general, they were very harshly treated and made the victims of overcrowding, disease, and forced labor. Specifically, as outlined in "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate" advertisements that Bradley Smith places in college newspapers, as well as in various other sources (Cole 1994; Irving 1994; Weber 1993 a, 1994a, 1994b; Ziindel 1994), the deniers are saying:
1. There was no Nazi policy to exterminate European Jewry. The Final Solution to the "Jewish question" was deportation out of the Reich. Because of early successes in the war, the Reich was confronted with more Jews than it could deport. Because of later failures in the war, the Nazis confined Jews in ghettos and, finally, camps.
2. The main causes of death were disease and starvation, caused primarily by Allied destruction of German supply lines and resources at the end of the war. There were shootings and hangings (and maybe even some experimental gassings), and the Germans did overwork Jews in forced labor for the war effort, but all this accounts for a very small percentage of the dead. Gas chambers were used only for delousing clothing and blankets, and the crematoria were used only to dispose of the bodies of people who had died from disease, starvation, overwork, shooting, or hanging.
3. Between 300,000 and two million Jews died or were killed in ghettos and camps, rather than five to six million.
In the next chapter, I will address these claims in detail, but I wish to give brief answers here.
1. In any historical event, functional outcomes rarely match original intentions, which are always difficult to prove anyway, so historians should focus on contingent outcomes more than intentions. The functional process of carrying out the Final Solution evolved over time, driven by such contingencies as increasing political power, growing confidence in getting away with a variety of persecutions, the unfolding of the war (especially against Russia), the inefficiency of transporting Jews out of the Reich, and the infeasibility of eliminating Jews by disease, exhaustion, overwork, random killings, and mass shootings. The outcome was millions of Jewish dead, whether extermination of European Jewry was explicitly and officially ordered or just tacitly approved.
2. Physical and documentary evidence corroborate that the gas chambers and crematoria were mechanisms of extermination. Regardless of the mechanism used for murder, however, murder is murder. Gas chambers and crematoria are not required for mass murder, as we have seen recently in Rwanda and Bosnia. In occupied Soviet territories, for example, the Nazis killed about 1.5 million Jews by means other than gassing.
3. Five to six million killed is a general but well-substantiated estimate. The figures are derived by collating the number of Jews reported living in Europe, transported to camps, liberated from camps, killed in Einsatzgruppen actions, and alive after the war. It is simply a matter of population demographics.
One of the things I commonly hear when I tell people about Holocaust deniers is that they must be raving racists or nutty fools on the lunatic fringe. Just who would say the Holocaust never happened? I wanted to find out, so I met with some of them to allow them to present their claims in their own words. In general, I found these deniers relatively pleasant. They were willing to talk about the movement and its members quite openly, and they generously provided a large sampling of their published literature.
After World War II, revisionism began in Germany with opposition to the Nuremberg trials, typically seen as "victor's trials" that were hardly fair and objective. Revisionism of the Holocaust itself took off in the 1960s and 1970s with Franz Scheidl's 1967 Geschichte der Verfemung Deutschlands (In Defense of the German Race), Emil Aretz's 1970 Hexeneinmakins einer Liige (The Six Million Lie), Thies Christophersen's 1973 Die Auschwitz-Liige (The Auschwitz Lie), Richard Harwood's 1973 Did Six Million Really Die?, Austin App's 1973 The Six Million Swindle, Paul Rassinier's 1978 Debunking the Genocide Myth, and the bible of the movement, Arthur Butz's 1976 The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. It is in these volumes that the three pillars of Holocaust denial—no intentional genocide by race, gas chambers and crematoria not used for mass murder, many fewer than six million Jews killed—were crafted.
Except for Butz's book, which stays in circulation despite being disorganized beyond repair, these works have all given way to the Journal of Historical Review (JHR), the voice of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). The institute's journal, along with its annual conference, has become the hub of the movement, which is populated by a handful of eccentric personalities including IHR director and JHR editor Mark Weber, author and biographer David Irving, gadfly Robert Faurisson, pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Ziindel, and video producer David Cole. (See figure 17.)
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