The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Open Letter to Greg Raven:
Lies, Damn Lies

August 12, 1996
Part 4 of 4

Physical Evidence: Criminal Traces

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 homicidal use. What remains after this exclusion process is the strongest evidence which one could possibly ask for. 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 explanation.

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.)

Jamie McCarthy
August 12, 1996

(The text of these web pages was emailed to Mr. Raven on August 12, 1996. As of ten days later, there is still no cross-link from Mr. Raven's web page, and only a two-word response has been received: "Nice try.")

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