Holocaust Denial:
An Online Guide to Exposing and Combating Anti-Semitic Propaganda
Introduction: Denial as
Origins of Denial
Responses to common Holocaust-denial claims

Who Are the Deniers?
Willis Carto
Bradley Smith
Ernst Zundel
Ingrid Rimland
David Irving
Mark Weber
Quotes from Deniers
Historians Respond
Holocaust Bibliography

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Introduction: 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."

Holocaust denial is a contemporary form of the classic anti-Semitic doctrine of the evil, manipulative and threatening world Jewish conspiracy.

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.

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.

Next: Origins of Denial

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