The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/s/stein.michael/1996/raven-on-boeck.01


The following analysis comes to us from Mike Stein
(mstein@access.digex.net).


Greg Raven, Associate Editor of the Journal for Historical Review, was
presented with a number of testimonies, including that of SS man Hans
Bo"ck. On the subject of Bo"ck, Raven wrote: 

     "Pressac himself casts doubt on some of the aspects
     of this statement, pointing out, for example, that
     Boeck could only have witnessed one such gassing (at
     most)."

This is a paraphrase - and worse, a paraphrase with no page number.
Someone who wanted to see if the paraphrase accurately reflected the
original would have to read through the whole book to find it.  I raised
this question in a reply to Raven's rebuttal:

     "Is 'at most' in Pressac's original text, or is it a clever insertion on
     Mr. Raven's part, as we are only presented with a paraphrase, not a 
     direct quote, and no exact page citation to make it easy to check 
     the accuracy of it, so that if we want to verify it for ourselves we 
     must take the time to read Pressac cover to cover?"


Raven's scornful reply:

     "Well, if you were familiar with Pressac's book, you would find it
     relatively easy to locate the text, as it is in the section on SS
     testimonies. Lacking that familiarity, you could have referred to
     Faurisson's long review of Pressac's book, which appeared in two 
     parts in the Journal of Historical Review."

Apparently Mr. Raven feels that I should be intimately familiar with
Pressac's book, and if not, magically know what secondary source would
tell me where to find the part I'm looking for.  Perhaps it would be
reading too much into this, but one could easily get the impression Raven
is being condescending, saying that if *I* were as good a historian as
*he*, I would be familiar with Pressac's book and know where to look - so
he need not (and still does not) bother to tell me the page, as an amateur
like myself is not worth wasting his valuable time on.  The most he will
do for me is tell me to look in the section on SS testimonies. 

    That's one way of reading Raven's response.  But Dr. Faurisson, the 
expert on texts, teaches us that there are other ways.  And indeed, there 
is.

    I do not read it as the condescension of a professional historian to
an amateur.  I read it as a desperate bluff.  He won't tell me the page
not because I'm not worth bothering with, but because he knows that once
the true text of this book (which even Friedrich Berg has noted is hard
for the average person to find) is compared with Raven's paraphrase, he
will have no credibility left.  He is terrified that if he gives me any
help at all, I will be able to expose him, and is desperately praying that
I don't have access to a copy.

    Apparently Mr. Raven does not realize that I live in the area of
Washington, DC, home of the Library of Congress and the Holocaust Museum
library.  While the Library of Congress copy is missing, the Museum has
not one but two copies in its library.  I do have some familiarity with
Pressac's book, and I have actually known for some time that Raven's
paraphrase bears no relation to what Pressac really says, other than
containing the words "gassings," "see," and "one" (in that order).

    I also know that "the" section on SS testimonies does not exist -
there is one set of testimonies on Krema I which includes SS men Pery
Broad and Rudolf Ho"ss, along with Sonderkommando members Alter
Fajnzylberg and - if memory serves - Filip Muller.  The discussion of
Broad is on p. 128 (not 124 as Raven had it).

     Here is the full text of Pressac's comments on Bo"ck's testimony,
found not in "the section on SS testimonies," but all the way over on page
181 of the English language edition:

     "There is only one clue to show that the scene took place at Bunker 
     2: 'a long farmhouse'.  In this type of account, this is already a 
     good deal.  SS Bo"ck seems to have been a decent enough man.  The 
     gassing of children upset him so much that he saw the SS medical 
     orderlies 'climb on the roof' (they did not climb so high) and did 
     not look at his wife for four weeks.  Not everyone is cut out to be 
     an executioner.  Hermann Langbein writes: 

         'Bo"ck is the only witness who demonstrated a sincere aversion 
         before the court.' 

     I would ask just one question: 'How many gassings did Bo"ck see?'  
     If he only saw the one described before the court, it is not so 
     surprising that his 'aversion' should remain intact.  If he had 
     been forced by his duties to see them regularly, his attitude might 
     be different.  It is all too easy to become hardened." 


    Pressac's text speaks for itself.  It certainly does not need Raven to 
speak for it.


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