During the early 1980s, in my last three years at high school, I developed a passion for everything Bavarian: the soccer team Bayern München, Lederhosen, the dialect, and, of course, the Bavarian Party, the CSU, which exists in Bavaria only. I also became a fan of Franz-Josef Strauß, who for many decades was chairman of this party and became kind of a symbol for everything Bavarian. I surely would have joined the CSU, also because of its strong conservative views, but unfortunately this party was open only to those residing in Bavaria, where I never lived.
At that time, I also joined the youth organization of Germany’s semi-conservative party CDU, but was active only a short time, because when my university studies took me to Bonn in 1983, I abandoned all political commitments for the time being.
When I started to study chemistry at the University of Bonn in the fall of 1983, Bonn, then capital of West Germany, was a hotbed of anti-government demonstrations mainly by leftist students. The German federal government, led by the CDU and CSU, had agreed to the stationing of Pershing middle range nuclear weapons in Germany by the U.S. armed forces and also planned a census of the German population. Both infuriated the German left, who was strongly opposed to any foreign military presence in Germany and to any governmental intrusion into the privacy of German citizens. I, on the other hand, took the position held by the German federal government led by the CDU/CSU, arguing for the census and for the stationing of U.S. nuclear weapons to deter the Soviets.
However, my involvement was abruptly curbed when CSU chairman Strauß engineered a one billion Deutschmark loan to communist East Germany, a deal that contradicted everything Strauß stood for, in particular, the principle that one should never do business with the totalitarian powers of the East, unless some reciprocal benefit was forthcoming. The reciprocal benefit here, however, was only imaginary in that East Germany’s communist government promised to remove the “robot” machine guns on the intra-German border, which automatically killed or maimed every German trying to pass from totalitarian East Germany to “Golden” West Germany. Subsequently, these atrocious weapons were indeed removed, but this was accompanied by the construction of a second border fence farther inland. As a result, the inner-German border became even more impenetrable. Hence, Strauß ‘ deal did not lead to any humane relief for the East Germans, but instead stabilized East Germany’s economy, thus delaying its – as we know today – unavoidable final collapse for a few more years. From today’s perspective, my criticism at the time was entirely justified. But at that time, it was the opinion of a separate minority only, a minority subject to ridicule – it was a “peculiar view.”
First jail experience
In October 1983, I had joined a Catholic student fraternity, founded in Königsberg (East Prussia) in the late 1800s, but relocated to Bonn after WWII. At the end of WWII, almost the entire German population of East Prussia either fled, was murdered, or expelled by the invading Soviets who divided this old German province in two parts, annexed the northern part and gave the southern part to Poland. In 1984, a “brother” of this fraternity persuaded me to accompany him on a trip to Czechoslovakia in February of that same year. This fraternity brother was a student of Catholic theology and had adopted the cause of the suppressed Catholic Church in the then still Stalinist Czechoslovakia. Also, he had acquaintances there, and his parents were from the Sudetenland, a once purely German border region of Czechia, from where most Sudeten-Germans had been expelled or murdered after WWII by the Czechs. This fraternity brother of mine believed in and fought for the rights both of the small Sudeten-German minority still living in Czechoslovakia and for the expelled Sudeten-Germans, most of whom had resettled in Bavaria and Austria after WWII.
With the knowledge and support of the Catholic Church, we attempted to smuggle theological and political books, as well as a photocopier, to a Catholic congregation in Prague. Our political literature included, for example, a Czech edition of George Orwell’s 1984, which was forbidden in the then Czechoslovakian Socialist Soviet Republic. Although the books arrived at their destination, the photocopier was discovered at the border and my fraternity brother, another person traveling with us and myself were immediately confined to prison at Pilsen in the west of Czechoslovakia. After two weeks of nervous waiting, without any contact to the outside world, during which I was interrogated twice, I was told I could leave. My fraternity brother, however, was later sentenced to a year’s imprisonment. He was forced to remain in jail for ten months until Christmas time 1984, when German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher intervened and managed to get him released early.
Justice, not brute force
For many others, this experience might possibly have convinced them to leave controversial topics well enough alone. For me, it was the opposite. When I find that I have been the victim of injustice, my reaction is to fight until amends are made.
It was at this time that I became familiar with the dark side of the Communist dictatorship. I swore to myself in prison, once I was set free, I would combat the evil of Communism.
During the following year and a half, I became more involved with those who had been the victim of expulsions: firstly, because my father had been expelled from the east German province Silesia, together with millions of German compatriots (after WWII, Silesia was annexed by Poland and is now its southwestern part); secondly, probably as a result of memories of the fraternity brother mentioned above; and thirdly, from a conviction that the expulsion and persecution of East Germans by the communist dictatorships of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and the USSR was one of the greatest crimes in history, a crime which ought never be forgotten, trivialized or minimized, approved or justified. Parallels with the arguments invariably made in regards to the persecution of the Jews inevitably come to mind.
First political thoughts
The year 1985 was marked by two events:
First, the so-called Engelhard Law was discussed and finally enacted, according to which the offense to dispute, diminish, or justify the crimes of the National Socialist regime, or any other tyrannical regime, will be prosecuted automatically, without anybody needing to file a complaint. The original intention of those who started this discussion – the leftist Social-Democrats – was to make it easier for the legal system to prosecute “Holocaust deniers,” without the necessity of a complaint by some Jewish individual or organization. Certain segments of Germany’s semi-conservative party – especially those lobbying for the German expellees – demanded that this law should also apply to anyone minimizing or justifying the crimes of other dictatorships, for example, those who minimized or justified the criminal post-war expulsion of Germans from east Germany and eastern Europe.
In this discussion, I vigorously took sides on the wing of the conservatives often disparagingly referred to as the “steel helmet faction.” By then, I had frequently experienced that those working and arguing on behalf of the German expellees are confronted with the argument that the Germans in general and the German expellees in particular have no right to insist on their claims, even if they were supported by international law.
After all, since Germany under Hitler had wanted war and started war, and since so much guilt had accumulated as a result of the “extermination” or “intended extermination” of the Jews and Slavs, any subsequent crimes committed against Germans by the peoples of Eastern Europe must be viewed as mere recompense. One had to take this view for the sake of a peaceful life. But by so doing, crimes, when committed against Germans by non-Germans, are considered to constitute a counterbalance to German crimes against other nationals, and are thus accepted as “fair punishment.” This is common practice, it is a matter of good conduct in Germany to see it this way. But you will be sorry, should it ever enter your mind to turn this argument around and compare and counterbalance German crimes, actual or alleged, with those of other nationalities. This is, of course, verboten! In fact, continual reminders of German crimes, whether true or not, were and are still used to suppress any memory of crimes committed against my own people, the Germans, or to discuss justified claims resulting from the Allied crimes.
No doubts about the indisputable
Certainly, it would have been possible to try and dispute these German crimes, actual or alleged, as a means of overcoming the obstacles of discussing the crimes committed against Germans. But this course of action was not open to me, since I could neither argue nor act against my strongly held convictions. I was a firm believer in the standard historical account of the extermination of the Jews. This approach was therefore closed to me – it did not even occur to me as a theoretical possibility. The only available way was to take the position that two wrongs do not make a right, and no good could ever come of a wrong. This applies to the National Socialist persecution of the Jews as well as to the expulsion of the Germans.
Tackling the Zeitgeist
The second significant event of 1985 was my joining a political party called Republikaner (not to be confused with the U.S. Republicans). I made contact with this party through my involvement with the youth branch of an organization of Silesian Germans. At that time, these Republikaners were relatively unknown and their members were thought of as conservative patriots, but not as a right-wing radicals. I discovered that this party had originated from a split with Bavaria’s conservative party CSU. The reason for some members of the CSU to leave this party and form their own was dissatisfaction with the mediation of the billion Deutschmark loan to communist East Germany by CSU chairman Franz-Josef Strauß, as already mentioned. The party appeared to me as a kind of nation-wide CSU – minus the fear and trembling in the face of the Eastern bloc, and minus the marked patronage of offices and blatant corruption which was noticeable already then.
At first, I thought that this was just the party I had long been looking for, at least with respect to German national politics. However, their handling of the subject of immigrants repelled me, because as a Catholic I was very sensitive to programs or ideas that appeared to be motivated by hostility to foreigners.
An anti-fascist climb-down
The year 1986 was marked by two events as well:
First, I came to realize that the Republikaners, at least in the Bonn-Siegburg districts, were mostly a collection of hard-core right-wingers who had been expelled from East Germany after WWII. At the only membership meeting that I attended, it was obvious to me that they could not find anything more important to talk about than the question of whether and to what extent West Prussia was German, and whether territorial claims to it could be asserted. This complete withdrawal from political reality, accompanied by a failure to recognize that which was politically necessary at the time the world was debating the reunion of West and East Germany, contributed to my decision to leave the party.
The most compelling reason for my decision was a recognition that the party included more than a few former members of the right-wing radical party NPD, with whom I wanted no contact. After a membership of half a year, I left the party in early or middle 1986.
The second event that I wish to discuss here took place in January 1986, at a convention to celebrate the 115th anniversary of the founding of the German Reich in 1871, organized by the student fraternity Verein Deutscher Studenten (VDSt, Association of German Students), and held in Frankfurt. It was at this convention that I first learned that the VDSt Frankfurt was a nationalistically oriented student organization. And it was after this celebration that I had a long argument with a student member of this organization who claimed to be a member of the nationalist party NPD. The subject of our argument was the extermination of the Jews. He maintained that the established description did not fit the facts, and that there were not, in reality, six million victims, but three million at most. I was appalled by this manner of argument, and will explain why.
Repulsive numbers juggling
First, there was the natural repugnance aroused by a line of argument which tended merely to diminish a few numbers, although the issue is not really the actual numbers, but the intention behind the deed. My belief at that time was that Hitler had planned to exterminate the Jews, and had done whatever had been necessary to accomplish this goal. The actual “how” and “how many” were of secondary importance.
From the student’s style of argument, it was clear that he had strong political motives for his way of thinking. He spoke of the use of the “Auschwitz bludgeon” against the political right, and in particular, against his party. His mixture of political objectives and scientific argumentation made me skeptical. I could not take his arguments at face value, because I was unable to trust him. I silently reproached him for his political involvement, believing that he was no longer willing or able to distinguish between truth and falsehood, between the justified and the unjustified.
I have forgotten his exact arguments and conclusions. Perhaps I do him an injustice, but I still retain a bitter taste of his unbending, politically-motivated way of thinking. It is possible that this is merely an impression I had, because at the time, I thought of all NPD members as extremists with dishonest intentions. It is therefore possible that it wasn’t the NPD member who had a distorted view of things, but rather, that I saw him distortedly by my own prejudices. That question will never be answered.
Politics prevents doubt
What can one say today about that event? Although I had dealt with this Holocaust “denier” and was well aware of the reality of the political misuse of the “Auschwitz bludgeon” against the political right or right-wing oriented people, this did not lead to my doubting the truth of the usual historical version of the National Socialist persecution of the Jews. The reason was that I could not, and cannot, take seriously any position maintained for obviously political reasons.
In the years that followed, I devoted myself chiefly to my studies; in 1986, I had entered the demanding graduate phase of my studies with subsequent preparation for the Diplom examination. During this period, I abandoned all political activity and withdrew from my work with German refugee organizations and with my student fraternity. This was due not only to my academic work load, but also because I had had my fill of nonsense and no longer cared about activities which were partially unrealistic and mostly useless.
Turks into the “gas chamber”?
The pressure let up in the year 1989, as I had just completed my Diplom examinations and therefore enjoyed some free time for different intellectual pursuits. The same year was also marked by two significant events.
The first event was the elections for the Berlin Chamber of Deputies, during which the Republikaners gained their famous (or infamous) entry into the city’s parliament. Like most people, I was completely surprised by this outcome, since I had lost almost all contact with this party. But, in contrast to most other people, I had some idea of what the Republikaners were, and were not. The horrifying media witch-hunt against this party immediately following the electoral success infuriated me. Characteristic of this witch-hunt was the question posed by a journalist on election eve to Bernhard Andres, then party chairman in Berlin, as to whether the Republikaners wished to do to the Turks what Hitler had done to the Jews. That was when things turned sour. It was clear to me in the flash of a moment’s insight that I would rejoin the Republikaner out of pure defiance and democratic solidarity, even if I was displeased by some things about this party. One could take or leave a few isolated party positions as one wished. As long as the party was in compliance with the German constitution, it was entitled to treatment on the basis of equality.
Of course, nothing that has happened since then bears any resemblance to democracy. Party meetings were regularly harassed or prohibited, although Germans were guaranteed the freedom of assembly as a “basic right.” The print and electronic news media were instructed to report nothing but negative information about this party, a fact not in conformity with the standards of ethics and the legal duty of the publicly-funded news media to report the news with objectivity.
The establishment parties placed the Republikaners beyond the pale of democracy and constitutional politics. It was therefore those establishment parties who had violated the constitutional right of the Republikaners to equal treatment, as well as to the freedoms of expression and assembly.
Professional disbarment due to loyalty to the constitution
One of my close friends, a long-time member of Germany’s semi-conservative party CDU, had recently completed his studies in civil administration and was assigned to the city government of a large city in Saxony during his period of practical training. He then received orders from his supervisor, a CDU member, to prohibit the planned regional party convention of the Republikaners. Since it was his specific duty as a civil servant to respect the provisions of the German constitution, he refused to obey these orders on the grounds that the Republikaners were a legally constituted party, the unconstitutionality or undemocratic nature of which has remained unproven. Therefore, in accordance with the principle of equal treatment for political parties, as well as with the rights of free assembly and a respect for the duty of democratic parties to hold regular meetings of their members, their party convention could not lawfully be prohibited.
The consequence of this disobedience was that my friend was told that he would not be able to complete his period of practical training. To avoid forced termination during this period, my friend agreed to a termination agreement to become effective subsequent to this training. His concomitant attempt to fight the agreement in the Labor Court naturally failed. In Germany, those who defend the constitution are dumped on the street, while those who continually violate the constitution enjoy offices and power while the media cheer them on.
“Reprehensible” German unity
I need to discuss another reason for my rejoining the Republikaners in 1989. My belief that one should hold fast to the unity of the German Fatherland has never changed. The left-wing German party SPD had abandoned the goal of reunification in the mid-70s, while the left-wing radical GRÜNE (Greens) had always supported the division of Germany into two independent states. The small liberal party FDP followed in the mid-80s in their support for two independent German states, and towards the end of the 80s, even within the semi-conservative CDU calls to put off the German reunification forever became louder and louder. In this connection (I believe it was in 1987), I remember the commentary of Dr. Helmut Kohl, then leader of the CDU and German chancellor, on a position paper of a certain CDU Member of Parliament, Bernhard Friedmann, concerning German reunification, which Dr. Kohl described as “blooming nonsense.” After the political sea-change of 1983, when the semi-conservative/liberal CDU/FDP coalition replaced that of the socialist/liberal SPD/FDP government of the decade before, the new government dissolved all governmental departments in charge of administrative preparations for a German reunification. The left wing of the CDU, under Rita Süssmuth, Heiner Geißler and Norbert Blüm, campaigned openly for dual statehood. In the summer of 1989, the Federal Council of the CDU youth organization Junge Union (Young Union) took the initiative to recommend the deletion of the political goal of German reunification from the party program of the CDU– just a few months before the Berlin Wall fell and Germany actually was reunified!
Now that Germany is reunited, a devastating judgment must be passed upon all the established political parties with regards to their political competence. From the standpoint of the present, the Republikaners were the only party, of those involved at the time, with a correct estimation of the historical and political forces, even if they were subsequently booted out by the turncoats of reunification. I was in the party because all the other parties had abandoned, or were about to abandon in an absolutely unconstitutional manner, the principle of reunification, a principle laid down in the preamble to the German constitution.
It is significant also that my membership in the Republikaners, which ended in the summer of 1991, was later used by the District Court Stuttgart as an indicator of my political mania – in full knowledge of what I have just described. Nowadays, support for the maintenance of constitutional political principles is deemed reprehensible, if not outright illegal. Further comments are superfluous.
Ready to go into a new era…
The young people that streamed into the Republikaner party at that time wanted to do something for German reunification, since this was impossible in almost any other political party. Former members of the CDU, the SPD and the FDP joined, as well as people from right-wing splinter parties and many people who had never been in any party at all. It was a motley group resulting in an unholy chaos. But among us students in Frankfurt, where I completed work for my diploma thesis and later performed my compulsory military service, this plate of mixed vegetables was intellectually very fruitful. In the newly founded Republikaner university organization, we had one former member of the liberal party FDP, one from the socialist party SPD, one from the conservative ecologist party ÖDP, three from the semi-conservative CDU, and many who were active for the first time. During this time, we were flooded with new ideas and discussed controversial issues as never before.
In this Frankfurt period, which ended in late 1990, I read nearly 200 books, mostly during my “loafer-service” in the Bundeswehr: I read right-wing and left-wing books, books from the middle-of-the-road, and books without any political viewpoint. It was one of the best times I have ever experienced. It was like preparing for an intellectual break-out.
…but instead into the offside
Our interest in involvement with the Republikaner party disappeared due to the fact that it was extremely anti-academic, both in its ranks and leadership. We had to let ourselves be mocked and called greenhorns and academic egg-heads by other members, and the work of our high-school organization was torpedoed by the Republikaner leadership which led to our resignation. From 1990 onwards, the Republikaner party has concerned itself mostly with internal conflicts; since every initiative for constructive work was received with malicious criticism, I resigned in the summer of 1991, about nine months after my relocation to Stuttgart in order to start my PhD studies.
A concentration camp inmate…
Now back to the question of how I became a revisionist. Certainly in the beginning of my second involvement with the Republikaners, I was repeatedly confronted with the use of the “Auschwitz bludgeon” used against both “my” party and myself. I have mentioned above the scandalous question of the journalist after the Berlin election, a question which was used continually to suggest that the Republikaners – after they had seized power – intended to “gas” the Turkish immigrants residing in Germany. Wouldn’t it have been easy to have introduced the idea of disputing the Holocaust at such a time?
I had a chance to do this in the spring of 1989, when one of my friends, who had left the “liberal” FDP shortly before to join the Republikaners, addressed the Holocaust issue in one of our discussions. He recommended that I read the book Was ist Wahrheit (“What is Truth”), by the socialist Frenchman, Professor Paul Rassinier. This may be regarded as the first fully revisionist book ever published. It deals with the supposed extermination of the Jews from the point of view of a former member of the French Resistance who had been incarcerated by the Germans in several concentration camps during WWII.
The remarkable thing about the book is its author. Since he was interned in several concentration camps as a member of the Resistance and was a pronounced left-winger – before and after WWII, he was a French member of parliament for the leftist socialists – he could not be accused of wanting to whitewash anything or of having any kind of political agenda. Written in a factual and balanced style, the book was easy to read; we discussed it, and that was all. I felt no need to devote myself further to the subject, either through the examination of further revisionist or establishment literature or through undertaking my own investigations. If there had ever been a political reason for an involvement with Holocaust revisionism, it would have been when I was throwing myself intensively into debating on behalf of the Republikaners.
…a neutral Swiss…
The cause of my interest in the Holocaust problem, beginning in the fall of 1989, came from quite another source, one that was only secondarily political and which had nothing to do with the Republikaner. In the fall of 1989, I bought the book Der Nasenring. Im Dickicht der Vergangenheitsbewältigung (“The Nose Ring – In the Thicket of Coming to Terms with the Past”) by the Swiss political scientist Dr. Armin Mohler. I had already received an earlier edition of this book as a gift from my mother in the mid-1980s. This earlier edition was the result of an assignment given to Mohler by a semi-official institute of West Germany. Mohler was asked to study how and when German attempts to come to terms with their past – originally a purely moral impetus – had become a weapon in day-to-day political discussion and intrigues.
That “coming to terms with the past” could lend itself to misuse for dirty schemes is obvious. From my own experience, I can think of three notable cases, where prominent German figures were driven out of office and their reputation destroyed by political and media smear campaigns. In such cases, the media and/or competing colleagues either use (allegedly) “brown spots” in the CV of the attacked individuals’ WWII history, or they distort and/or instrumentalize “politically incorrect” statements certain individuals made in public or private about Germany’s WWII past. Whatever the CV or the statements about the past of the victims of these campaigns are; the treatment which they receive by colleagues and the media must arouse the suspicion that the German past is being used today as a weapon of political intrigue against undesirables in one’s own political party, in other parties, or in general against any unwelcome professional competitor.
The question of how true the historical picture is that hides behind the “coming to terms with the past” Mohler handled only peripherally in this early edition of his book. His new book, which I read in the fall of 1989, goes into this question very thoroughly and thereby naturally brings up the question of the validity of historical revisionism – something which first became clear to me while reading the book.
That I got hold of this book was due not so much to its contents, which I previously knew nothing about, but more to my interest in the analyses of a Swiss political scientist, someone writing from what I considered to be a neutral position.
…and an apolitical American…
This Swiss author also reported about a study on the alleged “gas chambers” at the Auschwitz concentration camp. This study, said Mohler, had been prepared by an American expert for execution technologies, who had come to the conclusion that there had never been any gassings with poison gas in Auschwitz. One of his main arguments was the absence of traces of the poison gas supposedly used in the walls of those locations identified as homicidal “gas chambers.” Since this was a quite intriguing argument, I decided to order a copy of this study, for which Dr. Mohler even provided an address in his book. Thus were the factors brought together that I needed to compel me to get to the bottom of the problem: the report of an author I held to be politically neutral of a study by an apolitical non-partisan American on a discipline in which I had recently completed my diploma examination: Chemistry.
…enabled me to doubt
At that point, I was ready to put to the test my hitherto held opinion on the correctness of the established Holocaust dogma, because I had been presented with arguments from politically neutral persons that I could examine by means of my technical skill.
In late summer 1989, I received an English copy of the so-called Leuchter Report, which I have just mentioned, and I read and translated it into German immediately. But the report did not convince me entirely, because it was inexact at points and contained sloppy errors, as I described extensively in a letter to the editor published in the small right-wing monthly newspaper Junge Freiheit in 1990. But the Leuchter Report had embedded the thorn of doubt in my heart. I must now explain what that meant, since therein lies the real reason for my involvement.
Would only morons doubt?
It is generally known that none of the world’s religions reproaches its adherents for doubting the faith. Religion teaches us that to doubt is human, and therefore acceptable. One who doubts is not guilty as a result.
After reading the Leuchter Report, I began to doubt whether the historically accepted view of the events of the Holocaust was correct. I nevertheless felt guilty, because in western societies we are imbued with our mother’s milk that the history of the Holocaust is the purest truth, and those who doubt or deny this are evil or insane: extremists, National Socialists, Jew-haters, ethnic persecutors, weak-minded, morons, idiots, fruitcakes, cranks, crooks, anti-Semites, and so forth.
Yet, through a purely chemical argument, the thorn of doubt had been deeply embedded and I could only get rid of it by plucking it out or trying to forget it. I doubted, and felt guilty for doubting; yet I knew that it is not right to feel guilty for doubting.
From pole star to shooting star
Religions expect their adherents to believe in certain dogmas, but they do not demand doubters to feel guilty. At least the same must apply to science, where doubters should not be expected to feel guilty either. Here I was confronted with chemical-historical questions, and ideally speaking, science knows no dogmas, knows no compulsion to obedience, and no punishments for those who contradict the prevalent paradigm.
I therefore asked myself, why do western societies guard the Holocaust dogma closer than any religion does its own dogmas? The reason is certainly that western societies, and in particular German society, regards the Holocaust as one of their moral foundations. This I have explained elsewhere, in the book Dissecting the Holocaust. The German elites almost uniformly maintain that the health and wealth of the German Republic depend on the observance of the current official description of the Holocaust. In the German Republic, we are raised with the conviction that the Holocaust is the moral pole star of our world-view, with respect to which everything else must be oriented.
That was my own unconscious belief until I began to question the standard historical version of the Holocaust. When these doubts surfaced, I was confronted with the possibility that the pole star might turn out to be only a meteor, that everything which had been held as fundamental truth may in reality be false.
Here then are the reasons I have dedicated myself to revisionism:
- Because of my upbringing, I felt bad merely for doubting. I knew something was wrong with a society when it instills guilt-feelings in its members simply because they dissent. The Holocaust is the one area, and almost the only area, where one is admonished to accept facts blindly; not to think critically. But we are taught to question practically everything else, even that which is kept in high regard, such as the reality of God, or sexual intimacy. We are primed to be docile subjects and kept fearful of any transgressions with respect to the Holocaust. That angered me then and it angers me still.
- Because of my doubts, my entire outlook on life became unstable. I was no longer certain what was correct or incorrect, who lied and who told the truth. The eternal conflict of good and evil was revived in me. The question where the truth could be found concerning the Holocaust was so important, that I knew I could only recover my peace of mind by finding out for myself, personally, where the truth lay. I wanted to rid myself of uncertainty one way or the other.
- There is no scientific area in which those who hold dissident opinions are persecuted more mercilessly by the “ruling order” than that of revisionism. That is probably why most people don’t want to touch it, and most avoid it by convincing themselves that the subject is not relevant to current problems. But for me, this draconian persecution is the best proof there is that this is a crucial subject, because the powers that be regard it as most important that nobody touches this taboo. Comprehensive and critical research in this area is therefore very important for scientific, political and social reasons.
- The treatment of revisionism and its proponents in areas of science, journalism, politics and law is a scandal worldwide – it demands redress.
Up to the beginning of my PhD studies in the fall of 1990, I had read only two books on the subject: Wilhelm Stäglich’s The Auschwitz Myth and the book by Kogon and others entitled Nazi Mass Murder.
After reading these books I collected information on the so-called Zündel trial in order to find out what arguments had been made there. I had discovered in winter 1989/1990 that Zündel, who had commissioned the Leuchter Report, was an admirer of Adolf Hitler. This revelation had the equivalent effect of a kick in the stomach, because now I had to deal with the possibility that the Leuchter Report was not the independent report of an apolitical American technician, but merely the instrument of a German-Canadian Neo-Nazi. But such considerations could not remove the points made by Leuchter and therefore could not remove my doubts about the historical picture.
In other words, I fully realized that a fact-oriented argument remains a fact-oriented argument – and needs to be treated as such by the examining scientist – even if it came from somebody who stated the facts for political reasons.
…but then getting into gear
I began my own research into this area at the beginning of 1991, at first out of pure personal curiosity regarding the question whether the pigment Iron Blue that developed in the walls of the buildings, where gassings with hydrogen cyanide from Zyklon B allegedly had taken place, was sufficiently stable to still be there today. After that had been proved, I concentrated on the question if, when, how, and under what circumstances this pigment could develop in walls of different compositions.
A revisionist had read my letter to the editor of Junge Freiheit in 1990, mentioned above, and after a phone conversation, he sent me a list of addresses of persons and organizations – almost all of them unknown to me.
After I had sent out my first research results in spring 1991 to this list, I was contacted by one person on that list, a friend of ret. Major General Otto Ernst Remer, a retired Wehrmacht officer. At that time, Remer was engaged in publishing political pamphlets, some of which made quite blunt revisionist statements, which had led to several criminal prosecutions against him. Because of this, his friend and the Düsseldorf lawyer Hajo Herrmann, a well-known former Luftwaffe fighter pilot who was now Remer’s defense attorney, were looking for an expert to support Remer’s revisionist claims.
At that time, it even appeared to be possible for me to work jointly with the Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History), an official German left-wing historical institute, whose address was on that list as well. However, they never responded to my letters, apparently because they were not interested in the technical-scientific side of the problem.
In summer 1991, I decided to leave the Republikaner party. I have already given the reasons for my decision. An additional and decisive motivation was that I did not want my involvement with revisionism to be interpreted politically because of my membership of a party or that my scientific activity in this controversial area would conflict with the political goals or principles of any party.
I should mention another reason that may be helpful toward understanding my involvement. Until my first trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau, I had had no exact idea of the condition of the camp’s former crematoria, in which the alleged “gas chambers” were located, so I had no idea whether it would actually be useful to undertake technical or chemical research. Before my first trip, I had thoroughly prepared myself as to what I might expect with respect to the material remains at, for example, “gas chambers,” if the generally accepted reports of the mass gassings in Birkenau were correct. It was clear to me, for example, if one was to believe the eyewitnesses, that the roofs of the morgues of Crematoria II and III should show three or four holes through which Zyklon B was to have been thrown into the room.
On August 16, 1991, I stood on the roof of Morgue 1 of Crematoria II at Birkenau. This location is commonly regarded as the “gas chamber” where the most mass-murders of the Third Reich are said to have taken place, a roof which was in various stages of collapse and yet still held together and partially rested on supporting columns; a roof in which I could find no trace of these holes, so that I asked myself whether I lived in a world of madmen. I found myself horribly duped by a judiciary which had never thought it necessary to make any special technical examinations of the alleged crime scene. I had been lied to by all the politicians of the world who to date had failed to assemble even the most minuscule investigation commission. I had been deceived by the innumerable “Holocaust historians” who to date had not deemed it necessary to make any investigation of the camps of Auschwitz or elsewhere, examinations which paleontologists and historians of antiquity have undertaken on the sites of ruins and other remains of ancient settlements. And I felt betrayed by the natural scientists and engineers world-over who swallowed any and every story whatsoever from the “eyewitnesses” without so much as a murmur that the material remains, the supposed crime scenes, and the eyewitness testimony itself should be subjected to some rudimentary scrutiny.
…leads to the collapse of a world-view
On this 16th of August, 1991, my world-view collapsed and I swore to do whatever necessary to advance clarification to this complex of questions. I will only abandon my position when my doubts are confirmed or rejected through convincing scientific arguments in a fair scientific discourse. Use of force will never change this position. On the contrary: it fortifies my conviction that I am right, because only he who lacks arguments must use force. And since I have been chased all over the world ever since by all sorts of government with brute force, I now know that I must be right.
The Eros of Cognition
In time, a further motivation was added to those mentioned above, namely what I call the “Eros of Cognition.” Whoever calls himself a scientist and has not experienced this, is not, in my opinion, a real scientist. The excitement of taking part in decisive scientific research and discoveries, to push things forward which one knows are new and even revolutionary, the consciousness of standing at the forefront and helping direct “whither the ship of discovery goest”– those are things that one must know first-hand, in order to understand what is “Eros of cognition.”
|||Christlich Soziale Union, Christian Social Union.|
|||Christlich Demokratische Union, Christian Democratic Union. They actually refused to be called conservative, and rightly so, since only a minority of their members has conservative views, the majority having quite liberal views. The CDU has no section in Bavaria, where the CSU plays its role, though the Bavarian CSU is more conservative than the “Prussian” CDU.|
|||Today the German government consists of those who protested against such politics in the 70s and 80s, and as was to be expected, they now do even worse: They wage war in Serbia and Afghanistan, and they are increasingly dismantling the Germans’ civil rights.|
|||Named after the then German Secretary of Justice.|
|||Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, National Democratic Party of Germany.|
|||Regarding its difficulty, the German Diplom is almost an equivalent to an Anglo-Saxon PhD.|
|||Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands, Socialdemocratic Party of Germany.|
|||Freie Demokratische Partei, Free Democratic Party.|
|||In Germany, military service is compulsory for all men physically fit to do so.|
|||Ökologisch Demokratische Partei, Ecological Democratic Party.|
|||Heitz & Höffkes, Essen 1989.|
|||The names of those persons are: Hans Filbinger, Philipp Jenninger, and Werner Höfer.|
|||2nd edition, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago, IL, 2003, pp. 49-53.|
|||See also my paper “Wissenschaft und ethische Verantwortung,” in Andreas Molau (ed.), Opposition für Deutschland, Druffel-Verlag, Berg am Starnberger See 1995, pp. 260-288.|