Freedom of Speech and Holocaust Revisionism in Germany and Austria
In recent times four major figures of the Holocaust revisionist movement have been arrested on “Holocaust denial” charges. German scientist Germar Rudolf and German revisionist activist Ernst Zundel were deported from the United States and will stand trial in Germany. Likewise with Siegfried Verbeke, as he was extradited from Belgium for trial in Germany. British historian David Irving was arrested in Vienna, Austria, on charges that he publicly denied aspects of the “Holocaust” in the late 1980s. His trial will supposedly take place in 2006.
In response to these arrests, a series of articles were published in the mainstream media addressing the issue of freedom of speech in regard to the Holocaust issue. Among the most important was a piece by noted Jewish writer D.D. Guttenplan, London correspondent for The Nation and author of The Holocaust on Trial.
Guttenplan apparently condemns the Austrian government’s threat to imprison Irving for rejecting aspects of the Holocaust ideology: “The threat of a 20-year prison term, even if it doesn’t come to pass, only burnishes Irving’s counterfeit credentials as a martyr to free speech.”
He adds, however, it is the Austrian government’s right to censor him: “Whatever their motives, the Austrians have every right to deny Irving a platform, even to deport him. They do not, though, have the right to rescue him from well-deserved obscurity.” Nevertheless, Guttenplan does offer arguments as to why “Holocaust denial” laws are justified in countries like Germany and Austria. As we shall soon see, this is an attempt to “sell” the censorship of Holocaust revisionism in foreign countries to an American audience that places a high value upon the right to freedom of speech.
“Countries that outlaw Holocaust denial,” Guttenplan writes, “do so not because they love liberty less than we do but because their history is different from ours. Holocaust denial causes real pain to survivors and their families. To fail to acknowledge that pain, or to treat it as a particularly Jewish problem that need not trouble anyone else, is to deny our common humanity—precisely the denier’s aim.”
For the moment, let us examine the statements of two major Jewish figures who can cause pain in non-Jewish Europeans by their use of the Holocaust ideology. Holocaust ideologist Elie Wiesel declared: “Auschwitz signifies…the failure of two thousand years of Christian civilization…”
Here is a statement that can cause real pain to Christian peoples, as he is saying that, because of the alleged Holocaust, the whole span of Christian civilization is a failure! In a past issue of the Forward, one of the most important Jewish newspapers in the United States, the president of the Union for Reform Judaism, Rabbi Eric Yoffe, made this statement: “And in Europe, which bears the mark of Cain for its complicity in the Holocaust, the Arab-Israeli conflict has become a means of absolving guilt.
In turning Israelis from victims into Nazis, they [non-Jewish Europeans] seek to cleanse their consciences by casting their sins upon us [the Jews].”
Once again, here we have a major Jewish figure claiming that non-Jewish Europeans carry the mark of a murderer. Obviously, statements like this cause pain to non-Jewish Europeans. Let me put my argument in the language of Guttenplan. “Jewish people like Wiesel, Yoffe and others cause real pain to Europeans and Christians when they use the Holocaust ideology to degrade and humiliate European and Christian civilization. To fail to acknowledge that pain, or to treat it as a particularly European and Christian problem that need not trouble anyone else, is to deny our common humanity—precisely the aim of Jewish promoters of the Holocaust.
Therefore, countries should outlaw promotion of the Holocaust ideology because it causes real pain to many non-Jews. ”Countries like Germany and Austria would obviously reject such an argument, because their laws and policies are riddled with a hypocritical double standard. Jews are accorded special privileges. According to Guttenplan’s logic, Germany and Austria rightly outlaw Holocaust revisionism because it causes pain to Jewish survivors and their families.
But Germany and Austria do not outlaw the Holocaust ideology when Jews like Wiesel and Joffe use it to cause pain to non-Jews. In the language of Guttenplan: Germany and Austria fail to acknowledge the pain that the Holocaust ideology causes non-Jewish Europeans. Again in the language of Guttenplan: the German and Austrian governments treat the pain caused to non-Jews by the Holocaust ideology as a “Gentile problem” that need not trouble anyone else.
Finally, one last time in the rhetoric of Guttenplan: the governments of Germany and Austria deny our common humanity because they prosecute non-Jews for rejecting the Holocaust ideology and causing pain in Jews, but they fail to prosecute Jews for the pain they cause when they promote the Holocaust ideology.
Germany and Austria thereby deny our common humanity because they elevate Jewish concerns and pain above that of non-Jewish concerns and pain. Guttenplan’s argument is a contorted and twisted rationalization for the censorship of Holocaust revisionism. He dresses up the “justification” for the punishment of those Germans and Austrians who publicly reject the Holocaust ideology in the garb of “humanitarian moral principles.” As the political psychologist Kevin MacDonald has pointed out, this is an age-old Jewish tactic—clothing sectarian Jewish interests in universalistic “moral” rhetoric in order to make it more appealing to the non-Jewish world.
Here is Guttenplan’s other argument in favor of censoring Holocaust revisionism: “[I]n Germany and Austria Holocaust denial is not just hate speech but also a channel for Nazi resurgence, like the Hitler salute and the swastika, which are also banned. Countries where the experience of occupation and the shame of collaboration still rankle have different views than ours on the balance between dissent and disorder. And Bosnia and Rwanda should have taught all of us that these are not simple questions. Sticks and stones may still break bones but name-calling can clear a path to genocide.” In other words, the proliferation of Holocaust revisionism will cause the masses of people to reject German/Austrian democracy, overthrow the current governments, and establish totalitarian, extremist right-wing regimes.
These new, National Socialist type governments will then initiate genocidal policies directed at non-German minorities. One could cogently argue just the opposite. It is not the public espousal of Holocaust revisionism, but rather, the censorship and persecution of Holocaust revisionism that causes many Germans and Austrians to reject the current “democracies” and favor extremist right-wing regimes.
The more the current German and Austrian “democracies” assault and humiliate the Germanic/Austrian national identity with Holocaust propaganda, and the more they persecute those who reject the Holocaust ideology, so in turn, the more they actually promote the totalitarian National Socialist “alternative.” That is, the German and Austrian governments’ policies are counterproductive, and they promote the very thing that they are attempting to stamp out—totalitarian National Socialism.
Winfried Brugger, professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Heidelberg, points out that “Every politician says we have a healthy, robust democracy in Germany.” Yet, it is this same “healthy, robust democracy” that prevents a defendant charged with “Holocaust denial” from presenting evidence showing that “Holocaust denial” is in fact true. All Holocaust revisionist arguments and evidence are simply banned—period! This is the characteristic of a totalitarian and fascist legal system, not that of a democracy It is this blatant contradiction—on the one hand, the German and Austrian governments’ claims that they are “democratic,” and on the other hand, their denial of free speech for Holocaust revisionists—that generates disdain for “ democracy” and prods people to turn towards totalitarian National Socialism.
To continue with this line of reasoning. If the German and Austrian governments are truly interested in preventing a resurgence of right-wing extremism, they would tolerate Holocaust revisionism instead of persecuting it. This would show the German and Austrian peoples that a truly democratic society tolerates all points of view in regard to the Holocaust. This would suggest to the people that a true democracy that grants freedom of speech to all is superior to an extremist right-wing government that denies freedom of speech to many. And finally, it would allow the German and Austrian peoples to “clean up” their national identity by showing the world they are not nations of mass murderers that build “gas chambers” to exterminate whole populations.
Real German and Austrian democracies that promote a positive national identity, and freedom of speech in regard to the Holocaust issue, are more likely to survive than false German and Austrian “democracies” that degrade the national identity with the Holocaust ideology and suppress freedom of speech in regard to the Holocaust issue.
Viewpoints and theories that are supported by evidence and reason don’t need special laws and jail sentences to protect them. For example, there are people that reject the theory of Darwinian evolution. There are no special laws and jail sentences for such individuals. Evolutionary theory stands on its own body of solid evidence. Ironically, it may be a somewhat favorable sign for the future of Holocaust revisionism that Germany, Austria and other European nations ban Holocaust revisionism.
Like Revisionist scholar Robert Faurisson has pointed out, it suggests to the world that Holocaust revisionism cannot be defeated with evidence and reason.
The opponents of revisionism are intellectually impotent, and they cannot defeat revisionism with facts, evidence and logic. Unlike revolutionary theory, the “Holocaust” is a weak and flimsy ideology that needs special laws and jail sentences to protect it.
- D.D. Guttenplan, “The rights of a ‘paper Eichmann,’” The Los Angeles Times, 19 November 2005. Online: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-guttenplan19nov19,1,894937.story
- Quoted in Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz: Evidence from the Irving Trial (Indiana University Press, 2002), p.6.
- Quoted in the Forward, 14, November 2003, p.9.
- Kevin MacDonald, The Culture of Critique: An Evolutionary Analysis of Jewish Involvement in Twentieth-Century Intellectual and Political Movements (Praeger, 1998), passim.
- “The virus of hate,” Toronto Star, 8 November 2005.
- “Zionist power stems from West’s belief in ‘Holocaust’ myth: Faurisson,” Tehran Times Political Desk, 10 November 2005. Online: http://www.tehrantimes.com/archives.asp
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|Title:||Freedom of Speech and Holocaust Revisionism in Germany and Austria|
|First posted on CODOH:||Dec. 30, 2005, 6 p.m.|