On December 11 and 12 of 2006, a watershed event took place in this history of the Holocaust revisionist movement, that group of scholars, intellectuals and activists who claim there are lies and exaggerations in the traditional Jewish Holocaust story. The Islamic Republic of Iran hosted a two-day conference on the Holocaust, in which both the traditional and revisionist views of this Jewish tragedy of WWII were presented.
World leaders and powerful political organizations all joined in chorus to condemn the event in harsh terms. One of the most prominent and often repeated claims in their condemnations is that the traditional view of the Holocaust is an indisputable fact. To illustrate the point, let us list some of their comments.
Outgoing United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan:
“The secretary general would deeply deplore any conference whose purpose is to question or deny the reality of the Holocaust.”
Incoming United Nations Secretary-General Ban-ki Moon:
“Denying historical facts especially on such an important subject as the Holocaust is just not acceptable.”
European Union President Finland (official statement):
“The Presidency condemns in the strongest terms any politically or racially motivated attempts and the use of pseudo-scholarship to deny or question the Holocaust and is disturbed by the continuous efforts of the Iranian government to question or trivialize the undeniable historical facts of the Holocaust and its horrors.”
European Union Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini:
“The conference shows an ‘utter disregard of historically established facts.’”
Swiss Foreign Ministry:
“The Shoah is a historical fact. It is unacceptable to call this into question.”
Slovak Foreign Minister Jan Kubis:
“Slovakia resolutely rejects any efforts at questioning the Holocaust.”
Bulgarian Deputy Foreign Minister Feim Chaushev:
“The Holocaust is an undisputed historical fact and one of the greatest tragedies in human history, which can move anyone and can no means be called into question.”
The list goes on and on. The reader is encouraged to examine the Anti-Defamation League’s web site for these and other relevant quotes.
This claim, that the “Holocaust is indisputable historical fact,” is blatantly false. In order to demonstrate my point, let us examine the case of the Nazi concentration camp, Belzec, one of the alleged extermination camps for Jews. Please keep in mind that this is not even the best example that I could use, just the simplest to explain in a short amount of time and space.
Belzec was a Nazi concentration camp located in Eastern Poland. Premier Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg claimed that the first killing agent used to mass murder Jews there was either bottled carbon monoxide or hydrogen cyanide. Later, the camp was equipped with diesel motors, and the Jews were murdered in “gas chambers” that utilized the diesel exhaust.
Enter Dr. Robert Jan van Pelt, a professor of architecture at the University of Waterloo in Canada. At the famous Irving-Lipstadt libel trial held in London between January and April 2000, he testified as an expert witness on Auschwitz concentration camp. His tome, The Case For Auschwitz: Evidence From The Irving Trial, is a revised version of the expert report that he submitted to the court. It has been trumpeted by mainstream sources as another definitive refutation of Holocaust revisionism, and van Pelt is among that group described as “authorities on the Holocaust.”
Professor van Pelt claims that world leaders in the First World War needed false atrocity propaganda to motivate the masses, but Allied leaders in the Second World War had no such need for lies. In his own words: “Fighting Hitler under the inspired leadership of men such as Churchill and Roosevelt, the Allies had no need for atrocity propaganda…Churchill was able to mobilize a nation without the need to engage in the very kind of all-too-easily dismissible atrocity propaganda that the weak leaders of the First World War found necessary to employ to bolster morale.”
This is false. The Allies did in fact use false, unsubstantiated atrocity stories to attain their ends. In December of 1942, the United Nations Information Office released a statement in regard to the alleged fate of Jews in German-held Europe. It concluded: “The means employed in deporting from the ghetto all those who survive murders and shooting in the street exceeds all imagination. In particular, children, old people and those too weak for work are murdered. Actual data concerning the fate of the deportees is not at hand, but the news is available—irrefutable news—that places of execution have been organized at Chelmo and Belzec, where those who survive shootings are murdered en masse by means of electrocution and gas.”
Here, the pro-Allied United Nations Information Office claimed they had “irrefutable news” that Jews were murdered en masse by electrocution at Belzec. We now know that this is false, as the “mass-electrocution-of-Jews” story is admitted to be mythical, and even van Pelt admits this to be so in his authoritative book.
The Belzec electrocution myth further illustrates another flaw in van Pelt’s methodology and beliefs. As he point out, the Polish Fortnightly Review, an English-language newspaper published by the Polish government in exile during WWII, published a July 10, 1942 description of the alleged “electrocution devices” whereby Jews “were murdered en masse at Belzec.” It stated “the men go to a barracks on the right, the women to a barracks situated on the left, where they strip, ostensibly in readiness for a bath. After they have undressed both groups go to a third barracks where there is an electrified plate, where the executions are carried out.”
In an attempt to get the reader to believe that these were just “honest errors” and not deliberate propaganda lies, he resorts to this rationalization: “In the summer of 1942, when the report was written, no one who was part of the execution team had left Belzec alive, and thus the description of the method of killing was based largely on rumor.” In other words, since no one escaped these alleged mass killings alive to precisely describe the technology of mass murder, false rumors developed as to the exact method of killing. Nevertheless, the central event—the mass killings of Jews—definitely took place.
According to a report that was printed in the February 12, 1944 issue of The New York Times, “eyewitnesses” did in fact escape these mass executions, and they lived to “precisely describe” the “actual method of mass murder.” It is stated: “A young Polish Jew who escaped from a mass execution in Poland with the aid of false identification papers repeated today a story that the Germans operated an ‘execution factory’ in old Russian fortifications in eastern Poland. The Jews were forced naked onto a metal platform operated as a hydraulic elevator which lowered them into a huge vat filled with water up to the victims’ necks, he said. They were electrocuted by current through the water. The elevator then lifted the bodies to a crematorium above…”
The article continues: “The youth said he personally had seen trainloads of Jews leave Rawna Luska in eastern Poland in the morning for the crematorium at near-by Beljec [sic] and return empty in the evening. He was told the rest of the story, he said, by individuals who escaped after actually being taken inside the factory.”
Dr. van Pelt can’t rationalize this one away. Contrary to what he claims, here we have “eyewitnesses” who “actually escaped a mass electrocution” and lived to tell the story to another escapee, who then in turn gave a “precise description” of the electrocution machinery at Belzec to the world. This shows that pro-Allied media sources in the US were in fact promoting invented atrocity lies.
And there is more. Consider this “eyewitness” account about the “electrocution chambers” at Belzec, which was published in the “authoritative” The Black Book: The Nazi Crimes Against The Jewish People:
“The Belzec camp is built underground. It is an electric crematorium. There are two halls in the underground buildings. People were taken out of the railway cars into the first hall. Then they were led naked into the second hall. Here the floor resembled an enormous plate. When the crowd of men stood on it, the floor sank deep into a pool of water. The moment the men sank up to their necks, a powerful electric current of millions of volts was passed through, killing them all at once. The floor then rose again, and a second electric current was passed through the bodies, burning them until nothing was left of the victims save a few ashes.”
Keep in mind this is based upon an “eyewitness” who “saw these mass electrocutions with his own two eyes.”
In order to “prove” the existence of “gas chambers,” throughout the entire book van Pelt relies upon a convergence of evidence—an ensemble of evidence that supposedly points to only one conclusion. Namely, the gas chambers existed. Here, I have shown the reader a convergence of evidence (one United Nations report and some eyewitness accounts) that points to the false conclusion that murders by electrocution occurred at Belzec.
Dr. van Pelt admits that the evidence to “prove” that Jews were murdered en masse with diesel exhaust at Belzec is sparse at best:
“The evidence [that Jews were murdered in gas chambers at Belzec] is much less abundant [than the evidence that Jews were murdered in gas chambers at Auschwitz]. There are few eyewitnesses, no confession that can compare to that given by [Auschwitz commandant Rudolf] Höss, no significant remains, and few archival sources.”
Since the “evidence” used to prove that Jews were murdered en masse by electrocution devices at Belzec is not really qualitatively different from the “evidence” used to “prove” that Jews were murdered in gas chambers at Belzec; and since the “evidence” for mass murder by electrocution leads to a false conclusion, isn’t it also possible that the “evidence” for mass killings of Jews in gas chambers at Belzec also leads to a false conclusion?
Dr. van Pelt claims the “evidence” leads one to the “moral certainty” that Jews were murdered en masse in gas chambers at Belzec. In light of what was pointed out here, this is a false conclusion on his part. As for the world leaders that I have quoted at the beginning of this essay, they are equally wrong for claiming the traditional view of the Holocaust, inclusive of “gas chambers” at Belzec, is indisputable.
One must grasp the most important part of my argument. I deliberately ignored all of the other arguments, evidence and studies that I could muster to bolster the revisionist conclusion that there were no “homicidal gas chambers” at Belzec. However, by going to just about any decent college library in the United States (and if need be, by using the interlibrary loan department), one can easily view the four sources I used in this article to show that the world leaders I quoted are dead wrong. To put it mildly, the traditional view of the Holocaust is very questionable: it is not an indisputable fact. A simple review of the facts shows how wrong these powerful people really are.
So why do World leaders and powerful organizations repeat this false claim that the traditional view of the Holocaust is an indisputable fact? The answer is simple. If the traditional version of the Holocaust is accepted as an “indisputable fact,” like the earth revolves about the sun or certain germs cause certain diseases, then there is no need to examine the arguments and evidence of those who claim otherwise. Ergo, they have a “justification” for refusing to publish and examine the arguments and evidence of Holocaust revisionists—an indirect and stealthy way to censor the views of the skeptics.
But revisionists should look upon this as a sign of future victory. World leaders and the mass media realize that they can no longer answer revisionist arguments with evidence and logic. Their only recourse left to combat the Holocaust revisionist movement is persecution, imprisonment, career destruction, personal attacks, slander and the deceitful tactic we have seen here.
- See “Iran Hosts Anti-Semitic Hatefest in Tehran: Responses from World Leaders.” Online: http://www.adl.org/main_International_Affairs/iran_holocaust_conference.htm?Multi_page_sections=sHeading_4
- Raul Hilberg, THE DESTRUCTION OF THE EUROPEAN JEWS: Student Edition (Holmes and Meier, 1985), p.229.
- Robert Jan van Pelt, THE CASE FOR AUSCHWITZ: Evidence from the Irving Trial (Indiana University Press, 2002), p.134.
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, December 20, 1942, p.23.
- Robert Jan van Pelt, p.145.
- Ibid, p.145.
- THE NEW YORK TIMES, February 12, 1944, p.6.
- THE BLACK BOOK: THE NAZI CRIMES AGAINST THE JEWISH PEOPLE (Nexus Press, 1974), p.313. This edition is a reprint of the 1946 edition.
- Robert Jan van Pelt, p.5.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Is the Holocaust an Indisputable Fact As World Leaders Say?, Reflections in the Aftermath of the Iran Holocaust Conference|
|First posted on CODOH:||Dec. 30, 2006, 6 p.m.|