Little Grey Rabbit's Historical Skepticism Blog

The Temptation and Redemption of James Dalrymple

Posted in Auschwitz, Buchenwald by littlegreyrabbit on February 24, 2011

Having been rereading some of the books on the David Irving – Deboral Lipstadt libel case, I was recently remind just what extraordinary things Holocaust Fever can do to otherwise sane individuals.  One of the courtroom stoushes was whether or not the lift from the basement of Krema II and III to the ground floor would represent a bottle-neck in operations.  James Dalrymple, in a momentarily lapse in faith, wrote:

How could 500,000 bodies — the number estimated to have died in that one crematorium — be transported up a single lift-shaft, only about 9ft square. Irving demanded that Van Pelt now do the arithmetic of nightmares. How much could the lift carry? 750 kilos, 1,500 kilos, 3,000 kilos? How many bodies would that be at, say 60 kilos a body? Were they in gurneys or were they just squeezed in, like people squashed into a telephone box? How long to take each batch up to the ovens? Ten minutes, or more, each batch? Twenty corpses at a time, or 25? (more…)

Auschwitz as Transit Camp: Salonika – Auschwitz – Malkinia – ?

Posted in Aktion Reinhar(d)(t), Auschwitz, Correction Corner, Deportations by littlegreyrabbit on February 21, 2011

The Auschwitz myth revolves around the claim that everyone on an arriving transport that was not selected for labour and entered as a registered prisoner was gassed.  This claim is usually enforced by strident demands of where are all the transport records for departing trains from Auschwitz.  The fact that this questioned can not be answered depends on two factors; a) the documentation in question has probably been deliberately destroyed, b) in all other cases professional historians are supposed to exercise self-censorship and not call attention to any lacunae in historical data.

However, even the most reliable of historians can sometimes slip up and amusingly I have found one from Yitzhak Arad, who ought to have known better, showing off by quoting a document that would have been best left gathering dust in whichever file he found it. (more…)

The Treblinka Revolt: a fictional duplication of the Sobibor break-out

Posted in Aktion Reinhar(d)(t), Correction Corner by littlegreyrabbit on February 18, 2011

[Draft – This will be a work in progress as more materials come to hand]

Treblinka and Sobibor had very different public profiles during and in the years after World War II.  Most press reports and propaganda during the war and through the Nuremberg trials period focused on Treblinka, less prominent but still visible was Belzec and finally barely mentioned at all was Durchgangslager [Transit Camp] Sobibor.  It is my contention that the Treblinka Revolt never occured and the early descriptions were simply the events at Sobibor transfered for propaganda purposes to the more well known Treblinka.  To my knowledge the Treblinka revolt first appeared in the wartime account A Year in Treblinka by Yankel Wiernik, which devoted the last chapter to it – it also appeared in Vasily Grossman’s journalism and in his report The Hell of Treblinka.  I am not aware of the Sobibor escape in literature until They Fought Back appeared in 1967, a brief mention can be found in The Black Book of 1946. (more…)

The One True Crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Posted in Auschwitz, Essential Postings by littlegreyrabbit on February 11, 2011

Krema Denial claims that the buildings today known as Krema II to V were in fact not crematoria but had other functions, so the question must be asked where was the camp crematorium located and what evidence can be shown for it?  While hard evidence is of necessity not abundant, there are some intriguing indications that the site of the new and only Birkenau crematorium may well have been what is today labelled as Bunker II.  The aerial photograph of May 31 1944 as enlarged and annotated by the CIA in 1978 shows this building (see below arrow labeled “BUILDING”:)

May 1844 aerial photo of Birkenau - enlarged by CIA/Yad Vashem


Laundering a Topf Letter: Fictional Plans for a 10 oven Mauthausen Crematorium

Posted in Auschwitz, Essential Postings, Other Camps by littlegreyrabbit on February 10, 2011

A perfect example of the movable feast that is Holocaust History and the very cynical way some (but not all) archives show to the integrity of their collections is the supposed plans to build a 10 oven (30 muffles) capacity crematorium in Mauthausen in early 1945.  The legion of dedicated followers of this blog will be aware that there are some answered questions about the very simple Topf facility existing there today ( discussed here and here ).

These plans was first revealed in an exhibition in Germany called The Engineers of the “Final Solution” : Topf and Sons – Builders of the Auschwitz Ovens.  The curators produced a letter dated 10 February 1945 from J.A Topf and Sons to SS Construction Management in Mauthausen, which can only be read as a proposal to rebuild the evacuated ovens from Birkenau of “Krema II” and “Krema III” in Mauthausen.  A reproduction of the first page of the letter is below:

Topf letter of February 10 1945


Holocaust blinkers or Himmler the budding cancer epidemiologist

Posted in Experiments, Miscellanous by littlegreyrabbit on February 6, 2011

Nothing can better illustrate the stultifying dead hand of Holocaust pieties than a paper published in late 2009 looking at differing cancer rates between European heritage Jews who emigrated before WW2 and those who emigrate after.  The complete journal article is here or there is a news article in Haaretz.

Cancer rates were compared between two groups of European born Israeli Jews: 258,048 who left Europe after the war and 57,496 who emigrated before or during the conflict.  Both groups have higher cancer rates than other Jewish (eg Sephardic) or non-Jewish (eg. Arab) ethnic groups.  The study concludes there is a 17% higher rate of cancer amongst those emigrating after WW2 and suggests malnutrition or “the traumas of the Holocaust” are responsible, the reported difference being strongest in the 1940-1945 group.

Sensibly the study excluded those who had emigrated after 1989 and so avoided the contaminating influence of the large influx from the Soviet Union.  One surprising fact about the demographics is there is not the dip in numbers of those born between 1940 and 1945 (highlighted in red) that I always assumed there would be.

Group Nonexposed group, No. (%) Exposed group, No. (%)
Men Women Men Women
Total 444 484 (100.0) 463 952 (100.0) 1 804 978 (100.0) 2 206 286 (100.0)
Birth cohort
1920–1924 158 052 (35.6) 161 125 (34.7) 397 834 (22.0) 519 343 (23.5)
1925–1929 127 525 (28.7) 132 929 (28.7) 342 575 (19.0) 492 743 (22.3)
1930–1934 102 040 (22.9) 112 007 (24.1) 326 174 (18.1) 387 166 (17.6)
1935–1939 39 129 (8.8) 40 244 (8.7) 338 512 (18.8) 377 733 (17.1)
1940–1945 17 738 (4.0) 17 647 (3.8) 399 883 (22.1) 429 301 (19.5)


Rudolf Hoess on Aktion Reinhard camps: Did he have a clue about what he was saying?

Posted in Aktion Reinhar(d)(t), Auschwitz by littlegreyrabbit on February 4, 2011

It is common knowledge that Rudolf Hoess, Commandant of Auschwitz, was initially beaten heavily in giving his initial statements to the British.  However, it is usually assumed that he was beaten into telling things that he already knew.  In fact, there are a couple of indications that suggest he was signing off on information that his interrogators were supplying him.

This is most obviously the case when he deals with the Aktion Reinhardt camps.  He states he visited Treblinka sometime after being given his commission by Himmler in the summer of 1941 to turn Auschwitz into an extermination camp – yet Treblinka II (the death camp) didn’t open until July 1942.  NO-1210:

I visited TREBLINKA in Spring 1942 to inform myself about the conditions.  The following method was used in the process of extermination.  Small chambers were used equiped with pipes to induce the exhaust gas from car engines.  This method was unreliable as the engines, coming from old captured transport vehicles and tanks, very often failed to work.  Because of that the intakes could not be dealt with according to the plan, which meant to clear the Warsaw Ghetto.  According to the Camp Commandant of Treblinka 80000 people have been gassed in the course of half a year.

Half a year after the opening of Treblinka would be December 1942 – in fact supposedly Treblinka had killed 700000 in its first half year and about 300 000 in the first six weeks of operation – a far greater alleged through-put than Auschwitz is ever alleged to have achieved.  Elsewhere in his “memoirs’ he states this trip was on the same when he visited Globocnik in Lublin to pick up some machinery – again repeating the date of spring 1942.  This suggests he has no knowledge of Treblinka’s location as being in the locality of Warsaw, it is very far from Globocnik’s empire around Lublin.  Were a camp to have been visited during this trip (once we ignore the wrong date), surely Belzec or Sobibor would have been a more likely choice?  The reason, of course, was that in 1946 Treblinka was the only camp with a public profile. (more…)

Correction Corner: Bodies NOT seen by American journalists at Babi Yar

Posted in Correction Corner, Einsatzgruppen, Police etc, Miscellanous by littlegreyrabbit on February 1, 2011

The bizarre assertion that bodies were seen by American journalists at Babi Yar is made by a group of somewhat erratic bloggers can be read here.  The post begins with the perfectly reasonable observation that American journalists did see some dead bodies in a rather frightful Soviet exhibition at Klooga, Estonia.  But then tries to claim by pointing to an archived news report from 1943, that American journalists also saw dead bodies at Babi Yar.  In order to disprove this I will reproduce the entire article that they point to below (in fairness a journalist did say he saw some fingers).  In contrast to the claims of the Holocaust Controversies blogging team, the scepticism of William Lawrence regarding a massacre at Babi Yar during his visit is an established fact: “[William] Lawrence had been sceptical that a massacre had taken place at Babi Yar.  Years later, he said his doubts evaporated when he arrived at the camp near Lublin [Majdanek, 30 August 1944], Lublin” [1].

Why this scepticism might exist can be easily understood when viewing the photographic materials produced by the Soviet Special Commission of 1943.  I reproduce a few of these photos and the rest can be viewed offsite here.  I should add I have quite a bit of material regarding Babi Yar, problems with its documentation and twisted path of its genesis, but I won’t be presenting it at this stage – although as always the case, there is certain to have been some level of executions at various points during the occupation.


Soviet Special Commission 1943 - pyre and dugout.