The Simon Wiesenthal Center

Published: 1995-11-01

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THE SIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER has its own World Wide Web site and is posting materials there which can be very helpful to everybody, except perhaps the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC). The Unites States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) has a site as well, but it’s being developed in a much more cautious, self-protective mode than that of the SWC. When the SWC first opened it had on display a fake human skin lamp shade captioned as if it were a real one. Since then I’ve always had a soft place in my heart for the rabbis Hier and Cooper. There’s something about their kind of vulgarity that makes tears of sentiment come to my eyes.

Now the Center has done something remarkable, in the context of our time, with regard to revisionist theory. It has posted 13 “Responses to Revisionist Arguments.” It’s right there in black and white. The 13 questions are listed, and following that is a three or four-paragraph response to each question. The Center has, in effect, begun an open debate on the holocaust controversy! Deborah Lipstadt must be biting her nails. Some of the responses are as little gifts fallen into our laps. Following is the first of the 13 (I think they might have chosen a luckier number) SWC responses to revisionist arguments.

1. The Holocaust was merely Allied propaganda.

The Allies actually ignored reports filtering out of Europe about the mass murder of Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators. Even when convinced of their veracity, they tried to withhold the information from the public. On August 8, 1942, Dr. Gerhart Riegner, the representative of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva, Switzerland, asked the U.S. legation in Switzerland to relay information about Germany’s plan to exterminate all European Jews under its control to American Jewish leader, Rabbi Stephen S. Wise. The information had been given to Riegner by a highly-placed German official. Instead of relaying the message, the U.S. State Department actually withheld it and ordered its Swiss legation not to relay any such reports in the future.

In the same year, a member of the Polish underground Jan Karksi, had secretly been smuggled into a German concentration camp in Poland. Making his way out, he was sent to London by the Underground to deliver his report on the horrors he witnessed. Karski spoke with both Roosevelt and Churchill. History records, however, that Karski’s pleas were largely dismissed.

One need only check the major newspapers of the period to realize how little attention was paid to Nazi atrocities. If the Holocaust were merely “propaganda,” why did the Allies go to such lengths to downplay it?

I wouldn’t have imagined that the SWC would have used Karski here, or that it’s scholar would have written that final paragraph. It’s really rather touching.

If you want to read the other dozen responses to the revisionist challenge I’ll print them out and send them to you.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: The Simon Wiesenthal Center
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 28, November 1995, pp. 4f.
Published: 1995-11-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 21, 2015, 6:21 a.m.
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