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Mark Weber: Squishy Semi-Revisionist Shirker – Part One
Anybody who has not taken a particular interest in Historical Revisionism is likely to find little to criticize in Mark Weber's statements to Jim Rizoli in this interview (see below; we apologize for the poster image; this is Rizoli's style...). Such a viewer will likely be impressed that Weber speaks well of Holocaust Revisionists and defends their right to raise "questions."
Jim Rizoli's Skype interview with Mark Weber, Director of the Institute for Historical Review, on February 10, 2016 (1 hr 30 min)
If Mark Weber were a professor at a university or a mainstream public figure, that would be a net benefit. The problem is that Mark Weber does not occupy any such position but is the director of the Institute for Historical Review. He is supposed to be a leader in Holocaust Revisionism, not a spectator benevolently defending that movement's free-speech rights.
As an historian and as the director of the Institute, Mark Weber is supposed to be dealing in hard facts and logic and reaching conclusions about history. The motto of the Institute for Historical Review is: "to bring history into accord with the facts," and from its founding in 1978 the Institute was to be focused especially on dissecting and debunking what almost nobody else wanted to touch, that great body of destructive legends known as the Holocaust of the Jews. That was why the Institute for Historical Review was needed. The Institute was thus always intended to be radical, uncompromising, and at the vanguard of controversy. At one time it was. You will notice however that in this interview, uncompromising conclusions about the Holocaust are something that Mark Weber prefers to avoid.
This was not the case with Mark Weber in the early 1990s. Compare the Mark Weber interviewed by Jim Rizoli in 2016 with the Mark Weber who appeared on Montel in 1992 and you will see a very different man.
It is evident that Mark Weber's reputation is based mainly on what he was doing a quarter-century ago. You can see this, for example, in the video of one of Weber's London Forum appearances, where he is introduced as a man who "has perhaps done more to bring history into accord with the facts than any other man on this planet." If Weber had taken the opportunity to explain that he now rejects much of his own past work, it would likely have put a damper on his welcome.
Although Jim Rizoli is a very friendly host who is very grateful for the work that Mark Weber used to do, Weber experiences some awkward moments during this interview, because of Rizoli's questioning and because of Weber's inability to answer several of the questions, and even inability to support assertions that he made during this interview.
Of course it is important that Mark Weber now claims to believe that Jews were gassed during the Second World War, while being unable to defend that position intelligently. That fact, if more widely attended, would likely put a dent in Weber's speaking-invitations. Weber's new position on gassing, however, is not an anomaly but part of a pattern of evasiveness. I intend to call attention to Weber's general pattern, throughout this interview, of shirking his special responsibility as a nominal historian and as director of the Institute for Historical Review, a pattern which the casual viewer otherwise might not notice.
The Young Mark Weber
Rizoli begins by asking Weber about how he came to revisionism. Weber indicates that he lived in Germany for a period circa 1970 and while there learned that Germans and Europeans generally had a very different perspective than Americans in regard to the Second World War:
"That was already a very important thing, to realize that the narrative of history can vary from place to place, regardless of what actually happened. What happened, happened. But how people interpret the past depends on cultural factors, it depends on one's own experiences, point of view, who's controlling the narrative, and so forth." (5:10-5:38)
The message, that discrepancies in accounts of the past are the result of differing perspectives and interpretations and "who's controlling the narrative" (rather than a matter of falsehood that must be corrected), is one that Weber repeats during this interview.
There is a problem, however, when Weber implies that different people were "controlling the narrative" in Europe compared to the United States. The victorious powers of the Second World War certainly imposed their narrative in Europe. If Mark Weber met ordinary Germans who disagreed with that narrative it is because they happened to have contradictory experiences and information. In other words, this was an example of truth being propagated in spite of "who's controlling the narrative."
This is an inconvenient fact for the Mark Weber of 2016, who is supposed to be leading the propagation of such forbidden truth but largely declines the task, alleging the supposed inefficacity of such efforts, so long as the "Jewish-Zionist power" persists, as one of his main excuses.
Weber on Faurisson (7:20-12:42)
Weber now talks about people who influenced him, in particular Robert Faurisson and Ernst Zündel.
"Now later I was very impressed by Robert Faurisson. His work was very important. That opened up even the possibility that this sort of narrative wasn't really accurate.
"I was living in Washington, D.C. and at that time it was through an odd series of coincidence, of, uh, circumstances, that I met Faurisson. And that had a big influence on me.
"Faurisson has of course, as we know, done very, very important, path-breaking work. He raised a lot of questions that needed to be raised, and ... discovered some very important documents, some very important things, that no one else had really even bothered to look up.
"This was very exciting, just intellectually, for me. By that time, that I met Faurisson, I had already gone into college; I had gotten a master's degree in history, and I began doing [research] into aspects of this whole question that we call the Holocaust." (7:20-8:30)
You cannot tell from what Mark Weber says in 2016 that Robert Faurisson ever proved anything. He credits Faurisson with discovering some documents and opening up a "possibility" and raising "questions," but does not even say that Faurisson arrived at any conclusions. Neither does Weber say that he was convinced; rather that he found Faurisson's work "very exciting, just intellectually." The Holocaust itself, in this context, Weber calls not a lie or a myth but a "question."
In 2016 for the director of the IHR to call the Holocaust a "question," and thus to avoid taking a position based on all that has been learned, is inexcusable.
Rizoli is puzzled at Weber's claim that he met Faurisson at the airport in Washington, D.C., "through an odd series of coincidence, of, uh, circumstances" and demands explanation. Weber, forced to explain, says that his contact with Faurisson came about because he had already known another prominent revisionist, Arthur Butz.
"[Faurisson] was coming to Washington, D.C. to do some research. And I had just coincidentally [shakes head], some years earlier, met Arthur Butz. It wasn't because of the Holocaust matter." (9:01-9:15)
Weber nervously shakes his head several times especially while uttering the latter sentence, giving the impression of trying to hide something. He claims that Butz put him in touch with Faurisson not because of any shared interest in revisionism but merely "to sort of show him around."
Weber wants to make sure that everyone understands that he was not interested in Holocaust Revisionism when he met Faurisson in 1979, nor before then.
But then, evidently anticipating that he will have to explain how he came to join the IHR, he explains that he had coincidentally met David McCalden, the Institute's founder, several years earlier in Europe:
"I mean, another coincidence [shaking his head] was that I came in touch with the Institute for Historical Review, because I had known before he came to the United States the person who was actually the founder of the IHR, was David McCalden. I had actually met him in England before, in London." (11:37-11:53)
This is too many coincidences. In the cases of Butz and McCalden, Weber lets us know that these meetings were not really coincidences by shaking his head as he utters the word.
It means that Weber was not telling the truth when he said that it was Faurisson who opened up for him the "possibility" that the Holocaust "narrative wasn't really accurate," since Weber was already acquainted with Arthur Butz and David McCalden. This is obviously why Mark Weber wanted to meet Robert Faurisson when the latter happened to come to the United States to attend the first conference of the IHR in September 1979.
Weber also avoids mentioning that when he met Faurisson, he was a member of William Pierce's National Alliance (based at that time in Washington), and editor of the organization's publication, National Vanguard. It is most likely not the association with William Pierce per se, but rather the views on history that Weber put into writing at the time, that Weber is especially keen on hiding (since experience shows that criticizing or opposing Jews in a general way is not nearly as dangerous as disputing the Holocaust). Weber's first published revisionist writings appeared in National Vanguard.
When he wrote for National Vanguard in 1979 Weber did not restrict himself to saying what he says today, that Faurisson merely opened a "possibility" and posed "questions." About Faurisson Weber wrote this:
"In a number of recently published articles, he conclusively exposes the entire 'gas chamber' fraud. Writing in the prestigious Paris daily Le Monde, Prof. Faurisson notes, for example, that despite thousands of detailed documents on the crematoria built to dispose of the bodies of typhus epidemic victims, not a single piece of documentary evidence has ever been produced to substantiate the existence of even one gas chamber: not an order for construction, a plan, an invoice, or a photograph. During the hundreds of 'war crimes' trials, nothing could be produced.
"Furthermore, Faurisson notes that almost all the original gas chamber claims have been quietly abandoned during the last 30 years. Several years after the war, a number of concentration camp officials were put on trial and 'confessed' (under brutal torture) to the existence of gas chambers at Ravensbrück (Germany), Mauthausen (Austria), and Natzweiler (Alsace). Today, Faurisson points out, the only gas chambers which Jewish writers still claim existed are those which were located in Communist-ruled Poland. And those claims rest essentially upon discredited 'affidavits' and 'memoirs' extracted from Germans since executed, and not upon substantive evidence." [Mark Weber, "Holocaust Claims Exposed as Lies", National Vanguard No. 69, 1979]
The Mark Weber of 1979 seems to have had no qualms about noting the lack of "substantive evidence" for the claim that any Jew was gassed, and did not shrink from concluding that the gas-chamber story was invalidated by this lack of evidence. Faurisson "conclusively exposes the entire gas-chamber fraud," according to the Mark Weber of 1979.
What a contrast to the Mark Weber of 2016! To make his current agnostic attitude toward Faurisson's findings seem less absurd, Weber tries to minimize his own record in disputing the Holocaust and to explain away his association with others who did the same.
In an attempt to compensate for this dereliction of duty as director of the IHR, Weber poses as a champion of free speech and laments the hysterical ad hominem reaction to Faurisson's findings. He also claims to have acted as a publicist of Faurisson's work, which he seems to regard in 2016 not as a clear discovery of fact that would require rewriting of history-books, but as an intellectual oddity that "deserved a hearing, deserved to be better understood and known." In this 2016 interview, the closest that Weber comes to saying that Faurisson was right is when he says that the nature of the attacks on him would make one "suspicious" about who was right and who was wrong. (10:37-11:26)
Mark Weber on Ernst Zündel (14:33-37:30)
By 1988, Mark Weber had been an employee of the Institute for Historical Review for several years, when he received a phone-call from Ernst Zündel, who was being prosecuted in Canada for republishing Did Six Million Really Die?, a booklet (originally published in England in 1974) that disputes the mainstream account of what happened to Jews during the Second World War.
Weber says that he was suspicious of Zündel at first because he seemed to be "a very colorful, kind of reckless kind of guy," but he gives credit to Zündel's organizational ability. "Zündel had a tremendous ability to size up people and to get them to work together with each other, and with him..."
Weber omits to mention here that he had corresponded and been in contact by telephone for some years with Zündel prior to 1988 (B. Kulaszka, Did Six Million Really Die?, p. 420).
Since the mediaeval English law under which Zündel was being prosecuted was a prohibition against spreading "false news," Zündel was seeking expert witnesses who would testify that the content of Did Six Million Really Die? was not false.
In 1979 Mark Weber had described Did Six Million Really Die? as "a convincing 28-page booklet," and the Mark Weber of 1988 still had sufficient convictions along those lines to be a useful witness for Ernst Zündel's defense. Weber was qualified as an expert witness and ended up being on the witness-stand for five days.
It is questionable, however, whether the Mark Weber of 2016 would be of any value at all.
In 2016 Weber minimizes the truth-value of Did Six Million Really Die? and says that Zündel did not publish it as fact but only as opinion:
"He was not offering this booklet and didn't print this booklet as a final, definitive word on any subject. He was offering this book because he felt, it's important that people hear this point of view. This is an opinion." (27:12-27:28)
Regarding the accuracy of DSMRD, the most that Weber is willing to say, when Rizoli asks him about his testimony, is that the book "makes a lot of very good points," then, pausing, perhaps realizing that he had just said too much, Weber affords himself an escape from having to defend any particular point in DSMRD by adding, "and of course some very good questions." (27:02-27:08)
It is certain that when Ernst Zündel published Did Six Million Really Die?, he was much more earnest about what he was doing than Weber now wants to acknowledge. The words on the cover of the booklet – "Historical Fact No. 1" and "Truth at last EXPOSED:" – indicate that the content was intended precisely as a presentation of fact, not mere opinion. Ernst Zündel certainly believed that he was publishing a work of fact and truth.
For the most part, the book was vindicated by the testimonies given in court. But it was a source of great embarrassment for Zündel that a few errors were found. When the False News Trials were over, Zündel published a new edition with the errors corrected and the disputed points noted. (The original, British publisher also issued a corrected edition.)
Weber does not show any regard for the purpose of Zündel's effort, which was to exonerate the Germans of the Holocaust-libel. The documentary about Zündel, Off Your Knees, Germany! is described as "a summary of Ernst Zündel's political outreach and struggling to restore the honor of his German people." This is what Zündel was trying to accomplish, but you would not know it from listening to Mark Weber. (The fact that Weber does not share this agenda of rescuing the German people from defamation and humiliation becomes clearer as the interview progresses.)
As in his account of Robert Faurisson, Weber avoids saying that Ernst Zündel was right about anything in the realm of historical fact, or that he challenged any important historical claims, but takes the safe position of lamenting transgressions against Zündel's freedom of speech:
"Whatever anybody thinks about Ernst Zündel, what he did was increase and defend the rights of all Canadians, by getting rid of this unjust and even unconstitutional law. But Zündel of course doesn't get much thanks from most people for this great service to Canadians." (23:55-24:18)
One of the problems with such a statement is that many people will not appreciate the right to say something that is false. Regardless of whatever abstract ideal of freedom people may formally espouse, freedom of speech is granted to liars only grudgingly at best. Only the free speech of those who demonstrate that they are telling the truth is really valued. Therefore the fact that what Zündel had published was found in court to be essentially true is very important, even for the purpose of securing the right to say it.
For an American, advocating freedom of speech is de rigueur, and no great act of heroism on Weber's part. Furthermore, as an historian, Mark Weber should be concerned with facts. How can Weber justify in his own mind that when he recounts the history of the False News Trials, he refrains from mentioning that according to the testimony submitted during the trials, the content of Did Six Million Really Die? was found to be essentially correct? For any historian, and especially for the director of the IHR, this should be the most important fact.
It is thus with some irony that Mark Weber criticizes others for giving too little credit to Ernst Zündel, while he himself damns Zündel with faint praise.
End of PART ONE.
Go to PART TWO.
Additional information about this document
|Title||Mark Weber: Squishy Semi-Revisionist Shirker – Part One, Mark Weber Runs away from the Past|
|Dates||published: 2016-02-28, first posted on CODOH: Feb. 28, 2016, 6:40 a.m., last revision: n/a|