In a previous post of mine I addressed Holocaust deniers and their flawed methodology. It has come to my attention that I have missed out on some key points made by Holocaust “revisionists.” I will not be addressing every single point (as they make dozens of little pin holes that are of little relevance), but rather some of the more key points brought up in the video documentary “Questioning the Holocaust – Why We Believed 1 of 2.” The video brings up the very same methodology described by Shermer’s book “Why People Believe Weird Things I went over.” I will not go over these points again as one can view this methodology described in my previous essay.
Some of the first points the video brings up are easily refuted points. The first question asked is, “If the Germans wanted to kill all the Jews, how did any survive?” This point is very easily refuted in several ways. The Germans did not have reach into every part of Europe. Not all Jews lived in Germany. Jews also began to flee at the beginning of Hitler’s rise to power. Albert Einstein would be the most notable example of this. People helped assist the Jews escape the brutal Nazi regime as well. The residents of Le Chambon-sur-Lignon, a Protestant village in southern France, helped thousands of refugees and Jews escape Nazi occupation. Others such as Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Corrie Ten Boom helped the Jews escape Nazi persecution. These people who assisted the Jews often did so at the the cost of their lives such as the case with Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This first point is simple to refute and known to anyone who has studied the history of World War II.
The next question asked by the video, “If the purpose was to kill them, how come they didn’t kill them all on the first day?” This question is a bit trickier to answer due to the lack of polling or demographic studies that occurred during that day, but I will attempt to answer this the best I can. I believe the biggest reason for this would be the fact that it simply isn’t feasible. To exterminate a population in the millions would require large amounts of infrastructure and labor to undertake. If millions were killed within the first weeks; the bodies would quickly become piled up. There would be massive biological contamination. Disposing of the bodies was a task that could not be undertaken easily. The Nazi’s found that the concentration camps were the most efficient way to kill on a genocidal scale. The killing had to be an almost factory like endeavor. The concentration camps were the best and most efficient way to process the mass killing of millions.
The video then asks the question, “Why were there hospitals in an extermination camp?” The Answer is quite simple. The Germans were using the Jews for forced labor. Those who seemed likely to be able to return to work were “treated,” and then sent back to work. The conditions of the hospitals were probably worse than the labor conditions however. They were unsanitary, ill equipped, overcrowded, and had little to no food or water. The hospitals were also used as experiments by Josef Mengel “The Angel of Death” who performed horrible genetic and medical experiments on human subjects. If a prisoner was not deemed able to go back to work quickly they were simply killed. Perry Broad, Nazi SS officer assigned at Auschwitz writes,
“Death certificates were written by a medically trained prisoner whose job in the hospital it was to concoct such reports in the case of each prisoner who had died in the camp, whatever the cause. All the countless victims, those who…had been shot in Block 11 [the execution block], or the sick who had phenol injected into their hearts, the victims of starvation or of tortures, they had all regrettably lost their lives, according to the Deaths [sic] Book by succumbing to some ordinary disease.”
“If it’s a death camp, why did they feed them at all?” Again, a simple point that clearly shows a lack of understanding of the purpose of the concentration camps. The concentration camps were used as processing centers to most efficiently dispose of the Jewish population. The camps were also used to extract forced labor from the Jews and other inhabitants. The Jews labor went to fuel the economic fire of Germany and the war effort. “Why are there kitchens?” To feed the forced laborers.
Now that the simple points are out of the way; it is time to move on to some more “substantial” points. The wooden door point. The wooden door is slightly harder to refute or substantiate. Filip Müller, a prisoner who worked in the crematorium in the main Auschwitz camp, testified at the Auschwitz trial conducted by the German government at Frankfurt in 1964. Müller wrote the book, “Three Years in the Gas Chambers,” and states,
“Two SS men slammed shut the heavy iron-studded door which was fitted with a rubber seal and bolted it.”
Other details about the exact specifications are rather scarce. The Germans demolished many of the buildings at concentration camps. The Institute for Forensic Research in Cracow, Poland undertook a comprehensive examination of the structures identified by numerous eye witness accounts as gas chambers. The Institute found traces of hydrocyanic acid in the 6 structures tested. The structures were the remains of 5 crematoria and an execution block. An unsettling truth for deniers is that the Institute found the greatest concentration of poison gas in the samples in tested from Crematorium II. 6 out of 7 samples were positive. Even if the doors were wood, the fact that there was traces of gas found where Leuchter’s report said there was none answers this point quite well.
“How do we know exactly 6 million died?” Again, this is just using flawed methodology and strawman fallacies. The exact numbers are disputed by historians, but the average estimate is between 5 and 6 million Jews. This point exactly fits the point Shermer makes in his book referenced multiple times about flawed methodology. Holocaust revisionists mistake a debate among scholars in a field about the existence of the entire field.
The “shrinking Holocaust,” another simple point. The 4 million estimate at Auschwitz was placed by the USSR after the war. The USSR had very high estimates of about 4 million deaths at Auschwitz. Franciszek Piper and others began to do research in the 1960’s to correct the numbers. However, Poland did not change the plaque until 1989 to avoid offending the USSR. The same is true for Majdanek. The USSR highly overestimated the death tolls. The lack of records across all death camps contributed to these high numbers and leave the exact numbers up for debate. Again, this flawed methodology goes with Shermer’s second and fourth way denier methodology is flawed. Deniers and revisionists focus on what is not known instead of what is known, and exploit errors in scholars who are making opposing arguments.
The video then uses YouTube comedian “Onison/UhOhBro” (losing more and more credibility every minute) as an example. Using this as a launchpad, the narrator transitions into clarifying that revisionists do not deny that such camps existed, and that people suffered and died there. Going off of this point the narrator points out that many more people died in World War II not just Jews. This point barely deserves recognition, yet I will address it. Of course others died; no one denies that. But, the focus of the Holocaust is Jewish persecution. An attempt to bring other statistics and atrocities committed by other countries is simply attempting to distract from the issue at hand.
The narrator states that “there was no plan to exterminate world Jews.” It’s called the final solution. But what about the fact that there was no formal order? There was even a reward offered to find proof! Typical snapshot fallacy employed. “There were no homicidal gas chambers disguised as showers.” Numerous eyewitness accounts, large quantities of Zylon B, and memoirs written after the fact and during disprove this notion. Again, revisionists simply cherry pick their stories to support their notions when one surfaces that challenges the millions of other bits of information opposing them. The narrator then says the Jews were used for forced labor in camps. This statement by the narrator answers his own previous question of why there were kitchens, hospitals, and why they were even fed. Next point the narrator brings up deals with the chemical testing conducted. These points have been refuted by the Institute for Forensic Research in Poland. I went over this in my previous article. Working shower and delousing rooms. Of course those were present. The Germans used them for labor, and the outbreak of diseases would affect Germans in the area too. Delousing was commonly done; no one questions that. Again, even assuming that some errors had been made by scholars on the exact details of gassing; it just proves the methodology described by Shermer. The video then goes over how Zylon B was not used to kill prisoners. My other essay goes over how Zylon B kills humans in very small quantities and time frames compared to insects. Therefore, comparing delousing and human techniques are not compatible.
The narrator uses the accounts of Gena Turgel in her book “I Light a Candle” as proof that the shower stories were fake. But, the mistaken or false accounts of a few do not disprove the millions of accounts saying that gassing did indeed occur. In fact, the temptation to write on book the subject would be high. Publicity and money would come to her just through writing her novel. This does not at all prove that gassing did not occur. This just proves that gassing didn’t occur to her, or her facts were mistaken. Additionally, the narrator shows that she was only in the camp for 2 days. If this is the case, then there is no point in going into the other days she was there. The narrator insists that the claims of these survivors are just lies to fit mainstream stories. But, did the narrator ever think perhaps there is money to be made by selling thousands of books? The monetary incentive to write a book is high, and would not be outside the realm of human nature to do. The soap claim is simple rumors that were spread. Revisonists simply exploit this to their own ends.
A big assumption that the narrator makes is that either journalists lie, or simply want to advance their career by turning blind eyes to the truth. The former is more believable as everyone wishes to advance their career. A very important point that the narrator doesn’t mention is that this is the mainstream. Academic historians and scholars use different methods of study and research than mainstream sources. Historians and scholars look to those such as Shermer, Zimmerman, and Pressac for study; not the mainstream media. If the narrator truly wanted to make case; then he should make a scholarly peer reviewed critique of a paper such as Zimmerman’s instead of making a YouTube documentary.
The next point uses Ursula Haverbeck who was sentenced to 10 months prison for not believing the Holocaust story. Do I or many others who believe the Holocaust think one should be imprisoned for speaking out? No, in America the First Amendment exists and I believe that free speech should be allowed. However, this is not the case in Germany and understandably so. To use this as an example is simply flawed, and the debate should simply go on one of the free speech category. Simple detraction from the true debate on hand. Scholars and academics do not worry about such trivial matters. The next few minutes of the video go over points I went over in my previous essay, and simply uses detraction to attempt to move the debate. The denier is relying on what is known as post hoc rationalization-after-the-fact reasoning to justify contrary evidence. The denier then demands the Holocaust historian disprove each of his rationalizations. But the convergence of positive evidence supporting the Holocaust means the historian has already met the burden of proof. Again, the narrator goes into blaming the Allies and claiming that many of the victims simply died of diseases. However, as noted in my previous writing many of the death certificates were falsified. The narrator then uses movies to attempt to justify his claims. Other claims are simply the result of the inevitable hell that is war.
I did not address every single point in the video, nor did I intend to as such an endeavor is rather pointless. In the end, all Holocaust deniers fall back to the same flawed forms of methodology as described in my previous article. While I do not believe that all revisionist or deniers are neo Nazis or anti-Semites; deniers and revisionists are simply wrong for the most part. To contribute to the academic community I suggest writing peer reviewed essays challenging the positions of those in the academic community. Not to just make YouTube videos or blogs “exposing” the “truth” behind the Holocaust where the majority of viewers or readers are not well versed in history, or take the time to actually find scholarly essays by those such as Zimmerman or the Institute for Forensic Research in Poland instead of relying on papers such as the discredited Leuchter Papers. At the end of the day there is little ground for deniers and revisionists to stand on. They resort to the same methodology of attacking historians while rarely saying anything definitive about their own position. Videos such as “Why We Believed” are quite simple to research and refute using quick Google searches. Even if some of the points made by revisionists are correct, this does not mean their stance is correct; it simply means they are exploiting holes in errors made by scholars which is one of the flawed methodologies described earlier. Holocaust deniers and revisionists simply do not use the same methodology that academic and scholarly historians do.