‘The Most Valuable Asset of the Reich. A History of the German National Railway’. Volume 2: 19332-1945 by Alfred C. Mierzejewski. [Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 2000. Hardcover. Index. 248 pages. US$45].
This book and its earlier companion volume that covered the Reichsbahn from 1920-1932 has all the characteristics of being a carefully researched technical historiography rather than a book with a thinly veiled agendum to exalt the Holocaust as a particularly German genocide with all the Einzigartigkeit that Associate Professor Mierzejewski can ooze from his pen.
Historically, it appears to me that the title is misleading: The Most Valuable Asset of the Reich. I submit that historically, Germany’s most valuable asset since the eigthteenth century [arguable, long before this time] has been its people with their energy, dedication, creativity, pride, honor, hard work, loyalty, religious faith, and strong family ties. All these characteristics greatly supercede a state owned railroad system as great as the Reichsbahn was and is today. Hence, my first criticism of the Athens State University Professor [merely 20 KM from where I live] is that the author’s title is misleading, perhaps deceptively so. His fundamental motive for writing may well be NOT to present a complete picture of the Deutsche Reichsbahn [DRB] but rather to present the DRB as a vehicle of Nazism to convey Jews to their extermination. If I am correct, then the author has engaged in a huge deception under the guise of objective scholarship.
In this attractively published book, he displays enormous research effort and skills in the German and other archives in order to obtain the BEST primary sources, but when he makes statements about the “Holocaust” [and this controversial term MUST be placed in quotation marks since it means different things to different people!], Dr. Mierzejewski seems quite happy to use secondary or tertiary sources such as the opinions of a discredited Raul Hilberg [see GIANT WITH CLAY FEET], a Christopher Browning, and a Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.
I do not offer this criticism so as to detract unfairly from the enormous research talent displayed by the author, but I must emphasize that he displays a clearly detectable double-standard for scholarship: the BEST primary and secondary sources for the title of the book, on the one hand, while accepting poorly attested sources and opinions for the REAL purpose of the book, that is, to present the Holocaust from another angle, that angle being one of the best designed and best run railway systems the world has ever witnessed. I must add a personal anecdote from around 1994 when I spoke with him by phone about Holocaust Studies. He refused to continue the conversation and hung up on me rather abruptly, a very unprofessional response to someone who genuinely wanted to explore his research activity!
The section beginning page 114 demonstrates Mierzejewskiís, shall we call it EAGERNESS?, to use what I shall call ‘holo-hagiography’ [= sacred writing about the Holocaust] interpretations IN THE PLACE OF PRIMARY EVIDENCE. This section is titled: The Nazi Racial Restructuring of Europe, 1941-1944, and analogically for today’s Sitz im Leben, one might consider a Palestinian researcher since 1948 writing a book titled ‘The Jewish Racial Restructuring of Palestine, 1948-2001’, since the analogies of statistics and method and results are so striking!
On page 119 he makes a major dogmatic assertion, but lacking in primary evidence:
The majority of the Jews murdered by the Nazi regime met their deaths in 1942. There is only one footnote in a long paragraph and it simply gives a citation of a Telegrammbrief, Jacobi, to RBDen, Ostbahn HBD Mitte, HBD Nord, Sonderzuege fuer Umsiedler, Erntehelfer und Juden in der Zeit vom 8. August-30 Oktober 1942 etc. What we see here is Mierzejewskiís grandest presupposition at work: railway movements of Jews EQUAL movement to physical extermination sites.
Hence, for an author such as this university professor, there is NO requirement for primary documentation INSOFAR AS EXTERMINATION IS CONCERNED. For him, mere movement for resettlement CANNOT mean actual resettlement; it MUST mean extermination. Today, we have BRD post-war statistics wherein some 3-4 million Jewish submissions to the German government by alleged survivors for reparations and restoration of properties, but these CANNOT be taken seriously by our Athens State University professor. Nor can he take seriously the DISSECTING THE HOLOCAUST [see page 213, f.n. 103] book’s analysis of the 300,000 Jewish survivors still living in the year 2000. If based on statistical extrapolation, this 300,000 figure REQUIRES an absolute survivor figure of some three million Jews in 1945 in order to account for natural dimution of population, so as to allow for 300,000 in 2000 A.D.! I submit to Mierzejewski: The majority of the Jews murdered in 1942 has to be at least 51% of the sacred Six Million in order to be a true majority and that figure would be some three+ million exterminated by the end of 1942 an enormous amount of people indeed at a time when the alleged homicidal gassing chambers were either in the planning stages or, at best, when such gassings were only crudely capable of being carried out by the Germans in charge. The naivete of our Professor is enormous at this point. I wonder why his editor failed to observe this egregious error.
For the serious analytical reader of this book, he/she must separate out Mierzejewskiís outstanding amassing of important data concerning the Reichsbahn from his triteness in presenting holo-hagiography. To be sure, he is an excellent specialist in Reichsbahn historiography, but he is both ignorant and nescient vis a vis another specialist field of study, “Holocaust Studies”. Again, it must be stated that he employed the best primary data for his DRB history but the worst data secondary sources by holo-propagandist authors and alleged eyewitnesses for his Jewish extermination presupposition, the latter being, in my view, the REAL aim of his book.
His major contribution is that the Reichsbahn:
- was at the center of events in Nazi Germany wherein efficient mass movements of people were required
- it maintained detailed records of its operation and expenses and profits and societal influence on Germany in general
- functioned importantly in the Hitlerian rearmament program and yet lacked its own preparation for war itself
- attempted to avoid politicization by National Socialist ideology.
The two Mierzejewski volumes, therefore, comprise the most comprehensive treatment of the Reichsbahn ever produced and, on that basis ONLY, are of significant value for researchers and general readers who may wish to learn about this great German asset. On the other hand, the author attempts to implicate the Reichsbahn leadership and most of its employees in a Goldhagen-esque body of ‘Hitler’s Willing Executioners’ so that Germans may continue to be, with few exceptions, guilty of the Holocaust per se. Mierzejewski thus insured that his book could/would be published by a prestigious university press. Both of these attractive volumes are thoroughly ‘politically correct’ and this alone insures that they will be eagerly bought for most university libraries and used in the field of Holocaust Studies by teachers who, like Mierzejewski, are abysmally ignorant and nescient insofar as the requirements of a scientific historiography are concerned.
NEVER does someone like Mierzejewski or Goldhagen ask:
- What is the material evidence for homicidal gassing chambers in the USA where we know that gas executions of people took place?
- What is the material evidence for homicidal gassing chambers for the [alleged] extermination of millions of Jews during the 1942-45 era in German dominated lands at the special sites called ‘Killing Centers’? and, 3.) Show me or draw for me a Nazi homicidal gas chamber and its blueprint details and its budgeting and training regulations and its operation by skilled personnel?
I must ask Dr. Mierzejewski:
Have you traveled to Auschwitz and carefully explored the ruins of the Birkenau crematoria and asked yourself the scientific questions about gassing human beings, using the bona fide USA gas chambers in several States for models of efficiency?
Have you discussed the problems of gassing just one person with any specialists in the field?
Have you read carefully in the technical literature the requirements for cremating just one corpse efficiently?
Have you calculated the time needed to cremate millions of corspses, the quantities of coke or coal or wood needed? The problems with breakdowns in retorts and ovens and the frequent maintenance required?
Have you ever witnessed with your own eyes a single cremation? If so, when and where?
Have you ever traveled to a US prison to inspect a homicidal gassing chamber? If so, when and where?
Have you ever read the DuPont technical literature for hydrocyanic acid used in a US prison gas chamber?
Have you ever read the chemical expert report of Germar Rudolf or other specialists on the residual HCN problems for both real delousing chambers and the alleged human gassing facilities? If not, why not?
THE PROMISE AND THE PROBLEM.
The Mierzejewski volumes promise more than they deliver. Hence, the problem is that they succeed on one level but fail miserably on the Jewish holo-hagiographical level. Thus, the problem for readers is that they must not expect from the author to find light on the extermination problem. Like most Holocaust ideologues, he is just another tail wagging the dog of holo-hagiography, and that alone will insure book sales.
University libraries certainly ought to possess these important volumes, but readers need to realize that they are valuable for their technical data on the DRB but to be discarded when the author moves to his holo-hagiography obsession: the physical extermination of the sacred Six Million.
Review by Robert H. Countess (rest in peace), Ph.D.