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Harry Elmer Barnes was not the only American academic who attempted to exonerate Germany by denying the Holocaust. Austin J. App, a professor of English at the University of Scranton and LaSalle College, also played a central role in the development of Holocaust denial, especially in the United States. Though not as prominent as Barnes, he was far more virulent and began explicitly denying the Holocaust within a few years after the war. By the late 1950s he was not only writing to the Catholic Brooklyn Tablet offering "proof" that the figure of six million was "a bloated libel," but was appearing before varied audiences accusing Jews of perpetrating a massive hoax. (1)
Like Barnes, App was mainly concerned to lift the moral burden of the atrocities charge from the shoulders of a defeated and divided Germany. In contrast to Barnes, App had no independent standing in the academic world. An active member of various German American groups, App was an ardent defender of Germans and Nazi Germany. He served for several years as president of the five - thousand - member Federation of American Citizens of German Descent, founded in 1945. Though it never reached its membership goal of three million, it was
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part of a successful postwar congressional lobbying effort to allocate a substantial number of the immigration slots that had been intended for Holocaust survivors to Germans and Austrians. ( 2 )
Born in Milwaukee in 1902 to German immigrant parents, App attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C., where he obtained his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in English literature. At the University of Scranton, where he taught from 1934 to 1942, he received its faculty medal as an outstanding educator. He served for a brief period in the army in 1942 but for unknown reasons was released within a short time after his induction. He subsequently joined the faculty of LaSalle College, where he remained throughout the rest of his teaching career. At LaSalle, where he taught medieval English literature and was known for pronouncing Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and other Old and Middle English works in the original, some of his students regarded him as a sort of "dry arrangement" the college kept on its staff to achieve accreditation. They had no idea of his other activities. ( 3 )
But, completely unknown to his students, App had a far more dubious side. He inundated newspapers, magazines, politicians, and journalists with letters attacking U.S. intervention in World War II, Allied demands for unconditional surrender, and the imposition of "Morgenthauism" on Germany. The latter was App's way of placing responsibility for all of Germany's postwar problems on President Roosevelt's secretary of the treasury, Henry Morgenthau. Of course, Morgenthau's plan was never put into effect. In fact, Allied treatment of Germany was the exact opposite of the plan. The letters were also App's self - described attempt to explode the "lies and calumnies" that had been spread about Germany since the war and to prevent Roosevelt and Morgenthau from selling out "Christian Europe to the Red barbarians." The letters bristled with overt antisemitism and racism. Talmudists, Bolsheviks, and Zionists, all of whom were intimately connected in App's mind with one another, were blamed for the evils that beset the world after the end of the war.4 Though few of his letters were actually published by the newspapers or magazines that received them, App kept up a steady stream of communiques.
Though much of what App wrote can be relegated to traditional, almost gutter - level antisemitism, he is nonetheless an important figure in the development and evolution of Holocaust denial. His major contribution was to formulate eight axioms that have come to serve as the founding principles of the California - based Institute for Historical Review and as the basic postulates of Holocaust denial. Since App posited them in 1973, virtually all deniers have built their arguments on
them. The deniers' tactics may have changed over time, but their arguments have remained the same.
Though App echoed many of Barnes's views -- he stated, for example, that "Hitler was a man of architecture and art, not of armaments and war" ( 5 ) and that Germany was the victim, not the victimizer -- App was a more extreme figure than Barnes. Barnes was avidly pro - German but was not a fascist. He wished to defend Germany against all claims of wrongdoing but did not look for a resurrection of a totalitarian regime, a notion to which App was attracted. His Holocaust denial was more fully developed and explicit far earlier than Barnes's. As we have seen, Barnes had initially been reluctant to assert openly that the Holocaust was a fraud. Instead he found various ways to suggest it was "theory," a "doing, real or imagined," or only an "alleged atrocity." During the war itself Barnes refrained from overt criticisms of Allied policies. In contrast, Austin App showed no such reluctance. He did not wait for the war to be over to begin building a case in defense of German actions. In 1942, while the Allies were being defeated on all fronts, App sent a steady stream of letters to newspapers, periodicals, and individual journalists expressing a strong sympathy for Germany and its political objectives. Echoing World War I revisionists, he vigorously contested the notion that Germany could be held responsible for startin g the war and sought to justify Germany's prewar behavior.
In May 1942, barely six months after Pearl Harbor, in a letter to CBS radio commentator Elmer Davis, App challenged the notion that Germany desired to "dominate" Europe. According to App, Germany's territorial conquests did not represent naked aggression but rather the Reich's aspiration to secure the raw materials and power it needed and, in his view, deserved. At a time when the Allies were being pushed back by the Axis in both Europe and the Pacific, App proclaimed that the "Anglo - Saxon block" would have to give Germany both raw materials and power "commensurate with its talents" or inevitably the Allies would be "terribly mangled and defeated." App maintained that Germany had gone to war because this was the only way she could obtain what justifiably belonged to her. He argued that the means to end the war and win the peace was to give Germany "precisely the things, which, if we had given them in 1939, would have prevented the war." ( 6 ) But App did not stop there. His defense of Germany and his critique of Allied policy continued unabated through the war. In 1943, in the wake of the Casablanca Conference, at which Roosevelt and Churchill agreed that peace could only come to the world by the "total elimination" of Germany and Japan as war powers, he complained to the
Colu m bus Evening D is patch that to demand unconditional surrender from Germany was "grossly unethical."' In 1944, as it became increasingly clear that Germany would be defeated and speculation had begun as to what a postwar Germany would look like, App argued that the Allies perpetrated a war on Germany because of the latter's legitimate desire to reunite with Danzig (now Gdansk). According to App, the prospect of a reunited Germany had frightened the Allies, and that is why they started the war. In this and numerous other letters App reiterated his central arguments. On the eve of World War II, Germany was emerging as a stronger nation than Britain. This the British and their ally the United States could not abide. According to App the only reason the United States was at war with Germany was that it did not want "anybody in Europe so civilized and so efficient that our kith and kin, Britain, can't kick them around and tell them what they may or may not do." ( 8 )
App maintained this pro - Nazi line -- Germany was innocent and the Allies guilty of starting the war -- throughout the conflict. Once the war ended, App expanded the parameters of his defense of Germany's political demands and wartime behaviors. Taking his cue from the World War I revisionists like Beard and Barnes, he argued that Germany had not been responsible for the outbreak of the war. But he did not limit himself to vindicating Germany's territorial aspirations or attacking supposed Allied political machinations. He now commenced a far more serious endeavor: defending and justifying German atrocities. In May 1945, a week after the end of the war in Europe and while news of the liberation of the concentration camps filled the pages of American newspapers, App argued that what Germany had done was legally justified in the context of the rules of warfare.
Initially he focused on a few limited atrocities, such as the German massacre of the inhabitants of the Czechoslovakian town of Lidice. When Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich was assassinated in May 1942, the Germans claimed that the villagers of Lidice had helped his assassin. They killed all the men in the village, 192 in all, as well as 71 women. The remaining 198 women were incarcerated in Ravensbr ü ck, where many of them died. Of the 98 children who were "put into educational institutions," no more than 16 survived. Lidice was razed to the ground. ( 9 ) The annihilation of this town elicited an intense reaction from the American public. But, App contended, according to international law the killings were justified because the Germans had executed everybody who aided political murders, (10) and American law would have supported such action. He offered no evidence of how he concluded
that the entire village had aided the assassins. Nor did he explain how murdering all the males and one third of the women, incarcerating the rest, including the children, and razing the entire town could be regarded as applications of international or American law.
Two weeks after vindicating German actions in Lidice, App addressed the killing of the Jews. Having not yet reached the point of overt denial, he simply exonerated the Germans' actions, basing his argument on two premises. Acknowledging that the Germans had committed "crimes and mistakes," he insisted that whatever they did any other nation would have done under similar circumstances. In fact, he argued, the United States had acted similarly during the war: Just as Germany had imprisoned Jews, America had arbitrarily imprisoned Japanese Americans.
But that was not App's only means of exculpating Germany for its persecution of Jews. The truculent behavior of Germany's victims justified their annihilation. Had the Japanese been as "obstinate" as the German Jews, he argued, "we conceivably would have killed them the same way.''' (11) App's exoneration of Germany's annihilation of the Jews is particularly striking because at this point he was not yet denying that millions had been murdered. Obstinacy was just cause for the killing of millions.
Five months later App changed tactics and moved closer to denial. In an attempt to downplay the severity of Nazi atrocities, he began to obfuscate the existence of gas chambers. In 1945, in a letter to the author of an article on the war crimes trials, App insisted that the German "so - called offenders" be quickly tried. It was, App noted, "in the interest of impartiality and justice" that "all war criminals of both sides be so tried." He then proceeded to define what constituted a war criminal:
Just as the Germans who put Germans of Jewish descent into concentration camps because of their race should be tried so Americans who put Americans of Japanese descent into concentration (relocation) camps because of their race must be tried; just as Hitler was to have been tried for attacking Poland (to rectify the self - determination principle violated at Versailles regarding Danzig) so Stalin must be tried for invading Finland (without any justification at all); just as Germans who raped and looted must be tried so the troops under General Eisenhower who raped 2000 Stuttgart girls in one weekend and hundreds of others since and the Russians, who ... raped ... l ooted and pillaged ... must be tried and if found guilty treated just as you say, according to the Golden Rule and impartial justice, Germans must be treated. (1 2 )
For obvious reasons App avoided any mention of the German use of
gas chambers to murder Jews and other victims. In order to engage in these immoral equivalences e verybody did something wrong and all should be equally punished -- App had to eliminate the Holocaust and the murder of multitudes of others in death and concentration camps from the list of atrocities. Some of the atrocities listed by App have never been proven, for example, the Stuttgart rapes. Including the Holocaust and the gas chambers would have spoiled his equation. The Holocaust made it impossible to relativize the behavior of the warring parties, since nothing the Allies had done could compare to the number of people killed by the Germans or the primary method used to kill them. App had to turn the Allies and the Nazis into traditional adversaries embroiled in the horrors of war. Reducing the numbers and deleting this unique technological means from the equation were thus a sine qua non for deniers -- one of the reasonable facades behind which they hide: War is an unmitigated evil, all sides are equally responsible, and there is no moral distinction between combatants.
Initially App simply omitted the mass murders and the gas chambers from his account of the war. He shortly recognized, however, that in order to achieve his objective he could no longer just ignore them and commenced an effort to convince the public that they were being fooled. It was an effort he would not abandon for more than three and a half decades.
In 1946, intensifying his campaign to justify German behavior, App began to play the "numbers game," something all deniers engage in with great fervor. They attempt to demonstrate that it is statistically impossible for six million to have died. Along v - vith their questioning the scientific plausibility of the gas chambers, it is the most critical component of their enterprise. The deniers consciously fix on those aspects of the Holocaust that are the hardest to believe precisely because they demand the greatest leap of the imagination. The use of advanced technology for the purposes of mass murder, and the sheer scope of the endeavor -- particularly the number of its victims -- help to render this event beyond belief.
App, who engaged in this numerical chicanery even before Paul Rassinier, began in quite a clumsy fashion. First he tried to disprove the Jewish "claim" about the Holocaust by demonstrating that most of Germany's Jews had survived the war. In a letter to Time magazine in 1946, he declared that Germany never had a Jewish population greater than seven hundred thousand and that when Germany surrendered "there still seemed to be about a half million there.'' (13)
Here App indulged in some of the tactical maneuvers that have
come to typify Holocaust denial. First, in his attempt to prove that the numbers were inflated, he more than doubled the actual number of Jewish survivors without offering any proof of how he reached that figure. (1 4 ) In addition to exaggerating the number of Jewish survivors in Germany after the war, he also gave them a new identity as German Jews. In fact these survivors were not from Germany but came instead from many occupied countries. Many of them had been in concentration camps in the East and, in the latter months of the war, as the Soviet army advanced, had been transferred to Germany on brutal death marches that were part of the Nazis' effort to prevent camp inmates from falling into Soviet hands. Many died en route, and those who survived found themselves in Germany at the end of the war. Their numbers were augmented by Jews who immediately on liberation began to head west to avoid falling into Soviet hands.
By official Allied policy, all displaced persons (DPs) were to be returned to their homes as rapidly as possible. But a significant number adamantly refused to be repatriated to Poland, the Soviet Union, and other Communist bloc countries and petitioned to be allowed to enter Palestine or the United States. The British were firmly opposed to their entry into Palestine, and the Americans would only allow a very limited number to immigrate into the United States. As a result of the controversy over these DPs, the fact that practically all the Jews then in Germany were not actually German Jews was widely publicized and would have been well known to someone like App, who followed events so closely.
In the same letter, App suggested that among the putative Jewish victims of Nazi atrocities were many who had died of "legitimate" causes and many who were not really dead at all but were living in comfort in the Western Hemisphere. He wrote to Time magazine demanding that it investigate
just how many Jews were executed and for what; how many died of abuse in concentration camps and for what; how many were said to have been killed when they simply died of old age. And how many were in one way or another brought into the United States, Mexico and Canada. An AP dispatch ... states that the United States had rescued 3,000,000 refugees. Most of them appear to have been Jews, yet Judge Simon F.[sic] Ri f kind recently stated that the Nazis slew 6,000,000 Jews. What are the facts? (1 5 )
The facts were quite simple: The United States had rescued many European refugees. But it had not allowed three million refugees,
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Jewish displaced persons, survivors, or refugees of any ethnic group to immigrate. In fact, App was using a crafty but obvious ploy. The AP dispatch he cited was based on the report of the military governor of the American Zone on the repatriation -- not the immigration into America -- of the approximately three million DPs who were in the American zones in Germany and Austria at the end of the war. The report and the dispatch clearly indicated that the vast majority of the DPs had been returned to their homes by December 1945. Moreover, nowhere in the governor's report was there any indication that the refugees in question were Jews. (1 6 ) Most of the Jews who were allowed into the United States after the war did not begin arriving until the early 1950s.
But App was not just trying to cast doubt on the number of Jews that had been killed. He was also suggesting, none too subtly, that a major deception was being perpetrated by Jewish leaders who claimed that millions had been killed despite the fact that many of those millions were still alive. App would repeatedly return to this themc - supposedly dead Jews were really hiding in America -- and in the future he would do so more directly. Indeed, in 1973 he cited a 1947 statement by Rabbi Philip S. Bernstein, an adviser on Jewish affairs to the U.S. army commanders in Germany and Austria. Bernstein believed that the "only realistic solution" for the DP problem in Germany was resettlement in either the United States or Palestine. As App put it, "That may explain why since 1945 New York [has been] a Jewish Sodom and Gomorrah and Washington, D.C., a half Jewish and half Negro employment agency!" falsely implying that sending DPs to the United States was exactly how the issue had been resolved. (1 7 )
In 1949 App sent another of his periodic letters to Time, again urging it to investigate the matter of the number of Jewish dead "thoroughly." He also made one of the most radical calculations to date of the actual number of victims involved in the Holocaust "hoax."
When I came to Europe in June I had calculated from the best sources then available to me that about 1,500,000 Jews had lost their lives through the Nazis, some because they were partisans and spies, killed as America did or would have killed persons guilty of similar offenses. After being here a month, evidences are accumulating that even that estimate is too high. (1 8 )
App provided no evidence to substantiate his claim. App's efforts resonated with those who were interested in resurrecting the Nazis' image. (In 1952 a former m ember of the German Foreign Offi ce under
the Nazis pared the figure down to 1,277,212. ) (1 9) But at this point App was breaking new ground. None of the other deniers, including Bardeche, Rassinier, or Barnes, had made such extreme suggestions.
Years later App described this visit to Europe. His account reveals the tremendous antipathy he felt toward the Jews he found there. "When I visited Germany and Austria in 1949 I found them deluged with uncouth - looking Eastern Jews." These Jews were "arrogant to all Germans," App wrote. "They all seemed to engage in black marketeering, and the German police seemed forbidden to touch them. They lied, cheated and stole from Germans, almost at will." ( 20 ) (App obviously knew that the Jews remaining in Germany at the end of the war were not German Jews.) App's description relies on all the traditional stereotypes used by antisemites -- financial knavery, the power of the Jewish minority over the innocent majority, arrogance, and deception -- a mendacious refrain that would be a constant theme in his work. In addition, he continued to dispute the number of dead and urged other deniers to do likewise throughout his career.
In 1965 App escalated his attack on the Holocaust by denouncing the figure of six million as a "smear terrorizing myth," and, despite the mass of evidence to the contrary, claiming that there was not a "single document, order, blue - print" that proved that the Nazis intended to annihilate the Jews. He offered a strange argument to prove his point: The fact that some survived now constituted proof that none were killed. App tautologically maintained it was "obvious" that the accusa tion was false " from the fact that they did not exterminate them. Every Jew who survived the German occupation is proof of this." He argued that Nazi Germany was so efficient that "not a calf was born without their record nor a pig slaughtered." Had the Nazis decided to kill all Jews, "They would have done so -- they had five years to do it in." ( 2 1)
The notions that the Third Reich was too efficient for any Jews to have escaped, and that it could have killed them all if it wanted to, became standard components of deniers' arguments. ( 22 ) The fallacious logic of App's argument was obvious, however. Nazi Germany was a relatively efficient society, but this efficiency was not unlimited nor was every goal the regime set for itself realized: Nazi Germany lost the war. Neither was it realized with regard to the Jews: Denmark and Bulgaria saved their Jews. And many Jews fought in partisan units, and thousands were held in concentration camps throughout the war.
But there is something even more disturbing about App's argument than its sublime illogic and cruelty. The horrific implications of his claim become evident when we locate the assumptions of his argu -
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ment. Scholars often focus on the scientific and technological aspects of the horror and on its unimagined and unimaginable scale. These, as we have seen, are the things that strain credibility and so require the largest leap of faith. But, as the theologian Richard Rubenstein has observed, the greatest horror of Nazi Germany was its breaching of a moral barrier of social organization. It was this inhuman social organization that enabled the Nazis to realize their goal of annihilating masses of Jews with such technologically advanced instruments. ( 23 ) Thus, because they made the latter possible the bureaucratic achievements of the Nazis were more frightening than the technological ones.
Max Weber, writing long before the evolution of Nazism, understood the potential power of bureaucracy in social organization. According to Weber bureaucracy is valued the more it is absolutely dehumanized. The more successfully it eliminated emotions from its official business the more "perfect" it became. The absolute bureaucratic organization demanded optimum precision, unity, unambiguity, knowledge of the files, and st ri ct subordination. ( 24 ) Weber also understood that bureaucracies rarely, if ever, achieve this level of efficiency although that is their aim. The Nazis were keenly aware of the critical role the bureaucratic mechanism could play in allowing them to realize their plans. They knew that just as Weber taught, they had to demand complete "dehumanization" from their system if they were to realize their goals. They may not have achieved an ideally operating bureaucratic system but not for lack of trying. Consequently some Jews may have survived. Ironically, then, in App's attempt to defend Nazi Germany from the standpoint of its bureaucratic efficiency, he pinpointed its essential horror.
By 1973 App's fully evolved Holocaust denial was laid out in his pamphlet, The Six Million Swindle: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Marks with Fabricated Corpses. His use of the term swindle in the title is another of his not so subtle attempts to link his Holocaust hoax arguments to traditional antisemitic imagery. In the pamphlet App explained that the Holocaust hoax was a plot jointly inspired and nurtured by Communists and Jews. In the late 1950s he had argued that the "utterly unsubstantiated" claims of six million dead worked only to benefit the Reds. ( 25 ) According to App the Soviets had a very good motive for participating in this hoax: They wished to hide the grim fact that more Jews had come to "grief" in Stalin - controlled territory than in Nazi - occupied lands. Whatever atrocities had occurred were committed by the Soviets themselves, not the Nazis. The Holocaust hoax conveniently allowed them to shift the blame onto the Germans.
But the Soviets were not in this alone. App charged that "Talmudic" leaders were well aware of the "horrid truth" that the atrocity charges had been fabricated and the Germans innocent. But if the Jews knew this why did (and do) they go along with it? What was (and is) their motive for blaming Germany if they know the USSR was really responsible? App offered a simple and, for those inclined toward antisemitism, completely logical answer. These Jews knew the truth but did not publicize it for a practical reason: The Bolsheviks could not be successfully blackmailed for reparations for "either real or fabricated corpses." ( 26 ) As long as money was their ultimate objective, blaming the USSR served no purpose. Germany, on the other hand, had both the financial ability and the political inclination to pay in order to remove the stain from its reputation. In an article in American Mercury entitled "The Elusive Six Million," App elaborated on this point and accused Zionists, of wanting to "use the figure of six million vindictively as an eternal club for pressuring indemnities out of West Germany and for wringing financial contributions out of American Jews." ( 27 ) The Zionists -- who were, according to App, identical with the Bolsheviks in terms of their propensity for evil -- thus emerge as the main force behind the Holocaust myth. * In The Six Million Swindle, written shortly after the Yom Kippur War, App left no doubt as to the Jews' rationale. "The Talmudists have from the beginning used the six million swindle to blackmail West Germany into 'atoning' with the twenty billion dollars of indemnities to Israel." ( 2 8) (App exaggerated wildly. The actual sum Germany paid to Israel was $735 million. Far larger sums were paid to individuals. ) ( 29) Moreover, he claimed, Israel and its supporters continued to use the "fradulent six million casualty" to achieve their political and military objectives.
It was "secret unacknowlege[sic] guilt" that caused the United States to side with Israel in the Arab - Israeli War of 1973. Here too is another basic flaw in App's reasoning. According to him the U.S. government played a pivotal role in fostering the notion of the hoax. Why would the government be motivated to act by unacknowledged guilt when it knew the charges were a hoax? For App all claims of Israel's importance to American secuAty were nothing but "hogwash and hypocrisy." For him Israel was a "millstone about America's neck and we and Germany are its feedtrough." ( 30 ) Israel manipulated public opinion in
America and Germany by exploiting the myth of the Nazi Holocaust. In 1974 App returned to this theme, tying together its essential elements. He argued that at least five hundred thousand of the Jews who were supposedly gassed in German concentration camps were actually in Israel, where they received "huge" reparations from Germany. Other putative victims were really in New York, where they had helped precipitate the 1973 energy crisis by "blackmailing" Nixon into rushing several billion dollars' worth of weaponry to Israel so it could "clobber" the Arabs. The "Talmudists" had a secret ally in their efforts to manipulate foreign policy: the media. Jews used "their media," which for App included, among others, the New York Times, Washington Post, and Newsweek, to cry themselves "hoarse" because the Arabs refused to sell oil to the West. ( 3 1) App was not the first to link Jewish control of the media to the Holocaust hoax -- Rassinier had done so previously -- but App made it a central element of his argument. He repeatedly returned to the theme of Jewish domination of the media. ( 32 ) It was through their domination of the press that Jews had been able not only to perpetrate this hoax but subsequently to control the foreign and domestic policies of nations around the world. This theme of Jewish control of the media was a traditional component of modern antisemitism. At the core of antisemitism from the far - right end of the political spectrum was the image of the Jews as a permanent source of unrest and revolutionary zeal in society. ( 33 ) According to these antisemites the media was one of the primary tools Jews used to foster that unrest. They ignored the paradox inherent in this accusation. If Jews controlled the media why did it treat Nazi Germany's persecution of the Jews in such a lackadaisical fashion during the 1930s and 1940s.
Though App identified the main force behind the Holocaust hoax as the "Talmudists and Bolsheviks," he believed there was another participant in the spread of this slander. At the end of the war, when the Americans and British "invaded" Germany, they saw the results of their indiscriminate bombing. The Allies knew, App wrote, that they had been responsible for more destruction than any "vandals of history except the Bolsheviks." Recognizing that their people would not understand or condone the "unnecessary barbarisln,'' Allied leaders needed something that would save them from the condemnation that was sure to come. It was then, according to App, that they discovered that their only "salvation" was to "manufacture" and "harp on a mountain of atrocities," particularly those against the Jews. Harping on Jews as victims was particularly efflcacious for the Allied leaders because, App explained, Jews controlled the media and the media would play a
critically important role in disseminating the hoax. And their plan worked. They exaggerated real and phony Third Reich atrocities to such monstrous proportions that Allied crimes were totally ignored. They then took matters a step further by instilling such a guilt complex in Germany that the Germans felt compelled to pay unprecedented sums of reparations to Jews and Israel. ( 34 )
But even when he linked the Holocaust hoax to the Allies' need for a camouflage in which to hide their own outrages, App did not absolve the "Talmudist leaders." In fact, he maintained that the Jews were ultimately responsible for Allied actions and actually controlled Allied policy. This leap enabled him to argue that Soviet and American atrocities against the German people were the result of Jewish influence. App focused on the two people he considered responsible for these atrocities. Not surprisingly, both of them were Jews. American Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau and Ilya Ehrenburg, a member of the Soviet Antifascist Committee, were to blame for the Soviet soldiers' rape of German women and plunder of German property. App argued, without offering a shred of proof, that Ehrenburg personally urged Soviet soldiers to commit rape, against the German people. (Ehrenburg did call for vengeance but not for rape.) This vindictive Jewish Communist supposedly gave the most "beastly directive in history: Rape the German women as booty!" Similarly, App blamed virtually every American action against the Germans on Henry Morgenthau. It is true that Morgenthau, after learning of the horrors of the German annihilation of the Jews, proposed that in the postwar period Germany be converted into a country that was primarily agricultural and pastoral in character. ( 35 ) As we have seen, the plan was never seriously considered and was subsequently completely abandoned by President Truman. But App claimed that the plan had been put into effect, at least in part. He contended that Morgenthau not only bribed Churchill to stiffen the treatment of German prisoners of war but also inspired the Allies to starve and "abuse - unto - death" several million of these prisoners. This was obviously a Jewish plot, App argued, because "Christians at their worst are not as barbarous as Communists and Jews at their average." ( 36 ) Thus, when the Jews saw that the Allies were going to deal leniently with the Germans in the postwar period, they went into action. According to App the American army was planning to allow the German prisoners to be repatriated as soon as possible after the war. But this did not happen despite the fact that it was what the army leadership and "our Christian citizens" wanted. App had a simple explanation as to how the "tribalists" were able to prevent it. They kept
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"screeching the lie that the Germans 'gassed' 6,000,000 of them. It was the Jews who kept screaming for abusing German prisoners of war, for keeping them from home, for slave - laboring them.... This is the voice of the Talmudists, the barbarians of the Morgenthau Plan!" ( 37 )
As his rhetoric about the Jewish role in directing Allied policy escalated, the two became fused in his mind. No longer did he even speak of the Jews' ability to direct Allied policy. For App, Allied tactics and the Jews' objectives became one: Allied policy, at its worst, was Jewish policy. This is most evident at the end of A Straight Look at the Third Reich. Immediately after discussing Allied atrocities, without any indication that the subject of his diatribe had changed, App wrote:
Not finding the Nazis guilty of real war crimes at all commensurate with the monstrous ones of the victors, they resorted to the only alternative open to hypocrites and liars namely to fabricate a mass atrocity. This they did with the legend of the six million Jews "gassed." ... This is a fabrication and swindle. ( 38 )
Allied policymakers and Jewish leaders had become one and the same to App. He then fell back on the same approach that Harry Elmer Barnes had utilized, accusing those behind the hoax of "smear terroriz[ing]" and branding as an antisemite anyone who tried to investigate this myth in a scholarly fashion. ( 39 )
It was not by chance that App relied on the New Testament phrase "hypocrites and liars" to describe Jews. In fact it served two purposes for him: It was a means of drawing on antisemitic imagery that would resonate with many non - Jews. Moreover, for him the Jews of the twentieth century who perpetrated this hoax were essentially the same as the New Testament Jews who were depicted as crucifiers of Jesus. In the foreword to the 1975 edition of his collected letters, App noted that just as his letters failed to ease Germany's fate and prevent the atrocity stories from gaining currency, so too Jesus of Nazareth was unable to prevent his crucifixion. But that did not mean that either Jesus' or App's struggle was wrong. Both these martyrs were defeated by the same adversaries. App implied that the ancestors of the 'World War Talmudists" had crucified Jesus, and now their descendants thwarted those who wished to tell the truth. **
By the end of The Six Million Swindle App had fully formulated his Holocaust denial, offering readers what he described as eight "incon -
trovertible assertions" that demonstrate the fallaciousness of the figure of six million, which the media kept repeating "ad nauseam without any evidence." These basic assertions -- which were eventually adopted by the Institute for Historical Review as well as other revisionist groups as the fundamental tenets of Holocaust denial -- fall into three distinct categories. First they absolve the Nazis by arguing that they never had any plan for annihilating Jews and that the means supposedly used for annihilation were technologically impossible. They only wanted Jews to emigrate, and if any Jews did die it was the USSR that was ultimately responsible. Second, they legitimate the killing of those Jews who died by contending that they were killed for justifiable reasons. Third, they blame the perpetuation of this hoax on Israel and Jewish leaders and scholars, all of whom have material and political interests in its dissemination.
The eight assertions were:
1. Emigration, never annihilation, was the Reich's plan for solving Germany's Jewish problem. Had Germany intended to annihilate all the Jews, a half million concentration camp inmates would not have survived and managed to come to Israel, where they collect "fancy indemnities from West Germany."
2. "Absolutely no Jews were gassed in any concentration camps in Germany, and evidence is piling up that none were gassed in Auschwitz." The Hitler gas chambers never existed. The gassing installations found in Auschwitz were really crematoria for cremating corpses of those who had died from a variety of causes, including the "genocidic" Anglo - American bombing raids.
3. The majority of Jews who disappeared and remain unaccounted for did so in territories under Soviet, not German control.
4. The majority of Jews who supposedly died while in German hands were, in fact, subversives, partisans, spies, saboteurs, and criminals or victims of unfortunate but internationally legal reprisals.
5. If there existed the slightest likelihood that the Nazis
had really murdered six million Jews, 'World Jewry" would
demand subsidies to conduct research on the topic and Israel
would open its archives to historians. They have not done so.
Instead they have persecuted and branded as an antisemite anyone
who wished to
publicize the hoax. This persecution constitutes the most conclusive evidence that the six million figure is a "swindle." ***
6. The Jews and the media who exploit this figure have failed to offer even a shred of evidence to prove it. The Jews misquote Eichmann and other Nazis in order to try to substantiate their claims.
7. It is the accusers, not the accused, who must provide the burden of proof to substantiate the six million figure. The Talmudists and Bolsheviks have so browbeaten the Germans that they pay billions and do not dare to demand proof.
8. The fact that Jewish scholars themselves have "ridiculous"
discrepancies in their calculations of the number of victims
constitutes firm evidence that there is no scientific proof to
this accusation. ( 40 )
While all these assertions are easily controverted by evidence and documentation, some are based on such faulty reasoning that their fallaciousness can be exposed without even turning to the evidence. As was the case with Rassinier, App ignored a fundamental flaw in his eighth assertion. If the Holocaust was truly a fraud perpetrated by the Jews, one could legitimately expect a powerful force like "World Jewry" to have seen to it that no discrepancies were allowed to creep into research by Jewish scholars. All their findings should neatly dovetail with and confirm one another. And if the "Talmudists" were crafty enough to recognize that precise conformity might arouse suspicion, they would have ensured that there was only the slightest variation among scholars' findings.
But this, of course, is not the only inconsistency in App's arguments. At the same time that he described Israeli archives as playing a pivotal role in the "swindle," he also used their findings to validate his own. In an attempt to prove that even Israeli institutions have been unable to document the number of dead, App cited a statement by Yad Vashem, the national memorial to the victims in Israel, that it has been able to gather only 2.5 million pages of testimony. # App argued that if in the years since the end of the war Yad Vashem had been unable to document even 4 million, it was because there had not been that many.
Even the 2.5 million figures they supplied were nothing but a "a lie and a swindle.'' ( 4 1) But if Yad Vashem was as App depicted it -- an Israeli institution at the heart of the hoax -- it should have had no difficulty forging the additional documentation needed to fill the quotient of six million. ( 42 )
More recently the Institute for Historical Review published a report from the Jerusalem Post in which the director of Yad Vashem's archives reported that more than half of its testimonies from Holocaust survivors are "unreliable." According to Yad Vashem officials, these testimonies have never been used as evidence in Nazi war crimes trials because survivors who wanted to be "part of history" may, in fact, have allowed their imaginations to "run away with them." ( 43 ) For the deniers this was further evidence of a "hoax." What the Institute for Historical Review could not ask, given its ideological predilections, was the question of why Yad Vashem would acknowledge that some of its archival holdings are incorrect if its objective was to perpetuate the Holocaust "myth." Why did it not simply replace these testimonies with "correct" ones? Why did it not have its researchers further "falsify" the data? If Jews were able to forge documents sufficient to convict Nazi war criminals within a few months after the war, they should certainly have been able to deposit reliable and historically accurate testimonies in Yad Vashem in the decades since then. This simpilistic and yet deceptive claim is but another example of the deniers' use of tactics that conveniently either ignore proof of the Holocaust or twist it in a way that substantiates their conspiracy theory.
App's faulty arguments regarding the scholarly dispute about the number of victims and his use of statements and figures from Yad Vashem to prove his point were not the only occasions when he became ensnared in his own attempts to manipulate the evidence. In The Six Million Swindle he also attacked a journalist who had written that the Nazis wished to kill "as many Jews as possible" before the end of the war. In order to substantiate his charge that this journalist was Iying, App cited Himmler's fall 1944 order prohibiting any further execution of Jews. ( 44 ) This evidence, he argued, proved two things: First the Nazis did not wish to kill as many Jews as possible, for if so Himmler would not have halted the killings. Second, he argued, it showed that Himmler, not Hitler, was in charge of Jewish policy. ( 45 ) In his attempt to exonerate both the Nazis in general and Hitler in particular by laying the blame for this policy at Himmler's doorstep, App ignores a basic contradiction in his argument: If there was not a policy to kill the Jews, what then was Himmler ordering stopped?
Here and elsewhere App's approach to evidence is reminiscent of
[ 102 ]
Rassinier's arguments regarding eyewitness accounts. It is the standard method by which deniers dismiss evidence which contradicts their conclusions. All affidavits by Nazis admitting the existence of a Final Solution are declared "outright frauds," and all testimony by Jews regarding mass murder is "in part or whole perjured, often well rewarded and altogether unreliable." ( 46 ) This blanket denial of the validity of any evidence attesting to the Holocaust, including that of eyewitnesses, has become a centerpiece of the deniers' methodology. Simply put, anything that disagrees with their foregone conclusion is dismissed. Because of the sheer number of affidavits by survivors, perpetrators, and eyewitnesses, unless the deniers categorically dismiss this mass of evidence they cannot perpetrate their own hoax.
Ultimately App's arguments are a composite of faulty assertions, manipulation of data, and above all, outright antisemitism. He has done more than just draw on preexisting antisemitic imagery. He has made a significant contribution to contemporary anti - Jewish propaganda in the United States and abroad. His distillation of Holocaust denial into these eight assertions, each of which plays on an antisemitic theme, has proven extremely useful to individuals and groups which not only deny the Holocaust but wish to portray the Jews as able to control American foreign policy for their own diabolical ends. It has also proved extremely efficacious for those who would delegitimize the existence of Israel.
Together App, Barnes, Rassinier, Bardeche, and Hoggan constitute the most significant figures in the evolution of the denial hoax. Those who followed them discarded some of their more blatant and vulgar arguments, learning how to render them in a slightly more oblique fashion. But with the fundamental text established, virtually all the rest would be commentary.
* This argument was used by the deniers until the Soviets adopted a sharp anti - Zionist policy. It then became difficult to claim the existence of a Zionist - Soviet plot, and the deniers stopped repeating this argument.
** This was not the only time App relied on biblical themes to depict Jews. In 1948 he called for the reeducation of Jews "away from their eye for an eyeism. " (App, Morgenthau Era Letters, p . 73.)
*** All these assertions are absolutely false. Israel has opened its archives to all credible scholars and students working in this field.
# A "page of testimong' at Yad Vashem consists of the name and birthdate of the victim as well as additional biographical information. It is usually filled out by a surviving relative, friend, or neighbor, Obviously many people died and did not leave behind any relatives or neighbors who could perform this task of memorializing their name.
Chapter 5. Austin J. App: The World of Immoral Equivalencies
1. Arnold Forster, "The Ultimate Cruelty," ADL Bulletin (June 1959), pp. 7 - 8.
2. New Yorker Staats - Zeitung und Herold, September 7, 1948; Leonard Dinnerstein, America and the Sur viv ors of the Holocaust (New York, 1982), p. 222.
3. Thomas R. O'Donnell to Deborah E. Lipstadt, April 18, 1991; Thomas R. O'Donnell, telephone interview with author, Oct. 1992.
4. Austin App, "Foreword," Morgenthau Era Letters, 2nd printing (Tacoma Park, Md., 1975).
5. App, A Straight Look, p. 40.
6. App, Morgenthau Era Letters, pp. 13 - 14.
7. Ibid., p. 21.
8. Ibid., p. 33.
9. S. F. Berton, "Das Attentat auf Reinhard Heydrich vom 27 Mai 1942: Ein Bericht des Kriminalrats Heinz Pannwitz," Vierteljahrshefte fur Zeitgeschichte (July 1985), pp. 668 - 706. See also J. Bradley, Lidice: Sacrifi cial Village (New York, 1972); T. Wittlin, Time Stopped at 6:30 (Indianapohs, 1965); and "Lidice," Encyclopedia of the Holocaust.
10. App, Morgenthau Era Letters, p. 49.
11. Ibid., p. 51.
12. Ibid., p. 59.
13. Ibid., p. 66.
14. At the end of 1946 the official American total of Jewish survivors in the western zones of Germany, Austria, and Italy was 207,788. The Joint Distribution Committee, which assisted the survivors, estimated that there were 231,500. Many of these were refugees who had spent the war years in Central Asia. Dinnerstein, America and the Survisors, p. 278. See also Malc olm Proudfoot, European Refugees: 1939 - 1952 (Evanston, Ill, 1956), pp. 339, 341.
15. App, Morgenthau Era Letters, pp. 66 - 67. Judge Simon H. Rifkind was the army's adviser on Jewish affairs in Germany in 1945 - 46.
16. "Repatriation of Displaced Persons, March 1946" (U.S. Zone), Monthly Report of Military Go v ernor, U. S. Zone, April 20, 1946, cited in Dinnerstein, America and the Su rviv ors, p. 275.
17. Austin App, The Six Million SwindUe: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Marks with Fabricated Corpses (Tacoma Park, Md., 1973), p. 8.
18. App, Morgenthau Era Letters, p. 79.
19. Peter Kleist, Auch Du Warst Dabei! (You too were involved! ), (Heidelberg, 1952), cited in Aronsfeld, The Text of the Holocaust, p. 53.
20. App, The Six Million Swindle, pp. 7 -8.
21. App, Morgenthau Era Letters, p. 101 (italics added). He reiterated this argument in The Six Million Swindle, pp. 7 - 8.
22. App, The Six Mi lli on Swin dl e, p. 8.
23. Richard L. Rubenstein, The Cunning of History: The Holocaust and the American Future (New York, 1975), p. 22.
24. Max Weber, "Bureau c racy," in H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills, eds From Max Weber, pp. 215 - 16. See also Tal c ott Parsons, "Introduction to Max Weber," The Sociology of Religion (Boston, 1963) cited in Rubenstein, The Cunning of History, pp. 22 - 23.
25. App, Morgenthau Era Letters, p. 95.
26. App, The Six Million Swindle, p. 4.
27. App, "The Elusive 'Six Million,"' American Mercury, Summer 1966 reprinted in The Myth of the Six Million (Torrance, Calif., 1978), p. 112.
28. App, The Six Million Swindle, p. 2.
29. 'Repar at i ons and Restitution," Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, pp. 1255-59.
30. App, The Six Million Swindle, p. 29.
31. App, A Straight Look, p. 18 (italics added).
32. Ibid., pp. 5, 19, 39.
33. Robert Wistrich, Antisemitism: The Longest Hatred (New York, 1991), p. 53.
34. App, A Straight Look, pp. 19 - 20.
35. Henry Morgenthau, Germany Is Our Problem (New York, 1945).
36. App, A Straight Look, pp. 28 - 29.
37. Ibid., p. 30.
38. Ibid., p. 48.
40.. App, The Six Million Swindle, pp. 18 - 19.
41. Ibid., pp. 23 - 24.
42. Yisrael Gutman makes a similar argument in response to Arthur Butz's claim that Yad Vashem's inability to gather six million names is proof that such a number is a hoax. Yisrael Gutman, Denying the Holocaust (Jerusalem, 1985), p. 20.
43. Jerusalem Post, Aug. 17, 1986; IHR Newsletter (Oct. - Nov. 1987), p. 4.
44. Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, p. 631.
45. App, The Six Million Swindle, p. 9.
46. Ibid., p. 16.
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