JF Ptak Science Books Post 1314
In November 1944 under the direction and auspices of the War Refugee Board the first official U.S. government acknowledgment of the gassing of Jews at Auschwitz and Birkenau was published. German Extermination Camps-Auschwitz and Birkenau1, received scant distribution, and despite its rather splashy appearance in the New York Times2 of 26 November 1944, it seems to have been directly, immediately relegated to various archives, a scarce thing when it was new3. Dusty On Arrival, DOA--a disappearance that looks like a censorship.
Reports of mass killings were not new in 1944; indeed in Roosevelt’s only meeting of the war with Jewish leaders in late 1942 he was told in no uncertain terms that millions of Jews were being rounded up and killed. There were no other meetings. In spite of other evidence and hundreds of newspaper articles, November ‘44 was the best that we could do in saying something about the gassing.
When I was researching a French edition (which I have available for sale at my blog bookstore) of this publication, which was published in Paris in mid-1945, I did a quick Google search under its title, “Les Camps d’Extermination Allemands Auschwitz et Birkenau” . I was surprised to see that about half of the hits were for references to crackpot Holocaust deniers who fancied themselves as "revisionist historians"--the sites looked "normal", and had sort-of academic-y names with "truth" and "accuracy" in their titles. They looked like any other web/blogsite, even calling up references from other web/blogsites, though those sites were just more of the same. And there's one of the major problems of info-gathering on the internet--vetting accuracy.
This search result is not achieved if you remove the quotation marks and search in general under the title's words as single entities--but for the title as a phrase in itself, the results of the search were crackpot-heavy.
Searching Google for “Holocaust” and “Auschwitz” and similar words buries the denier-people, though not deep enough for my taste. Still it is very disturbing to search the title of the publication and find all of these looney people–what does that mean, exactly? Is this result due to these sites writing more about this particular title than respectable sites? Or–since these people regard this pamphlet as the key publication in beginning what they call the ‘myth” of the Holocaust–they have somehow constructed their use of the phrase to better appease the Google algorithm? My guess is that the denier people have simply written more on this one title than on any other, and have written on it more than bona fide historical sites, and thus come up higher in Google findings. But whatever they've done these sites have managed to occupy a hefty percentage of Google hits when searching for the title of perhaps the first prime indictment against the Nazis as extraordinarily vicious murderers with that counter claims that the publication is nothing but a fraud. And that's nothing but disgusting.
1. The original, government publication was reviewed thus at the Simon Wiesenthal site: "THE FIRST REPORT ABOUT AUSCHWITZ by JOHN S. CONWAY. At the Nuremberg trials, one of the principal documents used was a fifty-nine-page mimeographed report published in November 1944 by the War Refugee Board in Washington, D.C.1 It consisted of two eyewitness accounts, "both received from a representative close to the scene," the first based on the experiences of two young Slovakian Jews who escaped from Auschwitz in April 1944 (Part 1, pp. 1-33), and the second by a non- Jewish Polish major (Part II, pp. 1-19). “
2. U.S. BOARD BARES ATROCITY DETAILS TOLD BY WITNESSES AT POLISH CAMPS, New York Times, 26 November 1944.
3. “Copies of the English edition are to be found in Yad Vashem, Jerusalem (in Hungarian), in the files of the World Jewish Congress, Geneva (in German), and in the Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park, New York: War Refugee Board report, Box 61: General Correspondence of R. McClelland: F: Miscellaneous Documents and Reports re Extermination Camps for Jews in Poland (in German).” And not many more other places.
Only four copies of the French version are located on WorldCat OCLC: WAKE FOREST UNIV; France AIX-MARSEILLE1-BU LETTRES; France BIBLIOTHEQUE NAT & UNIV STRASBOURG; France BIBLIOTHEQUE NATIONALE DE FRANCE
France; BNU STRASBOURG, RCON PROJ