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Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 22:12:10 -0400
From: (Jamie McCarthy)
Subject: Re: Holocaust extermination claims
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Greg Raven ( wrote:

> It is not the revisionists who assert the existence of fantastic
> chemical slaughterhouses, for which there are no plans, no budgets, no
> physical remains, etc. If you believe there is or was such a thing as a
> Nazi gas chamber, all you need do is produce it.

Mr. Raven, Pressac has already produced it.  You have written him off
by lying about what he said.

On the bottom of your web page "Lies, Damned Lies, and History," at
, you ask the reader
to send you questions and comments.  I have several I'd like to share.

My chief comment is that I find your analysis to be deceitfully
misleading about the content of Pressac's work.  I'd like to explain
this abrupt and harsh lead-in by explaining that I recently spent an
evening reading through Pressac, comparing it to your web page on my
laptop.  In the course of that analysis, I found many minor errors and
lies, and one big whopper.

I'll deal with the minor problems as they come up, but the whopper is
your failure to tell the reader what sort of work is _Technique and
Operation_, and your attempt to mislead the reader in that regard.


_Technique and Operation_ is a presentation of the Auschwitz gas
chambers conducted entirely with the _revisionist_ view of what
constitutes historical "proof."  Pressac's years spent with the
prominent revisionist Robert Faurisson have left their mark.  He
considered it a great oversight that historians had concerned
themselves with what historians usually concern themselves:  eyewitness
testimony, descriptions of the scenes by those who were there, and
corroborating evidence thereof.

Pressac, not being a historian, not having studied in history, fails to
understand how historical work generally functions.  "Revisionists"
argue that these standards are unacceptable in the case of the
Holocaust, because they think that a worldwide conspiracy intimidated
and coerced dozens of Nazis into testifying that they were witnesses to
gassings, forged hundreds of documents, and talked thousands upon
thousands of prisoners in Nazi camps into weaving lies of varying
degree into their stories of what life was like in the camps.  They
thus conclude that all testimony is utterly worthless -- unless of
course it corroborates their point of view, or at least leads to
embarrassing questions for the traditional view.

We can argue the merits or demerits of this position at some other date.
Obviously you can tell that I feel it to be ridiculous by the way I've
described it.  But my point here is that Pressac has chosen to look
_only_ at the evidence for the gas chambers which "revisionists" feel
is acceptable:  physical evidence.  To be specific, documents and the
ruins of the gassing installations as they look today.

Pressac, not understanding that essentially all history is based on
testimony, moderated by considerations for the credibility of that
testimony, and backed up by corroborating evidence, describes the
study of history as "complete bankruptcy."  He explains his motivation
for beginning his new approach as follows (p. 264):

   The fact that the history of the extermination rested essentially on
   eyewitness accounts gave rise in the West to a debate based on
   comparison and confrontation of these testimonies, a critical
   attitude which led in the end towards some people purely and simply
   denying the existence of homicidal gas chambers.  Testimony history
   and its revisionist offspring being very closely linked, the one
   having generated the other, it became absolutely essential to find
   a new historical approach in order to escape from the closed circle
   of futile debate and go further in search of the truth.

I know you're familiar with all this, Mr. Raven, not only because you've
taken the time to review Pressac's entire tome, but because your first
quote from Pressac is a few lines which occur later in this very

   This study already demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the
   traditional history (and hence also of the methods and criticisms
   of the revisionists), a history based for the most part on
   testimonies, assembled according to the mood of the moment,
   truncated to fit an arbitrary truth and sprinkled with a few German
   documents of uneven value and without any connection with one

I suppose that I should point out that your quote of that sentence
omitted the parenthetical comment.  This is your first attempt to

But the more important omission is that Pressac's entire work is an
attempt to prove the Holocaust on revisionists' terms:  to play the
game by their rules and see what points can be scored.  Pressac and I
disagree strongly about whether those rules are appropriate.  I won't
tackle what I find wrong with his approach in any detail, that's a
topic for another day.   But I cannot deny -- one cannot deny -- that
he has scored some marvellous points.

Except, Mr. Raven, that you deny it.  You call his work "hysteria," you
say he presents no sources or evidence, and most astoundingly, you say
he shows no "photos or drawings of the murder factories."

I'll get around to describing his points in a little while, and to how
your deliberately ignoring them is your big whopper.  But for now, I'll
go through your web page in order, presenting what Pressac writes and
how you misleadingly characterize it.


Pressac writes, regarding Hoess and three other Nazi eyewitnesses to
gassings in Krema I (p. 128):

   Hoess participated in the "special actions" strictly in accordance
   with his obligations and occupied his mind with the almost
   insurmountable tasks imposed by the exponential growth of his camp,
   thus not allowing his conscience to dwell on the moral questions.

I might point out that this moral numbing was encouraged by Hitler: 
"Conscience is a Jewish invention."  Continuing with Pressac:

   _He was present, without seeing._  In the author's opinion, this
   attitude explains the involuntary errors found throughout his
   Whatever criticisms one might level at the accounts of these four
   witnesses, all affirm one identical fact:  homicidal gassings took
   place in the morgue of Krematorium I.  Even if their accounts
   diverge on the number of holes through which Zyclon-B was poured or
   on the number of extractor fans, details in fact unlikely to be
   noted and remembered unless one actually designed or installed
   them, the utilization of the morgue for criminal purposes is

Pressac says that Hoess ignored the _details_ of gassing -- details
"unlikely to be noted and remembered" -- because he occupied his mind
with other matters.  And his account helps "affirm one identical fact,"
the fact of homicidal gassings in the location in question.

Here's how you paraphrase that page of Pressac:

   For example, the often quoted autobiography of Rudolf Hoess (former
   commandant at Auschwitz) is riddled with errors.

Is this a good way to educate your readers as to what Pressac claims?

Here's how Pressac describes his encounter with Hoess' memoirs (p. 551):

   The manuscript of his "Autobiography" was long declared to be
   "mythical" by the French extreme right.  Faurisson claimed it had
   emerged directly from the headquarters of falsifying
   Soviet-Polish-Stalinist communists. When I asked Iwaszko [Pressac's
   friend and Chief Archivist at the Auschwitz Museum] for this
   manuscript, he brought it to me (Photo 20) without any hesitation
   and I was able to consult it at my leisure.  The thing that struck
   me the most was that Hoess had written several hundred pages
   without any crossings out.  At first I thought that this could not
   be his first version, but the resultant of previous draughts.  I
   was no doubt wrong, for many people, being very self-controlled,
   write in this fashion (which is far from being my own!).

"I was no doubt wrong," says Pressac, in thinking that it was a second
or third draft.  Yet here's how you paraphrase his point of view:

   What is more, the handwritten manuscript of Hoess' diary contains
   not a single correction or crossing out in several hundred pages,
   suggesting that it was copied.

Do you think it's honest to summarize Pressac's observations, then to
present only _your_ interpretation of them?  You are implying that his
conclusion and yours agree, when in fact they are completely opposite.

On page 555, Pressac writes:

   [In a delousing chamber] According to the technical manuals and the
   accounts of former prisoners, the contact time with hydrocyanic
   acid for effects to be deloused varied from several hours to a
   whole day, depending on the quantity of the product used, and this
   explains the impregnation of the walls.  By contrast, in homicide
   gassings, the quantity of Zyclon-B used was smaller, man being more
   sensitive than lice or bugs to hydrocyanic acid.  A little of the
   poison injected was inhaled by the victims and the rest was removed
   by the extractor fans, so that the contact time was brief and the
   walls did not have the time to become impregnated.

Here is how you summarize that passage:

   ...Pressac has as tenuous a grasp on the physical sciences as on
   historiography.  For example, Pressac states that when gassing
   humans with Zyklon B, the HCN gas goes directly to victims'
   mouths. (page 555)  That is, it does not deposit itself on and
   impregnate itself into walls, skin, clothing, etc., which Zyklon
   B is known to do.

Pressac says "A little ... was inhaled by the victims and the rest was
removed by the extractor fans," and you paraphrase him "the HCN gas
goes directly to victims' mouths."  You can't think that's an honest
summary of the passage.

Pressac gives some good scientific reasons why Zyklon would not have
had time to impregnate the homicidal gas chamber walls, as opposed to
delousing chambers.  Your refutation is that Zyklon is "known" to
behave differently.  I think this speaks for itself.


You emphasize Pressac's belief that there is no physical evidence for
gassings in Krema I of the Auschwitz main camp -- again, he is playing
by "denier rules" here -- and you punctuate this with a reference to
an unimportant detail, his debunking of a Soviet film which wrongly
claimed gassings in the so-called "Kanada" area of the
Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.  But Krema II through V were the site of 99%
of the gassing murders at the camp (see p. 133).  You pretend the
voluminous physical evidence which he produces for gassings at those
locations doesn't exist.  (More on that evidence in a moment.)

To focus on a minor deficiency with 1% of the evidence while ignoring
the strong evidence for the other 99% is, I've found, typical of

Furthermore, you cite pp. 46, 47, and 49 in backing up your claim
about no physical evidence -- and you carefully skip over a rather
substantial piece of physical evidence for homicidal gassing on p. 50.
"The heavy hemispherical grid protecting the inside of the peephole
makes it reasonable to conclude a homicidal use."  You can't honestly
expect us to believe that you read pp. 46, 47, and 49, and then that
you somehow missed that quote on the very next page.

(Pressac is not 100% convinced that the door was used at Krema I, so he
does not cite this as physical evidence specifically for that room, but
it is clear that he rightly believes it to be "reasonable to conclude"
homicidal use _somewhere_.)

Amazingly, that paragraph of yours leads in with "As for physical
evidence," as if you are going to address all the physical evidence
which Pressac has amassed.  Then you proceed to ignore that evidence,
completely.  Your next paragraph presents a handful of details, again
pretty much irrelevant to the thrust of Pressac's work.  But it is your
next section, "The New Myth," which made my eyes start out of my head,
Mr. Raven.


You first say that he bases his findings on eyewitness testimonies, in
particular Bendel's and Nyiszli's.  This is nonsense -- the whole point
of Pressac's work is to find a way out of the "closed circle" of
history based on witness testimony (see my first quote of him, above).

That's bad enough, to lie about the very purpose of the book you're
supposedly reviewing.  But it gets worse.

Here's the real eye-popper: you write:

   Does Pressac show us photos or drawings of the murder factories?

Since Pressac's enormous work is _littered_ with photos and drawings of
the murder factories, I was at first boggled by the inconceivable
duplicity of this statement of yours, Mr. Raven.  I simply could not
believe the hubris required to write a statement like the above.

For the reader who has not seen it, let me try to explain.  Pressac's
book is 564 pages, each a bit larger than 17x11".  This tome has a
wingspan of over three feet when opened.

The largest chapter is devoted solely to photos of, plans of, and
documents about the murder factories, the Auschwitz Krema.  There is
even, for completeness' sake, a collection of artwork relating to the
Krema.  Pressac's approach is to document every discovery he made in
the archives he studied, every piece of corroborating evidence, even
down to the most obscure details one can imagine.  The effect of
reading the book is to walk through the highlights of Pressac's
six-year research effort, seeing what he saw, watching as all the
details fell into place.  This book has more photos, drawings, and
blueprints of those buildings than I have ever seen collected in one
place in my life, or am likely to see, unless I visit the Auschwitz
Museum archives myself.

I say "at first" I was boggled by your baldfaced lie, Mr. Raven, until I
remember that you are very fond of Faurisson's rhetorical technique
called "show me or draw me a gas chamber."  The victim of this
technique cannot win, because in Faurisson's mind, the gas chambers
necessarily do not exist, so nothing can fulfill his requirements.  In
this case, you are merely claiming that Pressac cannot show you "photos
or drawings of the murder factories" -- because in your mind, there are
no murder factories.

Perhaps we can agree on one point.  Pressac's work shows us a tremendous
number of photos, drawings, and blueprints of Krema II-V (and also
Krema I and the two Bunkers), which historians indeed refer to as
"murder factories."  Can we agree on that much?

If so, do you think your rhetorical gimmick of what Pressac does not
show us, without explanation of what he _does_ show, is an honest thing
to say?

After you make that statement, you demonstrate that you have combed
through this book in an attempt to find the points which are most
sympathetic to the "revisionist" claim that the camps were a fine
place to be during the war.  You write:

   He shows us an architectural plan of Auschwitz-Birkenau dated August
   1942 that indicates that German authorities anticipated a camp
   large enough eventually to hold 200,000 inmates. (page 203) He
   provides photographs and diagrams showing extensive quarantine and
   recuperation facilities for sick and injured Birkenau inmates.
   (pages 510-513) Last but not least, he reproduces six photos that
   show humane conditions at Auschwitz-Monowitz. (pages 506-507)

You have "forgotten" to mention that, along with all these things,
Pressac _also_ presents the thing which you say is missing, the most
important thing, the central issue to revisionism, the issue which you
argued on alt.revisionism in 1994 and 1995:

Physical evidence for the gassings.


Mr. Raven, I have been explaining so far that you have ignored the
physical evidence which Pressac has accumulated.  The climax of
Pressac's evidence is pp. 429-456.  In those 28 pages, he summarizes
the results of his work over the previous 246 pages.   He calls them
"39 criminal traces."  Each of these is a piece of physical evidence
which implies the use of Krema II, III, IV, V, or several of them, as a
homicidal gassing facility.

Don't scoff at the term "implies" -- this is exactly what Pressac
demands and what he documents, no more, no less.  "It is raining"
implies "the sidewalks are wet."  P implies Q.  Pressac's criminal
traces imply homicidal gassing.

You state at the end of your essay that the "criminal traces" are not
proof.  This is an out-and-out lie -- not an error, a lie, because
Pressac explains clearly that what he calls "criminal traces" refute
Faurisson's claim that there is no proof.  I think I am on safe ground
in calling you a liar on this point because the title of the chapter
is:  "'One Proof...One Single Proof': Thirty-Nine Criminal Traces."
You may have overlooked one part or another of Pressac's work, but you
could hardly overlook the title of the chapter.

As you of course know, the translation is unfortunate here, since the
English word "trace" implies something insignificant or barely-there. 
Your essay takes full advantage of this, using language to underscore
and emphasize this connotation.  Criminal traces are "as close as he
gets."  This is unfair rhetoric on your part.

It makes me wonder if your next rhetorical technique will be go after
Pressac's use of the phrase "little chimneys":  "Why only _little_
chimneys?  Can't he find any big ones?"  That's nonsense of course.
And so is your mocking of the phrase "criminal traces."

What you know, but your reader does not, is that Pressac meticulously
excludes any evidence which merely _corroborates_ such use.  For
example, he (rightly) repudiates the claims of prior investigators
that the existence of a ventilation system indicates homicidal
gassing, since the delousing gassing chamber also had a ventilation
system.  Only evidence which indicates homicidal gassing,
unambiguously, is listed in his 28-page summary.

Pressac uses what he calls "indirect" evidence.  Here's how he describes
the difference between "direct" and "indirect" (p. 429):

   In the absence of any "direct," i.e. palpable, indisputable and
   evidence proof (lacking so far as we know at present) such as a
   photograph of people killed by a toxic gas in an enclosed space
   that can be perfectly located and identified, or of a label on a
   Krematorium drawing of a "Gaskammer um Juden zu vergiften/gas
   chamber for poisoning Jews," an "indirect" proof may suffice and be
   valid.  By "indirect" proof, I mean a German document that does not
   state in black and white that a gas chamber is for HOMICIDAL
   purposes, but one containing evidence that logically it is
   impossible for it to be anything else.

Pressac goes on to explain his reasoning at length, beginning with what
he calls the "fundamental proof" (p. 429).  This is the inventory of
Leichenkeller 1 in Krema III which indicates the presence of 14
showerheads and a gas-tight door.  The gas-tight door might indicate
that the room is used for delousing gassing, but the showerheads would
be incongruous with that explanation.  The showerheads might indicate a
washing room, but the gas-tight door is incongruous with that

The only explanation that fits with both items in the inventory is that
the showerheads were not connected to anything, and were mere dummies
intended to convince people that the room was benign -- until the
gas-tight doors were closed and the gassing began.

And indeed, Pressac demonstrates in his "complementary proof" (ibid),
with drawing 2197 and photographs he has taken from inside the gas
chamber as it stands today, that the showerheads were dummies.

He even goes so far as to calculate the number of showerheads which
would have been required for Leichenkeller 1, based on average areas
covered by showerheads in six other buildings at Auschwitz.  By his
calculations, one would expect that 115 showerheads would be required
per Leichenkeller (ibid), but only 14 were planned and installed.
Pressac spares no effort to find many corroborations of his proof.

I should point out that revisionists, up until the publication of
Pressac's work, considered the Leichenkeller 1 to be morgues, Leuchter
of course leading the way.  Pressac demolished that argument with his
numerous demonstrations that the room was for gassing.  In response,
revisionists like Mattogno have started arguing that the room was for
_delousing_ gassing (never mind that they contradict other
revisionists, principally Leuchter).  But Pressac _also_ anticipated
_that_ argument and eliminated it as well.

His "supplementary proof" is that an inventory of Leichenkeller 1 of
Krema II contained 4 wire mesh introduction devices and 4 wooden covers
(pp. 429-430).  These could only be used to exterminate human beings.
As he points out, we have everything but signed affidavits to the
murders themselves:  "It would be too much to expect the SS to have
formally written that Zyclon-B was poured into these introduction
devices." (p. 430)

And Pressac has other proofs as well.  He cites documents which refer to
Leichenkeller 2, the room next to Leichenkeller 1, as an "undressing
room" (pp. 432-434, 438).  Why would the Nazis need a room where a
thousand or more people could undress simultaneously, unless, of
course, they were about to be killed in the adjoining room?  There's an
order for an urgently-needed peephole with a double layer of 8 mm thick
glass.  (p. 434)  Why would two layers of third-of-an-inch-thick glass
be required for the peephole in a morgue?

In his "39 criminal traces" section, he doesn't even mention the
architectural modifications to the Krema, which also establish clearly
that the rooms were not morgues.  (pp. 267-331)  Nor does he mention
the photographs which corroborate the existence of the wire mesh
introduction devices and their "little chimneys" (pp. 340-342).  Again,
this is because these are merely _corroborating_ evidence, not _proof_,
by Pressac's phenomenally strict standards.

Overall, Pressac makes it perfectly clear that these rooms, the two
mirror-image Leichenkeller, must have been gassing rooms of some type,
either delousing or homicidal, and that they are clearly not for
delousing because of the showerheads (and, I might add, the lack of
Prussian blue staining and of large quantities of cyanide compounds as
demonstrated by Leuchter and more convincingly by the Krakow Institute
for Forensic Research).

And he does so _without_ dependence upon eyewitness testimony. Your
lies to the contrary notwithstanding.


In short, Mr. Raven, you have totally misrepresented Pressac's views and
have lied about what he says;  your central point in this essay is an
attack on a strawman;  and your failure to address his real arguments
appears to be a confession of your inability to do so.

You now have my questions and comments.  If you would like to reply, you
are welcome to do so.

(The "conscience" quote attributed to Hitler is from Louis Snyder,
_Hitler's German Enemies_, 1990, p. 95;  it is not footnoted.)

Posted to alt.revisionism.  Emailed to Mr. Raven.  HTML version at:

Mr. Raven is cordially requested to link his "Lies, Damned Lies, and
History" page at  to
that URL.  I believe the readers of the IHR web site deserve to see
"both sides of the story" -- I assume that you agree, Mr. Raven, since
at  you say
that is important to you.

Of course, you have never once agreed to cross-link any of the relevant
documents on your site 
...but still, better late than never...
 Jamie McCarthy        Co-Webmaster of
 Hate mail will be posted.

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