History, column deserve a more critical review

Published: 2000-06-01

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We are used to inaccurate writing about the Institute for Historical Review, but Steve Marble's front-page column sets some kind of record for errors and misrepresentations ("Some pieces of history not worth reviewing," March 15). Before firing off his polemic, he didn't even check our Web site, much less contact us directly. He doesn't even get our address right in the first paragraph. A 1989 review meeting was not forced out of the Red Lion Inn because "hotel execs caught wind of what was up," but in response to outrageous threats and intimidation by the Jewish Defense League. Far from being a promoter of "hate," as Marble suggests, the institute has itself been a victim of hate and bigotry. It has been the target of repeated violent attacks, culminating in a devastating arson attack against our office and warehouse on July 4, 1984.


The institute opposes bigotry of all kinds in its efforts to promote greater public understanding of key chapters ofhistory. Speakers at our meeting and contributors to our Journal Of Historical Review have included respected scholars from around the world. We are proud of the backing we have received from people of the most diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds, including Jewish.

Marble's characterization of our legal dispute with Auschwitz survivor Mel Mermelstein is one sided. In fact, Mermelstein's campaign against the institute came to a dramatic end on Sept. 19, 1991, when his $ll-million lawsuit against the institute was dismissed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Judge Steven Lachs granted the institute's motion for dis missal of his malicious prosecution complaint, and soon afterward Mermelstein himself dismissed his libel and conspiracy complaints. Mermelstein's appeal of the ruling was unanimously rejected by the California Court of Appeal.

While it is quite true that many hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed and otherwise perished during the World War II as a result of the brutally anti-Jewish policies of Germany and its allies, it is also true – as revisionist scholars have carefully established – that numerous specific Holocaust claims are untrue or exaggerated.

It is now authoritatively acknowledged, for instance, that the gas chamber at Auschwitz that has been shown for decades to tourists in its "original" state is actually a fraudulent postwar reconstruction. Likewise, apparently persuasive evidence presented at the Nuremberg Trial of 1945-46 "proving" that prisoners were gassed at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps is now universally recognized as worthless.

If the revisionist view of the Holocaust were really as simplistic and mistaken as Marble suggests, it would not have gained the support of university professors such as Arthur Butz and Robert Faurisson, historians such as Roger Garaudy, David Irving and Harry Elmer Barnes, and former concentration camp inmates such as Paul Rassinier. These individuals did not decide publicly to reject the orthodox Holocaust story – thereby risking public censure, and worse, because they are fools, or because their motives are evil – but rather on the basis of a sincere and thoughtful evaluation of the evidence.

The headline that "some pieces of history don't need reviewing," is dangerously mistaken. Especially a chapter of history as politicized and polemicized as the Holocaust deserves close and critical review.

Director of the Institute for Historical Review

• EDITOR'S NOTE: Columnist Steve Marble stands by his story as being fair and accurate.

This letter from the Institute for Historical Review appeared March 30 in the Daily Pilot, a newspaper published in Costa Mesal Newport Beach, southern California, where the nm offices are located. It responds to a front-page slap at the IHR by the paper's managing editor, Steve Marble. It is published here as it appeared in the paper, after some editing by the Pilot staff. The Daily Pilot is owned by, and is distributed locally along wjth, the Los Angeles Times. In the wake of the judgment in the Irving-Lipstadt trial in London, Marble lashed out at the IHR with another mean-spirited front-page column (April 12), in which he called the British historian a "cheerleader for the IHR."

"If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them."
—Leo Szilard, US atomic bomb scientist, 1960.

" ... These are the brainwashers, the twin myths of Marx and Freud... which soared out of the scientific ruminations of the late nineteenth century, to hover, like scavenger birds, over the disintegration of the Western will."
—John Dos Passos, Midcentury (1960)

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Mark Weber
Title: History, column deserve a more critical review
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 19, no. 2 (March/April 2000), p. 61
Published: 2000-06-01
First posted on CODOH: March 12, 2013, 7 p.m.
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