Postscript to Chemistry is not the Science: Rudolf's Character Suicide

A common strategy of Holocaust deniers is to engage in a war of attrition. In the war of attrition, it does not matter whose argument is better or who has refuted whom. It matters only who has written the most recent "refutation." Thus in a recent work on the internet Rudolf has responded to our work without addressing any of the major refutation of his own work. We respond here in order to make it clear that Rudolf has not refuted our work. Lack of a response in the future should not be construed to mean that Rudolf has suddenly come up with a good argument. Rather it should be understood as a belief that the major conclusions of Chemistry is not the Science are still valid.

Most of Rudolf's response to us consists of non-scientific argument, yet he has the audacity to write:

Why do Green and McCarthy always fall back on non-scientific arguments?

In fact, Rudolf goes so far as to insist that his own rhetorical arguments be taken seriously:

First, he [Jamie McCarthy*] claims that I [Germar Rudolf] am pursuing a rhetorical point. Then he insists that we have no right to have our point taken seriously and that

"One has to earn such a right by demonstrating that one's point of view is worthy of serious discussion." Why does McCarthy fail to address the point? I [Germar Rudolf] know myself that nobody has a right of being heard, and I did not claim this.

Let's be straightforward here. Most of Rudolf's argument is rhetorical, not scientific. If we address his rhetorical points, he accuses us of being non-scientific, if we fail to address them, we are not answering a supposedly legitimate question.

Rudolf's response to us is almost pure rhetoric. Using the word count tool in Microsoft word, after removing all formatting characters, Rudolf's reply contains 7,753 words, 1,626 of which might be construed as being science. In contrast, Chemistry is not the Science has 14,341 words, 10,962, of which are scientific argument.

We will not address most of Rudolf's rhetorical points. In not addressing them we do not accept his claims, but it is tiresome to respond to rhetorical points that do not address the central fact that Rudolf's "scientific" work has been refuted.

A few points are worth mentioning, however. The first is that after all is said and done, Rudolf defends his Nazi contacts, and refers to their views only as "allegedly evil." Rudolf is not willing to call Nazis evil. The second is that Rudolf admits to intellectual dishonesty:

My conclusions were that one obviously had to be at the same time an engineer, a chemist, a toxicologist, a historian and a perhaps even an barrister to be accepted as an expert witness at a German court. The legal process being so perverted in Germany, we decided to mock it by inventing a person with all these features, but then we realized that this would be a bit unrealistic, so we split that person into many.

In other words, Rudolf invented a person with false credentials to lend credibility to his arguments. That this is not the only occasion he has done so should be apparent by a perusal of the many pen names he has used. This is not a minor rhetorical point. Here we have evidence of intellectual dishonesty of the worst sort. Pointing out Rudolf's intellectual dishonesty is not character assassination; rather we point out that Rudolf, by his actions has destroyed his own character and credibility. It is an example of character suicide.

Regarding the air photos Rudolf berates us for putting the response to Faurisson's arguments off until such time as a more thorough refutation is presented; yet Rudolf does not even address the response that we do make. Specifically, Rudolf did not address the work of Nevin Bryant and Michael Shermer in Shermer'sWhy People Believe Weird Things, nor did Rudolf address the evidence that John Ball's $100,000 offer was a fraud at http://www.nizkor.org/features/ball-challenge/. Why does Rudolf continue to refuse to state publically a position on John Ball's fraudulent behavior?

Now we discuss the few scientific points that Rudolf does make. A few of his points are valid but irrelevant; others contain misrepresentations of our arguments. None of them alter the conclusions of Chemistry is not the Science. Our goal in this postscript is to show that such is the case and we intend not to be bogged down in side issues.

Regarding evaporation and cyanide toxicity a few points need to be made. Note that Rudolf is afraid to speak of precise numbers here. We have shown with room for error that Zyklon could kill in a short period of time and also be ventilated to make it safe for the Sonderkommando. There is a lot of room for error here. Even if our calculations were off by more than an order of magnitude the conclusions would still be valid. Yet, Rudolf does not address the numbers we use; he simply asserts that they are not correct without providing the supposedly correct numbers. The reason is clear: any reasonable value for those numbers will yield the same conclusion that Zyklon B can be used to kill and that conditions can be made safe for the Sonderkommando. Later in his response Rudolf states:

concentrations of HCN similar to delousing procedures would have been necessary to kill the alleged victims in the time as testified by all "witnesses", basing mainly on the data we can get from capital punishment in the USA

As we explicity point out that we make exactly such an assumption, we can only conclude that either Rudolf has not read our article, has not understood it, or misrepresents it. Regarding the ability of moisture to slow down the evaporation of HCN, we have not ignored that fact. We acknowledge that it is difficult to quantify, but point out that in actuality, the Zyklon B was heated beyond the temperatures assumed in our work.1 We actually assumed a worst case scenario.

Regarding the performance of the ventilation system, it simply does not matter. Even with Mattogno's assumptions, our conclusions are still valid. We point this our explicitly in the article:

The math is easy to do. Why does Rudolf not demonstrate it for his reader? We suspect, first, because even at his inaccurate figure of only 6-8 exchanges per hour the results do not support his conclusion. Below, we replot the data assuming 8 exchanges per hour:

Graph of ventilation with mean, Rudolf's incorrect figure

The time before it was safe for the Sonderkommando to enter the gas chamber without a mask and with no ill effects ranges from 20 to 40 minutes, again within a range that does not contradict testimony.

Rudolf must realize that as he avoids discussing the issue. Regarding the question of air exchanges, Rudolf berates us for accusing him of intentionally misleading his audience by the dual use of the word "exchanges." Rudolf blames the dual use of the word on our faulty translation. The deception in question appears in the English language version of The 'Gas Chambers' of Auschwitz and Majdanek found on the CODOH website. There is no indication at the CODOH site that this article was translated from German by anyone other than Germar Rudolf. Perhaps, it was and the deception is not Rudolf's, but CODOH's.

Regarding Prussian blue, Rudolf entirely misrepresnts our argument. We have shown that even if Rudolf is correct about the delousing chambers, his mechanism is unlikely to be important in the gas chambers. We have shown this using quantitative arguments about the concentration of cyanide ions in solution in the environment of the gas chambers. In fact, we have given a likely explanation for the discrepancy in the presence of Prussian blue between the gas chambers and the delousing chambers. A higher aqueous concentration of cyanide ions was present in the delousing chambers. Rudolf ignores our points about the vast amout of dilution that took place in the gas chambers as well as the fact that gassings took place for a shorter period of time than delousing such that the ultimate concentration of cyanide in solution fell short of the equilibrium values. Using the equilibrium values we showed the unliklihood of Prussian blue formation in the gas chambers.

Rudolf claims our results differ because:

1.ignoring that concentrations of HCN similar to delousing procedures would have been necessary to kill the alleged victims in the time as testified by all "witnesses", basing mainly on the data we can get from capital punishment in the USA;

That is untrue and Rudolf should know it. In fact, we criticize other denier critics for making this assumption explicitly:

Some denier critics have assumed that this difference means that much less cyanide was used in the homicidal gas chambers as compared to the delousing chambers. For example, Mark Singer writes in The New Yorker:

The most concise explanation to counter Leuchter's conclusion is that a higher concentration of Zyklon B is required to kill lice than to kill human beings.... [20]

The assumption that much less Zyklon B was used in the gas chambers than the delousing chambers is most likely erroneous and was not made in "Leuchter, Rudolf, and the Iron Blues".

In fact, the concentration assumed by Rudolf in his table, 10 g/m3 is well within the range of 5-20 g/m3 that we assumed. Rudolf claims that our results are diffierent also because:

2.ignoring that the tendency of the cool, wet and alkaline medium in the walls of alleged gas chambers would roughly compensate the reduced time the walls of these premises would have been exposed to HCN compared to delousing procedures.

Although we have not ignored the possibility of such an effect, Rudolf has made no such demonstration that such is the case. Here Rudolf needs to show the effect of kinetics,i.e. how long does it take for aqueous concentrations to reach equilibrium. Additionally, if he wants to claim that the gas chambers were cold with respect to outgassing of Zyklon, he must make the same assumption here. What we have rather, is an assertion without supporting argument.

Rudolf shows the table of his Bavarian church without commenting on the fact that the fumigators involved found the case to be anomolous. Rudolf wishes to argue a general principle on the example of an anomoly. Even "Dr. Gauss" has claimed that the fumigators were surprised by this event. We point this fact out in the article:

The key element is pointed out by "Gauss" himself:

The specialists of the appropriate companies called for help could not understand this effect, and nothing similar was described in the literature.

Die zu Hilfe gerufenen Spezialisten der einschlägigen Firmen konnten sich diesen Effekt nicht erklären, ähnliches war auch in der Literatur nicht beschrieben.

The staining in the church is an event that occurred, but it does not represent a phenomenon that always occurs. As "Gauss" notes, the specialists were surprised. The fact that blue staining occurred in this church is not sufficient to demonstrate that the same mechanism is responsible for the blue staining in the delousing chambers. Nevertheless, this church demonstrates some interesting chemistry that may be the topic of a future article on this site.

Rudolf makes a minor point. Rudolf's claim that a measurement of the pH many years later may not be indicative of the pH at the time is valid. Unfortunately we cannot go back in time and measure the pH. Notwithstanding that fact, our conclusions about Prussian blue formation simply do not hinge on the pH. Rudolf has argued for a high pH because it makes the possibility of reduction more likely. On the other hand a high pH makes the formation of a necessary precursor to Prussian blue less likely. In the end, even granting Rudolf his high pH, our conclusions are valid, and we point this fact out in the article.

Most importantly, Rudolf ignores the central points of our argument. Either he has not read our article carefully, did not understand it, or he is intentionally misrepresenting its findings. We find that the aqueous concentration of cyanide ions in the gas chambers was reduced by 1) the short gassing time, and 2) the washing of the walls with water after gassings, and that these processes would have reduced that concetration below the threshold identified by Alich et. al. to make Prussian blue formation in the gas chambers exceedingly unlikely relative to the delousing chambers.

The fact that Rudolf ignores the central arguments of our article while nitpicking at a few minor points reinforces the idea that he is engaging in the strategy of attrition. Since he has had the last word, he must be correct, even though he never bothered to represent the arguments in the article correctly. Lack of response on our part to subsequent polemics by Rudolf should not be interpreted as aquiescence, but rather as a refusal to play the game of the battle of attrition.

Richard J. Green
July, 2000


*It is perhaps worth mentioning that Rudolf's arbitrary method of distinguishing between parts of the article written by Jamie McCarthy and parts written by Richard J. Green, is erroneous. The article should be considered a joint work.

Notes

  1. See for example p. 193 of John Zimmerman's forthcoming book, Holocaust Denial: Demographics, Testimonies and Ideologies, University Press of America, 2000.