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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/v/van-alstine.mark/1999/electrocutions-at-belzec

From: (Mark Van Alstine)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Re: Remarkable Nonsense -- Electrocutions at Belzec
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Date: Sun, 04 Jul 1999 20:24:14 GMT
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In article <>, (Greg "Hitler was
a great man" Raven) wrote:

> Electrocutions at Belzec

As to extrerminating Jews with electricity, this is mentioned in _The
Black Book_, published in 1946, which states: 


..A few Poles went to Belzec to investigate the matter [the mass
extermination of Jews]. The former Russian-German frontier had been near
Belzec. The Russians had built extensive underground fortifications there.
After their withdrawel these fortifications fell into German hands....The
Belzec camp is built underground. It is an electric crematorium. There are
two halls in the underground buildings. People were taken out of the
railway cars into the first hall. Then they were led naked to the second
hall. Here the floor resembled an enourmous plate. When the crown of men
stood on it, the floor sank deep into a pool of water. The moment the men
sank up to their necks, a powerful electric current of millions of volts
was passsed through, killing them all at once....


Source: The Jewish Black Book Committee, _The Black Book_, p.313. 

Given our current understanding from eyewitnesses of the extermination
method and procedures, as well as the layout of Belzec, the above quote
from the _The Black Book_ is untrue. The Polish partisans who observed
Belzec from a distance were grossly mistaken. The some 600,000 Jews
murdered at Belzec where done so in stationary CO gas chambers (supplied
by engine exhaust) and their corspes burried and then later exhumed and
incinerated in pyres. (Cf. Arad, _Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka_, pp.23-29;
Kogon, _Nazi Mass Murder_, pp.107-111; Gutman, _Encyclopedia of the
Holocaust_, pp.174-179.) 

When one contrasts certain specifics of _The Black Book_ with later
research one does indeed find (often serious) discrepancies. Part of this
problem comes from the fact that little was known about many of the
specific details of the masss killings at the various extermination camps
at the time the _The Black Book_  was first compiled (1943) and then
published under the title _The Black Book_ (1946). This is especially true
of the Operation Reinhard death camps. There are but maybe one or two
survivors from inside Belzec, very few from Sobibor, and but a handfull
from Treblinka. Much of the most accurate specific knowledge about these
camps comes from the testimony of the SS personnel who served at these
camps and were put on trial for their crimes years later. (Sometimes many
years later.)

What information that _was_ available during the war and in the immediate
post-war period, especially concerning the Operation Reinhard death camps,
were mainly rumors and testimonies from eyewitnesses _outside_ the camps.
>From such accounts likey comes innacuracies such as death by "steaming"
and "electrocution" etc. Yet even a mere few years after the war such
inaccuracies were recognized by historians. In what is probably the first
seminal work of the Holocaust, Gerold Reitlinger's _The Final Solution_,
dispenses with, for example, the myth of mass killng by "electrocution" at

The inefficiency of the gassing vans produced horrors enough, but it sees
they were nothing compared with what happened when the next step was
attempted, the application of the engine-exhaust gas to a group of
permanent chambers, each holding hundreds of people at a time. The first
of these, the Belsec gas installation, which was intended to be ready for
the Lublin resettlement on March 16th, 1942 (_see pages 252-253_), broke
down constantly. The deportees were left in the 'transfer station' for
days on end, where they crouched in the open, naked and without food or
water. Sometimes they were left in railway box-cars to suffocate on
sidings. This story brought to London in February, 1943, cannot be lightly
dismissed.[59] It can at least be compared with the evidence which a
_German_ court was prepared to accept in August, 1950, that on one
occasion the gas engine at Sobibor had broken down for three days on end,
during which an entire transport had to wait under these conditins till
the survivors could be gassed.[60]

Between May and June, 1942, Belsec was out of action for six weeks,[61]
and in July it was only handling two transports a week.[62] In November-
or soon after -it was out of action for good,[63] but the Jewish
_Sonderkommando_ was occupied in effacing the mass graves till the
following June.

Strange to say, all this happened within a few yards of the main line
between Lwow and Lublin, where, in April 1943, a Jewish doctor later
escaped to Switzerland, noticed the appalling stench of the exhumed bodies
as he passed the spot by train.[64] Nevertheless the wildest legends
sourrounded the place. Dr. Guérin, in a prisoner-of-war camp only twenty
miles along the line, heard that the Jews were killed by an incredible
electric current passed through water, and his story reached London in
November, 1942.[65] It was only after the war that a real survivor
appeared to describe the miserable diesel engine which had supplied the
carbon monoxide. He was Rudolf Reder, the former director of a soap
factory in Lwow, who owed his survival at the age of sixty to his ability
to work the camp steam excavator.[66] Reder once saw the victims locked in
the gas chamber for hours on end while efforts were made to start the
diesel engine. The same scene was described by the German gas expert, Kurt
Gerstein, who visited Belsec on August 20th, 1942, within a few days of
Reder's arrival (_see pages 153 and 265). I took two and three-quarter
hours to start the engine and all the time the moaning could be heard in
the four gas chambers, in each which there were 750 people.[67] 


59 _Black Book of Polish Jewrey_, 1943, pages 135-38.

60 Sobibor case. (_Frankfurter Rundschau_, August 24th, 1950.)

61 IMT, V, 240. (Evidence, Paul Roser.)

62 Case IV. Interrogation, Karl Wolff, _Trial of War Criminals_, V, page
279, 1951.

63 Josef Tenenbaum, _In Search of a Lost People, New York, 1949, page 123.
Evidence, Leon Weliczer.

64 Silberschein. _Die Judenausrottung in Polen, Geneva, 1944, V, page 22

65 _Rawa Ruska_, Marseilles, 1945.

66 Muszkat. _Polish Charges_, pages 229, _Dokumenty i Materialy_, I, page
221. _Belsec_ (in Polish), Cracow, 1945, by Rudolf Reder.

67 IMT, PS 1553. _Trials of War Criminals_, I, page 865. This is
incomplete; full version in document books of Cases I and IV. 

Source: Reitlinger, _The Final Solution_, p.140-141; notes 59-67 pp.553-554.

In the above one can see that Reitlinger, a resposible and meticulous
historian, used the _The Black Book_ (i.e. _Black Book of Polish Jewrey,
1943) in citing deportees "left in the 'transfer station' for days on
end." Yet with careful analysis of the available sources Reitlinger
determined that Dr. Gue'rin's 1942 account of the rumor that "Jews were
killed by an incredible electric current passed through water" was one of
the wild legends that surround Belzec and which was dispelled by Rudolf
Reder's (and Gerstein's) eyewitness account. 

Yet, some forty years after Reitlinger dispelled the Belzec
"electrocution" rumor, "Revisionist scholars" continue to claim that it is
somehow "proof" that Nazi mass murder never took place. For an explination
as to why Holocaust deniers such as Mr. Raven favor such tactics please

For a compendium of Mr. Raven's scurrilous Holocaust denial, Nazi apologia
and lies, please peruse and visit the Nizkor Project at:


"Gradually it was disclosed to me that the line separating good and
 evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between
 political parties--but right through every human heart--and all 
 human hearts." -- Alexander Solzhenitsyn, "The Gulag Archipelago"

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