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One of the most damaging, oft-repeated and false accusations leveled against Holocaust revisionism is that it is part of an extremist neo-Nazi movement, the ultimate purpose of which is to destroy democratic political systems and reintroduce Nazi totalitarianism. Expressing this widely held sentiment, a major opponent of Holocaust revisionism, Dr. Michael Shermer, described Holocaust revisionists as a "small but vocal group of anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and political radicals who would like to see the return of National Socialism." Shermer imputes to all revisionists a covert desire to restore the Third Reich, or bring on a Fourth. A cursory review of the evidence will easily demonstrate the falsity of this claim.
Laird Wilcox, an expert on political extremism, estimated in 1989 that a minority (up to 25%) of Holocaust revisionists were Nazi apologists, which means of course that the vast majority (75%) at the time were not. In the decade that followed Wilcox's estimate, revisionism has attracted a much wider audience which surely reduces this figure significantly. Holocaust revisionism's opponents like Shermer make it a point to ignore this important piece of evidence whenever they invoke the "revisionism-equals-Nazism" canard.
The father of Holocaust revisionism, Paul Rassinier, was a pacifist, former Communist and left-wing socialist who opposed the Nazis during WWII, and because of his activities in the French Resistance was interned by the Germans in Nazi concentration camps. Indeed, this association of liberal and left wing intellectuals with Holocaust revisionism has continued in France to this day. The French-Jewish historian and bitter opponent of revisionism, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, has noted that at the core of revisionism in France is a left-wing , revolutionary group, La Vielle Taupe.
The French revisionist scholar, Dr. Robert Faurisson, is a life-long apolitical liberal who never had any sympathies with Nazism. Another prominent, left-of-center French intellectual who is sympathetic to Holocaust revisionism is Serge Thion.
The famous French political philosopher, Roger Garaudy, is a former leftist Communist theoretician who converted to Islam. He is also a noted proponent of Holocaust revisionism in France.
One of the premier spokesmen for Holocaust revisionism in America is Bradley Smith. His present wife is of Mexican descent and his ex was Jewish. For numerous years prior to his involvement with revisionism he was a liberal free speech advocate who described himself as a Libertarian. Clearly, he hardly fits the mold for a neo-Nazi.
Prominent American revisionist author and activist Michael Hoffman II has expressed stringent criticism of Adolf Hitler and Nazism. He wrote:
"Hitler was a disaster for Germany. He took fully legitimate ideas about organic community and rootedness to the soil and twisted them into a modern counterfeit. In the name of fighting the Bolshevik police state, he created one of his own. In the name of military prowess, he rendered his people defenseless before the merciless devastation of RAF bombers of the British Empire. He crusaded against Communism and ended up Communizing half of Europe. Hitler is the pre-eminent failure and incompetent of this historical era."
Regarding Nazism as a political system, Hoffman's judgment is equally harsh and accurately reflects the consensus of opinion among many revisionists who I have associated with:
"The Nazi system was suited to an ant-hill comprised of servants, lackeys and toadies automatically obeying 'supreme leaders' whose vision was corrupted by the mindless adulation they commanded. How I chuckle sardonically when I stand amid howling Jewish mobs and bands of know-nothing reporters as they accuse all revisionists of trying to 'revive Hitler' and having a 'secret agenda' of 'neo-Nazism.'"
Clearly, this is hardly the talk of a "neo-Nazi."
The fact of the matter remains that Holocaust revisionists cannot be politically stereotyped, as they represent a wide range of political opinion, leftist, liberal, libertarian, centrist, conservative, rightist. There is indeed also a visible minority of neo-Nazis that consider themselves Holocaust revisionists, but the vast majority of revisionists cannot be categorized as such. Holocaust revisionism is an historical school of thought and not a political movement.
In their Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why do They Say It? , Michael Shermer and co-author Alex Grobman write: "Some Holocaust deniers, particularly those with extremist right-wing leanings, might gain greater acceptance if the crime (of the Holocaust) attached to fascism had never actually happened. Without the Holocaust perhaps fascism would be a more acceptable alternative to democracy."
Long before the Holocaust legend, a majority of people in the Western democracies rejected totalitarian fascist movements, thus showing that fascism is not an acceptable alternative to democracy in the minds of most European peoples.
Stephen Roth, a former director of the Institute of Jewish Affairs (London), proceeds to explain why he believes that Holocaust revisionism is the most effective weapon in the "neo-Nazi" arsenal:
"If the crimes of the Nazis can be wiped off the record of history, if the Nazi regime can be whitewashed and made to appear as admittedly somewhat disciplinarian and tough on law and order but basically harmless and more efficient than our allegedly lax Western democracies with their growing disorder, their crimes, violence, and riots, then the neo-Nazis would have won a great victory. The system advocated by them would also look harmless and acceptable, and the ideological resistance to it, largely based on awareness of the horrors of the past, would be undermined, particularly among younger people who have no personal experience of Nazi rule."
Should the revisionists succeed in convincing the peoples of the Western democracies that the "gas chambers" never existed, the vast majority would still harbor considerable resistance to the philosophy, political system, and policies implemented during the Third Reich. The National Socialists advocated a command state, with one-party control of society and censorship of the press. By contrast, inherent in the modern political culture of the West is acceptance of a multi-party state, independence of the press from overt political control, and a disdain for open regimentation.
Indeed, historian Francis Nicosia considers this an important factor in England's refusal to ally with National Socialist Germany during the 1930s. He points out that there was a fundamental irreconcilability between the National Socialist and English political philosophies and systems.
Furthermore, the populations of the democracies, particularly America, seem fixed in the belief that a certain quota of disorder and dishonor, from riots and street crime to political and economic corruption, is an acceptable price to pay for the maintenance of the democratic society.
If Holocaust revisionism is not a neo-Nazi movement, why do its opponents and critics continually label it as such?
What they are trying to accomplish, I believe, is very simple. If people end up believing that Holocaust revisionism is, in essence, a neo-Nazi movement, many will be convinced that due to this association that the principal tenets of revisionism are false and perhaps even evil. This is an ad hominem line of "reasoning" which is logically fallacious but very psychologically appealing to large segments of the population. The truth or falsity of a theory (such as Holocaust revisionism) is independent of the political leanings of its proponents. As the philosopher of science Karl Popper noted, it doesn't matter where hypotheses come from, only whether they explain the evidence they are based on, whether they are subject to disproof, and whether they can hold up to attempts to disprove them.
In short, this "revisionism-equals-Nazism" accusation is simply an ideological battering ram utilized by revisionism's opponents to discredit and undermine Holocaust revisionism.
© 2001, Paul Grubach
- Online: www.skeptic.com/wpbwt.html See point #2.
- Laird Wilcox, "The Spectre Haunting Holocaust Revisionism," Revisionist Letters, Spring 1989, p. 8.
- See the biographical material of Paul Rassinier by various authors in Paul Rassinier, The Holocaust Story and the Lies of Ulysses: A Study of the German Concentration Camps and the Alleged Extermination of European Jewry (Institute for Historical Review, 1978).
- Pierre Vidal-Naqet, Assassins of Memory: Essays on Denial of the Holocaust (Columbia University Press, 1992), pp.116-120.
- Michael Hoffman II, The Great Holocaust Trial, Third Commemorative Edition, (Wiswell Ruffin House, 1995), p.136.
- Michael Curtiss, ed., Anti-Semitism in the Contemporary World (Westview Press, 1986), p.222.
- Francis Nicosia ,The Third Reich and the Palestine Question (University of Texas Press, 1985), p.77.
- Karl Popper, Conjectures and Refutations: The Growth of Scientific Knowledge (Basic Books, 1962), passim.
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Holocaust Revisionism and Neo-Nazism, They are Not the Same!|
|Sources:||The Revisionist # 8, Nov. 2001, Codoh series|
|First posted on CODOH:||Oct. 30, 2001, 6 p.m.|