The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
PAUL RASSINIER'S four criticisms of Dr Miklos Nyiszli's book
Médecin à Auschwitz

[Published in English as: “Auschwitz: a Doctor's eyewitness account"]
ULYSSE TRAHI PAR LES SIENS [Ulysses betrayed by his own people]
Documents et Témoignages
Henry Colton, Paris, 1961, pages 22 and 23
My opinion gradually becoming accepted, they sorted to produce deportees on the other side of the iron curtain, with whom confrontation was naturally impossible, and who, claiming to have witnessed the agony, described it in detail.

The first was the Hungarian communist doctor Miklos,former prisoner atAuschwitz-Birkenau,where he looked after, he says, the Kommando of the cremation furnaces and the gas chambers.

He no doubt thought he would throw me into confusion by speaking of Auschwitz, a camp where I had never been interned and on which I was morally unauthorised to testify. But he did not know that since I was something of a historian by profession I could be familiar enough with historical documents to be able to accept or refuse their authenticity after a reading. In his case, it was the figures he produced that revealed the imposture: 25,000 persons a day for almost five years. I had no difficulty in demonstrating that that amounted to 45 million, and that 4 crematoriums, each with 15 muffles, even with 3 bodies per muffle, would need over 10 years to burn all that.

He agreed and wrote to me that he would be satisfied with 2,500,000 corpses, not all of them Jews and not all killed in gas chambers.

But he maintained all the rest. I considered it futile to continue the argument with such an individual
LE MENSONGE D'ULYSSE [Ulysses' lying tale]
(Sixth edition)
La Vieille Taupe, Paris 1979, pages 236 to 240.
[Reprint of the Fifth edition of 1961]
And now here is the basis of the debate, which an example will make more understandable ...

A new testimony on the German concentration camps has just appeared in Hungary and is being published by Les Temps Modernes in France: SS Obersturmführer, Docteur Mengele by Dr NYISZLI MIKLOS. It concerns the Auschwitz-Bitkenau camp.

The first thought that comes to mind is that this testimony has been able to appear in Hungary only with the consent of Stalin, through the intermediary of the Martin-Chauffer of the country, whose powers, as chairmen of what corresponds to our CNE, are extensive enough to prevent any Mensonge d'Ulysseappearing there.

lt would therefore be suspect for this reason alone.

But that is not the question.

Among other things, Dr Nyiszli Miklos claims that in the Auschwitz- Birkenau camp, four gas chambers(9) [The footnote reads in Le Monde of 9th January 1952. The Procureur Général André Boissaire translates: forty-six!] 200 meters long (no width specified), together with four other rooms of the same dimmension to prepare the victims for the sacrifice, asphyxiated 20,000 people a day, and that four crematoriums, each with 15 muffles with 3 places, incinerated them as work proceeded. He also adds that in addition 5,000 other people were also killed each day using less modern methods and burnt in huge open air pits. He also adds that he personally witnessed these systematic massacres for a year.

I submit that all this is manifestly false, and without having been a prisoner oneself, a little common sense suffices to prove it.

The Auschwirz-Birkenau concentration camp having in fact been built as from the end of 1939 and evacuated in January 1945, then accepting Dr Nyiszli Miklos figure of 25,000 a day, it would have to admit that about 45 million people died there, 36 million of whom were incinerated in the four crematoriums after being asphyxiated, and 9 million in the two open air cremation ditches.

While it is perfectly possible that the four gas chambers would have been able to asphyxiate 20,000 people a day (in batches of 3000 at a time according to the witness), it would have been absolutely impossible for the four crematoriums to keep up with this rate. Even if they had fifteen muffles with three places. And even if the operation took only 20 minutes, as clamed by Dr Nyiszli Miklos, which is again false.

Taking these figures as a basis, the total capacity of all the furnaces operating at the same time would still have been only 540 an hour or 12,960 per 24-hour day. And at this rate it would not have been possible to extinguish the fires until several years after the Liberation. Provided, of course, that not a minute was wasted over almost ten years. If now we make enquiries at the Pêre Lachaise cemetery about the cremation time required for three bodies in one muffle, we discover that the Auschwitz furnaces would still he burning today and would not he extinguished for some time to come!

I say nothing about the two open air pyres (which according to our author were 50 meters long, 6 wide and 3 deep) by means of which it is supposed to have been possible to burn 9 million bodies in 5 years...

There is also another impossibility, at least as concerns extermination using gas: all those who have studied the problem are agreed that “in the rare camps where they existed” (E Kogon dixit) the gas chambers were not finally operational until March 1942 and from September 1944 orders were given, though these have not been found, any more than those they cancelled, that they were no longer to be used to asphyxiate. At the rate put forward by Dr Nyiszli Miklos, we then arrive at a figure of 18 million corpses for these two and a half years. A figure that his translator into French, Mr Tibo KREMER by what virtue of mathematics we do not know, summarily reduces to 6 million(10) [Footnote: I wrote to Dr Nyiszli Miklos to point out all these impossibilities. Here is what he replied: 2,500,000 victims! Without any other comment. This figure, which is closer to the truth and for which the gas chambers are certainly not solely responsible, already constitutes a considerable sum of abominations! ].

And I would ask this new and twofold question: what possible point was there in thus exaggerating the degree of the horror and what was the result of this way of proceeding, which was widespread?

I have already received the reply that in bringing things back to their true proportions is a universal theory of repression. I had no other objective than to minimize the crimes of Nazism.

I personally have another reply entirely ready, and which I no longer have any reason not to make public. But before giving this reply, I should like to submit for the reader's appreciation an incident significant of the state of mind of the age in which we live.

As a reader of Temps Modernes, I naturally informed this review of my refections regarding the publicity it gave o Dr Nyiszli Miklos. Here is the reply I received from Mr MERLEAU-PONTY:
"Historians will have to consider these questions. But in dealing with current news, this method of examining testimony results in throwing suspicion on what one is entitled to expect of it. And since at the present time the tendency is rather to forget the German camps, this requirement of rigorous historical truth encourages a falsification, of enormous proportion, which is tantamount to admitting that Nazism is a fable”
I found this reply most instructive and did not bother to reply to Mr MERLEAU-PONTY that he for his part forgot the Russian, and even French, camps!

For if we have to accept this doctrine that the requirement of rigorous historical truth already encourages massive fasifcation in the treatment of news, one asks with some apprehension what monstrosity the large-scale falsification of news is likely to lead to on the historical level. We only have to imagine what historians of the future will think of the abominable Nuremberg Trial, which already is suspected of putting the culture of Humanity back two thousand years, that is : condemnation presented as a crime in all the history books, that of Vercingétorix by Julius Caesar for example.

The relationship that Mr MERLEAU-PONTY, professor of philosophy, establishes between causes and effects does not seem to be of excepional rigor, thus proving that with everyone doing his job, in philosophy as elsewhere, our sacred cows are well protected!