Holocaust Denial or Holocaust Revisionism?

Published: 1997-11-18

A minor question that sometimes arises is the relative merits of the terms "Holocaust denial" and "Holocaust revisionism" to describe the views on the Jewish "extermination" claim that I and others have expressed. Generally, my side says "Holocaust revisionism" and our enemies say "Holocaust denial". I did not originate either term.

I am willing to accept both terms under appropriate circumstances, but I usually say "Holocaust revisionism".

The problem with the term "Holocaust denial" is that it conveys, to most people, a false idea of what we say. For the typical person the term "Holocaust" refers to a complex of events. He thinks of Nazi persecution of Jews, concentration camps, crematoria, dead bodies strewn about camps (especially Belsen) at the end of the war and, of course, "extermination" of millions of Jews in gas chambers located in some camps. Thus he tends to take the meaning of "Holocaust denial" as denial of all of these things, whereas we deny only the last among them. The effect is to make us seem, to passing observers, detached from reality.

In general I prefer the term "Holocaust revisionism" because it does not imply a complete rejection of all that is popularly understood by "Holocaust", and invites the observer to consider carefully what is being accepted and what is being rejected.

On the other hand I, and Holocaust revisionists generally, emphatically reject the "extermination" claim and, by implication, any figure of Jewish dead (due to Nazi policies) in the millions. Provided this is what is clearly meant by "Holocaust", I have no objection to calling my thesis "denial". Such a context of comprehension is sometimes difficult to achieve. An exception is when our enemies speak of us. They understand quite well what we do and do not claim, and they also understand that most in their audiences do not. Thus they use "denial" as a rhetorical device conveying an implicit false representation.

Created 18 November 1997.

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Author(s): Arthur R. Butz
Title: Holocaust Denial or Holocaust Revisionism?
Published: 1997-11-18
First posted on CODOH: Nov. 16, 1997, 6 p.m.
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