A fraudulent attempt to refute Mr. Death

Or: What do we call it, when scientists chose to ignore facts
that are crucial for the subject they investigate?

By Germar Rudolf

It is more than twelve years ago that an American technician went to Auschwitz concentration camp and made the first forensic research ever conducted by an independent researcher. His expert report triggered a broad and sometimes heated debate, as it was not in line with the generally excepted view held about Auschwitz. Under such circumstances one would expect that many scholars would get involved in this matter trying to refute Leuchter’s thesis. But in all these years only one scientific paper has been published in a fairly unknown Polish journal addressing the chemical questions raised by Leuchter. However, the Polish authors of this work did such a sloppy job that their attempt to refute Leuchter not only fails but calls into question their scientific credentials. Furthermore, it will be demonstrated that the unscientific methodology applied by these Poles can only be called fraudulent. Under normal circumstances, these Polish authors would be expelled from the scientific community for their unethical behavior.


1. Pioneer Fred Leuchter

Errol Morris’ movie made him known all over the States and beyond: Fred Leuchter is America’s only expert for the construction and maintenance of execution technology. But that wasn’t what made him interesting for the media. In 1988, Fred Leuchter prepared an expert report in which he stated that the alleged mass murder committed in the National Socialist concentration camps Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek couldn’t have taken place. He had various technical reasons for his conclusions, which we are not going to investigate here, as this is not a place to criticize this pioneer’s deeds.

What caused the most attention in 1988 and still does today, weren’t these technical arguments for which Leuchter could claim to be an expert. Most attention was brought upon results of chemical analyses of brickwork samples Fred Leuchter had taken from the walls of the alleged homicidal gas chambers, and the comparison of these results with one sample taken from a delousing chamber. In both facilities, presumably the same poison gas was used to kill: Zyklon B. In the delousing chambers in order to kill exclusively lice – that is what the product named Zyklon B was developed for and is still being used today – and in the homicidal gas chambers to kill humans. Whereas the sample from the delousing chamber showed huge amounts of chemical derivatives of the applied poison gas, close to nothing could be found in the alleged homicidal gas chambers.[1] The fantasies of laymen about the implications of this finding have been going wild ever since, and the experts have started a severe argument about how it should be interpreted correctly.

2. Who takes it seriously in the first place?

Doing forensic research in a murder case is something quite normal in modern criminology and science. The more severe a crime is, the more it is likely that such investigations are being done. Just look at what is going on in Kosovo after the war ended: An international commission was created that is in charge with trying to find the sites of alleged mass murder. They try to salvage material evidence of when, how, how many, and who was murdered, and naturally to find out, who the perpetrators were. But, this has not been the case regarding Auschwitz and other Eastern European sites of factual or alleged mass murder. Not a single forensic study by an international commission about mass graves and remainders of any murder weapons was ever conducted and presented to the public. The world waited 43 years for Fred Leuchter to come along and get it started. So, wouldn’t we expect to see an international commission being formed right after Leuchter’s controversial report was published? Or at least that many experts would come forward to refute or confirm in scientific studies what Leuchter claimed: chemists, engineers, architects? Nothing of the sort happened.

Only two experts had the guts to devote their time, money and energy to that particular problem and publish a study that deserves to be called scholarly. In 1993, a German chemist holding a scholarship at the prestigious Max-Planck-Institute for Solid States Research in Stuttgart (Germany), Germar Rudolf, the author of this article, published his report about technical and chemical questions raised by the so-called Leuchter Report. I am not going to discuss this report here, as it would be bad style to criticize myself. The ongoing discussion about my report can be found on the internet (see vho.org/GB/c/GR/Green.html).

The other expert was Prof. Dr. Jan Markiewicz and co-workers from the Jan Sehn Institute for Forensic Research in Krakow, Poland, which is located close to Auschwitz. In the following paragraphs, I am going to criticize their study not regarding the claims they made, their findings and conclusions. This is not about who is right and who is wrong, even though there will be a need to solve those questions in the long run, as their conclusions are the exact opposite of mine. The purpose of this article to draw attention to principle problems of scientific scholarship, methodology, and ethics.

3. A short chemical introduction

In order for the reader to understand the matter addressed hereafter, I can’t avoid a bit of basic chemistry, I am afraid, but I will do it without any equations. First of all, until 1979, Zyklon B was the German trademark for a pesticide based on hydrogen cyanide (HCN). As every student of chemistry knows, hydrogen cyanide forms salts, often simply referred to as cyanides. Like hydrogen cyanide itself, its salts are usually highly poisonous. However, there is one group of cyanides which are absolutely not poisonous, and the most famous representatives of this group are iron cyanides, and here especially the so-called Prussian Blue, which is a blue pigment discovered in Prussia a few centuries ago. Every college student of chemistry knows Prussian Blue, because one of the most crucial lessons one has to learn as a chemist is how to get rid of poisonous cyanide salts without killing all the life around (including oneself). One simply makes Prussian Blue out of it by adding certain iron compounds, and then one can pour the stuff into the sink with a good conscience, as Prussian Blue is extremely stable and doesn’t release any cyanide into the environment.

Understanding the controversy surrounding the Leuchter Report is much easier if one keeps in mind: certain cyanide compounds and iron compounds develop Prussian Blue. That is exactly the phenomenon that one can observe when entering the Zyklon B delousing facilities that were used during the Third Reich all over Europe. Only a few of them do exist still today, for example in the Auschwitz, Birkenau, Majdanek and Stutthof concentration camps. All these facilities have one thing in common: Their walls are soaked with Prussian Blue, not just superficially, but even the mortar between the bricks and the outside walls of these delousing chambers are full of iron cyanides and show a patchy blue coloration. In contrary to that, a similar thing cannot be observed in the alleged homicidal gas chambers in Auschwitz and Birkenau.[2] The iron compounds necessary to form Prussian Blue are an integral part of all building material: bricks, sand and cement always contain a certain amount of rust (iron oxide, usually between 1 and 4%). That is what gives bricks their red or ocher color and what makes most sands ocher, too.

Now, let’s have a look into how the Polish authors approached our problem of analyzing and interpreting samples taken at these historical sites.

4. Science, the Polish way

4.1. Lack of Understanding

The Poles Markiewicz, Gubala and Labedz claim of not having understood how Prussian Blue could possibly form in walls as a result of them being exposed to HCN gas:[3]

“It is hard to imagine the chemical reactions and physicochemical processes that could have led to the formation of Prussian blue in that place.”

It is no shame of not having understood something. Actually, that is the very beginning of each science: The cognition of not understanding. Whereas in pre-scientific ages, humans tend to find mystical or religious answers to unsolved questions, in our modern time scientist take problems they don’t understand or can hardly imagine as a challenge to investigate in order to understand. This quest for knowledge is the most important driving force behind modern humanity. So, after such a statement, wouldn’t we expect that the Poles would now try to find out, if and how Prussian Blue can be formed in walls exposed to hydrogen cyanide? If they are scientists, we certainly would expect them to.

4.2. More lack of understanding

In a correspondence with Dr. Markiewicz as early as 1991, conducted via a mutual acquaintance, he already wrote that he cannot understand how Prussian Blue could possibly form in walls exposed to hydrogen cyanide. He thought it is quite unlikely, and that it might stem from a different source, for example from a Prussian Blue wall paint used to give the interior walls of the delousing chambers a fanciful, patchy blue coloration (what for? one is tempted to ask.[4]) I suggested to him to look at the outer surfaces of these walls, which are exposed to environmental influences, and which were partly patchy blue as well. Their coloration cannot be explained by paint, but only by cyanide compounds spreading to the outside walls over the years, where they are converted to Prussian Blue. He replied, these blue patches were hard to explain and it first had to be established that this is indeed Prussian Blue.[5] So there were even more questions to be answered for those Polish scientists before they could go to work, weren’t there?

4.3. Ignoring unsolved, but crucial problems

Surprisingly, when perusing their article published in 1994[3], it turns out that they have done nothing to establish whether or not there is a possibility that Prussian Blue develops in walls exposed to hydrogen cyanide. Nothing indicates that they have done basic research about the behavior of cyanide compounds under conditions similar to those in brickwork. Nor have they done anything to establish if the blue patches on the external walls of the delousing chambers are caused by Prussian Blue or not. If one wonders why, just be patient, as it gets even worse.

4.4. Ignoring peer opinions

It actually could be that they found a scientific source stating in a reliable way that Prussian Blue cannot develop in walls exposed to hydrogen cyanide. That would have made it easy for them, as it would have made any new research obsolete. On the other hand, if they would find and quote literature claiming in a scientific way that the formation Prussian Blue in walls exposed to hydrogen cyanide was possible, than they would be forced to either abandon their position of “unimaginability”, or they would have to prove the opposite. That is what the scientific process is all about: verification or refutation of theses postulated by peers. Ignoring your peer’s opinion, on the other hand, is a strong indicator of unscientific behavior.

And indeed, the Poles quoted one book that intensively deals with that question.[6] But when consulting it, one quickly realizes that it proves the exact opposite of Markiewicz’s thesis. It shows in detail, how and under which circumstances it is possible that walls exposed to hydrogen cyanide do indeed form Prussian Blue, and that it was possible and quite likely to happen at least in the delousing chambers. But do the Poles claim that this book does the opposite? No. As a matter of fact, they don’t quote it in order to refer the reader to the chemical arguments explained in it, but rather as an example for scientific studies these Polish authors intended to fight with their publication. They ignored all arguments brought forward in this book. They simply quoted it as an example of “undesired science”. Remember: Dr. Markiewicz is a professor, which means: he professes to stick to the ideals of science and scientific methodology! But it doesn’t end there.

4.5. Excluding the unwanted

The Poles ignored all arguments proving them wrong, though they definitively knew them, since they quoted them. They did nothing to verify or falsify their own claims. They did nothing to understand what they claimed to not having understood. But why did they act that way?

The answer to that is very easy: They wanted to exclude the Prussian Blue and similar iron cyanide compounds from their analyses. This can only be justified when assuming that Prussian Blue in the walls of the delousing chambers must have a different origin, e.g. stemming from paint. They themselves wrote:

"We decided therefore to determine the cyanide ions using a method that does not induce the breakdown of the composed ferrum cyanide complex (this is the blue under discussion)[…]

What does that mean?

Fact is: The exclusion of Prussian Blue from analytical detection must result in much lower analyses results for the delousing chambers, as non-iron cyanide compounds are not very stable and would therefore hardly be present after 50 years. The same is true for every room ever exposed to hydrogen cyanide. In fact, values close to the detection level must be expected, which are generally so unreliable, that a proper interpretation is close to impossible. It can therefore be expected that the analysis of samples tested with such a method would deliver similar results for nearly every sample of material that is many decades old. Such an analysis would make it rather impossible to distinguish between rooms massively exposed to hydrogen cyanide and those, which were not.

And that is in my opinion exactly what the Poles wanted to achieve: Values for both the delousing chambers and the alleged homicidal gas chambers with similar levels of cyanide residues. This would allow them to state: ‘See: same amount of cyanides, hence same amount of gassing activity, thus humans were gassed in the gas chambers. Henceforth, Leuchter is refuted.’

As a matter of fact, that is exactly what the analyses results of the Poles delivered, and they concluded accordingly.

Now let’s have a look into the analyses results of samples taken by different people, and achieved with different methods of analysis, that makes you see how Markiewicz and his co-workers tampered their results by adjusting their method in a way that it would deliver what they wanted:

Comparison of the order of magnitude of analyses results of different samples

Author:

Markiewicz et al.[3]

Leuchter[1]

Rudolf

Detection of:

Cyanide without Iron Cyanides

Total Cyanide

Total Cyanide

Delousing Chambers

0 – 0.8 mg/kg

1,025 mg/kg

1,000 – 13,000 mg/kg

Alleged ‘Gas Chamber’

0 – 0.6 mg/kg

0 - 8 mg/kg

0 - 7 mg/kg

Doesn’t that smell like a scientific fraud? Well, we are still not finished.

4.6. Suppressing unwanted results

In 1991, a document leaked out of the Jan Sehn Institute in Krakow, which eventually ended up in the hands of the Revisionists and was published in their periodicals.[7] It showed that Dr. Markiewicz and his co-workers had prepared a first report already as early as 1991. They never published it. In fact, its results were discomforting for their purpose. Even though they had used their treacherous analysis method already then, only one of the five samples taken from alleged homicidal gas chambers resulted in an extremely small amount of cyanide (0.024 mg/kg), the rest simply had no detectable cyanide. On the other hand, the samples taken from a delousing chamber showed values up to 20 times higher (0.036 – 0.588 mg/kg). These results seemed to confirm Leuchter’s findings. Hence, in their paper published in 1994, the Poles suppressed any information about their first results. Normally, scientists are expelled from the scientific community if they are caught with such unethical acts.

4.7. Polish guidelines: not scientific truth, but political agenda

In a subsequent correspondent with the Polish authors, I asked for a scientific explanation for this. I gave them irrefutable proof for the fact that Prussian Blue can indeed be formed in walls when they are exposed to hydrogen cyanide gas, by referring to a recent case documented in expert literature.[8] The Polish authors were unable to give a scientific reason for their deliberate omission to detect Iron Blue and refused to admit that they had made a mistake.[9]

Finally, in their article as well as in a letter to this author, the Poles themselves stated that the purpose of their paper was to refute the “Holocaust Deniers” and to prevent Hitler and National Socialism from being whitewashed, i.e. their purpose was not to find out the truth, but to serve a political goal!

5. Conclusions

Let me summarize the extremely unscientific and politically biased approach of Markiewicz and his co-workers:

  1. The most important task of a scientist is to try to understand what hasn’t been understood so far. The Poles just did the opposite: they decided to ignore and exclude what they didn’t understand (the formation of Prussian Blue in walls exposed to hydrogen cyanide).
  2. The next important task of a scientist is to discuss other scientists’ attempts to make understandable. The Poles just did the opposite: they decided to ignore and exclude from discussion what would perhaps make them (and others) understand how Prussian Blue can be formed.
  3. That allowed them to use methods producing the results they wanted to see.
  4. They suppressed results that didn’t fit into their desired results.
  5. Finally, they admitted that the purpose of their research was not to seek the truth, but to keep totally discredited the reputation of one, who has long since rotted away.

Hence, I publicly called and still call these Polish authors scientific frauds. Neither Markiewicz nor his co-workers ever stood up against that accusation. Dr. Markiewicz died in 1997, and the remaining two co-authors have been silent about that ever since, like thieves hiding in the night.

All these facts about the deeply unethical behavior of these Polish researchers does not prove that they are wrong. To establish the truth in this controversy requires perhaps many more years of thorough research – for example a broad series of brickwork samples gassed under different circumstances. Therefore, it might not be time to make any final conclusions about that right now.

But what we can conclude is the following: The only attempt to refute Fredrick A. Leuchter’s most intriguing thesis, that claimed to be scientific, turns out to be one of the big scientific frauds of the twentieth century.

How desperate must those be who try to defend the established version of the Holocaust, understood mainly as a systematic extermination of Jews in homicidal gas chambers, that they resort to such obviously fraudulent methods?

Isn’t it time to start real scientific investigations of the problem addressed here?


Notes

[1]  Frederick A. Leuchter, The First Leuchter Report, Samisdat Publishers, Toronto 1988 (www.zundelsite.org/english/leuchter/report1/leuchter.toc.html).

[2]  It is a bit different in Majdanek and Stutthof, as those rooms that doubtlessly served as delousing facilities are claimed to have been served as homicidal gas chambers as well, so we cannot make that sort of observation there. However, since the established opinion generally claims that high iron cyanide residues cannot be the results of homicidal gassings – for reasons not to be discussed here – it is generally accepted by all sides in this controversy that the blue staining generally originates in the use of these rooms as delousing facilities.

[3]  Jan Markiewicz, Wojciech Gubala, Jerzy Labedz, “A Study of the Cyanide Compounds Content in the Walls of the Gas Chambers in the Former Auschwitz and Birkenau Concentration Camps”, Z Zagadnien Nauk Sadowych / Problems of Forensic Science, vol. XXX (1994) pp. 17-27 (online: www2.ca.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/orgs/polish/institute-for-forensic-research/post-leuchter.report).

[4]  Just for those interested: There doesn’t and never did exist a wall paint containing Prussian Blue, as Prussian Blue decomposes on fresh plasters (it is unstable in alkaline environment). Thus, nobody could have painted these walls with Prussian Blue.

[5]  Prof. Dr. Jan Sehn Institute for Forensic Research, dep. for forensic toxicology, Krakow, letter to W. Wegner, undated (Winter 1991/92), signature illegible, but probably Dr. Markiewicz himself, unpublished, party quoted in: Rüdiger Kammerer, Armin Solms (ed.), Das Rudolf Gutachten. Gutachten über die Bildung und Nachweisbarkeit von Cyanidverbindungen in den ‘Gaskammern’ von Auschwitz, Cromwell Press, London 1993 (vho.org/D/rga/krakau.html)

[6]  Ernst Gauss, Vorlesungen über Zeitgeschichte, Grabert, Tübingen 1993, about the chemistry involved here, cf. pp. 163ff., 290-294 (vho.org/D/vuez/v3.html#v3_4 and ~/v5.html#v5_5).

[7]J. Markiewicz, W. Gubala, J. Labedz, B. Trzcinska, “Gutachten”, Prof. Dr. Jan Sehn Institute for Forensic Research, department for forensic toxicology, Krakow, September 24, 1990; partly published in: Deutschland in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 1991, 39(2), pp. 18f. (vho.org/D/DGG/IDN39_2.html); English: “An official Polish report on the Auschwitz ‘gas chambers’”, The Journal of Historical Review, Summer, 1991; vol. 11 no. 2: pp. 207-216. (vho.org/GB/Journals/JHR/11/2/ IHR207-216.html) (The unit used by the Poles (microgram KCN per 100 g sample material) is not compatible with international standards. I converted the values to mg cyanide per kg sample material in my report, see note 5).

[8]  A construction damage case occurred in 1976 in Bavaria (Meeder-Wiesenfeld), when a recently plastered church was gassed with Zyklon B. After several months the plaster was covered with blue patches formed by Prussian Blue, see Günter Zimmermann (ed.), Bauschäden Sammlung, vol. 4, Forum-Verlag, Stuttgart 1981, pp. 120f.; reprint in Ernst Gauss (ed.), Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte, Grabert, Tübingen 1994, pp. 401ff.; (http://vho.org/D/gzz/17.html; English: www.vho.org/GB/Books/dth/fndwood.html.) Furthermore, all delousing facilities of former concentration camps in eastern Europe still existing today have developed enormous amounts of Prussian Blue throughout the wall, cf. My report, note 5 (vho.org/D/rga/prob9_22.html and following pages); Jürgen Graf, Carlo Mattogno, KL Majdanek. Eine historische und technische Studie, Castle Hill Publishers, Hastings 1998 (vho.org/D/Majdanek/MR.html); Jürgen Graf, Carlo Mattogno, Das Konzentrationslager Stutthof und seine Funktion in der nationalsozialistischen Judenpolitik, Castle Hill Publishers, Hastings 1999 (vho.org/D/Stutthof/index.html).

[9]  G. Rudolf, “Leuchter-Gegengutachten: Ein Wissenschaftlicher Betrug?”, in: Deutschland in Geschichte und Gegenwart 43(1) (1995) pp. 22-26 (vho.org/D/Kardinal/Leuchter.html; Engl.: vho.org/GB/Books/cq/leuchter.html); G. Rudolf and J. Markiewicz, W. Gubala, J. Labedz, “Briefwechsel”, in: Sleipnir, 1(3) (1995) pp. 29-33; reprinted in Herbert Verbeke (ed.), Kardinalfragen zur Zeitgeschichte, Vrij Historisch Onderzoek, Berchem 1996, pp. 86-90 (online: as above).