Holocaust denial, which its propagandists misrepresent as "historical revisionism," has become one of the most important vehicles for contemporary anti-Semitism. It is the invention of a collection of long-time anti-Semites and apologists for Hitler.
During the fall semester of 1997, Bradley Smith, "director" of the self-styled "Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust," (CODOH) launched a new salvo in his continuing propaganda campaign to deny the reality of the Holocaust. He is attempting to place an ad in college newspapers around the country that promises $50,000 to anyone "convincing a national television network to air" a ninety minute video that attempts to show the universally accepted account of Nazi genocide is false. The ad is clearly a ploy. Smith must know his money is safe because no TV network would broadcast such a video.
So why does he go to the trouble? The answer can be found at the bottom of the ad. "If you are interested in earning $50,000 . . . you will find the details of this offer on the World Wide Web" at the CODOH web site. It's the old bait and switch. Smith, who has announced that he is "taking my show to the Internet" is trying to entice college students and others to his web site where he peddles his barely disguised anti-Semitism.
For a long time Bradley Smith has tried to present himself as an honest chap, a champion of intellectual freedom simply seeking an "open debate"about the "holocaust controversy [sic]." But this debate is a sham. The so-called holocaust controversy does not exist. It is the invention of a collection of long-time anti-Semites and apologists for Hitler.
Holocaust denial, which deniers such as Smith describe as Holocaust "revisionism," has become one of the most important vehicles for contemporary anti-Semitism.
The denier strategy is simple and familiar. They distort, even fabricate, history and then broadcast their creations. They have learned from Hitler that "a lie is believed because of the insolent inflexibility with which it is propagated." Smith and his cohorts are engaged in what historian Deborah Lipstadt has termed an "assault on truth and memory."
Denial as Anti-Semitism
Holocaust denial, which coyly refers to itself as Holocaust revisionism, has emerged after over two decades of propagandizing as an important "cutting edge" ideological cement of the diverse hate movement in the 1990s. While appearing on the surface as a rather arcane pseudo-scholarly challenge to the well-established record of Nazi genocide during the Second World War, Holocaust denial serves as a powerful conspiracy theory uniting otherwise disparate fringe groups (e.g., Liberty Lobby, various Klan factions, neo-Nazis, the Aryan Nations and other Identity groups, racist skinheads, etc.).
On the surface, Holocaust deniers portray themselves as individuals and groups engaged in a legitimate, dispassionate quest for historical knowledge and "truth."
Dressing themselves in pseudo-academic garb, they have adopted the term "revisionism" in order to mask and legitimate their enterprise. After all, the ongoing challenge to and revision of previously accepted historical interpretation is one of the hallmarks of the professional historian's craft.
These so-called revisionists have appropriated the name of the post-World War I historical revisionists of the 1920s and 1930s who challenged successfully the previously dominant view of exclusive German guilt for causing the Great War. They assert that the accepted premise that Nazi Germany engaged in a premeditated campaign of systematic genocide against the Jews of Europe during the period of the Second World War is one that does not stand honest scholarly scrutiny.
They do not deny that Hitler's government engaged in persecution of and discrimination against Jews in Germany and German controlled countries. They even admit the existence of concentration camps. They assert, however, that the anti-Semitic actions of the Nazi government were in large part a legitimate response to Jewish misdeeds and disloyalty during wartime. As such, the measures taken and the use of concentration camps was not qualitatively different from similar wartime and post-war actions of the western allies and the Soviet Union. Only Germany is singled out for special condemnation, they argue, because it lost the war. What they deny is the existence of any German plan or program to subject the Jews of Europe to genocide.
Holocaust deniers seek to plant seeds of questioning and doubt about the Holocaust in their mass audiences. While Holocaust denial has become an article of faith among the militants and followers of the contemporary hate movement, its success does not depend upon conversion to that faith among the general public. The spread of skepticism about the scope and historicity of the Holocaust among a critical mass of public opinion would be considered to be a significant ideological triumph in and of itself.
Holocaust denial has been widely embraced within the otherwise disparate contemporary hate movement because it serves as an ideological cement that meets a very contemporary political need. In particular, it provides a sanitized envelope for latter-day would-be Hitlers by seeking to show that the heinous crimes ascribed to the original never took place. As such, much of the barrier preventing politicians and movements of the ultra right from making a strategic breakthrough by appealing to a more mainstream audience would be removed. Accordingly, Holocaust denial provides contemporary legitimation through posthumous rehabilitation. It is no accident that David Duke is an avid propagator of Holocaust denial ideology and materials. William Pierce and other neo-Nazis who once embraced the reality of the Holocaust as the essence of the National Socialist mission (only bemoaning the fact that it did not fully succeed in eliminating Jews from the face of the earth) now find it politically expedient to promote Holocaust denial.
The core message of the Holocaust deniers is even more insidious. They recognize the fact that most people believe that the Holocaust actually occurred. How can it be, they ask, that the great majority have come to accept as truth an historical assertion which is in actuality a gigantic falsehood?
They answer that most people have come to accept uncritically the story of the Holocaust because they have been systematically propagandized with deliberate lies for over fifty years. These lies include materials inserted into the educational curriculum at all levels of instruction; the content of Holocaust-related dramatic and documentary theatrical film and television programming; a vast Holocaust literature; public rituals of Holocaust remembrance; and, most of all, a federally supported museum built in the shadow of the Washington Monument in the nation's capital. They picture a vast shadowy conspiracy that controls and manipulates the institutions of education, culture, the media and government in order to disseminate a pernicious mythology.
The purpose of this Holocaust mythology, they assert, is the inculcation of a sense of guilt in the white,Western Christian world. Those who can make others feel guilty have power over them and can make them do their bidding. This power is used to advance an international Jewish agenda centered in the Zionist enterprise of the State of Israel.
Deniers argue that the manufactured guilt and shame over a mythological Holocaust led to Western, specifically United States, support for the establishment and sustenance of the Israeli state — a sustenance that costs the American taxpayer over three billion dollars per year. They assert that American taxpayers have been and continue to be swindled as well as misled and imagine that by showing the American and other Western peoples how and why they have been victimized can the power of this conspiracy be broken. Once they have been shown the "truth," that there was never any legitimate basis for their feeling of guilt, deniers postulate that these good people will rise up in righteous anger and treat the Holocaust myth conspirators in an appropriate manner.
Holocaust denial is a contemporary form of the classic anti-Semitic doctrine of the evil, manipulative and threatening world Jewish conspiracy. It was this doctrine that was instrumental in laying the groundwork for the Holocaust. What is on the surface a denial of the reality of genocide is, at its core, an appeal to genocidal hatred.
Origins of Denial
The roots of Holocaust denial can be found in the bureaucratic language of Nazi policy itself, which sought to camouflage the genocidal intent of what the Nazis called the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," even as these directives were being carried out. After the war, former Nazis and Nazi sympathizers dismissed the overwhelming proof of the Holocaust established at the Nuremberg war crimes trials; similarly, an obscure group of post-War French Trotskyists and anarchists led by Paul Rassinier (since deceased), seeking to advance their own political agenda, denounced evidence of the genocide as "Stalinist atrocity propaganda."
However, as an organized propaganda movement, Holocaust "revisionism" took root in 1979 when Willis Carto, founder of Liberty Lobby -- the largest anti-Jewish propaganda organization in the United States -- incorporated the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).
The IHR is a pseudo-academic enterprise in which professors with no credentials in history (for example, the late Revilo P. Oliver was a retired University of Illinois Classics teacher; Robert Faurisson earned a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Lyon; Arthur Butz is an engineer at Northwestern University), writers without formal academic certification (such as David Irving, Henri Roques and Bradley Smith) and career anti-Semites (such as Mark Weber, Ernst Zündel and the late David McCalden) convene to develop new outlets for their anti-Jewish , anti-Israel and, for some, pro-Nazi beliefs.
Since 1993, Willis Carto has broken with the IHR in a very public, litigious feud. He has devoted considerable funds and rhetorical vehemence to discrediting his former employees, and has also established a rival "revisionist" journal, The Barnes Review. At issue in the feud, primarily, is not the history of the Holocaust -- which both sides of the dispute argue never really happened -- but rather Carto's reportedly dictatorial management style, and the control of a multimillion-dollar bequest to the parent corporation of the IHR. Although the dispute remains in litigation, as of this writing a Superior Court Judge in California has awarded $6.4 million to the IHR in their civil suit against Carto. The Judge, in his ruling for the Institute, characterized Carto as "evasive and argumentative" and added that his testimony in large part "made no sense.... By the end of the trial, I was of the opinion that Mr. Carto lacked candor, lacked memory and lacked the ability to be forthright about what he did honestly remember." Ironically, this description could accurately characterize the entire propaganda movement which Carto founded.
Exposing Denier Themes
The following are summaries of five (5) major claims frequently made by Holocaust-denial propagandists. Click on each to read a brief factual response. The footnoted sources are listed at the bottom of the page.
1.The Holocaust Did Not Occur Because There Is No Single "Master Plan" for Jewish Annihilation
There is no single Nazi document that expressly enumerates a "master plan" for the annihilation of European Jewry. Holocaust-denial propagandists misrepresent this fact as an exposure of the Holocaust "hoax"; in doing so, they reveal a fundamentally misleading approach to the history of the era. That there was no single document does not mean there was no plan. The "Final Solution" — the Nazis' comprehensive plan to murder all European Jews — was, as the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust observes, "the culmination of a long evolution of Nazi Jewish policy." 1 The destruction process was shaped gradually: it was borne of many thousands of directives.2
The development and implementation of this process was overseen and directed by the highest tier of Nazi leadership, including Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, Adolf Eichmann, Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler himself. For the previous two decades, Hitler had relentlessly pondered Jewish annihilation.3 In a September 16, 1919, letter he wrote that while "the Jewish problem" demanded an "anti-Semitism of reason" -- comprising systematic legal and political sanctions -- "the final goal, however, must steadfastly remain the removal of the Jews altogether."4
Throughout the 1920s, Hitler maintained that "the Jewish question" was the "pivotal question" for his Party and would be solved "with well-known German thoroughness to the final consequence."5 With his assumption to power in 1933, Hitler's racial notions were implemented by measures that increasingly excluded Jews from German society.
On January 30, 1939, Hitler warned that if Jewish financiers and Bolsheviks initiated war, "The result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."6 On, September 21, 1939, after the Germans invaded Poland, SD chief Heydrich ordered the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units operating in German-occupied territory) to forcibly concentrate Polish Jews into ghettos, alluding to an unspecified "final aim." 7
In the summer of 1941, with preparations underway for invading Russia, large-scale mass murder initiatives -- already practiced domestically upon the mentally ill and deformed -- were broadly enacted against Jews. Heydrich, acting on Hitler's orders, directed the Einsatzgruppen to implement the "special tasks" of annihilation in the Soviet Union of Jews and Soviet commissars.8 On July 31, Heydrich received orders from Goering to prepare plans "for the implementation of the aspired final solution of the Jewish question" in all German-occupied areas.9 Eichmann, while awaiting trial in Israel in 1960, related that Heydrich had told him in August 1941 that "the Führer has ordered the physical extermination of the Jews."10 Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz, wrote in 1946 that "In the summer of 1941... Himmler said to me, 'The Führer has ordered the Final Solution to the Jewish Question... I have chosen the Auschwitz camp for this purpose.' "11
On January 20, 1942, Heydrich convened the Wannsee Conference to discuss and coordinate implementation of the Final Solution. Eichmann later testified at his trial:
These gentlemen... were discussing the subject quite bluntly, quite differently from the language that I had to use later in the record. During the conversation they minced no words about it at all... they spoke about methods of killing, about liquidation, about extermination.12Ten days after the conference, while delivering a speech at the Sports Palace in Berlin that was recorded by the Allied monitoring service, Hitler declared: "The result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews. . . the hour will come when the most evil universal enemy of all time will be finished, at least or a thousand years."13 On February 24, 1943, he stated: "This struggle will not end with the annihilation of Aryan mankind, but with the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe.14
Approximately 6 million Jews were killed in the course of Hitler's Final Solution.
2. There Were No Gas Chambers Used for Mass Murder at Auschwitz and Other Camps
Death camp gas chambers
were the primary means of execution used against the Jews during
the Holocaust. The Nazis issued a directive implementing large-scale
gas chambers in the fall of 1941 but, by then, procedures facilitating
mass murder, including the utilization of smaller gas chambers,
were already in practice. Before their use in death camps, gas chambers
were central to Hitler's "eugenics" program. Between January 1940
and August 1941, 70,273 Germans -- most of them physically handicapped
or mentally ill -- were gassed, 20-30 at a time, in hermetically
shut chambers disguised as shower rooms.15
Mobile gassing vans, using the exhaust fumes of diesel engines to kill passengers, were used to kill Jews at Chelmno and Treblinka -- as well as other sites, not all of them concentration camps -- starting in November 1941.18 At least 320,000 Chelmno prisoners, most of them Jews, were killed by this method; a total of 870,000 Jews were murdered at Treblinka using gas vans and diesel-powered gas chambers.19
Gas chambers were installed and operated at Belzec, Lublin, Sobibor, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau from September 3, 1941, when the first experimental gassing of a group of Soviet prisoners-of-war took place at Auschwitz, until November 1944.20 Working with chambers measuring an average 225 square feet, the Nazis forced to their deaths 700 to 800 men, women and children at a time.21 Two-thirds of this program was completed in 1943-44, and at its height it accounted for as many as 20,000 victims per day.22 Authorities have estimated that these gas chambers accounted for the deaths of approximately 2½ to 3 million Jews.
In fact, Western scholars have never supported the figure of 4 million deaths at Auschwitz; the basis of this Soviet estimate — an analysis of the capacity of crematoria at Auschwitz and Birkenau — has long been discredited. As early as 1952, Gerald Reitlinger, a British historian, had convincingly challenged this method of calculation. Using statistics compiled in registers for Himmler, he asserted that approximately 1 million people had died at Auschwitz; Raul Hilberg in 1961, and Yehuda Bauer In 1989, confirmed Reitlinger's estimate of Auschwitz victims. Each of these scholars, nonetheless, has recognized that nearly 6 million Jews were killed overall during the Holocaust.23 Polish authorities were therefore responding to long-accepted Western scholarship, further confirmed subsequently by documents released in post-Soviet Russia; the cynical allegations of "Holocaust revisionism" played no part in their decision.
3. Holocaust Scholars Rely on the Testimony of Survivors Because There Is No Objective Documentation Proving the Nazi Genocide.
Another frequent claim of Holocaust "revisionists" concerns what they describe as the lack of objective documentation proving the facts of the Holocaust, and the reliance by scholars on biased and poorly recollected testimonies of survivors. However, the Germans themselves left no shortage of documentation and testimony to these events, and no serious scholar has relied solely on survivor testimony as the conclusive word on Holocaust history. Lucy Dawidowicz, in the preface to her authoritative work, The War Against the Jews 1933-1945, wrote,
"The German documents captured by the Allied armies at the war's end have provided an incomparable historical record, which, with regard to volume and accessibility, has been unique in the annals of scholarship.... The National Archives and the American Historical Association jointly have published 67 volumes of Guides to German Records Microfilmed at Alexandria, VA. For my work I have limited myself mainly to published German documents."24The author then proceeds to list 303 published sources — excluding periodicals — documenting the conclusions of her research. Among these sources are the writings of recognizable Nazi policy makers such as Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hoess and Alfred Rosenberg.
Similarly, Raul Hilberg in his three-volume edition of The Destruction of the European Jews, wrote, "Between 1933 and 1945 the public offices and corporate entities of Nazi Germany generated a large volume of correspondence. Some of these documents were destroyed in Allied bombings, and many more were systematically burned in the course of retreats or in anticipation of surrender. Nevertheless, the accumulated paper work of the German bureaucracy was vast enough to survive in significant quantities, and even sensitive folders remained.25
It is thus largely from these primary sources that the history of the Holocaust has been compiled. A new factor in this process is the sudden availability of countless records from the former Soviet Union, many of which had been overlooked or suppressed since their capture at war's end by the Red Army. Needless to say, the modification of specific details in this history is certain to continue for a number of years to come, considering the vastness and complexity of the events which comprise the Holocaust. However, it is equally certain that these modifications will only confirm the Holocaust's enormity, rather than -- as the "revisionists" would -- call it into question.
4. There Was No Net Loss of Jewish Lives Between 1941 and 1945
Another frequent "revisionist" assertion calls into question the generally accepted estimates of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In attempting to portray the deaths of millions of Jews as an exaggeration or a fabrication, Holocaust deniers wildly manipulate reference works, almanac statistics, geopolitical data, bedrock historical facts and other sources of information and reportage.
For example, "revisionists" commonly cite various almanac or atlas figures -- typically compiled before comprehensive accounts on the Holocaust were available -- that appear to indicate that the worldwide Jewish population before and after World War II remained essentially stable, thereby "proving" that 6 million Jews could not have died during this period.
The widely cited "6 million" figure is derived from the initial 1945 Nuremberg trial estimate of 5.7 million deaths; subsequent censuses, statistical analyses, and other demographic studies of European Jewry have consistently demonstrated the essential accuracy of this first tally.26 After nearly 50 years of study, historians agree that approximately 6 million Jews perished during the course of the Nazi genocide.27
In The War Against the
Jews, Lucy Dawidowicz offers a country-by-country accounting
of Jewish deaths.
5. The Nuremberg Trials Were a "Farce of Justice" Staged for the Benefit of the Jews
Yet another centerpiece of "revisionist" propaganda attacks the objectivity and legal validity of the postwar Nuremberg Trials, where much information about the Holocaust first became public, and where the general history of the genocide was first established.
The actual process of bringing
Nazi war criminals to justice was a lengthy and complicated effort
involving the differing legal traditions and political agendas of
the United States, England, France and the Soviet Union. As the
historical record shows, the allied victors, if anything, erred
on the side of leniency toward the accused Nazis.
By early autumn, the Allies had resolved their debates over whom to prosecute and how to define the crimes committed during the Holocaust; the first trials began thereafter in Nuremberg, before an international military tribunal. The chief defendant was Hermann Goering, but the prosecution also selected 20 other leading officials from the Nazi party, German government ministries, central bureaucracy, armament and labor specialists, the military and territorial chiefs.31
These trials did not result in either "rubber stamp" guilty verdicts or identical sentences. In fact, of the 21 defendants, three were set free; one received a 10-year sentence; one a 15-year sentence; two, 20-year sentences; three, life sentences, and 11 received the death penalty.32
The defendants, moreover, had access to 206 attorneys, 136 of whom had been Nazi party members.33 Furthermore, as Raul Hilberg stated, "The judges in Nuremberg were established American lawyers. They had not come to exonerate or convict. They were impressed with their task, and they approached it with much experience in the law and Little anticipation of the facts."34
A second round of trials resulted in 25 death sentences, 20 life sentences, 97 sentences of 25 years or less, and 35 not-guilty verdicts.35 By 1951, following the recommendations of an American-run clemency board, 77 the 142 convicted criminals had been released from prison.36
Who Are the Deniers?
Officially the "Treasurer" of the Washington, DC-based Liberty Lobby, Willis Allison Carto is the group's founder and driving force. Over the group's 40-year history, Carto has come into contact with virtually every significant figure on the radical right and he remains perhaps the most influential professional anti-Semite in the United States.
In 1955, Carto announced that he was organizing "a lobby for patriotism," which eventually became known as Liberty Lobby — presently the most influential right-wing extremist propaganda organization in the United States. Although Carto is Liberty Lobby's founder and leader, he typically directs the group's operations from behind the scenes. For example, in an August 15, 1993, letter to The Washington Post Book World — itself a rare instance of Carto appearing in a non-Liberty Lobby forum — the veteran hatemonger described himself as "an officer and (low-paid) employee" of the organization he created. Shunning attention, he rarely speaks in public, generally refuses to be interviewed, and even keeps his name off the masthead of Liberty Lobby's weekly tabloid, The Spotlight. His official title of "Treasurer" greatly understates the scope of his authority.
While running Liberty Lobby from the shadows, Carto established a network of extremist publications and organizations. In 1966, he acquired control of the magazine American Mercury, originally associated with H.L. Mencken, and transformed it into a quarterly journal of anti-Semitic propaganda. He issued it in tandem with the bimonthly Washington Observer Newsletter, similarly laced with anti-Semitism. Both are now defunct. Previously, Carto had founded Western Destiny (also defunct), a magazine which during the 1960s produced racist, Nazi-tinged articles; and Noontide Press, which continues to publish and offer for sale anti-Jewish and pro-Nazi books.
One such book was Francis Parker Yockey's 600-page Imperium, which was dedicated to Adolf Hitler and featured a 35-page introduction written by Carto himself. Yockey, an outspoken admirer of Hitler, was arrested in San Francisco in 1960 on passport fraud charges and subsequently committed suicide in prison. His book offers a rehash of Nazi doctrine -- it denounced, for example, "the Church-State-Nation-People-Race of the Jew" as "distorters of culture."
Yockey's ideology pervades the propaganda of Liberty Lobby and its off-shoots, such as the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), which specializes in Holocaust-denial propaganda, and the Populist Party, a far-right political vehicle. This extremist agenda persists among these groups in spite of the fact that the Populist Party -- since renamed the American Nationalist Union -- and IHR have broken from Carto and the Liberty Lobby network. Under oath during proceedings connected with an unsuccessful Liberty Lobby lawsuit against ADL in 1979, Carto admitted to remaining faithful to the tenets of Yockey's neo-Nazi philosophy.
As deep as his attachment to Yockey is Carto's antipathy toward Jews. (A racist as well as an anti-Semite, Carto complained during the 1950s that "only a few Americans are concerned about the inevitable niggerfication of America.") In October 1966, the late columnist Drew Pearson published the contents of a letter written by Carto which stated:
In a subsequent memo, Carto elaborated on these beliefs:
Carto's anti-Semitism was further manifested in the IHR, which he founded in 1979 to spearhead a movement to deny the reality of the Holocaust and to market Holocaust-denying propaganda. Operating under a guise of scholarship, the Institute, now based in Costa Mesa, California, has solicited membership from both academia and the general public. It has also distributed a variety of "revisionist" materials laced with traditional anti-Semitic innuendo; these publications have been advertised and made available through the Institute's periodicals, The Journal of Historical Review and the now-discontinued IHR Newsletter. Such materials are distributed and cited by groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, the American Nazi Party, and various neo-Nazi skinhead gangs.
The IHR's annual conventions also serve as a platform for "revisionist historians" and outright anti-Semites who present arguments rejecting the facts of Nazi genocide. In an introductory speech at the Institute's inaugural conference in 1979, Willis Carto stated that the Holocaust was merely "atrocity propaganda" and that Zionists are "predators" who exploit the "guilt" of Western society and "offer us expiation for the sins of our fathers by giving us the magnificent opportunity to contribute to the building of God's promised land for God's chosen people with our tax money."
On October 4, 1993, according to court records, Carto received a letter signed by four IHR senior staff members announcing that the organization was "firing" him. Although Carto, in a court document, contended that he had "no inkling of their conspiracy to take over," trouble in fact had been brewing at the Institute for some time.
At stake in this controversy, primarily, was control over an estimated $10 million in stock certificates bequeathed to the Legion for the Survival of Freedom Inc., the legal parent company of IHR. The summer before the October "coup," Tom Marcellus, IHR's then-director, reportedly discovered a bank order for Liberty Lobby drawn from the bequest. According to Marcellus, Carto directed his wife to set up a corporation for the sole purpose of controlling the bequest and loaning it back to the Legion -- thus making the Legion a less attractive target for potential lawsuits. Because the IHR advertised itself as the Legion, the senior IHR staffers demanded control of the money willed the parent company. The legal wrangling over this issue persists.
In response to the breakup between IHR and Liberty Lobby, The Spotlight announced in August 1994 that Liberty Lobby would launch a new publication devoted to historical revisionism, The Barnes Review. The magazine was named after the late Harry Elmer Barnes, who founded the original revisionist history movement -- which sought to exculpate Germany from sole responsibility for World War I -- and who in his senescence during the 1960s associated with Carto and other Nazi sympathizers.
Writing in a Spotlight editorial promoting the new publication, Carto stated, "History is far too important to be left to history professors, pundits and politicians. . . . History is power. . . .The sad truth today is that those who are not special-interest pleaders can hardly be found among the ranks of historians . . . . On the one hand, there are the pathetic establishmentarians whose idea of revising history is to write out the role of white males. . . and write in Jews, lesbians, Blacks and American Indians. . . . And then we have the so-called revisionists [clearly referring to the propagandists at IHR] whose monomania [is] the one subject of the Jewish holocaust. . . . It's past time to move on to new fields and new recruits."
This unobtrusive two-inch-high display advertisement placed in a number of college and university newspapers around the United States during the 1996-97 school year was another gambit in Bradley Smith's campaign to deny the reality of the Holocaust. Smith, director of the so-called "Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust" (CODOH) and the point man in the deniers' college outreach program, is, as he says, "taking my show to the Internet."
The ad was another in the series he has been running in a number of college papers since 1991. The earlier ads were long essays designed to promote controversy, and Smith notes, "cost hundreds and even thousands of dollars to place." He sees the new ad as an improvement. It is cheaper and has, he hopes, the potential to reach a larger audience. "I'm running a small ad with almost no text but one that is backed up by a 'library' that includes the texts of entire books, scores of articles, news items...." The "library" he refers to is a series of several hundred articles and pictures published on the World Wide Web pushing the claims of Holocaust deniers that "something is wrong with how the story of Jewish 'genocide' [quotes in the original] is being promoted."
Smith, who was for almost eight years the Media Director of the "Institute for Historical Review," the world's leading clearinghouse of Holocaust denial propaganda, is in the business of marketing lies, albeit subtly presented ones, on the World Wide Web.
Smith describes the facts of the Holocaust as "the Holocaust-story fraud." This "fraud" is created and propagated by the "Holocaust Lobby. . . owned and run by Jews" that is out to destroy what he describes as "intellectual freedom." The "story is then enforced by the "Thought Police" led by Jewish groups out to stifle any vestige of free inquiry on college campuses. Leading this repressive conspiracy are ADL, an organization he asserts is identified primarily with a totalitarian, Eastern-European rooted campaign against intellectual freedom in America, and Hillel, the Jewish student group, that Smith characterizes as a "peculiar organization. . . fronted almost entirely by rabbis in an attempt to give the organization a patina of religious sensibility. . . [but whose rabbis and officers] act out the role of mere political operatives."
Smith's "defense" of free inquiry really masks a profound anti-Semitism although Smith insists that he is not out to attack Jews. He is simply seeking to "encourage intellectual freedom and let the chips fall where they may." To demonstrate his good faith, Smith explains that his standard answer to the question, "When are you going to challenge the Jews beyond the Holocaust. . . ?" is, "I have no plan whatever for challenging 'the Jews' [quotes in the original] for what's done in their name." But, he continues, reciting a litany of traditional anti-Semitic complaints that blame Jews as a group:
What is the goal of "the Jews" in exercising the power Smith claims they have! His answer is an old standard from the denier repertoire: "to morally legitimate the invasion of Palestine by European Jews following World War II. . ." and the "sacrific[e of] Liberty to a pre-modern Judeo/Christian fundamentalism."
Though Bradley Smith has been an active Holocaust denier for almost two decades, it was his Holocaust-denying ads published in about 70 college papers in the early and mid-1990s that brought Smith wider attention. For deniers such as Smith, colleges and universities are ideal locations to push their pseudo-academic wares. They are institutions devoted to vigorous debate and inquiry. College students are usually young and idealistic, predisposed toward the underdog, skeptical of authority, often willing to challenge received wisdom, struggling to cope with many new, disorienting ideas and, today, frequently without a strongly formed sense of history. Smith has tried to exploit these factors in his long ad format, but he now seems to have settled on the Web as the means for implementing his "Campus Project" strategy.
Smith's goal is simple. He wants to legitimate Holocaust denial as being as valid as Holocaust study. To do this he must seize the discussion, to create a debate where there is none. Yet he is frequently frustrated. Reputable scholars will neither debate nor give credence to the tainted "research" produced by the Institute for Historical Review.
Win or lose, Smith cynically saw advantage in this effort. If the student newspaper published the ad, it inevitably generated outrage, pain and, most important, publicity. If the paper refused the ad, Smith played the victim of the "Thought Police," wrapped himself in the First Amendment and loudly bewailed the death of the university with its ideals of open inquiry and academic freedom. Holocaust denial got extensive coverage on the campus, in the local, and occasionally, national media, and Smith assumed the guise of the "champion" of intellectual integrity all the while peddling tendentious, intellectually bankrupt propaganda.
As he started having a hard time getting his material published on campuses, Smith turned to the Internet. Before hitting on his current approach, he attempted to place a different ad in classified sections of college papers. It read:
and then gave Smith's online address.
Smith was very pleased by the cleverness of this "stealth" approach because it kept students from knowing the nature of the material they were about to encounter.
While he hasn't commented online about his current "stealth" ad, one can imagine that he feels the same sense of self-satisfied achievement. It is interesting, however, that a man who wants nothing more than "open debate" and loudly calls for "intellectual freedom" apparently believes that deception is necessary to pitch his claims. This is even more intriguing when the title of one of his ads (one so patently misleading that no school newspaper saw fit to publish it) included a Latin phrase -- Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus -- that translates as "false in one thing, false in everything.
Ernst Zündel could be called the P.T. Barnum of anti-Semitic propaganda: he is a real huckster. This inveterate showman-promoter runs a multimedia mini-empire, Samisdat Publishing, from what he calls Zündel-Haus, his home and office in Toronto. Zündel portrays himself as a crusader for free speech, for the cause of an abused, misunderstood Nazi Germany. He is on a campaign to vindicate Hitler and the Nazis. This is a tough sell. It is very difficult to make a totalitarian, racist, nationalist, militaristic regime that systematically murdered millions of people seem reasonable. As the Holocaust is emblematic of what Nazi Germany was about, Zündel is trying to remove this stigma. He has hit upon a simple and appropriately derivative way of restoring the reputation of Adolf Hitler — blame the Jews. In Zündel's version of history, Hitler's evil is a Jewish invention and the Holocaust — or as Zündel and his confederates term it, the "Holohoax" — is "the lie of the century."
These anti-Semitic and ahistorical ideas are typical of Zündel. Years ago, hoping to further his goal of rehabilitating Nazi Germany, he wrote a tract called The Hitler We Loved, and Why using the name Christof Frederich. In the mid and late 1970s, still using the Frederich pseudonym, he was on the editorial staff of White Power Report and wrote articles for Liberty Bell, both produced by George Dietz's Liberty Bell Publications, a West Virginia-based propaganda machine of pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish material.
His eponymous Web site, the Zündelsite, reprints an article from the August 1978 issue of Liberty Bell entitled Could Hitler Have Avoided Confrontation with Jews? This article, by the anti-Semitic Austin App, makes a mindnumbing comparison between Christ and Hitler, suggesting that both were on similar redemptive missions and neither could reconcile with the Jews and remain true to their calling:
The Zündelsite started publishing on the Web in mid-1995 and despite the fact that Zündel lives in Toronto, Canada, the Web service provider is in California. In November 1995, he referred to the person actually operating the site as "my webmaster. In February 1996 he wrote, "The Zündelsite is named after its founder Ernst Zündel." The next month, his Webmaster, Ingrid Rimland, was writing with her usual hyperbole: "Ernst Zündel ... has impacted the world in massive, major ways with nothing but an ordinary computer."
Today, in late 1997, Zündel and Rimland, assert that he is connected to the site only through his name. The reason for this denial (by a man well-versed in other forms of denial) may be that he is facing a civil complaint before the Canadian Human Rights Commission charging that by operating the Zündel site, he was violating the section of the Canadian Human Rights Act that prohibits the use of telephonic communications to "expose a person or persons to hatred ... by reason of the fact that those persons are identifiable on the basis of... (race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, etc.)."
Zündel had several defenses. One pointed out that the site was actually operating outside of Canada and therefore not subject to Canadian law. The other was that "Zündel's Website, the Zündel site,... is written by another person [i.e., Ingrid Rimland]."
In an affidavit, Rimland affirmed, "I am the creator, designer, editor and primary electronic columnist of the Zündelsite." She asserted that "I decided on the name 'Zündelsite' -- because Mr. Zündel is the world's best-known skeptic of genocidal activities alleged to have happened in German concentration camps.... I do not recall consulting Mr. Zündel if I could use the word 'Zündelsite.' -- I unilaterally decided that I would."
Even if the site is Rimland's own -- and the Canadians will have to make that judgment -- it still represents the ideas of its namesake. The Zündelsite publishes on the Web in English, German, French, Russian, Spanish and Portuguese. It has attempted to post tapes of old Zündel radio programs, in both English and German, but never worked out the technology. Promised video-on-demand has never materialized.
What is there is a library of material denying the Holocaust. The Zündelsite reprints Zündel's writing, the infamous Leuchter "report," a travesty of the scientific method by a man with little or no scientific training, that attempts to show that people could not have been killed in the Auschwitz gas chambers, as well as articles from assorted Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites. On the English pages, there are reprints of articles from The Journal of Historical Review, (house organ of the IHR), Liberty Bell, and occasional editorials such as one praising "Those Courageous Americans Who Fought For America First" to keep the U.S. out of World War II from The Barnes Review, Willis Carto's latest exercise in historical "revisionism."
One work published on the Web site puts Zündel and the Holocaust denial enterprise into perspective. The English Holocaust denier Richard Harwood explains why it is so urgent for neo-Nazis to suppress the reality of the Holocaust. He asserts that the
Furthermore, he argues, it prevents Europeans from dealing with the "race problem" related to African and Asian immigration that he believes threatens
The Holocaust, a product of Nazi anti-Semitism and doctrines of racial superiority must, in this reading, be denied in an attempt to give new life to intellectually bankrupt notions such as "Aryan supremacy."
Ingrid Rimland is an example of an extremist who has achieved notoriety solely through the Internet. Rimland, who lives in Carlsbad, California, is the webmaster of what everyone thought was Ernst Zündel's Zündelsite but which has recently been renamed Ingrid Rimland's Zündelsite. This claim of ownership is part of Rimland's campaign to help Zündel fight the charge that, as the site owner and operator, he has violated Canadian hate crimes laws. Whatever her role in its development and management, there is no doubt that she plays an important role in the Zündelsite's operation. Describing herself "a stylist, first and last an Aryan writer cognizant of words. . .," and lecturer with a "flourishing" speaking career, Ingrid Rimland has, since early 1996, been actively promoting Holocaust denial on the World Wide Web. She writes a daily column, a stream of neo-Nazi cheerleading and anti-Semitic invective called "Z-Grams," proclaiming Holocaust "revisionism to the world."
An eager acolyte and fervent admirer of Ernst Zündel, Rimland shares and peddles his "revised" version of history. Rimland and Zündel also share a common childhood experience: they lived through the total defeat of the Nazis -- he in Germany, she in the Ukraine -- a defeat both lament. Today, they both express profound admiration for Hitler and National Socialism.
Born in 1936 in the Ukraine, Rimland, in a brief autobiography published on her personal Web site, describes her family as "German-descent Mennonite wheat farmers... who had been persecuted in [Stalin's] Soviet Union..." Her personal experiences make their way into her novels as in a work-in-progress she has described on her Web site. Titled "Lebensraum," it will be a multi-part epic about the loss of ethnic identity. In it she plans to show that World War II was fought "for the benefit of a shadowy power" that used a "relentlessly liberal media" to convince Americans that the war had been "unleashed by Germany to hurt and decimate the Jews." In the work, she says she will portray Hitler's Germany as offering "the hope that rescue and delivery [would] be sent to [the ethnic Germans living in Russia]." The story of Hitler's invasion of Russia will be presented as an initially "spectacular success" that was transformed into "an almost apocalyptic rush into terror, defeat and disaster."
Given the obvious sympathies of her family, it is no wonder that they left the Soviet Union in 1943 with the retreating German army. But finding Germany "a devastated wasteland," her family moved on "to the rain forests of Paraguay" where she later married and had children.
In the 1960s she was on the move again, migrating to Canada in 1960 and then, in 1967, to the United States. There she went to college, and personally interested in the education of special-needs children, eventually earned an Ed.D. Since coming to the United States, Rimland has written three books, two of which are based, in part, on her personal experiences. One of these, The Wanderers, is an account of the Mennonite "exodus out of the Ukraine in 1943."
Rimland's personal Web pages advertise her writing and speaking, indicating that her areas of emphasis are Special Education, Migrant Education, Literature and History. One page has a list of her speaking engagements. It includes a number of major universities including Stanford and the University of Wisconsin, numerous workshops sponsored by the National Education Association, various organizations such as the American Association of University Women, Federated Women's Club, the Rotary and Kiwanis Clubs. And though her Web site media page shows that she has been a guest on several of Ernst Zündel's radio program, she doesn't identify Zündel or give any but the most oblique indication of his or her views about Hitler and the Holocaust.
While she is cautious on a site that can be used as a professional reference, experience and education have not diminished her sense of injury, persecution and victimization. Rimland has an unshakable belief in the righteousness of her cause despite its long, ignoble history. She proudly claims the label "Nazi" and while doing so cynically appropriates a symbol of resistance to the very race-based hatred she embraces:
She rises in high dudgeon to denounce those who attack her views as gross distortions of history willfully constructed to further her anti-Semitism and neo-Nazi views. Her enemies are "Holohoaxers" or "Holohuggers" who try to destroy the ethnic pride of Aryans:
The Holocaust, in her view, is emblematic of this assault. "Holocaust teaching" she writes, "is. . . child abuse. It is adult abuse. It is ethnic abuse. I want to go on record that it is soul-abuse." It is the "rape of the mind of America's children. . . intellectual, emotional and spiritual rape of the mind."
Rimland knows who is responsible for this "distortion" of history: it is ZOG, the "Zionist Occupation Government." She does acknowledge, presumably to fend off the charge that she is an anti-Semite, that not all Jews are part of ZOG. But she insists that "many influential Jews are, and when writers like myself use this term, not only are these Jews addressed, but also. . . their nest-fouling toadies, lackeys and yes-men who come out of the Aryan ranks."
Rimland's goal is identical to that of other Holocaust deniers; destroy the memory of the Holocaust and it might just be possible, by relativizing the rest of the history, to reconstruct the mythic Hitler who, in an article reprinted by Rimland, is described as "the most notable figure of the 20th century, [the man] who directed the miraculous transformation of a broken [Germany] into the most progressive and advanced Nation of its time."
Each day Rimland pushes material such as this out onto the Internet, expressing confidence that she and her fellow anti-Semitic, pro-Nazi Holocaust deniers are having a terrific impact on the prevailing view of history.
Rimland's impact on Internet users as a group cannot be really determined. She claims a significant amount of activity on the Zündelsite but there is no established auditing procedures for validating such claims and one must consider the source. What is clear is that she now plays a role in the world of Holocaust denial. About a year ago, she inadvertently printed the names of the subscribers to her electronic mailing list. Some of those on the list are the stalwarts of the denier crowd — Greg Raven, of the Institute for Historical Review, Bradley Smith, Arthur Butz, author of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Some are known racists and anti-Semites such as Don Black and Louis Beam. Others, less well-known, are people whose E-mail addresses frequently show up in the various extremist areas of the Internet.
Regardless of who really
runs the Zündelsite, it seems clear that Ingrid Rimland has joined
with Ernst Zündel to help
shape the rhetoric of Holocaust denial on the Internet and to create
a sense of solidarity among the widely dispersed cyberspace extremists.
Among Holocaust deniers around the world, David Irving is unique for having established a reputation as a popular, if controversial, chronicler of World War II prior to his admission to the ranks of this propaganda movement. His name-recognition value and his status as a "convert" to the cause have made him both the most popular lecturer and the leading authority within the movement itself.
A college dropout and a partisan of the far-right -- his reported response to a question about his political views in a 1959 interview was, "[Y]ou can call me a mild fascist, if you like" -- Irving first gave indication of a Holocaust "revisionist" agenda in his 1977 book, Hitler's War. This work, a 900-page narrative ostensibly told "through Hitler's eyes," concludes that the Nazi dictator was actually a weak leader, irresolute and vacillating, who took "ineffectual measures against his enemies inside Germany for too long." Irving's corollary assertion contends that Hitler neither ordered nor even knew about the genocidal policy known as the "Final Solution."
The book was widely criticized by authorities in the field; nonetheless, among the radical right, and the burgeoning Holocaust-denial movement within it, the idea of a fallible, human, ultimately sympathetic Führer disassociated with the Holocaust quickly became a propaganda staple, and Irving's book was hailed as an important achievement. Irving soon warmed to his sympathizers from the fringe, and began lecturing at IHR conferences in 1983. Since then, IHR has become the leading American source for his writings and speeches. Moreover, though Willis Carto broke with IHR in 1993, Irving also appeared at a convention for his Liberty Lobby organization in 1994. At that event, Irving shared a platform with Louisiana former Klan leader and neo-Nazi David Duke, as well as "Red" Beckman, an anti-Semitic tax protester connected with the militia movement, and Eustace Mullins, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist active with the radical right for more than 40 years.
In addition to American extremist contacts, Irving has developed an intimate association with the extreme-right Deutsche Volksunion, which awarded him its "European Freedom Prize" in May 1983. While on a speaking tour of Germany for the organization, Irving was charged with claiming that the Auschwitz gas chambers were "fakes" built as a tourist attraction after the war; in May 1992, a Munich court fined him 10,000 marks for making these comments, which violate German hate crime laws. In 1992, the London Evening Standard also revealed that Irving's German press relations were handled by Ewald Althans, a leading neo-Nazi who subsequently was also convicted for making Holocaust-denial remarks.
In solidarity with his new-found comrades, Irving increasingly has adopted the more extreme tenets of Holocaust-denial propaganda, as his remarks in Germany suggest. Responding to the discredited Leuchter Report, published by the Canadian neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel, which used unauthorized forensic samples from Auschwitz to "prove" that no execution gassings took place there, Irving pledged to delete all references to the Holocaust from a forthcoming edition of Hitler's War. Because the Holocaust "never occurred," he argued, "it did not even warrant a footnote in the new edition of the book."
Irving's recent book, Goebbels: Mastermind of the Third Reich (1996), similarly makes no mention of gas chambers at Auschwitz, referring to the camp as a "slave-labor camp. . . with the highest mortality rate." Despite its consistent effort to downplay the Holocaust, as well as Hitler's role in it, the book was purchased for American distribution by St. Martin's Press, a distinguished New York publishing house. Following protests, the firm cancelled its contract. Irving nonetheless continues to appear before enthusiastic crowds of right-wing supporters, for whom he has become not only a hero, but a free-speech martyr as well.
More than any other propagandist, Mark Weber, 45, embodies the Holocaust-denial movement. An articulate, media-savvy spokesperson with a master's degree in History from Indiana University, Weber got his start in the radical right in 1978, when he took the position of news editor for National Vanguard, a publication of the neo-Nazi National Alliance. In 1979, Weber also began to contribute regularly to The Spotlight, a weekly tabloid produced by Willis Carto's Liberty Lobby organization. His involvement with the IHR also intensified steadily over the years; initially working as a contributor to the now-defunct IHR Newsletter, Weber began serving as emcee for the group's annual conventions in 1984. In 1985 he became a member of IHR's Editorial Advisory Committee and in 1992 he became editor of the Journal of Historical Review. Following IHR's break with Carto and the subsequent departure of most professional staff members in 1993, Weber became director of the organization with one professional staff person serving under him.
Weber's more openly extremist commitment to white supremacy has not abated during his pyrrhic ascendancy through the IHR ranks. Throughout the 1980s, he maintained his contact with the National Alliance, serving, according to official documents, as treasurer of that organization's "Cosmotheist Church."
Similarly, in 1987, graduating seniors at four private high schools in Atlanta received copies of a 584-page racist and anti-Semitic book, The Dispossessed Majority, with a letter signed by Weber which stated, "... You and your classmates may expect to face grave political, economic and social problems. There will be outright discrimination against you as you compete for admission to the better colleges. Less-qualified nonwhites with lower academic standing will be pushed ahead of you by means of racial quotas and four-year scholarships."
In 1989, several ROTC cadets at Auburn University received an identical mailing from Weber. In the same year, Weber was interviewed by The Sower, a student newspaper at the University of Nebraska. In the interview, Weber stated, " l'm concerned about the future of (the white) race and I'm concerned about the future of our country." He also warned against America's becoming "a sort of Mexicanized, Puerto Ricanized country.... I don't believe it's possible for Black Americans to be assimilated into white society."
Nonetheless, it is as a Holocaust-denier that Weber has found his niche on the radical right, and it is through the IHR that he has found the platform to pursue his increasingly solitary, yet persistently hateful propaganda mission.
Institute for Historical Review
Founded in 1979 by Liberty Lobby leader Willis Carto, the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) has spearheaded the international movement to deny the reality of the Holocaust. Though it broke with Carto and the Liberty Lobby network in 1993, to its own financial detriment, IHR remains the world's single most important outlet for Holocaust-denial propaganda.
A contradiction lies at the core of IHR activities; though operating under a guise of scholarship and impartiality, and seeking to gain credibility within the academic community, IHR remains committed to an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory which accuses Jews of having fabricated tales of their own genocide to manipulate the non-Jewish world. In support of this belief, IHR distributes a variety of books and propaganda materials saturated with anti-Semitic innuendo. These include: The Zionist Factor, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, The Zionist Terror Network, Crying Wolf: A Study of Hate Crime Hoaxes, and Auschwitz: The End of a Legend.
Similarly, IHR professional staffers and Editorial Advisory Committee members, even those with academic degrees, have participated extensively in pro-Nazi and anti-Jewish activities. For example, Mark Weber, who currently serves as director of the organization, was an activist in the neo-Nazi National Alliance during the 1970s, and an officer in the Cosmotheist Church, founded by National Alliance leader William Pierce, during the 1980s. Additionally, the late Revilo P. Oliver, a retired professor of Classics and an IHR editorial advisor, was a regular contributor to the neo-Nazi periodical, Liberty Bell. Robert Faurisson, an IHR editorial advisor who bills himself as a Professor of Literature at the University of Lyon-2 in France, was actually removed from his academic post as a result of his anti-Semitic activities, and has been convicted on three occasions of violating French hate-crime laws.
In addition to its propaganda distribution, IHR publishes a magazine, The Journal of Historical Review(JHR)and sponsors more-or-less annual conferences. These, too, have been platforms for anti-Semitism and extremism. The September/October 1995 issue of the JHR, for example, featured an article titled "My Impressions of the New Russia," by Canadian neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel. The same issue included a review of Ron Chernow's mainstream biography, The Warburgs. In the review, the author, John Weir, wrote, "Chernow provides insight into how Jewish patricians operate in society. . . . Jews [in Germany] were permitted to wield tremendous power and influence even though so many of them. . . were part of a mighty, supranational Jewish network that was dedicated above all to its own particular interests. . . . An international network of Jewish organizations and charities devoted to the well being of Jewish communities around the world operated as a shadow government for this scattered, stateless population."
IHR conferences have been the scene of even less restrained appeals to bigotry. Attendees in recent years have included surviving representatives of the Nazi era, such as Florence Rest van Tonnigen, widow of the Dutch collaborator M.M. Rest van Tonnigen; Wolf Rudiger Hess, son of Rudolf Hess; and Major General Otto Ernst Remer, himself an officer under Hitler whose anti-Semitic activities resulted in his 1986 conviction under German hate-crime laws. Other attendees of these affairs have included Ernst Zündel, British Holocaust-denier David Irving, and German neo-Nazi Ewald Althans.
One typical example of the rhetoric encouraged by such gatherings occurred at the 1983 conference, one of the best-attended in the organization's history; concluding his address, Keith Thompson, one of IHR's early stalwarts, urged supporters to "stand by the Third Reich" because, "if, in the end, the Holocaust did take place, then so much the better!" Thunderous applause greeted these remarks. In keeping with its duplicitous efforts to conjure an innocuous impression before the outside world, this statement was deleted from recordings of the speech sold through the IHR catalog.
Quotes from Deniers
"The alleged Hitlerian gas chambers and the alleged genocide of the Jews form one and the same historical lie, which permitted a gigantic financial swindle whose chief beneficiaries have been the State of Israel and international Zionism, and whose main victims have been the German people and the Palestinian people as a whole."
as quoted by the Guardian Weekly, April 7, 1991.
"Don't for a minute think that indoctrinating wide-eyed school children with the lies and slanders against Germans, Slavs, Catholics, Christians, Europeans, and whites in general isn't a primary purpose of the Holocaust-mongers. ... The Holocaust is a religion. Its underpinnings in the realm of historical fact are non-existent -- no Hitler order, no plan, no budget, no gas chambers, no autopsies of gassed victims, no bones, no ashes, no skulls, no nothing.... Secondly, it's a religion for losers.... Suffice it to say that the rise of religions such as this generally coincides with the decline and fall of nations which tolerate them."
IHR Newsletter, May 1989.
"It [the Holocaust] is something like a religion.... The Intellectual Adventure is that we are reversing this entire trend within the space of one generation -- that in a few years time no one will believe this particular legend anymore. They will say, as I do, that atrocities were committed. Yes, hundreds of thousands of people were killed, but there were no factories of death. All that is a blood libel against the German people."
Speech in Portland, OR. September 18, 1996. (posted on Internet)
"When I get to Australia in January I know what is going to happen. They are going to wheel out all the so-called eyewitnesses. One in particular, Mrs. Altman, I've clashed with once or twice. She is very convincing. They can be very convincing. Because they have to do it so often over the years. They've had a free run. We're going to meet because she has that tattoo. I am going to say,'You have that tattoo, we all have the utmost sympathy for you. But how much money have you made on it! In the last 45 years! Can I estimate! Quarter of a million! Half million! Certainly not less. That's how much you've made from the German taxpayers and the American taxpayers.' Ladies and gentlemen, you're paying $3 billion a year to the State of Israel. Compensation to people like Mrs. Altman. She'll say,'Why not, I suffered.' I'll say you didn't. You survived. By definition you didn't suffer. Not half as much as those who died.... They suffered. You didn't. You're the one making the money. Explain to me this. Why have you people made all the money, but Australian soldiers who suffered for five years in Japanese prison camps haven't got a bent nickel out of it!"
Speech in Portland, OR. September 18, 1996. (posted on Internet)
"The mere fact that you belong to a certain ethnic group makes you eternally guilty, according to the twisted logic of Zionism. If Germans who were not even born before 1945 must pay reparations to the State of Israel, which did not exist until 1948, then you can be included in the Zionist racket of reparations and revenge."
Speaking on behalf of the
"Rabbis normally come from a sophisticated urban intellectual background, which encourages a self-righteous contempt for the views and sensibilities of those who don't, hypocritical betrayal of proclaimed ideals to disguise true motives, and a rejection -- for self-serving ends -- of any kind of good will or even civility towards those with whom they disagree."
IHR Newsletter, February 1992.
The History Department at Duke University, responding to a Bradley Smith CODOH ad, unanimously adopted and published a statement noting "That historians are constantly engaged in historical revision is certainly correct; however, what historians do is very different from this advertisement. Historical revision of major events. . . is not concerned with the actuality of these events; rather, it concerns their historical interpretation — their causes and consequences generally. There is no debate among historians about the actuality of the Holocaust. . . there can be no doubt that the Nazi state systematically put to death millions of Jews, Gypsies, political radicals and other people."
David Oshinsky and Michael Curtis of Rutgers University have written, "If one group advertises that the Holocaust never happened, another can buy space to insist that American Blacks were never enslaved. The stakes are high because college newspapers may soon be flooded with ads that present discredited assertions as if they were part of normal historical debate. If the Holocaust is not a fact, then nothing is a fact. . . ."
Peter Hayes, Associate Professor of History and German at Northwestern University, responded to a Smith ad by stating, "[B]ear in mind that not a single one of the advances in our knowledge since 1945 has been contributed by the self-styled 'Revisionists' whom Smith represents. That is so because contributing to knowledge is decidedly not their purpose. . . . This ad is an assault on the intellectual integrity. . . of academicians, whom Smith and his ilk wish to browbeat. It is also a throwback to the worst sorts of conspiracy-mongering of anti-Semitic broadside. . . Is it plausible that so great and longstanding a conspiracy of repression could really have functioned? . . . That everybody with a Ph.D. active in the field — German, American, Canadian, British, Israeli, etc. — is in on it together?. . . If one suspects it is, might it not be wise to do a bit of checking about Smith, his organization and his charges before running so implausible an ad?"
Perhaps most significantly, in December 1991, the governing council of the American Historical Association (AHA), the nation's largest and oldest professional organization for historians, unanimously approved a statement condemning the Holocaust denial movement, stating, "No serious historian questions that the Holocaust took place." The council's action came in response to a petition circulated among members calling for an official statement against Holocaust-denial propaganda; the petition had been signed by more than 300 members attending the organization's annual conference. Moreover, in 1994, the AHA reaffirmed its position in a press release which stated that "the Association will not provide a forum for views that are, at best, a form of academic fraud."
The following is a list of well-respected and authoritative sources which provide comprehensive discussions of the Holocaust and related subjects. While some authors focus on specific issues within the larger series of events which comprise the Nazi genocide, and each offers a slightly different interpretation of various incidents, they all testify to the enormity of the Holocaust's devastation and the single-mindedness of Nazi policy in implementing mass murder.
1. Israel Gutman (Editor in Chief), Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Volume 2, New York, 1990, p. 788.
2. Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (Student Edition), New York, 1985, p. 263.
Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, New
York, 1975, pp. 150-166. 4. Encyclopedia
of the Holocaust, Volume 2, p. 489.
This article is excerpted from a presentation made at the 1995 Symposium of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment. It was subsequently published in Conspiracies: Real Grievances, Paranoia and Mass Movements,1996. The excerpt is used with permission of the Northwest Coalition Against Malicious Harassment.
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