p. 317 he claims to have taken it directly from an archival source but still copies Schelvis’ translation.
[80] Protokoll vom 15.11.1965, Staatsanwaltschaft Dortmund 45 Js 27/61 Ordner Novemb. ’65/NO, p. 559, copy in NIOD, archive 804, inventory 46.
[81] Friedrich Jansson, The Extermination Camps of Aktion Reinhardt, Inconvenient History, Vol. 6, No. 1, 2014. Online: http://inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2014/volume_6/number_1/the_extermination_camps_of_aktion_reinhardt.php
[82] Goldfarb statement, 21.9.44, USSR-380.
[83] Elizabeth Loftus, Witness for the Defense, 1992, p. 217.
[84] Carlo Mattogno, Thomas Kues, and Jürgen Graf, The “Extermination Camps” of “Aktion Reinhardt”: An Analysis and Refutation of Factitious “Evidence,” Deceptions and Flawed Argumentation of the “Holocaust Controversies” Bloggers, 2013, pp. 653-659.
[85] YVA P.26.126, pp. 434-438, here p. 435. The full surname is blacked out in the document, but the Yad Vashem staff have written in ‘Meyer’. The testimony of Eduard K. (presumably Kryschak) comes directly after, pp. 438-439.
[86] YVA P.26.126, pp. 37-46, here p. 40.
[87] YVA P.26.126, p. 40.
[88] YVA P.26.126, p. 41.
[89] Carlo Mattogno, Thomas Kues, and Jürgen Graf, The “Extermination Camps” of “Aktion Reinhardt”: An Analysis and Refutation of Factitious “Evidence,” Deceptions and Flawed Argumentation of the “Holocaust Controversies” Bloggers, 2013, p. 653.
[90] USHMM RG-60.5029.

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