The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Open Letter to Greg Raven:
Lies, Damn Lies

August 12, 1996
Part 3 of 4

Ignoring Four Krema

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 "revisionism."

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.

Photos And Drawings

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? No.

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.

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