The Rudolf Report: “Psychopathological and Dangerous”

On the Psychopathology of a Declaration

By Pierre Guillaume

La Recherche, No. 300, July/August 1997:

The Rudolf Report

The members of the Chemistry Department of the [French] Academy of Sciences received a few weeks ago a document entitled ‘The Rudolf Report,’ accompanied by an anonymous letter which explained the ongoing witch hunt against revisionist historians.

Several days later, Le Monde informed us that the distribution and sale of this document is forbidden in France.

‘The Rudolf Report’ combines scientific facts, which have no connection whatsoever to the subject, with a sick, feverish delusion that the gas chambers of Auschwitz could have only been used for killing lice on the clothes of deportees from Central Europe.

We would not have paid much attention to this letter, had it not mentioned that the document had been sent to all professors of inorganic chemistry in German universities and had not received a single objection from any of them. Our silence could be interpreted as an approval. It is therefore important for us to state that this report is noteworthy only as an example of perversion of science: it is interesting to those in the field of psychopathology, but it is dangerous because of its professional appearance.

The Members of the Chemistry Department of the [French] Academy of Sciences

The above declaration is astonishing. It is the collective opinion of the members, all the members, of the Chemistry Department of the French Academy of Sciences, who agreed to align themselves in this common declaration. The matter must be a serious one to inspire such solidarity. The opinion presented highlights the obvious in order to bring these items to our attention.

These obvious matters are opposed by others, and this is the reason why this outlandish declaration is granted validity through its publication in a scientific magazine.

There we have it. The authority of a scholarly magazine is used when publishing this unanimous declaration. One wonders, what could be so important that it justifies this collective initiative of academics and is handled in such a rush. What sort of document could precipitate such solidarity?

Is it spontaneous unanimity, or rather a silent agreement made under the pressure of some excited zealots who are willing to denounce anyone showing a lack of loyalty? The answer to this question could be important. The incident is there. The Chemistry Department of the French Academy of Sciences and each of its members deployed their authority, but science does not acknowledge a dispute of authority. Science is not allowed to acknowledge it! In fact, the opinion of the Chemistry Department of the French Academy of Sciences doesn’t have the least bit to do with chemistry, nor science. It says in the declaration:

“It is therefore important for us to state that this work is noteworthy only as an example of perversion of science: it is interesting to those in the field of psychopathology, [...]

The members of the Chemistry Department placed their collective authority into this declaration by requesting the reader to believe their words without proof. This is exactly the opposite of a scientific refutation: it replaces proof through argument with pure authority. No matter how great or how justified the authority of a scientist may be, he loses it in that instant when he falls back on his reputation instead of arguing to support his assessment.

But is this declaration a valid assessment at all, or is it more the extension of an official prohibition of a religious nature? The Rudolf Report is, after all, an allegedly noteworthy example of perversion of science. Well then! The perversion of science is a serious threat, and justifies the interference of the French Academy of Sciences. The exposure and scientific dismantling of such a notable example of perversion would honor the French Academy, its authority, and strengthen its influence throughout the world. But instead of indicating to the stunned public (and especially the scientific community) the errors, impossibilities, and allegedly perverse methods discovered in the Rudolf Report, the academics limit themselves to declaring ...

This Report, which is “only interesting to those in the field of the psychopathology,” is “quite dangerous because of its professional appearance.” How bizarre!

A report, which was submitted to support a thesis and which displays solid psychopathology, would probably lead that thesis to its final ruin. Then how can the Rudolf Report be dangerous?

Because it lends a professional appearance to the thesis which it defends.

Does this Report therefore have a professional appearance?

How strange! We are being made to believe:

“This work combines scientific facts, which have no connection with the subject whatsoever, with a sick feverish delusion, which pretends [...]

If this were the case, the Rudolf Report could not deceive anyone in the scientific world who would recognize its psychopathology right away, and its distribution within the field of the scientific public could only help convince them of the senselessness of revisionist arguments.

This collective action of the French Academy (which sounds like a warning) seems to be exaggerated. If the data published in the Rudolf Report has no relation to the subject, and the subject is handled exactly as described by the members of the Chemistry Department, then it is not clear how it can yield a professional appearance. But, if the Rudolf Report is unprofessional and still appears to be professional, then any reasonable action that could eliminate this appearance would be desired.

If the facts do not support the thesis, then the only reasonable and effective way would be to prove this. A simple prohibiting declaration appealing to authority is the worst of all possible quick responses. It is important to take steps to expose the deception by clearly indicating the errors, which show the document’s appearance to be deceiving. If this is not done, silence “can certainly [...] be interpreted,” because this declaration by the academics says a lot – or, perhaps, not enough.

We also learn that this Rudolf Report was sent to all German professors of inorganic chemistry “without ‘a single objection’ from them.” This may have been the actual reason for the collective declaration by the academics; they don’t want people to say that the Rudolf Report was sent to all the members of their community “without ‘a single objection’ from them.”

The terrible revisionists are correct in maintaining that the Rudolf Report met complete rejection and an insulted reaction from the nobility, but they were not provided with a single justified objection.

The reason for this is evident, and is possibly the message the authors intended to give: The Rudolf Report is not even worth being subject to the slightest justified criticism.

Why is it then “of course quite dangerous?”

If it is dangerous, it first of all requires a thorough criticism, which should be very easy to do, since the Rudolf Report is supposed to contain such great errors. A criticism would also be necessary since its errors are allegedly only recognizable under great scrutiny.

Is the refutation of the Rudolf Report difficult or easy?

It depends.

The story offered here makes no sense at all and only offers a new impossibility. Who are these terrible revisionists, who, under the greatest expense and greatest drudgery, sent to the most competent personalities of France such a poorly composed report, full of scientific facts unrelated to the subject, in order to reveal their trickery? This is, evidently, a complex strategy, which can be shattered immediately by breaking the silence – it is that simple.

The members of the Chemistry Department of the French Academy of Sciences proved incapable of refuting the Rudolf Report: An Expert Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the ‘Gas Chambers’ of Auschwitz, or else they carelessly contributed their signatures without understanding the object of its research. They expose themselves to such a suspicion.

Fortunately, we were informed by Le Monde that the distribution and sale of this Rudolf Report is forbidden in France.

Therefore there are no more problems! Sleep ... sleep, you little ones ... sleep! Keep on walking, there is nothing to see!