Letters
Published: 2002-09-01

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Justice for JDL Victims

President Bush has declared that the financial backers of all terrorist groups must be held accountable, with a $1 trillion lawsuit filed on that basis.

Considering that in 1985 the FBI named the Jewish Defense League as the second most active terrorist group in the United States, anyone who contributed money to the JDL in the years since should – on the basis of Bush's declaration – be regarded as supporting terrorism, and accordingly should be held accountable for contributing to the sufferings of the JDL's victims.

The victims of the Jewish Defense League, and the families of those victims – Christians, Muslims, Arabs, and even some Jews, as well as organizations such as the IHR – should seek justice by taking legal action against all those who have financially supported this group over the years.

Of course, those who gave money to the JDL might well claim that they knew nothing of the group's terrorist activities. But such claims should be rejected with the same rigor as similar claims by supporters of various other (non-Jewish) terrorist groups.

J. S.
[bye-mail]


Suicidal Questioning

I just found your web site, and am still reading. I don't know exactly what to make of it all yet. I do know this, however: I am tired of Israel being regarded as a sacred cow. For some time I have had serious doubts about the validity of "the holocaust" story. I've always been offended that the wartime treatment of Jews is presented as the worst atrocity to ever happen. My Chinese wife and her family can relate stories that make the Jewish holocaust sound like a walk in the park. And yet how often do we hear about the wartime sufferings of the Chinese? Certainly the Chinese I know never present themselves as a race of victims, nor do they expect preferential treatment.

At the same time, I don't think the Nazis were a bunch of great guys, so I hope that's not where your website is headed. You are certainly right about one thing: even to question any of this is suicidal, especially if you are in media.

M. L.
Kealakekua, Hawaii


Why 'Revisionist'?

On the home page of the IHR web site, visitors are told: "This site offers scholarly information and thoughtful commentary, from a revisionist perspective, on a wide range of historical issues..."

I don't understand the use of the word "revisionist" here. To me revisionist historians are those who "revise" (change) history to further their own political agendas. Your Institute says that it is against that, and instead advocates true history in accordance with historical facts.

So, your use of the term "revisionist" here makes no sense to me. Please explain.

J. L.
[bye-mail]

Your confusion is understandable, because the terms "revisionist" and "revisionism" are routinely distorted and misrepresented in the media, and by people who should know better. Especially here in the United States, much of the public has come to accept that "revisionism" means "rewriting" history in a false or distorted way, to advance a particular agenda.

The word "revisionism" comes from the Latin "re videre," which means to "look again" or "see again." "Revisionism" means taking another look at the past, on the basis of new evidence and new insights, for a more accurate and fuller understanding of history. In that sense, all good history writing is "revisionist," because scholars are continually reexamining the past on the basis of new historical evidence or new perspectives.

The revisionist is a skeptic. He questions what authorities, and especially governments, tell him. Revisionism is the enemy of all dogmatic or official history.

– The Editor


Unfounded Assertion

Samuel Crowell’s article, "Beyond Auschwitz" (March-April 2001 Journal, Vol. 20, No. 2, pp. 26-35) is spoiled by his totally unfounded assertion that “some portion of non-working Hungarian Jews could have been killed,” but that their number “could not have been more than a few tens of thousands at most” [p. 33].

While it can not, of course, be excluded that some Hungarian Jews were executed for real or alleged violations of camp regulations, the killing of "a few tens of thousands" would have been possible only as part of a limited extermination policy. Obviously, the first victims of such a policy would have been those unable to work, but as Crowell himself admits, many Hungarian Jews unfit for labor, including children and old people, survived the war at Auschwitz and other camps. So who were the magical "tens of thousands" who "could have been killed"? As Crowell does not believe in the gas chambers, such mass killings would have had to have been carried out by methods other than gassing, most likely by shooting. But if so, how come there is no eyewitness testimony at all to such mass shootings?

Equally absurd is Crowell’s claim that up to 55 percent of the deported Hungarian Jews may have perished before the end of the war is equally absurd. Raul Hilberg, who supports the gas chamber and mass extermination claims, puts the number of Hungarian Jewish victims at 180,000, which means that the majority of the Hungarian Jewish deportees must have survived. Therefore, how does Crowell, who rejects the gas chamber legend, arrive at this impossibly high percentage? In reality, the number of Hungarian Jews who died in the camps can not possibly have exceeded some tens of thousands.

Being well acquainted with the documents, and having remarkable linguistic skills, Crowell could make a substantial contribution to revisionist research. He should therefore refrain from making irresponsible statements that damage his credibility.

Jürgen Graf
[by e-mail]

[CODOH remarks: That letter was printed in the previous issue already; ed.]

A Born Skeptic

I am either a propaganda victim, or I'm becoming one. While searching the internet for a good revisionist critique of the Roosevelt/Pearl Harbor controversy, I found "Pearl Harbor: Fifty Years of Controversy" [Winter 1991-92 Journal] – which I thought was useful. I knew nothing of the IHR, or the IHR's views on the Holocaust. When someone on an internet message board pointed out your Holocaust articles to me, I was shocked. And then I read, and read.

One problem I have with your views – other than the obvious fact that, like most everyone else, I have been heavily indoctrinated with "exterminationism" – is your seeming lack of concern for the cruel and inhumane things that Germans unquestionably did to Jews during World War II. In my opinion you should acknowledge up front that the Jews were subjected to systematic discrimination, forcible rounding up, imprisonment, slave labor, executions, theft of property, and so forth.

Without such an acknowledgement, revisionism sometimes sounds like Nazi apologetics. If atrocities or crimes were in fact carried out against Jews, why not acknowledge that up front?

I first encountered the exterminationist view as a child, and it has been hammered into my head ever since. But even when I was young I questioned it. I guess I'm a born skeptic. My own critique always went something like this: One, If the Germans wanted to kill all the Jews, why didn't they just walk into their houses, shoot them there or on the edge of town, take their property, and bury them in nearby mass graves? That would have been much simpler. The exterminationist view that Jews were instead transported by rail clear across Europe in order to kill them seems illogical and wasteful, given the essential strategic importance of rail transport.

Two, If it was common knowledge in the camps that the Jews were being exterminated, as survivors now claim, why didn't the Jewish camp prisoners try to escape en masse? It seems obvious to me that knowing of systematic mass slaughter would cause most people to act desperately to get out, trying anything, regardless of guards and the unlikelihood of survival.

Three, How is it that any Jews were left alive in German concentration camps at the end of the war? The fact that many did survive, even in camps, seems inconsistent with a policy of systematic extermination.

Four, Why do we always hear that "six million" Jews were killed? That strikes me as a suspiciously convenient, rounded figure. Why not 4.8, 5.7, 6.5, or 7.235 million? The "six million" should at least be qualified with an "approximately."

I am writing this merely to tell you that I do not want to be a victim of propaganda, mainstream or otherwise. I pride myself on being able to accept "truth," no matter how inconvenient.

As a second generation Polish-American, I have always been equally interested in both Nazi and Soviet atrocities. I have always wondered why Soviet atrocities are largely ignored, while German ones are played up in the media, seemingly on a daily basis. Aware of the often propagandistic nature of everything we hear about World War II, and now that I have seen many of the extensive sources cited by the IHR, I have become defamiliarized and upset. I no longer know (if I ever thought I did) what the real story is, and I fear I may never know for sure. I guess I now think that the truth is somewhere between the traditional exterminationist view and yours.

Every historical topic, even the Holocaust, should be subject to debate. Whatever the validity of your arguments, you are without question courageous in going against the grain.

C. J.
[by e-mail]


A Suggestion

I suggest replacing the term "Holocaust" with the term "Auschwitz tragedy," because the extent of a tragedy can ben investigated, whereas a religious "holocaust" defies academic research.

P. D.
Boeblingen, Germany


We welcome letters from readers. We reserve the right to edit for style and space. Write: [... since defunct, don't write; ed.]


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Author(s): Jürgen Graf , et al.
Title: Letters
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 21, no. 3 (May/August 2002), pp. 31f.
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Published: 2002-09-01
First posted on CODOH: April 21, 2013, 7 p.m.
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