The Holocaust Story: How Much is False?

The Case for Open Debate
Published: 1991-04-04

This text appeared in the Daily Northwestern on 4 April 1991 as a full-page paid advertisement. It created rather a stir at Northwestern and alerted the Deborah Lipstadt's and other intellectual fascists on campus to the fact that there was someone in America who was going to challenge the suppression of free inquiry into the Holocaust story. This is the text that Lipstadt pretends to critique in her 1993 book Denying the Holocaust, in her chapter on the "Battle for the Campus." For my first reaction to her comments, see the chapter "Isn't There a Name for This?," in my book Break His Bones, posted on this site.

The Contemporary Issue

No subject enrages America's thought police more than Holocaust revisionism. The politically correct line on the Holocaust story is, simply, it happened. You don't debate "it." You do debate every other historical event of course, but the Holocaust is an exception. If someone does express doubt about some aspect of the Holocaust story, it's politically correct to respond with outrage, contempt and guilt-by-association smear tactics. We used to call that behavior McCarthyite. Now we say it's "progressive."

The Holocaust lobby claims that it is a social good when ideology replaces free inquiry, intimidation represses open debate, and when the ideals of the university itself are exchanged for intellectual taboos and not-so-secret political agendas. Let's ask these people — what makes such behavior a social good? Who benefits?

The Historical Issue

For half a century it has been asserted that during World War II the German State had a policy to "exterminate" the Jews and other peoples of Europe in execution gas chambers. This allegation was institutionalized at the great Nuremberg trial, led by the Soviets and the U.S. While the proceedings at Nuremberg were politically correct, the evidence supports the then Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Harlan Fiske Stone, who called the Nuremberg court simply "a lynching party for Germans."

Mainline Holocaust historians are under considerable pressure from Revisionist scholarship to address the more blatant examples of Holocaust fraud and falsehood. Increasingly, academics are committing themselves to publishing their own revisions of the orthodox Holocaust story. The "rewriting" of the Holocaust story has begun in earnest.


Arno J. Mayer, chaired professor of European history at Princeton University, has written in his Why The Heavens Did Not Darken, that at Auschwitz more people died of "natural causes" than were killed. Mayer is a Jew and himself a refugee from the Nazi regime.

British historian David Irving, perhaps the most widely read historian writing in English, has called the Auschwitz death-camp story a "sinking ship" and states that there were "no gas chambers at Auschwitz."

Yehuda Bauer, Director of Holocaust Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, states that is "patently false" that 4 million Jews and others were killed at Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz State Museum has "revised" its half-century-old claim that 4-million humans were killed there. The Museum now says maybe it was 1 million. What documentary evidence does the Museum proffer for the 1 million figure? None. The 4 million number was engraved in stone at Auschwitz where it has been seen by millions of tourists. What to do? A workman was ordered to chisel out the 4 million number. Nothing to it, really. History in the making. But where have those 3 million souls been the last 45 years? And why is no one celebrating?

The Leuchter Report contains the results of the first-ever forensic examination of the alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz. The Report is the work of Boston engineer Fred A. Leuchter. It concludes that no mass gassings ever did or ever could have taken place in the so-called gas chambers. The chemical analysis used in the Report was performed by the Alpha Analytical Laboratories in Ashland MA. Fred Leuchter has called for an international commission of scientists and historians to investigate the so-called gas chambers of Auschwitz.

Winston Churchill wrote his monumental six-volume history of World War II without mentioning the "gas chambers." or the "extermination" of the Jews. Maybe it slipped his mind. On the other hand, maybe not.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, in his memoir Crusade in Europe, also forgot to mention the "gas chambers." Why wasn't the weapon used to murder 6 million Jews worthy of a passing reference? Was our future president being "insensitive" to Jews?

"The Photographs"

We've all seen "The Photographs." Endlessly. Newsreel photos taken by U.S. and British photographers at the liberation of the German camps, and especially the awful scenes at Dachau, Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen. We have seen them so many times over four decades we don't even have to ask what "they" are. They're "The Photographs." These documents are typically presented in a way where it is either stated or implied that the scenes resulted from deliberate policies on the part of the Germans. The documents are real. The uses to which they are put are base.

There was no German policy at any of those camps to deliberately kill the internees. In the last months of the war Soviet armies were advancing on Germany from the east. The British and U.S. air arms were destroying every major city in Germany with saturation bombing. Transportation, the food distribution system and medical and sanitation services all broke down. That was the purpose of the Allied bombing, which has been described as the most barbarous form of warfare in Europe since the Mongol invasions. It was successful.

Millions of refugees fleeing the Soviet armies were pouring into Germany. The camps still under German control were overwhelmed with internees from the eastern camps. By early 1945 the inmate population was swept by malnutrition and by epidemics of typhus, typhoid, dysentery and chronic diarrhea. Even the mortuary systems broke down. When the press entered the camps with British and U.S. soldiers, they found the results of all that. They took "The Photographs."

The Allied propaganda machine was laboring furiously to produce anti-German hate propaganda. "The Photographs" became their most successful tools. Today the same tools are still being used to "educate" Americans.

Still, at Buchenwald, Dachau and Bergen-Belsen tens of thousands of healthy internees were liberated. They were there in the camps when "The Photographs" were taken. There are newsreels of these internees walking through the camp streets laughing and talking. Others show joyful, well-fed internees throwing their caps in the air and cheering their liberators.

You haven't seen those films and photographs, you say? Why do you think that is? Does it suggest to you questions about the camps that are not politically correct to ask?

The Dachau "Gas Chambers"

In the first years after the war there was much eyewitness testimony about "mass gassings" at Dachau. In his summing up for the prosecution at Nuremberg, Sir Hartley Shawcross, chief prosecutor for Great Britain, spoke of murder "conducted like some mass production industry in the gas chamber (s) of... Dachau..."

Today no responsible scholar attempts to claim that there were mass gassings at Dachau. Rabbi Marvin Heir, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, states simply: "There were no gas chambers at Dachau."

The Jewish Soap Story

This ugly rumor has been repeated endlessly in our media and universities. First Amendment scholar Nat Hentoff can write seriously that he has seen human soap made from the "tissues of murdered Jews" displayed on stone tablets in the Chamber of the Holocaust in Jerusalem.

Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer and Jewish-American historians like Raul Hilberg and Deborah Lipstadt all state that this anti-German hate story is untrue. Lipstadt writes: "The Nazis never used the bodies of Jews, or for that matter anyone else, for the production of soap."

"Eyewitness" Testimony

As documentary "proofs" for the mass-murder of the European Jews fall by the wayside, Holocaust historians depend increasingly on "eyewitness" testimonies to support their theories. Many of these testimonies are ludicrously unreliable.

Shmuel Krakowski is archives director for Yad Vashem, which is the international center for Holocaust documentation in Jerusalem. Krakowski states that more than 10,000 "eyewitness" testimonies about German atrocities against Jews have been shown to be false at Yad Vashem alone!

"Human Skin" Lamp Shades

Uncounted Hollywood epics and "eyewitness" testimonies accuse Germans of skinning Jews to make lamp shades from their hides.

General Lucius D. Clay, Military Governor of the U.S. Occupation Zone of Germany (1947-49) discovered that the infamous "human skin" lamp shades found at Buchenwald were actually made of "goat" skin. Which of your professors has denounced this cheap anti-German bigotry for what it is?

The Free Inquiry Issue

Students and professors alike should be free to investigate the Holocaust story in the same way they are free to examine every other historical event. This is not a radical point of view. The premises for it were worked out three centuries ago during a little something called the Enlightenment. The tools used to arrive at historical understanding are useless without the rights of Free Inquiry and Open Debate.

We are told that it is "anti-Jewish" to question orthodox assertions about German criminality. Yet we find that it is Jews themselves like Mayer, Bauer, Hier, Hilberg, Lipstadt and others who [are] beginning to challenge the establishment Holocaust story. The charges of anti-Semitism are oftentimes, in fact, used merely to suppress Revisionist scholarship and the free exchange of ideas necessary to judge its merits.

Students should be encouraged to question who benefits from promoting false Holocaust stories on the one hand and using charges of "anti-Semitism" to suppress free inquiry into those stories on the other.

It is difficult to understand why the concept of Free Inquiry should be so alarming to those who manage our universities. Free Inquiry makes no promise to Revisionism that it does not make to every other school of thought. The promise of Free Inquiry is that it will demonstrate what is true and false in Revisionist scholarship at the same time that it does so for the orthodox Holocaust literature.

Free Inquiry does not follow a political or ideological line or it isn't free. Free inquiry is an equal-opportunity ideal. Christian, Jew and Moslem, Black and White, professor and student and layman — it's there for everyone. Free Inquiry holds out its arms to each one of us, urging us to embrace it, use it, exhaust it in our passion for understanding.

Understanding, however, unlike Free Inquiry, promises nothing, That's why there are professors willing to denounce a scholar while refusing to exchange ideas with him. They would rather see certain books suppressed than have to face the awful possibility of coming to understand something that they have committed their lives and their careers to not understanding.

The Moral Issue

When we suppress open debate on the Holocaust we promote bad history and undermine the traditionally humane values of the university. Bad history replaces historical understanding with self-righteous nationalism both here and abroad. It encourages us to scape-goat old enemies and to seek vengeance rather than reconciliation. (It isn't easy, is it, to "reconcile" ourselves with a people that skins Jews and cooks them?)

The suppression of Free Inquiry into the Holocaust story corrupts public discourse, institutionalizes double standards of justice, legitimizes charges of guilt-by-association and a moral cowardice in facing our own limitations as individuals and as a people.

Our refusal to allow critical examination of even the most bizarre accusations made against Germans encourages men and women to bear false witness, betray their chosen professions, and contributes to the vulgarization of Jewish suffering.

Enough is enough!

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Bradley R. Smith , I. Sarich
Title: The Holocaust Story: How Much is False?, The Case for Open Debate
Sources: The Daily Northwestern, 4 April 1991, full-page paid advertisement
Published: 1991-04-04
First posted on CODOH: June 29, 1996, 7 p.m.
Last revision:
Comments: Based on a flyer by Chicago residents I. & M. Sarich, revised version
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