Letters -- March/April 2001
Nothing to It
In the September-October 2000 issue of the Journal, Costas Zaverdinos writes:
Regarding Chelmno and the "gas vans," Irving was more explicit: "I have repeatedly allowed that [Jews] were killed in gas vans" -- and he included Yugoslavia among the places where such vans were used. A dramatic moment in the proceedings came when Irving was shown a document describing the gassing of 97,000 Jews in Chelmno "gas vans." Although he claimed to have first seen this document only five or six months earlier, he accepted it as genuine. It showed "systematic, huge scale, [sic] using gas trucks to murder Jews."
As [Deborah Lipstadt's attorney] Rampton put it in his closing speech: "Mr. Irving has been driven, in the face of overwhelming evidence presented by Professor Robert Jan van Pelt, Professor Christopher Browning and Dr. Longerich, to concede that there were indeed mass murders on a huge scale by means of gassing at Chelmno in the Warthegau and at the Reinhardt camps of Belzec, Treblinka, and Sobibor; and even that there were "some gassings" at Auschwitz.
Irving is no Holocaust historian, as he himself admits. Therefore, why did Zaverdinos allow Irving's statements to go unchallenged? And why did the JHR let these statements stand unchallenged?
If there really is substance to Rampton's assertions, particularly about mass murders using gas vans, I'd to know about it. Everything that I can recall reading about "gas vans" in the Journal said that there was really nothing to it.
Los Angeles, CA
The narrative and analytical focus of Dr. Zaverdinos's article ("The Rudolf Case, Irving's Libel Suit and the Future of Revisionism," JHR, 19, no. 5, pp. 26-61) precluded his criticizing Irving's trial positions at every instance. Nevertheless, his remarks on page 39 take careful issue with Irving on diesel gassings in vans and in the Reinhardt camps. In any case, the evidence for these gassings is even less substantial than that for the alleged Zyklon (cyanide) gassings at Auschwitz and elsewhere. For the most informed and up-to-date analysis of the pitifully scanty evidence, see the articles by Fritz Berg, Ingrid Weckert, and Arnulf Neumaier in Germar Rudolf's Dissecting the Holocaust. -- Ed.
From The Journal of Historical Review, March/April 2001 (Vol. 20, No. 2), page 48.