Best stand-alone evidence?

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Hans
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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Hans » Sat Feb 03, 2018 6:35 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:However the White Paper says: "Widmann had already discussed 'the impossibility to transport the CO-cylinders in Russia'"

This would explain why they would not order them from IG Farben for Riga (with the distances involved being similar). Whereas producing them there was possible, it wasn't some barbaric no man's land and probably even had the necessary equipment ready. (Whereas sending a chemist to produce a gas van seems to be obviously absurd.)



But that's not what the doc is saying. It's not about transport difficulties, it's about lack of availability and difficulties in production:

"Zur Zeit sind die in Anbetracht kommenden Apparate in genügender Anzahl nicht vorhanden, sie müssen erst hergestellt werden. Da nach Auffassung Bracks die Herstellung der Apparate im Reich viel größere Schwierigkeiten bereitet, als vor Ort und Stelle, hält es Brack für am zweckmäßigsten, wenn er umgehend seine Leute, insbesondere seinen Chemiker Dr. K a l l m e y e r, nach Riga sendet, der dort alles Weitere veranlassen wird."


The statements that

a) not enough apparatus exist at the moment
b) the production in the Reich is a much bigger problem
c) they can be produced on-site

seems to point to something else than CO bottles.

At the time, there had been not enough gas vans (just Lange's one or two CO bottle vehicles and one engine exhaust gas van) and a gas van or stationary gas chamber with engine exhaust could have been produced on-site in Riga (like they did in Mogilew). I'm not sure what the difficulties refer to then, maybe secrecy.

The chemist was needed 1.) just as the KTI chemists were involved in the development of the engine exhaust gas van, including to measure the gas concentrations from the engine and tune it accordingly and 2.) for safety measures and instructions.

Gerlach argues that some gas vans were indeed produced in the East (and interprets the doc in this sense), citing the testimony of a prisoner working at the KdS Minsk on constructing corresponding parts.

By the way, Brack was probably involved with CO bottled gas vans and, according to Widmann, also with engine exhaust gas vans:

"Einige Zeit nach diesen Gas-Analysen - es kann auch etwa gleichzeitig gewesen sein - kam eine Anforderung der Dienststelle Brack, die Gaswagen mit einem Lattenrost zu versehen. Diese Lattenroste sollten eingebaut werden, weil Harn und Kot bei den Sterbenden abinge. Diese Anforderung kam telefonisch und Heess war zugegen. Ich war am Telefon. Wer von der Dienststelle Brack am Telefon war, weiß ich nicht genau, vermutlich Brack selbst."

(BArch B 162/5066, p. 144)

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:29 pm

Historians differ on what kind of gas chamber the document referred to, quite a lot think they were stationary.

---

Yes, a chemist would certainly need to be present during a gas van development, but it is clear from the document that Kallmeyer and Brack's people were to play the leading role specifically in the manufacturing:

"Da nach Aufassung Bracks die Herstellung der Apparate im Reich viel größere Schwierigkeiten bereitet als am Ort und Stelle, hält es Brack für am zweckmäßigsten, wenn er umgehend seine Leute, insbesondere sein Chemiker Dr. Kallmayer nach Riga sendet, der dort alles weitere veranlassen wird."

(Safety is mentioned separately, so is not a part of this description.)

It cannot be argued that Kallmeyer and Brack's people only had to play a role of testers and finetuners, the whole process is meant here. So Kallmeyer was to play a role that, if this letter is talking about engine-exhaust gas vans, would actually be much better suited for an engineer/auto mechanic.

If the letter is talking about KKGV, this would contradict Widmann's testimony about problems with delivering CO bottles.

Equipping a gas-tight room with a gassing apparatus which includes a CO-bottle would fall naturally into a chemist's area of expertise.

This would also contradict Widmann, but in this case the whole Herstellung would have referred to production of the CO-filled bottles. (Arguing that maybe both KKGV and CO-filled bottles would be produced in Riga is not parsimonious.)

---

Historically, Brack's remedies are extremely unlikely to have referred to any engine exhaust gas van since this is not what Brack was known for. It either referred to a stationary or mobile GC with CO bottles. More likely to the stationary ones since they were the primary method, more familiar to those involved in the discussions.

And the probability of KKGV is also lessened by the previous considerations.

---

The impossibility of transporting the CO bottles may have had nothing to do with distance indeed, but rather with the small quantity of the available bottles which could not, for whatever reason, be filled in the needed quantities at the time (they would need to be refilled regularly, which meant transporting them to and fro, and much more often at that if not a lot of the bottles were available), so maybe it was "impossible" to take away the existing bottles and transport them to Russia since they were needed elsewhere, and using only a few of them didn't make a logistical sense or something.

We don't have Brack's direct speech, only Wetzel's rendering of his reasons (it's not clear that B enlightened W about the technical details), so not each word has to be taken overliterally. Both the "manufacturing" difficulties and the low numbers may thus have referred to what is described in the previous paragraph and are broadly compatible with what Widmann said.

---

The whole beginning of the 1st paragraph is devoted to the killing devices. Indeed, the "accomodations" are mentioned as something Brack would help to produce too. Brack, the euthanasia man, was not responsible for building of barracks, the letter was not about the general Jewish circumstances in camps, nowhere does the letter specify who specifically of Brack's people was to build the Unterkuenfte (as opposed to the gassing devices).

It follows then that the Unterkuenfte and the Vergasungsapparate are to be seen as parts of a whole. But Unterkuenfte cannot refer to the mobile gas chambers. The best explanation then is that it is a reference to the rooms in which the VA would have been used.

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Hans » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:18 pm

Just a quick point.

Sergey_Romanov wrote:It follows then that the Unterkuenfte and the Vergasungsapparate are to be seen as parts of a whole. But Unterkuenfte cannot refer to the mobile gas chambers.


How so? Unterkunft (from Unterkommen) in its broad sense - which is used here, as Unterkunft is usually not something associated with a homicidal gas chamber - only means a covered place, whether a room, barrack, shipping container, cave, tent, or the box of a vehicle. If it can refer to a stationary gas chamber, in its broad sense/as sarcastic euphemism, it may just as well refer to the gas chamber of a gas van.

Besides, as you say, "not each word has to be taken overliterally" ;)
Last edited by Hans on Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Hans » Sat Feb 03, 2018 10:41 pm

Well, also relevant in this context is Document 8 here. Just few weeks before Wetzel's letter, Brack's staff member suggested the killing of mentally ills in Russia using Sonderkommando Lange and its "suitable apparatus" (misspelled repair). Lange had employed carbon monoxide gas bottles connected to a vehicle box...

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:02 pm

I'm confident that Oozy's Stern Denier could resolve this :lol:
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Jeffk 1970 » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:12 pm

I imagine it’s very confusing for our “guests” that this isn’t all just wrapped up neatly in a bow and we seem to have a disagreement over interpretation.

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Statistical Mechanic » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:16 pm

Jeffk 1970 wrote:I imagine it’s very confusing for our “guests” that this isn’t all just wrapped up neatly in a bow and we seem to have a disagreement over interpretation.

. . . and that one document has so many connections, ramifications, related items, etc . . .
. . . I mean Negative Capability, that is, when a man is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason—Coleridge, for instance, would let go by a fine isolated verisimilitude caught from the Penetralium of mystery, from being incapable of remaining content with half-knowledge. - John Keats, 1817

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby BRoI » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:44 am

Hans wrote:Well, also relevant in this context is Document 8 here. Just few weeks before Wetzel's letter, Brack's staff member suggested the killing of mentally ills in Russia using Sonderkommando Lange and its "suitable apparatus" (misspelled repair). Lange had employed carbon monoxide gas bottles connected to a vehicle box...

Previously posted on your blog re that decode:

I see now that these particular decodes were discussed at the libel trial Irving brought against Penguin/Lipstadt.

Peter Longerich argued that these decodes don't necessarily mean an actual gas van was flown to Novograd, it could mean that Sonderkommando Lange flew out there with bottles of CO to kill the patients:

Mr Irving:
There is only point in disputing what Sonderkommando Langer [sic] was up to. Are you familiar with the fact that it was also apparently flown, according to Brightman [sic], to take part in operations, I think Novgarod [sic]?

Dr Heinz Peter Longerich:
Yes. This is the link between the Warthegau killings and the killings in Russia because we know from actually, it is the intercepts I think, we know that Himmler summoned the Sonderkommando to Novgarod where they killed the inmates of a local home for disabled people. This is an essential part of the history of the Chelmno extermination camp. This is the link.

Mr Irving:
Does not the document show that the Sonderkommando was flown to Novgarod?

Dr Heinz Peter Longerich:
Yes.

Mr Irving:
How could they have put their van in a plane?

Dr Heinz Peter Longerich:
I did not say that they used a van. They killed the people obviously with bottles.

Mr Irving:
By some other means?

Dr Heinz Peter Longerich:
No, with bottles, gas in bottles.

- Day 25, 24.02.00, pp.137-8.
https://www.hdot.org/day25/#
http://www.fpp.co.uk/Legal/Penguin/transcripts/day025.htm


The first of the 3 decodes says a "JU 52" was to be flown to Posen to collect five/six men of Sonderkommando Lange.

A Junkers Ju 52 wasn't big enough to carry any sort of vehicle, so Longerich must be right.

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Hans » Sun Feb 04, 2018 8:44 am

Yeah, Lange was not tied to his gassing trailer. In fact, he started his operation to clear the asylums of the Warthegau by injecting the CO gas into casemates in Fort VII in Posen. Some bottles were or still are shown at an exhihibition in the fort.

The gassing technique was developed by Brack's men in Fort VII and I would suppose the same route of CO supply was used as for the Euthanasia sites in the Reich, i.e. order by the KTI and delivery by Becker. The exhibit shown does not look like gas bottles from German production and according to German regulations, from what can be seen (compare them to those in Majdanek: engraved enscription, place and thread for protection cap), so these may be just some bottles placed there for illustration. It stands to reason that the gassing trailer was also supported by Brack's men. It seems just like another branch grown for mobile operations in the Warthegau.

Back to the doc on Riga: if they wanted to "produce" CO gas bottles on site, i.e. rather refilling steel bottles with CO, they likely would have to tap on a chemical plant producing coal gas, methane, hydrogen etc. Riga apparently did have some chemical industry, so maybe not impossible.

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:46 am

Hans wrote:Just a quick point.

Sergey_Romanov wrote:It follows then that the Unterkuenfte and the Vergasungsapparate are to be seen as parts of a whole. But Unterkuenfte cannot refer to the mobile gas chambers.


How so? Unterkunft (from Unterkommen) in its broad sense - which is used here, as Unterkunft is usually not something associated with a homicidal gas chamber - only means a covered place, whether a room, barrack, shipping container, cave, tent, or the box of a vehicle. If it can refer to a stationary gas chamber, in its broad sense/as sarcastic euphemism, it may just as well refer to the gas chamber of a gas van.

Besides, as you say, "not each word has to be taken overliterally" ;)


It cannot refer to the gas chamber of a gas van since on this interpretation VA would *be* gas vans and there would be no need to specify it separately, and before the VA is even mentioned at that.

So it most probably refers to gas-tight rooms where the VA were to be used. There doesn't seem to be any other plausible explanation.

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sun Feb 04, 2018 9:49 am

Hans wrote:Well, also relevant in this context is Document 8 here. Just few weeks before Wetzel's letter, Brack's staff member suggested the killing of mentally ills in Russia using Sonderkommando Lange and its "suitable apparatus" (misspelled repair). Lange had employed carbon monoxide gas bottles connected to a vehicle box...

To quote an expert:
The limited capacity of a JU 52 renders it unlikely that a gas van was supposed to be sent to Novgorod, while the reference to "suitable apparatus" suggests a more sophisticated killing than shooting the patients. They were quite possibly meant to bring carbon monoxide bottles and pipes to prepare provisional gas chambers in the asylums near Novgorod.
8-)

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Hans » Sun Feb 04, 2018 12:01 pm

Sergey_Romanov wrote:
Hans wrote:Just a quick point.

Sergey_Romanov wrote:It follows then that the Unterkuenfte and the Vergasungsapparate are to be seen as parts of a whole. But Unterkuenfte cannot refer to the mobile gas chambers.


How so? Unterkunft (from Unterkommen) in its broad sense - which is used here, as Unterkunft is usually not something associated with a homicidal gas chamber - only means a covered place, whether a room, barrack, shipping container, cave, tent, or the box of a vehicle. If it can refer to a stationary gas chamber, in its broad sense/as sarcastic euphemism, it may just as well refer to the gas chamber of a gas van.

Besides, as you say, "not each word has to be taken overliterally" ;)


It cannot refer to the gas chamber of a gas van since on this interpretation VA would *be* gas vans and there would be no need to specify it separately, and before the VA is even mentioned at that.


I beg to differ, if you regard gassing apparatus as the source of gas and injection device, it is not identical to the gas van. The gas van was then a box ("Unterkunft") mounted on a chassis with gassing apparatus.

If one takes "Unterkunft" literally and in its narrow sense as place to stay for overnight, one could argue that Brack suggested to provide actual accommodations for the Jews with gas chamber function and turn on the gas at the night, for a more peaceful death. That concept perhaps adapated from Euthanasia killings was of course far from the actual practice done by Sonderkommando Lange on Jews in the Warthegau at the time. Or it could have been meant as "Unterkunft" for delousing, which can be a stationary site but also a gas van, the latter a concept Lange later implemented in Kulmhof.

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Re: Best stand-alone evidence?

Postby Sergey_Romanov » Sun Feb 04, 2018 1:10 pm

Hans wrote:
Sergey_Romanov wrote:
Hans wrote:Just a quick point.

Sergey_Romanov wrote:It follows then that the Unterkuenfte and the Vergasungsapparate are to be seen as parts of a whole. But Unterkuenfte cannot refer to the mobile gas chambers.


How so? Unterkunft (from Unterkommen) in its broad sense - which is used here, as Unterkunft is usually not something associated with a homicidal gas chamber - only means a covered place, whether a room, barrack, shipping container, cave, tent, or the box of a vehicle. If it can refer to a stationary gas chamber, in its broad sense/as sarcastic euphemism, it may just as well refer to the gas chamber of a gas van.

Besides, as you say, "not each word has to be taken overliterally" ;)


It cannot refer to the gas chamber of a gas van since on this interpretation VA would *be* gas vans and there would be no need to specify it separately, and before the VA is even mentioned at that.


I beg to differ, if you regard gassing apparatus as the source of gas and injection device, it is not identical to the gas van. The gas van was then a box ("Unterkunft") mounted on a chassis with gassing apparatus.


Let's assume for a sec that VA referred only to a part of the gas van.

EEGV: source = gasoline engine, couldn't be a problem. Injection device (separate from the box) = hose. It's hard to imagine that there would be a lack of such in the Reich or any difficulty involved in producing such. So this version can be rejected.

KKGV: source = CO-bottles fastened somewhere, injection - presumably a hose or a pipe, depending on the construction. Presumably more complicated than EEGV as a whole, though still hard to see which part would be so problematic it could not be done in the Reich aside from the CO-bottles. In which case we are back at square one, since if we presume the bottles were the problem, we don't have to posit any GV at all.

And it is hard to see how referring to car boxes in a figurative sense as Unterkünfte is *equally* plausible as referring to stationary rooms with such a word. If it is possible at all, it is still far less plausible and needs more stretching since there is no reason why this word would be used rather than a more natural term (whereas not mentioning "Gaskammer" or such is understandable). It's like saying "I ate a sphere for breakfast today" to designate an orange.

One could certainly imagine more possibilities than what we have in this thread (e.g. maybe they toyed with an entirely different gassing method, which wouldn't be implausible given all the experimenting in the camps - Fritzsch, Kramer, Belzec ZB attempts), but it's hard to find an interpretation that is *more* plausible (and makes fewer assumptions) than the stationary chambers with CO-bottles.

If one takes "Unterkunft" literally and in its narrow sense as place to stay for overnight, one could argue that Brack suggested to provide actual accommodations for the Jews with gas chamber function and turn on the gas at the night, for a more peaceful death.
Well, those would be stationary chambers, but it's hard to see why Brack would have deviated from the true and tried euthanasia methods ("shower"), aside from the method being impractical (much fewer ppl to be disposed of in one go, the mess with the clothes and belongings, etc.). So again, the plausibility is lower.

That concept perhaps adapated from Euthanasia killings was of course far from the actual practice done by Sonderkommando Lange on Jews in the Warthegau at the time. Or it could have been meant as "Unterkunft" for delousing, which can be a stationary site but also a gas van, the latter a concept Lange later implemented in Kulmhof.


But delousing not being criminal, there wouldn't be a reason to mask it (even on a reflexive level, as probably happened here since the rest of the letter talks about murder more openly). And that Lange used delousing doesn't mean that Brack would have had to worry about such matters (which would have had to be dealt with anyway, by other people, since a camp without a delousing station was a recipe for a disaster). And, to repeat, after the first mention the Unterkuenfte don't even come up again. Which rather indicates that their creation was tied to the VA.

---

The main point is, there are different interpretations possible for this draft, so as long as the gas van one is not shown to be the most plausible one by far, it shouldn't be in the GV docs collection.


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