The Shermer and Grobman book has a part about this Aktion 1005. The only source listed is the Spector article, the one Muehlenkamp regards as "seminal." If this is legit, one wonders why we had to wait until 1990 for such a "seminal" article to appear. This thing about the Germans covering up their crimes is actually very old and was a motif in the Soviet propaganda. The only thing new here seems to be that they've tried to dress it up with this "Aktion 1005" business to make it sound more credible, i.e., like it was a well-documented operation.
The Spector article is here: https://academic.oup.com/hgs/article-abstract/5/2/157/755977
Muehlenkamp tries to pretend that because there are supposedly some documents with the character string "1005" that this actually proves something important. But whether there is or isn't wartime documentation for the mere existence of something called operation 1005, the critical question is regarding the details
and the scale
of this supposed program and what the sources are for those details. This is a typical Muehlenkamp shell game.
One source cited is the affidavit of Paul Blobel from the NMT Eisatzgruppen case. I found these two relevant sentences.
In the fall of 1942 I was assigned to go to the occupied Eastern Territories as Mueller’s deputy, and to wipe out the traces of the mass graves of people executed by the Einsatzgruppen. This was my task until summer of 1944.
From what I saw, this is actually their best citation. At least this Blobel statement sounds broadly like their Aktion 1005, albeit it's very brief and offers no details regarding the number of bodies (in fact Blobel flatly denies the high body count later in the same statement), the method of corpse disposal, etc. But this is only a postwar confession. From what I've seen they don't have any wartime documents that are even this explicit. So where do all the critical details and embellishments come from? Survivor testimony, naturally.
Once the removal of the bodies in the death-camps was under way, Blobel started to take care of the mass graves where the victims of the Einsatzgruppen were buried. He went to Kiev, where in September 1941 he had been responsible for the murder of the local Jews. He knew the number and the place of the graves there.
In the spring of 1943 Blobel returned to the occupied Soviet territories, where he began to organize Operation 1005. He started at the Janowska camp in Lvov. Outside the camp in the area of 'Piaski' (sands) the Jews of Lvov and its surroundings were buried. It seems that Blobel visited Katzmann, the Senior Commander of the SS and Police in Galicia district, in the first half of 1943, to coordinate the start of the operation there. The detailed operation in Janowska camp is known from the testimony of Leon Weliczker, a prisoner who worked there and survived.
The work there was organized as follows: a group of prisoners opened the graves and exhumed the bodies. A second group carried the bodies on stretchers and put them on the bonfire. A prisoner called Brandmeister, fed the fire with logs saturated with burning fluids (oil, gasoline, etc.). Another one made a note of the number of the bodies that were burned. A third group sifted the ashes, ground the remaining bones, collected the valuables found in the ashes, and scattered the ashes. At the height of this work some 2000 bodies were burned daily. After the graves were emptied, the terrain was reconstructed by leveling the ground, sowing seeds and planting plants.
We have the usual story about burning all the bodies with wood in open-air. Not believable at the scale that's being alleged.
The work of this Sonderkommando took a relatively long time. Its sub-units were sent into the countryside to burn bodies there. The Jewish prisoners were not changed, because the Germans did not want to waste time on teaching new prisoners the work. The German commander promised them that they would stay alive. To allay their fears he provided them with good food, alcoholic drink, new clothes and shoes. But the prisoners did not fall for this ruse, and headed by the Jewish kapo they started to plan an escape. According to the plan, the prisoners had to strangle the few policemen who guarded them at night, and then take over the tent where the other guards slept with their weapons. They started to implement their plan on 20 November 1943, but stumbled from the beginning. The first policeman who was attacked managed to shout out before he was strangled. His shouts alarmed the other guards, and they opened fire on the escapees. Many of the escapees were shot or caught. Only a few succeeded in escaping and survived until the liberation. Among them was Leon Weliczker.
Babi-Yar is a ravine in the northwest of Kiev, where the Jewish and Christian cemeteries were located before the war. It was not chosen by accident. On 29-30 September 1941, according to his own report, Blobel carried out the slaughter of 33,771 Jews there. Later, thousands of Jews in hiding, tens of thousands of Soviet prisoners-of-war, and thousands of civilians were murdered there. According to the Soviet Investigation Commission of the Nazi Crimes, the number of victims reached 100,000.
This whole issue really hinges on the Babi Yar claims. There's a circularity here where if you believe in Babi Yar you necessarily have to believe in this Aktion 1005
. It's the only way to save the story. This is a tacit admission that there's no physical evidence for Babi Yar.
Spector makes some telling admissions in the conclusion.
Operation 1005 in the occupied territories of the Soviet Union, Poland and Yugoslavia was the final stage of the enormous Nazi crime — the murder of millions. This stage was designated to efface the crime, to hide it from the eyes of the world. The documentation on this operation is scarce, because of the secrecy involved. The verdict of the International Military Tribunal contains little information about it. The American Military Tribunal in case 9 (Einsatzgruppen case), where Paul Blobel was put on trial, tried him only as the commander of Einsatzkommando 4a. His interrogation and depositions devote only a few lines to Operation 1005 and hence missed the opportunity to interrogate the commander of Operation 1005.
The interrogators and the judges tried to expand on the details of the operation, but with little success due to the scarcity of documentation.
The removal of the mass graves created difficulties in compiling statistical estimates of the number of victims. The Commissions to investigate Nazi Crimes in the Soviet Union and Poland opened up mass graves, in order to estimate the number of bodies. However, where the graves had been emptied this was impossible. This is true at Babi-Yar in Kiev where the bodies were removed, and hence, there are gaps between the estimates made by the Commission and by other sources.
The Nazis were not successful in removing the signs of the murder because of the vast numbers, the wide distribution of the mass graves, and because of the swift advance of the Soviet army. Moreover, desperate acts of escape by Jewish prisoners enabled survivors to tell the story. Knowing that they would be killed, they decided to escape at any cost and to tell of what they had seen. Those who remained alive, described Operation1005 — the Nazis' effort to erase their crimes.
Right there in the conclusion, it says the documentation is "scarce" (read: nonexistent on the important details) and that they know about it from the survivors. Mattogno and Rudolf say the same thing.
My conclusion here is that this Spector article is a dud and Muehlenkamp and Shermer and Grobman are all bluffing, as usual. If they had good documents they would use them.