As a follow-up to my recent essay, "Who I am," in which I introduced myself to friends and those not so friendly, I offer now this brief portrait of Holocaust revisionists in general. My method here is no scientific study, but rather speaks to my experience. I share this portrait as I think it is clear that revisionists are little understood outside of the small circle in which we move.
To the anti-revisionists and those who defend the orthodox Holocaust story, we are the enemies of mankind. We have been described as rats, by a lauded professor, no doubt worthy of extermination before we spread our "bacillus of hate." Holocaust revisionists, or as our detractors would prefer to call us, "Holocaust Deniers," are routinely described as liars, haters, racists, anti-Semites, neo-Nazis, and even Nazis themselves. We appear as a white, Germanic, blond-haired, uniformed bunch marching in lock-step to establish a new Nazi regime somewhere in the world. This view stirs the fears of those who have been indoctrinated with the traditional Holocaust story. This view, however, couldn't be further from the truth.
First, it is critical to understand that Holocaust revisionism is a methodology; an approach to history and historiography. It is an attempt to peel away the untruths which have been built up by propaganda, faulty memories, tradition, honest misunderstandings, and deceptions. The only standard for revisionism is historical truth and accuracy. Truth should not be shrouded in darkness for the sake of political correctness. Holocaust revisionism is one part or sub-set of a much broader Historical revisionism. The methods are the same but our focus is limited to the Holocaust. The goal of Holocaust revisionism is to strip away the erroneous beliefs which have built up over the past 60 years to arrive at what really happened during this time commonly referred to as 'The Holocaust.'
So who exactly are these people? Holocaust revisionists are a loose collection of people bound together by varying degrees of skepticism about certain aspects of the orthodox Holocaust story. From my experience, they are both men and women. They come from America, Germany, France, Japan, Italy, England, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Mexico, Canada, and Croatia as well as dozens of other countries. I have met atheists, Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, Scientologists, and Jews. I have met White men, Black men, Hispanics, and Asians. In short, there is no racial, ethnic, or religious standard to be met to be a revisionist — and how could there be? Again, revisionism is a method; it is not a club; not a political movement, and there are no acceptance criteria.
Politically, the entire spectrum from left to right is represented. I have met Libertarians and Conservatives, Socialists and Marxists. I have also met neo-Nazis and former Wehrmacht soldiers; but by are the majority of those I have met are Democrats and Republicans. With regard to education, there are high school dropouts, high school graduates, college graduates, college dropouts, university graduates, professors and doctors. There are truck drivers and businessmen. Revisionism is represented in every working class and social strata in the nation.
Some come to revisionism because they hold the principle that truth is the ultimate good. Some bring the baggage of their political and world views. Many come with a strong sense of German nationalism and pride. There are those who advocate a homeland for the Palestinians. There are those drawn to any number of conspiracy theories. And unfortunately, there are those who bring with them, into revisionism, the baggage of anti-Semitism.
I have found that revisionists often disagree-- vehemently. Sometimes these disputes can be over the definition of a single word. Sometimes the debate may have to do with points irrelevant to revisionism. Other times the disagreement may be over the interpretation of fine technical and scientific data, or its significance, or even it's real meaning. All in all, we are no easier to define than any set of people who are defined by their association with a specific idea or principle.
I have not met anyone who claimed to be a Holocaust revisionist who did not believe in the historical accuracy of their position. I have not met any who were in this struggle for some ulterior purpose. There are those, as I wrote above, with baggage but I would urge them to leave it at home. If your standard is truth, if you believe that revisionism can remove roadblocks which prevent peace between nations, then I can overlook your politics — even if you are a Republican!
I have seen revisionists make mistakes. I have seen revisionists point out these errors and work to correct them. These should be corrected. I have also seen outright deception, vindictiveness, and hatred from those who champion a fundamentalist view of the Holocaust. It is true that Holocaust revisionists have their flaws as men and women — but so do their detractors. It is true that revisionist arguments are sometimes wrong and need to be "revised" — but so do those of their detractors. If our quest is honest, and our standard is truth, then we cannot be ignored.
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|Title:||Holocaust Revisionists: Who We Are|
|First posted on CODOH:||June 29, 2007, 7 p.m.|