by Jonas E. Alexis & Nicholas Kollerstrom
Nicholas Kollerstrom has a B.A. in the natural sciences from Cambridge University, with an emphasis on the history and philosophy of science. He is also an astronomer, receiving his Ph.D. from the University College London. He was a former correspondent for the BBC and received grants from the Royal Astronomical Society to do scientific work related to the discovery of Neptune.
Kollerstrom has written numerous technical articles and essays. He is the author of Newton’s Forgotten Lunar Theory: His contribution to the Quest for Longitude (London: Green Lion Press, 2000) and The Metal-Planet Relationship: A Study of Celestial Influence (Eureka, CA: Borderland Sciences Research Foundation, 1993). Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers contained several of his essays on mathematician and astronomer John Couch Adams (1819-1892), astronomer John Flamsteed (1646-1719), and Isaac Newton. But because he has challenged the Holocaust establishment using science and reason, all his work was removed from the Biographical Encyclopedia of Astronomers.
Kollerstrom was widely cited in the scholarly literature—until he began to look at chemical evidence for how Zyklon was used during World War II. Graham Macklin, manager of the research service at the National Archives, scorns at Kollerstrom’s claims that Auschwitz-Birkenau had a swimming pool for inmates and that the inmates themselves used to listen to orchestras.
Macklin, because he is part of the establishment, could not investigate or refute the claim using reason because that would ruin his reputation. Therefore he chose the easy route: mockery and ridicule. But Kollestrom was not the only person to say this. People who were actually at the camp testified the same thing. Historian Paul Berben, who actually talked to numerous survivors after the camp was liberated and who meticulously looked into the archives, wrote in Dachau: The Official History:
“A few sporting and cultural activities were authorized. Officially the S.S. could no longer maltreat the inmates as they liked. But the disciplinary regime remained very harsh.”
Even “money brought on arrival and any that was subsequently sent to a prisoner was credited to him, and he could only draw 15 R.M. monthly. As some prisoners had considerable sums of money, especially in the early years, the S.S. conducted profitable financial transactions. When in 1942 the system of ‘gift coupons’ was instituted, the prisoners could no longer have money in their possession. The money in their account had to be used for the purchase of articles obtainable at the canteen, another course of considerable profit to the camp administration.”
Berben notes that “theatrical entertainments, concerts, revues, and lectures were arranged too. Among the thousands of men who lived in the camp, there were all sorts of talents, great and small, to be found: famous musicians, good amateur musicians, theatre, and musical artists. Many of these men devoted their time in the most admirable way to gain a few moments of escape for their comrades in misery and to keep up their morale. And these activities helped too to create a feeling of fellowship.”
The following may shock you:
“The camp had a library which started in a modest way but which eventually stocked some fifteen thousand volumes. It had been formed with the books brought in by prisoners or sent to them by their families, or from gifts. There was a very varied choice, from popular novels to the great classics, and scientific and philosophical works.
“Only books in German and at the most a few dictionaries were allowed, but there were some ‘forbidden’ volumes there too, whose bindings had been camouflaged by the prisoner-librarians and which received particular attention from those who were ‘in the know.’
“The intellectuals in the camp kept the catalogs up to date and were in charge of lending out the books. Unfortunately, it was not possible for more than a very few prisoners to do any reading, so it was mainly only those lucky enough to be attached to the library who benefited from it.
“Yet it is astonishing to learn that some men in spite of their miserable convicts’ existence nevertheless found the energy to take an interest in the arts, in science, and in philosophical problems.”
In addition, letters sent to individual families “had to be written in German and to one single recipient. Contents had to deal only with family matters and no reference at all was permitted to live in the camp, or the letter was not sent off.”
During the last few years of the war, “it was decreed that a prisoner could send or receive two letters or two cards per month. He had to write in ink, very legibly, on the fifteen lines of each page of a letter. His correspondent could only use plain paper, and double envelopes were not allowed.”
Jewish historian Sarah Gordon corroborated many similar claims in a book that was published by Princeton University Press in 1984. Putting all the pieces together, can popular historians in good conscience ignore these facts and perpetuate one incoherent assertion after another without sober thought?
If Plato is right, that “having a grasp of the truth is having a belief that matches the way things are” and that “being deceived about the truth is a bad thing,” how can scholars and thinking people pursue the truth if they are not allowed to ask deeper questions about the past? Weren’t we told in grade school that science begins by asking fundamental questions? Did our science teachers lie to us by exposing us to the scientific method? Did our history teachers deceive us by telling us to dig into archives, look for historical documentation, and to watch out for contradictions?
Furthermore, would people like Descartes, Kant, Hegel, etc., make it in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, where draconian speech codes can be found throughout Europe and America and where professors are scared to death to talk freely about certain issues? Wouldn’t they be asked to seal their lips and drop their pens without rational discourse? Wouldn’t the Dreadful Few dispatch an exorcist from Tel Aviv to cast out Descartes’ demon in France? We are going to explore some of these questions in the following interview with Nicholas Kollestrom.
Alexis: Let’s start with a statement from your book. You write:
“The fastest way to get expelled from a British university is by saying you are looking at chemical evidence for how Zyklon was used in World War II, with a discussion of how delousing technology functioned in the German World War II labour camps.
“This is considered to be absolutely forbidden. How strange is that? After being a member of my college for 15 years I was thrown out with one day’s warning, having been given no opportunity to defend myself, a fact announced on its website. What I had done was so terrible that it could not announce what my crime was: I felt like Faust caught making his pact with the devil.”
This is quite puzzling. Don’t scientists pride themselves in looking for rigorous evidence? Don’t academic centers like the University College of London boast about free speech, particularly when a person is a noted scholar? Were you using the scientific method when you were investigating how Zyklon was used during World War II? If so, why did the academic community go banana? Did you ask them about your academic sin?
Kollerstrom: I guess it was just too much for them to handle. I was a science historian in the ‘Science and Technology Studies’ department at UCL in London, Britain’s 3rd oldest university, which was supposedly set up on a secular basis, so that there would not be any inquisition about the private beliefs of its members of staff.
But I had to realize that belief in ‘the Holocaust’ is nowadays some sort of religion, it’s the one thing that academics are not allowed to doubt or criticize. They put up on their UCL website that they were totally opposed to what I was doing, but did not say what the terrible thing was! There was just silence from my colleagues or rather ex-colleagues and I had to realise that I’d never get another paper published in an academic journal.
Sure I was using the scientific method, I was comparing and critiquing two different published surveys of residual cyanide in the walls of German WW2 labor camps. They both used much the same method of analyzing the cyanide so I pooled the two data sets together. This gave about forty measurable samples which is quite a decent sample. What was puzzling was that in all the media damnation that ensued, no one was interested in what I’d actually done, in the basic chemistry, it was just ‘We’ve found a Nazi!’
Alexis: Serious scientists like yourself are always on a quest for the truth, asking probing questions and discerning between evidence in order to give an accurate explanation of the available data and controversial issues. Once all rival alternatives are weighted, then inference to the best explanations should be drawn. Do you think people are afraid to look at the evidence because they might find something that would not be compatible with their preconceived ideas? Are some people playing fast and loose with the facts?
Kollerstrom: You have well described what the scientific method is supposed to be. I believe what is going on here is a clash between science and religion, where ethically-damned Revisionists are trying to look at scientific evidence to reconstruct the past and Holocaust legislators wish to ban any doubt over their official narrative. My wish here is that some kind of forum could exist where different views of what happened in WW2 could be discussed. If we don’t believe in the rational debate then we’re lost.
You might suppose that science historians could discuss say hygiene delousing technology prior to DDT. You might suppose that is obscure enough to be a non-explosive topic. DDT started to be widely used after WW2 for this purpose. Before that, for, say, forty years Zyklon delousing chambers were the normal way of doing it. It was normal hygiene technology for killing bugs in clothing and so on. So no one’s allowed to discuss this, because that would violate the new religion, because it would soon end belief in the huge human gas chambers that existed only in WW2, only in Poland.
Alexis: Scientists and academic professionals are to be skeptical about claims or assertions or even documents and examine them in light of various sources to corroborate and even challenge accepted views. If the documents show contradictions, or if they challenge our preconceived vision, then we need to slow down and reconsider our worldviews to see whether they were based on evidence or popular opinion. Why are people in the Holocaust establishment afraid to examine their metaphysical assumptions?
The first principle in examining any scientific or historical account is that truth exists—even if historians or scientists do not know what it is at the moment of investigation. If truth does not exist, then ultimately the scientist is wasting his time looking for clues, which lead to hypotheses, theories, and ultimately scientific “facts.” Do people in the Holocaust establishment believe that truth actually exists? Do they think that truth is to be pursued and fabrications and colossal hoaxes ought to be avoided?
I have interacted with a number of academics over the years on this issue, and I was quite stunned to realize that not a single one of them actually believes in serious scholarship, despite the fact that they write books superficially postulating that evidence matters. One of them would not even give me permission to publish the interaction because that would ruin what he said in a book that was ironically published by the University of California Press.
Kollerstrom: I reckon they, i.e. people in the Holocaust establishment, believe that truth is what they want to believe. They will always endeavor to undermine historical-factual debate about What Really Happened with claims about alleged emotions, of love or hate, such as: ‘You are just an anti-Semite’, or ‘You really hate …’ Whatever. Or they will claim to be hurt.
My colleague Richard D. Hall who does ‘RichPlanet’ recently wrote to various different Jewish ‘Holocaust groups in the UK which are especially concerned with ‘Holocaust education – and that is big business over here – asking if they could provide anyone who could debate the issue, but none of them would. The professional skepticism of scientists just goes right out of the window where this topic is concerned I’m afraid.
I agree with you totally about the mental enslavement which academics here display. For example, a few years ago a team from Britain’s University of Birmingham science department went to Treblinka with ‘ground penetrating radar equipment. They didn’t find a single gassed body, or any bodies under the ground come to that, no gas chambers, zilch. No wait, they found some shark’s teeth in the ground.
This was promoted by the British media as having confirmed the canonical story that eight hundred thousand people mainly Jews had been gassed using diesel exhaust in that transit camp. Was the British scientific establishment bothered that diesel exhaust is not actually lethal and couldn’t have gassed anyone? No, evidently not.
Or, to give a US example, Elie Wiesel’s Night (which has supposedly sold twelve million copies) has been used in many ‘Holocaust study courses in American universities. That features the primary Holo-image of burning piles of human corpses. They are just set on fire, and they burn. Why has not the US Society for Advancement of Science protested at such nonsense being taught in universities?
Alexis: I read Nick Cohen’s article in the Guardian about you and I was completely shocked to read some of the statements that this man propounded. He titled his article: “When academics lose their power of reason.” Does an academic lose his power to reason when he asks probing questions?
Cohen quoted philosopher Jeremy Bentham saying that “As to the evil which results from censorship, it is impossible to measure it, for it is impossible to tell where it ends.” He moved on to say that “Admittedly if the philosopher had lived long enough to hear the conspiracy theories of the 21st century, even his defense of free speech might have weakened.”
I think Bentham would have been stunned to see how the Holocaust establishment itself is an impediment to serious science, history, and reason since true science is determined by rigorous evidence, not by ad hominem attack, straw man, and red herring such as “conspiracy theories.” Would you agree? I am pretty sure that Cohen has never read your work on some of these issues. In fact, you state quite rationally in the book:
“We need to find out how to discuss [the ‘Holocaust’] calmly, how to respect different viewpoints, and what are the primary sources we should be consulting.”
Kollerstrom: Sure. I got vilified by Nick Cohen in The Observer right after being chucked out of my College – having been in it for fifteen years – and discovered that I was allowed no right of reply. The Observer thereby put a death wish against me by allowing Cohen to say I needed to be stuffed and put next to Jeremy Bentham (his stuffed body is on display at UCL).
As you note, Cohen was there dismissing conclusions drawn from measurements of cyanide in the walls of the German labor camps as a ‘conspiracy theory.’ He used an effective form of discourse designed to terminate debate and replace it with a fairly simple emotion – hate. A lot of people hated me after I’d been through all this, and that was a new experience.
Alexis: You wrote:
“After somewhat over a decade of quiet academic research, my life changed rather abruptly as I became ethically damned, thrown out of polite, decent groups, banned from forums, and denounced in newspapers, with half my friends not speaking to me anymore—while the other half still would be provided I kept off ‘that awful subject.’
“So as a philosopher I was granted an unusual and excellent opportunity to ponder the difference between what is real and what is illusory. I should be grateful to my fellow countrymen for absolutely refusing rational debate on this topic, for insisting on my silence over it, and for transforming the discussion into an insult.
“I know what I have been through. I have been well-cooked…The damnation cast upon me was ostensibly political…Going into my local, or even my gym, I felt as if some Mark of Cain had been branded onto my forehead.”
You also said that “no one seemed interested in what I had actually done, namely synthesize a couple of chemical investigations concerning residual wall-cyanide taken from World War II labor camps.” Now, that is the work of a serious scientist. What kind of investigation do you think the Holocaust establishment was expecting? Did you ever ask some of their representatives the kind of evidence or scientific inquiry they would accept?
Kollerstrom: Plato’s metaphor of the Cave seems to have suddenly become very relevant in the 21st century. He there described how people were chained to see just the flickering images on the wall, which they mistake for reality. They become furious with any persons who come from the above-ground world who try to tell them about it and seek to destroy them. We surely have to believe – as you Sir have tried to show in various articles – in some sort of Logos principle which means that we can by debate find together by logic whatever the truth is.
I think that the ‘Holocaust establishment’ is concerned to promote stories, of alleged ‘Holocaust survivors. We need to bear in mind the catastrophic situation that has here developed, where the German government has been paying and continues to pay anyone who claims to be such a Holocaust survivor. That is a very strong motivation for memory enhancement, shall we say. These people then go to schools. Their ‘memories’ are promoted by the Establishment, and anyone who challenges the accepted wisdom gets ethically damned.
The UCL I would want to have belonged to would have had a detailed debate about brick and wall absorption of cyanide gas, the nature of the ferrocyanide complex and when it turns blue, and whether it remains permanently in the brick. It would have commissioned a new investigation to go and visit Birkenau-Auschwitz and chip away some further brick samples, and used the very latest chemical-assay procedures for measuring the cyanide. But, maybe that only happens in some parallel universe….
-  See for example Nicholas Kollerstrom, “John Herschel on the Discovery of Neptune,” Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, 9(2), 151-158 (2006); “Decoding the Antikythera Mechanism,” Astronomy Now, Vol. 21, No. 3, 32–35, 2007; “The Case of the Pilfered Planet: Did the British steal Neptune?,” Scientific American, December 1, 2004; “Overview/Neptune Discovery,” Scientific American, November 22, 2004.
-  See for example William L. Harper, Isaac Newton’s Scientific Method: Turning Data into Evidence about Gravity and Cosmology (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 65, 162; Nicholas Campion, A History of Western Astrology, Volume II: The Medieval and Modern Worlds (New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2009), 310; James Gleick, Isaac Newton (New York: Vantage Books, 2004), 226; Roger Hutchins, British University Observatories 1772-1939 (New York: Routledge, 2008), 91, 94, 105, 117, 155, 156, 158, 460, 467.
-  Nigel Copsey and John E. Richardson, eds., Cultures of Post-War British Fascism (New York: Routledge, 2015), 190.
-  Paul Berben, Dachau: The Official History (London: Norfolk Press, 1975), 57.
-  Ibid., 60.
-  Ibid., 72.
-  Ibid., 72-73.
-  Ibid.
-  Ibid., 73.
-  Sarah Gordon, Hitler, Germans, and the Jewish Question (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984).
-  Plato, The Republic (New York: Oxford University Press, 1993), 116.
-  Kant and others have already been labeled anti-Semites. Paul Lawrence Rose, Revolutionary Antisemitism in Germany from Kant to Wagner (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990).
-  Nicholas Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell: The Holocaust—Myth & Reality (Uckfield, UK: Castle Hill Publishers, 2014), 9.
-  See for example Peter Lipton, Inference to the Best Explanation (New York: Routledge, 1991); Susan Haack, Evidence Matters: Science, Proof, and Truth in the Law (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014); Christopher Behan McCullagh, Justifying Historical Descriptions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984).
-  I will publish it when he is dead.
-  For a fairly good treatment on this, see Daniel J. Flynn, Intellectual Morons: How Ideology Makes Smart People Fall for Stupid Ideas (New York: Crown Forum, 2004).
-  For scholarly treatments on the anti-Semitism issue, see for example Norman Finkelstein, Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (Berkley: University of California Press, 2005 and 2008); Albert S. Lindemann, Esau’s Tears: Modern Anti-Semitism and the Rise of the Jews (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997); Bernard Lazare, Antisemitism: Its History and Causes (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1995).
-  Nick Cohen, “When academics lose their power of reason,” Guardian, May 4, 2008.
-  Ibid.
-  Kollerstrom, Breaking the Spell, 15.
-  Ibid., 16.
-  Ibid.
-  For studies on this, see for example Norman Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (New York: Verso, 2000); see also Nir Gontarz, “Israeli Diplomat in Berlin: Maintaining German Guilt About Holocaust Helps Israel,” Haaretz, June 25, 2015.