Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, Deborah Lipstadt, New York: The Free Press, 1993. ix + 278 pages.
During the past few years, a number of facts have come to light which have served to clarify the question of the "Holocaust" claims that have played an important role in shaping American foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and perhaps to a lesser extent with regard to the lands which tried at great sacrifice and with heroism to block the Communist tide into western Europe during 1941 to 1945. The death records of Auschwitz have been released, detailed analyses have been published of the American aerial photographs made of Auschwitz during 1944, a forensic analysis of the surface stonework of walls of alleged lethal gas chambers has been undertaken by a courageous American expert on penal execution procedures and the supreme court of Israel has discredited the testimony of a considerable number of witnesses who claimed that the American citizen John Demjanjuk was a certain concentration camp guard. American citizens are being taxed to pay for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum recently opened in Washington. Advertisements in important university campus newspapers (e.g., of Cornell, Duke, University of Georgia, University of Illinois, Louisiana State University, University of Michigan, Ohio State University, Rutgers and Vanderbilt) have brought up the need for public, open debate on the "Holocaust" question. These and other developments have caused a reevaluation of the "Holocaust" claims in broad sections of the American public and even in academic circles. (A large number of revisionists of the "Holocaust" material have advanced degrees in such diverse subjects as history and chemistry.)
It is consequently not astonishing that those who have supported the Extermination Thesis over the years have become embarrassed or even panic stricken. Professor Lipstadt, who occupies the Dorot Chair in Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, expresses her panic in the opening paragraphs of her preface: "When I first began studying Holocaust denial, people would stare at me strangely. ....That situation has changed dramatically. Regrettably, I no longer have to convince others of the relevance of this work." She is especially disturbed (page 208) by the advertisements that have appeared in campus newspapers that appeal for open debate on the "Holocaust" material. In some senses, her panic is justified. Such well-known historians as David Irving have even begun to question the wisdom of England's ever having declared war on Germany (page 8) and have attacked the character and motivations of Winston Churchill. (See New York Times Book Review, 29 August 1993, page 3.)
As a result of pressure from well-funded and politically powerful Jewish organizations a number of governments, even including those in Bonn and Vienna, which purport to represent the German people, have taken strong measures to prevent any discussion in public which questions the validity of the "Holocaust" claims. In 1985 and 1988 Canada conducted trials on a preposterous legal basis against a German citizen residing in Canada just for having republished a small book that raised questions about the "Holocaust" material. Fortunately, reason finally prevailed and the defendant, Ernst Zündel, was exonerated by the Canadian supreme court. By the way, such desperate measures by those who have a vested interest in upholding the Extermination Thesis serve to publicize the tremendous political power and financial resources of Jewish organizations. They also call attention to the importance attached to the Extermination Thesis by Jews and their lackeys in the press and electronic media.
Lipstadt repeatedly asserts that those who contest ("deny") the "Holocaust" material do so because they have some sort of plan to revive National Socialism or Fascism. Perhaps that is true in the case of a few individuals, but in the case of most revisionists I have known – and I have known many of them – the motivation for contesting the "Holocaust" material are far simpler. People of German descent are angered by the "Holocaust" material because it puts them at social and even economic disadvantages. Lipstadt also equates casting doubts on the "Holocaust" material with anti-Semitism. Actually, revisionists have a wide range of attitudes toward Jews. Most of them, however, are probably uneasy about the huge sums paid to the Jewish state in Palestine which American and German taxpayers are forced to pay and most of them no doubt resent the anti-Aryan role of the Jews in the media, especially in television. Does that constitute an irrational, unreasonable hostility toward Jews ("anti-Semitism")?
At various places in the book Lipstadt expresses concern about the putative successes of those who cast doubts about the "Holocaust" material. As an author who has written a good many pages on the Extermination Thesis (even including a review that appeared in the very first issue of the Journal of Historical Review, Spring, 1980) I can assure Prof. Lipstadt that the advocates of the Extermination Thesis have some overwhelming advantages, such as the role of the media, especially the television networks largely controlled by Jews in the United States, as has been well documented. I recall that no less than $140,000,000 was expended in the production of the lavish television series, War and Remembrance. The financial resources of those who contest the Extermination Thesis are very small compared to the almost unlimited resources of its advocates, even including the resources of the federal government, which has given heavy financial aid to the advocates of the Extermination Thesis, including the lavish expenditures for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. There are a number of reasons why many Americans do not want to hear of any doubts about the Extermination Thesis, including the lavish expenditures for the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. There are a number of reasons why many Americans do not want to hear of any doubts about the Extermination Thesis. We fought a long, cruel and expensive war against National Socialist Germany, a war which many Americans would like to remember as a "good war" in spite of its disastrous results, the enslavement of half of Europe by the Communist tyranny and the expenses of the "Cold War," including our painful experiences in Korea and Vietnam. Many Americans have a psychological compulsion to believe that National Socialist Germany was even more evil than the Soviet Union with which we allied ourselves. (Lipstadt, to her credit, acknowledges that Stalin killed more people than the Nazis, page 213.)
The first and longest chapter in the book ("Canaries in the Mine," pages 1-29) surveys diverse manifestations of "Holocaust denial" in various parts of the world, even including Japan and Brazil. Chapters Two (pages 31-47), Three (pages 49-64), Four (pages 65-83)) and Five (pages 85-102) are devoted to the early history of revision of the "Holocaust" material. Pages 85-102 are devoted to the pioneer in the field, the late Prof. Austin J. App. Later chapters focus on Richard Harwood (Richard Verrall), Arthur Butz, Willis Carto, Ernst Zündel, Fred Leuchter and Bradley Smith. Even President Reagan is reproached for one of the most decent things he did while in office (page 210). David Irving is characterized (page 181) as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial."
In no less than three places (pages 44, 86 and 97) Lipstadt claims that the genocidal Morgenthau Plan was never put into effect. This is not exactly true or true only to a limited extent, as anyone knows who lived in Germany during 1945-1948, as I did when I was involved in "De-nazification" and translating historical materials. Without an industry to produce exportable goods Germany would starve. As a matter of fact, Germany underwent a considerable deprivation of its industry after the war in various ways, Not only were German factories dismantled and sent to the U.S.S.R., but German patents were confiscated and the German economy was largely paralyzed by a lack of a currency reform and prices and wages controlled at such levels that there was little incentive for production which conformed to the law. After all, one of the chief incentives that England had for declaring war on Germany on 3 September 1939 was to keep German goods out of world export trade at a time when unemployment was a desperate problem. The Morgenthau Plan was genocidal in nature because Germany had long been dependent on imports of grain and other foodstuffs to make up for the limits of its agricultural capacity in relation to its population, which had grown rapidly in the nineteenth century. Even the Germany of 1937 had an area only roughly comparable to that of the state of Texas. An important aspect of the Morgenthau Plan lies in the fact that it became known to the German government after it was initialed by Roosevelt in September, 1944. It, along with the demand for unconditional surrender, stiffened German resistance. Also known to the German government was the proposal by T. Kaufman that all Germans in their reproductive years be sterilized, a proposal put forth as early a 1941 in the little book, Germany Must Perish, another genocidal threat against Germany, not mentioned by Lipstadt, of course.
A whole chapter is devoted to the Institute for Historical Review (pages 137-156) without a mention of the very destructive arson attack against the Institute in 1984. Nor can mention be found of the attack against Prof. Faurisson which nearly cost him his life. Lipstadt has good reason for not mentioning these violent crimes because they vividly demonstrate the bankruptcy of the "Holocaust" material, most of whose advocates refuse to debate the Extermination Thesis in public, including Lipstadt.
On page 164 Lipstadt makes an enigmatic observation about the Protocols of the Elders of Zion: "In fact, when it was originally published in France in the mid-nineteenth century, Jews did not appear in the book at all." Actually, it seems probable that the Protocols were inspired by Hermann Goedsche's "Auf dem Judenkirchhof in Prag" (1868), a translation of which appeared in the July, 1993 issue of the Liberty Bell, a periodical which has contained many articles on the "Holocaust" question. It is not mentioned by Lipstadt.
Especially damaging to Lipstadt's credibility is her mention (page 167) of a report supposedly filed in June 1943 which claimed that five crematories in Auschwitz would have a 24-hour capacity of 4,756 bodies. Since there are 1440 minutes in a day, five units would be operating a total of 7,200 minutes, even if in constant use. Less than two minutes would thus be allowed for each body. Since a crematory unit requires about two hours to reduce a body to ashes, Leuchter's estimate (mentioned by Lipstadt) of 156 bodies per diem seems quite reasonable. Such nonsense in the "Holocaust" literature has caused widespread doubts about its validity in the case of people capable of independent thought.
Chapter 10 (page 183-208), "The Battle for the Campus," is devoted to the efforts of Bradley Smith and the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (C.O.D.O.H.). This committee has attempted to place large advertisements in various campus newspapers with a considerable measure of success. A partial list of universities whose newspapers have accepted or rejected such advertisements is given in an important footnote on page 184. Lipstadt goes into great details of the reactions to such advertisements and the circumstances of their acceptance or rejection as the case might be. In spite of all the 26 pages devoted to such details, the reader is left puzzling as to just what the advertisement contained, a matter which could have been easily clarified by reproducing the text of the advertisement, a secret which Lipstadt apparently wants to keep from her readers for some reason or another. The dust-cover of the book does give the modest and restrained headline of one of the versions of the advertisement: "THE HOLOCAUST STORY: How Much is False? The Case for Open Debate." At the conclusion of the long chapter Lipstadt admits that she is pessimistic about the effects of the advertisement and the effects of C.O.D.O.H.
Some years ago I had my own astonishing and depressing experiences with the kind of Zionist influence that has more recently succeeded in suppressing the advertisements which Bradley Smith and his C.O.D.O.H. attempted to place in some campus newspapers. The Winter, 1984 issue of the German Quarterly, published by the American Association of Teachers of German, of all organizations, contained an advertisement for my propaedeutic book, The 'Holocaust': 120 Questions and Answers. This advertisement caused a tremendous flapping of wings and cackling within the Association. The Spring, 1984 issue of the German Quarterly contained letters (pages 361-362) of regret about the "advertisement for anti-Semitic literature" which got past the Business Manager of the German Quarterly. The two letters were from Ruth K. Angress, former editor of the German Quarterly and from Robert A. Grovier, its Business Manager. The Winter, 1985 issue contained (page 91) an AATG Executive Council resolution about the "inadvertently accepted" advertisement and stated: "The AATG Executive Council categorically repudiates and condemns the dissemination of material that is anti-Semitic or that can be construed as an apology for Nazism." Of course, no proof was offered that my book expressed hostility toward Jews ("anti-Semitism"). Thus, further advertisements for my book were prohibited in a journal published by an association of academic people who have a particular interest in a factual, balanced treatment of the "Holocaust" question.
On page 204 Lipstadt mentions "a book charging Gen. Dwight Eisenhower with consciously causing the death of a million German POWs at the end of the war." Strangely, Lipstadt does not mention the author and title of the book, James Bacque's Other Losses (1988). Is this just one more secret which Lipstadt wants to keep from her readers? Is there anything improper about comparing known Allied war crimes with putative German war crimes?
We note another strange omission in Chapter Ten ("Watching on the Rhine," pages 209-222). This chapter is devoted to the inhibited, pale revisionism of German historians, such as that of Hellmut Diwald, whose Geschichte der Deutschen I reviewed in the very first issue of the Journal of Historical Review (Spring, 1980). By the way, Lipstadt does not even mention the German title of this important book (page 210), so we must doubt that she ever read it or that she even knows enough German to have read it. (She misspells a number of German words.) Not a single mention is made of Wilhelm Stäglich's Der Auschwitz Mythos (1979), copies of which were confiscated by the Bonn government, which also deprived Staglich of his doctoral degree on the basis of a law signed by non other than Adolf Hitler and never repealed by the Bonn government. (Staeglich was a judge and his book presents important analyses of the evidence pertaining to the "Holocaust" question.) Lipstadt also makes no mention of another important refutation of the "Holocaust" material by a German author, Die Auschwitz-Lüge by Thies Christophersen, who had to flee to Denmark to escape the harsh measures of the Bonn Government, which has a great and not entirely unjustified fear of a boycott of its vitally important export trade. Both of these men were on military duty in Auschwitz, the latter as an agronomist engaged in an attempt to find a plant substitute for rubber production, one of the economic projects in which internees at Auschwitz were involved. Has Lipstadt ever heard of these books? They would certainly seem like grist for her mill. On page 11 Lipstadt described the Austrian magazine Sieg as a "newspaper." One must ask what sort of knowledge, if any, Lipstadt has of German publications on a first-hand basis.
Lipstadt claims that implementation of the Final Solution was worked out at the famous Wannsee Conference in January, 1942 (page 214). One must ask if she ever read the putative (known only in one copy) minutes of the conference, which does not mention plans for the extermination of the Jews, and indeed mentions their eventual release ("bei Freilassung"). What, then, was the "Final Solution" to which Lipstadt alludes?
One must also ask if Lipstadt ever examined the German wording of Himmler's Posen speech of 4 October 1943, parts of which do not make sense in the circumstances under which the speech was given. She quotes part of the speech on page 128. (See Stäglich, Auschwitz Mythos, pages 91 ff.)
On pages 228-229 Lipstadt discusses gas tight doors of gas chambers. One Jewish source has provided us (perhaps unwittingly) with a picture of such a door. It is clearly inscribed with a warning about the danger from gas. Obviously, lice cannot read but human beings can, and such an inscription would not have been on the door if the chamber were to have been used to kill people. Some of the best evidence against the "Holocaust" claims is from Jewish sources!
As an historian who has written many pages that express my doubts about the "Holocaust" claims, I welcome Prof. Lipstadt's book. Although she very stubbornly adheres to the usual versions of the Extermination Thesis in the face of mounting evidence against them, she does mention revisionists' arguments against the Extermination Thesis in a number of places in attempts to refute or deride them, such as the discussion of the effects of residues of Zyklon-B on pages 224-225. Many a reader of pages 229 ff. would have remained unaware that doubts have been cast on the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary if he had not read these pages.
Let us hope that Prof. Lipstadt's book will lead many a reader to investigate the writings of those who have contested the "Holocaust" claims. Many a reader of the book will have been previously unaware that there is another side of the "Holocaust" controversy, a side which is never heard on television networks in the United States. The book is also an encouraging record – albeit a partial one – of the accomplishments of a small, meagerly financed, idealistic group of revisionist historians who have worked against overwhelming odds.
Committee for the Reexamination of the History of the Second World War (Bulletin No. 67)
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Charles E. Weber|
|Title:||Denying the Holocaust, The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. A Review|
|Sources:||CRHSWW Bulletin #67|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 29, 1995, 7 p.m.|