| Accueil général | Homepage English | Lipstadt homepage |

I Part 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4 I Part 5 I Part 6 I
Part 7 I Part 8 I Part 9 I Part 10 I Part 11 I


The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory

With a new Preface by the Author


This book is a research project of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.. Copyright 1993 by The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. All rights reserved.
ISBN 0-452-27274-2

To the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust and to those who preserve and tell their story

"Remember the days of yore
Learn the lessons of the generation that came before you."
--Deuteronomy 32:7




In April 1993, in conjunction with the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Roper Organization conducted a poll to determine the extent of Americans' knowledge of the Holocaust. Neither the Roper Organization nor the American Jewish Committee, which sponsored the poll, expected any startling results. But they were surprised by the response to one of the questions. When asked "Do you think it possible or impossible that the Holocaust did not happen?" 22 percent of American adults and 20 percent of American high school students answered, yes, it was possible.* The response shocked many people who had long dismissed Holocaust denial as a wacky phenomenon of no more validity than the claim that the earth is regularly visited by alien beings. The poll's results, coupled with the deniers' recent forays onto college campuses in order to publish ads in campus newspapers denying the Holocaust, convinced many people that Holocaust denial constituted a clear and present danger. When Denying the Holocaust appeared but a few weeks after the Roper poll, many of these former skeptics hailed me for having realized long before virtually anyone else that this was a serious threat.

Some reviews of the book made particular note of the fact that when I began investigating the Holocaust denial phenomenon in 1987


I had been subjected by colleagues and friends to some friendly and -- not so friendly -- skepticism for "taking these kooks seriously." Among the most contrite were those who had been most vigorous in their assaults on me for believing the deniers worthy of serious scholarship. In a public mea maxima culpa, one reviewer identified himself as one who had taken me to task for wasting my time on this topic. Admitting his mistake, he declared the book a work of "stunning relevance."

Ironically, I counseled and continue to counsel a more cautious, certainly not benign, reaction to the Roper statistic. It is true that when a similar question was asked in Britain and France, doubters numbered less than 7 percent. But the 22 percent response must be considered within the American social context. A significant number of Americans, when asked if the most outlandish situation is possible or impossible, are prone to answer yes.** Second, the question was awkwardly constructed, with a double negative embedded within it. Even the Roper organization acknowledged that it could have been worded more clearly. (The same double negative did not, however, appear to confuse those who were polled in other countries.) There is also the possibility that respondents interpreted the question in a more colloquial sense and that it was simply hard for them to believe that the Holocaust might have happened.

My suspicions about the Roper poll were confirmed recently by a Gallup poll which posed the same question but without the double negative. The results were markedly different: 83% said the Holocaust definitely happened, 13% said it probably happened and 4% said it did not or had no opinion. These results indicate that the deniers have not made great inroads into public opinion.

When this particular question is analyzed together with the responses to the sixteen other questions on the poll there is cause for alarm, but not about the deniers. The other responses indicate an appalling American ignorance of the most basic facts of the Holocaust. Thirty-eight percent of adults and 53 percent of high school students either "don't know" or incorrectly explain what is meant by "the Holocaust." Twenty-two percent of adults and 24 percent of students do not know that it occurred after the Nazis came to power in Germany. The poll demonstrates what will be possible in years to come if the deniers' methodology and agenda are not exposed now and, more important, if basic education about the Holocaust is not improved. It was this fear and not prescience that prompted me to address this


subject years ago. And it is this fear about the potential impact of the deniers that prompts my continued interest in this topic.

The deniers' window of opportunity will be enhanced in years to come. The public, particularly the uneducated public, will be increasingly susceptible to Holocaust denial as survivors die. The dramatic difference between hearing a story directly from one who has experienced it and hearing it second- or third-hand has long been illustrated for me by my cousins' experience. Approximately fifteen years older than I, they grew up in Cincinnati. Their father employed an elderly African American gentleman, Charlie Washington, who had been born a slave on a plantation. My cousins heard stories of slavery from him and some of his friends who had also been slaves. For my cousins the Civil War and slavery are not events of the distant American past. They occupy primary places in the storehouse of their childhood memories. In contrast, though I recognize them as exceptionally important aspects of our nation's history, they are for me part of nineteenth-century America. So too with the Holocaust. Future generations will not hear the story from people who can say "this is what happened to me. This is my story." For them it will be part of the distant past and, consequently, more susceptible to revision and denial.

The results of the Roper poll have also elicited challenges to my steadfast refusal to debate deniers. Since the book's appearance I have received numerous invitations to appear on television talk shows aired nationally in the United States. Whenever the plans include inviting a denier I categorically decline to appear. As I make clear in these pages the deniers want to be thought of as the "other side." Simply appearing with them on the same stage accords them that status. Those who have challenged me to reconsider this policy fear that when I refuse, the deniers are left free to posit their claims with no one to challenge them. In fact, whenever I refused an invitation to appear on such a show, the producers abandoned the idea for the show shortly thereafter. Refusal to debate the deniers thwarts their desire to enter the conversation as a legitimate point of view.

The deniers have painted my refusal to debate them and my resistance to the publication of Holocaust denial ads in campus newspapers as a reflection of my lack of tolerance for the First Amendment and my opposition to free intellectual inquiry. In an ad they began to circulate in the fall of 1993, they have labeled me an "intellectual fascist." However, their claim that the Holocaust is treated as a sacrosanct subject that is not open to debate is ludicrous. There is little about the Holocaust that is not debated and discussed.


Among the questions continually being debated in any conference or class on the Holocaust are:

Was the Final Solution a product of Hitler's evil machinations alone, or was it devised and proposed by lower-level officials in response to war-related developments?

There is a categorical difference between debating these types of questions and debating the very fact of the Holocaust.

This is not to suggest that students who ask how we evaluate the veracity of certain testimony should be shunted aside. It is crucial that they be shown how we know what we know, e.g., how oral testimony is correlated with written documentation; how testimony is evaluated for its historical accuracy; and how artifacts are determined to be genuine. Some conclusions we once thought to be true we now know are not. The intellectual process is rooted in the constant reevaluation of previous findings based on new information. So too with the Holocaust. We will debate much about it but not whether it happened. That would be the equivalent of the scholar of ancient Rome debating whether the Roman empire ever existed or the French historian proving that there really was a French Revolution.

In the academic arena there have been those who have interpreted this stance as inconsistent with the free pursuit of ideas for which the academy stands. This reflects a failure to understand both the


ludicrousness of Holocaust denial and the nature of the academy. It reflects the moral relativism prevalent on many campuses and in society at large. The misguided notion that everyone's view is of equal stature has created an atmosphere that allows Holocaust denial to flourish.

This kind of confusion surfaced on a number of college campuses in the fall of 1993 in response to an advertisement attacking me and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The ad, which makes the wild accusation that the museum contains no proof of homicidal gassing chambers, also claims that "the Deborah Lipstadts -- and there is a clique of them on every campus -- work to suppress revisionist research and demand that students and faculty ape their fascist behavior."

The New York State University College at Buffalo ran the ad. In a column explaining his decision, the editor dismissed Holocaust denial as lacking all validity.

There is enough undeniable proof for the existence of the Nazi atrocity for the educated to understand why it shouldn't happen again. The real question is not whether it happened, but how many people dont know that it happened?

Despite this he ran the ad because, he claimed, "there are two sides to every issue and both have a place on the pages of any open-minded paper's editorial page." The Georgetown Record offered the same justification. According to its editor-in-chief "the issue of freedom of expression outweighed the issue of the offensive nature of the advertisement." The editors discussed running a disclaimer next to the ad but rejected it because it "didn't seem like the true spirit of freedom of expression." Given this position one should logically expect to find op-ed columns, letters to the editor, and advertisements claiming that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant, that individuals of African descent should be physically separated from America's "European" population, that the moon landing was staged in Nevada, and a variety of other nonsensical positions that are held by some portion of the population.

Those who take this position fail to understand that which Hannah Arendt observed in an essay called "Truth and Politics." Opinion must be grounded in fact.

Facts inform opinions and opinions, inspired by different interests and passions, can differ widely and still be legitimate as long as they respect factual truth. Freedom of opinion is a farce unless factual information is guaranteed and the facts themselves are not in dispute.


One can believe that Elvis Presley is alive and well and living in Moscow. However sincere one's conviction, that does not make it a legitimate opinion or "other side" of a debate. In the name of free inquiry we must not succumb to the silly view, as these editors did, that every idea is of equal validity and worth. Although the academy must remain a place where ideas can be freely and vigorously explored it must first be a place that differentiates between ideas with lasting quality and those with none. ***

Finally, in the wake of the publication of my book, I have been asked whether I believe that the threat posed by the deniers has been mitigated. Given the attention accorded the Holocaust deniers and their methodology, I would like to believe that it has been. I would like to imagine that my study of people and material with "no redeeming social value" had denied the deniers future success. But ultimately I recognize that though Holocaust denial is totally irrational, in some strange fashion it appeals to the quixotic side in us. We would prefer the deniers to be right. Moreover, there is a part in everyone -- including survivors -- that simply finds the Holocaust beyond belief. This may


explain why some of the 22 percent who answered Roper in the affirmative did so. They found it hard to believe the Holocaust happened. Given that the Holocaust itself beggars the imagination, it is predictable that the deniers will find good-hearted but uneducated people who will succumb to these mental gyrations.

More important, we must remember that we are dealing with an irrational phenomenon that is rooted in one of the oldest hatreds, antisemitism. Antisemitism, like every other form of prejudice, is not responsive to logic. We may battle against contemporary manifestations of it and hope that we are successful, but none of us should be deluded into thinking that any particular battle will be the last. Deniers may have been dealt a blow by major developments such as the opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and the film Schindlers List. But a museum and film alone will not vanquish them. Either the deniers or the next genre of antisemites will eventually surface in some other form. As Albert Camus reminds us in the final paragraphs of The Plugue:

He knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never-ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts.... And indeed, as he listened to the cries of joy rising from the town Rieux remembered that such joy is always imperilled. He knew what those jubilant crowds did not know but could have learned from books: that the plague bacillus never dies or disappears for good; that it can lie dormant for years and years in furniture and linen-chests; that it bides its time in bedrooms, cellars, trunks and bookshelves; and that perhaps the day would come when . . . it roused up its rats again and sent them forth to die in a happy city.

In the 1930s Nazi rats spread a virulent form of antisemitism that resulted in the destruction of millions. Today the bacillus carried by these rats threatens to "kill" those who already died at the hands of the Nazis for a second time by destroying the world's memory of them. One can only speculate about the form of the bacillus' next mutation. All those who value truth, particularly truths that are subject to attack by the plague of hatred, must remain ever vigilant. The bacillus of prejudice is exceedingly tenacious and truth and memory exceedingly fragile.

-- Deborah E. Lipstadt Atlanta, Ga.

January, 1994



When I first began studying Holocaust denial, people would stare at me strangely. Incredulous, they would ask, "You take those guys seriously?" Invariably I would be challenged with the query, "Why are you wasting your time on those kooks?" My intention to write a book on this topic would have evoked no stronger a reaction if I were to write about flat-earth theorists.

That situation has changed dramatically. Regrettably, I no longer have to convince others of the relevance of this work. In fact, those who once questioned my choice of a topic now ask when the book will be available. The deniers' recent activity has fostered enhanced interest that gives my work unanticipated relevance. But rather than be delighted at no longer having to convince people that this is a legitimate topic, I wish we could still afford the luxury of wondedng whether we should take these people seriously. Given the terrible harm they can cause, I would have much preferred to pursue something obscure than an issue that is now so relevant.

This has been a difficult project because at times I have felt compelled to prove something I knew to be true. I had constantly to avoid


being inadvertently sucked into a debate that is no debate and an argument that is no argument. It has been a disconcerting and, at times, painful task that would have been impossible without the aid and support of a variety of people. Without them I would have never emerged from this morass. A number of friends and colleagues carefully read and commented on portions of this manuscript. Their observations and criticisms enhanced my work immeasurably. My profound thanks to Arnold Band, Yisrael Gutman, Manuel Prutschi, Michael Nutkiewicz, Regina Morantz-Sanchez, David Ellenson, Michael Berenbaum, David Blumenthal, and Grace Grossman. In addition, I received important assistance from Gail Gans and the research department of the AntiDefamation League. Adaire Klein, chief librarian of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, graciously made the Center's resources available to me, as did Elizabeth Koenig of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Tony Lehrman of the Institute for Jewish Affairs in London generously helped with research. Manuel Prutschi of the Canadian Jewish Congress provided me with important background information on the activities of Ernst Zundel. Michael Maroko and Jeff Mausner shared important aspects of the Mel Mermelstein case with me. Shelly Z. Shapiro was particularly generous with her time and energy.

I would like to thank Yehuda Bauer, the chairman of the Vidal Sassoon Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, who was a patient and valuable colleague throughout.

Elliot Dorff, Peter Hayes, Elinor Langer, Laurie Levenson, Doug Mirell, Larry Powell, Claudia Koonz, Jason Berry, Alex Heard, Terry Pristin, Paul Kessler, Joyce Appelby, Riki Heilik, Rutty Gross, Mark Saperstein, Glenda B. Minkin, and Sherry Woocher all gave their time and insights. Kenneth Stern of the American Jewish Committee provided important data on the deniers' recent activities.

At The Free Press, Erwin Glikes recognized the importance of this work from the outset. At a time when others were looking at me strangely and wondering why I was bothering with this project, he urged me to move forward with it. Adam Bellow was a precise and demanding editor, exactly what I needed and wanted. His support of this project and his sensitivity to the broader dangers of Holocaust denial were crucial in helping me reach this stage. Susan Llewellyn copy edited with careful attention. Edith Lewis helped ensure speedy production of the final manuscript.

I complete this book as one chapter of my life has closed and a new one is opening. Finishing the book would have been impossible if not for the support of a close circle of friends. They were like family: lov


ing, dependable -- particularly at times of crisis -- and supportive of me even when it was difficult to be so. Though I am now physically distant from most of them, they remain quite near, having taught me that God's presence can be found in many different places and made manifest in a variety of ways (Genesis 28:16).

Deborah E. Lipstadt

Atlanta, Georgia

January 14, 1993



Canaries in the Mine

Holocaust Denial and the Limited Power of Reason

The producer was incredulous. She found it hard to believe that I was turning down an opportunity to appear on her nationally televised show: "But you are writing a book on this topic. It will be great publicity." I explained repeatedly that I would not participate in a debate with a Holocaust denier. The existence of the Holocaust was not a matter of debate. I would analyze and illustrate who they were and what they tried to do, but I would not appear with them. (To do so would give them a legitimacy and a stature they in no way deserve. It would elevate their antisemitic ideology -- which is what Holocaust denial is -- to the level of responsible historiography -- which it is not.) Unwilling to accept my no as final, she vigorously condemned Holocaust denial and all it represented. Then, in one last attempt to get me to change my mind, she asked me a question: "I certainly don't agree with them, but don't you think our viewers should hear the other side?"

I soon discovered that this was not to be an isolated incident.


Indeed, in the months before I completed this manuscript, I had one form or another of this conversation too many times. A plethora of television and radio shows have discovered Holocaust denial. Recently the producer of a nationally syndicated television talk show was astounded when I turned down the opportunity to appear because it would entail "discussing" the issue with two deniers. She was even more taken aback when she learned that hers was not the first invitation I had rejected. Ironically -- or perhaps frighteningly -- she had turned to me because she read my work while taking a course on the Holocaust. When the show aired, in April 1992 deniers were given the bulk of the time to speak their piece. Then Holocaust survivors were brought on to try to "refute" their comments. Before the commercial break the host, Montel Williams, urged viewers to stay tuned so that they could learn whether the Holocaust is a "myth or is it truth."

My refusal to appear on such shows with deniers is inevitably met by producers with some variation on the following challenge: Shouldn't we hear their ideas, opinions, or point of view? Their willingness to ascribe to the deniers and their myths the legitimacy of a point of view is of as great, if not greater, concern than are the activities of the deniers themselves. What is wrong, I am repeatedly asked, with people hearing a "different perspective"? Unable to make the distinction between genuine historiography and the deniers' purely ideological exercise, those who see the issue in this light are important assets in the deniers' attempts to spread their claims. This is precisely the deniers' goal: They aim to confuse the matter by making it appear as if they are engaged in a genuine scholarly effort when, of course, they are not.

The attempt to deny the Holocaust enlists a basic strategy of distortion. Truth is mixed with absolute lies, confusing readers who are unfamiliar with the tactics of the deniers. Half-truths and story segments, which conveniently avoid critical information, leave the listener with a distorted impression of what really happened. The abundance of documents and testimonies that confirm the Holocaust are dismissed as contrived, coerced, or forgeries and falsehoods. (3) This book is an effort to illuminate and demonstrate how the deniers use this methodology to shroud their true objectives.


My previous book on the Holocaust dealt with the American press's coverage -- or lack thereof -- of the persecution of the Jews from 1933 to 1945. Much of the story that I told justly deserved the title Beyond Belief. For most editors and reporters this story was literally beyond be-


lief, and the press either missed or dismissed this news story, burying specific news of gas chambers, death camps, and mass killings in tiny articles deep inside the papers.

When I turned to the topic of Holocaust denial, I knew that I was dealing with extremist antisemites who have increasingly managed, under the guise of scholarship, to camouflage their hateful ideology. However, I did not then fully grasp the degree to which I would be dealing with a phenomenon far more unbelievable than was my previous topic. On some level it is as unbelievable as the Holocaust itself and, though no one is being killed as a result of the deniers' lies, it constitutes abuse of the survivors. It is intimately connected to a neofascist political agenda. Denial of the Holocaust is not the only thing I find beyond belief. What has also shocked me is the success deniers have in convincing good-hearted people that Holocaust denial is an "other side" of history -- ugly, reprehensible, and extremist -- but an other side nonetheless. As time passes and fewer people can personally challenge these assertions, their campaign will only grow in intensity.

The impact of Holocaust denial on high school and college students cannot be precisely assessed. At the moment it is probably quite limited. Revisionist incidents have occurred on a number of college campuses, including at a midwestern university when a history instructor used a class on the Napoleonic Wars to argue that the Holocaust was a propaganda hoax designed to vilify the Germans, that the "worst thing about Hitler is that without him there would not be an Israel," and that the whole Holocaust story was a ploy to allow Jews to accumulate vast amounts of wealth. The instructor defended himself by arguing that he was just trying to present "two sides" of the issue because the students' books only presented the "orthodox view." (4) When the school dismissed him for teaching material that was neither relevant to the course nor of any "scholarly substance," some students complained that he had been unfairly treated. (5) During my visit to that campus in the aftermath of the incident, a number of his students argued that the instructor had brought articles to class that "proved his point." Others asserted, "He let us think." (6) Few of the students seemed to have been genuinely convinced by him, but even among those who were not, there was a feeling that somehow firing him violated the basic American ideal of fairness -- that is, everyone has a right to speak his or her piece. These students seemed not to grasp that a teacher has a responsibility to maintain some fidelity to the notion of truth.

High school teachers have complained to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council that when they teach the Holocaust in


their classes, they increasingly find students who have heard about Holocaust denial and assume it must have some legitimacy. I have encountered high school and college students who feel that the deniers' view should at least be mentioned as a "controversial" but somewhat valid view of the Holocaust. Colleagues have related that their students' questions are increasingly informed by Holocaust denial: "How do we know that there really were gas chambers?" "What proof do we have that the survivors are telling the truth?" "Are we going to hear the German side?" This unconscious incorporation of the deniers' argument into the students' thinking is particularly troublesome. It is an indication of the deniers' success in shaping the way coming generations will approach study of the Holocaust.

One of the tactics deniers use to achieve their ends is to camouflage their goals. In an attempt to hide the fact that they are fascists and antisemites with a specific ideological and political agenda -- they state that their objective is to uncover historical falsehoods, all historical falsehoods. Thus they have been able to sow confusion among even the products of the highest echelons of the American educational establishment. A history major at Yale University submitted his senior essay on the Luftwaffe in the Spanish Civil War to the Journal of Historical Review, the leading Holocaust denial journal, which in format and tone mimics serious, legitimate social science journals. The student acknowledged that he had not closely examined the Journal before submitting his essay. He selected it from an annotated bibliography where it was listed along with respected historical and social science journals. Based on its description, title, and, most significantly, its proximity to familiar journals, he assumed it was a legitimate enterprise dedicated to the reevaluation of historical events.

Deniers have found a ready acceptance among increasingly radical elements, including neo-Nazis and skinheads, in both North America and Europe. Holocaust denial has become part of a melange of extremist, racist, and nativist sentiments. Neo-Nazis who once argued that the Holocaust, however horrible, was justified now contend that it was a hoax. As long as extremists espouse Holocaust denial, the danger is a limited one. But that danger increases when the proponents of these views clean up their act and gain entry into legitimate circles. Though they may look and act like "your uncle from Peoria," they do so without having abandoned any of their radical ideas. (7) David Duke's political achievements are evidence of this. The neo-Nazi Duke, a former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a Holocaust denier, was elected to the Louisiana state legislature in the late 1980s. Two years


later he won 40 percent of the vote in the race for the U.S. Senate. In his November 1991 race for governor, he received close to seven hundred thousand votes. He subsequently entered the 1992 presidential campaign. Despite the fact that his efforts were soon eclipsed, he managed to attract a significant number of followers. Duke, who celebrated Adolf Hitler's birthday until late in the 1980s, has been quite candid about his views on the Holocaust. (8) In a letter accompanying the Crusader, the publication of the National Association for the Advancement of White People (NAAWP) -- an organization Duke created -- he not only described the Holocaust as a "historical hoax" but wrote that the "greatest" Holocaust was "perpetrated on Christians by Jews." (9) Jews fostered the myth of the Holocaust, he claimed, because it generates "tremendous financial aid" for Israel and renders organized Jewry"almost immune from criticism.'' (10) In 1986 Duke declared that Jews "deserve to go into the ashbin of history" and denied that the gas chambers were erected to murder Jews but rather were intended to kill the vermin infesting them. (11) Under Duke the NAAWP advocated the segregation of all racial minorities in different sections of the United States. (Jews were to be confined to "West Israel," which would be composed of Manhattan and Long Island.)

In order most effectively to spread their lies, deniers such as Duke must rewrite not only the history of World War II but also their own past lives. In order to forge his way in the political arena, David Duke had to reformulate his personal history. His efforts to distance himself from his more extremist past are reflective of deniers' tactics. They increasingly avoid being linked with identifiable bigots. When Duke was identified as a Klansman his access to the public arena was limited. When he decided to run for office he shed his sheet and donned a three-piece suit, winning him, if not adherents, at least a respectable audience. He gained political respectability despite the fact that but a short time earlier he had sold racist, antisemitic, and denial literature including The Hitler We Loved and Why and The Holy Book of Adolf Hitler, from his legislative offices. (l2)

But it is not only former members of extremist groups who serve as vehicles for disseminating Holocaust denial. More mainstream individuals have assisted in this effort as well. Patrick Buchanan, one of the foremost right-wing conservative columnists in the country, used his widely syndicated column to express views that come straight from the scripts of Holocaust deniers. He argued that it was physically impossible for the gas chamber at Treblinka to have functioned as a killing apparatus because the diesel engines that powered it could not produce enough car-


bon monoxide to be lethal. Buchanan's "proof" was a 1988 incident in which ninety-seven passengers on a train in Washington, D.C., were stuck in a tunnel as the train emitted carbon monoxide fumes. Because the passengers were not harmed, Buchanan extrapolated that the victims in a gas chamber using carbon monoxide from diesel engines would also not have been harmed. (13) He ignored the fact that the gassings at Treblinka took as long as half an hour and that the conditions created when people are jammed by the hundreds into small enclosures, as they were at Treblinka, are dramatically different from those experienced by a group of people sitting on a train. Asked where he obtained this information, Buchanan responded, "Somebody sent it to me.'' (14) Buchanan has also referred to the "so-called Holocaust Survivor Syndrome." According to him, this involves "group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics.'' (15) # I am not suggesting that Patrick Buchanan is a Holocaust denier. He has never publicly claimed that the Holocaust is a hoax. However, his attacks on the credibility of survivors' testimony are standard elements of Holocaust denial. Buchanan's ready acceptance of this information and reliance on it to make his argument are disturbing, ## for this is how elements of Holocaust denial find their way into the general culture. During the 1992 presidential campaign, when Buchanan was seeking the Republican nomination, he refused to retract these contentions. Nonetheless few of his fellow journalists were willing to challenge him on the matter. As troubling as Buchanan's easy acceptance of these charges was the latitude given him by his colleagues. (16)

Denial arguments have been voiced not only by politicians in the United States but by those in other countries as well. Extremist nationalist groups in those Central and Eastern Europe countries with a tradition of populist antisemitism have a particular attraction to Holocaust denial. Many of the precursors of these movements collaborated with the Nazis. Holocaust denial offers them a means of both wiping out that historical black mark--if there was no Holocaust then cooperating with the Nazis becomes less inexcusable--and rehabilitating those who


were punished by Communists for collaborating. Since the fall of communism, deniers in North America and Western Europe have worked with like-minded groups in Eastern European countries to establish "mini" Institutes for Historical Review (referring to the California based pseudo-academic institution that is the bastion of denial activities and publications). Their objective is to attract people, particularly intellectuals, who are seeking an extremist nationalism cleansed of taints of Nazism. (17) Former Communist bloc countries are particularly susceptible to this strain of pseudo-history because postwar generations have learned virtually nothing about the specifically Jewish nature of Nazi atrocities. The Communists, engaging in their own form of revisionism, taught that it was the fascists (not Germans) who killed Communists (not Jews). The specifically Jewish facet of the tragedy was excised.

While no politician has based his or her entire campaign on Holocaust denial, a number have used it when it was in their interest to do so. Croatian president Franjo Tudjman wrote of the "biased testimonies and exaggerated data" used to estimate the number of Holocaust victims. And in his book Wastelands -- Historical Truth, he always places the word Holocaust in quotation marks. (18) Tudjman has good historical reasons for doing so: Croatia was an ardent Nazi ally, and the vast majority of Croatian Jews and non-Jews were murdered by their fellow Croatians, not by Germans. (19) Tudjman obviously believes that one of the ways for his country to win public sympathy is to diminish the importance of the Holocaust.

It is likely that as Eastern Europe is increasingly beset by nationalist and internal rivalries, ethnic and political groups that collaborated in the annihilation of the Jews will fall back on Tudjman's strategy of minimization. In Slovakia crowds of protesters at political gatherings have chanted antisemitic and anti-Czech slogans and waved portraits of Nazi war criminal Josef Tiso, who was directly involved in the deportation of Slovakian Jews to Auschwitz. In an effort to whitewash Tiso's antisemitism during World War II and to resurrect him as a national hero, his speeches have been broadcast at these rallies. For Slovakian separatists Tiso's regime constitutes the legal and moral precedent for a sovereign Slovakia. Neither Tudjman nor the Tiso protesters are engaged in overt denial. However, their efforts to diminish the magnitude of the deeds and roles of the central players are critically important aspects of Holocaust denial. (20) There is a psychological dimension to the deniers' and minimizers' objectives: The general public tends to accord victims of genocide a certain moral authority. If you devictimize a people you


strip them of their moral authority, and if you can in turn claim to be a victim, as the Poles and the Austrians often try to do, that moral authority is conferred on or restored to you.

Holocaust denial, which has well-established roots in Western and Central Europe, has in recent years manifested itself throughout the world. The following brief survey demonstrates the breadth of the deniers' activities, many of which shall be explored in greater depth in the chapters that follow.

In 1992 a Belgian publisher of neo-Nazi material distributed thousands of pamphlets purporting to offer scientific proof that the gas chambers were a hoax. In 1988 in Britain over thirty thousand copies of Holocaust News, a newsletter which maintains that the Holocaust was a myth, were sent to Jewish communities in London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Birmingham, Cardiff, Norwich, and Leicester as well as to lawyers, schools, and members of Parliament throughout the country. (According to the Sunday Times, Holocaust News is published by the overtly racist British National party -- which is composed of those who find the extremist National Front too mild. It campaigns for the repatriation of Jews and non-whites.) (21)

In recent years Holocaust denial in England has undergone a disturbing new development. David Irving, the writer of popular historical works attempting to show that Britain made a tactical error in going to war against Germany and that the Allies and the Nazis were equally at fault for the war and its atrocities, has joined the ranks of the deniers, arguing that the gas chambers were a "propaganda exercise." (22) Irving, long considered a guru by the far right, does not limit his activities to England. He has been particularly active in Germany, where he has regularly participated in the annual meetings of the extremist German political party Deutsche Volks Union. (23) In addition, he has frequently appeared at extremist-sponsored rallies, meetings, and beer hall gatherings. Irving's self-described mission in Germany is to point "promising young men" throughout the country in the "right direction." (Irving believes women were built for a "certain task, which is producing us [men]," and that they should be "subservient to men. " (24) Apparently, therefore, he has no interest in pointing young women in the right direction. ### Ironically, young Germans who are dedicated German nationalists find Irving and other non-German deniers particularly credible because they are not themselves Germans. (25)


In France, Holocaust denial activities have centered around Robert Faurisson, a former professor of literature at the University of Lyons-2 whose work is often reprinted verbatim, both with and without attribution, by deniers worldwide. According to Faurisson the "so-called gassings" of Jews were a "gigantic politico-financial swindle whose beneficiaries are the state of Israel and international Zionism." Its chief victims were the German people and the Palestinians. (26) Faurisson's area of specialization is the rather unique field of the "criticism of texts and documents, investigation of meaning and counter-meaning, of the true and the false." (27) There is a definite irony in his choice of field because Faurisson, whose methodologies have been adopted by virtually all other deniers, regularly creates facts where none exist and dismisses as false any information inconsistent with his preconceived conclusions. He asserts, for example, that the German army was given "Draconian orders" not to participate in "excesses" against civilians including the Jews; consequently, the massive killings of Jews could not have happened. In making this argument Faurisson simply ignores the activities of the Einsatzgruppen, the units responsible for killing vast numbers of Jews. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, one of Faurisson's prime adversaries in France and someone who has studied him closely, observed that Faurisson is particularly adept at finding "an answer for everything" when encountering information that contradicts his claims. Faurisson interprets the Nazi decree which mandated that Jews wear a yellow star on pain of death as a measure to ensure the safety of German soldiers, because Jews, he argues, engaged in espionage, terrorism, black market operations, and arms trafficking. German soldiers needed a means to protect themselves against this formidable enemy. He even had an explanation as to why Jewish children were required to start wearing the star at age six: They too were engaged in "all sorts of illicit or resistance activities against the Germans" against which the soldiers had to be protected. Documents containing information that Faurisson cannot explain away or reinterpret, he falsifies. Regarding the brutal German destruction of the Warsaw ghetto, Faurisson wrote that in April 1943, "suddenly, right behind the front," the Jews started an insurrection. The ghetto revolt, for which the Jews built seven hundred bunkers, was proof of the quite serious threat the Jews posed to German military security. Although it is true that the Jews started an insurrection, it was not right behind the front but hundreds of miles from it. Faurisson's source for the information regarding the insurrection and the bunkers was a speech delivered in Posen in October 1943 by the Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler. But even Himmler was more honest than


Faurisson: He described the uprisings as taking place in Warsaw and in "territories in the rear." (28)

Faurisson has not worked alone in France. In June 1985 the University of Nantes awarded a doctoral degree to a Faurisson protégé, Henri Roques, for a dissertation accusing Kurt Gerstein, one of those who transmitted the news of the gas chambers to the Allies, of being a "master magician" who created an illusion that the world accepted as fact. (29) Implicitly denying the existence of the gas chambers, Roques tried to prove that Gerstein's reports were so laden with inconsistencies that he could not possibly have witnessed gassings at Belzec, as he maintained. There exist a variety of official documents and testimonies attesting to Gerstein's presence at these gassings. Roques, adhering to his mentor's pattern of ignoring any document that contradicts his preexisting conclusions, simply excluded this material from his dissertation. (30) (After a public uproar Roques' doctoral degree was revoked by the French minister of higher education in 1986.) (31)

Though Faurisson and most of his admirers are on the political right, they and their activities have been abetted by an extreme left-wing revolutionary group, La Vieille Taupe (The Old Mole). (32) Originally a bookstore, it has become a publishing house that shelters an informal coterie of revolutionary types. Under the direction of its proprietor, Pierre Guillaume, it has distributed periodicals, cassettes, comic books, journals, and broadsheets all attesting to the Holocaust hoax. Guillaume is France's leading publisher of neo-Nazi material. Twenty-four hours after the Klaus Barbie trial began in France, the first issue of Annals of Historical Revisionism, a journal edited by Guillaume and containing articles by Faurisson, was distributed for sale to Paris bookstores and kiosks. (33)

Suggestions of Holocaust denial have come from French political figures as well. The leader of the far right National Front, Jean Marie Le Pen, declared in 1987 that the gas chambers were a mere "detail" of World War II. In a radio interview he asserted that he had never seen any gas chambers and that historians had doubts about their existence. "Are you trying to tell me [the existence of gas chambers] is a revealed truth that everyone has to believe?" Le Pen asked rhetorically. "There are historians who are debating such questions." (34) Le Pen, who has complained that there are too many Jews in the French media, is considered the leader of Europe's extreme right. A charismatic speaker, he has exploited French fears about the immigration of Arabs from North Africa and has espoused the kind of right-wing antisemitism associated with the Dreyfus affair. Popular support for Le Pen in France has been


as high as 17 percent. In the 1988 presidential election he received 14.4 percent of the popular vote, coming in fourth overall. (35)

Shades of Holocaust denial were evident at the Klaus Barbie trial when defense attorneys, attempting to diminish the significance of the Holocaust, argued that forcing people into gas chambers was no different from killing people in a war, and that it was no more of a crime to murder millions of Jews because they were Jews than it was to fight against Algerians, Vietnamese, Africans, or Palestinians who were attempting to free themselves from foreign rule. (36) These slight-of-hand attempts at moral equivalence constitute a basic tactic of those who hover on the periphery of Holocaust denial. (See chapter 11 for an analysis of Holocaust relativism in Germany.)

In 1978 Louis Darquier de Pellepoix, Vichy France's commissioner of Jewish affairs and the person responsible for coordinating the deportation of Vichy Jews to death camps, told the French weekly L'Express that the Nazi genocide was a typical Jewish hoax. "There was no genocidc you must get that out of your head." Expressing the standard denier's explanation for this hoax, he charged that the Jews' aim was to "make Jerusalem the capital of the world." The rather ambiguous headline of the article, which ran without any editorial comments, was "Only Lice Were Gassed in Auschwitz." (37) Léon Degrelle, the leader of the World War II fascist movement in Belgium and a Nazi collaborator, called on the European right to accept neo-Nazis as honorable allies. He also wrote an "Open Letter to the Pope about Auschwitz," informing the Polish-born cleric, who had witnessed the war at close range, that there were no gas chambers or mass annihilation in Hitler's Third Reich and that Jews who had been killed were actually murdered by American and British bombings. (38)

But one does not have to be a committed neo-Nazi to be receptive to deniers' arguments. In Paris, in an interview with the leftist monthly Le Globe, Claude Autant-Lara, one of France's most acclaimed film directors and at the time a member of the European parliament, described the Holocaust as a legend "stuffed" with lies and claimed that France was in the hands of a left-wing cabal dominated by Jewish internationalists and cosmopolitans. (39)

In Austria, where the Kurt Waldheim affair uncovered hidden antisemitism, Holocaust denial has been centered around a number of neoNazi publications including the newspaper Sieg, which states that the number of Jews who died under Nazi rule was less than two hundred thousand. (40) The publisher, Walter Ochensberger, has been repeatedly convicted by Austrian courts for the crime of "incitement." During lec-


ture tours in various countries including the United States, he has preached the doctrine of denial. (41) The publisher of another neo-Nazi denial magazine, Halt, was indicted for Holocaust denial activities. (42) In addition to Sieg and Halt, denial publications targeted at schoolchildren have appeared in Austria. (43) Since the late 1980s the American Ku Klux Klan has established groups in both Germany and Austria. These groups have added Holocaust denial to their traditional racist extremism. (44)

In certain parts of Europe, Holocaust denial has found its way into the general population. In the fall of 1992 a public opinion poll in Italy, where a wide array of denial publications have appeared, revealed that close to 10 percent of the Italian population believe the Holocaust never happened. (45)

Denial arguments have permeated the work of those who would not describe themselves as deniers. An English play entitled Perdition charged that Zionist leaders both during and after the war were a separate class of rich capitalists who betrayed the Jewish masses to the Nazis. The playwright described the Holocaust as a "cozy set of family secrets, skeletons in closets." In a key passage, the leading character charges that Jews who died in Auschwitz "were murdered, not just by the force of German arms but by calculated treachery of their own Jewish leaders." (46) Though the play did not deny the Holocaust, the result was the same: The perpetrators were absolved and the victims held responsible.

But it has not only been Europe that has witnessed this phenomenon. Since 1965, Holocaust denial material has been available throughout Latin America. In Brazil, much of it has been released by a publishing house specializing in Portuguese-language antisemitic materials. This publisher recently claimed that within four years of publication, one of its denial books had appeared in twenty-eight editions and was read by two hundred thousand people. (Though the figures may be highly inflated, the publisher did boost sales by offering bookstore owners extremely generous terms, allowing them to keep half the cover price as opposed to the usual 30 percent, and giving them 120 days to pay, a major benefit in a country with a 40 percent monthly inflation rate. Obviously, profit was not the publisher's primary motive.) (47) Holocaust deniers have also been active in Argentina, Mexico, Chile, and Peru.

In Australia and New Zealand, Holocaust denial has adopted a particularly deceptive guise. The Australian Civil Liberties Union, camouflaging its intentions behind a facade of defending civil liberties, is in fact an ardently antisemitic organization. Its bookstore sells an array of


traditional antisemitic works, including denial tracts and its leader, John Bennett, has called the Holocaust a "gigantic lie" designed to foster support for Israel. Under him the Union has distributed denial and neo-Nazi material and arranged for radio interviews by Fred Leuchter, the selt-described "engineer" and gas chamber expert who claims to have conducted scientific tests at Auschwitz and Majdanek proving that the gas chambers there could not have functioned as homicidal killing units. (For an analysis of Leuchter's report see chapter 9 and the Appendix).The league's meetings have been addressed by an assortment of Holocaust deniers, including hard core Nazis and representatives of the California-based Institute for Historical Review. When Leuchter was in Australia, he was interviewed on the radio and given other significant media coverage. The league, which uses conspiracy theories to attract economically vulnerable members of the working class, informed unemployed timber workers that their jobs had been lost because Jewish bankers had taken over their forests and lands. (48) The Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission describes the league as the most "influential and effective as well as the best-organized and most substantially financed racist organization in Australia." (49)

New Zealand has its own League of Rights whose activities approximate those of its Australian counterpart. Because these leagues do not have the same offensive public image that some of the more blatantly antisemitic and neo-Nazi groups do, they have been more successful at winning popular support. By projecting an image of being committed to the defense of free speech, these pseudo-human rights organizations have attracted followers who would normally shun neo-Nazi and overtly antisemitic organizations and activities. The manner in which they obfuscate and camouflage their agenda is the tactic Holocaust deniers will increasingly adopt in the future. It is part of the movement's strategy to infiltrate the mainstream.

In Japan, an array of antisemitic books have reached the best-seller list in recent years. Masami Uno, the author of some of the most popular of these books, asserts that Jews form a "behind-the-scenes nation" controlling American corporations. His books link Jews to Japan's deepest economic fears, declaring America a "Jewish nation" and proclaming Jews responsible for Japan bashing. Uno, whose books have sold millions of copies, has told Japanese audiences that the Holocaust is a hoax and the Diary of Anne Frank full of "lies." (50) Holocaust denial in Japan must be seen as part of the country's revisionist attitude toward World War II in general. Japan has ignored those aspects of the war


that focus on its own wrongdoings. Japanese textbooks distort the historical reality of the Japanese "rape of Nanking," calling it the "Nanking Incident." No mention either is made of the medical experiments conducted by the Japanese on prisoners of war, or the army's exploitation of Korean "comfort women." Even the attack on Pearl Harbor is presented as a defense tactic which the Japanese were compelled to take because of America's refusal to acquiesce to reasonable Japanese demands. The use of Koreans as slave labor is also left unmentioned in official war histories. (51) Since the Holocaust deniers try to prove that it was the Allies, not the Axis, who committed atrocities during World War II, Holocaust denial may find an increasingly receptive audience in Japan, particularly if the economic situation there worsens and a scapegoat is needed.

Not surprisingly, given deniers' objective of delegitimizing Israel, Arab countries have proven particularly receptive. During the 1970s, when Holocaust denial was first trying to present itself as a credible academic enterprise, Saudi Arabia financed the publication of a number of books accusing Jews of creating the Holocaust hoax in order to win support for Israel. These books were distributed worldwide. (52) Articles denying the genocide against the Jews have appeared in publications of the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, an affiliate of the International Red Cross. The latter published an article charging that "the lie concerning the existence of gas chambers enabled the Jews to establish the State of Israel." (53) Another article in a Palestinian journal chided Jews for complaining about gestapo treatment when they were really "served healthy food" by the Germans. (54) Arabs have long argued that Israel was created by the United Nations because the world felt guilty over Jewish suffering during the Holocaust. The deniers' claims add fuel to these charges. Not only did the world, as Robert Faurisson said to me, displace one people "from its land so another could acquire it," but Holocaust denial proves that it was deceived into doing so. (55)

The confluence between anti-Israel, antisemitic, and Holocaust denial forces was exemplified by a world anti-Zionist conference scheduled for Sweden in November 1992. Though canceled at the last minute by the Swedish government, scheduled speakers included Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan, Faurisson, Irving, and Leuchter. Also scheduled to participate were representatives of a variety of antisemitic and anti-Israel organizations, including the Russian group Pamyat, the Iranian-backed Hezbollah, and the fundamentalist Islamic organization Hamas. (56)


Echoes of Holocaust denial have also been heard from individuals who are not associated with extremist or overtly antisemitic groups. In an interview with Esquire magazine in February 1983, Robert Mitchum, who played a leading role in the television production of Herman Wouk's World War II saga, Winds of War and War and Remembrance, suggested that there was doubt about the Holocaust. Asked about the slaughter of six million Jews, he replied, "so the Jews say." The interviewer, incredulous, repeated Mitchum's comment verbatim, "So the Jews say?" and Mitchum responded, "I don't know. People dispute that." (57)

The editor of The Progressive, a socialist monthly, recently observed that while he is used to receiving a significant amount of "crackpot mail," the material he receives from Holocaust deniers is a "more subtly packed, slicker" form of hate propaganda. Despite its restrained and objective tone, he wondered who if anyone might be convinced by such "pernicious rot." His question was answered when he received a letter from a high school senior who described himself as eager for articles that grappled with difficult ideas. He complimented the editor for the wide variety of topics covered in the magazine but urged that he also address "controversial ideas about the Holocaust" such as the existence of gas chambers. The editor, himself a survivor of the Holocaust, wrote the young student assuring him that if he meant to suggest that there were no gas chambers he was wrong. The student sent back a strongly worded challenge asking the editor to reveal precisely how many gas chambers he had actually seen and how he had managed to survive. (58)

In Illinois, two parents have conducted an extremely focused letter campaign against the state law that mandates teaching of the Holocaust in all schools in the state. Though many of their arguments are the standard charges repeated ad infinitum in denial publications, these parents have added a new element, threatening to withdraw their children from classes that taught the history of the Holocaust to protect them from "this highly questionable and vulgar hate material." (59) Their letter, sent to thousands of people including elected of ficials, educators, academicians, and parents, asked recipients to ponder how it was that a small minority was able to use the school systems and to "manipulate our children for their political and national purposes." (60)'


The inroads deniers have been able to make into the American educational establishment are most disconcerting. Defenders -- Noam Chomsky probably the best known among them -- have turned up in a


variety of quarters. The MIT professor of linguistics wrote the introduction to a book by Faurisson. Faurisson, whom the New York Times described as having "no particular prominence on the French intellectual or academic scene," has argued that one of the reasons he does not believe that homicidal gas chambers existed is that no death-camp victim has given eyewitness testimony of actual gassings. (61) This argument contradicts accepted standards of evidence. It is as if a jury refused to convict a serial killer until one of his victims came back to say, "Yes, he is the one who killed me." Such reasoning is so soft that it makes one wonder who could possibly take him seriously. Moreover, it ignores the extensive testimony of the Sonderkommandos who dragged the bodies from the gas chambers.

Chomsky contended that, based on what he had read of Faurisson's work, he saw "no proof" that would lead him to conclude that the Frenchman was an antisemite. (62) According to Chomsky, not even Faurisson's claims that the Holocaust is a "Zionist lie" are proof of his antisemitism. "Is it antisemitic to speak of Zionist lies? Is Zionism the first nationalist movement in history not to have concocted lies in its own interest?" (63) That students editing a college newspaper or television producers interested in winning viewers should prove unable to make such distinctions is disturbing. That someone of Chomsky's stature should confuse the issue is appalling. Indeed, it was this kind of reasoning that led Alfred Kazin to describe Chomsky as a "dupe of intellectual pride so overweening that he is incapable of making distinctions between totalitarian and democratic societies, between oppressors and victims." (64) Though Chomsky is his own unique case, his spirited defense of the deniers shocked many people including those who thought they were inured to his antics.

In his essay Chomsky argued that scholars' ideas cannot be censored irrespective of how distasteful they may be. *# Throughout this imbroglio Chomsky claimed that his interest was Faurisson's civil rights and freedom to make his views known. (65) During the past few years, as deniers have intensified their efforts to insinuate themselves into the university world by placing ads denying the Holocaust in campus newspapers, echoes of Chomsky's arguments have been voiced by students, profes-


sors, and even university presidents. (See chapter 10 for additional information about denial on campus.) In response to student and faculty protests about the decision of the Duke Chronicle to run an ad denying the Holocaust, the president of Duke University, Keith Brodie, said that to have done otherwise would have "violated our commitment to free speech and contradicted Duke's long tradition of supporting First Amendment rights." (66) Brodie failed to note that the paper had recently rejected an ad it deemed offensive to women. No one had complained about possible violations of the First Amendment.

Let this point not be misunderstood. The deniers have the absolute right to stand on any street corner and spread their calumnies. They have the right to publish their articles and books and hold their gatherings. But free speech does not guarantee them the right to be treated as the "other" side of a legitimate debate. Nor does it guarantee them space on op-ed pages or time on television and radio shows. Most important, it does not call for people such as Chomsky to stand by them and thereby commend their views to the public.**#

We have only witnessed the beginning of this movement's efforts to permeate cultural, historical, and educational orbits. They must be taken seriously: Far more than the history of the Holocaust is at stake.


While Holocaust denial is not a new phenomenon, it has increased in scope and intensity since the mid-1970s. It is important to understand that the deniers do not work in a vacuum. Part of their success can be traced to an intellectual climate that has made its mark in the scholarly world during the past two decades. The deniers are plying their trade at a time when much of history seems to be up for grabs and attacks on the Western rationalist tradition have become commonplace.

This tendency can be traced, at least in part, to intellectual currents


that began to emerge in the late 1960s. Various scholars began to argue that texts had no fixed meaning. The reader's interpretation, not the author's intention, determined meaning. Duke University professor Stanley Fish is most closely associated with this approach in the literary field. (67) It became more difficult to talk about the objective truth of a text, legal concept, or even an event. In academic circles some scholars spoke of relative truths, rejecting the notion that there was one version of the world that was necessarily right while another was wrong. (68) Proponents of this methodology, such as the prominent and widely read philosopher Richard Rorty, denied the allegation that they believed that two incompatible views on a significant issue were of equal worth. (69) But others disagreed. Hilary Putnam, one of the most influential contemporary academic philosophers, thought it particularly dangerous because it seemed to suggest that every conceptual system was "just as good as the other." (70) Still others rightfully worried that it opened the doors of the academy, and of society at large, to an array of farfetched notions that could no longer be dismissed out of hand simply because they were absurd.

Nonetheless, as a methodology this approach to texts had something to recommend it. It placed an important, though possibly overstated, emphasis on the role played by the reader's perspective in assigning meaning to a text. It was also a reminder that the interpretations of the less powerful groups in society have generally been ignored. But it also fostered an atmosphere in which it became harder to say that an idea was beyond the pale of rational thought. At its most radical it contended that there was no bedrock thing such as experience. Experience was mediated through one's language. The scholars who supported this deconstructionist approach were neither deniers themselves nor sympathetic to the deniers' attitudes; most had no trouble identifying Holocaust denial as disingenuous. But because deconstructionism argued that experience was relative and nothing was fixed, it created an atmosphere of permissiveness toward questioning the meaning of historical events and made it hard for its proponents to assert that there was anything "off limits" for this skeptical approach. The legacy of this kind of thinking was evident when students had to confront the issue. Far too many of them found it impossible to recognize Holocaust denial as a movement with no scholarly, intellectual, or rational validity. A sentiment had been generated in society -- not just on campus -- that made it difficult to say: "This has nothing to do with ideas. This is bigotry."

This relativistic approach to the truth has permeated the arena of


popular culture, where there is an increasing fascination with, and acceptance of, the irrational. One area in which this has been evident is in the recurring debate regarding the assassination of President Kennedy. While there is reason to question some of the conclusions of the Warren Commission, the theories regarding the killing that have increasingly gained acceptance border on the irrational. Notions of a conspiracy within the highest echelons of American government are readily accepted as plausible. According to Oliver Stone's 1991 movie JFK, a coup d'etat was underway in the United States, with the collusion of the vice president, Joint Chiefs of Staff, chief justice of the United States, FBI, CIA, members of Congress, and the Mafia. Stone's film imposed a neat coherence on a mass of confusing information, providing a self-contained explanation for what still seemed to be an unbelievable event. Many reviewers and moviegoers alike pondered these charges with great seriousness.

In another debasing of history, serious credence has been given to reverse racist charges about white scholarship. Some extremist Afrocentrists, who rightfully assert that Africa's role in shaping Western civilization is too often ignored, would have us believe that the basis of all intellectual and scientific thought as we know it originated on that continent. Leonard Jeffries, professor of Afro-American studies at New York's City College, has declared blacks to be "sun people" and whites "ice people." All that is warm, communal, and full of hope comes from the former; all that is oppressive, cold, and rigid from the latter. (71) In these instances, history is rewritten for political ends and scientific historiography is replaced, in the words of Henry Louis Gates, Jr., professor of Afro-American studies at Harvard, with "ideological conformity." (72) Scholars who might once have dismissed these outlandish views feel compelled to treat them as having some validity.

These attacks on history and knowledge have the potential to alter dramatically the way established truth is transmitted from generation to generation. Ultimately the climate they create is of no less importance than the specific truth they attack -- be it the Holocaust or the assassination of President Kennedy. It is a climate that fosters deconstructionist history at its worst. No fact, no event, and no aspect of history has any fixed meaning or content. Any truth can be retold. Any fact can be recast. There is no ultimate historical reality.

Holocaust denial is part of this phenomenon. It is not an assault on the history of one particular group. Though denial of the Holocaust may be an attack on the history of the annihilation of the Jews, at its core it poses a threat to all who believe that knowledge and memory


are among the keystones of our civilization. Just as the Holocaust was not a tragedy of the Jews but a tragedy of civilization in which the victims were Jews, so too denial of the Holocaust is not a threat just to Jewish history but a threat to all who believe in the ultimate power of reason. It repudiates reasoned discussion the way the Holocaust repudiated civilized values. It is undeniably a form of antisemitism, and as such it constitutes an attack on the most basic values of a reasoned society. Like any form of prejudice, it is an irrational animus that cannot be countered with the normal forces of investigation, argument, and debate. The deniers' arguments are at their roots not only antisemitic and anti-intellectual but, in the words of historian Charles Maier, "blatantly racist anthropology." (73) Holocaust denial is the apotheosis of irrationalism.

Because the movement to disseminate these myths is neither scholarship nor historiography, I have chosen to eschew the term revisionism whenever possible and instead to use the term denial to describe it. The deniers' selection of the name revisionist to describe themselves is indicative of their basic strategy of deceit and distortion and of their attempt to portray themselves as legitimate historians engaged in the traditional practice of illuminating the past. For historians, in fact, the name revisionism has a resonance that is perfectly legitimate -- it recalls the controversial historical school known as World War I "revisionists," who argued that the Germans were unjustly held responsible for the war and that consequently the Versailles treaty was a politically misguided document based on a false premise. Thus the deniers link themselves to a specific historiographic tradition of reevaluating the past. Claiming the mantle of the World War I revisionists and denying they have any objective other than the dissemination of the truth constitute a tactical attempt to acquire an intellectual credibility that would otherwise elude them.


Revisionism is also the name given to a more contemporary approach to historical research. Associated with the noted historian William Appleman Williams, a past president of the Organization of American Historians, it addresses itself to questions of American foreign policy particularly as they relate to the origins of the Cold War and the conflict between the West and the Communist world. Because this form of revisionism is critical of American foreign policy, which it sees as motivated by a desire for hegemony via open-door imperialism, it is a useful model for the deniers. (74) While many historians strongly disagree with its


particular bias, all agree that for the "Wisconsin school," as Williams's followers came to be known, and its descendants, the canons of evidence are as incontrovertible as they are for all other historians. In contrast, evidence plays no role for deniers.

Finally I abjure the term revisionist because on some level revisionism is what all legitimate historians engage in. Historians are not just chroniclers -- they do not simply retell the tale. Each one tries to glean some new insight or understanding from a story already known, seeking some new way of interpreting the past to help us better understand the present. That interpretation always involves some constant "re-visioning" of the past. By its very nature the business of interpretation cannot be purely objective. But it is built on a certain body of irrefutable evidence: Slavery happened; so did the Black Plague and the Holocaust.

In order to maintain their facade as a group whose only objective is the pursuit of truth, the deniers have filled their publications with articles that ostensibly have nothing to do with World War II but are designed to demonstrate that theirs is a global effort to attack and revise historical falsehoods. Articles on the Civil War, World War I, and Pearl Harbor are included in their journals as a means of illustrating how establishment historians, with ulterior political motives, have repeatedly put forward distorted views of history. The deniers aim to undermine readers' faith in "orthodox" historians' commitment to transmitting the truth. They argue that this tactic of distortion by "court historians" for political means reached its zenith in the Holocaust "myth."


What claims do the deniers make? The Holocaust -- the attempt to annihilate the Jewish people -- never happened. Typical of the deniers' attempt to obfuscate is their claim that they do not deny that there was a Holocaust, only that there was a plan or an attempt to annihilate the Jewish people. (75) They have distorted and deconstructed the definition of the term Holocaust. But this and all the ancillary claims that accompany it are embedded in a series of other arguments. They begin with a relatively innocuous supposition: War is evil. Assigning blame to one side is ultimately a meaningless enterprise. Since the central crime of which the Nazis are accused never happened, there really is no difference in this war, as in any other, between victor and vanquished. (76) Still, they assert, if guilt is to be assigned, it is not the Germans who were guilty of aggression and atrocities during the war. The real crimes against civilization were committed by the Americans, Russians, Britons, and French against the Germans. The atrocities inflicted on


the Germans by the Allies were -- in the words of Harry Elmer Barnes, a once-prominent historian and one of the seminal figures in the history of North American Holocaust denial -- "more brutal and painful than the alleged exterminations in the gas chambers." (77) Once we recognize that the Allies were the aggressors, we must turn to the Germans and, in the words of Austin App, a professor of English literature who became one of the major "theoreticians" of Holocaust denial, implore them "to forgive us the awful atrocities our policy caused to be inflicted upon them." (78)

For some deniers Hitler was a man of peace, pushed into war by the aggressive Allies. (79) According to them, the Germans suffered the bombing of Dresden, wartime starvation, invasions, postwar population transfers from areas of Germany incorporated into post-war Poland, victors vengeance at Nuremberg, and brutal mistreatment by Soviet and Allied occupiers. Portrayed as a criminal nation that had committed outrageous atrocities, Germany became and remains a victim of the world's emotional and scholarly aggression.

But it is showing the Holocaust to have been a myth that is the deniers' real agenda. They contend that the ultimate injustice is the false accusation that Germans committed the most heinous crime in human history. The postwar venom toward Germany has been so extreme that Germans have found it impossible to defend themselves. Consequently, rather than fight this ignominious accusation, they decided to acknowledge their complicity. This seeming contradiction -- namely that the perpetrators admit they committed a crime while those who were not present exonerate them -- presents a potential problem for the deniers. How can a group that did not witness what happened claim that the perpetrators are innocent while the perpetrators acknowledge their guilt? The deniers explain this problem away by arguing that in the aftermath of World War II the Germans faced a strategic conflict. In order to be readmitted to the "familv of nations," they had to confess their wrongdoing, even though they knew that these charges were false. They were in the same situation as a defendant who has been falsely convicted of committing horrendous crimes. He knows he will be more likely to receive a lenient sentence if he admits his guilt, shows contrition, and makes amends. So too the innocent Germans admitted their guilt and made (and continue to make) financial amends.

The defendants at the war crimes trials adopted a similar strategy. They admitted that the Holocaust happened but tried to vindicate themselves by claiming they were not personally guilty. Arthur Butz, a professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, is the


denier who has most fully developed this theory of what I call incrimination to avoid self-incrimination. (For a fuller treatment of this see chapter 7.)

Deniers acknowledge that some Jews were incarcerated in places such as Auschwitz, but, they maintain, as they did at the trial of a Holocaust denier in Canada, it was equipped with "all the luxuries of a country club," including a swimming pool, dance hall, and recreational facilities. (80) Some Jews may have died, they said, but this was the natural consequence of wartime deprivations. ##*

The central assertion for the deniers is that Jews are not victims but victimizers. They "stole" billions in reparations, destroyed Germany's good name by spreading the "myth" of the Holocaust, and won international sympathy because of what they claimed had been done to them. In the paramount miscarriage of injustice, they used the world's sympathy to "displace" another people so that the state of Israel could be established. (81) This contention relating to the establishment of Israel is a linchpin of their argument. It constitutes a motive for the creation of the Holocaust "legend" by the Jews. Once the deniers add this to the equation, the essential elements of their argument are in place.

Some have a distinct political objective: If there was no Holocaust, what is so wrong with national socialism? It is the Holocaust that gives fascism a bad name. Extremist groups know that every time they extol the virtues of national socialism they must contend with the question: If it was so benign, how was the Holocaust possible? Before fascism can be resurrected, this blot must be removed. At first they attempted to justify it; now they deny it. This is the means by which those who still advocate the principles of fascism attempt to reintroduce it as a viable political system (see chapter 6). For many falsifiers this, not antisemitism, is their primary agenda. It is certainly a central theme for the European deniers on the emerging far right.

When one first encounters them it is easy to wonder who could or would take them seriously. Given the preponderance of evidence from victims, bystanders, and perpetrators, and given the fact that the de-


appears to be ludicrous to devote much, if any, mental energy to them. They are a group motivated by a strange conglomeration of conspiracy theories, delusions, and neo-Nazi tendencies. The natural inclination of many rational people, including historians and social scientists, is to dismiss them as an irrelevant fringe group. Some have equated them with the flat-earth theorists, worthy at best of bemused attention but not of serious analysis or concern. They regard Holocaust denial as quirky and malicious but do not believe it poses a clear and present danger.

There are a number of compelling reasons not to dismiss the deniers and their beliefs so lightly. First, their methodology has changed in the past decade. Initially Holocaust denial was an enterprise engaged in by a small group of political extremists. Their arguments tended to appear in poorly printed pamphlets and in right-wing newspapers such as the Spotlight, Thunderbolt, or the Ku Klux Klan's Crusader. In recent years, however, their productivity has increased, their style has changed, and, consequently, their impact has been enhanced. They disguise their political and ideological agendas. (82) Their subterfuge enhances the danger they pose. Their publications, including the Journal of Historical Review -- the leading denial journal -- mimic legitimate scholarly works, generating confusion among those who (like the Yale history student) do not immediately recognize the Journal's intention. Their books and journals have been given an academic format, and they have worked hard to find ways to insinuate themselves into the arena of historical deliberation. One of the primary loci of their activities is the college campus, where they have tried to stimulate a debate on the existence of the Holocaust. It is here that they may find their most fertile field, as is evident from the success they have had in placing advertisements that deny the Holocaust in college newspapers (see chapter 10). They have also begun to make active use of computer bulletin boards, where they post their familiar arguments. Certain computer networks have been flooded with their materials. Their objective is to plant seeds of doubt that will bear fruit in coming years, when there are no more survivors or eyewitnesses alive to attest to the truth.

There is an obvious danger in assuming that because Holocaust denial is so outlandish it can be ignored. The deniers' worldview is no more bizarre than that enshrined in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a report purporting to be the text of a secret plan to establish Jewish world supremacy. (83) The deniers draw inspiration from the Protocols, which has enjoyed a sustained and vibrant life despite the fact it has long been proved a forgery.


Many years ago the prominent German historian Theodor Mommsen warned that it would be a mistake to believe that reason alone was enough to keep people from believing such falsehoods. If this were the case, he said, then racism, antisemitism, and other forms of prejudice would find no home. To expect rational dialogue to constitute the sole barriers against the attempts to deny the Nazi annihilation of European Jewry would be to ignore one of the ultimate lessons of the event itself: Reasoned dialogue has a limited ability to withstand an assault by the mythic power of falsehood, especially when that falsehood is rooted in an age-old social and cultural phenomenon. There was no rational basis to the Nazi atrocities. There was, however, the mythic appeal of antisemitism. Hitler and the Nazis understood this. Mythical thinking and the force of the irrational have a strange and compelling allure for the educated and uneducated alike. Intellectuals in Nazi Germany were not immune from irrational, mystical thinking. So, too, among the deniers.

The vast majority of intellectuals in the Western world have not fallen prey to these falsehoods. But some have succumbed in another fashion, supporting Holocaust denial in the name of free speech, free inquiry, or intellectual freedom. An absolutist commitment to the liberal idea of dialogue may cause its proponents to fail to recognize that there is a significant difference between reasoned dialogue and anti-intellectual pseudoscientific arguments. They have failed to make the critical distinction between a conclusion, however outrageous it may be, that has been reached through reasonable inquiry and the use of standards of evidence, on the one hand, and ideological extremism that rejects anything that contradicts its preset conclusions, on the other. Thomas Jefferson long ago argued that in a setting committed to the pursuit of truth all ideas and opinions must be tolerated. But he added a caveat that is particularly applicable to this investigation: Reason must be left free to combat error. (84) One of the ways of combating errors is by making the distinctions between scholarship and myth. In the case of Holocaust denial, we are dealing with people who consciously confuse these categories. As a result reason becomes hostage to a particularly odious ideology.

Reasoned dialogue, particularly as it applies to the understanding of history, is rooted in the notion that there exists a historical reality that -- though it may be subjected by the historian to a multiplicity of interpretations -- is ultimately found and not made.35 The historian does not create, the historian uncovers. The validity of a historical interpretation is determined by how well it accounts for the facts. Though the historian's role is to act as a neutral observer trying to follow the facts, there


is increasing recognition that the historian brings to this enterprise his or her own values and biases. Consequently there is no such thing as value-free history. However, even the historian with a particular bias is dramatically different from the proponents of these pseudoreasoned ideologies. The latter freely shape or create information to buttress their convictions and reject as implausible any evidence that counters them. They use the language of scientific inquiry, but theirs is a purely ideological enterprise.

This absolutist commitment to free inquiry and the power of irrational mythical thinking at least partially explain how the deniers have managed to find defenders among various establishment figures and institutions. Even the supposed protectors of Western liberal ideals of reasoned dialogue can fall prey to the absolutist notion that all arguments are equally legitimate arenas of debate. By arguing that the deniers' views, however ugly, must be given a fair hearing, they take a positive Western value to an extremist end. They fail to recognize that the deniers' contentions are a composite of claims founded on racism, extremism, and virulent antisemitism. The issue is not interpretation: The challenge presented by the deniers is whether disinformation should be granted the same status and intellectual privileges as real history.

I reiterate that I am not advocating the muzzling of the deniers. They have the right to free speech, however abhorrent. However, they are using that right not as a shield, as it was intended by the Constitution, but as a sword. There is a qualitative difference between barring someone's right to speech and providing him or her with a platform from which to deliver a message. Quick to exploit this situation, the deniers have engaged in a calculated manipulation of two principles dear to Americans: free speech and the search for historical truth.

In the pages that follow I shall examine both the modus operandi of Holocaust denial and the impact it has had on contemporary culture. I undertake this task with some hesitation, since readers might wonder how marginal the deniers can be if historians do not simply dismiss them. Does scholars' attention suggest that they are not merely falsifiers? Does research on them give them the publicity they crave? #*# Indeed, deniers are quick to pounce joyfully on any discussion of their work as evidence of the serious consideration their views are receiving.


In 1981 President Reagan, speaking at the official commemoration of the Days of Remembrance of the Holocaust, related how "horrified" he was to learn that there were people who claimed that the Holocaust was an invention. In its newsletter the Institute for Historical Review, the leading disseminator of Holocaust denial material, cited the president's comments to demonstrate Holocaust denial's "vibrancy" and "just how far Revisionism has come since our founding" (86) -- a response reminiscent of the witticism: I don't care what they say about me as long as they say something.

The deniers understand how to gain respectability for outrageous and absolutely false ideas. The anthropologist Marshall Sahlins has described how this process operates in the academic arena. Professor X publishes a theory despite the fact that reams of documented information contradict his conclusions. In the "highest moral tones" he expresses his disregard for all evidence that sheds doubt on his findings. He engages in ad hominem attacks on those who have authored the critical works in this field and on the people silly enough to believe them. The scholars who have come under attack by this professor are provoked to respond. Before long he has become "the controversial Prof. X" and his theory is discussed seriously by nonprofessionals, that is, journalists. He soon becomes a familiar figure on television and radio, where he "explains" his ideas to interviewers who cannot challenge him or demonstrate the fallaciousness of his argument. (87)

While we have not yet descended to the point at which respectful reviews of denial literature appear in Time, Newsweek, or The New Yorker, virtually all else has evolved as Sahlins described. Normal and accepted standards of scholarship, including the proper use of evidence, are discarded. What remains, in the word of this eminent anthropologist, is a "scandal."

The danger that my research might inadvertently give the deniers a certain stature is not my only cause for trepidation. Another more serious problem is inherent in the process of refuting the deniers. It is possible, as the French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet has observed, that in the course of answering the deniers an "exterminationist" school will be created in opposition to the "revisionist" one. (88) Such was the case when radio and television producers wondered why I wouldn't talk to the "other side." Deniers have, in fact, already taken to calling those who do research on the Holocaust "exterminationists."

Despite these dangers I have undertaken this work for a number of reasons. First, denial of an individual's or a group's persecution, degradation, and suffering is the ultimate cruelty -- on some level worse than


the persecution itself. Those who have not experienced the Holocaust or the sting of antisemitism may find it difficult to understand the vulnerability it endangers in the victim. So, too, those who have never experienced racism cannot fully grasp the pain and anger it causes. This book is, in part, an attempt to convey the pain the deniers inflict. In writing it I have often found myself angry with them despite the facts that they live in a strange mental wonderland and that neither they nor the nonsense they spread are worthy of my anger. Although we do not take their conclusions seriously, contradictory as it may sound, we must make their method the subject of study. We must do so not because of the inherent value of their ideas but because of the fragility of reason and society's susceptibility to such farfetched notions. Many powerful movements have been founded by people living in similar irrational wonderlands, national socialism foremost among them.

I have also delved into this distasteful topic because of my conviction that only when society -- particularly that portion of society committed to intellectual inquiry -- comprehends the full import of this group's intentions will there be any hope that history will not be reshaped to fit a variety of pernicious motives. Time need not be wasted in answering each and every one of the deniers' contentions. It would be a neverending effort to respond to arguments posed by those who falsify findings, quote out of context, and dismiss reams of testimony because it counters their arguments. It is the speciousness of their arguments, not the arguments themselves, that demands a response. The way they confuse and distort is what I wish to demonstrate; above all, it is essential to expose the illusion of reasoned inquiry that conceals their extremist views.

It is also crucial to understand that this is not an arcane controversy. The past and, more important, our perception of it have a powerful impact on the way we respond to contemporary problems. Deniers are well aware of history's significance. Not by chance did Harry Elmer Barnes believe that history could serve as a "means for a deliberate and conscious instrument of social transformation." (89) History matters. Whether the focus be the Middle East, Vietnam, the Balkans, the Cold War, or slavery in this country, the public's perception of past events and their meaning has a tremendous influence on how it views and responds to the present. Adolf Hitler's rise to power was facilitated by the artful way in which he advanced views of recent German history that appealed to the masses. It did not matter if his was a distorted versionit appealed to the German people because it laid the blame for their current problems elsewhere. Although history will always be at a [29]

disadvantage when contending with the mythic power of irrational prejudices, it must contend nonetheless.


I was reminded of the potency of history when, on the eve of the Louisiana gubernatorial election in 1991, one of David Duke's followers remarked in a television interview that there was all this talk about Duke's past views on Jews and blacks and his Ku Klux Klan activities. That, the follower observed, was the past; what relevance he wondered, did it have for this election? The answer was obvious: His past had everything to do with his quest for election; it shaped who he was and who he remained. It has never been more clearly illustrated that history matters. (Neither was it pure happenstance that the late Paul de Man, one of the founders of deconstructionism, also falsified his past and reworked his personal history.) (90)

And if history matters, its practitioners matter even more. The historian's role has been compared to that of the canary in the coal mine whose death warned the miners that dangerous fumes were in the air -- "any poisonous nonsense and the canary expires.'' (91) There is much poisonous nonsense in the atmosphere these days. The deniers hope to achieve their goals by winning recognition as a legitimate scholarly cadre and by planting seeds of doubt in the younger generation. Only by recognizing the threat denial poses to both the past and the future will we ultimately thwart their efforts.


In-text notes

* Ironically, those who conceived of the poll originally considered omitting this question because they assumed that the affirmative responses would be negligible.

** According to certain surveys the number who believe Elvis Presley is alive is in the double digits.

*** The University of Michigan editors displayed the same confused thinking that typified their colleagues' behavior two years earlier. While explicitly rejecting the notion that the Holocaust was a hoax, the editors ran the ad as an op-ed piece in the paper's Viewpoint section. They claimed that because the first time they ran the ad there had been such a strong reaction on campus, this new ad was "relevant" to the community. (One could argue that if there had been a homophobic incident on the campus, everything homophobes wrote would be relevant to the university community.) The editors' primary reason for running the ad was that if it was "suppress[ed]" the notions it expounded "would fester and grow." The editors contended that it was their responsibility to make sure that such claims received the "scrutiny they deserve." While they did not fall prey to a mistaken notion that this was a First Amendment issue, the wisdom of their tactic is open to question. They could have published an analytical article that used segments of the ad to explain Holocaust denial's tactics and nonsensical nature. Rather they gave this nonsense the status of a aviewpoint," something the deniers are quick to exploit. (Michigan Daily, October 6, 1993)

The editors of Brandeis University's Justice took a similar approach and proclaimed that they ran the ad so readers would "know that such thinking existed." When they were castigated by other students on campus for their actions, the editors condemned the students for their lack of "empathy. " (The Justice, December 7, 1993; New York Times, December 12, 1993)

The editor of the Stanford Daily published an eloquent and impassioned editorial attacking Holocaust deniers and ran the ad, with the address for additional information obscured, as a sidebar to the editorial. Students and faculty protested that he could have accomplished the same ends with the editorial but without the ad. (Stanford Daily, October 26, 1993)

When the Notre Dame Observer ran the ad as a result of an oversight," it received a long letter from a student who compared the deniers' claims to other historical assumptions that have been altered as a result of scholarly inquiry including the Ptolemaic view that the earth is the center of the solar system. This student granted the deniers exactly what they wished: they became a legitimate other side that would eventually be vindicated by the evidence. (The Observer, November 18, 19, 23, 1993)

# Buchanan's statements were made as part of his defense of John Demjanjuk, a retired Cleveland auto worker accused of being Ivan the Terrible, notonous camp guard arld a mass murderer at Treblinka. It is not Buchanan's defense of Demjanjuk with which I take issue -- it is his use of denial arguments to do so. Buchanan has consistently opposed any prosecution of Nazi war criminals.

## It is ironic that Duke's efforts to win the Republicarl presidential nomination were overshadowed by Buchanan, who had earlier advocated that the Republicans stop feeling guilty about their "exploitation" of the Willie Horton issue and instead take a "hard look at Duke's portfolio of winning issues" (New Republic, October 15, 1990, p. 19).

### His solution to unemployment would be to declare the employment of a female a "criminal offense."

*# It is ironic that this internationally known professor should have become such a defender of Faurisson's right to speak when he would have denied those same rights to proponents of America's involvement in Vietnam. In American Power and the New Mandarins he wrote, "By accepting the presumption of legitimacy of debate on certain issues, one has already lost one's humanity." Though written long before the Faurisson affair, his comments constitute the most accurate assessment of his own behavior.

**# Chomsky's behavior can be contrasted with that of thirty-four of France's leading historians who, in response to Faurisson's efforts, issued a declaration protesting his attempt to deny the Holocaust. The declaration read in part: "Everyone is free to interpret a phenomenon like the Hitlerite genocide according to his own philosophy. Everyone is free to compare it with other enterprises of murder committed earlier, at the same time, later. Everyone is free to offer such or such kind of explanations; everyone is free, to the limit, to imagine or to dream that these monstrous deeds did not take place. Unfortunately, they did take place and no one can deny their existence without committing an outrage on the truth. It is not necessary to ask how technically such mass murder was possible. It was technically possible, seeing that it took place. That is the required point of departure of every historical inquiry on this subject. This truth it behooves us to remember in simple terms: there is not and there cannot be a debate about the existence of the gas chambers." The full text of the declaration appeared in Le Monde, February 21, 1979.

##* In an apparent emulation of the deniers, a small group of Americans, led by a woman in California, Lillian Baker, has made the same claims about the World War II Japanese concentrahon camps in the United States. Manzanar, the infamous concentration camp for Japanese Americans, contained only "voluntary visitors." They were treated royally, given every amenity, and had "all they could eat at our government's expense."' Like the Jews, Baker and her group claim, the contemporary Japanese Americans who foster this hoax have a rationale for doing so -- to divert attention from their community's complicity with Japan dunng the war (Los Angeles Times, August 28 and December 6, 1991).

#*# Robert Lifton expressed similar ambivalences about the potential impact of his research on doctors who participated in the Nazi killing system. He feared that his explanation would sound as if he were condoning or rationalizing their actions (Lifton, The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing, and the Psychology of Genocide [New York, 1986], pp. xi~xii).

End-of-volume notes

Chapter 1. Canaries in the Mine

1. Dumas Malone, The Sage of Monticello: Jefferson and His Time, vol. 6 (Boston, 1981), pp. 417-18.

2. Marvin Perry, "Denying the Holocaust History as Myth and Delusion," Encore American and Worldwide News, Sept. 1981, pp. 28-33.

3. For an example of this see how the deniers have treated Anne Frank's diary. David Barnouw and Gerrold van der Stroom, eds., The Diary of Anne Frank: The Critical Edition (New York, 1989), pp. 91-101.

4. The incident occurred at Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis on February 9, 1990. It was subsequently revealed that the teacher had been arrested for stealing war memorabilia from a local museum (Indianapolis News, Feb. 16, 1990).

5. Indianapolis Star, Feb. 22 and 23, 1990.

6. The Sagamore, Feb. 26, 1990.

7. "Like your uncle from Peoria," was how actress Whoopi Goldberg described the neo-Nazi Tom Metzger, whom she hosted on her television show in September 1992. Metzger, an ardent racist and antisemite, advocates the forced racial segregation of blacks. Goldberg acknowledged that he was particularly dangerous because he appeared so civil. Howard Rosenberg, the television critic of the Los Angeles Times, wondered why, if Goldberg recognized this, it was necessary for her to host him on her show. Obviously she had fallen prey to the same syndrome afflicting those who invite the deniers to appear (Los Angeles Times, Sept. 21, 1992).

8. New Orleans Times-Picayune, Aug. 26, 1990.

9. From a letter signed by David Duke accompanying the Crusader, February 1980, as cited in David Duke: In His Own Words (New York, n.d.).

10. Interview with David Duke conducted by Hustler magazine, reprinted in the National Association for the Adrancement of White People News, Aug. 1982.

11. Jason Berry, "Duke's Disguise," New York Times, Oct. 16, 1991. See also Letters to the Editor, New York Times, Oct. 19, 1991.

12. Jason Berry, "The Hazards of Duke," Washington Post, May 14, 1989. He also tried to appear as if he had modulated his views on other topics. No longer did he speak of sterilizing welfare mothers; now it was "birth control incentives" (Los Angeles Times, June 10, 1990). See also Lawrence N. Powell, "Read my Liposuction: The Makeover of David Duke," New Republic, Oct. 15, 1990.

13. Jacob Weisberg, "The Heresies of Pat Buchanan," New Republic, Oct. 22, 1990, pp. 26-27.

14. Ibid., p. 26.

15. Report of the Anti-Defamation League on Pat Buchanan, Los Angeles Jewish Journal, Sept. 28, 1991.

16. New York Times, Feb. 14, 1992.

17. David Warshofsky (pseud.), interview with author, December 1992. "Warshofsky" is a regular participant in the Institute's meetings and is in constant communication with various deniers both in the United States and in Europe.

18. Robert D. Kaplan, "Croatianism: The Latest Balkan Ugliness," New Republic, Nov. 25, 1991, p. 16.

19. "Croatia," Encyclopedia of the Holocaust (New York, 1990), Israel Gutman, ed., p. 326.

20. Some of the key Slovakian separatists have engaged in actual denial. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Mar. 17, 1992.

21. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Nov. 6, 1992; The Times, Mar. 6, 1988.

22. Daily Telegraph, July 10, 1992.

23. Sunday Telegraph, Jan. 12, 1992.

24. Daily Telegraph, July 10, 1992.

25. Independent on Sunday, May 10, 1992.

26. Frederick Brown, "French Amnesia," Harpers, Dec. 1981, p. 70.

27. Nadine Fresco, "The Denial of the Dead: On the Faurisson Affair," Dissent, Fall 1981, p. 467.

28. Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of the Holocaust (New York, 1993), pp. 40-41; Serge Thion, ed., Vérité historique or vérité politique? (Paris, 1980), pp. 187, 190, 211.

29. Vidal-Naquet, Assassins of Memory, p. 115.

30. Ibid.

31. Guardian, July 3, 1986; Le Monde, July 4, 1986.

32. New Statesman, Apr. 10, 1981, p. 4.

33. Annales d'Histoire Revisionniste, vol. 1, Spring 1987; Judith Miller, One by One by One: Facing the Holocaust (New York, 1990), p. 134.

34. Miller, One by One by One, p. 137; Jewish Telegraph Agency, Oct.23, 1987.

35. Time, May 28, 1990; U. S. News & World Report, May 28, 1990, p. 42; Los Angeles Times, May 29, 1990, pp. H1, H7. In the following parliamentary election Le Pen's party was routed but this resulted from a change in the voting system and not a loss of support. Miller, One by One by One, p. 138.

36. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Oct. 23, 1987; Alain Finkielkraut Remembering in Vain: The Klaus Barbie Trial and Crimes Against Humanity (New York, 1989), pp. 35-44.

37. L'Express, Oct. 28-Nov. 4, 1978; Gill Seidel, The Holocaust Denial (Leeds, England, 1986).

38. New Statesman, Sept. 7, 1979, p. 332.

39. The Times, May 11, 1990; Jewish Week, Sept. 15, 1989.

40. Dokumentationszentrum, 1988 Annual Report, Vienna, Austria.

41. Austrian News, Embassy of Austria, Press and Information Dept., Washington, Oct., 1989.

42. Spotlight, June 1, 1992.

43. In 1991, the Gallup organization conducted a poll of Austrian attitudes toward Jews commissioned by the American Jewish Committee. Fifty-three percent of the people surveyed thought it was time to "put the memory of the Holocaust behind us" and 39 percent believed that "Jews have caused much harm in the course of history." An almost identical proportion believed that Jews had "too much influence" over world affairs; close to 20 percent wanted them out of the country. These statistics indicate a country "ripe" for an antisemitic ideology such as Holocaust denial. Fritz Karmasin, Austrian Attitudes Towards Jews, Israel and the Holocaust (New York, 1992).

44. Jewish Telegraph Agency, Aug. 18, 1992, p. 4; Nov. 11, 1992.

45. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Nov. 2, 4, 1992.

46. Arab News, May 8, 1988.

47. New York Times, Dec. 10, 1989.

48. New Statesman, Sept. 7, 1979; Searchlight, Nov. 1988, p. 15.

49. Jewish Telegraph Agency, Dec. 22, 1992. Outside of the Union, some Australians have been able to voice Holocaust denial charges with impunity. Dr. Anice Morsey, a prominent member of the Australian Arab community, has accused Zionists of fabricating the story of the Holocaust. He maintained that the Jews who were killed were fifth columnists or spies. Morsey asserted that Israel was the financial beneficiary of this hoax and Germany the victim. Morsey's views did not seem to have hampered his career. Subsequent to making that statement he was appointed ethnic affairs commissioner by the Victorian government. An Nahar, Nov. 8, 1982, quoted in Jeremy Jones, "Holocaust revisionism in Australia," in Without Prejudice (Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs), Dec. 4, 1991, p. 53. Kenneth Stern's Holocaust Denial contains a useful survey of recent Holocaust denial activities throughout the world (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1993), chap. 2.

50. New York Tirnes, Mar. 12, 1987; Jennifer Golub, Japanese Attitudes Toward Jews (New York: American Jewish Committee, 1992), p. 6.

51. The Weekend Australian, Aug. 19-20, 1989; New York Times, Dec. 25, 1988; Time, Oct. 7, 1991.

52. Yehuda Bauer, " 'Revisionism' -- The Repudiation of the Holocaust and Its Historical Significance," in The Historiography of the Holocaust Period, Yisrael Gutman and Gideon Grief, eds. (Jerusalem, 1988), p. 702.

53. Los Angeles Times, Dec. 18, 1990.

54. Near East Report, Apr. 16, 1990, p. 72.

55. Interview with Robert Faurisson, Vichy, France, June 1989.

56. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Nov. 26, 1992.

57. Esquire, Feb. 1983.

58. The Progressive, Apr. 1986, p. 4.

59. Peter Hayes, "A Historian Confronts Denial," in The Netherlands and Nazi Genocide, G. Jan Colijn and Marcia S. Littell, eds. (Lewiston,1992), p. 522.

60. Safet M. Sarich to Winnetka educators, May 1991.

61. New York Times, Jan. 1, 1981.

62. Gitta Sereny, "The Judgment of History," New Statesman, July 17, 1981, p. 16; Noam Chomsky, "The Commissars of Literature," New Statesman, Aug. 14, 1981, p. 13.

63. Noam Chomsky, "Chomsky: Freedom of Expression? Absolutely," Village Voice, July 1-7, 1981, p. 12. See also Noam Chomsky, "The Faurisson Affair: His Right to Say It," Nation, Feb. 28, 1981, p. 231. Gitta Sereny, "Let History Judge," New Statesman, Sept. 11, 1981, p. 12.

64. Alfred Kazin, "Americans Right, Left and Indifferent: Responses to the Holocaust," Dimensions, vol. 4, no. 1 (1988), p. 12.

65. He was particularly distressed by the University of Lyons's decision not to let Faurisson teach because it could not guarantee his safety.

66. Statement by President H. Keith H. Brodie, Duke University, Nov. 6, 1991.

67. Fish argued that he was not in the business of "recovering" texts but "in the business of making texts and of teaching others to make them." He found this a liberating approach because it relieved him of "the obligation to be right... and demands only that I be interesting." Peter Novick, That Noble Dream: The Ob)ectivity Question and the American Historical Profession (Cambridge, 1988), p. 544.

68. Nelson Goodman, Ways of Worldmaking (Indianapolis, 1978), cited in Novick, That Noble Dream, p. 539.

69. Richard Rorty, "Pragmatism, Relativism, and Irrationalism," Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis, 1982), p. 166. See also Novick, That Noble Dream, p. 540.

70. Hilary Putnam, Truth and History (Cambridge, 1981), p. 54.

71. Time, Aug. 26, 1991, p. 19.

72. Newsweek, Sept. 18, 1991, p. 47.

73. Charles Maier, The Unmasterable Past: History, Holocaust and German National Identity (Cambridge, 1988), p. 64.

74. Novick, That Noble Dream, pp. 448ff.

75. Mark Lane, letter to the editor, Los Angeles Daily Journal, Nov. 13, 1991.

76. Conversations with Robert Faurisson, Vichy, France, June 1989.

77. Harry Elmer Barnes, "Revisionism: A Key to Peace," Rampart Journal (Spring 1966), p. 3.

78. Austin J. App, History's Most Terrifying Peace, p. 106, cited in "Prevent World War III," n.d., p. 7.

79. Harry Elmer Barnes, Revisionism and Brainwashing: A Survey of the War-Guilt Question in Germany After Two World Wars (n.p., 1962), p. 33 (hereafter referred to as Brainwashing).

80. Canadian papers covering the trial regularly carried headlines such as: "Nazi Camp had Pool, Ballroom" (Toronto Sun, Feb. 13, 1985); "Prisoners at Auschnvitz dined, danced to band, Zundel Witness Testifies" (Toronto Star, Feb. 13, 1985).

81. Conversations with Robert Faurisson, Vichy, France, June 1989.

82. Maier, The Unnasterable Past, p. 64.

83. Colin Holmes, "Historical Revisionism in Britain, The Politics of History," in Trends in Historical Revisionism: History as a Political Device (London, 1985), p. 8.

84. Dumas Malone, The Sage of Monticello, pp. 417-418.

85. Novick, That Noble Dream, p. 2.

86. Institute for Historical Review, Newsletter (Apr. 1987), p. 1.

87. New York Review of Books, Mar. 22, 1979, p. 47. See also Pierre VidalNaquet, Assassins of Memory, pp. 3-7.

88. Democracy, vol. 1-2 (Apr. 1981), pp. 73ff.

89. Justus D. Doenecke, "Harry Elmer Barnes: Prophet of a Usable Past," History Teacher (Feb. 1975), p. 273.

90. Geoffrey Hartman, "Blindness and Insight," New Republic, Mar. 7, 1988, pp. 26-31.

91. Donald Cameron Watt, "The Political Misuse of History," in Trends in Historical Revisionism: History as a Political Device (London, 1985), p. 11.

This is a part of Deborah Lipstadt's book, Denying the Holocaust -- The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, 1993, Penguin. We offer this document in relation with a trial due to take place in the first days of Year 2000 in London, where British historian David Irving is suing Mrs. Lipstadt for defamation, --to allow the public to take freely cognizance of the sentences and words used by the author.

We downloaded this document in October 1999 from <www.angelfire/ak3/deny/pira1.html>. We have seen another copy at <>. Thanks to them all. As revisionists, we feel grossly misrepresented by Ms Lipstadt; we are not looking for redress in courts, but only in the minds of good readers. The rest of this site is enough, we believe, to prove Ms Lipstad wrong on all accounts. You may retrieve informations on the trial on David Irving's website.

I Part 1 I Part 2 I Part 3 I Part 4 I Part 5 I Part 6 I
Part 7 I Part 8 I Part 9 I Part 10 I Part 11 I

This text has been displayed on the Net, and forwarded to you as a tool for educational purpose, further research, on a non commercial and fair use basis, by the International Secretariat of the Association des Anciens Amateurs de Recits de Guerres et d'Holocaustes (AAARGH). The E-mail of the Secretariat is < Mail can be sent at PO Box 81475, Chicago, IL 60681-0475, USA..
We see the act of displaying a written document on Internet as the equivalent to displaying it on the shelves of a public library. It costs us a modicum of labor and money. The only benefit accrues to the reader who, we surmise, thinks by himself. A reader looks for a document on the Web at his or her own risks. As for the author, there is no reason to suppose that he or she shares any responsibilty for other writings displayed on this Site. Because laws enforcing a specific censorship on some historical question apply in various countries (Germany, France, Israel, Switzerland, Canada, and others) we do not ask their permission from authors living in thoses places: they wouldn't have the freedom to consent.
We believe we are protected by the Human Rights Charter:

ARTICLE 19. <Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.>The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on December 10, 1948, in Paris.

| Accueilgénéral | Homepage English | Lipstadt homepage |

You downloaded this document from <>