Talk:Gas van

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Inspired by NKVD?[edit]

I've seen reports that Nazi germany learned the 'gas van' system from the Soviet Union, whome used it to kill its murders, and such. Yet it is not talked about in this artical, is it fact or fiction? Of course, the soviet union wasen't useing the gas van for the same reasons as Germany, but.. Discuss, please. --76.179.164.79 (talk) 23:59, 8 April 2008 (UTC)

Picture of Gas Van[edit]

This Van is clearly a Magirus. Nothing is known about gas vans from "Magirus". It should be removed because gas vans are known from the companies Saurer, [[Diamond T], Opel and Renault. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Thomas Maierhofer (talkcontribs) 07:34, 5 September 2009 (UTC) see Link: deathcamps.org/gas_chambers/gas_chambers_vans.html --Holgerjan (talk) 14:11, 5 September 2009 (UTC)

According to the data on the picture, it was not even in the concentration but was nearby, and used to move furniture. This image needs to be removed from the article as it has nothing to do with the subject. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 108.4.21.183 (talk) 04:05, 16 November 2011 (UTC)

I'm not an expert, but I don't think "gas van" was a factory option for any of those companies. I imagine the Germans modified any suitable vehicles they had on hand as needed to murder their victims.--172.190.146.99 (talk) 04:05, 5 October 2012 (UTC)

Would-be copyright issues[edit]

I am wondering whether nazis could construct gas vans if direct fuel injection, ECU, lambda-sond and catalytic converter equipped engines were available at their times? Or they would have to reprogram the ECU to deliberately increase percentage of CO in exhaust? Since ECU firmware is copyrighted, they would have to infringe copyrights to build gas vans.

File:Chelmno Gas Van.jpg Nominated for Deletion[edit]

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Unreferenced claims removed[edit]

Welcome to restore if supported by good RS. My very best wishes (talk) 23:57, 21 June 2012 (UTC)

martyr.ru appears both live and reliable on my computer. and 200YT is hardly a RS, being a reviled antisemitic pamphlet.--Galassi (talk) 00:03, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
I am sorry. http://www.martyr.ru/content/view/6/15/ is the currently provided link. It leads to nowhere. What reference to which source are you talking about? My very best wishes (talk) 00:09, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
http://archive.martyr.ru/content/view/6/15/--Galassi (talk) 00:10, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
OK, you fixed the link. Why do you think this qualify as WP:RS? This simply a Russian language web site. Who created this site? Who author of the text? This is not even a self-published material because we do not know who wrote this. OK, one of the articles was signed by "А. Ватлин, кандидиат исторических наук". We should probably guess that other pages are also written by him (this is not at all clear). Then, it will be a self-published material. That Vatlin? My very best wishes (talk) 00:32, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Lydia Golovkova, totally RS.--Galassi (talk) 00:59, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
So, this is Christian web site about martyrs, and an article written by author who contributes to Orthodox Encyclopedia [1]. OK, that answers my question. Not sure that it could satisfy people on RS noticeboard, but I do not mind.My very best wishes (talk) 01:32, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
The host is irrelevant, but Golovkova is a major historian, as well as a human-rights activist.--Galassi (talk) 01:41, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
All right, I can see that she published a couple of books and was mentioned ones in "Google books" [2]. This goes as RS. My very best wishes (talk) 01:51, 22 June 2012 (UTC)
Now, I do not think that such quotation as: "По поводу этих «душегубок» мнение старшего поколения работников НКВД неоднозначно..." and so on. properly reflects the source. Of course it can be noted that "according to personal beliefs of former NKVD officers...". To me this sounds exactly like "according to personal beliefs of former Gestapo officers... they never gas the Jews". My very best wishes (talk) 15:12, 23 June 2012 (UTC)

Soviet vans[edit]

I checked an additional book, by Yevgenia Albats, KGB: The State Within a State. 1994, and she tells as a fact (page 101) that gas vans were invented and used by NKVD in the Soviet Union in the end of 1930s, and only later widely used by Nazi. Here are other books in article which apparently tell the same:

  • Robert Gellately. Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler: The Age of Social Catastrophe. Knopf, 2007 ISBN 1-4000-4005-1 p. 460
  • Catherine Merridale. Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia. Penguin Books, 2002 ISBN 0-14-200063-9 p. 200
  • Timothy J. Colton. Moscow: Governing the Socialist Metropolis. Belknap Press, 1998. ISBN 0-674-58749-9 p. 286

I do not have these three books handy, but must AGF with regard to users who included this information. Now, there are also some removals of sourced materials, such as these: [3], [4]. I am not suggesting to restore these edits, but did anyone challenge sources used in these reverted edits? I do not see anything on this talk page.

Here is the point: there is only one Russian language source that calls (one time) the invention of Gas vans by NKVD "rumors", but it does not actually claim them to be rumors if to read whole text. Moreover, people who express concern about the existence of vans in this publication are actually former NKVD officers, whereas a number of books (at least what I checked) tells about this as a well established fact. Yevgenia Albats is a Harvard graduate who studied specifically the history of NKVD and KGB. I suggest to change text of this page accordingly. My very best wishes (talk) 23:07, 4 May 2013 (UTC)

So, I quickly fixed this. My very best wishes (talk) 00:00, 5 May 2013 (UTC)
A reliably sourced information coming from a Nobel Prize winner [5] does belong here. My very best wishes (talk) 14:28, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Which part of it is reliably sourced? He saw them? Saw any documents proving their use? All he heard was rumours which he put in his book. Le Grand Bleu (talk) 16:36, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
The invention of gas vans by the NKVD is only rumoured. However, it's given MUCH more space than the opposite opinion. See WP:WEIGHT. And even from a Nobel prize winner ONE source is not enough to accuse someone of inventing such a horrendous device. This is an encyclopedia, not Daily Mail. Either find documentary sources or make the two points of view equally presented. Le Grand Bleu (talk) 16:33, 1 September 2013 (UTC)
Quoted above are four books, each of them qualify as reliable secondary RS. All of them tell about the Soviet invention. They are written by well recognized scholars. In this context, an additional book by Solzhenitsyn comes as a supplementary source. This is reliably sourced: there is no doubts that Solzhenitsyn made the claim. We are not telling this is The Truth; we attributed the statement to Solzenitsyn. This must be fine by all means. What second point of view are you talking about? We currently have exactly zero sources claiming it was not invented in the USSR. My very best wishes (talk)
More sources telling the same (none of them is Solzhenitsyn):
  1. By Nikita Petrov, a Memorial (society) historian: [6], [7]: "Берг прославился тем, что при его непосредственном участии в московском НКВД была создана машина-«душегубка», в которой приговоренные умерщвлялись выхлопным газом. Отчасти это берегло нервы московским палачам. Загрузили в Таганской или Бутырской тюрьмах живых — в Бутове выгрузили мертвых, и вся работа. И никаких славословий Сталину. Сам Берг пояснил следствию, что без такого усовершенствования «невозможно было исполнить столь большое количество расстрелов»."
  2. [8]: следственное дело арестованного в 1937 году начальника административно-хозяйственного отдела УНКВД Московской области Исая Берга, в котором говорилось: "Берг тогда являлся начальником оперативной группы по приведению в исполнение решений тройки УНКВД МО. С его участием были созданы автомашины, так называемые душегубки. В этих автомашинах перевозили арестованных, приговоренных к расстрелу, и по пути следования к месту исполнения приговоров они отравлялись газом. Берг признавал, что он организовывал приведение в исполнение приговоров с применением автомашины (душегубки), объясняя это тем, что он выполнял указание руководства УНКВД МО и что без них невозможно было бы исполнить столь большое количество расстрелов, к которым арестованных приговаривали три тройки одновременно" My very best wishes (talk) 00:05, 2 September 2013 (UTC)
Considering the evidence/references it is untenable to speak of the gas van as a Soviet invention and to claim that [i]t was later widely implemented in Nazi Germany. Such a wording suggests that there was a chain of development leading directly from the SU to Nazi Germany. This was not the case and the sources given do not support such a conclusion. Rather a gas van was used by the NKVD and gas vans were used in and by Nazi Germany. On a side note, it is inappropriate to speak of gas vans as an extermination method in Nazi Germany to kill enemies of the regime, mostly Jews. Nazis killed people they considered and designated to be racially inferior, life unworthy of life, political enemies and so forth.--Assayer (talk) 17:55, 7 June 2018 (UTC)
How come? All these sources tell gas van was invented by the NKVD "with participation" of Berg. First four sources are English language books (+Solzenitsyn), others are Russian language sources (there are direct quotations; you can use Google translator if you wish). My very best wishes (talk) 02:15, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Can you please cite any RS telling these vans were NOT invented by the NKVD? My very best wishes (talk) 02:17, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
Link to publication in Novaya gazeta. My very best wishes (talk) 02:39, 8 June 2018 (UTC)

Let's take a look:

  • Other methods were used on an experimental basis. One policeman Isai D. Berg, gassed some of his prisoners to death in batches in the back of a specially adapted airtight van. Merridale, p. 254.
  • Isai D. Berg, a cutthroat section chief in the Moscow NKVD, ginned up a gas chamber (dushegubka) on wheels, an airtight lorry camouflaged as a bread van that suffocated internees with engine fumes on the drive out to Butovo. Colton, p. 286
  • The Soviets sometimes used a gas van (dushegubka), as in Moscow during the 1930s, but how extensive that was needs further investigation. Gellately, p. 286.

These sources state that a Soviet NKVD officer used some sort of gas van, but none of these sources make the claim that the Soviet secret police NKVD invented the gas van as it was "later widely implemented" (previous article version) by Nazi Germany. To infer that the gas van was a Soviet invention is an improper editorial synthesis. A reliable source is needed that specifically comments on the Soviet invention of the gas van. In fact, a closer look at the Russian sources demonstrates that the use of a gas van was used as evidence against Berg when he himself was arrested by the NKVD (and ultimately shot).

On the other hand, Henry Friedlander commented on the Lange Commando:

  • For this purpose [killing patients in numerous Wartheland hospitals in 1940], a kind of mobile gas chamber had been invented. We do not know the inventor, but the KTI was probably involved. (The Origins of Nazi Genocide, 1995, p. 139)
  • Mathias Beer opens his seminal paper on the gas vans: Unter Gaswagen ist ein besonderes Produkt des Dritten Reiches zu verstehen, nämlich ein Lastkraftwagen, auf dessen Fahrgestell ein luftdicht abgeschlossener Kastenaufbau montiert war, in dem durch das Einleiten von Auspuffgasen Menschen getötet wurden. ["The gas van is a peculiar product of the Third Reich..."] (Die Entwicklung der Gaswagen beim Mord an den Juden. In: VfZ 35 (1987), p. 403
  • The Holocaust Encyclopedia (Yale UP, 2001), ed. by Walter Laqueur, names Arthur Nebe, who charged Walter Rauff with the technical implementation of gassing human beings by exhaust fumes from a truck engine. Rauff oversaw the modification of vans.
  • Katrim Reichelt in her entry on Gaswagen in the Handbuch des Antisemitismus, ed. by Wolfgang Benz, vol. 4 (2011) names Albert Widmann and Arthur Nebe as the two, who together developed the method by which human beings were killed in vans by exhaust fumes. The vans themselves were modified by Rauff, Friedrich Pradel and Harry Wentritt. (p. 143f.)

None of these sources refer to a Soviet invention and it is not up to Wikipedia to suggest something like that.--Assayer (talk) 00:31, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

  • None of your quotations tells directly where it was invented, but obviously it was invented somewhere. I did not read the books by Merridale, Colton and Gellately. Are you sure this is all they say on this subject? If so, what follows from your quotations is that the van was used in the USSR in 1930s and much later in Nazi Germany. However, other sources (the book by Albats, Solzhenitsyn and the article by Nikita Petrov tell it was invented in the USSR by the NKVD. If the actual inventor was Berg however is less certain. My very best wishes (talk) 01:02, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
I am not sure we can speak about a single invention event, because, obviously, no patents or publications about this "invention" existed. Until sources will be presented that prove Nazi knew about Berg's invention, we should speak about independent events.
Re Albatz etc, I am pretty sure they use the same primary or even secondary source, so it makes sense to combine them, or even to remove some ov them. BTW, Novaya gazeta link seem dead.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:11, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Yes, I am sure that Merridale et al. confine themselves to basically nothing more than a sentence. I might also express my bewilderment that claims are made what all these sources tell when that is for the larger part in fact unknown. Gas vans were secretly developed in Nazi Germany. It is not that kind of "invention" that you would boast. Therefore, I suggested to do away with the term "invention" altogether. Any objections if I ask someone who speaks Russian concerning the sources in Russian?--Assayer (talk) 10:13, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Sure, you can ask anyone, but the Google translator does it just fine (copy-past of translation from here): "But the greatest ingenuity was shown in Moscow. In 1990, I was shown the investigative case of the head of the administrative department of the NKVD of the Moscow region Isaiah Berg, who was arrested in 1937, which said:"Berg was then the head of the task force to enforce the decisions of the UNKVD MO troika, which involved the creation of motor vehicles, the so-called gas vans, transporting prisoners who were sentenced to death, and gas poisoned en route to the execution site. acknowledged that he had organized the execution of sentences using a car (gas vans), explaining this by the fact that he was following the instructions of the NKVD Ministry of Defense and that without them it would be impossible to perform so much The number of executions to which the arrested were sentenced by three threes at a time .. From the stories of Berg's interrogations and from the conversations that went among the staff of the NKVD Ministry of Defense, it was known that the procedure for bringing the verdicts, organized by Berg, was disgusting: the condemned prisoners were stripped naked, bound, muzzled and thrown into the car. "The property of those arrested under the leadership of Berg was plundered."
And there are multiple sources, starting from the book by the Nobel prize winner, which tell the same and more. Was it re-invented in Germany as you say? So far we have zero sources which explicitly claim it (they only say gas vans were used in Nazi Germany). But we do know about the Gestapo–NKVD conferences and NKVD agent Nikolai Skoblin who acted as a secret agent to transfer various information to Gestapo. My very best wishes (talk) 12:50, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────All of that is a very interesting story. My comments of that are as follows:

  1. It seems that all "reliable sources" that tell about Soviet gas vans are actually telling the same story using Solzhenitsyn as a source. I found no further evidences that may serve as a ground for broad generalisation. Albatz is known for inaccurate usage of sources, thus, she used Guinness book as a source for the number of killed by NKVD. Conclusion: use Solzhenitsyn as a main source, other sources, especially, newspaper articles that do not disclose their information sources, should be mentioned tangentially.
  2. Isaj Berg was arrested in 1938 and executed in 1939. A story of the gas van was a part of his testimony during interrogation. It may be true or not, however, there is no evidences that this information was transferred to Nazi. I also saw no reliable evidences that this van was used by someone except Berg, and, taking into account that Berg was executed, I doubt any of chekists dared to use this innovation. Other evidences look like "city legends" or "prisoner folklore". Therefore, the linkage between Berg's van and Nazi van was not more evident than the linkage between Zuse computer and ENIAC.
  3. Initially, Nazi tried to use pure CO for killing, the idea to use engine exhaust came later. That means we can speak about a gradual evolution of German technical thought, not about picking someone's idea.
  4. The idea to pick something from untermench-Russian seemed too odd to arrogant Nazi, who believed it their racial and technological superiority (at least until 1942).
  5. I found an obscure book [9] where a detailed analysis of Nuremberg trial was presented, and a conclusion is: no gas vans existed in Germany, all evidences were forged. This book supports the claim Berg invented gas vans, although almost no evidences are not presented. I didn't find any reviews on this book, so it may be a standard Holocaust denier book. As far as I know Amazon banned this book as revisionist

In summary, what reliable source allow us to tell is as follows:

  1. A single case of gas van usage in the USSR was Berg's story. Berg was convicted and sentenced, and no other documented cases of gas van usage can be found.
  2. No documented evidences existed about informational exchange between Nazi and Soviets on that matter. Nazi invented gas vans in attempts to find cheaper sources for CO that they used for gas chambers before.
  3. Some revisionist authors claim there were no usage of gas vans in Germany, and only USSR used it. It seems these writings belong to Holocaust denier category, and should be treated as such.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:08, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  1. There are reliable sources, i.e. historians (Colton, Merridale Gellately) which accept the use of a gas van by Berg as a fact, but do not speak of an "invention".
  2. Solzhenitsyn may have won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970. But his work Two Hundred Years Together has drawn strong criticism for its factual unreliability. Therefore I would not use him as a main source.
  3. Yes, the first Nazi German gas vans were different in that CO tanks were used like in the euthanasia killing centers. Rauff and his team began to use exhaust gas, because CO became expensive and hard to get during the war. No source provides evidence that the gas vans of Nazi Germany were devised after the model of a Soviet gas van. Without reliable sources speculations about secret conferences are not helpful.
  4. Yevgenia Albats indeed writes: ...Chekists used trucks camouflaged as bread vans for mobile death chambers. Yes, the very same machinery made notorious by the Nazis - yes, these trucks were originally a Soviet invention, in use years before the ovens of Auschwitz were built. (KGB, 1995, p. 101) Her text, however, is confusing. She writes about the Soviet special camps in occupied Germany and introduces the paragraph with the sentence: Although these camps were closed in 1950, a new wave of repression was unleashed of the Soviet Union, no less terrible than that of 1937. Is she suggesting that the Soviet gas vans were used after 1945? For her Auschwitz seems to be a metaphor rather than an implementation of Soviet killing methods. The first time a gas chamber was used to execute a man was in Nevada in 1924. That does not make Americans the "inventors" of the Nazi gas chambers.
  5. Albats' associative style is critical, however, because it falls in line with the reasoning that the Soviet and the Nazi system were essentially of the same kind. Such comparisons are to be undertaken with care. As Gellattely emphasizes the differences: [T]he Communists did not create killing centers. The Soviets sometimes used a gas van (dushegubka), as in Moscow during the 1930s, but how extensive that was needs further investigation. They used crematoriums to dispose of thousands of bodies, but had no gas chambers. (I will not discuss works by Germar Rudolf and I would strongly discourage linking to Rudolf's publishing house. The blog Holocaust Controversies deals with the deniers' treatment of the gas vans[10])
  6. I would not speak of the gas van as an "invention" like the telephone, aviation, the atomic bomb or antibiotics at all. The gas van as it was used by Nazi Germany was part of a continous perfection of killing methods starting with the gas chambers of the euthanasia and the use of CO gas, the use of exhaust fumes like in Treblinka and the use of Zyklon B in Auschwitz and Majdanek. They were mobile gas chambers, but they were primarily gas chambers.--Assayer (talk) 20:16, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Re Solzhenitsyn, my point was that it was clear where he took the information about gas vans. With regard to other sources, do yo understand if they are independent sources, or they just re-tell the same Solzhenitsyn's story? I see no evidences so far that prove these sources use any additional information besides the one published by Solzhenitsyn.--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:30, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
None of these sources, including Albats refer to Solzhenitsyn, and they are written by different authors. So, I assume they are independent RS. My very best wishes (talk) 20:35, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
If they do not refer to Solzhenitsyn, they probably refer to other sources (unless they used a magic crystal ball as a source of information). What is the source they use for this claim? Do they refer to some concrete archival document or another secondary source?--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:41, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Reply to Paul.
Your point #2. Yes, none of the currently cited sources tells there was an informational exchange between Nazi and Soviets on that matter. And we do not claim it on this page.
Your point #3. Yes, I totally agree, there is a lot of evidence (in terms of RS cited on this page) that the vans were used in Nazi Germany. If anyone thinks otherwise, this is WP:FRINGE.
Your point #1. No, none of the cited sources, including books by Merridale, Colton and Gellately, tells that was "a single case". They tell the vans were used by the NKVD near Butovo, and that is exactly what we tell. Based on context, the vans were used regularly. The sources do not tell how many people have been processed through the vans, and we do not tell this on the page. Etc. Every word in this section seems to be well sourced right now.
As about your objections to Albats, well, her book certainly qualify as an academic RS, and this is not only her, but Solzhenytsyn, Nikita Petrov, the publication in Kommersant and others. My very best wishes (talk) 20:21, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  • Reply to Assayer. I am not sure what exactly you suggest to change on the page. Albats tells (in plain English), it was "invented" by NKVD, and we tell it was "invented". Russian language sources above also tell it was "invented" or "created" by NKVD, depending on translation. Speaking of Nazi trucks, yes, I totally agree with you that all such details are important and should be included on the page. My very best wishes (talk) 20:26, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Under "single case" I mean usage of gas vans (or a gas van, it is unclear how many vans were used) by Berg's team for Butovo executions. Are there any evidences that other groups used gas van before or in parallel with Berg, and after his arrest. As far as I understand from Berg's explanations during his interrogation, he had to use gas vans because his team was physically incapable of executing so many people. It seems it was his own initiative, which was neither encouraged nor adopted by NKVD. Do any source say otherwise?--Paul Siebert (talk) 20:53, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Look, we are not doing any "original research" here, but simply tell what RS tell. Since this became a matter of discussion, I cited the book by Albats directly. Someone cited Solzhenitsyn directly before me. That's fine. If you can find any other good RS on this subject, please also cite or summarize them. This is the essence of WP:NPOV. And, no the citation of Solzhenitsyn and the source from Kommersant tell that Berg acted on the orders from the top of NKVD. My very best wishes (talk) 21:00, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
You deeply misunderstand our policy, which says: Wikipedia does not publish original thought. All material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Articles may not contain any new analysis or synthesis of published material that serves to reach or imply a conclusion not clearly stated by the sources themselves. Since I am not going to make any new claim, I am not doing original research. In contrast, you are going to make a claim that Albatz and Solzhenitsyn are telling about different events, which means you are supposed to prove this. I am asking again: can you prove that Albatz is using sources other than Solzhenitsyn?--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:06, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Albats gives as her source Komsomolskaya pravda, October 28, 1990. If one source, Albats, tells it was "invented", but at least two other sources given (Colton and Merridale) do not follow that reasoning, I do not at all see it as mandatory that we tell it was "invented. For that it has to be shown, that Albats' book from 1992 (Russian ed.) is the standard textbook for this topic. Given the mistakes that I spotted on only two pages, I sincerely doubt that. And in my understanding a "creation" is not the same as an "invention". The changes I suggested were:[11]--Assayer (talk) 22:08, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Komsomolskaya Pravda is a tabloid, and I agree that fact checking is not the strongest part of Albats as a source. I myself found at least two blatant mistakes there: usage of Guinness book as a source for the figure of victims of Stalinism, and the claim that the Soviets killed 200,000 in Latvia (it is not in the book, but this statement belongs to Albatz).--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:20, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
@Paul. "Albatz and Solzhenitsin are telling about the same, i.e. the invention and use of gas vans by the NKVD. But they are two different and independent RS because Solzhenitsin does not make a reference to Albats, and Albatz does not make a reference to Solzhenitsin (as I already said above). My very best wishes (talk) 22:17, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Please, no silly arguments: Solzhenitsyn could not cite Albats, because they belong to different generations.
If Albats uses Komsomolskaya Pravda (which does not add credibitity to her book), that means she indirectly uses Solzhenitsyn, because KP most likely used it. In addition, reliability of KP is a big question. If Albats makes no reference to Solzhenitsyn and think a reference to KP is ok, that means she does not approach the problem seriously. Again, if Albats uses KP, I would like to see where did KP take this info: we must be sure we are not telling the same urban legend created based on a singke statement (Solzhenitsyn) and transmitted by different tabloids in different ways.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:27, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
@Assayer. The RS we are using/citing is the book by Yevgenia Albats (and she herself as an author of the book), not an article in newspaper (which could be a primary source, whatever). We make a direct reference to her and quote her directly. This is all consistent with the policy. As about your changes (the diff), most of them are already included, others are incorrect (we can't say "The vans were used by Berg", he did not use them alone, we should say they were used "by NKVD"). Sorry, but I should do something else. Happy editing. My very best wishes (talk) 22:17, 9 June 2018 (UTC)

Assayer, here is a quote from a review on Albats:

"As she herself proclaims at the outset, this is not a systematic scholarly work, nor is it aimed at specialists. It is for the general reader and she is deliberately seeking to convey an understanding of her 'obsession' in a 'pointed and emotional style'. A second problem occurs in her cavalier attitude towards evidence. For example, she asserts that in i99I the KGB had a staff of 5oo,ooo, making one agent for every 297 [sic] citizens. This is compared then with some unspecified time in the Soviet era when the figure was one for every 428 citizens. Not content with that improbable level of precision, she declares that it actually constitutes a growth of the organization (p. 23). Unless there is a printing error, this makes no sense. Two hundred thousand plus of that personnel total in any event is made up of border troops. No credence is given to official accounts that the organization has now been much reduced. Officially the figure is now around 70,ooo but in no way is this in line with the Albats hypothesis. She also asserts that time has proved her analysis correct. Others might be less sure. Russia has its human rights abuses still, but where one asks are the camps full of political prisoners. Has there really been no significant change? Indeed, the book was published in Russia in 1992.
Again, as a final aspect of hyperbole, the general reader deserves better than to be told that the Socialist Revolutionary Party was right wing (p. I4), and this is not the only infelicity. That said, the book is a lively presentation of some of the iniquities of this organization and of the threat it could come to pose in the hands of a more autocratic Russian regime, perhaps in the not so distant future." (Reviewed Work(s): KGB: State within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick Review by: Julian Birch Source: The Slavonic and East European Review, Vol. 74, No. 4 (Oct., 1996), pp. 766-768. Published by: the Modern Humanities Research Association and University College London, School of Slavonic and East European Studies. Stable URL: [12]--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:43, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
  • And who is the author of this review, Julian Birch? Is he well known as an expert on the KGB history? If it were a review by Amy Knight, then yes, it would worth something. You can "discredit" any academic source by citing such reviews. Want to find couple of critical reviews and denials on something like "Comrade J"? Yes, sure. But it does not prove that the source does not qualify as an RS per our policy. Reviewer tells: No credence is given to official accounts that the organization has now been much reduced. What? The reviewer trusts the FSB statements and does not even know that the number of FSB personnel is a state secret [13]. Of course Albats does not give any credence to official statements by the FSB because they serve to disinform the public. My very best wishes (talk) 23:00, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
You previous nick name implies that you are familiar with biophysics, and you know how science works. Julian Birch is a person who is sufficiently knowledgeable that the editor of the scholarly journal, The Slavonic and East European Review, published by Modern Humanities Research Association and University College London, decided to ask them to write a review. Full stop. If you do not understand these things, then you are supposed to be more modest in your claims. If you understand this (and I am almost sure you do), you are expected to show more good faith. Obviously, that is not a personal attack, just a logical conclusion, because tertium non datur.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:12, 10 June 2018 (UTC)
Did not you notice that your comment has absolutely nothing to do with improvement of this page? You are violating talk page guidelines again. My very best wishes (talk) 03:54, 10 June 2018 (UTC)
I think, my comment has a direct relation to improvement of the article. You are trying to impose on us a questionable source, and I am trying to resist to that. Your argumentation is not compatible with your professional skills. I have to resort to this kind of arguments because other logical arguments are not working. You cannot pretend you are an educated and skillful person and simultaneously resort to arguments that are used only by poorly educated users. You either agree that a review published by a scholarly journal should be considered a top quality source or concede you are totally ignorant of peer-review procedure. In that case, I do not understand how you are capable of editing molecular biology articles. --Paul Siebert (talk) 04:09, 10 June 2018 (UTC)
Look, you are trying to insult me. I only said the critical review does not mean anything because (a) the author is not a well known expert on the subject, (b) his argument about the number of FSB personnel is ridiculous for anyone familiar for the subject, and (c) he criticized Albats for having an opinion. This is nonsense. Most authors of books and scientific review articles have an opinion. This is good. That's why there is a whole series of journals Current Opinion (Elsevier). My very best wishes (talk) 11:35, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────Even if I wanted to insult you, I would be incapable of insulting you more than you yourself are doing. The Current opinion series includes journals that publish review articles (not opinia). I refuse to believe you are unaware of "Current opinion in Structural Biology", for example. Had you ever written any review? Don't tell me you hadn't. You wrote at least one review: in your PhD thesis, and you know what it is.

Re: "he criticized Albats for having an opinion." This is a direct misinterpetation of the source. Albats opinion is not criticised, the book is good in general, but the degree of fact checking and accuracy is questionable, according to the reviewer. In other words, Albats is a good book for a general reader, but is a poor source for numbers and some specific facts. That means, you can mention Albats opinion, but always describe her sources, for example, "in her book, Albats cited Komsomolstaya pravda tabloid, which says...", of "Albats cites a Guinness book that claims..." In addition, the attempt to present your favourable source as a fact and other sources as opinia is a standard pattern of a tendentious editor. Do you understand what I mean?--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:02, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

Responded on your talk page. Of course the "Current opinion" publish reviews, but it is called "opinion" because editors expect from experts to express their opinion on the subject of their reviews. Albats does the same in her book (most authors do), which is good. That reviewer of her book, however, criticises her for having an opinion that KGB was bad (one should read whole review itself from the beginning). Yes, sure, it was bad, do you think otherwise? My very best wishes (talk) 14:35, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
That is an inaccurate summary of the review by Julian Birch. He notes that Albats' is "the work of an angry person" and admonishes that her "obvious anger" and style does a disservice to her material. There is no hint, however, that Birch takes offence in someone having a critical opinion of the KGB. I find it highly questionable that you proceed to posit an ethical question as if a critical assessment of Albats' work, evidence and argument implies any (positive) judgement about the KGB.--Assayer (talk) 15:06, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
That was not a summary of the review by Birch. Here is link to review. Of course the reviewer does not tell that KGB was good, and I did not say it. Reviewer tells that work by Albats "is not a cool, balanced analysis of the agency", etc. Yes, that's true, but it does not undermine the book by Albats, as the author of this review tells. My very best wishes (talk) 15:40, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
The reviewer does not criticise the book in general, the review says the author is not accurate in details. That makes Albats a poor source for this particular article, not a bad source in general: this book is generally praised for giving a vivid picture of the actual state of things in the KGB empire. I think, it is a good source for general KGB related articles, but not for this one. --Paul Siebert (talk) 16:14, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
Actually, the Birch's review is generally positive. However, this is not relevant to the subject of our dispute, because in this positive review, a reviewer notes Albats is very inaccurate in details. Since you are to taking a general idea of the book (which seems correct), but cherry-picking details (despite the fact they have been uncritically taken from a dubious tabloid), a question rises about your sincere desire to improve Wikipedia.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:28, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

I beg your pardon, @My very best wishes, but remember what Catherine Merridale wrote? One policeman Isai D. Berg, gassed some of his prisoners to death in batches in the back of a specially adapted airtight van. It is not up to you to disqualify that as "incorrect". Solzhenitsyn, which you value so highly, writes, that they (i.e. the executioners] hit upon a solution. Neither of these sources state that gas vans were used "by NKVD". Solzhenitsyn even does not name Berg as "inventor", i.e. the one who came up with the idea. Colton names Berg, but does not attribute the use to the NKVD as such and Gellately speaks of the Soviets without further specification. All four, i.e. Merridale, Colton, Solzhenitsyn and Gellately, speak of one Soviet gas van. Thus there are several reliable sources that present the same story with much differences in detail. It is not consistent with policy, namely WP:UNDUE and WP:BALANCE, to pick just the source that you like most and determine, e.g., that there were several Soviet gas vans.[14] If Albats is WP:BESTSOURCES and of equal prominence than the other sources is another matter. And the whole issue cannot be resolved by adding more and more quotes, because balance has to be kept in relation to the text on the Nazi gas vans which were employed on a much larger scale and were thus much more important than the Soviet one. My suggestion still is to focus upon what is actually known, i.e. the details upon which the sources agree.--Assayer (talk) 23:56, 9 June 2018 (UTC)
Do you mean he alone killed all these people while driving a van? That would be strange. You are very welcome to summarize information by Merridale, Colton and Gellately (I did not read these books) and include your summary on the page. Unfortunately, they tell very little on the subject beyond mentioning the involvement of Berg. However, all sources that I read (about five of them, cited on this page above, including Solzhenitsyn) tell it was something accomplished by the organization, yes, with his "participation" or "under his command". None of the sources tell it was only one car. However, this source, for example explicitly tells there were many such cars (""Берг тогда являлся начальником оперативной группы по приведению в исполнение решений тройки УНКВД МО. С его участием были созданы автомашины, так называемые душегубки. В этих автомашинах перевозили арестованных, приговоренных к расстрелу, и по пути следования к месту исполнения приговоров они отравлялись газом." Google translate:
Berg was then the head of the task force to enforce the decisions of the UNKVD MO troika. With his participation, cars were created, so-called gas vans. These cars transported prisoners who were sentenced to be shot, and on the way to the place of execution of sentences they were poisoned with gas. Berg acknowledged that he organized the execution of sentences using a car (gas vans), explaining this by the fact that he was following the instructions of the NKVD Ministry of Defense ... "

My very best wishes (talk) 00:27, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

This kind of argumentation is kind of an insult: we are serious and reasonable people, and we deserve less frivolous arguments. Of course, Berg was not the only person who did all of that. He was a head of the team that was engaged in killings. The question was if there was a single van or several, and if other teams were involved in gassing people using vans before, in parallel and after Berg's team. The answer is: there are no data to claim that ever happened.--Paul Siebert (talk) 01:31, 10 June 2018 (UTC)

Here is a google translation of the source provided by MVBW (Kommersant): "But the greatest ingenuity was shown in Moscow. In 1990, I was shown the investigative case of the head of the administrative department of the NKVD of the Moscow region Isaiah Berg, who was arrested in 1937, which said:

"Berg was then the head of the task force to enforce the decisions of the UNKVD MO troika, which involved the creation of motor vehicles, the so-called gas vans, transporting prisoners who were sentenced to death, and gas poisoned en route to the execution site. acknowledged that he had organized the execution of sentences using a car (gas vans), explaining this by the fact that he was following the instructions of the NKVD Ministry of Defense and that without them it would be impossible to perform so much The number of executions to which the arrested were sentenced by three threes at a time .. From the stories of Berg's interrogations and from the conversations that went among the staff of the NKVD Ministry of Defense, it was known that the procedure for bringing the verdicts, organized by Berg, was disgusting: the condemned prisoners were stripped naked, bound, muzzled and thrown into the car. "The property of those arrested under the leadership of Berg was plundered."

It is clear that Berg explained his actions during interrogation, which means he was arrested, and the gas van usage was a part of the actions he was accused of. He clearly says he had to resort to this improvement, because he was incapable of killing so many people by ordinary means. Had he been instructed or authorised to use gas vans, he would definitely mention that during interrogation. I cannot understand why MVBW, who seems to be proficient in Russian, misinterpreted this source.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:07, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

  • Comment: I've been pinged about this discussion on my Talk page, and I admit I have a hard time following. What is the disagreement about? Is there an edit that's being discussed? --K.e.coffman (talk) 20:21, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
As far as I understand, the main disagreement has been resolved. We identified several sources that are not accurate or make unneeded generalisations. We found that some sources claimed that the gas van was invented in the USSR and were routinely used by the secret police. In fact, the sources say about a single officer whose team used a van or few vans. The primary source these secondary sources rely upon is an interrogation protocol, where that officer explained why he decided to use the gas van (which seems to be his own initiative). We also agreed that no data are available on any informational exchange between NKVD and Nazi. I think, the dispute came to a logical end.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:09, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation; this makes sense. --K.e.coffman (talk) 23:20, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
Thanks for your response. After my initial edit the discussion started after these revisions: [15] [16] Since I distrust google translate my question was whether 1.) the sources in Russian given in the article back the claim that the Soviets (Berg in particular) "invented" the gas van, 2.) whether gas vans (plural) were used by "the NKVD" or whether there was just one used by some NKVD officers, in particular Berg and his underlings, for a limited time. Furthermore, I was curious, if these Russian sources like kommersant.ru or novayagazeta.ru are first rate RS or not. Discussion may have progressed, so that this is not an issue anymore, but I would not swear to that.--Assayer (talk) 23:43, 11 June 2018 (UTC)
As far as I understand, the article in Novaya Gazeta says Berg was participating in creation (construction, building) of the gas van. That article says about a single van, and it does not disclose the primary source all claims are based upon. The Kommersant article quotes the Berg's investigatory case (Berg himself was arrested soon and executed in 1938; that was a standard situation: all main Great Purge perpetrators, including Ezhov himself, were arrested and executed). The Kommersant article says Berg explained he decided to use a gas van (a single van) ("с применением автомашины" literally means "using a van") because it would not be possible to kill so many people by ordinary means. Interestingly, this document combines usage of the gas van with additional disgusting details of executions committed by Berg. It is quite likely that was one of the pretexts Berg was executed for, so I personally doubt if anybody tried to use this method of execution after Berg was convicted. In addition, there were no mass executions of that scale after the Great Purge, so there were no need in gas vans.
Two other mentions of the gas van in the Kommersant 's primary source speak about "gas vans" (" С его участием были созданы автомашины ["cars were built"], так называемые душегубки. ", and " без них невозможно было бы исполнить столь большое количество расстрелов,", ["without them it would be impossible...]), so it may be possible not a single, but several gas vans were built.
As far as I know, Kommersant was a very good source during those times. (Kommersant was a good and independent newspaper in 1990s, but I cannot tell anything about after it changed an owner. The author seems to cite a document that he saw in 1990 and it is quite possible it is classified now (the "archival revolution" has ended by the end of 1990s). Probably, it is the most reliable source available now (strictly speaking, least unreliable).
With regard to Novaya Gazeta, it is one of very few independent newspapers in Russia (as far as I know, I am not an expert). It may be trustworthy, although some degree of exaggeration or unneeded generalisation may take place.--Paul Siebert (talk) 00:16, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
  • The book by Yevgenia Albats is a perfectly good secondary English language source on the subject - you do not need translation. Yes, these Russian language sources tell essentially the same: there were many vans like that, but they do not tell how many, and how many people were actually "processed" through these vans (the overall number of people executed at Butovo firing range was more than 20 thousand). My very best wishes (talk) 03:24, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

Solzhenitsyn as a source[edit]

I checked this source, and I see the following: "И – призываю к этому евреев. Раскаяться не за Троцкого-Каменева-Зиновьева, они и так на поверхности, от них и отмахнуться можно: "то были не евреи!" А – оглянуться честно на всю глубину раннесоветского угнетательского аппарата – на тех "незаметных", как Исай Давидович Берг (Berg.--PS), создавший знаменитую "душегубку" (gas van. --PS) [1390], самим же евреям на горе, и даже на ещё более незаметных, кто бумажки подкалывал в советском аппарате и никогда не вышел в публичность."

The reference 1390 is the reference to "Е. Жирнов. "Процедура казни носила омерзительный характер" // Комсомольская правда, 1990, 28 октября, с. 2.", i.e. to the Komsomolskaya pravda article. The author (Е. Жирнов) is the same as the author of the Kommersant article, and the source seems to be the same.

My conclusion: all sources the NKVD part of the article is based on (including Albats) are derivatives of one single article written by Е. Жирнов in 1990 and published in Комсомольская правда. All other authors including Е. Жирнов himself tell the same story but compose different details. The only source is the document Е. Жирнов saw in 1990 and used for his article. That means this WP article just shows an evolution of some urban legend.

By the way, taking into account that Solzhenitsyn's statement is a pure anti-Semitism, I'll remove it if no serious reason to keep this anti-Semitic source will be provided within next 24 hours.--Paul Siebert (talk) 04:18, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

  1. Are you telling that books by Merridale, Colton and Gellately (cited above) are also based on the "urban legend"?
  2. What WP:RS tell this is an "urban legend"?
  3. Solzhenitsyn is currently cited on the page. It was included by another participant, let's AGF. How on the Earth this text can be viewed "antisemitic"? Here is it: "I. D. Berg was ordered to carry out the decisions of the NKVD troika of Moscow Oblast, and Berg was decently carrying out this assignment: he was driving people to the executions by shooting. But, when in Moscow Oblast there came to be three troikas having their sessions simultaneously, the executioners could not cope with the load. They hit upon a solution: to strip the victims naked, to tie them up, plug their mouths and throw them into a closed truck, disguised from the outside as a bread van. During transportation the fuel gases came into the truck, and when delivered to the farthest [execution] ditch the arrestees were already dead." My very best wishes (talk) 11:47, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
I did not write "urban legend", I wrote "development of a urban legend". One single article (KP) cited a single primary source, which seems to be the only source of information for Albats, Solzhenitsyn and Novaya. It is not clear where did Colton take his information (I couldn't find a reference in his book), but, taking into account he tells the same story, the source was probably the same. Gellately is not mentioned in the article.
Colton also uses the same KP article as a source (see page 841).
Gellately, p. 286 writes "The Soviets sometimes used a gas van (dushegubka), as in Moscow during the 1930s, but how extensive that was needs further investigation." The ref 39 is "KP (Komsomolskaya pravda) 1992, Oct 28. 2. It is probably a typo, not 1992, but 1990, because the date (28 Sept) and a page 2 are the same as in "Е. Жирнов. «Процедура казни носила омерзительный характер» // Комсомольская правда, 1990, 28 октября, с. 2."
Merridale tells exactly the same story (" Other methods were also used on an experimental basis. One policeman, Isai D. Berg, gassed some of his prisoners to death in batches in the back of a specially adapted airtight van.43 He then had them buried in the mass graves at Butovo, often in the trenches that other victims had already dug, where they already lay"), and it is highly likely that the source is the same. I need to find a hard copy of this book.
My conclusion: unless you prove the opposite, all these sources use a single document (the same as the original KP article was using), and all those numerous citations are intended to create a misleading impression of an abundance of information on that subject. The more I am digging in, the more I understand that we are dealing not with multiple independent sources, but with a single source (the article is published in 1990 in "Komsomolskaya Pravda") which is being reproduced by other authors.
By the way, if you see no anti-Semitism in these Solzhenitsyn's words, that tells something about you.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:30, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Here is a full quote:
"И изобрёл их (да не в одиночку, наверно, но организатор изобретения был он) – Исай Давидович Берг, начальник АХО (адмхозотдела) УНКВД Московской области. Вот почему бывает важно знать, кто занимал вовсе и не верхние посты. А получилось так. И. Д. Бергу было поручено исполнять решения «тройки» УНКВД МО – и Берг исправно выполнял поручение: возил на расстрелы. Но когда в Московской области стали заседать одновременно три «тройки» – уже справиться было расстрельщикам невозможно. Тогда и догадались: жертв раздевать догола, связывать, затыкать рты и бросать в закрытый грузовик, снаружи замаскированный под хлебный фургон. На перегоне выхлопные газы шли внутрь грузовика – и до дальнего рва арестанты были уже «готовенькие». (Надо сказать, что и сам Берг вскоре был расстрелян, в 1939, – но не за эти злодейства, разумеется, а по обвинению в «заговоре». И в 1956 – благополучно реабилитирован, хотя в следственном деле его и тогда хранилась, и дохранилась вот до новейшего времени, и прочтена журналистами – история этого душегубного изобретения!)[883]"
The ref 883 is the reference to the same KP article. That means this source just re-tells the same fact in different words. I am going to rewrite this section accordingly to make clear that all sources refer to the same story described in KP.--Paul Siebert (talk) 12:43, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
  1. These 3 books were directly cited just above by Assayer [17]. All of them mention it. Please note that all these sources (probably around seven of them) are independent sources per WP:RS. For example, when you are removing this, you are removing a view by an expert on KGB affairs and a Harvard graduate (Yevgenia Albats), published in co-authorship in her book, not "tabloid". In addition, all materials published in Komsomolskaya Pravda and Argumenty i Fakty are "reliably published". They can be used per WP:RS. How exactly? That can be a matter of discussion.
  2. So, there are no RS telling about the "development of a urban legend"? If so, everything you just said above is your personal WP:OR.
  3. You tell: "if you see no anti-Semitism in these Solzhenitsyn's words, that tells something about you". What do you mean? My very best wishes (talk) 13:14, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
My very best wishes, I am grateful to your stubbornness, because without you I would never decided to dig so deeply into sources. I think now it is a time to stop and concede an obvious thing: all sources tell the same story they took from a single 1990 article published in KP. We should clearly explain that in the article. We together did a nice job.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:15, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
This is an important thing about secondary RS in general. For example, telling "the opinion of author X published is his book A was based solely on the primary source B" (simply because he made a reference to the primary source B in his book) would be wrong and WP:OR. That's why we are using secondary RS. It is the author of the book and presumably an expert (not a wikipedian!) decides if the sources he used were trustworthy. More important, he is using his own knowledge of the subject (may be this is based on other sources which where not used in the book or on his own research - who knows?). So, we simply make a reference directly to the secondary source, not on the primary or other sources used by the expert (citing them too would also be OK if they qualify as WP:RS). This can be said about all books cited here, i.e. Merridale, Colton, Gellately, Albats and Solzhenitsyn. My very best wishes (talk) 14:41, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
KP article is not a primary source.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:52, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
If so, it should be cited along with all other sources on the subject - per WP:NPOV. What exactly it tells? Any quote or summary you would like to include? My very best wishes (talk) 14:56, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
I think we can trust Solzhenitsyn and later Kommersant article, which seem to transmit the old KP article correctly. However, we must say that the KP article was published in 1990, it was used by Solzhenitsyn (I think we can keep the quote) and later it was mentioned by other sources (including Albats). Since Albats and other authors do not mention any additional sources, the only thing we can write is that the KP story was cited by other sources. By no means we can present Albats, Colton et al as independent sources: all of them are based on a single KP article.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:04, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Petrov does not disclose his sources, but he tells exactly the same story, which means it is highly unlikely that he was using a different document. --Paul Siebert (talk) 15:05, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
  • If an author of the book tells: "my conclusion/view was based entirely on this source", then yes. If he or she does not, but simply give a reference, then no, that would be WP:OR. Like I said, maybe his conclusion/view was based on other sources which where not used in the book, on his own knowledge of the subject, or on his own research - who knows? My very best wishes (talk) 15:10, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
If some author performs analysis of sources, yes, I agree. However, in our case that is not the case: Solzhenitsyn openly says he just re-tells a newspaper story (the only conclusions he himself is doing are purely anti-Semitic statements, which we are not going to reproduce), other authors perform no analysis: they just mention this case very briefly. The only exception is Albats. In her case, we must say that Albats, based on the KP article, draws a conclusion that (blahblahblah). We must clearly separate the facts (a document from the KP/Kommersant articles) from opinia (conclusions Albats draws solely on this single doculent).--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:18, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Where "Solzhenitsyn openly says he just re-tells a newspaper story"? I do not see it in quotation above. To the contrary, he provides a lot of detail and tells about it as an indisputable fact. And he is definitely an expert on such subjects. My very best wishes (talk) 15:22, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

─────────────────────────"А вот поразительное промелькнувшее в 1990 сообщение, из которого мы узнали, что знаменитые душегубки изобретены, оказывается, вовсе не у Гитлера во Вторую Мировую войну — а в советском НКВД в 1937. И изобрёл их (да не в одиночку, наверно, но организатор изобретения был он) — Исай Давидович Берг, начальник АХО (адмхозотдела) УНКВД Московской области. Вот почему бывает важно знать, кто занимал вовсе и не верхние посты. А получилось так. И.Д. Бергу было поручено исполнять решения «тройки» УНКВД МО — и Берг исправно выполнял поручение: возил на расстрелы. Но когда в Московской области стали заседать одновременно три «тройки» — уже справиться было расстрелыцикам невозможно. Тогда и догадались: жертв раздевать догола, связывать, затыкать рты и бросать в закрытый грузовик, снаружи замаскированный под хлебный фургон. На перегоне выхлопные газы шли внутрь грузовика — и до дальнего рва арестанты были уже «готовенькие». (Надо сказать, что и сам Берг вскоре был расстрелян, в 1939, — но не за эти злодейства, разумеется, а по обвинению в «заговоре». И в 1956 — благополучно реабилитирован, хотя в следственном деле его и тогда хранилась, и дохранилась вот до новейшего времени, и прочтена журналистами — история этого душегубного изобретения!)[39]"

Ref 39 is the KP article. Solzhenitsyn clearly says he just tells the story he read in KP.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:10, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

So, after reading this publication, Solzenitsyn (someone with enormous expertise in this area), believes that the story should be treated as an indisputable fact and provides his own summary. That's fine. We should cite Solzhenitsyn.My very best wishes (talk) 16:25, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Again, I proposed to quote Solzhenitsyn because the KP article is not available (I didn't find it in the archive so far). The story will be as follows: KP published the article,(ref) which according to Solzhenitsyn(ref) says: "blahblah". This story was reproduced by Gellately,(ref) Merridale,(ref), Kommersant(ref). Based on the same source, Albats concludes that....(ref).
That is what we can write.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:06, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Re Solzhenitsyn's enormous expertise. I think you are right, so we can conclude Solzhenitsyn was not aware of any mention of gas van usage before 1990, so we can safely conclude the KP article was the first mention of NKVD gas vans in books or media.--Paul Siebert (talk) 17:59, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
There are a few things that I would like to comment on. First, in this context I find it inappropriate to use the term “urban legend” at all. Second, I do not consider Solzhenitsyn’s book to be a first-rate source. It has drawn criticism by reviewers for factual inaccuracies and the author has been charged with antisemitism. Historians have dealt with the issue of Soviet gas vans only briefly and that demonstrates that this issue is not considered to have had a significant impact. In his work ‘’Verbrannte Erde’’ (2012) about Stalin’s rule of violence the German historian Jörg Baberowski, e.g., recounts the methods employed by the NKVD executioners to kill their victims and he spends two sentences on the Gas van (with a reference to Colton). I got the impression that generally the interest primarily stems from the importance of the German gas vans and the perceived irony that the Soviets might have come up with a gas van first. In fact, Holocaust deniers relish this. But, and this is important in respect to the reputation Solzhenitsyn's 200 years enjoys among historians, I have not found a single reference to this book by a historian of Stalinist terror, yet. Third, there is more recent research. I found an essay in German by Nikita Petrov on the death penalty in the SU from 2006 that quotes KP and Lidija Golovkova: ‘’V Rodnom Kraju’’. In: Butovskij Poligon: 1937-1938., Vol. 8, Moscow, 2004, pp. 9-180, here 72-85. The evidence is from an investigation from 1956 whether Berg ought to be rehabilitated. The evidence is only testimony. Thus, I object to adding numerous (verbatim) citations which basically all tell the same story. While in historiography on the Great Purge you’ll find one or two sentences (even in Albats’ work), Wikipedia has begun to recount the same story three times now.--Assayer (talk) 00:01, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
That sounds reasonable. Yes, this is essentially the same story, and it received less coverage than Nazi vans. We could make a brief summary of the story, remove quotation of Solzhenitsyn and put quotation of Albats (which is not very long) to footnote. Done. As about citations, if you want to add or improve something, you are welcome. Anything else? My very best wishes (talk) 02:04, 13 June 2018 (UTC)
Assayer, under "urban legend" I meant not the very fact of gas van development and usage, but the mechanism that converts the information taken from a single printed source into something that is ostensibly known to many authors from different sources. In other words, "urban legend" refers not to the very fact, but to the phenomenon when the knowledge grows as an avalanche, despite the fact that there only information available to us was just a single source. Look, the article cited Solzhenitsyn, Albats, Merridale and others as if they discovered the gas van story independently, and each of them was telling about different aspects of this story. That is exactly how urban legends form. That means, the word "urban legend" is quite appropriate.
Nikita Pertov professionally studies Great Purge, and he probably had an independent access to the document Zhirnov saw in 1990. Alternatively, he just tells the same story he read in KP. Unfortunately, in his article in Novaya he does not disclose his sources, so we just can guess. I think, the current version is definitely an improvement, but I propose to clarify this story further: the first mention of GV was in the KP article, other sources just describe this story. Since this source is unavailable to me (I didn't find KP online archive), either Solzhenitsyn (who just re-tell this article) or Zhirnov himself (in Kommersant) can be used to describe what exactly the KP article was saying. Merrydale and others should be mentioned to demonstrate that this story is cited (not independently discovered) by English sources, and the opinion of Albats can be mentioned, since she made some generalisation. However, a reservation should be made that that was Alpats's opinion, not an independent discovery. I'll modify this text later when I will have time.
Thank you everybody. I enjoyed disputing with you.--02:53, 13 June 2018 (UTC)

Criticism[edit]

They are criticized in Santiago Alvarez' and Pierre Marais' book, 'The Gas Vans: A Critical Study'. The Gas Vans: A Critical Study, Washington, DC: The Barnes Review; 1st edition (1 Sept. 2011). ISBN-10: 1591481007. ISBN-13: 978-1591481003 Other sources: http://inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2012/volume_4/number_3/the_gas_vans.php and http://inconvenienthistory.com/archive/2013/volume_5/number_1/the_three_photographs_of_an_alleged_gas_van.php

Lute88, you undid my edit here: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gas_van&diff=656492727&oldid=656492153
Why? It is sourced. You have to have criticism.
Should be in the text, since not everyone swallows the gas van tale. --105.4.5.4 (talk) 14:34, 4 July 2018 (UTC)

Reversion[edit]

Poeticbent, please be more elucidative about your reversion's reason. Carlotm (talk) 22:16, 11 November 2015 (UTC)

  • Please don't take it personally. The changes were unwarranted. WP:CITEFOOT recommends to format repeat citations like this: <ref name="name"> so there was no viable reason to go over everything and change it. And also, redacting someone else's perfectly good edit can be perceived as patronizing sometimes. I hope you'll understand. Poeticbent talk
  • I agree with Poeticbent and the fact is the description changes to the photo in the article, Carlotm, were not needed. Kierzek (talk) 23:16, 11 November 2015 (UTC)
Poeticbent, your call on WP:CITEFOOT is totally out of place here since I changed only those ref names, and even not all of them, which were not repeated citations. As per the changes on someone else's perfectly good edit , as you wrote, I have some difficulties on understanding what you are referring to. I suppose not where I tried to avoid a clear repetition. In fact you partially retained that part. (Incidentally that is quite surprising. How can you revert a revision keeping in the same time some of it and changing some other parts?)
It cannot be that you liked the previous incorrect position of {{Wikisource}} and {{commons category}}, which you restored, by the way. So it must be about the caption underneath the picture which I wanted simply to reduce in length, so much so that I reduced also the font dimension. Anyway from a stylistic point of view, to start a sentence with a negation is not the maximum of the beauty.
Don't get me wrong; I don't pretend to be perfect, anybody may change my revision by editing. Nevertheless when a revision has some value in it, like mine, (and you should fairly admit it, having retained part of it) the reverting process should be banned; in fact it is banned. Carlotm (talk) 19:30, 12 November 2015 (UTC)

No evidence of gas vans used outside of the Soviet Union?[edit]

What's this, then? https://www.ns-archiv.de/einsatzgruppen/gaswagen/rauff/rauff-santiago.phpSkywatcher68 (talk) 16:33, 24 May 2018 (UTC)

Add'l sources[edit]

There's a section on the "Gas van" in The Holocaust: An Encyclopedia and Document Collection, 4 volumes. Not sure which volume.

There's also a brief mention in Westermann of the vans being used by the Order Police in Kharkiv, presumably in late 1941.

--K.e.coffman (talk) 23:28, 11 June 2018 (UTC)

"...who acted on the orders from the higher NKVD administration"[edit]

This statement is being added persistently, although it is ambiguous and unclear. If it means Berg was acting under general control of NKVD, that is trivial and obvious. If this statement means he created and used gas vans following the directives of his NKVD supervisors, that is incorrect, because he himself explained the decision to use gas vans by the need to accomplish the directive to kill a large number of people. If Berg got a directive to use gas vans, he would definitely said about that openly and clearly.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:30, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

This appears in the book by Solzhenitsyn ("I. D. Berg was ordered to carry out the decisions of the NKVD troika of Moscow Oblast"), and in the article from Kommersant [18] (that was already cited above, "Берг тогда являлся начальником оперативной группы по приведению в исполнение решений тройки УНКВД МО. ..."). This is actually based on his NKVD case, a primary source that author of the publication in Kommersant (not we) considers an important source. Quite possibly both Solzenitsyn, and author of the article in Kommersant, saw the same original NKVD case, but we do not really know and should not speculate. My very best wishes (talk) 15:41, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Nobody claims executions was Berg's own initiative. Obviously, he was doing that according to the order of his supervisors. The question was if the construction and usage of gas vans was the order of his supervisors. And the answer is "no", because otherwise Berg would refer to this order during interrogation. But he didn't, he explained he had to make and use gas vans, because othervise it would be impossible to perform a massive execution. That is the point.
And, please, stop referring to Solzhenitsyn as an independent source. The sources say: Berg was ordered to organise mass executuions, and he decided to make and use gas vans for that. The orders demanded executions, but there was no order to build and use gas vans.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:58, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
  • You tell: "Obviously, he was doing that according to the order of his supervisors." OK. Then why did you remove it [19] with edit summary: "It is not clear that usage of gas vans was authorised by Berg supervisors...". My very best wishes (talk) 16:10, 12 June 2018 (UTC)
Per WP:DUCK, if a person behaves as a troll, then it is reasonable to conclude they are a troll. Cherry-piking my own words during a discussion with me is not a sign of a good faith. I wrote "Nobody claims executions was Berg's own initiative. Obviously, he was doing that according to the order of his supervisors. The question was if the construction and usage of gas vans was the order of his supervisors." No sources exist that contain a claim that Berg got an order to construct and use gas vans. However, the statement made by Berg during interrogation demonstrate he was trying to provide some logical reason for using gas vans. If there was an order, he would simply say: "I was ordered to build and use gas vans". However, he does not say that. Therefore, my edit summary is quite correct.--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:49, 12 June 2018 (UTC)

Blanking of information reg. Isay Berg.[edit]

Several edits, specifically by IP 8.25.157.162 as well as user:Paul Siebert, have removed information reg. Isay Berg, claiming it is irrelevant. However, the same kind of information for other persons is readily available in different articles, and since Isay Berg does not seem to have his own Wikipedia page, there is little space elsewhere to put this information. Furthermore, "Berg" is not a typical Russian surname, and might confuse the reader. Should this information be included or excluded?

I have no idea what exactly do you mean under "other persons". Anyway, the information about ethnicity is relevant when the ethnicity has some relationship to the events discussed. In this particular case, I don't see why it is helpful, especially, taking into account that the official Soviet policy in 1920s-30s was internationalism, so one's ethnicity was absolutely unimportant.
With regard, to ""Berg" is not a typical Russian surname, and might confuse the reader." Not more that Zukerberg is "not a typical American name". Russia was a very polyethnic country, comparable to the modern US. Do we provide an information about ethnicity of every American to avoid ostensible "confusion"? --Paul Siebert (talk) 03:31, 15 May 2019 (UTC)

Political bias? POV?[edit]

The April and Semptember head sections of this article are different. The edit looks politically motivated. Comparsion: https://files.catbox.moe/b0c68b.png

The April version was good, there was no need to edit it this way. DerElektriker (talk) 15:49, 27 September 2019 (UTC)

IP edits like this went against consensus. --Assayer (talk) 23:38, 27 September 2019 (UTC)
In my opinion, this version is correct, and it should be restored for several reasons:
  • The first statement from the current version "A gas van or gas wagon (Russian: душегубка (dushegubka); " implies that that was the name given to the Soviet gas van. In reality, it is not, it is a colloquial name for German vans that were used by Germans in WWII.
  • During the long talk page discussion, we came to a conclusion that the whole story about Soviet gas vans was based on a single 1990 tabloid article, which discussed one case of gas van usage. A current version of the article creates a wrong impression that gas van usage was equally widespread in Germany and USSR.
  • During previous talk page discussion, we found no evidences confirming that the invention (as a single act) of a gas van took place in USSR, and Germans took this idea from them.
Taking into account all of that, it would be correct if the article focused on Nazi vans, and add, in a separate small section, some info about a Soviet case.
I am going to restore the NPOV and balanced version from the above permalink.--Paul Siebert (talk) 15:33, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

Soviet Union section[edit]

I restored an older version per sources. The direct quotation of Albats is important because she mentioned both Soviet and Nazi vans together, as a part of the same story, although I did not find any source to establish that Nazi actually "borrowed" the idea of the vans from the NKVD, beyond general knowledge about the Gestapo–NKVD conferences. My very best wishes (talk) 20:22, 28 September 2019 (UTC)

Just to get this straight: You restored a version that claims in the second sentence of the lead that the gas van was invented in the Soviet Union and features actually more words on the alleged single (!) "gas van" than about the Nazi method of extermination, although you did not find any source to establish that Nazi actually "borrowed" the idea of the vans from the NKVD? In my view that's a flagrant violation of both WP:V and WP:NPOV and given the lengthy discussions that we already had on this issue I will not repeat my arguments and evidence.--Assayer (talk) 01:02, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
I agree, it should not tell it was invented in the Soviet Union in the lead - that was your only objection if I understand correctly. Here is main problem with version you just restored. It incorrectly claims that the only one source (Komsomolskaya Pravda) documented the use of gas vanes by the NKVD. It tells: According to Komsomolskaya Pravda article, one case of gas van usage was documented in the 1930s, but makes a reference to several a lot more reliable sources, such as the book by Albats. Saying it was only one source is WP:OR. We have multiple (5 to 6) RS claiming this. Moreover, all sources tell these were multiple vans. "One case" is misleading. In addition, since there were disagreements, we must quote sources directly (that is what I did). In particular, the book by Albats tells "trucks" [plural!]. My very best wishes (talk) 01:42, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
Furthermore, about "invented". This source, for example, tells it was invented by the NKVD. We do not know if it was re-invented independently by Nazi or they simply borrowed this idea from NKVD. But this is a completely different question. My very best wishes (talk) 02:11, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
@Assayer: Do you have an access to Albatz's book? Does she use any other source besides 1990 Komsomolskaya Pravda article for gas vans? It is really interesting to verify the origin of this story. Personally, I am surprised that Solzhenitsyn, who made a tremendous work andn who collected tons of facts about Great Purge, was not aware of gas vans before 1990.--Paul Siebert (talk) 02:16, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
(a) Yes, Albatz mentioned this article in Komsomolskaya Pravda, but she did not say it was her only source about it. (b) Komsomolskaya Pravda is indeed a tabloid. That's why we need a reliable secondary source, the book by a recognized expert in this field, Albats. If she tells something, then this is her view published in an academic book, and this is something a lot more reliable than a publication in tabloid from WP:RS perspective. (c) "Solzhenitsyn ... was not aware of gas vans before 1990". Said who? What RS make such claim? (c) Paul, I suspect this is covered by your topic ban, because we just discussed a possible cooperation of NKVD and Nazi just before WWII in this thread. My very best wishes (talk) 02:29, 29 September 2019 (UTC)
It incorrectly claims that the only one source (Komsomolskaya Pravda) documented the use of gas vanes by the NKVD … but makes a reference to several a lot more reliable sources, such as the book by Albats.
• All the sources cited refer to the same case associated with the name of Isay Berg and, awaiting further evidence, it is a single case.
• Only one source is named (Komsomolskaya Pravda) for the simple reason that the other sources cited in the footnote mainly refer to the (Komsomolskaya Pravda) or secondary works citing the Komsomolskaya Pravda. The primary sources quoted by the Komsomolskaya Pravda have since been edited, namely testimony from an investigation from 1956 whether Berg ought to be rehabilitated. But it is still only one documented case.
• That various historians cite a certain source does not mean that all of a sudden, the number of sources increases. As a matter of fact, there is only one documented case.
& Yes, Albatz mentioned this article in Komsomolskaya Pravda, but she did not say it was her only source about it.
If the topic wasn’t so serious, I may have been inclined to laugh about the absurdity of this argument. Albats presents exactly one footnote (no. 47 on p. 101) for her claims and this footnote contains exactly one reference, namely Komsomolskaya Pravda, October 28, 1990. Any speculation about possible sources that Albats may have had, but somehow forgot to mention, is absurd and absolutely irrelevant for Wikipedia.
I may sum up some of my basic concerns from the previous discussion (June 2018, see above):
  1. Solzhenitsyn’s Two Hundred Years Together is considered unreliable and antisemitic by scholars.
  2. Albats’ book has received reviews which pointed out her cavalier attitude towards evidence and she herself admits to her emotional style. It is an opinionated source of questionable reliability.
  3. Several scholarly works (Merridale, Colton, and Gellately) confine themselves to a few sentences and speak of one Soviet gas van.
  4. The vast scholarly literature on gas vans focus upon Nazi gas vans and does not even mention any Soviet gas van.
  5. All evidence is from an investigation from 1956 whether Berg ought to be rehabilitated. The evidence is only testimony.
In spite of all this you construct a narrative that The gas vans were first used by the Soviet secret police in 1936 and that these vans, i.e. of the very same type, were then somehow used by Nazi Germany. It does not make much difference whether you call it “invention”, or simply suggest that the Soviets came up with it first. The narrative as a whole is untenable. You furthermore present a chapter claiming The first usage of gas vans was described in the Soviet Union in 1930s and so forth, including lengthy quotes by Albats and Solzhenitsyn (see above). That is not only grossly out of proportion, poorly sourced and drenched with editorial bias, thus given undue weight to a small aspect of the topic. It is also a misrepresentation of the scholarly literature, because none of the more reputable authors’ that you cite (Merridale, Colton) speaks of “the Soviet secret police”, but of a single incident (Merridale: “One policeman. Isai D. Berg, gassed some of his prisoners to death...") and no one associates the Soviet gas van with the gas vans used by the Nazis.
The only kind of writers besides Albats that I know of, who draw a direct line between Soviet gas vans and Nazi gas vans and who speak of gas vans as a Soviet “invention” are Holocaust deniers such as Udo Walendy, Friedrich P. Berg, Germar Rudolf and Santiago Alvarez. Whereas if you turn to one of the standard encyclopedias of the Holocaust like the one edited by Paul R. Bartrop (2017) you will find no mention of Soviet gas vans: ‘’Gas vans were used by the Nazis to murder Jews and other prisoners through asphyxiation by carbon monoxide. As such a gas van was equipped a mobile gas chamber.” (p. 234). That may illustrate how far you have moved the article away from commonly accepted mainstream scholarship.
The version that I restored was agreed upon in June 2018 after a discussion that I myself initiated, and this version has been relatively stable since then. I strongly objected and reverted your recent edits, thus, in line with WP:BRD, we are now discussing these issues. It is not up to you to restore your changes during the discussion and I would suggest that you revert yourself.--Assayer (talk) 02:58, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
You are missing my points.
  1. This is not a single source (Komsomolskaya Pravda) claiming that gas vans were first used/invented in the Soviet Union in 1930s (as old version misleadingly tells [20]), but five or six secondary RS, including three books by highly reputable authors saying this. Per WP:RS, we must use most reliable sources such as books by academic researchers. That is what I do. That does not prevent citation of the Komsomolskaya Pravda as well. To clarify it, I now provided direct attribution to several most reliable sources. They are not saying exactly the same.
  2. Saying that all these authors/RS, including Solzhenitsyn used only Komsomolskaya Pravda as a source of their information is WP:OR simply because these books/RS do not say it.
  3. Saying "single use" is misleading because all sources say about using van(s) systematically and over a period of time.
  4. "these vans, i.e. of the very same type, were then somehow used by Nazi Germany". Yes, this is a conjecture explicitly made in the book by Albats, by Solzenitsyn, and others."Yes, the very same machinery made notorious by the Nazis - yes, these trucks were originally a Soviet invention, in use years before the ovens of the Auschwitz were built" (Albats). Solzenitsyn is an expert/notable author on the subject of NKVD repressions.
  5. "The evidence is only testimony.". Which source(s) make such claim? I did not see it at all.
  6. A book about Holocaust does not mention Soviet gas vans. Yes, sure, because they were not a part of Holocaust. Only sources about NKVD/KGB tell about it.
  7. You more than welcome to significantly expand the part about Nazi Germany to improve the balance. I included direct citation of Albats and Solzenitsyn only because this became a matter of prolonged debate.
  8. If you think that current version misrepresents anything (old version clearly does, as I have explained a couple of times), you are welcome to fix it in the current version of the page. My very best wishes (talk) 21:06, 30 September 2019 (UTC)
ad 1.) There might be hundreds of reliable sources on a certain aspect. WP:RS still does not require that every single one of them is cited. The version which you label “misleading” does not state that Komsomolskaya Pravda is the only secondary source, in fact, several more sources are cited in the footnotes. Instead it makes prominent use of one source, namely Komsomolskaya Pravda and with good reason, because, in contrast to what you claimed on WP:AE, namely that Albats would NOT refer/cite to Komsomolskaya Pravda, it is indeed the (only) source cited by Albats and Solzhenitsyn.
ad 2.) If you insist to make a fool of yourself, you may proceed. The WP:ONUS to demonstrate, that Albats and Solzhenitsyn used other sources than Komsomolskaya Pravda, is on you. I’ll rather stick to what they wrote about their sources in their works.
ad 3.) On this talk page you have been constantly (see, e.g., 9 June 2018, 20:21) claiming that all sources, including Gellateley, Merridale and Colton, speak of vans (plural) although Gellateley, Merridale and Colton have been repeatedly quoted verbatim on this talk page and none of these sources speaks of more than one gas van (even Solzenitsyn doesn’t). Still you keep insisting that all sources say about using van(s) systematically and over a period of time.. One might dismiss it as a case of WP:HUH? and move on, but you even charged Paul Siebert with misrepresenting the sources.[21] So let’s once again take a look at Colton, p. 286 used as a source for the sentence: “A team of secret police officers was suffocating batches of prisoners with engine fumes in camouflaged cars while driving out to the mass graves at Butovo firing range, where the prisoners were subsequently buried.” Colton’s words are: “Isai D. Berg, a cutthroat section chief in the Moscow NKVD, ginned up a [!] gas chamber (dushegubka) on wheels, an [!] airtight lorry camouflaged as a [!] bread van that suffocated internees with engine fumes on the drive out to Butova.” (emphasis mine) In English “a bread van” is singular and means one. It is worth noting that an earlier version with the Colton reference [22] that you used on WP:AE correctly spoke of “a camouflaged bread van”, but you changed that.[23] That’s what I call a “misrepresentation”, to put it mildly.
ad 4.) Albats and Solzenitsyn are highly opinionated sources. To transpose their POV as fact into the lead of a Wikipedia article is an abuse of WP:NPOV. Solzenitsyn’s Archipel Gulag is an important work and he was a gifted novelist, but his 200 Years Together has been thrashed by historians. In fact, I find it unbearable to use Solzenitsyn’s 200 Years Together, in which he highlighted that Berg was Jewish and “created the infamous “gas wagon” which later brought so much affliction on the Jews themselves”.
ad 5.) It has already been discussed. Evgeny Zhirnov, who wrote the article in the Komsomolskaya Pravda back in 1990, reported that he had been shown the files on Berg’s case. In 2004 these files, i.e. the evidence, was presented in L. Golovkova (ed.) et al., Butovskij Poligon: 1937-1938. V Rodnom Kraju; Dokumenty, Svidetel'stva, Sud'by, Vol. 8, Moscow, 2004, pp. 72ff. It would be worth while to discuss the historicity of the Soviet Gas vans based upon the available primary sources, e.g. whether Berg’s confessions, which he withdrew during his trial, were coerced through torture. But that would be OR.
ad 6.) That the Soviet gas van was not a part of Holocaust, is what I am arguing here. By admitting that my argument is valid you directly contradict the claims that you emphasized sub your No. 4.
ad 7.) I included direct citation of Albats and Solzenitsyn only because this became a matter of prolonged debate. equally contradicts your claims sub No. 4. Besides, the debate became prolonged, because you insisted (e.g. as early as 1 September 2013, 14:28) and still insist on keeping these quotes in the article.
ad 8.) Yes, I will proceed to fix the misrepresentations by reverting to an older version, removing references to Soviet gas vans from the lead as they were not a part of Holocaust, and expanding the history of the gas vans.--Assayer (talk) 14:53, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I think that was clear enough.
  1. You say:"The version which you label “misleading” does not state that Komsomolskaya Pravda is the only secondary source". No, it does [24]. It tells: "According to Komsomolskaya Pravda article, one case of gas van usage was documented in the 1930s in the Soviet Union. According to this publication,... ". This is clearly misleading: this is not according only to an article in Komsomolskaya Pravda, and what does it mean: "a single case"? One truck? One trip? None of the sources which describe this in more detail (Albats, Solzhenitsyn, Petrov and Golovkova - see below) uses wording like " one case", "one truck", "one trip", etc. To the contrary, all of them tell about multiple trucks (plural) used over a period of time.
  2. Speaking about WP:ONUS, there was a long-term consensus to include these materials and all these sources about Soviet vans. I am only refining what these sources actually tell. We have no obligation to investigate why any notable historians, experts or scholars (Albats, Solzhenitsyn, Petrov, Gellateley, Merridale and Colton) came to their conclusions. We do not know it. Speculating about it here is WP:OR. That is what you do. We only cite or summarize exactly what multiple RS tell on the subject. My very best wishes (talk) 15:14, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Ad 1.) I cannot help you with your inferences. The qualifier only has never been in the text and if the text were intended to suggest that it was only according to one source, it does not make much sense to provide further sources in the footnote, does it? Paul Siebert has explained what he meant with “single case”, namely usage of gas vans (or a gas van, it is unclear how many vans were used) by Berg's team for Butovo executions. You may quibble about the wording, but you are not warranted to insist that “all sources” speak of multiple gas vans, when they clearly don’t.
Ad 2.) The inclusion of these materials has been challenged time and again for years. I followed WP:CCC more than a year ago, whereas you keep repeating the same argument over and over again and insist on assigning undue importance to a single aspect of the history of gas vans. Historiography is no mumbo jumbo, but depends upon verifiability. Historians’ conclusions are verified by the sources that they cite, not by the sources that they do not cite. We only cite or summarize exactly … – yes, but you don’t. (see my previous contribution ad 3.) --Assayer (talk) 16:00, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Right now, this is NOT old version. I made an effort to fix everything per your suggestions, including expanding the part about Nazi Germany. If you want to work collaboratively by fixing something in the current version and respect WP:NOR and other policies, you are very welcome. I am not even sure what we disagree about. Could you please write down what is exactly the issue we disagree about (as if you would asked at an WP:RfC). Then perhaps it will appear that I agree with you. You tell: The inclusion of these materials has been challenged time and again for years.. No, as matter of fact, they remained on the page during several last years, including the year when I did not edit this page. My very best wishes (talk) 16:19, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
If you just want to restore 2 phrases: ""According to Komsomolskaya Pravda article, one case of gas van usage was documented in the 1930s in the Soviet Union. According to this publication,...", then I would suggest you to post an RfC, and your suggestion will be defeated as an obvious example of WP:OR. My very best wishes (talk) 16:46, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
If you still do not know where we disagree, then it is a more serious case of WP:HUH? than I thought. Please reread the preceding discussion. If you deny that the materials have been challenged, please reread the talk page as a whole and remind yourself of your edits such as this[25] If you think that these materials have remained on this page even during the last year, please check the version history. In June 2018, e.g., you yourself abtained from quoting Solzenitsyn "per talk"[26] In June 2018 we found a new consensus. On 28 September 2019 you made a WP:BOLD edit, which is fine, but was challenged and reverted by me almost instantly, so according to WP:CYCLE we are now discussing your contribution. Still you insisted on your contribution, which is not fine. Expanding the part about Nazi Germany by copying poorly sourced information from another article is not helpful but conflicts with WP:CWW. Therefore I will proceed to fix the issues myself. --Assayer (talk) 22:58, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
During this discussion you did not propose anything like "here is my suggested version:"..."" beyond telling that you want to revert to old version which clearly contains WP:OR, as I explained. Imagine that you would post an RfC about a disgreement. What would you suggest? My very best wishes (talk) 23:10, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I would suggest that you just let me work on the article, instead of frantically editing both article and talk page.--Assayer (talk) 00:54, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
You are welcome, but please fix current version of the page, instead of making a blind revert to a version of the page that clearly includes WP:OR. My very best wishes (talk) 01:37, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I too have concerns about these edits [27] & [28] as the previous version of the article had been achieved through extended discussion. K.e.coffman (talk) 01:42, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I have fully explained everything in the thread just above and in another below. Old version for the Soviet Union (one that is currently reverted back to by Assayer) contains obvious WP:OR - as I explained above. Also note that Assayer excluded Soviet vans from the lead, although they are described on the page. Please make any changes you like and tell me here when you are done. Then I will take a look and either will try to fix something or will post an RfC about it. Another option would be to make a post on Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard. My very best wishes (talk) 02:21, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
You couldn't wait the round about 90 minutes I needed to work on the article, although I used an in use-template? Yes, I insist that Soviet vans are not mentioned in the lead, because given the importance of gas vans in the Holocaust it would be misleading to mention them. I took your concerns into account and rewrote the section on Soviet vans. I consider the book by Vatlin to be the best source available in English on Berg's bio. Vatlin does not mention the use of gas vans. Berg was chief of the NKVD office in Vereia district (p. 12), before he started his career in Moscow in the summer of 1937. That makes it unlikely that he devised gas vans as early as 1936. Anyway, the footnotes should be more transparent and more easier to follow on now.--Assayer (talk) 02:50, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
In principle, I do not mind to any significant rewrites. However, what is happening with your current version? You excluded at will a number of WP:RS and claims made by these RS - just because you do not like them. Doing so is explicitly against WP:NPOV, "which means representing fairly, proportionately, and, as far as possible, without editorial bias, all of the significant views that have been published by reliable sources on a topic". Moreover, "That makes it unlikely that he devised gas vans as early as 1936." is your WP:OR. My very best wishes (talk) 02:57, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Didn't you recently agree on WP:AE that the book by Solzenitsyn currently cited on the page is unfortunate choice? Still you keep reinserting it over and over again.The faults of Albats' book have been discussed several times. Rereading the discussion you will find that this is not about what I like. NPOV is exactly my concern. Not all sources extant need to be cited, let alone quoted. The key word is "significant". Even all verifiable information need not be included in an article. Once again, the WP:ONUS is on you to seek consensus. Finally, WP:OR does not apply on the talk page. In fact, it is indispensible to compare sources to assess their reliability. For example, when a newspaper or even a tabloid makes a claim, but this claim is implicitly contradicted by evidence to be found in a scholarly work, the reliability of the claim is called into question.--Assayer (talk) 03:39, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I explained what is problem with your current version. Did you finish creating your preferred version of the page? Please tell me when you do. My very best wishes (talk) 04:22, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

I have restored the reliably sourced section on the Soviet Union, and also add mention of it in the lede. Please achieve concensus here first before removing them, I have read the arguments by Assayer and am not convinced by them. —Nug (talk) 07:24, 2 October 2019 (UTC)

@Nug Did you notice, that you restored newly added material - in the words of Mvbw: Right now, this is NOT old version - that has been challenged on the talk page and should not be restored according to WP:BRD? I don't see a modified solution that reflects the key aspects of my remarks. Since you appear not to be convinced by my arguments, how do you suggest that we deal with the multiple RS, that state that the first Gas vans were invented, constructed and used by Nazi Germany in 1940? How did you determine that these sources are somehow inferior to those claiming that the first Gas van was used by the Soviets? --Assayer (talk) 12:22, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I don’t think anyone is claiming who invented gas vans first, nobody is saying the Nazis invented Concentration camps, the British used them during the Boer War. I don’t see why it is a problem for you that the Soviets used them before the Nazis used them. —Nug (talk) 12:31, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
As I already responded, sources on the Holocaust do not mention Soviet gas vans simply because Soviet gas vans were not a part of the Holocaust. That means nothing. If however, any of them explicitly tells there was NO Soviet gas vans, that of course could/should be cited, but I did not see such sources so far. On other hand, there are multiple RS all telling that Soviet gas vans did exist. Hence this should be regarded as either a "strong majority view" or simply a matter of fact. Obviously, that was not patented as an invention. My very best wishes (talk) 14:23, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
The argument about WP:BRD is irrelevant because Assayer himself created a new and completely different version of the text, which I consider as a slight improvement over the old version (old version included obvious WP:OR). Nevertheless, as I said, new version by Assayer is an obvious violation of WP:NPOV. Therefore, yes, I strongly agree with your restoration of "my" version which is WP:NPOV compliant. This is still a "wrong version" of course, and anyone is welcome to improve it further. My very best wishes (talk) 15:24, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
@Nug: I don’t think anyone is claiming who invented gas vans first, – well, My very best Wishes did, reinforcing his claim by arguing this is a conjecture explicitly made in the book by Albats, by Solzenitsyn, and others Your hint nobody is saying the Nazis invented Concentration camps, the British used them during the Boer War is a good hint, because this is a claim already made by Hitler himself saying: “Concentration camps were not invented in Germany”, but copied from the English and it has been reiterated by Nazi propaganda. Nikolaus Wachsmann notes that such attempts to relativize the SS camps had little success, before he discusses the “grain of truth in the crude Nazi propaganda”. He discusses further foreign relatives of the SS camps including the Gulag, characterizing the claim that the Nazis seized the idea for concentration camps from the Soviets as “misleading”. (KL, 2015, pp. 6-8) That also encapsulates my concern with the notion that the Soviets used them before the Nazis used them. It is misleading and I might point out that you provided sources[29] which do not support that claim (Merridale, Colton).
@My very best wishes: Soviet gas vans were not a part of the Holocaust. That means nothing. That means a lot, particularly since you insist on opinionated sources like Albats. It seems as if you consider the findings of the extensive literature on the use of gas vans to be meaningless, although they contradict claims that you insist on. Why should any historian explicitly tells there was NO Soviet gas vans when they have never heard of Soviet gas vans, let alone examined the evidence? There is a bunch of prominent reliable sources stating that Gas vans were devised, even “invented” by the KTI in Nazi Germany. Shall we now have a lead stating that the gas vans were first built by Nazi Germany in 1939/40 and first used by the Soviet secret police in 1936? When reputable sources contradict one another, WP:NPOV advises: An article should not give undue weight to minor aspects of its subject, but should strive to treat each aspect with a weight proportional to its treatment in the body of reliable, published material on the subject. In the body and scope of the literature on gas vans the sources discussing "Soviet gas vans" are few and the information is meagre, even marginal. Thus treating them as of equal validity creates a false balance Even the historiography of the Great Purge in the Soviet Union passes over the story of the gas van completely or relegates it to one or two sentences (Colton; Merridale). Quite many of your sources are newspaper articles and thus not the best sources. That is the opposite of a "strong majority view".--Assayer (talk) 16:14, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
  • This is very simple. If RS A,B,C,D tell something about subject X (Soviet gas vans, whatever), we can cite what they say about subject X. If they do not say anything about subject X, we do not cite them. In your version you selectively and arbitrary excluded what a number of RS do tell about this subject. There is nothing "marginal" in academic books and books by a Nobel prize winner. This is an obvious WP:NPOV violation. Speaking about your policy link, this is the case when all multiple RS which tells something on subject X do NOT really contradict each other. Yes, sure, "...proportional to its treatment in the body of reliable, published material on the subject". Key words: "on the subject" (of Soviet gas vans).My very best wishes (talk) 16:36, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
I fully agree with MVBW’s policy based arguments. The title of the topic is “Gas vans”, so there isn’t any inherent restriction that the article can only focus on German gas vans. Here is a scholarly source that mentions Soviet gas here. —Nug (talk) 23:59, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, this is yet another scholarly source telling the same. This is interesting because it tells about use of Soviet gas vans in connection to the Polish Operation of the NKVD in 1937-1938 and makes a reference to another books with relation to Soviet gas vans, T. Kizny, Wielki terror 1937–1938, p. 177, 238. [30]. My very best wishes (talk) 00:20, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
You are both dodging my question. The article is certainly not restricted to Soviet gas vans. Thus we have to take into account the whole body of sources and what they say about the history of gas vans to figure out, what "in proportion" means for the artice. There is no need to repeat my assessment of the scholarly literature here. If a book has been poorly reviewed and the reception has been overwhelmingly negative, though, it does not matter whether it is somehow "academic" or written by a Nobel prize winner. Its acceptance is still marginal. Mvbw insists that we can cite any RS and what they say about the subject. Now a large body of scholarly literature states, that gas vans were first built by Nazi Germany in 1939/40, whereas you made Wikipedia claim, that "the gas vans were first used by the Soviet secret police in 1936." How would you like to balance these contradictory claims? I personally would not delve into the question who built the first gas vans and thus omitted this aspect in the lead, but you both do. --Assayer (talk) 03:09, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • There are no contradictory claims. Some RS tell gas vans were used by Nazi Germany since 1939. Others tell they were also used in the Soviet Union since 1936. There is no any contradiction. My very best wishes (talk) 03:27, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
I see no contradiction either, it is often the case that certain technologies can be independently invented in different countries. —Nug (talk) 03:56, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
I beg your pardon, but "gas vans were first used by the Soviet secret police", "The first usage of gas vans was described in the Soviet Union in 1930s", and "yes, these trucks were originally a Soviet invention" [emphasis added] are but three claims which contradict information provided by numerous RS on gas vans (see above) and were introduced into the article and staunchly defended by no one other than you.--Assayer (talk) 04:12, 3 October 2019 (UTC) I do not know of a RS which claims that gas vans were "independently invented" in the SU and Nazi Germany, nor does Wikipedia make that claim. After all that would appear to be a case of WP:SYNTH anyway.--Assayer (talk) 04:32, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Do we really need a reliable source to tell us the year 1936 came before the year 1939? I thought that was self evident. —Nug (talk) 05:19, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Most of the RS on gas vans say that gas vans were first used in 1939. So you argue these RS are mistaken?--Assayer (talk) 11:52, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Which sources tell that gas vans were never used in other countries prior to using them by Nazi in 1939? Can you please directly quote here what they say? My very best wishes (talk) 14:08, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
That's not what this is about. I am not making a negative claim, whereas yours is an argument from ignorance, which illegitimately shifts the burden of proof. --Assayer (talk) 14:24, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • The burden is yours. You say there are RS whose claims explicitly contradict claims by sources currently cited in the section about Soviet gas vans. Which sources are you talking about, and what exactly did they say? My very best wishes (talk) 14:29, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Assayer, I first flew an aeroplane in 2010, that does not mean I was the first person to fly an aeroplane in history. The sources say the Nazis first used gas vans in 1939, that does not mean they were the first in history, just that they started using them in 1939. —Nug (talk) 15:28, 3 October 2019 (UTC)

Multiple sources say that the Nazis were the first (in history) who used gas vans in 1939, e.g., that the gas van is a product of the Third Reich, whose origin is traced back to 1939. (Patrick Montague, Chelmno and the Holocaust, 2012, p. 199). I have already demonstrated the verifiability of this positive claim back in June 2018.[31] For the contradictions see[32] --Assayer (talk) 15:43, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, there are several direct citations in your first diff, however they simply tell about first cases of gas vans usage in Nazi Germany. No one disputes it. But they do not say anything which explicitly contradicts claims by other sources in the Soviet Union section, including the citation from the book by Albats. Moreover, your first citation tells: We do not know the inventor [in Germany!]. The only alleged inventor noted in RS seems to be the NKVD officer Berg. Of course if there are any other alleged inventors (for example, in Germany), they must be include it in the page, unless they are included already. My very best wishes (talk) 16:16, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
How come that "a product of the Third Reich", devised (and thereby "invented" most ikely by the KTI) in 1939, was first used in the Soviet Union in 1936? Please explain. Moreover, as Michael Alberti writes, referring to two gassings of about 50 people each: Most likely the Nazis committed in October in Fort VII the first mass murder by poison gas in the history of mankind. ("Sehr wahrscheinlich verübten die Nationalsozialisten im Oktober 1939 im Fort VII den ersten mit Giftgas ausgeführten Massenmord in der Geschichte der Menschheit." Die Verfolgung und Vernichtung der Juden im Reichsgau Wartheland 1939-1945, 2006, p. 327) That does not sit well with Albats' claims, does it?--Assayer (talk) 18:42, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
No, you are mistaken. According to direct quotation in your diff, "The gas van is a peculiar product of the Third Reich...". Yes, it certainly is. No one used these trucks before on a such large scale. It also tells: "For this purpose [killing patients in numerous Wartheland hospitals in 1940], a kind of mobile gas chamber had been invented. We do not know the inventor, but the KTI was probably involved." That rises more questions than answers. Who was the actual inventor? Arthur Nebe? Sources do not say it. Or maybe that was Berg? Nothing here really contradicts other sources. My very best wishes (talk) 19:02, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Contradicts or not, but this is really simple. Albats and Solzhenitsyn claimed something. OK, we cite their claims. Another RS tells something (e.g. "The gas van is a peculiar product of the Third Reich..." and "For this purpose [killing patients in numerous Wartheland hospitals in 1940], a kind of mobile gas chamber had been invented. We do not know the inventor, but the KTI was probably involved."). OK, we cite them too. This is WP:NPOV. My very best wishes (talk) 19:10, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
Most likely the Nazis committed in October in Fort VII the first mass murder by poison gas in the history of mankind. It tells "most likely" and the statement is obviously incorrect: the poison gas was widely used during WWI, it was also used against civilian population by Red Army during the Tambov Rebellion, etc. My very best wishes (talk) 19:22, 3 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I've read the arguments in this discussion and I find Assayer's reasoning to be compelling. I see the issues of WP:FALSEBALANCE. K.e.coffman (talk) 00:16, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
What kind of argument is that? If you want to improve something, please take part in discussion and fix current version, instead of just making blind reverts. My very best wishes (talk) 00:31, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
  • MVBW, please don't accuse editors of "drive by reverts", as you did here: [33]. This was not a drive-by revert, as I've followed the discussion and commented on it. --K.e.coffman (talk) 00:35, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Simply saying "False balance" is not an adequate explanation. The problem with version you reverted to is an obvious WP:NPOV violation, as described above. This is pretty straightforward: Assauer just excluded at will several well sourced claims by academic books, by a Nobel prize winner and other RS in this section. If this version persists, I will start an additional thread about it and then either post an RfC or ask for an additional input at WP:NPOVNB. My very best wishes (talk) 00:45, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
  • well sourced is highly debatable as explained at length above. --K.e.coffman (talk) 00:49, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
@KEC, please stop your edit warring while there is ongoing discussion on the talk page, it is disruptive to building concensus. —Nug (talk) 00:59, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
You are mis-applying WP:FALSEBALANCE, these are not contradictory viewpoints of the same events, but separate events placed in chronological order, and certainly the section on Nazi gas vans is longer in any case. —Nug (talk) 01:11, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
I agree with this. (a) Removing a lot of sourced text from Soviet Union section by Assayer, together with sources, has nothing to do with restoring the "balance". Quite the opposite. (b) These separate events should simply go in chronological order. (c) Both sections must appear in the lead per WP:MOS. Otherwise, the version by Assayer is clearly out of balance. (d) One could significantly expand the section about Nazi Germany, this should be easy for Assayer who seems to be more familiar with Germany subjects. But instead of expanding Germany section, he removes claims and strong sources he does not like from Soviet section. This is not the way to improve pages. My very best wishes (talk) 01:22, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, there is absolutely no justification for removing reliably sourced text, along with references, and changing the chronology. This article is not called Nazi gas vans. Assayer and KEC should just drop the stick and move on rather than continue to waste everybody’s time here. —Nug (talk) 01:48, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Arbitrary break[edit]

  1. For clarification: When Alberti wrote about the “first mass murder by poison gas in the history of mankind”, he clearly referred to gas chambers, not chemical weapons.
  2. As has been frequently documented on this talk page, the claim The gas vans were first used by the Soviet secret police in 1936, is not supported by the sources given. Neither Merridale nor Colton mention a year, neither Merridale nor Colton claim that the Soviets used gas vans first. The article in Kommersant was written by Evgeny Zhirnov who also wrote the article in Komsomolskaya pravda back in 1990. He neither claims that gas vans were first used by the Soviets, nor that this started in 1936. He wrongfully says that Berg was arrested in 1937, but that’s about it. The claim that the Soviets were the first to come up with gas vans is made by Albats and Solzhenitsyn, both of which are cited in the article, but not for these claims. I argued why Albats and Solzhenitsyn should not be used for this article and I find it disturbing how RS have repeatedly been misrepresented to maintain certain contentious claims.
  3. That said, I may emphasize, that I did not simply “remove” sourced text from Soviet Union section, but rewrote it to fix the problems with sources. [34] But instead of expanding Germany section, he removes claims and strong sources he does not like from Soviet section. That's not how I proceeded editing. I did significantly expand the section on Germany, see [35]. I'll suggest that My very best wishes withdraw their misleading comment.
  4. This is about undue weight and false balance, and I think the discussion has come full circle, so that I turned to Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/Noticeboard#Gas van.
  5. I do think, however, that Nug have a point when they observe these are not contradictory viewpoints of the same events, but separate events. Nevertheless, the current version integrates both "events" into one narrative precisely by placing them in a chronological order thereby suggesting connection, influence and development. This is based on some casual remarks by Albats and Solzenitsyn's infamous, antisemitically tainted argument in 200 Years Together. Since we all agree that the use of gas vans in Nazi Germany was unprecedent and thus way more significant, which is also reflected in a far larger body of scholarship, it is not feasible, in fact misleading, to point to Soviet gas vans in the lead. Instead of assuming some ill-conceived chronology, both cases should be treated in relation to their historical significance.--Assayer (talk) 16:04, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
  • You posted a question on NPOVNB. This is not an RfC, but something similar. I assume that certain rules, commonly used for the RfC will be applicable here. Here they are: we should keep current version of the page in the part where the disagreement had happen (existing at the moment of submitting the post) and wait for comments by other contributors for a couple of weeks (the time frame of RfC is actually longer). Then, depending on the comments by others, something can be fixed. My very best wishes (talk) 17:03, 4 October 2019 (UTC)
And no, everything currently in the Soviet Union section is supported by RS. Perhaps some of the claims need to be expanded or rephrased, but this is a different matter, and I am open for any specific suggestions what to do without simply eliminating all sources you do not like. My very best wishes (talk) 17:17, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Preliminary conclusions from NPOVNB discussion[edit]

Based on the current state of discussion, here is my summary:

  1. There was little input from uninvolved contributors. One of them said "It's hard to tell what the exact issues are here". Indeed, the suggested alternative version of the section about Soviet Union [36] tells essentially the same as current version. The current version just provides more details and uses a lot more RS.
  2. There is a consensus that section about Nazi Germany should be improved and expanded to clarify the differences and similarities between Soviet and Nazi gas vans. My very best wishes (talk) 21:08, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

An eyewitness account[edit]

More source digging. This article (Александр ЛИПКОВ, "Я к вам травою прорасту…", Роман свидетельств, Опубликовано в журнале Континент, номер 123, 2005). This is Kontinent, interview with Lidia Golovkova (she was mentioned above on this page). She tells: " бывший комендант московского управления [of NKVD] ...рассказал следующее: через лес шли машины, груженные людьми, до 50 человек набивали в кузов. Эти машины москвичи давно уже называли «душегубками»....Поворачивалась выхлопная труба внутрь фургона, и люди приезжали такие уже полусознательные. Автобусы с полуживыми людьми подъезжали со стороны леса..." and so on. Google translation (fixed): "“the former commandant of the Moscow administration [of NKVD] ... told the following: up to 50 people were loaded into trucks moving through the forest. Muscovites have long called these cars “soul killers”.... The exhaust pipe was directed into the van, and the people were half-conscious already when the truck arrived [to the firing range]. The trucks with half-dead people moved from the side of the forest ... " I do not mind this be included. My very best wishes (talk) 01:23, 1 October 2019 (UTC)

From the same source (Golovkova abour Berg): "В 1953 году его семья подала на реабилитацию. Дело пересматривалось, и только потому возникли разговоры о душегубках. Были вызваны в качестве свидетелей несколько исполнителей, которые тогда все были живы. Двое из них на допросах сказали, что душегубки были, а двое это категорически отрицали. Был сделан вывод, что это не доказано, но все-таки его не реабилитировали.". Also can be included, but perhaps these are excessive details for this page. My very best wishes (talk) 01:40, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Based on this, Glovkova is "a principal compiler of the Butovo memorial books". She is an expert, qualify as RS. My very best wishes (talk) 01:50, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
  • Assayer. So, here you suggested to include claims by Golovkova. I completely agree. However, we could not use her post on website martyr.ru, which would be a self-published and possibly a primary source. Instead, I found a secondary RS, an article by someone else in the Kontinent that cites Golovkova. That can and apparently must be included per WP:NPOV. Now, you mentioned another source, ‘’V Rodnom Kraju’’. In: Butovskij Poligon: 1937-1938., Vol. 8, Moscow, 2004, pp. 9-180, here 72-85. I do not have it. If you can cite what it tells exactly, we can certainly use it too. My very best wishes (talk) 14:46, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Good, that you reread the previous discussions. I did not suggest to include claims by Golovka, however, because it is mainly an edition of the investigative file on Berg and thus a primary source. More recent secondary sources rather use this edition than Komsomolskaya Pravda. So you now took notice, that the investigation of 1956 remained inconclusive concerning the existence of gas vans, because there was conflicting testimony.--Assayer (talk) 15:21, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
I thought you did suggest it, or at least regarded Golovkova as a reliable expert on this subject. However, the publication in Kontinent by Aleksander Lipkov is a reliable secondary RS. Yes, it does mentioned the investigative file on Berg, which would be a primary source by itself. Therefore, I am going to cite the article by Lipkov, not the investigative file. Needless to say, the eyewitness account (as cited above) and the investigative file are two different issues, as described in the article. The eyewitness account does not come from the investigative report or the publication in Komsomolskaya Pravda. This is an independent corroboration documented by Golovkova. My very best wishes (talk) 15:34, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
How do you know that the "eyewitness report" is not testimony from the investigation? The publication by Lipkov that you refer to, is actually a transcript of interviews conducted for a documentary. Since for obvious reasons Golovkova herself is not the eyewitness, an interview with her is not as reliable as her publication. In the interview Golovkova is anything but specific about the origins of that "report". The information given remind me, however, of testimony given during the investigation of 1956.--Assayer (talk) 16:17, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, Golovkova is not an eyewitness, but a researcher who interviewed an eyewitness, and her findings have been reliably reported in a secondary RS. There is no any problem here. How do I know this is not testimony from the investigation? Because the sources tells so: Михаил Кириллин: Подробности всего, что здесь происходило, мы восстановили по беседе с одним человеком. Других оставшихся в живых, кто непосредственно работал бы в зоне, не осталось. И его уже теперь нет. Это бывший комендант московского управления, который рассказал все подробности… Лидия Головкова: Он рассказал следующее:...". So, it appears that the interview was conducted independently by the former FSB officer Mikhail Kirillin (Кириллин Михаил Евгеньевич, полковник запаса ФСБ, в конце 80-х — начале 90-х гг. сотрудник Группы по реабилитации) and Golovkova, so this is even more reliable. And no, if you read the source, Mikhail Kirillin is very specific and provides brief biography of this eyewitness. My very best wishes (talk) 16:57, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
If you are interviewed, the interview itself is not a secondary source, but still an interview. If you interview two people together, that does not double the reliability of the information. If Kirillin provides a brief biography of the eyewitness, what's the eyewitness's name? When was he born? Is he already dead? When was the interview conducted? Am I mistaken, that Golovkova speaks of vans with exhaust pipe turned inside the van, in which people were not gassed to death but arrived at Butovo half-dead?--Assayer (talk) 21:04, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
According, to the claim, the people were gassed, but some of them still remain alive (unconscious) after the trip. That depends on the amount of the carbon monoxide (that was not Zyklon B!) and ventilation, see Carbon monoxide poisoning. The interview itself (a record or transcript of an interview) is a primary source, but the article in Kontinent by Lipkov (used on the page) is a secondary source. But here is something else in this source (translation):
"According to a testimony by a driver of such truck, this [gassing] was necessary to exclude the possibility of a riot in the car. Naturally, the people who swallowed the carbon monoxide have been suppressed, and many of them already accepted the death as a deliverance from the torture. (said Alexander Mikhailov, Major-General of the FSB Reserve)
But wait a minute, is it this Alexander Mikhailov, Major-General of the FSB Reserve: [37],[38],[39]? Yes, he is. This is yet another important info/testimony to be included to the page. As about the first witness (he was not a driver, but a "commandant" of Moscow department [of NKVD]), Kirillin tells: "Тот человек, от которого мы узнали многие подробности, комендант московского управления, тоже ведь с уникальной, в общем-то, судьбой. Он сам должен был оказаться в числе расстрелянных. В конце 1938 года его арестовали, возбудили уголовное дело. Но ему, если можно так сказать, повезло: в это время уже надо было проводить массовые операции в Прибалтике, и его как специалиста отпустили из тюрьмы, послали в Прибалтику, и там он занимался массовой депортацией людей. А потом благополучно пережил 1953 год, тогда был уволен из органов, и дожил вплоть до настоящего времени.". My very best wishes (talk) 22:10, 1 October 2019 (UTC)
According to which claim? Лидия Головкова: Поворачивалась выхлопная труба внутрь фургона, и люди приезжали такие уже полусознательные. Автобусы с полуживыми людьми подъезжали со стороны леса. Там была устроена вышка с прожектором над деревьями, территория была окружена колючей проволокой, и стоял длиннейший деревянный барак, куда всех заводили якобы для санобработк. That claim indicates, that exhaust fumes were used to somehow sedate the victims before they were shot. That notion is supported by the statement of the driver, that "the gassing was necessary to exclude the possibility of a riot in the car". In other words, this evidence contradicts the claims that the van was designed as a gas (death) chamber to kill people. Furthermore, do you understand that "the article in Kontinent by Lipkov" in fact mainly consists of transcripts of interviews conducted for a documentary film from 2005? Which would make it a primary source according to your own reasoning. The subtitle of the "article" is Роман свидетельств. Is the translation "novel of evidence" correct? Doesn't the word "novel" raise any doubts about its reliability? Finally, what was that eyewitnesses name (former Commandant of NKVD) again?--Assayer (talk) 00:52, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
The article in Kontinent is clearly a secondary RS, and it tells what it tells, as directly cited above. No, no one tells in source that the gas vans were used to sedate people. Saying that would be an WP:OR. One needs to quote these sources directly since there is a disagreement what exactly they say. My very best wishes (talk) 01:36, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Do you deny that "the article in Kontinent" consist mainly of transcripts of interviews conducted for a documentary film from 2005? Yes, using eyewitness accounts leads to WP:OR. Therefore I would not use such accounts unless these accounts were carefully analyzed by secondary literature. Then it might be possible to use such accounts for illustrative purposes. "The article in Kontinent" clearly does neither analyze nor contextualize these accounts, because it consists not only of transcripts of interviews, but arranges these interviews in a certain way, too. If there is a disagreement what exactly they say, that might be, because these sources are contradictory and thus unreliable by Wikipedia standards. That the eyewitness remains anonymous and that we basically do not know anything about the circumstances of the interview, does not enhance reliabilty, either. Maybe you should take that issue to WP:RSN.--Assayer (talk) 03:09, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
Even if you consider this publication "primary" (no, it is not), we should simply follow the policy which tells: primary sources that have been reputably published may be used in Wikipedia, but only with care... A primary source may be used on Wikipedia only to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source ... For example, an article about a novel may cite passages to describe the plot, but any interpretation needs a secondary source. In other words, we can make direct citations from a primary source. That's fine. Let's do it. My very best wishes (talk) 03:24, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
You consider an "eyewitness account" related through an interview with the interviewer [!] who won't even reveal the name of the eyewitness, let alone the circumstances of the interview, a primary source with which to make straightforward, descriptive statements of facts that can be verified by any educated person with access to the primary source but without further, specialized knowledge? Seriously? I don't. "Let's do it, because we can do it", is not the policy.--Assayer (talk) 03:47, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
No, this is a typical secondary source, an article by Lipkov. He simply makes a lot of direct citations from various interviews and discussions, he cites Ivan Bunin, etc. My very best wishes (talk) 15:39, 2 October 2019 (UTC)
It also say (according to Golobkova): In 1953, the family of Berg filed for rehabilitation. Then his case was reviewed, and the gas van story came to light. Several executioners, who were then all alive, were called and interviewed. Two of them admitted that gas vans were used, but two others denied it. My very best wishes (talk) 20:03, 4 October 2019 (UTC)

Preliminary conclusions from RSNB discussion[edit]

Based on the current state of discussion [40], I would say that

  1. The discussion went astray to debating other sources and the subject in general. However, there were helpful comments from uninvolved contributors, including one admin [41].
  2. There is a consensus that the source can be used on the page with explicit attribution to Golovkova. My very best wishes (talk) 21:16, 9 October 2019 (UTC)

"Gas Van" use within the USSR[edit]

I've read good portions of the Lipkov interviews [42] (in translation), and text from Merridale's "Night of Stone" [43] and Colton's "Moscow: Governing the Socialist Metropolis" [44]. Based on these sources, it does seem that something like "gas vans," qualitatively and quantitatively different from those used by the Nazis, were used by the NKVD during the Great Purges. Specifically, it seems that NKVD officer Isai D. Berg testified, when he was arrested in 1937, to having used these rigged vans to execute prisoners in Moscow (Merridale and Colton). In interviews, a number of people recount that according to one eyewitness, trucks rigged in a similar fashion would bring as many as 50 people at a time to an execution site outside Moscow. This typically did not kill them, but most were shot to death at the site not long after (Lipkov).

My impression is that this is an important detail in a larger and horrific story of the purges. While it can receive some mention in this article, that mention should be brief in comparison with the attention given to Nazi use, given the larger industrial killing by gas vans under Nazi rule. I'm unsure how to evaluate the accuracy of the Hałaburda article [45] (citing T. Kizny, Wielki terror 1937–1938, p. 177, 238), and the Albats and Fitzpatrick book [46] (based on a citation to Komsomolskaya pravda, October 28, 1990), since one cites a Polish book and the other a Russian article written 29 years ago.

Altogether Gellately's summary [47] seems accurate: "The Soviets sometimes used a gas van (dushegubka), as in Moscow during the 1930s, but how extensive that was needs further investigation. They used crematoriums to dispose of thousands of bodies, but had no gas chambers." @My very best wishes, Assayer, K.e.coffman, Nug, and Nick-D:. -Darouet (talk) 19:55, 16 October 2019 (UTC)

Please, look at the talk page discussion of that story. Almost all sources cited by you (including, Merridale, Colton and Albatz) are based exclusively on the single Komsomolskaya provda article that tells about a discovery of the Berg interrogation protocol. Meanwhile, your edit created an absolutley false impression that they tell different stories. Again, that was a single story, which was reproduced by several secondary sources. With regard to Halaburda, he just briefly mentions a story described in T. Kizny, Wielki terror 1937–1938, p. 177, 238. I have no access to that Polish source, but it would be good to cite Kizny, not Halaburda. In addition, it makes sense to check if Kizny is not reproducing the same KP article.
The reason why I am objecting to your edits is quite simple: by citing many sources, each of which just reproduces a single tabloid story, we create a sensationalistic content that undermines credibility of Wikipedia. I don't mind to include all these sources, but we need to explain that all of them are based on a single story, which is based on a single document.
In addition, the memoirs collected in the Lipkov's book allow us to conclude that (i) Berg's interrogation protocol in not more trustworthy than other protocols of that time, so it should not be trusted.
(ii) Looks like Berg's "invention" was not a gas van at all: it's goal was to make the victims semi-conscious, to suppress their ability to resist. Two arguments support this version. First, one testimoty directly tells about that, second, another testimony says that all victims were subjected to a procedure of identification before execution (in Butovo), and sometimes, very rarely, they were released. That would be impossible, had the gas van been the killing machine. All of that does not mean that was less brutal, maybe, it was even more brutal. However, all of that is just a story about a single event, and it is based on very shaky evidences.
As I already say, that undermines a credibility of Wikipedia in general, so I suggest to return to the version where the root of this story (a discovery of the interrogation protocol in 1990) is explained.--Paul Siebert (talk) 21:02, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • @Darouet. I mostly agree and think your edits were reasonable. Perhaps only lead needs to be a little rephrased. Also, a few details are missing, but they can be easily included. @Paul. No, there is no reason to conclude that the cited sources were based only on the publication in Komsomolskaya pravda. This can not be said even about the book by Solzhenitsyn (here is your direct quotation, and it tells "journalists", i.e. plural). This is your WP:OR, sorry.My very best wishes (talk) 21:31, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
  • I approve of Darouet's edits as a positive step forward, he clearly isn't pushing any agenda and his edits are neutral with appropriate attribution. The sources were deemed to be okay at RSN. I also agree with Darouet that the Nazi van section should be expanded given the larger scale use, Assayer said he was going to do that. --Nug (talk) 21:37, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
It looks like you prefer to ignore the results of RSN/NPOVN discussions. With regard to alleged "agenda" in Darouet's edits, isn't it a Freudian slip? Who speaks about any "agenda" here? Except you, it seems nobody even mentions the word "agenda". This user has joined this discussion just recently, and they seem sincerely not understand that the "independent" sources are actually telling the same story. If you really want Wikipedia to be not just a generator of various conspiracy theories, but a trustworthy informational resource, it makes sense to try to think logically: if different authors are telling different aspects of the same story (or they are telling about different stories), then it is possible to identify their sources of information. If under "journalists" Solzhenitsyn means "several journalists", then it is possible to find articles other than the KP article. In reality, even if one newspaper article appears that describes some event X, it is normal to say in Russian: "newspaperS write ....". Therefore, unless you are pushing specific agenda (I assume you are not), it makes sense to discuss how can we avoid sensationalism and creation of a misleading impressions of existence of a large number of independent sources writing about this single event.--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:54, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Yes, the "story" (i.e. use of the gas vans on the way to the Butovo firing range supervised by Berg) is probably the same. But the RS are multiple and they tell about slightly different aspects of the story. And BTW, here is yet another book saying that Soviet and Nazi gas vans were the same. Why "journalists" (plural)? I do not know, but there was yet another publication (ВОПРОС — ОТВЕТ // Аргументы и Факты № 17 28/04/1993, cited on ruwiki link, page ru:Берг, Исай Давидович). My very best wishes (talk) 23:08, 16 October 2019 (UTC)
Everyone then agrees that a number of sources are referencing a Komsomolskaya pravda article, and that the Lipkov piece is not based on that article, but on interviews with three people?
But, you may disagree about the veracity of the Komsomolskaya pravda article? And Paul you would argue that the prisoner executions described in that article are referring to the same historical events as the prisoner transports in the Lipkov piece?
Sorry, I'm just trying to understand what people are arguing.
Do we have access to the text of the Komsomolskaya pravda article? Or do we have a detailed reference, so that I can get it from a library?
I won't have time to look into this right away, but with a reference I can put in a library request. -Darouet (talk) 14:04, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict)@Darouet: you are asking absolutely correct questions. The answers are as follows. First, it seems even Solzhenitsyn didn't know anything about Soviet gas vans before the KP publication. Second, an overwhelming majority of sources (Albatz, Merridale, Solzhenitsyn, etc) cite the KP article directly, and it seems each of them either tell different aspects of the same story described in the 1990 article, or they make some generalizations (which are not based on any sources). Third, there are few other sources that do not cite the KP article, but they are either authored by the same author (Zhirnov), or they do not disclose their sources, so it is reasonable to conclude they also are based on the KP article (I think the Polish book uses it too). Fourth, it seems Lipkov's book is the most comprehensive collection of primary sources about that story, and some of them (probably, just Berg's dossier) was available to the KP article's author. We can draw several interesting conclusions from Lipkov's book, but the problem is that we cannot do that, because that would be original research (Lipkov is not a secondary source, but a collection of primary sources).
Therefore, the only correct way to present all information should be: in 1990, one Soviet tabloid published an article about the usage of gas van during the Great Purge. This article was cited by X, Y, Z. According to these authors (here a full Berg's story should be explained). That would be a non-sensationalist and neutral way to present the story.--Paul Siebert (talk) 14:27, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
(a) No, actually NONE of these sources quotes the article in Komsomolskaya pravda directly ("..."). Three of them make a reference to this article, but we do not know what other sources or general knowledge of the subject these authors could use. We are not in the business of deciding why authors came to their conclusions, we just tell what RS tell. (b) The article by Lipkov is a non-fiction documentary organized as a collage of interviews. This is very similar in style to the literary work by Svetalna Aleksievich. Such work does qualify as secondary. Otherwise, she would not receive the Nobel Prize for it. My very best wishes (talk) 15:08, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Whatever has been published in Komsomolskaya pravda is irrelevant if we do not use it for sourcing on this page. I think we should not use it here, and I do not think anyone has access to it. We have lot of other significantly more reliable sources. My very best wishes (talk) 14:18, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
Can either of you get me a reference for the Komsomolskaya pravda article? I've seen Wikipedians track down sources through historical literature plenty of times, and I'd just like to know what's in that article. -Darouet (talk) 15:54, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
It was cited as "Е. Жирнов. «Процедура казни носила омерзительный характер» // Комсомольская правда, 1990, 28 октября, c.2" in the book by Solzhenitsyn. The text is not available anywhere online. My very best wishes (talk) 16:16, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
@Darouet: I myself was trying to find this article in KP archives, but I couldn't. A more recent article by the same author was published in Kommersant, and it seems it tells pretty much the same.
I doubt it could contain any other significant information, because Lipkov's collection of primary sources looks comprehensive, and Zhirnov was dealing with just a subset of those sources: thus, Lipkov's collection contains some details that are not mentioned by Zhirnov, Albatz, Solzhenitsyn, Merridale, etc., which means they were discovered after the KP publication. In contrast, none of these authors mentions any fact or a detail that is not found in Lipkov's collection. This collection is a really valuable source of materials, the only problem is that all of them are just testimonies, and Lipkov is not a historian, and he even is not pretending to be a historian, so he provides no his own analysis of those facts.
From the Kommersant article, I conclude the only document his KP article was based upon was the Berg's dossier:
"В 1990 году мне показали следственное дело арестованного в 1937 году начальника административно-хозяйственного отдела УНКВД Московской области Исая Берга, в котором говорилось:
"Берг тогда являлся начальником оперативной группы по приведению в исполнение решений тройки УНКВД МО. С его участием были созданы автомашины, так называемые душегубки. В этих автомашинах перевозили арестованных, приговоренных к расстрелу, и по пути следования к месту исполнения приговоров они отравлялись газом. Берг признавал, что он организовывал приведение в исполнение приговоров с применением автомашины (душегубки), объясняя это тем, что он выполнял указание руководства УНКВД МО и что без них невозможно было бы исполнить столь большое количество расстрелов, к которым арестованных приговаривали три тройки одновременно. Из рассказов на допросах Берга и из разговоров, которые ходили среди сотрудников УНКВД МО, было известно, что процедура приведения приговоров, организованная Бергом, носила омерзительный характер: приговоренных к расстрелу арестованных раздевали догола, связывали, затыкали рот и бросали в машину. Имущество арестованных под руководством Берга расхищалось".
Google translates it as:
"In 1990, they showed me an investigation file of Isay Berg, the head of the administrative and economic department of the NKVD of the Moscow region, arrested in 1937, which said:...."
Taking into account that the KP article was written in 1990, it is reasonable to conclude that in his Kommersant article Zhirnov tells about the very same file.
That does not contradict to what Solzhenitsyn says. Other authors just mention that story briefly, or they try to make some generalizations. They never mention any primary sources, so it is correct to conclude the only source all this literature is based upon is the Zhirnov's article published in KP in 1990.
--Paul Siebert (talk) 16:25, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
  • In other words, Paul did not find the actual source/article, but believes (why?) that it tells the same as a newer publication by the same author on a similar subject. This is WP:OR, but again, we simply do not need this article in Komsomolskaya pravda for anything. My very best wishes (talk) 16:53, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

───────────────────────── @Darouet:, there is an independent scholarly source that mentions Soviet gas vans here. --Nug (talk) 21:04, 17 October 2019 (UTC)

Alas, you seem not to have read the above talk page discussion. This source has been already discussed, and it is not an independent source. It sites Kizny's book Wielki terror ("The Great terror"), and I have a feeling that Kizny cites the same KP article. It would be interesting to see this book. Maybe, your Polish friends can help us with that?--Paul Siebert (talk) 22:52, 17 October 2019 (UTC)
There is more. One can follow links here to find other sources on this subject (the post itself is hardly an RS, but it provides photo of the infamous Berg). My very best wishes (talk) 21:12, 18 October 2019 (UTC)
That one can probably be used as a source. Author published a few books on Russian history.My very best wishes (talk) 21:53, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

Looks like I'll be able to get access to the Komsomolskaya pravda article. -Darouet (talk) 16:52, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Oh, I see Paul that you're quoting from it directly above, my apologies. -Darouet (talk) 16:58, 19 October 2019 (UTC)

Memoirs by Petro Grigorenko[edit]

So, here is his famous book, "In the underground one can meet only rats", and it tells [48] on page 403 a story told to him by former prisoner Василь Иванович Тесля: — А вы знаете, Петр Григорьевич... душегубки изобрели у нас... для так называемых кулаков... для крестьян. Через некоторое время подошел «черный ворон». Дверь в здании открылась, и охрана погнала людей бегом в открытые двери автомашины. Я насчитал 27 человек — потом забыл считать, хотел понять что за люди и зачем их набивают в «воронок», стоя, вплотную друг к другу. Наконец закрыли двери, прижимая их плечами, и машина отъехала. Я хотел отойти, но позвавший меня зэк сказал: «Подожди. Они скоро вернуться». И действительно вернулись они очень быстро. Когда двери открыли, оттуда повалил черный дым и посыпались трупы людей. Тех, что не вывалились, охрана повытаскивала крючьями... Затем все трупы спустили в подвальный люк, который я до того не заметил. Почти в течение недели наблюдали мы такую картину. Корпус тот назывался «кулацким». Да и по одежде видно было, что это крестьяне.

That was a prison in the city of Omsk. Needs to be included. This shows Soviet gas vans were used not only in Butovo. My very best wishes (talk) 21:26, 18 October 2019 (UTC)

Memoirs by ru:Шрейдер, Михаил Павлович[edit]

Appears here (another publication by the same Zhirnov in Kommersnt):

"Через два или три часа я узнал от одного из сотрудников, сопровождавших эту группу осужденных на расстрел, что приговор уже приведен в исполнение. Причем он рассказывал, что, когда закрытая автомашина прибыла к месту расстрела, всех осужденных вытаскивали из машин чуть ли не в бессознательном состоянии. По дороге они были одурманены и почти отравлены выхлопными газами, специально отведенными по спецпроводу в закрытый кузов грузовика."

This is from this book, full text online.

The author is well known [49].

This is in the city of Ivanovo, once again, not only Butovo. Must be included to the page. My very best wishes (talk) 21:40, 18 October 2019 (UTC)