The Holocaust—Listening to both sides

The controversy at The Occidental Observer about the Holocaust has continued since my last entries in this blog mentioning it. It has now reached 700+ comments at TOO and it might reach 800.

Below I reproduce two opposite book-reviews from Amazon Books about Thomas Dalton’s Debating the Holocaust: A New Look At Both Sides.

Attorney speaks:

As a skeptic of both sides of the Holocaust debate I’ve long hoped for a book that would shed light where there was only heat. Debating the Holocaust comes as close as I can hope for, and it is a remarkable accomplishment.

Rather than writing a review longer than the book itself, I’ll just first note that with Thomas Dalton’s book, the biggest single problem has finally been addressed: that it has been impossible to grasp the big picture of the holocaust because of the incoherence of the story.

The goals of Nazi policy, the means by which it was ordered and carried out, major events and where they happened (nobody really knows where the burial and cremation grounds of Chelmno are), the technical challenges that would come with a mass extermination effort, even something as basic as the death totals; nothing about the Holocaust story is consistent from one source to another. Over the decades figures, testimonies and documents have been exaggerated, reduced, misrepresented, changed or even disappeared, and in many cases with the obvious goal of keeping certain details a mystery so that awkward questions don’t come up (Saul Friedländer: I’m talking to you!). When Dalton writes that he found “a Holocaust story in tatters” he simply states the truth, and it is easy to see why two important historians, Michel De Bouard and Jean-Claude Pressac, remarked that the historical record of the Holocaust is “rotten”.

To deal with this, Dalton introduces a remarkable (and easy!) analytic tool which he calls the death matrix, a technique that combines various tables into a single analytic field that clearly demonstrates the properties of any account of the six alleged extermination camps. It can be done by anybody who has a spreadsheet option on his or her computer. Not unique to Dalton, it’s a common tool in several technical fields, and you have to wonder why anti-revisionist John Zimmerman, who is a professor of accounting and has to use similar tools in transaction analysis, never used it in his various refutations.

For the reader, this means a book where you have to take pen to paper and do some homework of your own, but that is a refreshing change to Holocaust books which don’t just ask but demand that you swallow whatever they say without question.

Dalton’s results when he applies his death matrix are clear, transparent and easily understood, but Dalton clearly states that certain data rests on questionable assumptions and that his use of the tool is preliminary and needs refinement (I could already suggest a revision where Dalton credits Krema II at Auschwitz with cremating 11,000 bodies at a time when it was out of service, the six weeks from the beginning of May through June 12 of 1943). It’s a terrific tool, something that becomes clear when the tables reveal that the combined work of exhumations and cremations at Belzec had no choice but to run at a rate of 92,000 per month. That’s better than 3,000 per day, 125 per hour, a corpse dug out of the ground and thawed and burned to fragments and ground to powder every 30 seconds; and on wooden pyres in the dead of a Polish winter when weather conditions would have frozen the ground rock-solid and rendered many days impossible for work.

That account is ridiculous; whatever the truth is, it’s something else. Why didn’t somebody think of this technique before?

Avoiding the dreary name-calling, Dalton divides the two camps into “traditionalists” and “revisionists”, and then divides the revisionists into the “agitators” and “academics”. Another good idea where ideas are sorely needed; when it comes to the revisionists Dalton intelligently ignores the “agitators” and concentrates on the solid arguments of the academics. Revisionists who have made it some sort of holy crusade to challenge the Holocaust will not be happy with this book. Dalton clearly states that the Holocaust cannot be dismissed as a hoax, a fraud or a conspiracy (the financial exploitation of it and the loathsome criminalization of challenging it are another matter). Something awful happened, but exactly what it was, and how it fits into the even bigger picture of the Second World War is impossible to determine with the history that we have.

As accessible as a book that addresses technical issues can be, Debating the Holocaust would make an excellent high school textbook, teaching young people about the story while challenging them to accept nothing until they’ve applied their own brains to it. Certainly a better choice than The Diary of Anne Frank, a book which has nothing in it about the Holocaust but nevertheless is required (forced?) reading on the subject.

While my review lists five stars, I’m actually giving it four and a half, with half a star taken off for listing a large percentage of the deaths at Majdanek as “natural causes” in one of the tables. This is insensitive to say the least. In their 2003 book on the camp (one of only two studies ever made!) revisionists Carlo Mattogno and Jurgen Graf, no defenders of the Holocaust, are themselves aghast at the way some 40,000 people died slow deaths of exposure standing in the open, sewage soaked fields. These are not “natural causes”. As a police worker I know that “Official Indifference” is a crime that American police, fire and rescue workers can be charged with, so even if the Nazis didn’t intend to kill these people they are responsible, at the very least, for mass manslaughter.

With that unfortunate beauty mark addressed, I can finish with a preview of Dalton’s epilogue, which is depressing. Dalton points out that there is an appreciable amount of common ground between traditionalists and revisionists; no academic revisionist has ever denied that tragic atrocities happened, and the best (and bravest) traditionalists have themselves noted that there is something terribly wrong with the history, which suggests that a combined effort between the two camps holds an excellent possibility of finally bringing to light a clear and coherent picture of what the events of the 1940’s really were.

But it ain’t gonna happen. As B’nai Brith director Ian Kadegan ominously crows, “The memory of the Holocaust is central to The New World Order”, and goes on to obscenely call it “Western Civilization’s greatest failure” (that would actually be the Congo Corvée, something that only die-hard Mark Twain fans have heard about). The traditional story of the Holocaust is a multi-billion dollar cash cow that enriches some of the most corrupt institutions on Earth, and has truly become an idolatrous religion that too many people are staked in. If the traditional story falls, not only reputations and livelihoods but power will be lost, for the traditional Holocaust story is used as a club to dictate what morality is by people who have no authority to do so, and to intimidate them not to question that authority.

Which means reading this book may actually qualify as a revolutionary act. The enemies of free speech can exact a price, but they can’t stop you. That’s why the right is called unalienable. Not even God can take it away. Thanks for the book Thomas.

Prosecutor speaks:

While this book definitely raises a few interesting points, the problem with it starts right on the cover. Thomas Dalton does not exist, and thus, has no verifiable Ph.D. or teaching record in any university.

In fact, the evidence suggests that Michael Santomauro, the editorial director of Thesis and Dissertations Press, is probably the author (and he has no Ph.D, meaning the entire description of Thomas Dalton’s “career” is a fabrication). Thesis and Dissertations Press is owned by Castle Hill Publishers, which was founded by a long time Holocaust opponent, Germar Rudolf. So in the interest of full disclosure, when you buy this book, 1/3 of the profits go to Germar Rudolf, whose full-time agenda is to refute the holocaust by any means necessary (an “agitator” in the parlance of this book).

No one can read the things Michael Santomauro has written and believe for a minute that he is a neutral observer simply examining all side of the issue. Mr. Santomauro is the publisher, and probably the author, of this book, and yet, if you go to the last page of reviews, you will find him reviewing his own book without disclosing any of this information (under the title “Banned in 15 countries”). This, at the very least, is intellectual dishonesty, and should cast serious doubt on the “neutral analysis” claim of the book.

So be forewarned, a book with this much deception on the cover is not going to present all sides of the issue fairly. In my opinion, this is a very carefully constructed attack on the holocaust which presents carefully constructed arguments for the holocaust, then skillfully, craftily and systematically takes them apart. The problem is that it does not present all of the evidence for the holocaust, it carefully slants claims about the holocaust, leaves out critical bits of information (such as the fact that over three million of the “six million” Jews who died in World War II concentration camps have been identified by name, and more names are being tracked down and verified each year), and builds very careful straw men (Hitler issued a written order to exterminate the Jews), then knocks them down (can’t find the written order), all while ignoring evidence from mouths of Hitler’s own men that such a program, with or without written orders from Hitler, did exist.

Another example of the “neutrality” of this book: Zyklon B is a pesticide used to kill lice, not to exterminate people. True, but then what are we to make of the statements of Rudolf Hoss, the director of Auschwitz, when he told how they used the Zyklon B to kill people, paraphrased here:

There were 2 bunkers, and between them they held about 2000 people. The doors were screwed shut and solid pellets of Zyklon B were dropped into the chambers through vents, releasing the Zyklon B gas. About one third of the victims died immediately (presumably those closest to the vents), and everyone within was dead in about 20 minutes.

If Zyklon B was not used to kill people, then why did the director of Auschwitz give a very detailed account of how they did use it to kill people? Was he also conspiring to promote the “myth” of the holocaust?

It is true that there are some problems with some of the things said about the holocaust, but the problems are not as glaring as this book makes out. It is possible, for example that only 4 or 5 million Jews died, not 6 million (as 3 million are already documented), but would that really make this less of a holocaust if Hitler and his regime only succeeded in hunting down and murdering 4 or 5 million? While there may be some over-estimates on the part of the Holocaust survivors (not actually proven, by the way), there is extreme under-estimates taking place in this book.

Just beware, as this book is not even remotely as fair and balanced as the 5 star reviews here would lead us to believe. Only those who don’t actually know the facts of the holocaust will be swayed by this book. To those aware of the independent research, filmed and photographic evidence, and the true historical record found in hundreds, maybe thousands of well-researched reports, this comes off as nothing more than one of the most carefully crafted attacks on the holocaust ever to make it into print.

Although I’m not sure this book deserves it, it will be interesting to see if anyone takes the time to do a thorough rebuttal. I, for one, would love to see that, if only to eliminate, once and for all, the idea that this book is even remotely neutral, balanced or fair.

My comment:

In the Amazon Books site a scholarly controversy continued in the comment section of this particular review.

Incidentally, I won’t discuss the details in the comment section of this blog. I am no expert on the topic and have not even read Dalton’s book.

Taking into account my courtroom analogy in my aggregations at The Occidental Observer, my sole purpose here is to show what would be an actual “listening” of the evidence or lack thereof on both sides of the debate. (The debate at TOO is replete of personal attacks and even ad hominems.)

Those who want to debate the details of Holocaust claims and counter-claims may be interested to visit the Amazon reviews of the book and post their opinions there. Here my only point is to show how difficult it is for the layman to side either the “attorney” or the “prosecutor” without actual listening to their whole, technical presentation in a “courtroom” (something that could take months as in the O.J. Simpson trial and even that is no assurance of a fair verdict).

2 Replies on “The Holocaust—Listening to both sides

  1. I never said I disagreed with you on the necessity of neutral scholarly debates to find the truth on something, Caesar.

    (I tend to disagree with you on the necessity for everyone to research everything in a scholarly manner, because it is terribly time-consuming. Ad hominem and instinct, Alex Linder-style, can be suitable ersatzes.)

    What offended and irritated me greatly is your underlying supposition that Holo deniers have not looked at each side of the coin, while Holo conformists have. Is it because the latter have PhDs and university chairs, and are therefore supposed to be more serious?

    1. “What offended and irritated me greatly is your underlying supposition that Holo deniers have not looked at each side of the coin, while Holo conformists have.” (emphasis added)

      I neved claimed this.