Holocaust Denial

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeated a claim made last week that the Holocaust was a myth.

Last week Ahmadinejad first aired his doubts on the veracity of the Holocaust, in which six million Jews were killed by the Nazis. His comments drew a rebuke from the U.N. Security Council.

“They have fabricated a legend under the name ‘Massacre of the Jews’, and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves,” he told a crowd in the southeastern city of Zahedan on Wednesday.

The speech was broadcast live on state television.

European countries called the remarks unacceptable and said they could undermine plans for talks with Tehran on its controversial nuclear program.

Israel said the comments showed Iran’s “rogue regime” was acting outside acceptable international norms.

Ahmadinejad, a former Revolutionary Guardsman who was elected president in June, in October called Israel a “tumor” which must be “wiped off the map”, provoking a diplomatic storm and stoking up fears about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Holocaust denial is interesting to me, only because I can’t figure out how someone can reach the conclusion that millions of Jews didn’t die during World War II. From what I’ve read, most individuals who deny the Holocaust use a scientific approach in an attempt to “prove” that the Nazi regime could not have used gas chambers to carry out an extermination program against Jews and Gypsies.

Via The Nizkor Project:

The “Leuchter and Rudolf reports” purported to demonstrate that there was not enough cyanide residue in the Auschwitz gas chambers to be consistent with mass gassing.

Friedrich Paul Berg, in his paper “The Diesel Gas Chambers: Myth Within a Myth,” claims to show that it would be improbable at best and nearly impossible at worst to use diesel engine exhaust to kill people in the manner and time described by eyewitnesses to the gas chambers at Belzec and Treblinka. Both papers cite experiments, laboratory analyses, chemical compositions, etc.

The danger of this new denier approach is that few people have the technical background to analyze the papers and understand their fundamental flaws. Too many people glance at the arguments, see “science,” and immediately their eyes glaze over. They figure that since it’s “scientific,” there must be something to it. Thus Holocaust denial gains scientific credibility.

Other examples of Holocaust denial theory include:

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.” The destruction process was shaped gradually: it was borne of many thousands of directives.

2. There Were No Gas Chambers Used for Mass Murder at Auschwitz and Other Camps.

Oh, really?

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.

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 collected 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.” The 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.

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. After nearly 50 years of study, historians agree that approximately 6 million Jews perished during the course of the Nazi genocide.


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.

Regardless of the history behind Holocaust denial, the fact is this sort of revisionism continues and becomes even more prominent when a public figure stands up and proclaims support. This is why Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is so dangerous. A world leader can incite people to react in a variety of ways, and if the Iranian President is actively pushing his personal Holocaust denial theories, his influence is, without a doubt, taking root.

The best thing that can be done to combat Holocaust deniers like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is public condemnation. It is good that other world leaders are standing up and speaking out against his beliefs. They are outrageous. We all need to do everything we can to stop this historical revisionism from catching on world-wide.


Websites denying the Holocaust or parts thereof

Websites criticizing Holocaust deniers

Audio testimony of Holocaust survivors

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