The Journal of Historical Review

Auschwitz: Technique & Operation of the Gas Chambers (II)

Robert Faurisson

The lessons of a soccer field and a swimming pool

In 1983, Klarsfeld and Pressac published a French version of the Auschwitz Album (published by Le Seuil).8 Pressac drew up a misleading plan of Birkenau (p. 43) on which, in particular, he obscured the surroundings of the large Birkenau crematories. Specifically, he concealed from his readers that, immediately next to Krema III, there was a SPORTPLATZ (playing field) which served as a soccer pitch for the inmates, and that right next to the Sportplatz there was a large hospital area. These simple topographical specifications (about which Pressac is rather discreet in his large book) render absurd the thesis that the crematoria were supposedly the culmination of a horrible extermination process accompanied by cries, fire, flames and the smell of burning flesh. Can you imagine teams of soccer players and crowds of spectators at the various matches, just a few steps away from those horrors?

Pressac is careless when he challenges the Revisionists to prove that in the central camp the swimming pool was used by the inmates. I will let a former Auschwitz prisoner answer for me. He was a professor in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Strasbourg who, while affirming in a rather vague way the homicidal gassings at Auschwitz, was just as willing to write about the distractions available to the inmates:

On Sunday afternoons, there were soccer, basketball and water polo matches [my emphasis] to the ardent cheers of the spectators: people need very little to distract them from the dangers that threatened them! The SS administration allowed regular amusements for the prisoners, even on weekdays. A movie theater showed Nazi newsreels and sentimental films and a very popular cabaret gave presentations often attended by the SS authorities. Finally, there was a very creditable orchestra, made up originally only of Polish musicians and replaced later by a new, high-quality group made up of musicians of all nationalities, mostly Jews (Marc Klein, “Observations et réflexions sur les camps de concentration nazis”, taken from the journal Études germaniques (No. 3, 1946), 1948, p. 31).

I could cite many other examples of such activities, but I shall refrain from doing so, because where human beings are so “concentrated,” life becomes unbearable in spite of all; promiscuity, epidemics, the struggle to live and to gain individual advantage make such an existence frightful, especially in time of war. But we must not add false horrors to the real horrors. Furthermore, the camps run by the Soviets, including the ones they “liberated” in Germany before filling them again with their political adversaries (beginning with the National Socialists), were even more horrible, according to the statements of people like Margaret Buber-Neumann, who experienced them both.

Pressac entitles one of his chapters “Auschwitz According to the Revisionists. Photographic Exhibition of the Famous Holiday Camp, KL Auschwitz” (p. 507). The irony and the slanderous insinuation here conceal his embarrassment at reproducing photographs which are not consistent with the various kinds of horrors supposedly found in the camp. He tries to cast suspicion on certain of these photographs by pointing out that they come from “Revisionist sources.” He is obviously unaware that many of them are from the album kept by Dürrfeld, an engineer who was one of the leading executives in the factories at Auschwitz. The file reference “DUE” (for DUERRFELD) ought to have alerted him: the Dürrfeld trial is well-known to historians of Auschwitz, but apparently not to our pharmacist-turned-amateur-historian.

Involuntary Contributions to Revisionism

Here and there throughout the text, one finds information (very often in the form of photographic documents) which tends to reinforce the position of the Revisionists. Here are some samples:

The word used to designate the disinfection gassings is Vergasungen. The above directive confirms what the Revisionists have constantly said about the danger of using Zyklon B. If at Auschwitz incessant and massive gassing operations had been carried out, especially under such conditions as we have been told, accidents involving the SS personnel would have been innumerable. Neither the camp commandant, nor the chief medical officer responsible for the garrison, nor the other doctors, nor the SS would have tolerated such accidents (p. 201); and if we must look at it from the point of view of the legend, the “homicidal gassings” could not have gone off normally inasmuch as the Jewish personnel would not have been able to accomplish the task of entering a cyanide-treated space to drag out thousands of cyanide-impregnated corpses; and the criminal enterprise would immediately have ground to a halt for lack of personnel to carry it through successfully;9

The Bankruptcy, According to Pressac, of Traditional History

Pressac draws up a bankruptcy report: no one before him has been able to prove the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz and Birkenau. He recognizes that the historians, the judges, the Soviets, the Poles, the arraigners of the “war criminals” as well as the accusers of the Revisionists have accumulated false proofs and worthless arguments (the Revisionists, too, are supposed to have failed in their endeavors). He writes at the end of his study, just before the appendices:

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 another (p. 264).

The celebrated work of Eugene Aroneanu, which has for so long been a sort of Exterminationist bible (Camps de concentration, preface by Jacques Billiet, director of France’s War Crimes Information Service, Office français d’édition, 1946), he calls “an historical monstrosity,” “an incoherent and self-contradictory whole” (p. 15). On the post-war trials, he writes that “the tons of Zyklon B ordered by the camps were attributed to homicidal use without any verification.” And, as I mentioned above (Part I, p. 38 in The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1991), he makes the following remark, which will likely upset his Exterminationist friends:

By far the greater part [of Zyklon B] (over 95 per cent) was destined for delousing (effects and buildings) while only a very small quantity (less than 5 per cent) had been used for homicidal gassings (Ibidem).

He is of the opinion that the American-conducted trial of Bruno Tesch, one of the officials of the Degesch company and thus responsible for the production of Zyklon B, was a “masquerade”; the court was not concerned with the technical question, merely with the verbal testimony of one of his employees. In 1946, Pressac writes, simple malicious gossip could easily lead to someone being hanged. That was the case with Bruno Tesch (and, I should add, with his associate, K. Weinbacher) (p. 16–17); see in this regard the revealing article by William B. Lindsey, “Zyklon B, Auschwitz and the Trial of Dr. Bruno Tesch,” The Journal of Historical Review, Autumn 1983, p. 261–303.

The Soviet film Chronicles of the Liberation of the Camp, 1945 shows a gas-tight door as belonging to a homicidal gas chamber; in view of its location, says Pressac, it was a door to a disinfection gas chamber (p. 41). Further on, he talks about the work of the Soviet Commission of Inquiry as a “completely put-up job” and an “‘historic’ [sic] montage” (p. 46); the unfortunate thing is that the Nuremberg Tribunal “took judicial notice” of that work in the name of Article 21 of its charter.

At Birkenau, the vast hall of the Zentral Sauna, where the inmates disrobed (Auskleideraum) before showering, possessed an impressive number of tubular radiators. The Poles removed those radiators because, according to Pressac, this concern for the comfort of the inmates conflicts, in the minds of present-day visitors, with the location of the ruins of Krema IV and its “gas chambers,” only 100 meters away (p. 78). He might have added that the Poles had dealt in the same manner with the “arrest cells” in Block 11, which the tourists visit in great numbers. I’m the one who called Pressac’s attention to this mania of the Poles for removing heating apparatuses, whether for their own use or to give a crueler impression of the conditions under which the inmates are supposed to have lived.

At the Nuremberg Trial, a perfectly ordinary German document dealing with the crematory ovens was presented as proof of the extermination. Pressac sees there an example of “the stupid way in which the documents of the defeated were ‘evaluated’ by a tribunal of the victors” (p. 106).

A certain reconstruction by the Poles after the war is “far from being a faithful reproduction of the original state” because of its exaggerations and its simplifications (p. 108).

The fact, according to Pressac, that at a given time in 1942 the Germans used 2 to 3 per cent of the Zyklon B for murder and 97 or 98 per cent for disinfection “totally invalidates” the interpretation of certain documents by “the traditional historians” (p. 188).

Sometimes naming him and sometimes not, Pressac underscores the errors or the deceptions of Georges Wellers. The latter’s argument based on the ventilation system of the Leichenkeller is, for Pressac, contradicted and indeed completely demolished by the facts (p. 289). Wellers’ “quite erroneous” and “quite unfounded” interpretation deceived the lawyers of LICRA (the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism) who pleaded against Faurisson (p. 355). In citing transcriptions of eyewitness testimony, Wellers has made cuts when those testimonies contain improbabilities, without any indication to the reader that he has done so (p. 479). The plan he gave of Auschwitz (Les Chambres à gaz ont existé/Des documents, des témoignages, des chiffres, Gallimard, 1981, p. 12–13) is of “a very mediocre quality as regards many details,” although Pressac doesn’t go so far as to use the word “falsification” (p. 165–166). What is striking is that this was the plan which hung for all to see in the courtroom at the Frankfurt trial and which Hermann Langbein reproduced in his book about that trial (Der Auschwitz Prozess, Eine Dokumentation, Frankfurt, Europäische Verlaganstalt, 1965, p. 932–933 [not 930–931 as Pressac mistakenly indicates]).

The supposed camouflage around Krema II and III is, according to Pressac, a product of the imagination of the “traditional historians” (p. 341).

Jan Sehn, the Polish investigative magistrate who prepared the trials of Rudolf Höss and of many other SS men, “made a change” in a German document while reproducing it as a copy allegedly identical to the original (p. 454). Nevertheless, Pressac is careful not to be too harsh with this investigative magistrate, to whom we owe a hundred lies about Auschwitz – to name one, the lie of the “nearly 60,000 persons in 24 hours” gassed at Birkenau (Jan Sehn, Le Camp de concentration d’Oswiecim-Brzezinka, Wydawnictwo Prawnicze, Warsaw, 1961, page 132). It is also to Sehn that we owe the “gigantic ditches” in the open air (as many as eight?) where, “in August 1944, the figure of 24,000 incinerations per day was attained” (with or without the crematoria?) (Ibid., page 148). However, the aerial photos taken by the Allies on 25 August 1944 show absolutely nothing of the kind (D. Brugioni and R. Poirier, The Holocaust Revisited, Washington, CIA, February 1979, pages 9–11).

In 1981 I was brought to trial in Paris by the LICRA and many other organizations. The principal lawyer for the LICRA was Maître Bernard Jouanneau. From the pages Pressac devotes to this trial and to this lawyer it is evident that the author believes that many of the documents which they used against me do not, in reality, prove the existence of the homicidal gas chambers in the least. Not one of the eyewitness testimonies that Maître Jouanneau introduced had any real value. As for the technical arguments offered by Jouanneau, all of them were worthless, and sometimes “disastrous.” Lastly, the lawyer outrageously abused the theory according to which the Germans, to hide their crime, used a “code” or “camouflage” (p. 554–556).

Pressac’s inconsistencies have their amusing aspects. He remarks on the dishonesty or incompetence of the Exterminationists but, at the same time, wants at all costs to save the Exterminationist theory. Thus he is reduced to flattering his friends for qualities that supposedly make up for their faults. And when he flatters, he doesn’t do it by halves – he bootlicks: Maître Jouanneau’s demonstration was based on a mass of errors but it was... “superb” (p. 556).

Manipulation of Testimonies

In a work that professes to be technical, one ought first to describe the scene of the crime, then examine the weapon used in the crime and the material proofs of the crime, in order, finally, to review the testimonies. Pressac, who has no understanding of method, opens all of his chapters with... the testimonies. It must be said that this is a way of clouding the reader’s normal capacity for judgment, since these “testimonies” posit the existence of the homicidal gas chambers as a basic principle.

The quality of the testimonies that Pressac invokes is pitiful. Sometimes he acknowledges that himself, but he often seeks to save these testimonies from discredit, by means of the most oversubtle devices.

Rudolf Höss is presumed to have written Commandant at Auschwitz and Miklos Nyiszli supposedly wrote Auschwitz: An Eyewitness Account of Mengele’s Infamous Death Camp, two testimonies offered as essential. Höss lived for several years at Auschwitz, and Nyiszli supposedly lived there for six months as an inmate. But what these two “witnesses” write, for example, about the ventilation of the homicidal gas chambers, constitutes, according to Pressac, an enormous technical error. On this point they told the opposite of “the truth” (p. 16).

Alter Fajnzylberg, Filip Müller and Rudolf Höss affirm things that are “practically impossible,” or “not corresponding to the facts,” that “cast a doubt,” are “wrong,” “contrary to reality,” “unlikely” (p. 126–127). The “errors” committed by Höss “throughout his autobiography” have an explanation which Pressac brandishes proudly and emphasizes in bold-face type: HE WAS PRESENT, WITHOUT SEEING (p. 128). But, if that is the case, he wasn’t a witness! How could he be present and not see? How can one be the commandant of an “extermination camp” and not see the instrument of “exterminating” at least a million (?) people? How was this commandant able to stress the dangers of Zyklon in 1942 (see above, p. 137–138) and then in 1946 decree that the dangers were non-existent (see below, p. 172–173, note 9)?

As for the eyewitness testimony, so often invoked, of SS man Pery Broad, the form and the tone of it, Pressac tells us, “sound false.” Broad’s writings, which we owe to the Poles, cannot be sincere. They are “colored by a rather too flagrant Polish patriotism.” The Broad manuscript is not known. It has all been “slightly” reworked by the Poles (his quotation marks around “slightly” imply that the rework was not slight!). But what does it matter, asks Pressac: despite the discrepancies between the various witnesses, some homicidal gassings did take place in Krema I – that is an established fact (p. 128). “Established”? By whom? By what? He does not say.

The testimony of Szlamy Dragon elicits the following commentary:

This is physically impossible [...]. I do not think that this witness was intentionally misleading, but he was following the tendency to exaggerate which seems to have been the general rule at the time of the liberation and which is what gave rise to the figure of 4 million victims for K.L. Auschwitz, a figure now considered to be pure propaganda. It should be divided by four to get close to reality (p. 171).

In 1972, at the Dejaco/Ertl trial, witness Dragon showed “total confusion” (p. 172; see Part I, p. 60, in The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1991).

The testimonies of Pery Broad, of Rudolf Höss, Dr. Johann-Paul Kremer, and of SS man Holblinger (which Pressac writes as Hoblinger) on the several BUNKER are subject to reservations expressed in the following terms: “entirely imaginary,” “physically impossible,” “impossible to situate this scene” (p. 174).

The testimony of Nyiszli would be valid providing ... that his figures be divided by four – but not always. Pressac speaks of Nyiszli’s “number four,” and says that his figures are “worrying” (p. 179).

In 1980, a great fuss was made about Filip Müller’s book, Trois ans dans une chambre à gaz d’Auschwitz (Three Years in a Gas Chamber at Auschwitz), foreword by Claude Lanzmann, ed. Pygmalion/G. Watelet. [The English version, Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in a Gas Chamber at Auschwitz, New York, Stein and Day, 1979, is somewhat different than the French edition.] In France Jean Pierre-Bloch awarded the book the LICRA prize. Filip Müller was one of the star witnesses at the Auschwitz trial (1963–1965), and in the film Shoah. In reality, he was a mythomaniac, which even Pressac realizes, for he writes:

[in his book, Müller] has accumulated errors, thus making his account historically dubious. The best approach is to read it as a novel based on true history (p. 181).

If the members of the Sonderkommando affirm that 5 or 7 or 12 bodies were burned in a single muffle of a crematory oven at one time, Pressac suggests that this is an exaggeration, and that probably only three bodies at a time could have been incinerated, and skinny ones at that (p. 229). He says that today’s tourist, “after a silent prayer” (sic!) in front of Krema I, must surely realize that “We find here the famous multiplying factor of four used by Dr. Miklos Nyiszli” (p. 483).

At Auschwitz visitors can see in the former “Block 4” a model that professes to show a Krema in the midst of a gassing. This reconstruction, it must be said, inadvertently demonstrates the physical impossibilities of the homicidal gassings, in particular the cramped premises and the congestion that would have resulted from the first “gassing.” Add to that the fact that documents which have subsequently come to light, especially the aerial photos taken by the Allies in 1943/44 and published in 1979, underscore the “faults” of this model. Of small import to Pressac, who sees in the reconstruction the “powerful evocation of a mass gassing” (p. 378).

Beginning on p. 459, the author attempts to save from disaster the absurd War Refugee Board Report of November 1944, sometimes known as the Protocols of Auschwitz. Just the criticisms of it that Pressac himself is obliged to make totally discredit this mendacious work, which is due largely to Rudolf Vrba, today a professor of pharmacology at a university in Vancouver (see Robert Faurisson, “The Zündel Trials (1985 and 1988),” The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1988–1989, p. 420–421).

The drawings of one David Olère are in favor with Pressac, who knew the artist personally, but these drawings, altogether grotesque, seem inspired chiefly by a sort of sex-shop anti-Nazism. Pressac considers them “masterpieces of authenticity” (p. 554) but ... he has reservations as to their documentary worth and about the sincerity of the witness (p. 493–497, 554–556). Playing the prude, he goes so far as to refrain from reproducing certain drawings (p. 498). This same David Olère asserts that the SS made sausages they called “Kremawurst” (crematorium sausages) out of human flesh (p. 554). His memory suffers from a certain “deterioration” (p. 493), and he is subject to what Pressac calls the “KREMATORIUM DELIRIUM” (p. 556).

The author’s favorite witness is the Jewish shoemaker Henryk Tauber. But this witness, too, tends to use “the famous multiplying factor of four” (p. 483). HE HAS NEVER SEEN A GASSING BUT EITHER HE WAS TOLD ABOUT IT (Ibid.) or else he has seen the bodies of those whom he calls gassed (page 489). One day, through a window, he saw an SS man pouring Zyklon B into a gas chamber (p. 494). If over so many years he saw nothing more than that, it was because during the gassing operations the SS systematically locked up the members of the Sonderkommando in ... the coke store. This is also Alter Fajnzylberg’s explanation. The SS wanted to conceal the existence of the gassings but not the existence of the people gassed!

Tauber tells the story of a Jew named Lejb. One day, the Germans hung Lejb, hands tied behind his back, from an iron bar above the firing hearths, for an hour. Then, after untying his hands and feet, they threw him into a cold crematorium furnace. Gasoline was poured into the lower ash bin and lit. The flames reached the muffle in which Lejb was trapped. A few minutes later, they opened the door of the furnace. The condemned man came running out, covered with burns. Next, he was ordered to run round the yard shouting that he was a thief. Finally, he was forced to climb the barbed wire fence, where he was killed with a gunshot!

Tauber speaks also of an open-air pit filled with human fat. The fat ran from the corpses into a separate reservoir, dug in the ground. This fat was poured over the corpses to accelerate their combustion. One day, the SS men threw a man into the boiling fat, then pulled him out, still alive, and shot him. “The next day, the corpse was brought back to the crematorium, where it was incinerated in a pit [!]” (p. 494).

Tauber says that around 2,500 bodies a day were incinerated in a single crematorium. Here is Pressac’s commentary:

This figure is unrealistic (and it is connected with the propaganda of the immediate post-war period), [...]. Here we find almost the famous multiplication factor of four, of which Dr. Miklos Nyiszli made such abundant and lamentable use in his book that his credibility was long contested. Henryk Tauber is far from being the only witness to say in substance “I don’t know the number of dead” or “I think it was so many” and then coolly say one or two sentences later, that after due consideration, we do arrive at the (standard) figure of 4 million victims in all. This type of imposed falsehood has to be excused, I would stress, because of the political climate of the period 1945–1950 (p. 494).11

In just one passage on page 498, Pressac, to qualify the assertions of his favorite witness, uses the words “dubious,” “incorrect” (twice), “not certain,” “[made up] story,” and “pure myth.” And if at the end of his testimony Tauber is so weak and so vague about Krema IV and V, no one can reproach him for this, says Pressac, who supposes that the witness “must have been exhausted by the end of his deposition” (p. 502).

In short, all these witnesses seem to be suffering greatly, just like David Olère, from what pharmacist Pressac calls Krematorium delirium (p. 556).

Pressac has no criterion for distinguishing the true and the false witness from one another. His witnesses can pile up the worst errors or the worst insanities, yet they will find favor in our man’s eyes the moment he decides to make authentic witnesses out of them.

A witness meticulously describes the room called a gas chamber, and sees three pillars when there were really four: Pressac tells us it’s because he didn’t go clear to the end of the room. The same witness speaks of an entrance door and an exit door, when there was only one door to the room, with no other exit: this error, Pressac says, can be explained by the route taken by that witness during his visit (!). The witness talks about ten cremation ovens when there were five (each with three muffles): Pressac says that’s because “probably he had not walked the entire length of the oven room but instead remained at the west entrance.” The number of victims that the witness gives is incredible: that, Pressac reassures us, is because here it’s a question of an “inflated number” given by an SS man who served as the witness’s guide; or there, it’s an “SS propaganda figure” (p. 239).

If a witness sketches the crematory room while forgetting to note the presence of rails, Pressac says that since the rails served no purpose, the witness’s “visual memory did not retain them” (p. 229). Let the same witness commit four grave material errors, and it’s because “the visual memories of a survivor deteriorate with time” (p. 493). If this witness adds imaginary details to his sketch, no matter: it was done “to make it better” (Ibid.).

Throughout his book, Pressac does his utmost to discover excuses for the innumerable “errors” of his witnesses, errors in the location, the color, the material, the form, the distance, the number of whatever is being discussed.

But his favorite explanation is that all these “errors” are the fault of the SS and “the usual SS exaggeration” (p. 108), and that, if in their confessions taken by the Allies, the SS confessed to enormities, it was as due to “professional pride” (p. 161).

Thanks to this method, Pressac’s witnesses, Jewish or otherwise, win incessantly, while the SS men can only lose every time.

Pressac’s Involuntary Drollery Apropos M. Nyiszli

At this point I would like to return to a case already mentioned, that of Dr. Nyiszli. One of the best known false testimonies in the concentration camp literature, next to Martin Gray’s For Those I Loved, is that of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli: Auschwitz: An Eyewitness Account of Mengele’s Infamous Death Camp, translated and adapted from the Hungarian by Tibère Kremer (New York: Fell Publishing Co., 1960).

Paul Rassinier often denounced this forgery (see The Holocaust Story and the Lies of Ulysses (Costa Mesa, CA: The Institute for Historical Review, 1988, p. 244–250), as has Carlo Mattogno. Neither the Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971), nor the recent Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (1990), mentions Nyiszli’s book, which has long been discredited.

Nevertheless, at the recent trial of the Revisionist Michel Konen at Meaux, Hubert Heilbronn, president of the Lazare Bank, had the effrontery to mention only one testimony in support of the existence of the Auschwitz gas chambers: that of Miklos Nyiszli (Le Figaro, 6 July 1990, p. 8).

Pressac, too, resuscitates Nyiszli. But I think it’s fair to say that in so doing he has, in his comments on Nyiszli’s testimony, inadvertently written two exceedingly funny pages (p. 474–475). I’ll let the reader be the judge.

Miklos Nyiszli, a Jew, allegedly lived for six months in a Birkenau crematorium serving as an assistant to Dr. Josef Mengele in the dissection room. Pressac selects from Nyiszli’s book only Chapter VII, in which this witness supposedly describes a gassing operation in Krema II. At first Pressac affirms that this description is “entirely accurate, EXCEPT for certain FIGURES which are very WRONG indeed [Pressac’s capitals]” (p. 473). Next, he comments on the text, and here one realizes that, even for a Pressac, almost all the data in Nyiszli’s book, whether numbers or physical details, are erroneous.

The witness declares that the gas chamber was 500 feet (150 meters) long; but, Pressac says, a plan (which this writer discovered and which is borne out by the building’s ruins) shows that the length of the room under discussion could not have exceeded 100 feet (30 meters). How to explain? It’s simple, says Pressac: the witness told the truth, but he used a multiplier of five.

The witness states that the undressing room was 200 yards (about 200 meters) long; well, says Pressac, everything shows that room measured 50 yards (around 50 meters) in length. For here, according to Pressac, Nyiszli has used a multiplier of four.

Since the average of the various multipliers is four, Pressac, proud of his discovery, gets to talking in his book, whether regarding Nyiszli or other affirmations and testimonies, of the “famous multiplying factor of four” (see p. 483, 494).

Accordingly, following our pharmacist, if we wish to find the real figures, it behooves as we read to divide all the numbers by four.

As for me, I should say that by that reckoning, every false witness would be in the clear. Supposing a “witness” states that in six months (the duration of Nyiszli’s stay in Auschwitz) he saw four men who were all 7 meters tall and 200 years old. We can assume that anybody would dismiss such a witness. Anybody but Pressac, who, applying the rule of the famous divisor of four, would say: this witness is telling the truth: he saw one man, who was 1.75 meters tall and 50 years old.

But Pressac’s gymnastics don’t end here. I have made a critical review of his comments on the Nyiszli testimony only regarding the short passage that Nyiszli has written on the gassings. Here we have, on the one hand, the multipliers Pressac says Nyiszli used; and, on the other hand, a sampling of Pressac’s comments regarding such and such a fact, physical reality, or figure reported by Nyiszli (p. 474–475):


  1. Nyiszli, says Pressac, has divided by 2.
  2. Nyiszli, says Pressac, has multiplied by 3; by 5; by 4; by 2.5; by 6.7; by 4; by 4; by 2.5; by 4; by 2 to 3.


Wrong and deliberately misleading [...]. Whom is Dr. Nyiszli trying to mislead and why?
Lack of familiarity with the premises
“War story” pure and simple
Pure invention
... (and let us add that, when the witness talks about “concrete,” we must read “wood”; when he talks about “chlorine,” we must read “hydrocyanic acid”).

Pressac’s conclusion is delectable. He proudly entitles it “The Multiplier.” Here Pressac, far from dismissing his witness for his exaggerations and fables, discovers in the use of the multiplier 4 (the average of the various figures is 3.8) the sign that Dr. Nyiszli, for all his not being scientific and rigorous, is manifestly an academic who bears the stamp of intellectual training of the most serious kind. He writes:

The average of the different multipliers is almost exactly four.12 If we apply this to the official total of 4 million victims we arrive at a figure much closer to reality: 1 million. This calculation is by no means scientific but it shows that DOCTOR NYISZLI, a respected ACADEMIC, TRAINED IN GERMANY, multiplied the figures by FOUR when describing the interior of Krematorium II and when speaking of the number of persons or victims (p. 475).

In short, Pressac understands that the “credibility” of Nyiszli’s book has been “long contested” (p. 494); that was due to “the famous multiplication factor of four of which Dr. Miklos Nyiszli made such abundant and lamentable use” (Ibid.). But fortunately Pressac has arrived; he has discovered the key needed by anyone reading Nyiszli’s book and, thanks to that key, everything is deciphered. There is no longer any reason to challenge the credibility of an honorable academic, educated in Germany. Pressac has saved Nyiszli.

But the reader, on seeing any figure at all from the pen of this astonishing witness, can never know whether the number is to be considered exact, or whether it is necessary to multiply it or divide it, and if so, by exactly how much.

“Faurisson and His Clique” (p. 12)

I shall forgo counting the number of times that Pressac attacks the Revisionists in general and me in particular. Mark Weber writes:

Pressac does not seem to be a psychologically sound person. For example, he confesses that he “nearly” killed himself in the Auschwitz main camp in October 1979 (p. 537). His relationship with Dr. Faurisson and French Revisionist publisher Pierre Guillaume – to which he devotes several pages – changed from a kind of admiration to bitter personal animosity. He cites nothing about Faurisson’s treatment of him that would justify such visceral enmity, even granting the intensity of his disagreement about the Holocaust issue. The emotional and even vicious nature of Pressac’s furious hostility towards Faurisson suggests an insecure and unstable personality (“Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers,” The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1990, p. 231–237).

Here I must provide an explanation. Pressac has a specific reason for not liking me: in the early 1980s, I was led to show him to the door of the home of Pierre Guillaume (where he had come to see us once more without announcing his arrival beforehand). That is the kind of humiliation which is not forgotten, especially by someone who, afflicted with a sense of inferiority, seeks approval, fishes for compliments, offers his services insistently and wishes to be taken seriously. Pressac ended up exhausting my patience. His obsequiousness, his mental confusion, his panicky fears, his horror of clarity and of unequivocal positions, his propensity to lie and to cheat made his visits more and more undesirable. He makes no allusion to that humiliating episode in his book; on the contrary, he states that in March or April 1981 he took the initiative and “broke completely with Faurisson” (p. 554). That is quite simply false. He was ushered to the door, and, I must say, in no uncertain terms.

Jean-Claude Pressac was an admirer of Hitler, of Degrelle and of militaria. He had a bust of Hitler in his home, in a place of honor, and, fearing our reaction at the time of a visit to his home, had forewarned Guillaume and myself about it, not without some apprehension. He had dreamt of writing a novel showing the victory of his hero and the triumph of National Socialism (see, in this regard, p. 541). He had been educated at the military academy of La Fleche and, according to Guillaume, himself a former student at that establishment, had in 1959 received a reprimand from the school’s administration due to a sketch of Nazi inspiration that he had displayed at the time of a school celebration. He said that he was a supporter of Pierre Sidos, a French far-rightist. The extreme right, or what is called that, has, side by side with strong personalities (as in the case of Leon Degrelle), poor wretches who admire force since they are weak. Such was the fact with Pressac who, moreover, had certain medical problems which, I must say, increased my pity for him.

Guillaume devoted several pages to Pressac in his book Droit et histoire (La Vieille Taupe, 1986, p. 118–125). I recommend reading those pages, which are both lively and penetrating.

Before meeting us, Pressac believed in the gas chambers. I showed him my documentation. He was staggered by it, and recognized his error. Believing he knew how to read the plans that I had discovered in the archives of the Auschwitz Museum, he offered us his services. Half-serious, half-mocking, we took to calling him “Schliemann,” from the name of the discoverer of the ruins of Troy. Pressac had a peculiar habit: at each encounter, his first words were: “I’ve blown it.” He “blew it” – he made a mistake – repeatedly. Easily influenced, easily anguished, he perpetually changed his opinion on details and each time adopted the most peremptory tone in articulating his thesis of the day. Another of his eccentricities: as soon as the simplest question put him in a quandary (and his life was a perpetual quandary), he would answer: “Yes/No.” Not: “Yes and no” but, in a single breath: “Yes/No.” And it was impossible for him to clarify his answer, which served him as a refuge, as with a child caught being naughty. He had the irritating habit of pretending, from one minute to the next, that he hadn’t said what he had just said. I invited him accordingly to record our conversations with a tape recorder to avoid misunderstandings. With childish fear, offering no explanation, he refused to be recorded.

But he no longer believed in the gas chambers. He began to feel called to be a Revisionist; wishing it is not enough, however. My life and that of Pierre Guillaume became more and more difficult. Pressac grew frantic. The cumulative effects of the trials and of the attacks of all sorts, the progressive deterioration of my physical health, our financial problems, a general atmosphere of doom (it should be recalled here what happened at the time of the blast on the “Rue Copernic,” much worse than that of the “Carpentras cemetery”13 left our neophyte more and more feverish and hesitant. He pleaded with me to give up so dangerous an enterprise. For his part, he began to take his distance from us. “Jewish friends” had made him understand that there were limits to skepticism which could not be transgressed (p. 548). Upon reading the plans of Auschwitz and Birkenau that I had furnished him in abundance, he saw well enough that the gassings were impossible. But, you never know, he began to say, perhaps there really did take place here and there a few small homicidal gassings, discreet, furtive, improvised: what he called “casual,” or “itty-bitty,” gassings.

Before his first departure for Auschwitz, following our meeting, he had asked me what research he could undertake there for me. I had told him that I was interested in the question of the cremations: the officially recorded number of the bodies incinerated; status of persons cremated (inmates/guards/German soldiers and officers and members of their families); number of employees assigned to cremation of corpses and to the incinerations in the rubbish ovens; the duration of the cremations; time cards, etc.). I thought, as a matter of fact, that those numbers alone would be enough to demonstrate the impossibility of the stupendous number of cremations that would have been required by the gassing of hundreds of thousands of victims, over and above the cremations necessitated by the ravages of the epidemics in the camp.

On his return from Auschwitz, Pressac told me with an air of embarrassment that he had not found the time to occupy himself with the question that interested me. He had had too much work to do, and then, he added, a young Polish girl had taken a great deal of his time: innocent boasting by the timid.

Before his second journey to Auschwitz, he asked me the same question and I gave him the same answer. Upon his return, he again stated that he had not had the time to undertake the necessary research. Let me note here parenthetically that in his large book Pressac continues to evade my questions (see, below, Appendix 2, “How Many Cremations a Day in Krema II?,” p. 166–167).

Pressac wound up by telling us that he no longer wanted to take sides between the Revisionists and the Exterminationists. He said he wished to have relations with both camps and to content himself with purely technical work. I encouraged him in that path and, in a dedication the text of which he reports (p. 554) but the context of which he distorts, I urged him to seek, to discover, to be cold, impartial and materialistic. But that was too much to ask of him. Finding that he was unable to buckle down to methodical and austere work that would have let him put a bit of order into his thoughts, I sent him on his way. I had introduced him to the study of the supposed gas chamber at Struthof (Alsace). Later on, he published, under the auspices of Serge Klarsfeld, a small book in English – poor and confused – on the subject. I see that, in his large book, he treats the subject anew. But he takes care not to reveal a discovery I had made virtually in his presence when, at the Palace of Justice in Paris, together with Pierre Guillaume and Maître Eric Delcroix, we examined the archives of the “Struthof trial,” archives provided at LICRA’s request by the headquarters, in Paris, of the Gendarmerie and Justice Militaire. In those archives I found a document revealing that in December 1945 Professor René Fabre, Dean of the faculty of pharmacy at the University of Paris, had signed an expert report of the greatest interest. The professor had successively examined the scrapings done around the chimney of the alleged homicidal gas chamber and, in the public hospital of Strasbourg, the well-preserved corpses of the persons supposedly gassed. His finding in both cases was negative: there was no trace of gassing.

In reality, that particular gas chamber, which was only relatively air-tight, had served chiefly for the training of German army recruits in the wearing of gas masks; in that case, the gas presented nowhere near the same danger as hydrocyanic acid (Zyklon B). Pressac had been happy to be able to demonstrate that for us. He had gone to take some photos of a training session in a French army gas chamber not far from Paris. I have a set of those photographs.

Three Little Secrets of Jean-Claude Pressac

A legend that is dear to the heart of Elie Wiesel, Filip Müller and Georges Wellers maintains that the Germans dug gigantic pits at Birkenau in which they burned thousands of bodies in the open air. I had drawn Pressac’s attention to the fact that the Birkenau camp was located in an area of vast marshes alongside a tributary of the Vistula River and that despite their drainage work there, the water table continued of necessity to rise to just a short distance below ground level14. It was difficult, therefore, to imagine such pits being dug, and I added that in any case it must have been complicated to burn corpses in pits due to the lack of oxygen. Then Pressac, whom I was always advising to get physical verification, dug a small hole in his garden and tried to incinerate the body of a rabbit. He never succeeded. When we visited the site of his “incineration ditch,” he was full of quips about the myth of the “incineration ditches” at Birkenau, and the tale of the rabbit became for us a standing joke.

Visitors to Struthof can see, on the one hand, the Natzweiler camp itself, with its crematorium and, far from the camp, a small building containing the supposed homicidal gas chamber. Pressac pointed out to me that, IF THEY HAD DECIDED TO LIE ABOUT NATZWEILER AS THEY HAD LIED ABOUT AUSCHWITZ (sic), they could have made people believe there was a homicidal gas chamber in the crematorium. To prove it, he made up for me a sort of false plan of that building, based on the true plan that we had discovered in the archives of the Gendarmerie and the justice Militaire. I still have that false plan, drawn by Pressac and bearing his explanatory notes. He doesn’t breathe a word of this little job in his large book.

I also have, by Pressac, a two-volume study which he entitled Auschwitz, architecture paisible (Auschwitz, Peaceful Architecture). It concerns Krema IV and V. It is extremely disordered and has never been published. My copy is marked No. 2. The dedication page is laughable: Pressac, offering his services to all comers, launches into flattery addressed to certain Exterminationists as well as certain Revisionists. I come in for my share of these compliments, which are laid on too thick to be sincere.

A Few Borrowings and A Few Lies

In his shorter studies, as in his big book, Pressac has plundered my work outrageously. He is indebted to me for a large part of the plans, documents and photographs that he has published; the reminder comprises, most of the time, plans, documents, and photographs from the same source or of an identical character. Only the photos from the Bauleitung Album, which is in the possession of the Israelis, are an original contribution.

The baseness of Pressac’s attacks on me, his deceptions and lies in the presentation of certain facts, would oblige me to correct far too many of his allegations than I am able to here. I am described as a coward, too afraid, “of course,” to appear at my trial (p. 554); but he knows I was seriously ill at the time. He says that one day, in 1982, he telephoned me and found me a “human wreck”; he writes: “I was shocked and disgusted to find [Faurisson] had reached rock bottom, dragging his family down with him” (p. 558). It is true that in 1981 and 1982 I believed I had reached the depths of physical, moral and financial distress, and that my wife and children shared that distress with me; I did not for all that speak of my “martyrdom” (Ibid.) and I do not see what is “shocking” and “disgusting” about my fighting as I did to the limit of my strength. I frightened Pressac. I had always frightened him by my fierceness in defending myself and by my refusal to bow my head.

He ventures to write:

Confronted with the new evidence, Faurisson and Guillaume had a moment of indecision, seeing the possibility of throwing in the sponge and officially declaring that it did appear that some homicidal gassings had taken place at Birkenau (p. 554).

Here, he lies and he knows that he lies, at least as regards me. He never presented me with the slightest proof of what he called the “casual gassings”; and I personally have never considered the possibility of a retraction of any kind.15 Pressac knows that the trials that were forced on me and that brought me condemnations unprecedented in the contemporary history of France were nothing but stage productions, and that the documents with which they tried to crush me were valueless. He knows it and he says it, whether explicitly, as when he alludes to the role of Maître Jouanneau, the LICRA lawyer, or implicitly, when he happens to analyze a “proof” used against “Faurisson” at the time of a trial and admits that said “proof” does not possess the value attributed to it in the slightest (p. 49, 554–556).

Questions Evaded

Pressac has evaded a good twenty essential questions of a technical nature which have been posed by the Revisionists. I shall cite only a few of them:

Deliberate Omissions

It will be remembered that the only task I assigned to Pressac was that regarding documents relevant to the cremations (see above, page 153–154). Neither at the time of his first sojourn at Auschwitz, nor during his second stay, it appears, had he been able to find time to study the matter. Now that his book has appeared, his continued silence on this point is striking.

One will note that he is very careful not to say that such documents do not exist. He knows all too well that they do exist. He prefers to avoid talking about them. Why does he conceal from his readers the existence of a host of documents which prove that a record was made of each cremation?17 In the case of teeth extracted from a corpse before its cremation, the usual German attention to detail went so far as to demand the completion of a printed form, with the heading “Dental Station of the Auschwitz Camp,” supplying the date of cremation, the complete identity of the internee, his registration number, the number of teeth (right, left, upper, lower), etc. (see Contribution à l’histoire d’Auschwitz, Auschwitz Museum, 1968, the photograph of the document between pages 80 and 81).

Why does Pressac not mention this type of document, or a single one of the documents required by the Auschwitz chancellery on the death of anyone, with twenty or so signatures for deaths from natural causes and about thirty signatures for deaths from non-natural causes (Dr. Tadeusz Paczula, former prisoner, “The Organization and Administration of the Camp Hospital in the Concentration Camp Auschwitz I,” International Auschwitz Committee, [Blue] Anthology, Vol. II, Part I, Warsaw, 1969, p. 45)?

Why does he not make the slightest mention of the “death registers” in which the Germans collected, with a separate page for each decedent, all information relevant to each death? The Revisionists had pointed out the existence of two or three volumes of those TOTENBUCHER, or STERBEBUCHER, in the Auschwitz Museum, and of forty or so in Moscow: all of them, naturally, inaccessible to independent researchers. It was only under pressure from the Revisionists, notably at the time of the Zündel trial in Toronto in 1988, that the decision was made in 1989 to reveal the existence of the registers to the general public. Pressac was unlucky. His book, IN WHICH HE CONCEALS THE EXISTENCE OF THE REGISTERS, was no sooner finished than the Soviet Union revealed that, for its part, it retained a large number – but not all – of these precious documents, which strike a lethal blow to the extermination legend. Pressac, by failing to mention that there were also two or three of these death registers in the archives of the Auschwitz Museum – to which he had free access – lied by omission.

Regarding the amount of coke necessary for the cremations and incinerations, Pressac’s vagueness is such that I find it suspect (see microfilm 12,012 mentioned on page 87, the table on page 224, and the remarks on page 227). It is evident that the consumption of coke was certainly ridiculously low in comparison to the amount that would have been required for the gigantic cremations spoken of by the legend, but Pressac has so muddled everything that it is not possible to get a precise idea of it. It is probable that each muffle burned no more than an average of 6 or 7 bodies each day, like the oil-fired furnaces at Buchenwald (p. 106), and it is plain that the German document of 28 June 1943 indicating an incineration capacity of 4,756 bodies a day for Auschwitz (with the ovens operating 12 hours each day) is unacceptable. Moreover, Pressac does not hesitate to justify a figure just as extravagant (340 for Krema I, 1,440 for Krema II, 1,440 for Krema III, 768 for Krema IV and 768 for Krema V) and, by a method dear to him, he puts these exaggerations down to the “bragging” of the SS men, who, at any rate in similar instances, must have “multiplied the real figures by a factor of 2 to 5” (p. 110).

But his most unforgivable lie by omission concerns the DAILY ACTIVITY of the Auschwitz and Birkenau crematoria. The reader who has just finished his book may believe that the five crematoria were devoted to the cremation of ... people who had been gassed. Day after day, however, these crematoria received the bodies of victims of various epidemics, of persons who had died of natural causes, of inmates, guards, soldiers, civilians. And if, for example, Krema I was near the SS hospital, that was, in the first place, to cremate the SS dead. Dr. Popiersch, the chief surgeon, died of typhus and was cremated at Auschwitz. The same was true of the wife of SS man Caesar, who was in charge of agricultural work, and of Alma Rose, the German Jewess who conducted the women’s orchestra of the Birkenau camp and, if we are to believe Fania Fenelon, was accorded an extraordinary funeral (Fania Fenelon, Playing for Time, New York, Atheneum, 1977, p. 208). Pressac never tells us how the normal activity of the crematoria could be combined each day with the activities surrounding the alleged gassings: transport to the morgues, storage of the bodies, cremation, collection of ashes, transferral to urns, dispatch of the urns, etc.


In 1982, I reviewed Pressac’s study on Krema IV and V at Birkenau. I entitled that review: The Myth of the “Gas Chambers” Enters Its Death Agony. To this review, which I wrote in 1990, I could give the following title: The Death of the “Gas Chamber” Myth.

In the media, this myth manages to survive somehow or other; in academic or scientific circles, it is dead. Our “suburban pharmacist,” as Vidal-Naquet calls him, had offered himself as a savior; his magic potions, in 1982, aggravated the patient’s condition; and in 1989, that is, seven years later, they have finished him off.

I know Revisionists who, confronting a thesis so disastrous for Exterminationism, wonder whether Pressac could be one of their own, and working undercover, have hoodwinked the Klarsfelds. I don’t believe that in the least. Pressac is a neophyte, an autodidact, an innocent crossed with a fox. His personality is unstable; he is inconsistent, a weathercock that turns with every wind. He argues illogically and does not know how to express himself either in speech or writing – a deficiency that would be merely annoying in the exposition of a coherent thesis, but which here, with an incoherent and hybrid thesis, becomes absolutely catastrophic. Pressac isn’t wearing any mask; it is his real face which we find disconcerting. For their part, the Klarsfelds lack discernment; they are even blind. They find it “normal” that, in certain cases, persons who displease the Jewish community should be killed or seriously injured (Radio J, 17 September 1989, Agence France Press, 1:36PM; La Lettre télégraphique Juive, 18 September, p. 1; Le Monde, 19 September, p. 14). The anguish of Serge and Beate Klarsfeld at the rise of Revisionism – despite their awareness that it has access neither to money nor to the public forum – is causing them to lose their judgement and their self-control. To the Klarsfelds, all means seem justified; every assistance is welcome; any media operation can serve. Pressac, driven away by Faurisson, dismissed by Wellers, went on to offer his services to the Klarsfelds. He was hired. This tedious tome must have cost them plenty. But, if friends of the Klarsfelds paid for it dearly in money, its results will cost them even more, which will be fatal for the Exterminationists and providential for the Revisionists.

In 1979, Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Léon Poliakov proclaimed, with thirty-two other French historians, that it was unnecessary to ask questions about the technique and the operation of the homicidal gas chambers. They stated precisely:

It is not necessary to ask how, technically, such a mass murder was possible. It was possible technically since it took place. That is the necessary point of departure for any historical inquiry on this subject. It is our function simply to recall that truth: there is not, there cannot be any debate about the existence of the gas chambers (Le Monde, 21 February 1979, p. 23).

In my “Response to a Paper Historian” (The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1986, p. 24), I spoke of the silliness of that declaration, and I added:

[...] The text in Le Monde had been conceived to ward off avery pressing problem. In the confusion that was provoked by my article on “The Rumor of Auschwitz” [Le Monde, 29 December 1978, p. 8], Vidal-Naquet and Poliakov hastily drew up a manifesto, and then took it some signers, saying to them: “We say there cannot be any debate, but it is very clear that you must not pay any attention to that phrase and that you all have to get busy replying to Faurisson.” That is how Vidal-Naquet ingenuously puts it on page 196 of [Les Juifs, la mémoire et le présent, Maspero, 1981] when he writes: “A good number of historians signed the declaration published in Le Monde on 21 February 1979, but very few got busy, one of the rare exceptions being F[rançois] Delpech.”

Vidal-Naquet, Poliakov, and the other survivors of the “declaration” of the thirty-four historians have thus had to wait ten years (1979–1989) to see appear at last an attempt at refutation of my Le Monde article on “The Rumor of Auschwitz.” Had my article been based on mere foolishness, its refutation wouldn’t have required so long a time, nor so voluminous and, as we have established, so feeble a response as that made by Pressac.

Pressac has put his name to a masterpiece of inanity. His intellectual capacities did not permit the hope of anything better. His propensity for deception and for manipulating documents, already so remarkable in his presentation of the Auschwitz Album (Le Seuil, 1983) is here confirmed.18

But the pharmacist from La Ville du Bois is only a miserable wretch. Pierre Vidal-Naquet and the Klarsfelds are cut from a different cloth.

These are people who had time enough to determine just how empty-headed their “suburban pharmacist” was. They used him nonetheless. But could they have found better? In any case they have brought discredit on their cause. Now they are burdened with this monstrous book, totally unusable, and nothing to be done about it. Let any journalist in search of a scoop ask them, as did Richard Bernstein of the New York Times, to point out a single page or a single photograph in this wearisome tome which rebuts the Revisionists: Vidal-Naquet and the Klarsfelds will be unable to offer anything at all.

I see hardly anyone but the Revisionists showing interest in Pressac and his masterwork, and then only as scientists would do, musing over a phenomenon of teratology, a monster. The “Holocaust” religion has certainly given birth to more than one monstrosity; Jean-Claude Pressac’s misshapen work is one example.

In his paper presented at IHR’s Fourth International Revisionist Conference in 1982 (“Context and Perspective in the ‘Holocaust’ Controversy,” reproduced as “Supplement B” in recent editions of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, p. 335–369), Arthur Butz put the Revisionists on guard against one danger: that of wasting their time in idle technical discussions that make us fail to see the forest for the trees. If we become preoccupied with such details as Zyklon B or crematory ovens, we may end up forgetting the essential point, which is that an extermination so gigantic would have left behind a superabundance of physical and documentary proofs, not merely infinitesimal traces of domestic tinkering and puttering. Our adversaries, Butz added, will seek to enmesh us in cabalistic discussions since, on the level of establishing basic facts, they know they’ve already lost. As Butz also pointed out, however, a Revisionist must nonetheless show himself capable of confronting the cabalists right down to trifling details. Whatever the ground chosen, the defenders of the “Holocaust” thesis must realize that all avenues of escape are closed to them. It is thus that they find themselves today in a total impasse. Their gang plank to safety – Pressac’s book – is made of rotted wood.

The Jewish community has had some bad shepherds. It should have jettisoned the dogma of the Auschwitz gas chamber a decade ago. In December 1978, Le Monde published, at the same time as my article on “The Rumor of Auschwitz,” several articles which were supposed to refute me. I think that certain French academics, of Jewish origin, immediately perceived that a grave event had just occurred: in a few lines, I had just reminded them, like previous Revisionists, that the emperor was wearing no clothes. Confronted with this, a group of Establishment historians endeavored, in vain, to pretend the contrary. On 16 January 1979, Le Monde published my “right of response.” That would have been a fitting time, I think, for the Franco-Jewish academics to have urgently prepared a “declaration of historians” stating that there could and must be a debate on the existence or nonexistence of the Auschwitz gas chambers.

Fate decided otherwise. On 21 February 1979, then, appeared the “declaration” drawn up by Pierre Vidal-Naquet and Leon Poliakov. By it the Exterminationists ratified their ruin. Ten years later, with this book by Jean-Claude Pressac, they are reaping the fruits of their blindness. They appear to me to have been inspired by an altogether too narrow conception of their self-interest. They ought to have looked farther ahead, to have given thought to their obligations as historians and to the interest, truly understood, of the Jewish community. Then, instead of dogging the heretics with press campaigns, physical attacks, and the police and the courts; instead of staging one incestuous colloquium after another; instead of churning out an endless stream of bad books (Pressac’s being the worst), they ought to have opened their minds and hearts to discussion and reflection. They would have done well to have done some work. The Revisionists have been at work. It’s a pity the Exterminationists haven’t followed their lead.19

APPENDIX I: Pressac Versus the Leuchter Report

At the end of 1988, Serge Klarsfeld published, in Jour J/La Lettre télégraphique juive, a study by Pressac of the Leuchter Report. The title was: “Les carences et les incohérences du “Rapport Leuchter” (“The Deficiencies and Inconsistencies of the “Leuchter Report”).

“Deficiencies” and “Inconsistencies”: Pressac is a master there! The sole proof he could find of homicidal gassings in Krema I he owes to ... this report (see Part I, p. 34, in The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1991)! His study, plainly hurried, blends emotive reflections about Fred Leuchter with an exposition on the Auschwitz gassings, a summary on the Auschwitz crematory ovens, and a final discussion on Majdanek. On Auschwitz, he repeats what I call his theory of “molecules with homing devices” (see Part I, p. 38–39 in The Journal of Historical Review), a theory which tries to explain the absence, so embarrassing for Pressac, of ferric-ferro-cyanide stains there where so many human beings were supposedly gassed.

About Majdanek, I believe it’s not too much to say that Pressac does not believe in the existence of homicidal gas chambers in this camp. He writes:

Lacking any precise technical study, those gas chambers remain poorly known (p. vii);

The use of [such places] as homicidal gas chambers with HCN appears difficult and remains risky [...]; the technique would seem possible, but an actual use is risky (p. viii); [There were some] modifications after 1945 [which give a] false impression (p. ix);

a regrettable confusion during the 1950s results in the shower room often being presented as a homicidal gas chamber (with toxic gas thought to be dispersed through shower heads)20 (Ibid.);

The use of this place for homicidal purposes is only conceivable under two conditions: the removal of a fanlight that could have been broken by the victims and the addition of a mechanical ventilator (Ibid.);21

the homicidal function which the author [Pressac] cannot presently discuss (Ibid.);

the deputy director of the Museum told the author [Pressac] that this gas chamber had very, very seldom been used, which really means that it had not been used at all. That fiction is maintained in order not to shock popular belief which wants it that way [...] (Ibid.); etc.

In his big book, Pressac manifests the same skepticism. He considers that no one has yet undertaken a “serious study” of the Majdanek gas chambers (p. 184). Writing of Auschwitz, he lets slip a remark that implies that Majdanek was perhaps not really “criminal” (p. 218). Denouncing the methods of the “officials of the Majdanek Museum,” he writes:

I am sorry to say, and I am not the only one in the West, that the Majdanek homicidal and/or delousing gas chambers are still waiting for a true historian, which is mildly upsetting in view of the fact that the camp fell into the hands of the Russians intact in 1944 (p. 555).

On page 557, a photograph shows the exterior of one of the “disinfection gas chambers thought to be a homicidal gas chamber.” The photograph comes from Maître Jouanneau, attorney for LICRA, who was duped, Pressac tells us, by the camp authorities (the lawyer used this photograph before the Paris court to prove that Faurisson was a falsifier denying the historical evidence).

APPENDIX II: How Many Cremations a Day at Krema II?

How many cremations, on the average, were there per day in the five three-muffle crematory ovens of Krema II?

To that question, Pressac ought to give one answer and one answer only, but instead he gives at least five, ranging from 288 a day to 1,500 a day.

This Krema had 15 muffles, and the crematory ovens, Pressac admits, functioned only 12 hours a day. For each muffle, therefore, the number per day would have been, respectively, 19, 42, 48, 50, 64, and from 67 to 100. These figures, varying from 19 to 100 per day, would represent performances beyond the capabilities of our most modern crematoria. They are all the more unacceptable when we consider that Pressac is counting only the corpses of those who are supposed to have been “gassed,” to which must be added the cremations of bodies of the inmates, guards, and soldiers who died every day of various causes, especially when typhus was raging in the camp.

APPENDIX III: Pressac’s Tricks in the Auschwitz Album

In 1983, Pressac and Klarsfeld jointly published a French edition of what is called the Auschwitz Album (translated from English by Guy Casaril, Editions du Seuil, 1983, 224 p.). It was a collection of 189 extremely interesting photos, taken in 1944 by a German from the photographic staff of the Auschwitz camp – possibly Ernst Hoffmann. No one, whether Exterminationist or Revisionist, has contested the authenticity or the veracity of these photographs, which were taken at the time of the mass arrivals of Hungarian Jews in 1944. These photographs supply a providential confirmation of the Revisionist thesis, and it is shocking that we had to wait until the early 1980’s to see all of them published. Serge Klarsfeld, embarrassed by what they revealed, could offer but a single parry in response: fabricating a moving account of the pretended discovery of the album by a certain Lili Meier.

Klarsfeld and Pressac went to even greater lengths for the French edition of this album. In a twenty-page typed analysis which I completed in December 1983, but did not publish at that time for lack of money, I described their subterfuges. I showed that in the French edition, which I compared with the two original editions published in the United States22, Pressac had drastically changed the original order of the album’s sections, an order which had reflected a logical sequence of events for the newly arrived inmates of the Birkenau camp. In place of that order, our man had substituted an arrangement which would give one to understand that most of the people pictured would end up dying in the mysterious homicidal gas chambers. He also changed the number of photographs in each section and proceeded to switch photographs from one section to another! He removed one group of photos and then, to restore the original number of sections, he made use of the same caption from the original twice, but gave it two different translations. I wrote:

Without breathing a word of it to the reader, Jean-Claude Pressac acted like a pharmacist who would surreptitiously change the contents of his bottles, change their number, and switch their labels, not to mention committing two forgeries in the process (p. 7).

But the most spectacular of his manipulations was to be found on pages 42 and 43 of the Album. Under the title “The Trickeries of the Auschwitz Album,” I circulated a short piece devoted to that deceit. I did not fail to send a copy of it to Editions du Seuil. Here is what our pharmacist had devised: in order to try to make us believe that the route taken by certain groups of deportees (women and children) ended at Krema II and III and therefore, according to him, in the homicidal gas chambers, he had provided, on page 42 of the Album, a plan of Birkenau from which he had made a careful deletion to prevent the reader from seeing that in reality these groups of deportees actually passed between the two Krema, staying on the road leading to the large shower and disinfection center called the Zentral Sauna until their arrival there. Caught red-handed, Pressac followed a policy of silence for the next six years (1983–1989). To those who had read my article and stubbornly demanded an explanation from him, even to the point of telephoning him, his answer was to feign ignorance: he claimed he knew nothing of my article. Now, with the publication of his big book, he is forced to provide an explanation; by doing so he just makes his case worse.

The plan in which he deceptively made a cut in the route to the Zentral Sauna is reproduced on page 421 of his big book. On pages 514 and 515, he tries to explain. He begins by saying that in 1983 he had easily been able to answer my criticism “in an article whose publication was not deemed necessary.” He does not reveal to us who decided not to publish it, and why. I suggest that Pressac’s answer was quite simply judged dreadful. If I allow myself that suggestion, it is because the response that he finally consents to give us in 1989 in his big book is pathetic and PROVES HIS TRICKERY. Pressac answers in effect that, in order to draw the plan for which I reproached him, he had used “as a BASIS [emphasis added]” (p. 515) an authentic plan: plan 3764 (p. 514). I don’t doubt it: he did take that “as a basis” and ADDED to it lines representing the avenues in and around the camp, but taking great care to ... truncate the route leading to the Zentral Sauna, in order to make us believe that the Jewish women and children who took that route could go no farther than the crematoria. The deletion is flagrant. The subterfuge is obvious.

But there’s more. In the original version of the Auschwitz Album, the American edition, there was a photograph which may be described as follows: in the foreground, a group of four elderly Jews, three men and a woman, are plainly having an altercation, while in the background, indifferent to the scene, a scattered few German soldiers, wearing garrison caps, are walking by. This is photograph 109. Pressac, deciding to make this photograph “speak,” moves it to the 189th and last place in the sequence, where it is supposed to mark the acme of the extermination horror. And here, in his usual jargon, is the explanation of the photograph:

That photo is unique, terrible, and to be added to the file on the extermination of the Jews as evidence for the prosecution [...].The footpath down which this woman is refusing to go ends at the door of [Krema] V, leading to the disrobing room and the gas chambers. If the three men who are dragging her do not seem to suspect the fate that awaits them, she knows that the building which she is turning away from, that red brick building with its black roof and its two 16 meter-high chimneys, has become the negation of life and stinks of death (Auschwitz Album, p. 204).

In my 1983 article (p. 9), I observed:

All that pathos cannot blind us to this: there is no footpath, and we can’t predict the direction this or that person might take; [Pressac] tells us nothing about the presence and the indifference, or inattention, of the German soldiers; how could the woman know that she is going to be gassed and the men not know that they are going to be gassed? Finally and above all, IT IS PLAIN TO SEE THAT THE WOMAN IS TRYING NEITHER TO GET AWAY FROM THE MAN ON THE RIGHT NOR TO RESIST HIM: SHE IS CLASPING HIS HAND IN HER OWN LEFT HAND.

On page 421 of his big book of 1989, the subject of this review, Pressac has altered his commentary on the photograph, writing:

As for the woman’s attitude, it could simply be that she, with no illusions about what is to happen and having seen the SS photographer, suddenly turned away, saying in effect “I don’t want that [bastard of an] SS to photograph me!” Such a reaction would not be surprising,for some of the Jewish children, less polite and more spontaneous than their parents, instinctively feeling that the SS wished them no good, pulled faces at the photographers.

In other words, for one story Pressac substitutes another, and his entire interpretation of the Auschwitz Album collapses, since the photograph deemed to represent the acme of horror has been reduced, according to our manipulator himself, to showing us an old woman who ... doesn’t want her picture taken!

Pressac reproaches me for not saying that the scene takes place near Krema V. As a matter of fact I did say so, since I quoted his mention of that. And I find it interesting that there is nothing secret about the place: as in many other photographs, both in that album and in his large work, we see small groups of Jews, Germans and civilian workers all peaceably rubbing elbows with each other.

Pressac leaves unanswered in Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers all the other rebukes of his trickery I addressed to him in 1983 apropos the Auschwitz Album. He thus compels me to repeat my accusations today.

APPENDIX IV: The Truncated Testimony of Hanna Reitsch

Pressac takes note of the testimony of the German air ace, Hanna (and not Hannah) Reitsch (1912–1979) as though it were evidence of the existence of the gas chambers (p. 486). In reality, Hanna Reitsch, at the end of 1944, saw an Allied pamphlet that mentioned gas chambers; she didn’t believe it. AFTER the war, she came to believe it. By the end of her life, she no longer believed; Pressac is either ignorant, or pretends not to know, of this last development. The details of the case are interesting.

In October 1944, Peter Riedel, an aviator friend of Miss Reitsch, who was then working in the German Embassy in Stockholm, received an Allied propaganda pamphlet which touched on the gas chambers. Deeply affected, he brought it up to Hanna Reitsch at the “Aviation House” in Berlin. The latter, furious, told him that it was obviously a war propaganda fabrication comparable to the enemy propaganda lies about the Germans during World War I. Riedel urged her to speak to Heinrich Himmler about it. She went to see Himmler, who leafed through the brochure without registering the slightest emotion. He asked her: “And you believe this, Frau Hanna?” She told him no, but added that countering it was imperative. Himmler told her she was right.

Pressac specifies that the English version of Hanna Reitsch’s memoirs (Fliegen – mein Leben) stops there, but remarks that in the French version the text continues: “A few days later, the information was denied in one of the main German newspapers. I learned from Peter Riedel that the same denial had appeared in a Swedish newspaper. It was only after 1945 that I found out, and with what horror, that Himmler had lied to me, and that the awful news was true.”

If Pressac had pursued his investigation a little further, and especially if he had read Gerd Honsik’s Freispruch für Hitler? 36 ungehörte Zeugen wider die Gaskammer (Acquittal for Hitler? 36 Unheard Witnesses Testify Against the Gas Chambers) (Burgenländischer Kulturverband Wien, Postfach 11, 1142 Vienna, 1988), he could have discovered that (p. 132–138):

  1. Himmler also said to Reitsch concerning that Allied accusation: “That [the gassing accusation] is the rope they’ll hang us with if we lose”23;
  2. Hanna Reitsch had so far returned to her good sense that at the end of life she supported the efforts of the Revisionists and, in particular, those of an Austrian (whom she called “the courageous Friedl Rainer”) “against all the terrible atrocity lies” (letter dated 15 September 1977, reproduced by Gerd Honsik on p. 138 of his book).

According to David Irving, the State of Israel is holding the manuscript of Himmler’s memoirs. If that is true, why is this document being shielded from the curiosity of historians and researchers?


See Appendix III, p. 167–171.
This order from Höss likewise confirms what I have said about the Höss “confessions” (interview in Storia Illustrata, in Serge Thion, Vérité historique ou vérité politique?, La Vieille Taupe, 1980, p. 203, note 10). Höss “confessed” that the members of the Sonderkommando entered the “gas chambers” immediately after the “gassing” and pulled out the bodies, eating and smoking all the while – in other words, without wearing gas masks, something which would have been absolutely impossible. On 2 April 1946, in his jail cell at Nuremberg, Höss gave the following answers to his American interrogator, S. Jaari:

Q: But was it not quite dangerous work for these inmates to go into these chambers and work among the bodies and among the gas fumes?

A: No.

Q: Did they wear gas masks?

A: They had some, but they did not need them, as nothing ever happened. (John Mendelsohn, editor, The Holocaust, 1982 vol. 12, page 113; Pretrial Interrogation of R. Höss, 2 April 1946, page 17)

The order of 12 August 1942, signed by Höss and showing the considerable danger of a gassing operation, demonstrates that Höss, when he was interrogated by the Americans four years later at the Nuremberg jail, gave some rather clumsy answers; he had been broken, as I have also been able to show, by his initial jailers and interrogators: certain Jews from British military security who tortured him before sending him to Nuremberg. Höss feared more than anything being turned over to the Polish Communists (see Robert Faurisson, “How the British Obtained the Confession of Rudolf Höss, Commandant of Auschwitz,” The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1986–87, p. 389–403).

Hospitals continued to exist in German cities, but to a large extent they were “evacuated” to the countryside where they took the form of medical barracks on the model of those that were built in the concentration camps. On page 513 Pressac reproduces a plan of a hospital barracks at Auschwitz, giving as his source the Center for Contemporary Jewish Documentation in Paris. In fact this is just another of the many documents he owes to me: it comes from the U.S. National Archives and bears the Nuremberg file number NO-4470.
The shame is that during the immediate postwar period this type of “imposed falsehood,” or imposture, became law in the exact sense of the word; and today, once again, it carries the force of law for the French courts by virtue of the anti-Revisionist provisions of the Fabius-Gayssot act promulgated, under the signature of François Mitterrand, in the Journal officiel de la République française on July 14, 1990.
Here Pressac forgets that according to Pressac, Nyiszli has also used divisors! And what is the meaning of “almost exactly”? Lending his imprimatur to Pressac’s number-cooking, Vidal-Naquet writes: “The fact that today it can be stated that the statistics given in so important a testimony must be divided by four is a scholarly finding that we would be very wrong dismiss. One doesn’t diminish the crimes of the Nazis by rejecting false figures. The question of the exact number of victims is not essential. Arno Mayer says this, repeats it, and on this point I can only agree with him.” (From Vidal-Naquet’s preface to the French edition of Arno Mayer’s Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?: La “Solution finale” dans l’histoire, éd. La Découverte, 1990, p. viii-ix).
On the night of 3 October 1980 an explosion in front of a synagogue on the Rue Copernic in Paris killed three persons and wounded a dozen more. On 9 May 1990 graves in a Jewish cemetery at Carpentras in the south of France were violated in a particularly lurid manner.

The French “far right” was accused of having perpetrated both attacks. In each instance it was at length admitted that the rightists were blameless. In the Rue Copernic case, it is universally conceded that the attack was carried out by a member of a Palestinian faction. As to the Carpentras incident, numerous articles, even in the Jewish press, have subsequently described how the affair was distorted and blown out of proportion; all agree that the graves were desecrated, not by rightists, but by politically indifferent youths or by Jewish families desirous of “teaching a lesson” to the liberal Jews of Carpentras (the most serious violation was that of the corpse and grave of a Jew who had married a Catholic).

It was due precisely to the proximity of the water table that the Leichenkeller of Krema II and III, instead of being completely underground beneath the crematory room proper, were only half below ground, adjacent to the crematory room.
Nevertheless, I can reveal here for the first time that at the end of 1978 I considered abandoning all further efforts at publication when I witnessed the ferocity with which the entire press, the academy and the courts denied me so much as the right to carry on a normal life. The Conseil d’État went so far as to declare, in October 1978, that I was a university professor with no publications to his credit, and that I had even confessed as much! My isolation was complete. The situation has changed a lot since those heroic days ...
This is the figure of the “traditional historians,” as Pressac calls them; Pressac himself gives no clear indications on the matter.
“The shift boss (Vorarbeiter) wrote in a notebook the number of corpses incinerated per charge and the head of the Kommando (Kommandofuhrer), an SS man, checked these entries” (the testimony of Henryk Tauber, according to Pressac, p. 495).
The book opens with an impressive list of patrons, beginning with “the Commission of the European Communities; the Socialist Group of the European Parliament; Mrs. Simone Veil, former President of the European Parliament” (p. 8), as well as political figures such as Jacques Delors.
See Appendix III, p. 167–171.
As we have remarked, Pressac’s book constitutes a godsend for the Revisionists. The latter have already produced several reviews, and are working on more:

The magazine Instauration has announced its intention to publish an article on the Pressac book. I suppose that eventually Fritz Berg will publish his ideas. Berg is the author of three important technical studies, all published in The Journal of Historical Review: “The Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth Within a Myth” (Spring 1984, p. 15–46); “The German Delousing Chambers” (Spring 1986, p. 73–94); “Typhus and the Jews” (Winter 1988–89, p. 480–481). It is thanks to Berg’s savoir-faire that I was able to get a copy of Pressac’s book in January 1990.

Which, in plain English, means that this place could not have been a homicidal gas chamber since it did have a fan light and since it lacked ventilation of any kind.
1) The Auschwitz Album/ Lili Jacob’s Album, edited by Serge Klarsfeld, mimeographed, distributed, “free of charge, to more than 1,000 libraries and Jewish organizations” [S. Klarsfeld, August 5,1980]. 2) The Auschwitz Album / A Book Based upon an Album Discovered by a Concentration Camp Survivor, Lili Meier, text by Peter Hellman, New York, Random House, 1981.
Compare the report of Norbert Masur, an official of the Swedish branch of the World Jewish Congress, who met Himmler on 21 April 1945, a few days before the end of the war. They had a long conversation. Heinrich Himmler told Masur: “In order to contain the epidemics, we were forced to build crematoria where we could burn the corpses of countless people who passed away because of these diseases [typhus]. And now, they want to put a noose around our necks” (Norbert Masur, “My Meeting with Henirich Himmler,” Moment [a Jewish monthly magazine published in Boston], December 1985, page 51, which is a partial translation from the Swedish book Ein Jude Talar med Himmler [A Jew Talks with Himmler], Stockholm, Albert Bonniers Vorlag, 1945).

Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 133–175.

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