Holocaust Denial: From East to West
The effort to deny the basic facts of the Holocaust has its roots not in the Middle East but
in Europe and the United States, and it stretches back, if not to the Nazis themselves, then to the years immediately following World War II. Early forms of Holocaust denial took shape in the late 1940s in the writings of Maurice Bardeche, a French fascist; American historian Harry Elmer Barnes, and a French concentration camp survivor, Paul Rassinier. Their ideas over time helped inspire a sizeable literature and a small industry that persist on the fringes of Western culture, especially among neo-Nazis, conspiracy theorists and extreme anti-Semites. The deniers' central idea -- that Nazis never attempted to annihilate European Jewry -- often takes the form of elaborate, pseudo-scholarly arguments, all founded, ultimately, on notions of a vast international Jewish conspiracy, on belief in a universal Jewish hatred of non-Jews, and on Jewish "rapaciousness."
To make their claims credible, Holocaust deniers are forced to reject enormous volumes of historical evidence from World War II. Records from the period, including thousands of pages of evidence used immediately after the war in the Nuremberg trials, are dismissed as forged by a secret committee; survivors are rejected as greedy charlatans; American GI's who saw the death apparatus in the camps are told that they were duped by the American military itself, which was also complicit in the conspiracy. As for a motive (for why would Jews claim that millions of their brethren were killed in WWII?): deniers claim that the Jews wanted to defraud the West of billions of dollars in reparations and other payments; to "purchase" world support for the creation of the state of Israel; to demoralize "Aryans" and the West so that the Jews could more easily take over the world.