Deborah Lipstadt: The lies and obfuscations of Bishop Williamson

Roundup: Talking About History

[Ms. Lipstadt is Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and author of History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving.]

[The following provides links to various articles and sources which explicitly expose the lies and obfuscations of Holocaust denier Bishop Williamson. We hope they are helpful to you. My profound thanks to Dan Leshem and Maureen McLaughlin for helping prepare this material.]

1. Williamson says: “I believe there were no gas chambers."

This claim is one of several pillars of Holocaust denial. For an overview on the design, number, and operation of the gas chambers and some pictures. Click here or here.

In addition you can go to the following sites on www.hdot.org which address some of the common claims made by deniers about the gas chambers:

  1. Auschwitz Gas Chambers were really air raid shelters

  2. Gas Chambers could not have been used for gassing

  3. Gas Chamber in Auschwitz I is a fake for tourists

  4. Scientific tests prove the Gas Chambers never existed

  5. There were holes in the roofs of the gas chambers"

2. Williamson says: “. . . between two and three hundred thousand Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but not one of them by gassing in a gas chamber.”

For a short article on the numbers killed see this articlein Wikipedia. There are other sources but they are generally quite complex.

3. Williamson says: “You may have heard of the Leuchter Report? Well, Fred Leuchter was an expert in gas chambers. He designed three gas chambers for three states, three of the fifty United States, for the execution of criminals. So he knew what’s involved. And he studied what the supposed gas chambers in Germany at some point in the 1980’s, what remains of the supposed gas chambers. The crematoria at Birkenau-Auschwitz, for instance. And his expert conclusion as that it’s impossible for these ever to have served for the gassing of large numbers of people.”

An extensive rebuttal of Leuchter’s “qualifications” can be found here

4. Williamson says: “. . . it’s very dangerous to go in to pull out the corpses. Because of whiff of gas that’s trapped in the clothing escapes from the clothing will kill the person. . .

When the Sonderkommandos had to unload the cottage gas chambers they did use gas masks since there was no ventilation system. This discussion can be found in the RJvP Report, Chapter VI; Attestations here. Note that the Sonderkommandos talk about using gas masks.

There is extensive literature on how the victims had to undress BEFORE they went into the gas chambers. During the trial Irving v. Lipstadt, expert witness Robert Jan van Pelt gave the court multiple descriptions of the undressing process. [If you click on this link it will take you to the entire chapter. Scroll down and you will find the descriptions.]

Here is one observation from Hoss, the commandant at Auschwitz, on the arrival, selection and killing of the deportees.

. . . All the luggage remained on the ramp and, after those unfit for work had also been sent off, it was brought to the store of personal effects, to be sorted out. Those unfit for work were classified according to sex--men, women, and children--and marched off to the nearest available extermination installation. Those unable to walk and women with small children were transported there on trucks. When they arrived, all of them had to strip naked in rooms which gave the impression of being delousing installations. The permanent labour unit of prisoners who worked in these installations--and who were also housed there and did not come into contact with other inmates of the camp--helped with the undressing and coaxed the hesitant to hurry up, ss that the others would not have to wait so long.

They were also told to take note where they put away theirclothes, so that they would be able to find them again immediately after takingtheir bath. All this was done on purpose, in order to dispel any fears whichmight arise. After they had taken off their clothes, they were taken into a nearby room--the gas chamber itself. It had been prepared to look like a washroom--that is to say, showers and pipes were installed throughout, water drainage channels, etc. The moment the entire transport had entered the chamber, the door was closed, and simultaneously the gas was forced in from above through a special aperture. . . .

5. Williamson says: “Once you’ve gassed people, you’ve got to evacuate the gas to be able to get into the chamber to us it. To evacuate the gas, you need a high chimney. If it’s a low chimney, the gas goes onto the pavement and kills anybody walking by.”

The gas chambers did not have chimneys of the smokestack-type to vent the Zyklon-B.

They had ventilation systems.

The only “chimneys” in the gas chambers were the small ones of the roof to pour in the Zyklon-B. They may qualify technically as “chimneys” but they are, or course, not “high.” You may see their design here. This short article reconstructs the introduction columns from testimony and even shows a design. Visual and short.

There is a discussion of the ventilation system in the trial's Van Pelt Report. See especially the section found at here.

6. Williamson says: “You need a high chimney, right? . . . If there was a high chimney, then the shadow at most times of the day, the shadow would have fallen on the ground. And the Allied aerial photographers that flew over the camps would have picked up the shadow of this chimney. There were never such shadows. There was no such chimney.”

The“tall” chimneys for the crematoria and the “low” chimneys for Zyklon-B introduction both show shadows on aerial photographs (photo #4).

This article is the classic one on the aerial photography. It is presented in full with photographs including close-ups of the crematoria, showing shadows. This is the definitive answer to this assertion.

7. Williamson says: “Which, according to Fred Leuchter’s testimony, they can’t have been chambers.”

See our article on Leuchter: “Scientific Tests Prove the Gas Chambers Never Existed

8. Williamson says:“He looks at the doors, and he says that the door has to be absolutely airtight because again, the gas escapes and kills the people outside. The doors of the gas chambers that are shown to tourists at Auschwitz are not airtight, absolutely not.”

See our Myth/Fact sheet discussing the evidence for air-tight doors: “Auschwitz Gas Chambers were really air raid shelters.”

Pertinent part of our FAQ:

  • On January 1, 1943, three gas-tight doors were ordered for Crema 2.

  • On February 13, 1943 an order was issued for twelve "gas-tight doors of 30/40 cm." These "doors" are more like shutters in size (about 12 x 16 inches). These shutters can be seen at Auschwitz today. They are 30 x 40 centimeters in size and equipped with a butterfly nut that can be screwed tight from the outside. The plan for Crema/Gas Chamber 4 specifies shutters 30 by 40 centimeters in size. Crema 4 was a brick building builtentirely above ground. Of what use would it be as an air-raid shelter?

  • On February 26, 1943, ten gas detectors were ordered by telegram from Topf & Sons. (Gas detectors would be needed to determine when it was safe to enter the gas chamber rooms and remove the bodies.)

  • On March 31, 1943, one gas-tight door was ordered for Crema 3 was ordered.

Williamson’s statement about the gas chambers that are shown to “tourists” is answered in our Myth/Fact Sheet: “Gas Chambers in Auschwitz I is a fake for tourists.

Read entire article at Deborah Lipstadt blog

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