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Tags general discussion , holocaust , holocaust denial , World War II history

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Old 16th January 2018, 12:46 PM   #441
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Guys, no need to convince me of anything. I believe people were murdered and cremated on railroad tracks in Treblinka, tens and tens of thousands of them.

I don't believe that children were torn in half (barehanded), that 30,000 people were gassed in one day and that open air cremations left only ashes.
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Old 16th January 2018, 01:06 PM   #442
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Sometimes I struggle with the notion that in the year 2018, we've still got people who deny that the holocaust happened, and then I remember that we've got a new trend in flat-earth theories and a fresh crop of we didn't land on the moon folk. Then I sort of sigh and shrug my shoulders.
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Old 16th January 2018, 02:35 PM   #443
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
Guys, no need to convince me of anything. I believe people were murdered and cremated on railroad tracks in Treblinka, tens and tens of thousands of them.
not to be picky, but I still don't think you've read the original Polish mss - or have you? - and not 10s and 10s of 1000s but nearly 800,000 Jews were gassed at Treblinka

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
I don't believe that . . . 30,000 people were gassed in one day and that open air cremations left only ashes.
Interesting - I don't think I've come across a good statement of this, so I don't know for sure how far off Wiernik was saying 30,000 had been gassed in one day - Stangl suggests that up to 15,000 would be gassed in a single day; Treblinka had trouble dealing with the 10,000 or so average arrivals per day in the 1st month, which is why additional gas chambers were built at the end of August and early September (I think Gerstein gave 25,000 as the total capacity) - on occasion 20,000+ Jews may have come to Treblinka in a day during the big deportations of 1942 - 19-20 August certainly had a very high number of Jews arriving (though this was before the time Wiernik stated)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...rmination_camp

for precise data, IMO using Wiernik nor any other single witness is probably not the best approach; it's preferable to use a variety of records (like those Arad used for his appendix) including information concerning deportations - this common sense approach, which recognizes the limitations of witness evidence, doesn't make Wiernik "full of it"
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Old 16th January 2018, 02:52 PM   #444
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Originally Posted by LemmyCaution View Post
not to be picky, but I still don't think you've read the original Polish mss - or have you? - and not 10s and 10s of 1000s but nearly 800,000 Jews were gassed at Treblinka

Forgive my ignorance, but what's the "original Polish mss"?
10s and 10s includes 80 times 10, so....but for you: I don't deny that hundreds of thousands of Jews were exterminated in Treblinka.

The timeline link is very informative, appreciated.
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Old 16th January 2018, 04:02 PM   #445
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
Forgive my ignorance, but what's the "original Polish mss"?
http://infocenters.co.il/gfh/multime...=%27wiernik%27

On p 14 of this mss Wiernik writes, ""Pozostał popiół, który użyźni tę milczącą ziemię."

I don't speak or read Polish so I've sent this to a friend who does, but according to Google Translate and PONS online dictionary the word only doesn't appear in this sentence. Note that in the mss this is a sentence, not a phrase as in the English translation you cited.

Google Translate gives "There is ash left to fertilize this earth."

You'd cited Wiernik's statement about only ash remaining as a reason you think he's "full of it," a serious charge against the man. You wrote, "Weird, I wasn't under the impression that an open air cremation of 3,000 bodies would leave only ashes."

The first reason that your statement doesn't raise any doubts about Wiernik on this point is that "ash," as used for the product of cremated corpses, refers to a mix that might look like this



or even this



not to ash you might be left with in your fireplace. I do think that something like this is what was left after the high-temperature incineration.

Possibly the second reason is that the English translation adds the word only you find so important - but that Wiernik didn't write that. I will let you know what my Polish-speaking friend says.

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
10s and 10s includes 80 times 10, so....but for you:
I understand and am not directing my comments at you personally - but I want to add that many people read this forum and I don't want the impression to be left that, for example, Wiernik is "full of it" or that 10s and 10s would mean 20 or 50 or 90 thousand.

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
The timeline link is very informative, appreciated.
np; I do wish that there were a better, non-Wiki timeline incorporating more recent research than Arad does . . . but that's what I could grab . . .
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Old 16th January 2018, 04:51 PM   #446
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
Guys, no need to convince me of anything. I believe people were murdered and cremated on railroad tracks in Treblinka, tens and tens of thousands of them.

I don't believe that children were torn in half (barehanded), that 30,000 people were gassed in one day and that open air cremations left only ashes.
Artistic license? How about tore away from their mothers and then held up by the hair and shot? Sometimes it is a good idea to start at the beginning of a thread.

http://www.internationalskeptics.com...0#post11998260

There's also photographs:

http://somewereneighbors.ushmm.org/#...77/description
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Old 16th January 2018, 05:46 PM   #447
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I've sent this one to my Polish-speaking friend as well . . .

[Ten najbardziej znęcał się nad d ziećmi. Gdy popychał kobiety, a te prosiły, by nie nepierał, gdyż maja z soba dzieci, wyrywał im wtedy z rak dziecko i albo rozrywał je w poł, biorac ze nóżki, albo główka uderzał o ściznę i odrzucał zabite.]
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Old 16th January 2018, 05:56 PM   #448
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Originally Posted by LemmyCaution View Post
Possibly the second reason is that the English translation adds the word only you find so important - but that Wiernik didn't write that. I will let you know what my Polish-speaking friend says.

I don't find the word "only" very important. I wasn't even interested in reading Wiernik again, Nessie brought him up and I remembered that I found his book about Treblinka implausible when I read it some time ago.
I don't even mind the fact at all that he would say that only ashes remained. Earlier, he described the open air cremation process as unreliable and not working properly, which is accurate.
(btw, in the german version it goes: "Langsam fiel das Feuer in sich zusammen, und nur (only) Asche blieb zurück, die den schweigsamen Boden düngte.")
What I'm saying is, he was obviously there and he experienced the horrors of Treblinka. I don't believe everything he stated in the book though, and I think there is no reason for any skeptic to take him at his word, regarding each and every detail.

(In another part of the book he says, that while they tried to burn the men (which didn't burn so well) there were aircraft flying by from time to time so while trying to cremate the bodies they would cover them with leaves so the aircraft crews wouldn't see them. Not ridiculous at all.)


Originally Posted by Elagabalus View Post
Artistic license? How about tore away from their mothers and then held up by the hair and shot? Sometimes it is a good idea to start at the beginning of a thread.

I don't know what a photograph of Ukranians shooting a mother and her child has anything to do with Wiernik claiming that Sepp would regularly tear children in half.
German translation: "...dann riss er häufig ein Kind aus den Armen der Mutter und zerriss es entweder in zwei Teile..." (tore (the child)...into two parts)
But maybe the english and german translations are wrong, who knows. Might really be the case.

Lemmy, looking forward to the response of your friend.
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Old 16th January 2018, 06:53 PM   #449
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
I don't find the word "only" very important.
But you wrote, before the translation issue was raised,
Quote:
. . . I wasn't under the impression that an open air cremation of 3,000 bodies would leave only ashes.
Since Wiernik didn't write that cremations would leave only ashes, it seems your objection doesn't hold up.

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
I wasn't even interested in reading Wiernik again, Nessie brought him up and I remembered that I found his book about Treblinka implausible when I read it some time ago.
Nessie brought Wiernik up, you replied that he's "full of it." Your finding it implausible some time ago says little about Wiernik when the examples you've given are completely understandable in context - especially in the light of how Wiernik expressed himself.

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
I don't even mind the fact at all that he would say that only ashes remained. Earlier, he described the open air cremation process as unreliable and not working properly, which is accurate.
(btw, in the german version it goes: "Langsam fiel das Feuer in sich zusammen, und nur (only) Asche blieb zurück, die den schweigsamen Boden düngte.")
The book was originally written in Polish, so the German (and English) are not relevant to what Wiernik wrote.

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
What I'm saying is, he was obviously there and he experienced the horrors of Treblinka. I don't believe everything he stated in the book though, and I think there is no reason for any skeptic to take him at his word, regarding each and every detail.
There is a continent between Wiernik's being "full of it" and his not having all details accurate. This has already been stated by a few of those replying.

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
. . . Wiernik claiming that Sepp would regularly tear children in half.
German translation: "...dann riss er häufig ein Kind aus den Armen der Mutter und zerriss es entweder in zwei Teile..." (tore (the child)...into two parts)
But maybe the english and german translations are wrong, who knows. Might really be the case.
But . . . that's what a translator, not Wiernik, wrote . . . I believe the verb in question is rozrywał . . . for which PONS gives me "tear apart" or "tear" or "snap" . . . but maybe in context it means "tear in half" . . .

Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
Lemmy, looking forward to the response of your friend.
Will let you know what I find out.
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Old 17th January 2018, 12:00 AM   #450
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Originally Posted by LemmyCaution View Post
Just noticed that I (spellcheck?) got Belize messed up in this! Belzec!!!
I knew what you meant and assumed some autocorrect thing.

Still, you might want to watch for that. The people and nation of Belize might take offence.
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Old 17th January 2018, 12:15 AM   #451
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
I don't find the word "only" very important. I wasn't even interested in reading Wiernik again, Nessie brought him up and I remembered that I found his book about Treblinka implausible when I read it some time ago.
I don't even mind the fact at all that he would say that only ashes remained. Earlier, he described the open air cremation process as unreliable and not working properly, which is accurate.
(btw, in the german version it goes: "Langsam fiel das Feuer in sich zusammen, und nur (only) Asche blieb zurück, die den schweigsamen Boden düngte.")
What I'm saying is, he was obviously there and he experienced the horrors of Treblinka. I don't believe everything he stated in the book though, and I think there is no reason for any skeptic to take him at his word, regarding each and every detail.

(In another part of the book he says, that while they tried to burn the men (which didn't burn so well) there were aircraft flying by from time to time so while trying to cremate the bodies they would cover them with leaves so the aircraft crews wouldn't see them. Not ridiculous at all.)





I don't know what a photograph of Ukranians shooting a mother and her child has anything to do with Wiernik claiming that Sepp would regularly tear children in half.
German translation: "...dann riss er häufig ein Kind aus den Armen der Mutter und zerriss es entweder in zwei Teile..." (tore (the child)...into two parts)
But maybe the english and german translations are wrong, who knows. Might really be the case.

Lemmy, looking forward to the response of your friend.
What on earth makes you think there were cameras at every location recording everything on film? Personally, I am sufficiently aged to have in my living memory the cost of developing traditional film.

Back then, the nazis didn't have your convenient "Handy" or anything remotely close to it.
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:55 AM   #452
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post



One thing that bothers me the most is that people go to jail for saying what they believe. Whatever their motives are, be they Nazis, Antisemites or truly convinced that the official Holocaust story is a lie.
Someone in this thread stated that Haverbeck should have been sent to jail for 5 years and I couldn't disagree more. I don't get that opinion, it doesn't make any sense to me, from a logical perspective.
There is a guy in my town who stands in the city centre on most days, waving the Sovjet flag and trying to convince people that communism is the best **** ever.
Would he be waving the Nazi flag repeatedly, he'd go to jail.
Yet in the Sowjet Union, people were killed by the thousands when Hitler was not even close to coming to power and they still killed people by the thousands when Hitler was dead.
Glorifying one regime that killed millions, no problem, glorifying the other, jail time. Don't get me wrong, I don't think you should glorify either but I'm absolutely convinced that you should be able to state your opinion, however stupid or evil it is.
Amidst all the fine, detailed posts about the Holocaust, this point seems to have been missed, so I thought I'd address it myself.
Holocaust denial is a crime in many countries which were either perpetrators or victims of the Holocaust. It is banned because it is a form of hate speech, being simultaneously enormously hurtful and insulting to the victims and their families, and also an attempt to exonerate one of the most murderous regimes in history from its crimes.
There was, and probably still is, a debate about whether this represents a curtailment of freedom of speech. The general consensus is, as with hate crime generally, that no-one has the right to incite hatred, and that some restrictions on freedom of speech are just and necessary.
That said, it is not a crime in either the UK or the US. Neither is the possession or display of the Nazi flag.
Regarding the Soviet Union, I think you are being a little disingenious. It is perfectly acceptable to praise communism, as it is to follow and promote far-right politics in almost any country. There is, however, a difference between communism and Stalinsim, as there is between some far-right political views and Nazism. If you were to go out on the streets and proclaim that you want all your opponents sent to gulags and worked to death, that, I'm sure, would get you into trouble. It is the same with Nazism. There is very little that is benign about that creed. Do we want a society where it is acceptable to stand on the street calling for the deaths of groups of people, or for an expansion of your country to occupy others and enslave their populations (lebensraum)?
I don't think freedom of speech should go that far, and I don't buy the idea that Holocaust deniers are being somehow persecuted for their views,
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Old 17th January 2018, 04:04 AM   #453
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Originally Posted by LemmyCaution View Post
not to be picky, but I still don't think you've read the original Polish mss - or have you? - and not 10s and 10s of 1000s but nearly 800,000 Jews were gassed at Treblinka


Interesting - I don't think I've come across a good statement of this, so I don't know for sure how far off Wiernik was saying 30,000 had been gassed in one day - Stangl suggests that up to 15,000 would be gassed in a single day; Treblinka had trouble dealing with the 10,000 or so average arrivals per day in the 1st month, which is why additional gas chambers were built at the end of August and early September (I think Gerstein gave 25,000 as the total capacity) - on occasion 20,000+ Jews may have come to Treblinka in a day during the big deportations of 1942 - 19-20 August certainly had a very high number of Jews arriving (though this was before the time Wiernik stated)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...rmination_camp

for precise data, IMO using Wiernik nor any other single witness is probably not the best approach; it's preferable to use a variety of records (like those Arad used for his appendix) including information concerning deportations - this common sense approach, which recognizes the limitations of witness evidence, doesn't make Wiernik "full of it"
I'll take a stab in the dark and suggest that the number 30'000 may be from the Babi Yar massacre. They were, of course, shot, not gassed, as far as I know.
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Old 17th January 2018, 05:29 AM   #454
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Naw, Wiernik was referring to the gas chambers at Treblinka: "The number of transports grew daily, and there were periods when as many as 30,000 people were gassed in one day, with all 13 gas chambers in operation." He means the period after early September when the new gas chambers were added at the camp.
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Old 17th January 2018, 07:27 AM   #455
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Using the Treblinka Timeline of transports from ghettos;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...rmination_camp

On 05 Aug 1942 there were 30,000 from Radom and 6623 from Warsaw.
On 21 Sept 1942 there were "sums up to 40,000".
On 15 Oct and 10 Nov 1942 was over 30,000 in total.
From the 20-24 Nov 1942 there were "40 cars" each day, which could be 40,000 as in train was about 1000.
There were some other days when the total went over 20,000 (19 Aug, 1 Oct, 22 Oct 1942).

How did the camp cope? For a start, those were the exceptions and there were many reports of people waiting a long time in trains. Then there was the actual transit camp at Malkinia which did have accommodation.

The there are were reports that a sizeable number of trains arrived with significant numbers of dead on board. Stangl stated;

"I drove there, with an SS driver....We could smell it kilometers away. The road ran alongside the railway tracks. As we got nearer Treblinka but still perhaps fifteen, twenty minutes' drive away, we began to see corpses next to the rails, first just two or three, then more and as we drove into what was Treblinka station, there were hundreds of them – just lying there – they'd obviously been there for days, in the heat. In the station was a train full of Jews, some dead, some still alive – it looked as if it had been there for days." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irmfried_Eberl

"In extreme cases such as the Biała Podlaska transport of 6,000 Jews travelling only a 125-kilometre (78 mi) distance, up to 90 per cent of people were already dead when the sealed doors flew open" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trebli...illing_process

Under the original set up by Eberl, there were reports of mass shootings as well as gassings and reports of bodies unburied for days. The new gas chambers opened in Sept had a reported capacity of 22-25,000.

Say 30,000 arrived in one day. Take away the dead on arrival. Take away the people shot in the Lazarete. Say there was a selection on arrival and some left to go and work at Majdanek. Then some were selected to work in the camp itself, as Sonderkommandos were being replaced. That shows how the rest could be gassed in one day.
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Old 17th January 2018, 08:42 AM   #456
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Using the Treblinka Timeline of transports from ghettos;

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeli...rmination_camp

On 05 Aug 1942 there were 30,000 from Radom and 6623 from Warsaw.
On 21 Sept 1942 there were "sums up to 40,000".
On 15 Oct and 10 Nov 1942 was over 30,000 in total.
From the 20-24 Nov 1942 there were "40 cars" each day, which could be 40,000 as in train was about 1000.
There were some other days when the total went over 20,000 (19 Aug, 1 Oct, 22 Oct 1942).
I read the table, along with Arad's, a little differently. Some of the big numbers on the table were cumulative totals over a period of days, e.g., annotation for the Radom transports on 5 August 1942 reads, "First train of ghetto liquidation action lasting for two weeks with cumulative number of victims." The 21 September total, for Częstochowa, covers transports from "September 21, 1942 and October 8, 1942." And so on.

Again, I'm afraid that some readers take Wiernik's writing too literally, ignoring his style and the context, and almost assume Wiernik to be omniscient, then fault him for idiomatic or figurative language and details that aren't precise. When deniers do this, from what I've seen, they do it for a purpose: to find gotchas.

I think it is hard to know exactly how many Jews arrived and were gassed on the biggest single day, at least from what sources I've seen. That said, Wiernik, if he exaggerated, probably wasn't too far off and wasn't standing beside the gas chambers with a notebook and counter. These were big, often confusing actions.
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Old 17th January 2018, 09:31 AM   #457
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I heard back from two Polish speakers on the Wiernik phrases. One person is a scholar who cautioned, as has been said in this thread, to read Wiernik figuratively. This person is familiar with the book. The second person is a Pole who is not familiar with Wiernik but added "pretty heavy stuff."

1. Donat English edition: "leaving only ashes which went to fertilize the silent soil”

The word "only" doesn't appear in the Polish. The scholar wrote that he thinks that Donat's translation is fine but the word "only" isn't in the Polish and other translators could choose different phrasing. The second translator, indeed, gave me, "what is left are ashes that will fertilize this silenced (quiet) earth."

For the life of me, knowing what we do about cremation and what's left behind, I cannot understand the objection to what Wiernik wrote here, on any grounds.

2. "either tear the child in half or grab it by the legs, smash its head against a wall and throw the body away."

I screwed the pooch on this one (not literally!), where I speculated above about rozrywał. Google Translate, which I don't trust, for a language I don't know, had given me, "either tear it apart, take it from the foot, or the head hit the ground and reject the killed one."

I figured that I was getting "tear it apart" for rozrywał je; I figured wrong. The salient phrase is "rozrywał je w poł - w poł does mean "in half." The Donat edition's translation ("tear the child in half" - although both my translators used plural, not singular) accurately renders what Wiernik wrote in that regard.

I think that Wiernik was writing idiomatically in this instance, using a figure of speech, similar to the way one might say in English "he tore him to shreds" and so on. I think further he used the phrase to convey an instance of extreme, horrific violence. The problem I have with a literal objection to this sentence is the one I raised in the first post I wrote on this, "I think that Wiernik wrote in a literary style and may have had ambitions as a writer (native Polish speakers I know have told me that passages of his book are extremely well written, even lyrical), he quite often used figurative language, which is different to being full of it." Were the children torn down the middle into two equal-ish pieces? No, of course not. Were the children killed with shocking violence that Wiernik stretched to convey? That is how I read that sentence. And Wiernik is hardly "full of it" for writing it that way.
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Old 17th January 2018, 12:47 PM   #458
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I just scan read the timeline, so some figures and totals may be off. But the point is, some days did hit the highs Wiernik suggested, but only some. Then, the day's arrivals is not the number then gassed for the reasons given.

Regarding translations, an often cited Wiernik comment is chapter 5, "There was no longer any beauty or ugliness, for they all were yellow from the gas." That is held as a lie because all the bodies would allegedly be chery red. But putting that debate aside, the comment about yellow is odd. he also states in Chapter 4, "Some people who had been spared from another form of death, which I shall discuss later on, would become yellow and swollen from hunger and finally drop dead."

Dead people don't go yellow. They may be jaundiced before hand, or some yellow tinge appears with decay, but no where else have I heard of bodies being yellow. I have also seen a good few dead bodies over the years and none were yellow.

Could you Polish contacts be asked for their opinion on that.
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:16 PM   #459
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Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
I just scan read the timeline, so some figures and totals may be off. But the point is, some days did hit the highs Wiernik suggested, but only some. Then, the day's arrivals is not the number then gassed for the reasons given.

Regarding translations, an often cited Wiernik comment is chapter 5, "There was no longer any beauty or ugliness, for they all were yellow from the gas." That is held as a lie because all the bodies would allegedly be chery red. But putting that debate aside, the comment about yellow is odd. he also states in Chapter 4, "Some people who had been spared from another form of death, which I shall discuss later on, would become yellow and swollen from hunger and finally drop dead."

Dead people don't go yellow. They may be jaundiced before hand, or some yellow tinge appears with decay, but no where else have I heard of bodies being yellow. I have also seen a good few dead bodies over the years and none were yellow.

Could you Polish contacts be asked for their opinion on that.
This is what I worked out with them in 2015 (posted in SSF at that time, I linked to this above):

. . . Last I recall we were kicking around what żółci means (gall or yellow). For some reason Corrections54 fled, telling us he’d be back but never returning. David tried making out that Wiernik had written "they all were yellow from the gas." But Wiernik’s Polish-language typescript doesn't say "gas” at all; the draft says “poison” (zatruci). I happen to know a number of Polish speakers and shared the passage with them: “all yellow and poisoned” is what every one of them gave me for "wszyscy żółci i zatruci." (In the published version żółci i zatruci became żółci -zatruci – or yellow-poisoned). This means that the HC White Paper is wrong on this point.

I had told Corrections54 that, having read the HC White Paper’s objection, I didn’t view the meaning of żółci as used by Wiernik as settled; I do now, having checked with about a half dozen people who know Polish and having done additonal reading on Polish grammar.

But I was also told by some of those I gave the passage that it was poetic, difficult to understand, or written by a talented writer. A lyrical, reflective bit of writing. For one thing, the phrases in Wiernik’s typescript, including "wszyscy żółci i zatruci," are not in the past tense – as I wrote before it’s reflective, not a literal description of what took place behind the doors of the sealed gas chamber. Nor is it an account of the opening of the doors and what Wiernik saw at that point. The account of what happened on the doors of the gas chamber being opened, in fact, comes in the paragraph of Wiernik’s manuscript that follows the yellow-poisoned paragraph: p 6 of typescript: “Po zakończeniu gazowania Iwan i Mikołaj badali stan rzeczy. Następnie przechodzili na druga stronę, idzie mieszcza się drzwi przy rampie, otwieraja je i wyrzucaja zagazowanych.” Google Translate: Upon completion of the gassing Ivan and Nicholas studied the situation. Then switch to the other side, goes fit with ramp door, open it and throw out gassed.

Now, if the HC White Paper is wrong, is Mattogno correct? The word "żółci" indeed translates as bile (and that's what Google Translate gives) but in the sentence it is the masculine plural form of the adjective “żółty” - to agree with "wszyscy" - this is as Mattogno (gritting teeth) says.

However, Mattogno also concludes, "The yellow coloring of the corpses is without a doubt a reference to chlorine gas that was associated with a yellowish green pall and which, according to Wiernik, was used for the purpose of killing in the 'gas chambers'” - this on the other hand is nonsense . . . "without a doubt" - "chlorine gas" - total BS.

So, understanding the structure of the passage, as mentioned above and discussed more fully upthread, and that żółci -zatruci means yellow-poisoned, I thought more about the poetic-philosophical paragraph that Wiernik wrote.

Here’s the Donat English translation of the paragraph again (bear in mind that the tense isn’t necessarily past as Wiernik wrote it and that some other liberties – “gassed” for “poisoned” – are evident):
Quote:
They no longer shouted, because the thread of their lives had been cut off. They had no more needs or desires. Even in death, mothers held their children tightly in their arms. There were no more friends or foes. There was no more jealousy. All were equal. There was no longer any beauty or ugliness, for they all were yellow from the gas. There were no longer any rich or poor, for they all were equal before God's throne. And why all this? I keep asking myself that question. My life is hard, very hard. But I must live on to tell the world about all this barbarism.
Please note that Wiernik twice used variations on the phrase “all equal” and that he used the phrase “no longer any rich or poor. I’ve boldfaced these phrases – the reasons why will become clear, beginning with “all equal.”

All equal – Alle glajch

Interestingly, Jan Mawult (Stanislaw Gombinsksi), a Jewish police official in Warsaw ghetto, entitled, with biting irony, the first section of his memoir “All Equal.” This phrase comes, in part, from the Warsaw Judenrat, whose “PR” slogan concerning its own economic and social policies, was “All are equal.” The wide currency of the phrase “all equal” in the ghetto, however, came from “crazy” Rubinstein, a popular street entertainer during 1940-1941 (facts on Rubinstein’s death are scarce and he may have been active right up until the deportations in summer 1942), who used the phrase ironically to needle the ghetto bigwigs, bitterly mocking the Judenrat’s claims – as its policies were viewed as highly unequal and hit the ghetto poor hard. As we will see below, Saul Friedlander, commenting on Hersh Wasser’s description of Rubinstein gives the implication of the phrase as "all equal before death." (Years of Extermination (p 416)

One idea for what was behind the lyrical paragraph wherein Wiernik imagines yellow-poisoned Jews in the Treblinka gas chambers, offered by Polish readers, was Wiernik had picked up some Yiddish or other traditional language for death and applied it to what he was witnessing. That may be true: what we can see, with the phrase “all equal,” however, is that Wiernik echoed a popular, bitter phrase he’d undoubtedly heard in Warsaw ghetto pertaining to those on the losing end of things.

One more note to begin with: Wiernik's typescript does not read "Wszystkie były równe" but rather "Wszyscy równi” - one could as well translate the phrase in the present or past tense as one could "wszyscy żółci i zatruci."

To give a bit more background on the use of the phrase “All equal” in Warsaw ghetto, this is something I wrote up last fall for a colleague on Warsaw taxation policy:
Quote:
Many of those in the ghetto without income – thus exempt from paying the indirect taxes – were people living off previously accumulated wealth and having a high standard of living relative to their neighbors, as well as smugglers and others made newly rich through “grey” activities. Engelking & Leociak quote Kaplan (see below) on the widespread refusal to pay taxes. According to E&L, “Many activists held it against Czerniakow that he did not impose a higher, special tax on the rich and nouveau riche of the ghetto.” E&L quote Ringelblum on the “scandal” of tax policy: “'All are equal’ – that is the unfortunate motto of the ‘minister of finance.’ Indirect taxes are imposed that place the burden on the poor.” So widespread was the sentiment against this policy that Rubinstein, an immigrant from Lodz, made a living as a popular street performer lampooning ghetto big-wigs using as one of his stock phrases “All are equal.” E&L detail Rogowy’s complaints to Czerniakow on the stark disparity between the wealthy and those who depended on soup kitchens.

On 3 April 1941, Chaim Kaplan lamented in his diary (pp 262-263) that “Many evade payment of the tax” and that “If the Jews of Warsaw who are able to pay had obeyed Czerniakow’s decree and turned over the tax of two zloty apiece each month willingly, the problem of feeding the hungry would not be so serious.” Kaplan writes of the efforts of the courtyard committees to extract such “assessments” (earlier he’d reported that corruption was believed even to affect the Self-Help – p 260); heated arguments and threats accompanied the attempts of the courtyard committees to collect from people unable to pay. According to Kaplan, punishments of the recalcitrants were not forthcoming, and, with shortfalls, soup kitchens were closing. By November Kaplan himself was complaining about the Council’s imposition of a 25% tax on medicines, his wife stricken with typhus (p 278).
Now to the good stuff . . .

Samuel Puterman was one of many Warsaw ghetto inmates to write about Rubinstein, who became, as I’ve said, a familiar street figure. Puterman wrote that “Rubinsztejn” was “the king of the street beggars” and became known by his phrase “Alle glajch” - Yiddish for everybody’s equal (it is this Yiddish phrase that Mawult/Gombinski used for his memoir’s section title). (Words to Outlive Us, p 30)

Another diarist, Chaim Hasenfus, described Rubinstein as “well known” and told how “From time to time he calls out ‘Alle glajch’ - All are equal! Who knows? Maybe we’ll all end up as beggars.” (WTOU, p 35)

According to Engelking & Leociak, “Rubinsztajn” (possibly Abraham) came from Lodz to Warsaw and in Warsaw ghetto mainly worked Leszno Street: “His most famous sayings, which made the rounds in the ghetto, were ‘Hand over your ration coupon” (ration card; in other words, die) and ‘ale głajch - everyone’s equal (in the face of death).” (E&L, p 592)

Rubinstein was so popular that Szpilman, among others, commented on his street routine, unable to figure whether the performer was demented or "playing the fool" (Susan Berger, A Clandestine Curriculum of Resistance, p 181).

According to E&L (p 593), Rubinstein “became a literary hero in his own lifetime” with a song about him, composed by Jerzy Jurandot, including these lines:
Quote:
Our Rubinsztajn is now calling loudly:
’Szabes far ale jidełach
Urem rach, ale głajch!’
E&L quote a ghetto publication Gazeta Zydowska,
Quote:
Do you know Rubinstsztajn? Almost the whole Jewish District knows him. Although he holds no office, is not highly respected, and does not deserve to be taken seriously, he is no less popular than our most distinguished statesmen and representatives. . . . Rubinsztajn has become famed in the Jewish streets for his sayings . . . In this can be found the meaning of our times, and it has been best expressed by Rubinsztajn. It is therefore not surprising that the masses have taken up this original saying, and now it is constantly on everyone’s lips. . . .
According to the article, a ghetto photo shop was selling a photograph of Rubinstein (Rubinsztajn) to ghetto inmates for 2 złoty! (p 593) Mawult (p 594) has Rubinstein voluntarily boarding a train at the Umschlagplatz in July 1942, to be taken to Treblinka.

Friedlander writes this (YOE, p 393) about the phrase “Everyone’s equal” and Rubinstein:
Quote:
With hindsight, the silencing of Rubinstein the ghetto jester, could be considered as an indication of the end: “Rubinstein is finished,” Wasser noted on May 10, 1942. “The most popular philosopher of ‘Oh boy, keep your head,’ renowned throughout the Warsaw ghetto is expiring. In rags and tatters, he wallows in the streets . . . taking the sun, almost naked. Thus expires an idea, a symbol that dazzled everyone with its truth and lie of ‘All Men Are Equal.’ ”243 In fact, the sentence was Alle Glaich, all equal before death (my emphasis). Within weeks, what had already been almost true in the ghetto was to become an absolute reality that no jester—or anybody else—could imagine. The new reality was about to obliterate the jest, the jester, and the population that, notwithstanding all misery—or because of it—needed a jester and loved his sayings and antics.244
Neither rich nor poor people

Recall that Wiernik also wrote “There were no longer any rich or poor.”

So let’s turn to two additional items concerning Rubinstein - the first from a biography and the second from Donat. Taken with “All equal,” I believe that they help crack part of the code in Wiernik’s difficult, lyrical, reflective paragraph.

In Betty Jean Lifton's biography of Janusz Korzcak (online here: http://www.korczak.com/Biography/kap-29.htm), we can read this:
Quote:
At the corner a half-crazed man came leaping toward them, flailing his arms and crying: "Look lively, Jews, we've lost all shame! Rich and poor are now the same!"

"It's Rubinstein, the self-appointed jester of the Warsaw Ghetto," Zylberberg said. "No one knows anything about him except that he's a refugee from the provinces. He always runs wild through the streets like this, shouting some ditty he's made up."

It was as difficult to make their way back to the Small Ghetto as it had been to advance forward. Not only did they have to push once more past the thousands of peddlers and beggars, but they had to climb back over those inert refugee families. Turning a corner, they were again accosted by Rubinstein, who sprang at them this time with a threat: "Give me a penny and you may go! if you don't, I'll start screaming!"

"It's his form of blackmail," Zylberberg explained. "Everyone knows that if he doesn't get his coin, hell begin shouting: "Down with the Führer! Down with Hitler! And the Germans will start shooting everyone in sight."

Korczak handed Rubinstein a coin.
This account is from a chapter called "The Ghetto," which is followed by, er, "All Are Equal" - a chapter in which Lifton writes
Quote:
The Jews held on to their sardonic wit as a way of surviving. Nothing that happened inside or outside the walls was too insignificant to be recycled into gallows humor. People would greet each other with: "Why should the Germans bomb London, and the English Berlin? All that flying back and forth is a waste of gas. The Germans ought to bomb Berlin and the English London." Or: "Horowitz [Hitler] comes to the Other World, sees Jesus in Paradise. "Hey, what's a Jew doing without an armband?" "Let him be," answers St. Peter. "He's the Boss's son.'" Rubinstein, the mad jester, was still making absurd pronouncements: "The rich are dissolving!" "we're going to have some fat!" People were so amused by his chant "All are equal! In the ghetto all are equal!" (a parody oft he Judenrat slogan that was intended to convince the population that everyone was being treated fairly) that a revue, All Are Equal, opened at the Melody Palace, one of the popular music halls.
(the quoted phrases in Lifton's book about the rich dissolving and having fat come from Ringelblum’s diary, p 138, for 18 March 1941; a month later Ringelblum would write - p 148 - on the occasion of Czerniakow’s arrest that “Rubinstein, the mad jester, is the voice of the people . . .”; Ringelblum quotes Rubinstein a number of times; last, the information about the revue, All Are Equal, is also from Ringelblum, p 177, May 1941; Puterman also wrote about the revue, saying that its star was Minowicz in the role of Rubinstein and that in the final performance Rubinstein, “the most popular madman in the ghetto,” appeared as himself, WTOU, pp 30-31; see also Engelking & Leociak, p 573 – there should be no doubt about the popularity of crazy Rubinstein and his catch phrases).
Finally, Donat’s description of Rubinstein underscores what we learn from these observers - foregrounding the obvious linkage of Rubinstein’s profound street antics with Wiernik’s passage on the gas chambers:
Quote:
He was half-madman, half-clown. Small and dark, he roamed the streets with his peculiar hopping gait, uttering wild yells and singing ‘Alle glaych, item yn ranch!’ (Everyone’s equal, rich and poor!)
So what?

All equal, rich and poor - there we have it, good grief, staring us right in the face. Rubinstein used “crazy” to blackmail the nouveaux riches, according to Donat, into feeding him and giving him money. He asked himself how many in the ghetto would survive and answered, “Fifty-five!” (The Holocaust Kingdom, pp 44-45)

Rubinstein's street act, with its ironic stock-phrases, was widely known in Warsaw ghetto (important enough to earn a biography in Engelking & Leociak’s end matter). Ringelblum called Rubinstein the voice of the people on so important a matter as the arrest of the chairman of the Judenrat in 1941 and further observed, in August of that year, that “Rubinstein’s phrase about giving up the ration card to death has made a tremendous hit” (p 208). As we’ve seen, there was even a play performed riffing on Rubinstein’s most famous phrase - "All are equal."
Friedlander and Engelking & Leociak alike add to the obvious lampoon of Judenrat BS that the phrase implied a second dimension: the equality of people in the face of death (No one gets out of here alive!).

We can see that among the phrases the ghetto's jester popularized was also "Rich and poor are now the same." Both these phrases (“ear worms,” popular wisdom, words on everyone’s lips, penetrating insights?) were almost certainly picked up by Wiernik in his reflections on the fate of Jews gassed in Treblinka's new gas chambers. In Rubenstein's street act, the occupation and ghettoization were figuratively "dissolving" the rich - for Wiernik, the yellow-poisoning was the specific agent of the dissolution taking place behind the closed doors of the gas chambers at the behest of the occupier. With some of Rubinstein's language, albeit now wholly tragic and deeply somber, was how Wiernik expressed what he witnessed in the upper camp.

The yellow-poisoned paragraph is, to drive this home, not a literal description of a process; rather, it includes an application of Rubinstein's ironic word-play to the ultimate demise of Warsaw's Jews and constitutes a bitter reflection on what the Germans were doing to the Polish Jews. It is as though Wiernik, channeling Rubinstein, has discovered the full truth behind Rubinstein's sayings - the German policy did come down to extermination in the gas chambers Wiernik at last stood before. That is what this supposedly controversial paragraph in Wiernik's book is about - nothing more, nothing less - the dawn of realization and the burden of realization.

Addendum, from a few days later:

. . . Bear with me. Wiernik wrote, in the passage abused by deniers, in a moving, almost poetic way about death as the great equalizer, echoing Rubinstein, making everyone equal, rich and poor, everyone.

Today I was reading a diary of an observant Orthodox Jew in Warsaw, an entry written on 27 August 1942, during the great roundups of that time, and deportations to Treblinka. Here is what the diarist thought of as Jews were being hauled off to their deaths in Treblinka:
Quote:
Today I am caught among the multitude being taken to the Umschlagplatz for deportation to . . . I am scared to continue that train of thought.

And so we march - binoreinu ub'zekenenu, with our youth and our elders" - old and young, women and children, rich and poor. "Alle zenen gleich," as Rubinstein the town meshugene used to chant; now we all are indeed equal (perhaps Rubinstein was not so mad after all).

And so we march . . .
In short, the diarist, facing death at Treblinka, was reminded of almost the same phrases, chanted by the familiar Rubinstein, that struck Wiernik as he observed the death process at Treblinka itself. With the difference that this diarist expicitly named the source, Rubinstein. . . .
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:19 PM   #460
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Lemmy, thanks for the research.
To be honest though, I don't want to debate this topic any longer.
What I said about Wiernik was my personal opinion. You guys have your opinion and I have mine and that's it.
I know that Wiernik was there and that most of what he wrote happened as he said. Still, I don't like his style and I don't believe everything happened exactly as he stated. Which is fine, too. He was free to write whatever he wanted to.


Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
What on earth makes you think there were cameras at every location recording everything on film? Personally, I am sufficiently aged to have in my living memory the cost of developing traditional film.

Back then, the nazis didn't have your convenient "Handy" or anything remotely close to it.

I'm sorry, but what are you reffering to? Why do you assume that I would think that there were cameras everywhere?


Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
Holocaust denial is a crime in many countries which were either perpetrators or victims of the Holocaust. It is banned because it is a form of hate speech, being simultaneously enormously hurtful and insulting to the victims and their families, and also an attempt to exonerate one of the most murderous regimes in history from its crimes.
There was, and probably still is, a debate about whether this represents a curtailment of freedom of speech. The general consensus is, as with hate crime generally, that no-one has the right to incite hatred, and that some restrictions on freedom of speech are just and necessary.
That said, it is not a crime in either the UK or the US. Neither is the possession or display of the Nazi flag.
Regarding the Soviet Union, I think you are being a little disingenious. It is perfectly acceptable to praise communism, as it is to follow and promote far-right politics in almost any country. There is, however, a difference between communism and Stalinsim, as there is between some far-right political views and Nazism. If you were to go out on the streets and proclaim that you want all your opponents sent to gulags and worked to death, that, I'm sure, would get you into trouble. It is the same with Nazism. There is very little that is benign about that creed. Do we want a society where it is acceptable to stand on the street calling for the deaths of groups of people, or for an expansion of your country to occupy others and enslave their populations (lebensraum)?
I don't think freedom of speech should go that far, and I don't buy the idea that Holocaust deniers are being somehow persecuted for their views,

That's interesting and I see where you're coming from.
However, what is hate speech? Who defines hate speech and who defines when or if someone feels hurt or insulted? There might be thousands of Jews who are not insulted by Holocaust denial. And there might be thousands of people who feel hurt and insulted when I show them my middle finger. So what do we do now? Should people go to jail for giving someone
the finger?
I agree with you that one should not be allowed to incite hatred or to call for the deportation/violence against minorities.
I also agree that we should make a distinction between Stalinism and Communism, I dind't think that one through.

With all that said. How does someone like Germar Rudolf or Ursula Haverbeck incite hatred? How can Germar Rudolfs writings be seen as hate speech? He appeared to be quite civilised to me. Sure, Jews and non-Jews will be offended by his work. But you can't put someone in jail because the feelings of other people are hurt or offended.
Again, just my opinion, and you're all free to have and express yours. : )
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:27 PM   #461
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Thanks for the detailed response Lemmy, now I just need to work out a summarised version for the dullard denialists.....!
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Old 17th January 2018, 01:41 PM   #462
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
.....
With all that said. How does someone like Germar Rudolf or Ursula Haverbeck incite hatred? How can Germar Rudolfs writings be seen as hate speech? He appeared to be quite civilised to me. Sure, Jews and non-Jews will be offended by his work. But you can't put someone in jail because the feelings of other people are hurt or offended.
Again, just my opinion, and you're all free to have and express yours. : )
I do not think denial should be illegal.

However, what Rudolph and Haverbeck do is offensive because they do not evidence their beliefs. Even those who think missiles hit the Twin Trade Towers know they have to provide evidence for their claim.

Deniers believe millions survived and were not gassed. But they don't even try and find witnesses, records or any evidence of that mass survival.*

Instead claim all Jews are liars and they manipulated the trials of Nazis who were forced to lie. They lied about how gassings worked, they lied about mass pyres, they lied about mass shootings at Babi Yar. Wiernik lied, as did Rajchman, as did every single person who said they saw a gas chamber. Others lied they survived repeated mass gassings. Lies were told about human soap and fertiliser. Lies were told about burning chimneys and it was all just lies.

They then conclude all those people survived going to the AR camps and reporting to Babi Yar and the Holocaust did not happen.

*Actually there was one, Thomas Kues, who looked for evidence of gassed Jews in the Russian east. All he found was rumours.
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Old 17th January 2018, 03:47 PM   #463
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post
Lemmy, thanks for the research.
To be honest though, I don't want to debate this topic any longer.
What I said about Wiernik was my personal opinion. You guys have your opinion and I have mine and that's it.
As they used to say, we gave it the old college try

Back to the 1947 Polish trial, I found that there's a chapter in Gutman & Berenbaum, Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp (1998) on postwar prosecution of the SS - pp 594-595 cover the 1947 trials. The passage doesn't answer the question. It does, however, say that the verdicts were lenient for SS men working in dept II, III, and V (political dept - Gestapo; administration; camp physician) who were involved extermination of registered prisoners or mass murders. Lasik, the author, suggests that the "prosecution lacked full understanding" of how the camp functioned and the roles in the camp of the defendants. The most common sentence, says Lasik, was 3 years in prison.
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Old Yesterday, 02:03 AM   #464
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Originally Posted by teamMerkel View Post



That's interesting and I see where you're coming from.
However, what is hate speech? Who defines hate speech and who defines when or if someone feels hurt or insulted? There might be thousands of Jews who are not insulted by Holocaust denial. And there might be thousands of people who feel hurt and insulted when I show them my middle finger. So what do we do now? Should people go to jail for giving someone
the finger?
I agree with you that one should not be allowed to incite hatred or to call for the deportation/violence against minorities.
I also agree that we should make a distinction between Stalinism and Communism, I dind't think that one through.

With all that said. How does someone like Germar Rudolf or Ursula Haverbeck incite hatred? How can Germar Rudolfs writings be seen as hate speech? He appeared to be quite civilised to me. Sure, Jews and non-Jews will be offended by his work. But you can't put someone in jail because the feelings of other people are hurt or offended.
Again, just my opinion, and you're all free to have and express yours. : )
Hate speech is legally defined in the UK, and- I assume-elsewhere.
It is thus controlled by Parliament, and, ultimately, by the general public.
There is a sliding scale of offence and consequential punishment. In the UK, from my reading of the wiki article, you could actually be jailed for showing someone the finger, though I don't know if this has ever been tried. That would get you a few months, as opposed to the years you could get for inciting racial or religious hatred, which are justly seen as more serious.

It is possible- though, I submit, unlikely- that there are numbers of Jews who might not be insulted by Holocaust denial. However, a hate crime does not need to cause fear, offence or distress to every member of a subgroup in order for it to be a crime. Why should it? Furthermore, it isn't only Jews who would be offended by such a stance. I'm not gay myself, but I am deeply opposed to homophobia, and would support the jailing of those who attempt to stir up hatred against that community. Hate crimes affect everyone, not just those who are specificaly targetted by them. What we are prepared to tolerate, and what we are not, says a lot about the state of our societies - our humanity, our moral and ethical values, and our desire to protect the vulnerable from the hate-filled.
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Old Yesterday, 04:45 AM   #465
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Originally Posted by Cosmic Yak View Post
Hate speech is legally defined in the UK, and- I assume-elsewhere.
But not in the US. In the US speech rights are protected in the Bill of Rights, amendments that are part of the US Constitution, and then defined/regulated by case law.

Without making another long post, I'll just note that a number of decisions of the US Supreme Court, with the First 1st and 14th Amendments as grounding, clarified/defined the legal framework for speech protections. These decisions lean toward regulating actions, with little restriction on speech. Courts have limited speech involving "fighting words" and "imminent danger" and found other exceptions but not opted for a broad regulation of what might be termed hate speech in other countries. In fact, in 2017 (Matal v Tam) the Court said, "Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express 'the thought that we hate.'” And that "public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers." There is, AFAIK, no agreed legal definition even of hate speech.

As for our legislature addressing this, it won't: right now, for example, they're very busy deciding whether designating some countries as "*********" is good policy. (edit: interestingly the software here will not allow me to use the word that looks like "********" even though it seems to be White House terminology)

Edited by Agatha:  Edited for a breach of rule 10. Please do not disguise swear words in the public sections (of which C&CT is one). Type the word out in full and correctly spelled, and allow the autocensor to work if the word is on the naughty list.
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Old Yesterday, 10:23 AM   #466
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If the situation was that a group were claiming all gay people, or Americans were called liars and that they had conspired to fleece Germany of lots of money, maybe then those who do not get why denial in itself is anti-Semitic, would understand better.
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Old Today, 03:20 AM   #467
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Originally Posted by LemmyCaution View Post
But not in the US. In the US speech rights are protected in the Bill of Rights, amendments that are part of the US Constitution, and then defined/regulated by case law.

Without making another long post, I'll just note that a number of decisions of the US Supreme Court, with the First 1st and 14th Amendments as grounding, clarified/defined the legal framework for speech protections. These decisions lean toward regulating actions, with little restriction on speech. Courts have limited speech involving "fighting words" and "imminent danger" and found other exceptions but not opted for a broad regulation of what might be termed hate speech in other countries. In fact, in 2017 (Matal v Tam) the Court said, "Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express 'the thought that we hate.'” And that "public expression of ideas may not be prohibited merely because the ideas are themselves offensive to some of their hearers." There is, AFAIK, no agreed legal definition even of hate speech.
Interesting- thanks for the info.
So in some countries, hate speech is legally defined, and is not just made up by thin-skinned rabble-rousers to try to shut down legitimate free speech. In the US, there is no such thing as hate speech, and you can pretty much say what you want.
In both cases, I can see the justification, and in neither case can Holocaust deniers claim they are being unfairly persecuted.
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