by Carlo Mattogno

Edited and copyrighted MCMXCIX Russ Granata
Box 2145 PVP CA 90274 USA
[email protected]

In the first issue of Annales d'Histoire Révisionniste, a goal of revisionism is presented in this way: «Il ne prétend pas énoncer la vérité d'un fait ou événement, il prétend en vérifer l'exactitude» (it does not purport to expound the truthfulness of a fact or of an event; it purports to verify its exactness).1

I acknowledge this as an aspiring principle of my endeavors in this field, and unlike some revisionist voices which unfortunately suit very well Deborah Lipstadt's harsh invectives, I believe that the quest for exactness ought not be limited to exclusively exterminationist historiography, but should also include revisionists as well. I therefore firmly reject the deviating concept of revisionism as being some kind of sectarian fraternity in which in-house critique is taken as a sort of betrayal or personal affront.

It was from this standpoint that I wrote Leichenkeller di Birkenau: Gasschutzräume o Entwesungsräume? (English translation: Morgue Cellars of Birkenau: Gas Shelters or Disinfesting Chambers? ) which regrettably was viewed by some American revisionists as some sort of show-off, whereas the plain truth of the matter is that this writer with many years of revisionist research resulting in many publications, is no novice seeking attention and feels no need to show-off anything to anybody. Now that being stated, I shall reply to the comments of Mr. Crowell, however I have no intention of carrying on long-lasting sterile polemics, and intend to consider the question of the Crowell hypotheses concluded with this reply and let the competent reader evaluate the respective argumentation.

The Samuel Crowell article entitled Comments On Mattogno's Critique Of The Bomb Shelter Thesis is based upon mischaracterizations of the meaning of my statements and more regrettably, upon an opportunistic adaptation of his own hypotheses whereby he shifts with ease from a postulation of crematoria designed and built as anti air-raid shelters, to one of crematoria utilized as improvised anti-raid shelters (such as when he calls upon Nyiszli's witnessing, of which I shall later comment), as if those two postulations were not radically antithetical. My article is directed exclusively to the former postulation - specifically to the Crowell postulation that the "Leichenkeller" of Crematoria II and III in Birkenau "tatsächlich als Leichenkeller mit einer möglichen Zusatzfunktion als Luftschutzkeller entworfen und gebaut wurden." Since according to Crowell, the Pressac "criminal clues" are explained only by the "Luftschutzkeller" hypothesis, it is clear that the "Leichenkeller" must in any case have been designed as "Luftschutzkeller."

Samuel Crowell begins his critique with the following comment:

"But here's the remarkable thing. There is not one word about gastight doors in Signor Mattogno's article. Not one word. Even more remarkable in his praiseworthy book on KL Majdanek, home of the notorious "Auert" air-raid shelter door, a casting of which sits on display at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, neither Jürgen Graf nor Signor Mattogno chose to say one word about the gas-tight doors at the camp. In a book that painstakingly provides copies of several original documents, they unaccountably forgot to include any copies of the delivery bills concerning these gas-tight doors, nor even comment on them in the text."

I reply that in the study KL Majdanek: Eine historische und technische Studie, a book I wrote in collaboration with Jürgen Graf, the issue of delousing installation doors in the camp has not been addressed because it is absolutely irrelevant and as far as I know is important only to Samuel Crowell, but since he blames me for this, I shall reply in a detailed manner to this point too; but first of all, allow us to point out that the Crowell hypothesis is not based upon a study of the German documents, nor is it based upon a Crowell on-site study of the installations; it is based upon confrontation of two photographs! Noticing that this cannot be properly defined as scientific working methodology, let us then see just what is the foundation of the Crowell hypothesis.

1) The doors of the installation at issue were constructed by the firm "Auert" of Berlin. On the external side of the round peep-holes installed in the gastight doors of the Entwesungsanlage appears the writing "AUERT BERLIN." This does not therefore deal with the firm AUER of Berlin which specialized in anti-gas protection, but from another firm. These four doors presented two closing levers (Hebelverschlüsse) - one up and the other down - with an outside handle so that they could be hermetically closed only from the outside. The two doors on the north side have furthermore, a central latch (Zentralverriegelung) which likewise closes from the outside. These doors were thus built to be closed from the outside, and not from the inside, and therefore could not have been utilized for an anti-gas shelter.

2) In our above-cited work, KL Majdanek: Eine historische und technische Studie, we have shown with reference to documents of the Zentralbauleitung in KGL Lublin (Majdanek), that the installation of the anti-gas doors at issue belonged to, were designed, and were constructed, as "Entwesungsanlage." There is no doubt whatsoever about this. Here is a historical summary of this installation with the following chronology:

The presence of vast stains of ferric ferrocyanide on the walls of the "Entwesungskammer" show that hydrocyanic acid was used inside this installation.

No document hints to a possibility that this installation could serve the dual purpose of "Entwesungsanlage" and "Luftschtzbunker." Moreover, the ceiling of the delousing installation, as per the Kostenanschlag of 10 July 1942, was then only 12 cm (4.7 inches) thick and thus unsuitable for anti air-raid purposes, and since the doors could be tightly closed only from the outside, it is clear that the "Entwesungsanlage" could not even be used as an anti-gas shelter because of its construction, therefore the Crowell hypothesis is unfounded.

As to "delivery bills concerning these gastight doors", we did not include such things in our publication simply because we do not possess such documents which are not among the documentation we examined in Lublin.

The Crowell reproach that in my article "there is not one word about gastight doors" is meaningless since the purpose of that article was to present the general untenableness of the Crowell hypotheses, not to discuss the meaning and the value of the Pressac "criminal signs", a task I have already done elsewhere.

Then Samuel Crowell comments on my arguments [SC=Samuel Crowell, CM=Carlo Mattogno]:

SC: "ARGUMENT 1. Mattogno argues that the argument for air raid shelters is historically flawed because there are no documents about air raid shelters prior to 16 November 1943. He further asserts his authority by referring to the absence of any prior or any other meaningful documents.

SC: COMMENT: Signor Mattogno is in error, both in fact and by inference. For over a year, there have been three documents pertaining to air raid shelter construction at Birkenau posted on the Internet at: and Two of these documents antedate the letter Mattogno cites, and both of them makes it clear that plans for constructing air raid shelters at Birkenau were so far advanced by August of 1943 as to involve the chief architect Walter Dejaco of the Zentralbauleitung and involved the construction of hundreds of raid shelters."

CM: Here, Crowell completely mischaracterizes the meaning of my argumentation. I wrote that the actual order to take Luftschutzmassnahmen at Auschwitz was given by the Camp Commander, SS-Obersturmbannführer Liebehenschel on 16 November 1943. By stating that, I did not deny the existence of documents which mention air-raid shelters prior to 16 November 1943, but rather I deny the construction of such installations at Auschwitz prior to that date. The document to which I referred, Standortbefehl Nr. 51/43 dated 16 November 1943 leaves no doubt in this regard. It says:

"Luftschutzmassnahmen im Standort Auschwitz. Nach Mitteilung der vorgesetzten zuständigen Dienststellen sind nunmehr auch im Standortbereich Auschwitz sofort die erforderlichen Luftschutzmassnahmen in Angriff zu nehmen. Mit der Durchführung dieser Massnahmen beauftrage ich in meiner Eigenschaft als örtlicher Luftschutzleiter den SS-Untersturmführer Josten 3 als meinen ständigen Vertreten. Ich bitte sämtliche Dienststellen, SS-Untersturmführer Josten in jeder Weise zu unterstützen."

(Air raid protective measures in the Auschwitz command post. According to notification by the responsible departments, necessary air-raid protective measures must also be undertaken immediately in the area of the Auschwitz command. In my position as the head of air raid protection, I am appointing SS-Untersturmführer Josten as my permanent representative to have him undertake these measures. I am asking all departments to support SS-Untersturmführer Josten in every way).

The two documents Crowell cited - the Aktenvermerk dated 25 October and the Aktenvermerk dated 05 November 1943 do not refer to construction of "Luftschutzdeckungsgräben" in Auschwitz; on the contrary, they show that a definitive decision on that matter had not yet been made ("betreffend all offen stehenden Fragen über Herstellung der L.S. Dechungsgräben"); thus the conclusion to which Crowell comes concerning these documents is totally arbitrary.

On 10 November 1943 the Bauleiter SS-Obersturmführer Jothann sent the "Kommandantur des KL Abteilung IIIa (the "Arbeitseinsatz" section) a request for additional food ("Zusatz-Verpflegung") for the "Beton-Kolonne" with the motivation that it "hat zur Zeit dringende und schwere Arbeiten für die Anlegung von Luftzchutzgräben zu verrichten." This is the first reference in the Zentralbauleitung documents of work of this type, and in historical context it clearly results that these were still in preliminary preparatory phase. The only legitimate and irrefutable conclusion one can draw from the documents cited above is that the decision to build anti air-raid shelters at Auschwitz was taken between the end of October and the beginning of November of 1943, and was officialized as a specific construction order by the Standortbefehl of 16 November 1943. The postulation of air-raid shelter construction in the crematoria of Birkenau as early as January of 1943 4 is thus historically ruled out. This is confirmed by a recent study by an Auschwitz Museum historian, who writes:

    "During the years 1943 and 1944, the question of air defense and rescue operations became of special importance because of the situation at the battle fronts. This is also confirmed by the received statistical tables, KL Auschwitz II B-II/d, Blockpfleger u. Luftschutz.

    This tabulation is a record of the situation of the air raid protection organization as well as of the medical services of Section BIId after 22 January 1944. The highest recorded prisoner number 17828 is a proof of this.

    This tabulation contains the names and camp numbers of 68 prisoners who are performing the indicated duties. The connection of these two services had occurred because of pragmatic reasons. In order to fully understand the context of this tabulation, we must point out that air raid protection was organized within the camp.

    There is no doubt that the Commander of Concentration Camp Auschwitz I was overall responsible for this since he held the function of Commander of the Garrison as well as head of the SS operations. The complexity of his duties lead to the fact that he left the completion of the organizational and technical matters to the Assistant of the Air Protection Command, but he as Camp Commander, maintained supervision. In Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, this function was already fulfilled by SS Untersturmführer (later SS-Obersturmführer) Heinrich Josten as of autumn 1943.

    After the establishment of an administrative department in November 1943, 5 the responsibility for these functions in a certain part of the organization was left to the various commanders.

    One must believe that no independent organizational structure for air raid protection in the camps was established.

    Inmates who functioned in the air-raid protection service in the camp were at the same time working in other Kommandos which is evidenced by the kind of compensation for the work." 6

Samuel Crowell continues:

"As for the inference of large scale air-raid shelter construction, in addition to the above, we have:
Second, the basement of Block 11, one of the older Stammlager buildings, is explicitly referred to as air raid shelter in a Nuremberg Document, [2223-PS]."

CM: An example of Crowell methodology: The document in question does not come from the Auschwitz Zentralbauleitung; on the contrary, it is a collection of testimonies and prisoners' reports about various camps, including Auschwitz, which were put out in 1945 by U.S. intelligence (!) Thus for Samuel Crowell, a prisoner's testimony has the same value as a document issued by the Zentralbauleitung! Moreover, Crowell says nothing regarding the date of the alleged transformation of the Bunker into an anti-raid shelter, which is not insignificant since his first comment was aimed at my argument about the date 16 November 1943.

SC: "Third, RFSS Himmler issued a directive to all concentration camp commandants about air raid protective measures (I have seen this quoted only in terms of protecting against escapes: I have not seen the document) dated February 2, 1943. [Himmler to Glucks, Himmler Files, Folder 67, National Archives"].

CM: The argument is irrelevant; even if such a document ever existed, it would not whatsoever prove that "air raid shelters" were ever constructed in Auschwitz prior to 16 November 1943.

SC: "Fourth, it is well known that Majdanek received shipments of air raid shelter doors the previous fall, the same time as the German authorities prioritized supplies to the Jewish inhabitants of the Warsaw ghetto for the purpose of constructing air raid shelters. [...]."

CM: In the opinion of Samuel Crowell regarding Majdanek, that alleged fact is "well known" only to Samuel Crowell, and as I have explained earlier, the tale of the "air raid shelter doors" is absolutely unfounded; besides the matter is as tangential as is the one regarding Warsaw, since it does not confirm construction of air raid shelters in Auschwitz before 16 November 1943.

SC: "Fifth, it is known that the "Arrest-Bunker" at Neuengamme was fitted out with ventilation and wood shutters at the same time."

CM: That argument is irrelevant for the above reason.

SC: "Sixth, the concentration camps are routinely referred to in KZ correspondence as being vital to industry, and the "Air Raid Shelter Guidelines" from 1941 specify that all new construction, especially in the war-related industries, must have air-raid shelters."

CM: The argument is irrelevant for the same reason given above.

Samuel Crowell triumphantly concludes:

SC: "The conclusion I draw on the basis of these inferences is that there was an ongoing attempt to construct air raid shelters in the concentration camps and ghettos at least from the Fall of 1942, or to adapt existing structures with air raid shelters as a matter of course. Mattogno can disagree with my conclusion, but it is meaningless to do so without confronting the inferences. Finally, the assertion that there were no air raid provisions made before November 1943 is refuted by documents that have long been available on the Internet."

CM: The Crowell conclusion is more ludicrous that the Crowell hypothesis: I maintain that no air raid shelter was constructed in KL Auschwitz before 16 November 1943, while Crowell claims to disprove this by declaring that before that date air raid shelters had been planned or constructed elsewhere, or that general directives existed for the construction of shelters; things which I have never denied!

CM: My reply to the Crowell allegation that Mattogno "asserts his authority by referring to the absence of any prior or any other meaningful documents" is that due to his rather limited knowledge of the Auschwitz Zentralbauleitung documentation, Samuel Crowell obviously does not know of the existence of a series of monthly reports of that office (particularly the "Baufristenplan" and the "Baubericht") which describe month per month the status of the construction jobs of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, listing also all the existing Bauwerke.7 In these reports (which were kept until the end of September 1943 and which also report regularly about Birkenau crematoria), there is no indication whatsoever of any work to construct anti air raid shelters: neither inside nor outside the crematoria. Crowell also ignores the existence of various cost estimates for Auschwitz and Birkenau camps in which are listed all the scheduled Bauwerke. Not even these documents show any trace of air raid shelters. In particular, I refer to the one of 28 October 1942,8 which for chronological reasons aught to contain at least some indication of a "Luftschutzbunker" allegedly planned for Birkenau crematoria.

Summarily: Before 16 November 1943, neither the projects nor the reports concerning the construction pertaining to the camp, contain anything about plans or construction of air raid shelters, and if Samuel Crowell does not trust my "authority" let him go to Moscow as I have done and examine the documents.

SC: "Argument 2. Parenthetically, Mattogno refers to a visit to Auschwitz by Oswald Pohl where a number of construction projects were approved, including the construction of 15 1-man "Splitterbunker." Mattogno claims that it does not appear that these projects were ever carried out.

SC: COMMENT: One can see pictures of the 1-man "Splitterbunker" on the Nizkor site, where they have resided for over a year."

CM: I wrote in this regard that it turns out that these projects were never carried out because the list of Bauwerke following the visit of Pohl does not mention them. I do not know the "pictures" of which Samuel Crowell writes, and cannot judge if they realistically pertain to these installations in Auschwitz-Birkenau. The question is marginal because we are dealing with installations which refer to 1944.

SC: "ARGUMENT 3. Mattogno calls the claim that there were numerous "Splitterbunker" for the prisoners "shaky."

SC: COMMENT: This ignores the fact that the anonymous individual who forwarded the three documents cited above assures VffG that his elder relative constructed these, meanwhile, the Allied raid of August 1944, killed 50 workers in one of these "trench shelters", so it is clear that they were built."

CM: For lack of documents, Crowell supports his argument with a second-hand testimony of an anonymous person! - therefore this is not serious. On the other hand, not ever having set a foot in Birkenau, Crowell necessarily ignores that in front of the barracks there is no trace of "Splitterbunker" for the prisoners - where have they gone?

SC: "ARGUMENT 4. Mattogno argues that the basement morgues in the crematoria would never have been designed as air raid shelters because otherwise there would exist many documents about this, and he hasn't seen any.

SC: COMMENT: There are two problems with this argument, the first being that Mattogno's authority to speak of the existence or non-existence of relevant documents was exploded in Argument 1. The second, more fundamental argument, is that he doesn't seem to appreciate that the adaptation of any given space - and particularly basements - to serve in a supplemental capacity as air raid shelters does not require much in the way of adaptation, except some rudimentary modifications such as gastight doors with peepholes."

CM: As I have shown, since Crowell argument number one is completely unfounded even if we reject my "authority." Samuel Crowell presents this as though I speak ex cathedra, and I do not. My statements are specifically documented and cited among the notes in the published study of the Zentralbauleitung, and since I have personally examined all the documents of the Auschwitz Zentralbauleitung preserved in Moscow (some 88,200 pages), it will be granted me to have acquired a somewhat different view of this subject than that of individuals such as Samuel Crowell who know some tens of second-hand documents. About this specific problem, a vast documentation exists about Birkenau crematoria, a great part of which is published by Pressac. Other than the plans and maps, accurate inventories ("übergabeverhandlung") and account books ("Bauausgabebuch" for Crematory III) also exist. The possible planning of air raid shelters in the "Leichenkeller" of the crematoria, since they would have occupied the same space, would have inevitably left some traces among this massive accumulation of documents, as happened for Crematory I, whose transformation to a "Luftschutzbunker für SS-Revier mit einem Operationsraum" is documented by the well-known plan of 21 September 1944, and furthermore by an "Erläuterungsbericht" and a "Kostenüberschlag" both dated 02 November 1944. In the documentation concerning the crematoria in Birkenau, there is no trace of planning or construction of air raid shelters in the "Leichenkeller", and that shows that the Crowell hypothesis is documentarily unfounded.

SC: ARGUMENT 5. Mattogno argues that air raid shelter provisions must have figured in the transfer documents for the crematoria.

SC: COMMENT: Once again, Mattogno presumes that the fitting out of a space as an air raid shelter is going to follow fixed and rigid guidelines. Yet, as the literature which I have quoted extensively in my articles makes clear, this is by no means the case. The only way in which air raid shelter provisions HAD to be described in terms of the transfer documents would be if their inclusion was essential to the operation of the crematoria. But no one has ever made that argument. Furthermore, many of the "criminal traces" refer to dates subsequent to the transfer documents."

CM: Samuel Crowell, not sure of his hypothesis, adjusts it to circumstances via an opportunistic methodology - when he opposes his hypothesis to Pressac, he speaks of an air raid shelter as an organic center, well-organized with "Luftschutzräume, Dekontaminationszentren",9 and even "einen Keller der zur Aufnahme von Gasverletzen gedacht ist"; 10 but when he needs to justify his hypothesis, his air raid shelter becomes even rudimentary. He uses this duplicity to evade a fundamental problem, which is that if the air raid shelter feature in the "Leichenkeller" is the result of a project designed to create mortuary rooms which could also be used as air raid shelters, then we expect that these shelters are conforming to the shelters described in the technical literature which I have cited, exactly as if a crematorium is projected as a crematorium, we expect that it be properly equipped - with a crematory oven, a mortuary room, and a dissection room. So if the equipment of air raid shelters does not appear at all in the "übergabeverhandlung" of the crematoria, then they (their "Leichenkeller") were also not projected as gas tight bomb shelters.

SC: "ARGUMENT 6. Mattogno argues that "undressing rooms" were not equipped with gastight doors.

SC: COMMENT: Since an undressing room's function is for the shedding of contaminated clothing, it is not clear why such a room would require gas-tightness in any case."

CM: Perhaps that would be true in the hypothesis of an improvised "Luftschutzbunker", but not in the case of an installation well-articulated with "Luftschutzräume", "Engiftungsanstalt", "Dekontaminationszentrum" - a refuge from gas poisoning that would have required the entire "Kellergeschoss" of the crematoria, and therefore the hermetic sealing of all its openings.

SC: "ARGUMENT 7. Mattogno argues that the morgue's ventilation capacity was inadequate for an air raid shelter.

SC: COMMENT: Once again, Mattogno ignores the data in the literature which discusses provisions for air raid shelter use with and without ventilation systems."

CM: Here again, Crowell plays on the ambiguity of the organic, well-equipped air raid shelter, and the rudimentary shelter. According to the technical literature I presented, a gastight bomb shelter by definition, is an installation equipped with ventilation facilities, filtering and air regeneration devices, etc. Otherwise we are confronted with a simple improvised refuge, which however, cannot in any way justify or explain away the Pressac "criminal indications."

SC: "ARGUMENT 8. Mattogno corrects the calculation of the capacity of the morgue at 4,800 cbm per hour, as opposed to twice that capacity that I cited from Pressac.

SC: COMMENT: Assuming that this is true, that still would not invalidate the use of the space as an air raid shelter, it simply means that fewer people could use it and for a shorter period of time."

CM: There is no need to "assume" that fact, it is enough to read the documents reproduced on pages 110 and 112 of my work Auschwitz: The End of a Legend (Institute for Historical Review). As to the use of Leichenkeller" as bomb shelters, Samuel Crowell uses the above mischaracterization once again. Here I need to clarify an essential point. Crowell attributes to me the "conclusion that the crematoria could never have functioned as air raid shelters" which is true if referred to standard shelters, but is false if referred to improvised refuges. That the "Leichenkeller" of the crematoria could have been used as improvised "Luftschutzbunker" is obvious, and that would have also been possible for a brief time without mechanical ventilation, but that does not have anything to do with the planning of "Luftschutzbunker" in the "Leichenkeller", because only this matter could give Samuel Crowell the illusion of being able to explain Pressac's "criminal indications."

SC: "ARGUMENT 9. Mattogno corrects my calculation of the morgue's volume, it was 499 cubic meters versus 525 as I roughly calculated.

SC: COMMENT: To be sure, forgetting to account for the volume occupied by the concrete columns in the morgue was a serious omission insofar as it allowed for an error of 5% in my calculation. This might be profitably compared to the 50% error in Mattogno's remarks by forgetting to address the issue of gastight doors with peepholes."

CM: This remark displays an attitude which can not tolerate being corrected - not even regarding absolutely certain data; here Crowell refers to an observation of mine - one written in an end note (!) and quite marginally, to show the reader in an "argument", the exact data on the ventilation problem! As to my alleged "50% error" I will return below.

SC: "SUMMARY OF ARGUMENTS 7, 8, 9: The volume of the morgue was 499 cubic meters. The rule of thumb is 1,5 meters per person per hour. This means that this morgue would still offer 2.5 hours air raid and gas protection even with no operating ventilation system for 200 people."

CM: Here again Crowell counters a claim I never made; I never denied that the "Leichenkeller" could have been used as improvised "Luftschutzbunker"; what I deny is that they were projected and also constructed as normal "Luftschutzbunker" - moreover, with this calculation, Samuel Crowell presents more evidence of his competence level in this field. According to the specialized literature, for the calculation of the staying time and the number of people in a "Luftschutzraum" in relation to the function of time and volume, the following formulae are used: (they also take into account the amount of carbon dioxide eliminated by each person in the breathing process):

t = 0,48 ________ and t = 0,48 ________

    v = capacity of the "Luftschutzbunker" in m3
    n = number of the occupants
    t = length of stay in hours.11

Besides, "the highest cubic volume of the occupants (75 dm3 per person) plus that of the existing material should be subtracted from the capacity of the shelter in cubic meters."12 Therefore from the theoretical 499 m3 should be subtracted (200 × 0,075 =) 15 m3, so the real volume would be (499 - 15=) 484 m3.

It follows that 200 people would have been able to stay in a "Leichenkeller" for 0.48 × 484 ÷ 200 = 1.16 hours (about 64 minutes).

Why Samuel Crowell chose 200 people in his example? Just for mere matter of convenience. If in fact the number of refugees were for instance 800, the staying time would get down to 16 minutes; if they were 1,200, the time would be 11 minutes. With the Crowell hypothesis, the ideal numbers would have been the highest, because at the beginning, before the alleged construction of "Luftschutzdeckungsgräben" for the prisoners (that did not take place before 16 November 1943), the "Luftschutzbunker" of the crematoria would have served for the camp prisoners as well, whose numbers were definitely abundant.

SC: "ARGUMENT 10. Mattogno makes three points about the ventilation system: (a) a filtration system places a load on the air conditioning system, (b) two separate systems are required, (c) the need to install the ventilation system in the bunker itself.

SC: COMMENT: They are good points and I tip my hat to Signor Mattogno here. However, they are not decisive. First, point (a) rests on an Italian configuration for ventilation systems, which has nothing to do with German "Schutzraumbelufter." Second, two separate systems are required: only under ideal conditions, otherwise greater or lesser levels of "Behelfsmässigkeit" (do it yourself-ness) are called for, as is noted continually in the literature quoted in my article. Finally, that the ventilation system was not connected to the morgue does not mean that a single bomb would suffocate the inhabitants of the morgue, it simply means that they would not be able to get air from it in the event of a direct hit on their ventilation system, a common enough situation confronted by, and dealt with by, the inhabitants of cities like Dresden and Hamburg."

CM: Once more Samuel Crowell plays with the ambiguity reported earlier - when he needs to explain Pressac's "criminal indications", his "Luftschutzbunker" is an "ideal" one, equipped with "Luftschutzraum", "Entgiftungsanstalt", "Dekontaminationszentrum", "Aufnahme von Gasverletzen" etc.; but when he needs to explain the technical difficulties which such a construction presents, he becomes "behelfsmässig." Regarding point (c), it is true that in case of interruption of the ventilation system, the people inside the "Leichenkeller" would have breathed the local air, but the staying time, as I explained above, would have been reduced by the number of persons, and in case of major nervousness, would have been a few minutes.

SC: "ARGUMENT 11. Mattogno argues that the presence of corpses would make the use of these space air raid shelters impossible.

SC: COMMENT: Presence of corpses would make the use of these spaces unsatisfactory for air raid shelters, the presence of corpses would make the use of these spaces equally unsatisfactory for sanitizing incoming inmates as Mattogno will ultimately argue. However, Mattogno ignores survivor evidence that indicates that prisoners were indeed taken to basements during air raids and moreover, according to Nyiszli, directly to the morgue in question. Indeed, Nyiszli specifies that the crematorium II Sonderkommando, 200 strong, took refuge in the "gas chamber" during air raids."

CM: Here again Samuel Crowell misrepresents my thesis which has nothing to do with "sanitizing incoming inmates." When I refer to "Entwesungsräume" I mean disinfestation chambers used for prisoners' clothing, not rooms for the sanitary treatment of new prisoners. I also point out that I have not written that the use of mortuary rooms as bomb shelters is impossible, but that the prospect of being closed for hours inside a gas tight room together with miasmic or infected corpses is not very inviting. And I do not believe that Samuel Crowell thinks so either, but Crowell's objection is decidedly puerile: since air raids were occurring with little warning, and the "Leichenkeller" could be full of miasmic or infected corpses, the use of the "Leichenkeller" as disinfestation chambers could be quietly programmed by the Standortverwaltung; for instance moving dead bodies into other crematoria.

Appealing to testimonies is pathetic, demonstrating a deficiency in the application of revisionist methodology, if not a deficient understanding of revisionism itself. Serious revisionists cannot accept the use of opportunistic testimonies: why must we believe Nyiszli when he tells us that during air raids, members of the Sonderkommando sheltered themselves inside the "gas chamber" but we don't have to believe Nyiszli when he tells us that in these gas chambers people were [murderously] gassed - and I summarily point out once more that Crowell hits a false target, improvised by himself, as though I ever proclaimed the impossibility of the use of a "Leichenkeller" as an impromptu "Luftschutzbunker."

SC: "ARGUMENT 12. Mattogno argues that "Vergasungekeller" does not mean a "cellar for treating those who have been gassed."

SC: COMMENT: On this point, and in light of the two documents he has put forward, I agree with him if he had read my other writings, particularly Defending Against the Allied Bombing Campaign and The Gas Chambers of Sherlock Holmes. In those places I have argued that "Vergasungskeller" would most normally refer to a "fumigation cellar" or, by extension, a "disinfection cellar", and I further point out that it was common for the Germans in World War II to adapt existing bathing and delousing establishments to double as gastight air raid shelters and gas warfare decontamination centers. This is what I mean when I say the entire premise to his argument is fallacious."

CM: My article refers exclusively to the Samuel Crowell article published in VffG December 1997.

SC: "ARGUMENT 13. Mattogno argues that the "Gasskammern" in Crematory IV and V could not have served as aboveground gas air raid shelters because a direct hit would have killed everyone.

SC: COMMENT: Obviously, a direct hit on most shelters by most bombs will kill everyone, just as a direct hit on a trench shelter in August 1944 killed everyone in that shelter. That does not mean however that during an air raid one should go running around the camp naked. Furthermore, Mattogno ignores the sizable evidence for above ground air raid shelters, for do-it-yourself shelters, as well as the reference to the numerous red lamps for these two crematoria which make no sense EXCEPT in the context of air raid darkening."

CM: Once more Crowell creates a false objective only to triumphantly counter it. Actually, I quoted a technical piece of text which refers specifically to a "direct hit." It is not so "obvious" that a bomb striking the roof of a "Luftschutzbunker" would kill all of its occupants: if the roof is made of reinforced concrete and is sufficiently thick - 80 cm according to the Attilio Izzo study - the shelter can hold out against a middle weight bomb falling from a normal bombing height (naturally in reference to the bombs in use during the Second World War). How can we seriously believe that Zentralbauleitung engineers planned and also installed an "air raid shelter" in Crematories IV and V, which had 25 cm thin walls and quite ordinary covering? A falling bomb on those crematories would have destroyed the roof and caused casualties without even exploding.

The objection that there existed "above ground air raid shelters" is absolutely irrelevant; I have never denied that. Why does Crowell not say anything of their structure? (I am certain that they did not have a "Heraklitplatten" roof - something which in Italy would be used to cover henhouses). In confirmation of that, I can add the fact that when Crematory I was transformed to "Luftschutzbunker" there immediately was added "eine Verstarkung von 38cm" of the walls. 13

SC: "ARGUMENT 14. Mattogno contends that "Drahtnetz-einschiebvorrichtung" and "Holzblenden" for Crematoria II could not have had anything to do with covering openings in an air shelter context because there were no such openings.

SC: COMMENT: Aside from the fact that the absence of document describing these four opening does not prove their non-existence, it would be helpful at this point if Signor Mattogno explained what these materials were for. The normal meaning of "Blende" is of a (vertical) shutter for an opening. The screens seem to have had an associated function. It seems likely that there where four openings - somewhere - for which these screens and shutters were designed. Otherwise why are they on the list? One thing is certain: wooden shutters and wire mesh screens are not common paraphernalia for delousing or disinfection chambers of any kind, although they are common for air raid shelters. As in many other places, Mattogno offers destructive criticism, but no constructive explanation."

CM: Unlike some others, I do not presume to know everything and to be able to explain everything; my explanations concerning my hypotheses are based upon the documents, and as to the case in question, I know of no document in reference to Auschwitz containing the terms "Drahtnetzeinshiebvorrichtung" and "Holzblenden," therefore up to this moment at which I write, I am not able to explain what these were; but one thing is certain - to expect to explain via a dictionary basis, is simply frivolous - as for one example of a dictionary-based explanation, a translator explained the expression of R. Höss "fünf 3-Kammer-öfen" (five 3-muffeled crematory ovens) as "five ovens of three rooms"! Crowell keeps silent about the fact that these devices, according to the document in which they are mentioned, refer to "Leichenkeller 2", which in his opinion did not need a gas-proof door (see argument 6) since it was merely a disrobing room; but then why did it now require these gas-tight devices? What was their use? And why did they not also exist in "Leichenkeller 1" which, nevertheless, had precisely one such gas-proof door? The lack of documents demonstrating the existence of openings in the ceiling of "Leikenkeller 2" do not prove their non-existence exactly as the non-existence of documents demonstrating that Samuel Crowell has eaten babies does not prove that he has not eaten them.

The truth of the accusation of "destructive criticism" is measured by the fact that Crowell himself devotes the conclusive part of his article to "Mattogno's Positive Contribution"! Naturally, faced with such duplicity, one needs to be necessarily destructive.

SC: "ARGUMENT 15. Mattogno argues that the "Fenstergitter" are not screens but rather "Gitterfenster", that is, not screens but iron bars.

SC: COMMENT: Whether Crematoria IV and V were equipped with screens, or with bars, or with grill-work, is not really relevant. What is more relevant is that the "little doors" for these two crematoria are identical in design to gastight Blende for air raid shelters and second, that gastight Blende are not part of the normal equipment for disinfection chambers. Furthermore, the number and the measures of the bars and/or screens he cited do not compare to the number and the measures of document I cited. It is therefore not obvious that "Fenstergitter" were "Eisengitter" in the first place."

CM: Samuel Crowell in his article maintains that «die Auschwitzer Auftragsnummer-Nr. 353 vom 27. April 1943 enthält folgende Bestellung: "12 Stücke Fenstergitter 50 x 70 cm", was allgemein als Drahtnetzgitter für jene 12 gasdichten Fenster (oder Türen) angesehen wird, die wir oben als identisch mit den Blenden und Holzblenden festgehalten hatten». He claims that Fenstergitter is synonymous with Drahtnetzgitter without giving any proof. I object that in the linguistic use of the documentation in which this Auftrag appears (the extracts of Jan Sehn from the register "Schlosserei WL" (WL= Werkstättenleitung) the word "Gitter" associated to a "Fenster" without further specification, undoubtedly means a grille with metallic bars, and this comes from the document I cited in the article which speaks about "Eisengitter" for "Fenster." It is not a case that the Auftrag of 03 March 1943 Nr.146 mentions "Drahtgittertore" in reference to two gates of the courtyard of Crematorium II that were interwoven with a metallic net. Therefore the devices which Samuel Crowell imagines, would have been called "Drahtgitterfenster", if not "Drahtnetzgitterfenster." Also, in his quotation of the aforesaid Auftrag Nr. 353 of 27 April 1943, Crowell forgets to mention "4 Stück Fenstergitter 50 x 100 cm" that evidently do not conform to his hypothesis. Thanks to this forgetfulness, he could affirm that the measurements of the devices mentioned in the two documents (the one quoted from Crowell and the other quoted from me) do not correspond. Both documents speak about 4 windows of 50 x100 cm. The following reasoning is another example of the Crowell whimsical methodology - after he has authoritatively established without any proof, the difference between "Fenstergitter" and "Gitterfenster" as synonyms for "Drahtnetzgitterfenster", he claims that the "gasdichte Türen" (30 x 40 cm) of Crematories IV and V were identical to "gas tight for air raid shelter Blende" and he then triumphantly concludes that "gas tight Blende are not part of the normal equipment for disinfection chambers." Then, as a prestidigitator, he replaces the first term ("gasdichte Türen") which appears in the Auftrag Nr.6 of 24 February 1943, with the second ("gas tight Blende") which has no documentary basis, and from this he finally arrives at his untenable conclusion. 14 In reality, the "criminal indications" which Crowell claims to explain, refer expressly to "gasdichte Türen", which on the contrary and obviously, "are part of the normal equipment for disinfestation chambers."

SC: "ARGUMENT 16. Mattogno argues that the "little doors" were closed from the outside, as evidenced by a photograph, and therefore could not have been used for air raid shelters.

SC: COMMENT: This was a puzzle to me, since the photo shows the "little doors" closing in one direction, while the close-ups of "little doors" in Pressac show the doors being held upside down, or it might mean that the larger photo of the Crematorium taken from a distance has an exposure error. It might also mean that the Germans, in the camps, violated a fundamental condition of establishing seals, as indicated in Scholle's book, which specified that the screens and other "Splittervorrichtung" had to go outside, with the shutters inside."

CM: It is clear that Crowell knows only of the poor reproductions of the photograph published by Pressac15 and has never seen the original photograph, which leaves no doubt about what I have written concerning the opening to the outside16 of the three small windows on the southern façade of the western part of Crematory IV (the one equipped with doors and gastight small windows). If Samuel Crowell has any doubt about this subject, he can get the original photograph. The reference is: Archives of the Museum of Auschwitz, negative no. 20995/465.

To support his hypothesis, Crowell claims an alleged similarity between these plants and those in Dachau and Neuengamme which have no relationship to the "gasdichte Türen" of Crematories IV and V in Birkenau.

SC: "ARGUMENT 17. Mattogno's argument that the "Gasprüfer" document is a forgery.

SC: COMMENT: Arguments that documents are forgeries are generally bootless unless one can explain in general who forged it, for what purpose, and how. Mattogno has done none of these things, and hence gives ammunition to those critics of revisionism who accuse us of dismissing as forgeries all inconvenient documents."

CM: As usual, in order to be able to object to something apparently meaningful, Crowell is forced to distort my reasoning. On this matter I simply wrote that in regard to the "Gasprüfer", Samuel Crowell doesn't propose anything and merely accepts the explanation - which in my opinion is unfounded - of A. Butz, and that is all. The burden of Crowell in this respect is easily comprehensible: he claims to explain ALL of Pressac's criminal indications, but he has nothing to say about the indication that Pressac himself considers the most important. Actually, "Gasprüfer", according to the meaning which Pressac gives to them, are fully justified in regards to a disinfestation chamber, but how can they be explained in regard to a "Luftschutzbunker"? What purpose did they fulfill?

Now to the usual rectification of the usual Crowell mischaracterizaton: In my article Die Gasprüfer von Auschwitz, which appeared in the March 1998 issue of VffG, I wrote that if the "Gasprüfer" actually designated equipment for testing residual gas (that equipment was called "Gasrestnachweisgerät"), the historical context I have delineated with the quotation of unpublished documents would justify the Robert Faurisson interpretation concerning disinfestation with Zyklon B in the "Leichenkeller" of Crematory II. From this point of view, Zyklon B could have been used for gas disinfestation; so that document is not "inconvenient" to my hypothesis, rather it would actually strengthen it. Therefore I could have easily accepted the Pressac explanation and could have used it in connection with the "Vergasungskeller" as proof that "Leichenkeller 1" of Crematory II was used as a disinfestation chamber. But the matter presents so much absurdity as to make me think the document is a falsification. I will be glad to correct this idea if Samuel Crowell will be able to explain the absurdities that I have listed on pages 17 and 18 of the aforementioned article.

Then Samuel Crowell presents a "Recapitulation of Mattogno's conclusions." Since it is a "recapitulation", I shall explain only those matters not included in his "comments." The first one starts as:

SC: "Absolutely no air raid protective measures were undertaken before the end of 1943.

SC: COMMENT: This is clearly wrong, and in context of the documents posted in January, 1998, a ridiculous assertion."

CM: Actually, if there is something "ridiculous", it is the Crowell hypothesis which:

    1) ascribes to me a postulation which is not mine;
    2) speciously interprets the documents to which he refers. Having already explained this matter in "Argument 1", enough time has been devoted to this Crowell duplicity.
On the third point Samuel Crowell states:

SC: "Crematoria IV and V not have functioned as air raid shelters because of their unprotected aboveground status.

SC: COMMENT: Mattogno does not explain why the "Gasskammern" of Crematories IV and V, the "Gaskammern" of Majdanek, and the Morgues of Crematories II and III were all equipped with concrete, and in most cases, reinforced concrete walls and ceilings. While it is true that delousing facilities should be sturdily constructed to retain heat, what purpose would a delousing facility have for reinforced concrete? On the other hand, a supplemental interpretation as an air raid shelter explains the point easily.

CM: Again Crowell presents more evidence of his competence level - regarding Crematoria IV and V - and my argument refers exclusively to them - I wrote that they had "ordinary walls made of bricks just 25 cm thick." The "Entwesungsanlage" of Majdanek, which however has nothing in common with Crematoria IV and V in Birkenau, was projected according to standard procedures regarding the construction of gassing chambers functioning with hydrocyanic acid. Concerning this matter I again point out that the Kostenanschlag of 10 July 1942 for the whole "Entwesungsanlage", foresaw a ceiling 12 cm thick ("Eisenbetondecke 12 cm stark") with an exterior clay layer 12 cm thick ("Lehmauffüllung 12 cm stark") as an insulating layer ("als Isolierschicht"). The walls were planned to be made of ordinary bricks ("Ziegelmauerwerk"). The "Entwesungsanlag Bauwerk XIIA" plan, dated "August 1942" shows a 15 cm thick ceiling made of reinforced concrete with an over layer 12 cm thick made of clay and the external walls of the plant present a thickness of 38 cm. The Standard disinfestation gas chambers functioning with hydrocyanic acid using a ("DEGESCH-Kreislauf-Anlage für Entlausung mit Zyklon-Blausäure") had a ceiling made up of:

and walls 38 cm thick (project by F. Boos dated 30.6.1942 for delousing gas chambers of the "Aufnahmegebäude" of Auschwitz). These kinds of installations still exist in various former German concentration camps, for instance in Dachau and in Buchenwald. Will Samuel Crowell now dare tell us that these gas chambers are also "Luftschutzbunker"? Therefore it is clear that he errs when he speaks about "concrete, and most cases, reinforced concrete walls" regarding the gas chambers of Majdanek and in Crematorium IV and V.

And then Crowell accuses me of not making any effort to documentarily verify his hypothesis:

"In this case, however, it seems clear that Signor Mattogno had made absolutely minimal effort in this direction." To this I reply that Mister Crowell, who knows nothing of my activities and writings, yet claims to judge my work, is indeed presumptuous - so I reply by reminding that this latest hypothesis from this latest revisionist, is nothing new whatsoever; it was propounded many years ago by people more competent than he, for example by engineer Pierre Marais, in his work En lisant de près les écrivains chantres de la Shoah, La Vieille Taupe, in 1991, and even before that, as Crowell himself remembers at the beginning of his article, this hypothesis was formulated by Wilhelm Stäglich in his Der Auschwitz-Mythos. Already when Pressac's first book about Auschwitz appeared in 1989, this hypothesis of air raid shelters as an explanation to the Pressac "criminal indications" was current among revisionists, and since then I have evaluated it. While in Moscow I researched all the Auschwitz Zentralbauleitung documentation and among my interests was also the verification of this hypothesis. Although I found hundreds of documents in Moscow relating to crematoria, among them there is not one single "indication" to support the "Luftschutzbunker" hypothesis. I am at good peace after the ridiculous accusations of Samuel Crowell.

In the second part of his article, titled "Mattogno's Positive Contribution", Crowell continues his systematic work of mischaracterizing the meaning of my arguments and even of the documents. Here is the astounding Crowell comment concerning the documents I published in my article regarding delousing chambers and crematoria:

SC: "These are excellent documents because they prove that the "Vergasungekeller" as well as the associated space in Crematorium III, were equipped with showers, as well as hot air delousing installations strongly supports the notion that they were not, and could not have been used for gassing."

CM: How Samuel Crowell can deduce the existence of "showers" from the simple mentioning of "2 Topf Entwesungsöfen für das Krema II" and of a "Entwesungsanlage" remains a mystery. There is no doubt that a disinfestation procedure by "Entwesungsöfen" can be achieved by means of hot air rather than by means of hydrocyanic acid, but "Entwesungsanlage" also work with hydrocyanic acid. I know that the official denomination of the disinfestation plant functioning with hydrocyanic acid in Majdanek was an "Entwesungsanlage." As I explained in my article, the "Entwesungsöfen" were installed in the Zentralsauna, so that the central point of the matter is the "Entwesungsanlage." The "positive" part of my article is written to "understand the intentions of the Zentralbauleitung of Auschwitz and to reconstruct the general historical situation" in which the Pressac "indications" were developed, without having to formulate any specific hypotheses. Undoubtedly, the Crowell hypotheses, on a documentary basis, are not a part of this historical situation. Samuel Crowell seems instead to understand little about this historical environment as well as my purpose, and accuses me of skipping those details that were outside the general theme of my article. Considering the insistence with which Crowell remarks on this point, I shall reply to this matter, since it seems to have fundamental importance in his opinion. Crowell states:

SC: "HOWEVER, Mattogno, by failing to say even one word about the gas tight doors with peepholes falls into the trap laid by Pressac. He still cannot explain what such a door would be doing in a space containing showers."

CM: Actually it is Samuel Crowell who is caught by the Pressac trap, and both of them ignore the fact that the "gas tight doors" were commonly used in Birkenau; they were installed not only in the hot air "Entwesungsanlage" in the gypsy camp (BW 32), but in all hygienic places of BW 5a and 5b ("Sauna", "Entwesungsapparat", "Entwesungskammer", "Desinfektion"), and of course in the "Gaskammer" working with hydrocyanic acid. Therefore if a simple sauna needed gas tight doors ("2 Stuck Gasdichte Türen 100/200 für die Sauna"),17 is it really surprising that a similar door was installed in the shower room?

Recapitulating, I do not disagree with the hypothesis of the double (or triple) function of the "Leichenkeller" in Birkenau which Samuel Crowell attributes arbitrarily to me when he writes that "the morgues were not either air raid shelters or disinfestation chambers, but rather, both." It is clear that he misunderstood what I had written. The "Leichenkeller" of the crematoria were surely planned and built as "Leichenkeller", and this was the principal purpose of their construction. Pressac's "indications", in particular the one relating to the "Vergasungskeller", induce one to believe that since the beginning of 1943 the Zentralbauleitung thought to adapt the "Leichenkeller" to use them also as provisional and supplementary disinfesting gas chambers. That does not mean that these places could not be used (for a certain number of people for a certain period of time) also as "Luftschutzbunker", but I can assert with certainty that this additional function did not affect the outfitting of these places at all. In other words, Pressac's "indications" have nothing to do with "Luftschutzbunker."

Historical revisionism has little necessity for hobby improvisations based upon photographic comparisons or vocabulary definitions, but rather there exists greater need for more scientific research based upon the study of documents and upon on-site inspections; and while there is no great necessity for improvisational writings, there will always be a need for more competent researchers to go into the archives for the research of documents.

                                                                                                Carlo Mattogno.


  1. Annales d'Histoire Revisionniste, 1, Printemps 1987, p.14.

  2. L'Amt C/V, Zentralbauinspektion.

  3. In my article I inadvertently wrote "Jothan."

  4. The "Indication" concerning "Vergasungskeller" re-occurs on 29 January 1943.

  5. Standortbefehl Nr. 53/43 dated 23 November 1943.

  6. Jerzy Debski, Tablice obozowe zródlem do historii KL Auschwitz (The Indexed Tables of the Camp as a Source for the History of KL Auschwitz), in: Zeszyty Oswiecimskie, 21 1995, pp. 171-173.

  7. See in this regard, pages 39-43 of my study La "Zentralbauleitung der Waffen-SS und Polizei Auschwitz." Edizioni di Ar, 1998.

  8. Vorhaben: Kriegsgefangenenlager Auschwitz (Durchführung der Sonderbehandlung). The Prague Archives of Military History.

  9. VffG, December 1997, p. 240.

  10. Idem, p. 234.

  11. Attilio Izzo, Guerra chimica e difesa antigas. (Chemical Warfare and Antigas Defense) Hoepli, Milano 1935, pp. 246-247.

  12. Idem, p. 246, Note 78.

  13. Erläuterungsbericht dated 2 November 1944.

  14. This conjuring trick serves also to create a connection equally arbitrary with the "Holzblende" of Crematory II.

  15. Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers. New York 1989, p. 417.

  16. This signifies that the closing devices for the doors were located on the external side of the "gasdichte Türen", which therefore could close only from the outside as is clearly shown in the photographs of these little shutters by Pressac (Auschwitz, pp. 426-428). These photographs show that these shutters were fitted into a frame to only swing open out and not in; recessed to a receptive frame joint: if they were installed contrarily, they would open against the interior and not against the exterior. Therefore these shutters, which were the same as the gas tight doors of the "Entwesungsanlage" of Majdanek, could not have closed from the inside, and this fact alone demolishes the Crowell hypothesis.

  17. Arbeitskarte dated 13 November 1942, Auftrag Nr. 2433 for BW 5a.