Remember a few weeks ago when I posted a reprint of my review of David Cole's Republican Party Animal -- the review that originally ran in Inconvenient History? Remember where, in my introductory remarks, I expressed mild surprise that David had not acknowledged the review? That was rather self-important of me, wasn't it? Yes, it was.
Well, no matter. Not long after the post went up I received a note from David. He explained that he had been set back by personal matters over the past year and that he was only beginning to regain his footing. He offered to submit a response if I wanted to run it. I said sure, that I'd be happy to post such a response. I assured him I would run it in long form, right here on The Hoover Hog where it's all but guaranteed to go unnoticed.
So I received David's submission a few days later. It's a real humdinger. Reading it through, I was reminded that David is a very smart guy, and a pretty damn entertaining writer. I was also reminded that he's the kind of guy for whom open debate is a full-contact sport. That's not how I prefer to play, but I set up the pieces and I won't complain.
As attentive readers would expect, David's rebuttal banks off of the substantive points of criticism that I raised by reference to a small section from Samuel Crowell's The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes and Other Writings on the Holocaust, Revisionism, and Historical Understanding (the Nine-Banded Books edition, which you can download for free HERE). While David has kind words for me, he's pretty rough on my friend Crowell. I suppose that's the way it goes with these things. Sticks and stones. It can only be useful, in any case, to have some criticism of Crowell's work on file since his book has received little attention -- critical or otherwise -- to date.
Am I going to reply to David? And what about Samuel Crowell? Is the elusive "negationist" (as Robert Robert Jan van Pelt dubbed him) going to fire off his own contrapuntal missive in rejoinder to David's rebuttal of my summary of Crowell's relevant argument in my review of David's book?
Speaking for myself, I think I will have a few things to say at some point. But not now. For one thing, it would be bad form. But I'm also very busy with other stuff, far removed from Holocaust history. I will say that I think David raises some interesting points. I think he is wrong to characterize Crowell as a "denier," but it's also clear that he's casting a wider net so ... whatever. I don't think he has stolen the show from those (including me and my pal) who, unicorns notwithstanding, continue to regard that remaining third of the extermination narrative with qualified skepticism.
As for Crowell, I gave him a heads-up. He said he may respond eventually, but he's dealing with personal matters of his own right now. He is also focused, as much as time permits, on finishing his next book, William Fortyhands: Disintegration and Reinvention of the Shakespeare Canon, which Nine-Banded books will proudly publish, hopefully later this year.
Oh, my. I've gone on far too long, haven't I? Yes, I have. This was supposed to be a one paragraph introduction to the invited remarks of an honored guest. I'm a bad host. I'll shut up.
Unicornville and the Holocaust Deniers
By David Cole
I was sadly remiss last year in not responding to Chip Smith’s excellent review of my book, which appeared on Inconvenient History. I’ve known Chip (through correspondences) for nearly twenty years, and he put a great deal of work into analyzing my book. What resulted was a very thoughtful, literate, and detailed review. I should have publicly expressed my gratitude, and responded to the section in which he examined my Holocaust conclusions, but the time constraints due to personal matters that plagued the entirety of my 2014 made that a daunting task.
Chip’s a good guy, and I want to express my gratitude for the time he put into writing that review. It was a genuinely good piece of work; I’m grateful.
In his review, Chip recommended that I take a look at a new (as in, added for the Nine-Banded Books edition) section in Samuel Crowell’s The Gas Chambers of Sherlock Holmes:
For what it’s worth, the relevant discussion is framed in the seldom-read fourth part of Crowell’s book, “The Holocaust in Retrospect,” where – I’m trying to save everyone time here – the most succinct statement of an “alternate explanation” (though Crowell would probably call it an “interpretation”) is advanced in the fifth section, “Aktion Reinhardt and the Legacy of Forced Labor,” beginning at page 339. Without wading too deep into the morass, Crowell offers a contextual reading of several key documents to support the revisionist position that “Aktion Reinhardt was about wealth seizure and SS control of Polish Jews, chiefly for labor purposes: It was not about mass murder.”
I devoted thousands of words last year to explaining my position regarding the “Reinhardt” camps. However, Chip is a gentleman, and, out of respect, I took a look at the section he pointed to (the rest of Crowell’s work I read a good long time ago). Please bear in mind that regardless of any criticisms I have of Crowell’s work, I’m glad that someone like Chip is there to publish those kinds of books. The world needs guys (especially publishers) with Chip’s dedication to free speech and open debate.
Having said that...
I can sum up my problem with Crowell’s conclusions in one word: “Brazil.”
Crowell presents section VII of a report that Globocnik prepared for Himmler (dated early January 1944):
VII. The office is considering giving to relocated persons a certificate of what they will have left behind in the way of houses, farms, livestock and belongings of which inventory may be made, without, however, making any commitment for an obligatory compensation thereof. The future will decide whether such compensation must ensue some day in Brazil or in the Far East. It is only necessary to give transferred persons the feeling that there will ensue, later on, an indemnity for possessions left behind.
Crowell’s commentary? “The missing paragraph (section VII) supports the idea that the deportees are still living. On the other hand, since Globocnik’s report also includes some discussion of ethnic German and Polish population movements, one could argue that this paragraph pertains to them. However, the reference to future compensation in places like Brazil and the Far East presupposes emigration, and therefore I am fairly certain that Globocnik had in mind the future claims of plundered Polish Jews.”
Crowell’s “fair certainty” that the reference to Brazil points to Polish Jews instead of ethnic Poles shows why his work is of such limited value. Crowell is not a historian. He’s a “Gas Chamber Guy.” “Gas Chamber Guys” are a unique breed of limited-purpose researchers who know nothing of the WWII era beyond a stretch of rebar and a sampling of mortar.
Gas Chamber Guys had their day. Thanks in no small part to me, we all know about windows and manholes and door locks and nonexistent blue stains. Great. But Gas Chamber Guys are worthless when it comes to examining aspects of the Holocaust in which there is no rebar to examine and no mortar for chemical analysis.
Back in the early ’90s, I was on the road to becoming a Gas Chamber Guy, and I decided against it. And now, like a former street gang member lecturing inner-city kids about the dangers of gang life, I’m here to tell Gas Chamber Guys that they’re on a one-way path to irrelevance. It’s a bad life, man. Leave the rebar and mortar behind and git yo’self an education! Be a real historian. Learn more about the big picture.
Because if Crowell had any knowledge of European history, he’d know that pre-war Poland had a policy of colonization in Brazil that consisted of sending ethnic Poles, primarily farmers, to create Polish “colonies.” It was seen as the only way a nation like Poland could get into the colonial racket (lacking the military might of, say, England). This was not a case of expelling unwanteds (i.e., the Nazis’ Madagascar plan for Jews). Just the opposite. The idea was to send Poland’s best and brightest to stake out land, much of which was purchased by Poland’s Maritime and Colonial League. So successful were these ventures, Brazil’s leaders began putting limits on Polish expansion, because they were perceptive enough to see Poland’s larger scheme.
By 1938, Brazil was tied with the U.S. for having the largest number of Polish immigrant “settlers” outside Europe. To this day, Brazil ranks second to the U.S. with the largest number of people of Polish descent outside Europe.
That Globocnik would mention Brazil in his cynical attempt to give “transferred persons the feeling” that one day, in the future, they’ll receive compensation for things like farms and livestock specifically points to the fact that he was referring to ethnic Polish farmers (who were being pushed out by ethnic Germans). To an ethnic Polish farmer in 1944, invoking Brazil would make sense regarding a future location where he might reclaim the livelihood and property the Nazis took. Crowell gets it completely backwards, because he doesn’t know history. He knows rebar like a sonofabitch. But history? Not so much.
Am I being hard on him? Sure, the same way I was hard on myself back in ’94, when I finally wrangled me a girlfriend who had an all-encompassing love of history, and I found myself sputtering to answer certain questions beyond door locks, windows, and fucking rebar. I stopped doing talk shows and lectures, and started spending a lot more time in archives.
Crowell’s inability to understand the meaning of the Brazil reference aside, there are other equally important things he misses about that Globocnik report.
In the “Brazil” section of the report, Globocnik is not speaking about Jews. Elsewhere in the report, when Globocnik does speak about Jews, he says so. However, in section VII he is referring to “fremdvölkischen,” a neat little term the Nazis used to refer to native people who were now classified as “foreign” in their own lands (an important semantic step ahead of the process of Germanization and colonization).
Even Graf, Mattogno, and Kues admit that the Globocnik report demonstrates the fact that “the resettlement entrusted to Globocnik was not limited to Jews, but comprised Poles and Ukrainians as well” (Sobibor, page 250).
Alright, enough about that. Next point? Crowell interprets the Korherr Report in a way that defies all logic:
The motive for the report: Himmler wished to present a short report to the Führer showing how the Government General of Poland was now free of Jews; that is the clear import from a comparison of the short report and the longer one. In the same manner, the number of Polish Jews remaining, about 300,000, corresponds precisely to the benchmark that Himmler indicated in July 1942 that he wanted to achieve by the end of the year. In other words, there was a powerful incentive for the numbers in this report to be cooked.
In other words, the figures of “evacuees” are high and remaining Jews low because Himmler wanted to “cook the books” to look good to Hitler.
That’s just asinine. The first version of the report, the lengthy, detailed one, was for Himmler’s eyes only. Upon receiving it, he specifically forbade it being distributed further. So, according to Crowell, Himmler told Korherr to phony up a report so that Himmler could read the phony report and then sit on it and show no one. That’s just loony. That’s as bad as the deniers who try to get around fully authenticated and very uncomfortable passages in Goebbels’ diary by claiming that Goebbels was lying to himself in his own diary.
There was an episode of Popeye, back in the Fleischer days, in which he encounters a lookalike. In a quest to see which “Popeye” gets to eat the hamburgers Olive Oyl has prepared, the fake Popeye tricks the real one with confusing wordplay, prompting the real Popeye to exclaim, “Oooh, I fooled me!”
This has now become a standard denier device. Whenever someone in the know like Himmler or Goebbels writes something privately or secretly that goes against denier orthodoxy, the standard response is to exclaim “he fooled himself.” Sad. Stupid.
In fact, Himmler requested the Korherr Report for the exact reason Korherr stated in the letter in which he acknowledged having been instructed to prepare a short condensation of the main report for Hitler. The goal was to report “which Jews are working for the war effort, which are in concentration camps, which are in the Ghetto for the Elderly and which are partners in privileged mixed marriages, so that the remainder are thereby available for immediate evacuation.” (Korherr to Brandt, 4/19/1943)
Clear enough? You want chemtrail skywriting to spell it out for you? The report had a goal. There it is. And, as is painfully obvious from that tell-tale sentence, the “evacuees” were not classified as Jews in camps or Jews working for the war effort or Jews in Theresienstadt or Jews with exemptions. As Korherr states in the long version of his report, they are classified as “departed.” The point of the report was to determine how many Jews not involved in labor and not exempted by age or marital status could be “immediately evacuated.”
Korherr is blunt in the aforementioned Brandt letter that it’s very difficult to get exact figures. If Crowell’s ambitious bit of nonsense about Korherr cooking the books at Himmler’s insistence is true, why show any concern over the difficulty of being exact, if the numbers are just BS anyway?
Common sense 1, Crowell 0.
Crowell’s other attempt to cast doubt on the Korherr Report involves the apparent fact that Franke-Gricksch found more Jews in Lublin than Korherr’s “estimated” figure of 20,000. Crowell needs to learn to read things a bit more carefully. Korherr quite clearly states that regarding his Lublin figures, “Not included are the Jews accommodated in the concentration camps Auschwitz and Lublin within the scope of the evacuation action.”
In other words, the fact that there were more Jews in Lublin than enumerated in the report is quite clearly stated in the report. That Franke-Gricksch found more Jews than Korherr “estimated” only proves the accuracy of the report and the honesty of its author.
By the way, the meaning of “Jews accommodated in the concentration camps Auschwitz and Lublin within the scope of the evacuation action” is an interesting topic for debate. Way more interesting than Crowell’s desperate nonsense about Himmler asking Korherr to cook the books so that Himmler could fool Himmler with cooked figures requested by Himmler for a report that only Himmler would see. I mean, that’s just nutty.
Korherr’s figure of “evacuees,” of “departed” Jews that are not accounted for in ghettoes, camps, work enterprises, or emigration, might be off by tens of thousands. But with a figure of almost 2.5 million human beings, take away even a few hundred thousand and you still have a massive number of people to be accounted for.
And deniers can’t account for them. They have no alternate theory to debate. I have made this point again and again.
So you know what? I’ll just turn Bradley Smith’s own language around on you guys. Bradley’s demand, repeated endlessly over the decades: “Where’s the budget? Where’s the budget for the Holocaust?”
If you think that the “evacuees” were sent someplace to be resettled, to be kept alive, to be fed, clothed, and housed for three years until the end of the war, where’s the budget for that? “Where’s the budget” is no longer lookin’ like a great talking point, is it, Smith? I mean, if you take nearly 2.5 million people on a one-way trip to being killed, the “budget” won’t necessarily have to be so big. I mean, you won’t have to take into account lodging, food, clothes, medical treatment, etc.
But caring for 2.5 million people for three years? Uh, dudes, there’ll have to be a pretty large fucking budget for that. And whereas it’s plausible to say that the mass murders during the Reinhardt period were paid for “off the books” because it was an operation so secret that Goebbels in his own diary stated that it should not be spoken of in detail, if the “evacuees” were treated with kindness and compassion, why hide that budget?
I guess I’m just sayin’, if you expect to see a “budget” for a secret and short-term murder program, why don’t you expect to see a budget for the long-term care and feeding of almost 2.5 million “evacuated” Jews? It’s insane to expect a budget for one and not the other.
So where’s the budget, man? Think of the expenses...food shipped to the “relocation town,” or “resettlement village,” or call it what you will (since it’s fictional anyway, I might as well call it “Unicornville”). Clothes, housing, medical supplies, sanitary facilities, running water, etc. Funny, but there are documents concerning the feeding and medical care of concentration camp inmates, and documents concerning the care and feeding of the Hungarian Jews sent to Auschwitz in ’44. But no documents, not one, concerning almost 2.5 million “evacuees” sent to Unicornville in 1942?
Not one? So the Nazis meticulously kept records of food (literally down to calculating calories, and literally down to Himmler suggesting meals for Hungarian Jewish women) and medical care for the camp inmates, but no documents covering the same concerns for Unicornville and its millions of residents?
Where are records of the shipment of supplies to Unicornville? Where are the records of the deployment of guards? Internal memos and coded transmissions about security concerns or black market trading (which we have for the camps, the General Government ghettoes, and the Ostland ghettoes)?
See, wherever Jews were kept alive, the Nazis kept records. Wherever Jews were kept alive, things like food, medicine, guards, security concerns, and black marketeering concerns were recorded. And no single camp would have had the enormous population of Unicornville.
Yet not a single document for Unicornville exists.
Shit, it seems to me there’s not one bit of evidence that Unicornville ever existed. Whereas, as I’ve painstakingly pointed out before, there’s plenty of evidence from contemporaneous documents that death was the ultimate destination of the majority of Reinhardt “evacuees.”
I am no longer going to debate the existence of Unicornville. It’s not up to me to prove it doesn’t exist; it’s up to the deniers to show evidence that it did. And if your point is, “Dave, don’t be silly. There wasn’t one resettlement reservation, there were probably several of them,” then show me proof of at least one Unicornville.
And thus endeth my lecture. So remember, kids, all you young punks who wanna be Gas Chamber Guys because you think it’ll earn you respect, esé, because you think it’s cool, pachuco, it ain’t, man. Cuz I was there, and I’ma tellin’ you, it’s a nowhere road. Stay in school, learn to read, respect your moms and your elders, and don’t try to kidnap Elie Wiesel. Peace out!
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David Cole is the author of Republican Party Animal: The "Bad Boy of Holocaust History" Blows the Lid Off Hollywood's Secret Right-Wing Underground. He is also a semi-regular columnist at Taki's Magazine. His archived writings may be perused at his website, countercontempt.com.