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Denying the Holocaust
Reviewed by James DeMeo, Ph.D.

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Denying the Holocaust:
The Growing Assault on Truth & Memory

by Deborah Lipstadt
Free Press, NY, 1993

Reviewed by James DeMeo, Ph.D.

Originally published in 1993, in On Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy (Pulse of the Planet #4) page 137-38.

The orthodox scholarly world has a major problem with its narrow-minded attitudes towards unorthodox ideas, and rightfully can be accused of, too often, throwing out the baby with the bathwater. (That is, of discarding valuable research findings along with the worthless materials.) But this does not mean bathwater does not exist. For those interested in unorthodox research findings, outside the mainstream, discretion and strict fact-checking are absolutely necessary requirements. There are publications which over the years have made a constructive reputation for themselves by presenting unorthodox ideas to the general public. Some do a better job than others in sorting through the morass of claims and counter-claims. But of late there is a tendency for more substantive and documented unorthodox materials to be passed over in favor of materials which appeal to wide spread prejudice and mysticism and have only the superficial appearance of "scholarship." Particularly, there has been a growing credence afforded to the fringe neofascist groups which claim through blatant lies and distortions that the WWII Nazi death camps and Holocaust are "fabrications of a conspiracy".

A few publications which properly honor eyewitness testimony and photographs as primary evidence for nearly every kind of controversial subject, such as UFOs or the Kennedy assassination, appear willing, suspiciously willing in fact, to embrace Holocaust-denial materials without criticism, as "alternative history": Mountains of eyewitness observations, testimony, confessions, photographs, mass graves, documentary materials, and the sites of the death camps themselves, are all dismissed as part of a "Jewish conspiracy", which itself is completely undocumented.(1) Deborah Lipstadt's book is a powerful antidote against this kind of fascist-apologist propaganda. Lipstadt predominantly focuses upon the backgrounds and methods employed by the deniers. She demonstrates clearly and unambiguously the blatant twisting of truth and fabricating of materials undertaken by these individuals in their publications. These are Big Dangerous Lies. The kind that, when swallowed whole, destroy entire nations. Her analysis sheds considerable light by clearly demonstrating their patterns and methodology. Lipstadt's chapters cover the history and methods of the Holocaust deniers, from their roots in earlier "historical revisionism" of the early 1900s, through the period of Hitler apologism following WWII. Analytical chapters cover the activities, statements and publications of various deniers: Austin J. App, Arthur Butz, Mark Weber and the "Institute for Historical Review", the "Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust", with revealing information on other notables in the movement, such as David Irving.

For example, Lipstadt cites the case of prison-execution "engineer" Fred Leuchter and his "Report" on the Nazi gas chambers. Leuchter traveled to Germany at the invitation of a neofascist group, to evaluate the concentration camp gas chambers. After visiting Auschwitz/Birkenau and a collecting $35,000 fee for his "services", Leuchter publicly proclaimed that true gas chambers did not exist at the Nazi death camps. His statements and Report were paraded in public as "proof" that mass murder did not take place in the camps. Leuchter was later exposed for misrepresenting his credentials (he had no degree in engineering; only a B.A. in history) and it came out that opponents of the death penalty in the USA had previously cited his gas chamber designs as incompetent, needlessly prolonging death agony. He was charged with fraud, and plead guilty in 1991. However, the "Leuchter Report" is still widely cited as fact within revisionist circles, its publication having been arranged by Hitler-admirer David Irving, who also wrote a glowing "foreword".

The Holocaust deniers agenda is to whitewash the Hitler years, to blame the Allies and "their Jewish advisors" for provocating the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Hitler's invasion of Poland and France, to justify the death-camp murdering of millions of men, women and children, or alternatively, when it suits them, to deny the very existence of the death camps. If the Holocaust can be denied, or even seriously challenged, then Nazism itself can be publicly rehabilitated. The methods of the deniers reveal a tricky and deceitful quality second only to the perpetrators of the crimes being whitewashed. It is Emotional Plague writ in large letters, and it makes the poison-pen distorters of Reich's work appear as meek amateurs by comparison.

The Holocaust denial materials are often quite slick, couched in scholarly dress, mixing kernels of truth with whopping lies, cleverly misquoting or quoting out-of-context bona-fide scholars of the Nazi era and Holocaust -- all with the aim to portray the victims of atrocity as aggressive conspirators. The David Dukes and Daniel Irvings of the USA and Western Europe don't wear black uniforms or jack boots, nor do they pound the podium in an open rage as did their greatly-admired Herr Hitler. (Although this is the mode of dress and behavior of their openly anti-Semitic cousins in Eastern Europe, in organizations such as Pamyat.) Certainly, it is not they who are out in the streets, throwing bricks and fire-bombs, beating up and murdering the auslander, or ethnically-cleansing the neighborhood. Such tasks are left to the semi-educated, hate-filled street gangs, who read the Holocaust-denial materials, and give it credence, animus, and muscle. Rather, the modern authors of denial material dress in business suits and are very neatly groomed; they produce slick publications, like the Journal of Historical Review, and richly-footnoted hardbound tomes, giving the facade of "scholarly objectivity". They present themselves as "controversial scholars", who merely wish to present "an alternative view of history".

Lipstadt explodes these "rational" images of the deniers, ripping away their mask; using their own words, writings and personal histories, she provides necessary background information on the Holocaust denial movement, and the key personalities behind it -- they are fully on record with abundant and quite vicious anti-Semitic statements, often acting as cheer-leaders for hate crimes, and have given prior support to, or were leading members of hate groups such as the KKK, White Aryan Nation and other neofascist organizations. Such groups have, in recent years, developed a growing international network with newsletters, computer bulletin boards, and cooperative financial arrangements. Their materials are translated into many languages and distributed around the world, from Brazil to Japan, as ammunition for neofascism and the whitewashing of WWII Axis crimes. These hate groups are also linked up with traditionally anti-Jewish, fundamentalist-Islamic organizations, such as Hammas and Hezbollah, who have murdered friend and foe alike for years, without restraint, and who likewise circulate translated copies of Holocaust denial materials. There is a clear and obvious death toll associated with the growth of radical hate groups, easily confirmed by surveying news reports during any given week. And there is, indeed, a very real organized secret conspiratorial movement requiring exposure to the light of day: the neofascist, Nazi-apologist, anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denial conspiracy.

One might ask why any of this should be in question. Why waste time to refute such obvious racist propaganda. The answer is, the denial movement has been successful in gaining the public podium, in legitimizing and portraying itself as but another one of the dozens of "suppressed findings". It is a message which strikes paydirt among racist groups, political extremists, uncritical conspiracy buffs, and others with an axe to grind against the establishment. But, why no skepticism towards the Holocaust deniers, or fact-checking of their materials? Why the welcome mat for hate groups who a-priori deny any legitimacy to eyewitness reports or extensive documentation about the death camps? Eyewitness reports are essential materials for historians, scientists, and the legal system, but they are completely dismissed by the deniers and their ultra-right-wing and leftist supporters. The problem is not the absence of evidence for the Holocaust. That evidence always existed, and is unquestionable. The problem is the willingness of ordinary people to disbelieve the awful truth, and to instead willingly swallow this sugar-coated version of history, a poison pill which labels the victims of Nazi atrocity the aggressors, and which contemptuously throws mud in the face of every witness and survivor. The hate literature of the Holocaust deniers should not be confused with honest scholarly work. It isn't. It is deceitful emotional plague venom, from start to finish. For the individual flirting with the Holocaust denial "literature", or its parent, the "Jewish conspiracy", Lipstadt's book is essential antivenom -- highly recommended for those who live in poison country.

Additional Reading on the Holocaust

- Hitler's Apologists: Anti-Semitic Propaganda of Holocaust "Revisionism", Anti-Defamation League, NY, 1993.

- Yehuda Bauer & Nathan Rotenstreich: The Holocaust as Historical Experience, Holmes & Meyer, NY 1981.

- Lucy Dawidowicz: The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, Holt, Rinehart & Winston, NY 1975.

- Martin Gilbert: The Holocaust, Hill & Wang, NY 1985.

- Israel Gutman, Ed.: Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Volumes 1-4, Macmillan, NY 1990.

- Raul Hilberg: The Destruction of the European Jews, Revised Ed. Vols. 1-3, Holmes & Meier, NY 1985.

- Nora Levin: The Holocaust: The Destruction of European Jewry, 1933-1945, T. Y. Crowell, NY 1973.

- Robert J. Lifton: The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killings and the Psychology of Genocide, Basic Books, NY 1986.

- Jean-Claude Pressac: Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers NY 1989.

- Gerald Reitlinger: The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe, 1939-1945, Second Revised Ed., T. Yoseloff, S. Brunswick (NJ) 1968.

- David Wyman: The Abandonment of the Jews, Pantheon, NY 1984.

- Leni Yahil: The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, Oxford U. Press, NY 1990.

Other Relevant Articles by James DeMeo on the issue of Jew-hatred and Modern Fascism

Masters of Deception: Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore and the 9-11 Conspiracy Industry by James DeMeo

Marx-Engels Genocide Quotes: The Hidden History of Marx and Engels by James DeMeo

Attack Against James DeMeo in a Greek Newspaper, and on Subsequent Email/Internet Groups by James DeMeo

Reich On War by James DeMeo

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