• How can the Holocaust be denied?• Who are the Holocaust deniers?• Are they a small and inconsequentialcluster of socially marginal fanatics or alarge group of mainstream players?• What are the deniers’ main argumentsand what motivates them in theirdenial?• Should one argue with them, or are theybetter ignored?
• Any person or organization that denies theHolocaust or doubts the number of Jewishvictims, or the existence of concentrationcamps and gas chambers, is a denier of theHolocaust and not a “revisionist”• The truth is that these people are engagednot in an innovative alternativeinterpretation of history but in the outrightdenial of history. All serious historians arein essence revisionists… Denial takes on other forms too…
relativism – changing the perspective dramatically…somedeniers use “logic” to attempt to discern false premises toprove to students that the information is incorrect orincomplete, or that relationships provided betweeninformation is not practical. Ex: Hitler was bad, but Stalin was worse – the act of theHolocaust is thus made relative and diminished reversal – the idea that the Nazis of today are Israelis andthe new Jews are the Palestinians – this approach is seenin Europe and is connected to the Muslim World
• Paul Rassinier of France, firstpublished in 1948, set forth themain arguments that have beenrepeated by all subsequentHolocaust deniers:– There had never been a plan for thesystematic annihilation ofEuropean Jewry.– The number of Jewish victims wasabout one million.– It was the Jews who had declaredwar on Germany.– The survivors’ testimonies areinflated and unreliable.
Professor Yisrael Gutman traces the origins ofHolocaust denial to the Nazis themselves. InGutman’s opinion, the Nazis’ attempts to obscuretheir acts of murder sowed the seeds of denial. Thefollowing examples illustrate this point:1. The absence of any written orders from Hitler(Fuehrerbefehl) concerning the annihilation of theJews, and the use ofverbal commands.2. The use of code words (Sprachregelung) to denotethe annihilation of European Jewry:– Aussiedlung (evacuation); Endloesung (the FinalSolution); Sonderbehandlung (special treatment)…
3. The formation in 1942 of Unit 1005,a secret unit commanded by PaulBlobel, in order to destroy evidence ofthe slaughter of Jews in the death pitsof the east by burning the corpses.4. Orders concerning the dismantlingof three extermination camps (Belzec,Sobibor, and Treblinka) anddestruction of evidence concerningthe mass murder of Jews there.
5. Himmler speech to SS officersin Poznan in October 1943. Thedestruction of the Jews, Himmlerexplained, was a glorious page inhistory that has never been recordedand never shall be. It was clear tohim that people at large would notunderstand this…These are several of the examples thatpoint to the efforts by the Nazis toconceal the murder of Jews. It seemscontradictory: if the annihilation ofJewry was the goal of Nazi ideology,why would the Nazis wish to concealtheir actions?
• The Nazi camouflage of theiractions during the war createdopportunities for the postwarHolocaust deniers.• The death camps Chelmno,Belzec, Sobibor, andTreblinka were destroyed andall traces of their having beenmass extermination campswere obliterated.• The gas chambers in Birkenauand Majdanek weredismantled and detonated inorder to conceal the massmurder perpetrated there• Nearly all the prisoners whoremoved corpses at theextermination camps and forUnit 1005 were murderedonce their work wascompleted, and manydocuments disappeared…
• the “first generation” of deniers sought to cleansethe Nazis by justifying Nazi anti-Semitism andargued that the Jews deserved the treatment theyhad received because of their hostile behaviortoward Germany.• The “second generation” used different tactics.They acknowledged the Germans’ anti-Semitismbut still argued that there was no Holocaust...• Thus they could be seen as unprejudiced menwho sought nothing but historical “truth.”
• instead of exploring the truth ofthe historical event that theHolocaust represents byuncovering various documents,they totally disregard thevastness of the Holocaust andfocus on several details of thisenormous event, such as:• proof of the existence of gaschambers, especially those atAuschwitz;• proof of the use of Zyklon B onhuman beings;• proof of a systematic plan toannihilate the Jews;• thus, by attempting to challengevarious details without lookingat the “big picture”, they try tocast doubt on the factuality ofthe event itself…
• the real account of the Holocaust is composed ofthe following sources:1. German documents that explicitly mention themurders and the murder process.2. German documents that describe the planningand implementation of the Final Solutionusing euphemisms.3. Jewish documents — diaries, memoirs,collections of writings — in various localitiessuch as ghettos and death camps.4. Testimonies of survivors of the ghettos,concentration camps, and death camps.
5. Documents and testimonies of Poles wholived near the extermination sites andreports to/by the Polish underground to itsgovernment-in-exile in London.6. Russian documents from the commissionsof inquiry that were established upon theliberation of the German-occupiedterritories.7. Legal material from the trials of Nazicriminals held in Nuremberg at the end ofthe war as well as later trials.8. Recently declassified military intelligencedocuments (from Enigma decodings)
• The immediate postwar denialpublications were poor quality andcrude in their approach.• A turning point occurred in the late1970s. Professor Arthur Butz’s 300-page book The Hoax of theTwentieth Century, with its 450footnotes, provided details fromvarious documents that Butzinterpreted in novel ways.• Butz taught at NorthwesternUniversity in Illinois. Although hisfield of expertise was not historybut electrical engineering, hisacademic status elevated Holocaustdenial several notches.
Butz made the following accusations:1. The figure of 6 million is not true.2. The World Jewish Congress in 1942 spreadpropaganda stories about “German soapworkshops” and about mass suffocation in sealedcars.3. The only evidence about the murder of the Jewscomes from the Nuremberg Trials in 1945 and thiswas elicited by torture.4. No German documents from Auschwitz mention“gas chambers.”5. Zyklon B was used, but only as a disinfectant andan insecticide.
• 6. In the Eichmann trial, Eichmann couldn’tdeny what the world thought! He had done nowrong but his best tactic was to plead guilty• 7. Butz has acknowledged the deeds of theEinsatzgruppen; he is willing to concede thatas many as 1,000,000 Jews may have diedbefore them.• 8. He reinterprets documents and alleges thatall testimony is inferior to documents anddismisses survivor literature as “endlessraving about extermination”.• 9.Jews invented this hoax to further Zionistends!
INSTITUTE FOR HISTORICALREVIEW—• Founded in 1978; Directed since 1981by Willis A. Carto, “a professional anti-Semite”• They have published a journal calledJHR —Journal of Historical Reviewsince 1981 and are head of the anti-Semitic organ “Liberty Lobby”.• In 1981, they published anadvertisement offering $50,000 toanyone who could provethere were gas chambers!• They believe in the need for absolutistgovernment to protect the racial heritageof the United States.
• DAVID IRVING — GREATBRITAIN• British military historian• A self-described “moderate Fascist”who believes that Britain is indecline.• 1977 —published Hitler’s War (926pages) and stated that there was noFuehrerbefehl (order by the Fuehrer)to kill all the Jews.• In Feb. 1989 he spoke at the U. ofCalif. at Berkeley and offered areward for evidence that Hitlerknew of the murders at Auschwitz.• Irving made the following arguments:1. Hitler was completely unaware of theFinal Solution and that the massextermination policy was carried outwithout his knowledge or agreement.2. Rudolf Hess should have received theNobel Peace Prize for his efforts to stop warbetween Germany and Britain.
• ERNST ZUNDEL—CANADA/GERMANY• Born in Germany in 1939,emigrated to Canada in 1958.• Established a publishing house,which turns out anti-Semitic,racist, and Holocaust-denialpublications.• 1984 — the Canadian Governmentcharged Zundel with stimulatinganti-Semitism by distributingmaterials.• 1985 — found guilty and wassentenced to 15 months in prison;he appealed.• 1992 — The Canadian SupremeCourt threw out Zundel’sconviction, ruling that theprohibition against spreadingfalse news was too vague and mayrestrict legitimate forms ofspeech. • Where is he now?
• On January 30, 1941,• Hitler said the following:• “Today I will once more be a prophet. If theinternational Jewish financiers in and outside Europeshould succeed in plunging nations once more into aworld war, then the result will not be theBolshevization of the earth and thus the victory ofJewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race inEurope!• Hitler threatened the Jews again in September 1942:• “In my speech before the Reichstag on the first ofSeptember 1939, 1 spoke of two matters: first, sincewe are forced into war, neither the threat of weaponsnor a period of transition shall conquer us; second, ifworld Jewry launches another war in order to destroythe Aryan nations of Europe, it will not be the Aryannations that will be destroyed, but the Jews. “
• In late July 1941, Himmler gave explicitorders to kill the Jews and to drive theJewish women into the marshes nearBaranowicze.• In August 1941, Himmler visitedArthur Nebe in Minsk. After observinga mass execution of Jews, Himmlerdelivered a brief speech to thosepresent, stressing the need to carry outthese orders, which came directly fromthe Fuhrer.• On Oct. 2, 1941, Himmler visited OttoOhlendorf, commander ofEinsatzgruppe D. Again Himmlerstressed to his soldiers that he andHitler bore sole responsibility for theseorders; he emphasized the need toeliminate all Jews and politicalcommissars.
• In July 1942, Himmlervisited Auschwitz andSobibor; he observed themurder of Jews in gaschambers.• On September 29, 1942,Himmler reported toHitler on combat againstthe partisans and theelimination of Jews. Inhis report, which refersonly to August-November, Himmlerspoke of the liquidationof 363 211 Jews.
• The Einsatzgruppen reports are thelargest set of documents that referto the annihilation of the Jews.• The murder of Jews in Kiev (BabiYar) in late September 1941 —Report No. 101 of October 2, 1941.• “Sonderkommando 4-A, incooperation with theEinsatzgruppen command andtwo police units from thesouthern region, executed 33,771Jews in Kiev on September 30,1941.”• With these lines, Paul Blobelreported the first mass slaughterof Jews on such a scale afterGermany invaded the SovietUnion on June 22, 1941.
• A report by KarlJaeger, ofEinsatzkommando 3,on the murder ofLithuanian Jews onDecember 1, 1941.Jaeger’s reportspecified the dates andlocations of themurders; at the end,Jaeger added up thenumber of victims —137,346
• Einsatzgruppe D reported onApril 8, 1942, a total of92,000 dead. Himmlerreported to Hitler onDecember 20, 1942, thefollowing numbers of Jewsshot in the Ukraine, Russiaand Bialystok –• August 1942 - 31,246• September 1942 - 165,282• October 1942 - 95,735• November 1942 - 70,948• Total - 363,211• According to these reports,900,000 Jews weremurdered. Other reportsspeak of another 250,000Jews murdered, bringingthe total murderedaccording to these reports to1,150,000.
• Other German Documents UsedEuphemisms• 1. A document from Goering to Heydrichon July 31, 1941, on the preparation of aplan for the Final Solution to the Jewishproblem.• “In completion of the task which wasentrusted to you in the Edict dated January24, 1939, of solving the Jewish question bymeans of emigration or evacuation in themost convenient way possible, given thepresent conditions, I herewith charge youwith making all necessary preparations foran overall solution (Gesamtloesung) of theJewish question in the German sphere ofinfluence in Europe… I further charge youwith submitting to me promptly an overallplan of the preliminary organizational,practical and financial measures for theexecution of the intended final solution(Endloesung) of the Jewish question
• A document dated March1943 by Richard Korherr,chief statistician of theThird Reich. In late 1942,Himmler asked Korherr toprepare an interim reporton the implementation ofthe Final Solution to theJewish question.According to his 16-pagedocument, about fourmillion Jews had beengiven “special treatment”by the end of 1942
• reports from the German railway authority(Deutsche Reichsbahn), composed by variousbureaucrats in the German transportministry. One of the many reports, datedJanuary 6, 1943, contains the dates ofdeportations, point of departure,destinations, and number of deportees. Thisreport speaks of 16,000 Polish Jews who weretaken to Auschwitz or Treblinka in February1943
There are several types of Jewishdocuments:1. Those written in the ghetto byindividuals (diaries, letters).2. Those written in the ghetto byinstitutions (the Judenrat) andunderground bodies. Examples areThe Lodz Ghetto Chronicles and theOneg Shabbat collection from theWarsaw ghetto.• Their info incl.: ghetto industries,production quantities, quantitiesof food that reached the ghetto,death and birth rates, deportationof Jews who had arrived from thewest and were sent on todestinations unknown, activitiesof the Judenrat, and generalinformation on events…
3. Testimonies of Jews who managed toescape the extermination camps or whosewritings came to light after the war.Examples are The Last Testament of the Jewsof Chelmno and The Scrolls of Auschwitz ,written by the Sonderkommando thatworked at the crematorium in Birkenau.4. Survivors’ postwar testimonies.Oneg Shabbat:one of the most important documentsin this collection is the report on “TheDestruction Jewish Warsaw” datedNovember 15, 1942. This document,smuggled out of the ghetto by the Jewishunderground and forwarded to the Polishgovernment-in-exile in London, describes ingreat detail the Great Aktion in Warsaw inthe summer of 1942 and notes the number ofJews who were sent to Treblinka.
• According to Oneg Shabbat,from July 22-31, 66,701 peoplewere deported from theghetto.• August, a total of 142,525people were deported fromthe ghetto; 135,120 were sentto Treblinka and 7,403 to theDulag (a transit camp fromwhence they were sent tolabor camps Germany).• during this period, 4,517people died: 2,305 were shot,155 committed suicide, and2,057 died of other causes.From September 3 toSeptember 12, 54,069 peoplewere deported from theghetto. . .
• Other reports came from Jews who escaped fromAuschwitz-Birkenau in April-May 1944. The mostsignificant report was by Rudolf Vrba (formerly WalterRosenberg) and Alfred Wetzler, who fled Auschwitz-Birkenau on April 7, 1944. Vrba, taken to Auschwitz fromSlovakia at the age of 19, worked from August 1942 toJune 1943 in the section of the camp known as “Canada.”• their testimony was indeed handed to the Soviet Armyand forwarded to the central Soviet archives in Moscow.• They became known as the Auschwitz Protocols
• Overall, very few survived some of the deathcamps. Only two Jews are known to havesurvived Chelmno, and another two survivedBelzec — Rudolf Rader and Haim Hirshsman.• about 70 prisoners from Treblinka, which wasrazed after the revolt of the permanent Jewishprisoners on August 2, 1943, were alive at theend of the war. From Sobibor, which had itsown prisoners’ uprising on October 14, 1943,an estimated 50-70 Jews lived to see liberationday.• approximately 12,000 prisoners remainedalive at the Majdanek concentration/deathcamp when it was liberated by the SovietArmy in July 1944
SOVIET DOCUMENTSThe entire systematicmurder of Jews by theEinsatzgruppen and inthe death camps tookplace in areas that wereliberated by the SovietArmy in 1943-1945.When the Sovietsliberated the Majdanekdeath camp in July 1944,the first photographs thatdocumented the resultsof the Nazis’ annihilationprogram reached thewest. For the first time,newspapers ran photos ofskeletons and corpses, ofgas chambers anddemolished crematoria.
• When the Soviet Army liberated Auschwitz inJanuary 1945, Tass, the official Soviet newagency, published a full report of theannihilation that had taken place there on thebasis of the testimony of more than 2,000survivors
• the trials of Nazi warcriminals and their assistantsat the end of the war may bedivided into three types:• The first international militarytribunal (IMT), comprised ofAmerican, British, French, andRussian judges, sat fromOctober 18, 1945, to October 1,1946, and prosecuted 21leaders of the Third Reich.• Another 12 trials were heldfrom 1946-8 concerningvarious groups: SS,bureaucrats, and industrialistsassociated with genocide.• Trials were conducted bymilitary judges of thevictorious countries in theirrespective postwar zones, orby liberated countries.
Enigma, Bletchley Park, and the NSA –“Eavesdropping on Hell”
Credits: Ephraim Kaye and the Yad Vashem InternationalSchool for Holocaust Studies