So the talking cat of TRS asked me to write something for the blog on Rational Wiki.
As a preface I'd like to start with a disclaimer:
First that I am not writing this to propose any sort of argument for the historical revision of the holocaust, I believe I could do no better than people who actually study these matters, of whom you can read in the Holocaust Handbook series (most of which has been digitized and are available online for free).
And secondly, that I do not care for holocaust revisionism.
And not for any concern I have towards the subject it studies, but for the students of it.
On the Far Right, it's common to feel like a very small minority, and watching the few people you relate to fall victim to the Revisionist Syndrome is painful.
For those of you unfamiliar with Revisionist Syndrome, it's a form of acute high functioning autism that is related to the "NAP Dysfunction" of Libertardians, and whatever form of turrets syndrome that causes people to blurt out; "Jet Feul Can't Melt Steel Beams" at parties.
Its a dark thing to witness someone fall into.
Now as far as holocaust revisionism goes, I'm actually rather orthodox (that's to say non-heretical) but oh was I surprised to suddenly find myself a "denier" by Rational Wiki's standards!
Apparently, I've had it all wrong after all! Even if I believed 8 Million Jews were killed in the Holocaust I could still be a denier, if I'm too skeptical to buy the line that they died in the gas chambers.
Hell, I could believe Hitler killed ALL the Jews in the Holocaust and still be a denier by their standards.
So what are Rational Wiki's standards?
Nine examples of holocaust claims are given; some of them go without saying, such as those who question the official death count, or that the final solution was a relocation project.
Others are... in need of citation.
For example on the holocaust industry, it is stated that holocaust "deniers" believe Jews made the whole thing up.
A half truth, while we certainly question the existence of ball snatching pooches at Treblinka, or the validity of the "evidence" the prisoners claimed as SS holocaust trophies (lampshades, handbags, shrunken heads, holy soap. etc.) I highly doubt anyone would go so far as to claim that Jews made the whole thing up.
Now because the format of Rational Wiki is not really one that was intended for dialogue, I won't be able to cover every gory detail, in many ways I feel like their entire wiki is partly an imaginary thought experiment on how they think the opposition believes, but the parts that can be dialogued with, I will do my best to cover here.
A good place to start is with the easiest; was torture used to collect confessions from the Axis prisoners of war and does it matter?
Rational Wiki links in it's (currently) 48th citation an article from Nizkor that seeks to downplay the role of torture in the Allies interrogations (keep in mind, this is the same wiki that considers waterboarding inhumane treatment).
The link claims:
"No doubt there were some cases of mistreatment. Some Allied soldiers were so shocked with what they saw in the camps that they reacted with violence, but this is not a serious factor in the overall picture. This is a long way from a policy of torture inflicted to extract confessions."(1)
There are three problems here, first is the assumption that there needed to be a written policy at all for there to be routine torture, and second that the incidents were fits of passion done only here or there, but not to obtain a confession and certainly not what could be called torture. Finally there is the claim that whatever happened was not a "serious factor in the overall picture".
Because Nuremberg was not serious?
Yes, there were confessions in the decades after WW2 had ended, but is it really necessary to posit torture as the only possible motive behind the confessions?
Making promises of leniency in exchange for a confession is a common event in the court of law, particularly when one's case is as hopeless as:
"Hitler did nothing wrong, the holocaust never happened."
So does it matter that there was torture? YES!
But was there really?
Let's look at several sources.
The Australian born British journalist and war correspondent Alan Moorehead, reporting on the Allied prisons after the war had ended and the Allies were in preparation for the war trials said:
"As we approached the cells of the SS guards, the sergeant's language became ferocious. 'We had an interrogation this morning.' the captain said. 'I'm afraid they aren't a pretty sight.' [...] The sergeant unbolted the first door and [...] strode into the cell, jabbing a metal spike in front of him. 'Get up.' he shouted. 'Get up. Get up, you dirty bastards.' There were half a dozen men lying or half lying on the floor. One or two were able to pull themselves erect at once. The man nearest me, his shirt and face spattered with blood, made two attempts before he got on to his knees and then gradually on to his feet. He stood with his arms stretched out in front of him, trembling violently.
'Cone on. Get up,' the sergeant shouted [in the next cell]. The man was lying in his blood on the floor, a massive figure with a heavy head and bedraggled beard [...] 'Why don't you kill me?' he whispered. 'Why don't you kill me? I cannot stand it any more.' The same phrases dribbled out of his lips over and over again. 'He's been saying that all morning, the dirty bastard,' the sergeant said." (2)
Further evidence of torture and abuse come from two men commissioned by the Texas Supreme Court in 1948, the men were Justice Gordon Simpson of the Texas Supreme Court and Edward L. Van Roden who served in world war two as Chief of the Military Justice Division for the European Theater:
"American investigators at the U. S. Court in Dachau, Germany, used the following methods to obtain confessions: Beatings and brutal kickings. Knocking out teeth and breaking jaws. Mock trials. Solitary confinement. Posturing as priests. Very limited rations. Spiritual deprivation. Promises of acquittal. [...] n his petition. Everett charged that the Germans had not received a fair trial. Everett did not claim that all the German defendants were innocent, but since they did not have a fair trial, there was no way of telling the innocent from the guilty. The tragedy is that so many of us Americans, having fought and won the war with so much sweat and blood, now say. "All Germans should be punished". We won the war, but some of us want to go on killing. That seems to me wicked.
If Everett's shocking charges were true, they would be a blot on the American conscience for eternity. The fact that there were atrocities by the Germans during the war against Americans, or by Americans against Germans, would not in the least lessen our disgrace if such peacetime atrocities were to go unchallenged. Our specific assignment was not only to examine Col. Everett's charges, but also to examine the cases of the 139 death sentences, which at that time remained unexecuted: 152 Germans had already been executed.
The 139 doomed men who were still alive fell into three groups. They were accused of involvement in the Dachau concentration camp crimes, in the killing of American fliers, or in the Malmedy massacres. Let me say that I believe the crimes for which these Germans were tried actually took place, and that some Germans were guilty of them. [...] On Russian insistence, the Americans couldn't retry these men. The Russian philosophy in these matters is that the investigators determine the guilt or innocence of the accused, and the judge merely sets the sentence. We accepted the Russian formula of no-retrial, but we won out on the presumption of innocence before trial.
The American prohibition of hear-say evidence had been suspended. Second and third-hand testimony was admitted, although the Judge Advocate General warned against the value of hearsay evidence, especially when it was obtained, as this was. [...] as this was. two or three years after the act. Lt. Col. Ellis and Lt Perl of the Prosectution pleaded that it was difficult to obtain competant evidence. Perl told the court, "We had a tough case to crack and we had to use persuasive methods." He admitted to the court that the persuasive methods included various "expedients, including some violence and mock trials." He further told the court that the cases rested on statements obtained by such methods.
The statements which were admitted as evidence were obtained from men who had first been kept in solitary confinement for three, four, and, five months. They were confined between four walls, with no windows, and no opportunity of exercise. Two meals a day were shoved in to them through a slot in the door. They were not allowed to talk to anyone. They had no communication with their families or any minister or priest during that time.
This solitary confinement proved sufficient in itself in some cases to persuade the Germans to sign prepared statements. These statements not only involved the signer, but often would involve other defendants [...] Our investigators would put a black hood over the accused's head and then punch him in the face with brass knuckles, kick him, and beat him with rubber hose. Many of the German defendants had teeth knocked out. Some had their jaws broken.
All but two of the Germans, in the 139 cases we investigated, had been kicked in the testicles beyond repair. This was Standard Operating Procedure with American investigators.
Perl admitted use of mock trials and persuasive methods including violence and said the court was free to decide the weight to be attached to evidence thus received. But it all went in.
One 18 year old defendant, after a series of beatings. was writing a statement being dictated to him. When they reached the 16th page, the boy was locked up for the night. In the early morning, Germans in nearby cells heard him muttering. "I will not utter another lie." When the jailer came in later to get him to finish his false statement, he found the German hanging from a cell bar, dead. However the statement that the German had hanged himself to escape signing was offered and received in evidence in the trial of the others.
Sometimes a prisoner who refused to sign was led into a dimly lit room, where a group of civilian investigators, wearing U. S. Army uniforms. were seated around a black table with a crucifix in the center and two candles burning, one on each aide. "You will now have your American trial," the defendant was told. The sham court passed a sham sentence of death. Then the accused was told, "You will hang in a few days, as soon as the general approves this sentence: but in the meantime sign this confession and we can get you acquitted." Some still wouldn't sign. [...] In another case, a bogus Catholic priest (actually an investigator) entered the cell of one of the defendants, heard his confession, gave him absolution, and then gave him a little friendly tip: "Sign whatever the investigators ask you to sign. It will get you your freedom. Even though it's false, I can give you absolution now in advance for the lie you'd tell." (3)
Now, while Gordon and Van Roden claimed to have found no evidence of a general conspiracy, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, and I am brought closer to that point of view when I consider the contradictions between the evidence and the testimonies of the confessors.
Take the curious case of SS Sturmbannführer Karl Sommer who was a defendant at the 4th Nuremberg Military Tribunal, also known as the "Pohl Trial", in his testimony he claimed that they sent daily reports on how many Jews and undesirables had been gassed per day in the encryptions sent from Auschwitz to Berlin:
"One evening about the end of May or the beginning of June 1944, I was called in to see Gluecks. He told me roughly this: "I want you to swear under oath that you will not say one word about what I am about to tell you to anybody. Otherwise, you will lose your life. You know that Jews are about to come from Hungary. By Hitler's orders, some of them have to be killed. Hoess has gone to Auschwitz for that purpose. Every evening he sends me a teletype letter as top secret containing the figures of the Jews who have arrived and have been killed. I shall see to it that these teletype letters will be sent to you so that you can keep a register, because you work every evening late after hours." ...
I described before that I used to work every evening until eight or nine o'clock. Everybody else went home at six or seven, whereas we were the only persons to work overtime. I had to assume that this was the reason why Gluecks wanted me to work on this measure so that these teletype letters, when they reached us, would immediately be locked up in a safe and would not be left lying about in the teletype office." (4)
Yet in volume 2 of "British Intelligence in the Second World War: Its Influence on Strategy and Operations," Sir Francis Harry Hinsler, a historian and crypotanslyst in WW2 wrote how the German radio messages from Auschwitz intercepted by the British make no reference to people being gassed there.
"The returns from Auschwitz, the largest of the camps with 20,000 prisoners, mentioned illness as the main cause of death, but included references to shootings and hangings. There were no references in the decrypts to gassing."
Now, while I would truly love to write further on this, the particular formatting issues don't allow me to spend an enormous amount of time on one subject.
So I'll just move on to the next issue I have with this particular page of the wiki, that being, their list of notable holocaust deniers.
Among them are an assortment of nutjobs and nobodies, but no one taken particularly seriously by the revisionist community.
Yes, Yockey was a denier in the sense that he denied that it happened but I don't believe he gave any argumenargument to support that view.
Perhaps with the exception of Cole, Faurrison, Smith and Rudolf, the list is made up of non-researchers.
Basically it includes anyone who's been on TV and said the holocaust never happened.
There is no mention of Jurgen Graf, Carlo Mattogno, or any other researcher.
How serious would a biology paper be taken if it only dealt with science popularizers like Bill Nye and Richard Dawkins, rather than the source of the theories themselves?
I don't think it would be or should be taken seriously at all and I think the wiki needs improvement in this area.
On the crematoriums, rational wiki seems to contradict itself, in speaking against the claim that the amount of fuel needed to burn the needed amount of bodies it says:
"Another objection deniers have put forth is that the amount of fuel necessary to cremate that many bodies would have been impractical. In 2000, David Irving sued an author in British high court for libel, for calling him a "Hitler partisan" who manipulated the historical record to deny the reality of the Holocaust. At the widely publicized trial, the prosecuting attorney claimed that it would take mountains of coke to burn all the bodies. An expert witness for the defense countered by showing German patents, issued before the war, for a mass crematorium that could be run almost entirely off the body fat of the corpses disposed in it."
Yet in the very next paragraph it admits such a crematorium wasn't at Auschwitz and it was in fact a regular incinerator from Topf and Sons (an issue it pretends to be only semantics)
The last issue I want to deal with is the gas chambers, yes, I could talk about the six million number, but the thing is I actually don't have a problem with the six million number.
There are many subjects I could cover, but to keep this article from becoming overwhelming I've already omitted them.
The problem I do have and want to cover is with the gas chambers, and while that isn't really so controversial (what difference would the method really make after all?) It's still apparently enough to make me a denier.
Were there eyewitnesses? None who survived I imagine.
Yes, even orthodox holocaust historians admit there is no real evidence of the gas chambers being used. So what evidence for them is there besides testimony? Keep in mind, arguments from testimony are apparently not good enough to make rational wiki accept the UFO phenomenon or the resurrection of Jesus.
Actually, the evidence for the UFO phenomenon should be better, after all, there are more testimonies and most of them have actually been inside the craft.
Only holocaust survivor Gena turgel can be said to have been inside a gas chamber and lived and quite frankly her story sounds like evidence that the gas chamber story was only a rumor passed around by the frightened community of mistreated prisoners.
After all, there's eyewitnesses of gas chambers in places that weren't even extermination camps.
At the Nuremberg trials, Dr. Franz Blaha said about Dachau in a sworn statement:
"There were numerous executions by gas, executions by firearms, and by injections, in the camp. The gas chamber was finished in 1944, and I called Dr. Rascher to examine the first victim. Of the eight or nine persons in the chamber, three were still alive; the others seemed to be dead. Their eyes were red and their faces bloated. Numerous detainees were subsquently killed in the same manner."(7)
Even the US military had written concerning Dachau:
"GAS CHAMBERS: the internees who were brought to Camp Dachau for the sole purpose of being executed were in most cases Jews and Russians. They were brought into the compound, lined up near the gas chambers, and were screened in a similar manner as internees who came to Dachau for imprisonment. Then they were marched to a room and told to undress. Everyone was given a towel and a piece of soap, as though they were about to take a shower. During this whole screening process, no hint was ever given that they were to be executed, for the routine was similar upon the arrival of all internees at the camp. Then they entered the gas chamber. Over the entrance, in large black letters, was written "Brause Bad" (showers). There were about 15 shower faucets suspended from the ceiling from which gas was then released. There was one large chamber, capacity of which was 200, and five smaller gas chambers, capacity of each being 50. It took approximately 10 minutes for the execution. From the gas chamber, the door led to the Krematory to which the bodies were removed by internees who were selected for the job. The dead bodies were then placed in 5 furnaces, two or three bodies at a time."
Yet today even the holocaust memorial museum admits there were no gassings there
If errors like this can be made, and be used in court as evidence for the mass genocide of the European Jewish people, what does that say about the eyewitnesses?
(2) Alan Moorehead, "Belsen," in: Cyril Connoly (ed), The Golden Horizon, Weidenfels and Nicholson, London 1953, pp. 105.
(3) E.L. Van Roden, "American Atrocities in Germany" http://codoh.com/library/document/1129/
(4) Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council
Law No. 10. Vol. 5: United States v. Oswald Pohl, et. al. (Case 4: 'Pohl Case').
US Government Printing Office, District of Columbia: 1950. pp.677-678
(6) IMT, vol. V, p. 198 (PS-3249).