Discovery and “Rediscovery”

A discovery that I made in 1979 of certain accounts of Auschwitz that had appeared in Pravda in February 1945, and which I have mentioned perhaps ten times since the early 1980s in books, articles or conferences in French, English, German, Spanish and Italian, has recently been presented in the monthly Smith’s Report as a sensational and quite recent finding. Its subject is the Soviet “observations” published in the February 2, 1945 edition of Pravda.

Smith’s Report (no. 55, June 1998, p. 1, 3, 7)

An up-to-the-minute example of how CODOH is spreading the latest word in Holocaust-busting research to other leading revisionists is given by the teamwork of the able scholar Samuel Crowell and David Irving. Crowell unearthed, translated from the Russian, and supplied notes and commentary to the first account ever published by the “liberators” of Auschwitz: a Soviet journalist’s mendacious account of how the Nazi extermination “factory” really worked. Reading it makes plain why we hear so little about the liberation of Auschwitz: Pravda correspondent Boris Polevoi described a conveyor belt which dropped inmates into a flaming pit! Fans of David Irving will be pleased to know that the industrious author and tireless researcher has become increasingly proficient in the painstakingly acquired HTML coding language and was able, more or less unaided, to “translate” the Pravda article Crowell had translated from the Russian into the computerese necessary to post it on the Website. [page 1]

In London, England [sic] revisionist historian David Irving posts to his Website the first dispatch from the “liberated” Auschwitz it appeared in Pravda in 1945 as translated and with commentary by CODOH-affiliated scholar Samuel Crowell. [page 3]


“CODOH” stands for Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. For years Bradley Smith and his team at CODOH have been making an important contribution to the development of revisionism in American universities. We return to Smith’s Report.


On February 2, 1945 Pravda, organ of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, published an article briefly describing what Red Army troops had found on overrunning the Nazi slave labor camp at Auschwitz. The article, the first public revelation of the site’s existence, is surprising for what it does not mention.

[Translated and annotated by “Samuel Crowell” (nom-de-plume), May 8, 1998]

THE ARGUMENT between revisionists and non-revisionists is that the record of Nazi atrocities, though no doubt based in fact, contains significant amounts of fiction. Whether fact or fiction, any atrocity claim should be placed in its proper historical context so that the researcher can understand either how the facts came to be known or how the fiction evolved in the popular mind.

The first press reporting on the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp is therefore bound to be of interest to historians, regardless of how they regard the Auschwitz claims. The following article, by Boris Polevoi, was originally published on Friday, February 2, 1945, in the Soviet national paper Pravda, less than a week after the camp had been liberated (January 27, 1945), and a full three months before the official Soviet report on Auschwitz (May 6, 1945), known by the Exhibit-Number assigned to it at the International Military Tribunal (IMT) as USSR-08.

What is most striking about this press report is that it is totally at variance with the version of Auschwitz that we have come to know, substituting the traditional atrocity record with another, completely imaginary one. That the first non-anonymous observer at the Auschwitz camp could be so far from the current narrative speaks not only to the inaccuracy of this initial report, but also to the artifice of all subsequent ones.

(A photocopy of the Pravda article in translation as it appears on David Irving’s Website, together with comments and footnotes by Samuel Crowell, is available for your donation. 6 p.) [page 7 of Smith’s Report]

The Journal of Historical Review (July-August 1997, p. 14-15, 19)

I had published this “news” most recently less than a year before in the Journal of Historical Review. It was in an article entitled Auschwitz, the facts and the legend (July-August 1997, p. 14-19) which was the translation of a piece first published in French and Spanish on January 11, 1995. The part of it devoted to the Pravda article of February 2, 1945 (and also to those of Pravda of February 1st and of an American paper which quickly echoed the Soviet press) bore the heading “The Quandary of the Soviet Liberators”. It read:

Soviet forces occupied Auschwitz on January 27, 1945. What they found there was so contrary to what had been spread by propaganda that one may imagine they were left with mouths agape. Alone in its organisation and in its sanitary facilities, so modern in the eyes of the Soviets, the camp was the complete opposite of an “extermination camp.” Consequently, for several days the leading Soviet daily Pravda remained silent, and, for the moment, no Allied commission of inquiry was invited to determine, on the spot, the truth of Auschwitz. On the 1st of February, Pravda broke its silence, but only to put the following words in the mouth of a single prisoner: “The Hitlerites killed the children and the ill by means of gas, as well as the men and women who were unfit for work. They cremated the cadavers in special furnaces. There were twelve of these furnaces in the camp.”

The official Soviet paper added that the number of deaths was reckoned at “thousands and thousands” (not millions). The next day, Pravda‘s chief reporter, Jewish journalist Boris Polevoï, affirmed that the main method used by the Germans to exterminate their victims was…electricity: “[They used] an electric conveyor belt on which hundreds of persons could be electrocuted simultaneously; the dead bodies would then fall on to a belt driven slowly by a chain and in this way move on into a blast furnace.”

Soviet propaganda was in disarray, and in its newsreels could show only the dead or dying whom the Germans had left behind in their retreat. And, as contemporary newsreels of the camp’s liberation reveal, there were also numerous live children, as well as adults in good health. Jewish propaganda then came to the aid of Soviet propaganda.

In a footnote (p. 19) I added:

Report by B. Polevoi, Pravda, Feb. 2, 1945, p. 4. I first learned of this article while doing research in the National Archives, Suitland (Maryland) branch, when I came across a brief report from the Washington Daily News of Feb. 2, 1945, pp. 2, 35 (“Ageless, Sexless Ghosts Rescued from Murder Mill,” United Press dispatch by Henry Shapiro in Moscow), which was based, more or less, on the Pravda article.

The story of that discovery

I first learned of this Pravda article of February 2, 1945 in September 1979, whilst working on the case of Otto Moll, the SS man in charge of the Auschwitz-Birkenau crematoria. It was in the prosecutor’s file that I found the Washington Daily News article. Upon returning to France I did some research in Pravda‘s issues of January 27,  1945 (the date of Auschwitz’s “liberation”) and the following days, and found but two relevant pieces in the editions of February 1 and 2, respectively.

A Russian émigré in Paris called Nicolas Trouchine translated these articles into French for me; I later had his translations verified by Gabor Tamas Rittersporn, a Russian-educated French citizen of Jewish-Hungarian origin.

As I have pointed out above, I mentioned and commented on the 1945 articles on a number of occasions throughout the 80’s. In 1986, at a meeting in Germany, Udo Walendy asked me to send him the Pravda articles. He read Russian and intended to publish them in translation, which he did in the following year; see “Die sowietischen Entdeckungen in Auschwitz am 27. 1. 1945” (Historische Tatsache no. 31 [October 1987], p. 4-32). He forgot to credit me with having discovered both the Soviet and American articles concerned.

Dr Myro J. Dragan, MD

At the origin of the alleged 1998 discovery we have, according to David Irving (Focal Point, 1998 on the Net), the “Polish Historical Society”, headed by an American of Polish-Ukranian origin, Dr Myro J. Dragan, MD of Stamford, Connecticut, who is apparently its sole member. D. Irving writes: “The Polish Historical Society is credited with re-discovering this article.”

This reminds me of how, in June 1996, Dr Dragan “rediscovered” what I had been saying for many years about another subject: that the four alleged 25 x 25 cm. (978 in.) openings in the roof of the Krematorium-II gas chamber at Auschwitz-Birkenau never existed. In September 1994, at a convention of the Institute for Historical Review, I had summed up my conclusions in the quip “No holes, no Holocaust”.

As for Dr Dragan, he had announced his so-called discovery in an essay of June 1996 entitled “The Case of Missing Zyklon B Inlets / Two most venerable icons of Holocaustianity debunked”. For further information concerning Dr Dragan and his work one may contact Ernst Zündel in Toronto.

June 16, 1998