The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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From: Eugene Holman 
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Re: Fred Leutcher's credibility: QUESTION
Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 19:04:01 +0200
Organization: University of Helsinki
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In article <>, Richard Phillips

> Eugene Holman wrote:

> >=20
> > Your response was hardly a serious reply. A statement that a specific
> > sample is a control as opposed to the sample actually being one are two
> > different things. Leuchter's lack of a proper control, that is to say,
> > one taken from a place never exposed to cyanide, invalidates his
> > conclusions. We've been through this many times before, and I'm not
> > going to repeat myself. I'm allowing the next generation to educate
> > you.
> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> THere has been a lot of talk about whether Leuchter used an
> appropriate control.
> It first it was loudly claimed that he had none;

There is a terminological misunderstanding here. Everyone who has read
the report knows that he had a sample that he *called* a control.
People with a knowledge of science, however, understand that what he
was using as a control was *not* a valid control with respect to what
he was trying to demonstrate for at least three reasons:

1. If you are going to test relative amounts of cyanates in gas chamber
ruins and fumigation tanks, your control would be taken from a place
known never to have been exposed to cyanide at all. This would enable
to experimenter to determinbe the degree, if any, to which background
cyanide have to be accounted for. Neither would you take a single
control sample, but several, to ensure that the readings were

2. The fumigation chambers were exposed to such large amounts of
cyanide that visible cyantes, in the form of blue splotching, were
formed. We know from photographs that this blue splotching is uneven,
varying from pale to dark blue. In some places there is so little of it
that it cannot be seen with the naked eye. This means that the process
by which it is formed is complex, even within the confines of a small
room. Since Leuchter took only a single "control" sample from one
fumigation chamber, there is no way of knowing whether he "stacked the
deck" by taking this single sample from a particularly dark blue area.

3. The fumigation chambers and gas chambers had different histories of
exposure to cyanide (short exposures at irregular intervals to the
relatively low concentrations over the short intervals needed to kill
people, hosedowns after each gassing, whitewashing at regular
intervals, as opposed to long exposures constantly at the high
concentrations over much longer intervals needeed to kill lice, no
regular hosedown or whitewashing routine), as well as different=20
post-1944 histories (exposure to the environemnt and weather,
protection from the enviornment and weather). Leuchter did not take
these differences into account in any way, thus, once again, "stacking
the deck" in favorm of his one "control" sample.

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> that came
> to an end after I pointed out a sufficient number of times
> that he HAD one: the tracings found on the walls of the
> fumigation chamber. Now you may or may not agree that this
> was a VALID control, but at least do not try to say that
> there wasn't any control.

A chemist or chemistry teacher would say that he *thought* that he had
a control, but didn't. His one sample, taken from a place with a
radically different history than the thirty samples he took from gas
chamber ruins, is not directly comparable without taking the different
histories of the two environments into account. If you are going to
compare two places for the effect of exposure to a specific substance,
your control has to be taken from a place in the vicinity made of the
same structural materials which is known never to have been exposed to
that element, or barring that, known to have bene exposed a specific
number of times at a specific time. If the two environments that you
are testing have radically different histories of exposure as well as
to their relationship to the environment after exposure, this has to be
taken into account as well.

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> =20
> I have always supposed that there are no universal rules for
> choosing a control; that the investigator makes his choice
> as to what he feels would be appropriate for the thing he is
> investigating.

You are wrong. If you are comparing two differenht environments that
you know to have been exposed to a substance, your control must be
taken from a place otherwise similar, but known *not* to have been
exposed to the substance, or, lacking that, known to have been exposed
a certain number of times. The Cracow group used two types of control,
and they took several samples from each, thus showing that different
structural materials also retain cyanide compounds in radically
different ways. One was a barrack known to have been fumigated once
during the 1942 typhus epidemic. All the samples taken from there
tested 0. Another was from the undergorund barracks in Block 11, where
a group of Soviet POWs was gassed using Zyklon-B during the autumn of
1941, and which has been intact and protected from the environment
since then. The samples yielded readings ranging from 0 =B5g to <30 =B5g of
cyanide ions (*not* cyanates, which are only formed sometimes, while
cyanide ions would always be left behind). This provided some idea of
what a single exposure to HCN in the quantities needed to fumigate and
in the quantities needed to kill would yield in environments protected
from the weather since 1941.

The readings from the gas chamber ruins yielded figures as high as 600
=B5g of cyanide ions, while those for various fumigation facilities
yielded readings as high as 900 =B5g of cyanide ions. These information
provided by these readings was supplemented by other experiments
showing the effect of repeated exposure to moisture (gas chamber ruins
were subjected to the elements, including rain and snow, since 1944,
whikle the fumigation facilities were not), and to carbon dioxide (in a
gas chamber there will be carbon dioxide in the exhaled breath of the
victims, in a fumigation chamber there will not be). Leuchter did not
take these additional factors into consideration when presenting his

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> Now in the case of Leuchter's investigations of possible
> lethal gassings, there were three things that might have
> been used as controls:
> (1) Traces (if any) found on the walls of a room that had
> never been exposed to any HCN. (This is the control that the
> Hosocaustniks insist Leuchter SHOULD have used)

Correct. He attributed the traces of cyanates in 14 of his 30 gas
chamber samples to a non-documented "fumigation, once long ago" during
a typhus epidemic which took place before the construction of the
BirkenauKremas had even been strated, yet he had no information
concerning how much residual cyanate we can expect to find in a place
that was fumigated only once. This is why his control was not a
control: he had some idea of what to expect from a place repeatedly
exposed to fumigation concentrations of cyanide, but no idea of what to
expect from a place exposed only once to such a concentration *or* many
times to concentrations lethal to people. This was compounded by his
ignirance of the fact that it takes far more cyanide to kill lice than
it does to kill people.

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> (2) Traces found on the wall of a room know to have been
> exposed to veary heavy exposures. (This is what Leuchter DID
> use)

But only *one* sample, from a place where he could easily see the
splotches left by cyanates. This was insufficient to serve as a
control. The only information that it yielded was that at a certain
place in a certain facility that had been protected from the elements
since early 1945, enough cyanide was used to leave blue splotches that
are still clearly visible. It does not tell us what to expect from a
place that was exposed to a concentration of cyanide lethal to
peoplebut not necessarily to lice one or several times, nor does it
take the differenht conditions prevailing at the time of exposure
(different humidities, presence vs. absence of carbon dioxide in the
ambient air), the short-term (hosedown vs. no hosedown, periodic
whitewashing vs. no major maintenance) or the long-term (exposure to
vs. protection from the environment and weathering, including rain and
snow) post-gassing effects.

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> (3) Traces found on the wall of a room that was originally
> "clean" but was subsequently subjected to repeated exposures
> over several months that approximated (to the best of our
> knowledge) what some peqople believe the alleged "execution"
> chambers were subjected to.

The Cracow team carried out experiments of this type.

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> > (1) By itself would have been worthless

No it would not have. It would have established a benchmark.=20

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> (2) Was a vast improvement over (1) but is not by itself
> conclusive

No it wasn't. Leughter's *control* was really just another sample.
Since we know that the blue splotching on the walls of the gassing
facilities is uneven, the fact that he took only one sample indicates a
lack of scientitific integrity.

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> (3) Would have been ideal but would have required months to
> get and was not, therefore, a practical option for Leuchter.

Leuchter took rather large chunks. There was certainly enough material
available to run tests of this type in a laboratory to obtain at least
a rough idea of what to expect from repeated short low exposures to low
conbcentrations with intermittent rinsing and high carbon dioxide
concentrations as opposed to repeated long exposures to high
concentrations with neither rinsinbgs nor carbon dioxide.

In short, Leuchter compared two quite different environments, but
lacked either a control or the additional experimental data which would
have given the comparison some degre of scientitific validity.

> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> >=20
> > > > I appologize for the error, and now ask you to address this correct=
> > > > claim.
> > >
> > > =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> > > Phillips
> > >
> > > In that he was wrong.
> > >
> > > =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> >=20
> > Leuchter was wrong about a number of things. If nothing else, he
> > demonstrated that he is not to be taken seriously as a "gas chamber
> > expert". He demonstrated that he knew very little about gas chambers or
> > the use of cyanide gas to kill people as opposed to vermin.
> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> You are entitled to your opinion but both TIME magazine and
> Warden Bill Armentrout would vigourously disagree.
> >=20
> > > =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=

No they wouldn't. TIME has admitted that Leuchter pulled a fast one on
them. They rececently (December 27, 1999) wrote a quite unfavorable
article, "Mr. Death: the Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter Jr", about
ml). Warden Bill Armentrout ordered a gas chamber from Leuchter's
company, but it was never built. So much for the continued enthusiasm
of TIME and Warden Bill Armentrout.


> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> His conclusions are NOT "demonstrably" wrong. There is a
> veri strong probability (though not a certainty) that they
> are right.
> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=

No there isn't.His conclusions have been shown to lack scientific
validity. The issue of "right" or "wrong" does not apply to them. It's
a "garbage in =AD garbage out" type of situation


> > > =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> >=20
> > The basis is this nonsense about sealing and venting. If a room lacking
> > proper sealing and venting could be fumigated, it had all the
> > attributes necessary to enable it to serve as a gas chamber.
> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=
> Phillips
> Do we know for a fact that the fumigation chamber did NOT
> have sealing and venting?
> =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=

The fumigation chambers *did* have sealing, although at least some of
them were vented directly into the ambient air by opening the windows
and cross-ventilating them, but that's not what we are talking about.
We are talking about the gas chambers. If, as Leuchter claims, the
traces of cyanites he found in his gas chamber samples are from
fumigation, the issue of weather or not the rooms were sealed and
vented becomes irrelevant: whether sealed and vented or not, they were
capable of sustaining enough cyanide for clearly discernable residues
to be detectable almost half a century later, despite exposure to the
elements and other factors which would have a long-range negative
effect on cyante retention. Despite the fact that Leuchter used the
wrong technique to take his samples, allowed them to be diluted by a
factor that could be as high as 10,000 times in conjunction with their
analysis, and used an unrealistically high detection threshold of 1
mg/kg, he obtained clearly positive readings in 14 of his 30 samples.
This indicates a history of exposure to cyanide. The architectural
details are of secondary importance against this clear and unambiguous
physical evidence.

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