Silver-level articleHolocaust denial

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Holocaust denial (a field of Holocaust revisionism) is the assertion that the Holocaust (often called the "Holohoax") perpetrated by Nazi Germany, other Axis powers, and their collaborators in occupied Europe during the Second World War never happened or that it happened vastly differently from the "official" story. Like most conspiracy theories, it takes many forms; however, the claims generally fall into three categories:

  • That the gas chambers used by the Nazis were actually delousing stations, etc.
  • That the Final Solution was in fact not the genocide of the Jewish people, but rather the expulsion of Jews from Germany.
  • That the Nuremberg testimonies from Germans were extracted by torture and/or otherwise faked.
  • That surviving death camp witnesses are/were "psychiatric cases" or liars.
  • That Hitler actually protected European Jews.[1]
  • That 6,000,000 is a gross exaggeration of the Jewish death count.
  • That death counts for other groups (such as Roma or homosexuals) are exaggerated, that they were not included in the Holocaust, or that they were among those who carried it out.
  • That Stalin killed more people.

Particularly when it focuses on "how the Jews faked it all," Holocaust denial is a form of anti-Semitism. This denial of Jewish suffering is embraced by bigots who are too cowardly to admit that they wished that Hitler had finished the job.

Holocaust denial, as noted, has many variants. This article tries to briefly rebut the most common claims.


[edit] Starting off with a note from Ike

[On April 12, 1945] I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never been able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain however, that I have never at any time experienced an equal sense of shock.

I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that "the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda." Some members of the visiting party were unable to go through with the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton's headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and the British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe, 1948[2]

[edit] Definitions and terminology

The Holocaust was, according to Wikipedia:

The genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, throughout Nazi-occupied territory.

[edit] Functionalism and intentionalism versus Holocaust denial

Today, scholars of history are divided between two interpretations of the Holocaust: functionalism versus intentionalism.[wp] Both functionalists and intentionalists agree that the Holocaust occurred, but functionalists disagree with the claim that the Holocaust was Hitler's intention from the beginning, either from the time of Mein Kampf, or upon his ascension to power, or even at the beginning of the war. By contrast, intentionalists see the Holocaust as being primarily Hitler's idea, something he had planned even for years before coming to power. Functionalists see the Holocaust evolving bottom-up rather than being ordered from the top-down. That Hitler did not plan or order the Holocaust does not mean he escapes moral responsibility for it. He created the climate of extreme anti-Semitism that made it possible, created many of the policies which immediately contributed to it, provided the leadership that considered these measures both permissible and acceptable and failed to stop or prevent it.

For example, both intentionalists and functionalists agree that Hitler ordered deportation of Jews to Nazi-occupied Poland — but intentionalists believe that "deportation" was from the very beginning a codeword for extermination (see explanation of Nazi euphemisms below), while functionalists see "deportation" at the beginning as being quite literally that — a plan to deport Jews, with little thought as to what would happen to them when they arrived in Poland. Functionalists see the Holocaust as a bureaucratic solution among low-level Nazi officials in Poland to handle all these incoming Jews, by killing most of them. Functionalists such as Ian Kershaw also point to the highly chaotic nature of the Nazi state, in which individuals vied with one another for power and Hitler's good favour (often the same thing). This process, referred to by historians (after Nazi civil servant Werner Willikins) as "working towards the Fuhrer," aimed at satisfying Hitler's ever-increasing calls for "radicalism" in all matters of policy, naturally led various officials to propose more and more extreme solutions to the "Jewish question" (that there were multiple proposed solutions is evidenced by the term "the Final Solution"). Functionalists still believe that, even if Hitler did not directly start the Holocaust, he became aware of it while it was in progress and in all probability signed off on the proposal - in no way does functionalism absolve Hitler of moral responsibility or downplay the atrocities themselves. Unlike Holocaust denial, functionalism is an academically respectable position in the field of history.

[edit] "Holocaust revisionism" versus Holocaust denial

Many Holocaust deniers describe themselves as "revisionists." Does that mean they are not deniers?

How do we define Holocaust denial?

Modern scholarship defines "The Holocaust" as:

  • The murder of five to seven million Jews - the number
  • with gas chambers, as well as other methods - the method

The Free Dictionary defines "denial" as:

  1. A refusal to comply with or satisfy a request.
  2. A refusal to grant the truth of a statement or allegation; a contradiction.
  3. The act of disowning or disavowing; repudiation.[3]

From this follows:

  • The claim that significantly fewer than five to seven million Jews died is Holocaust denial, even while agreeing with modern scholarship upon the method.
  • The claim that gas chambers were not used for mass executions is Holocaust denial, even while agreeing with modern scholarship upon the number.

Most self-proclaimed "Holocaust revisionists" disagree with established scholarship upon the number and the method. As such, they are clearly Holocaust deniers. The term "Holocaust revisionism" does not carry any meaning separate from Holocaust denial.

However, it is very narrow-minded thinking to argue that all who call themselves "revisionists" are denying the Holocaust. There exists within the fringes of revisionism, a group of persons who do not deny any of the established facts; but instead, strive for more clarity in the history. These revisionists, alienated by their compatriots, instead argue not whether or not the gassing took place, nor whether the millions were killed; but instead, that much of the history has been lost and the holocaust was far worse than the histories currently state. In that sense, they seek to revise the accounts to a more accurate manner.

Chief among these revisionists is Franciszek Piper, manager of the historical department at Auschwitz. Piper's research, now accepted by Jewish historians, revised the reported death toll of Auschwitz from the previous four million killed, to roughly 1.5 million. His work does however not dispute the overall number of holocaust victims.[4]

[edit] Confusion around the term Holocaust

"His eyes sparkling with faith and decision, he had proved that he could summon the holocaust."
LIFE Magazine, September 1939, on Hitler

The Greek word holocaust means "burnt sacrifice", a custom both in Judaism and Ancient Greek Religion. The phrase was used in the Greek Bible and has long been used in the English language as a figure of speech. The term Holocaust was occasionally used for the Nazis' mass murders from the 1940s, but the term became firmly established through the 1978 television mini-series The Holocaust. Holocaust deniers might use the confusion around the term Holocaust to question whether it happened at all.

As said, the term The Holocaust was not universally used until the 1970s. But how does this call the facts of the Nazis' deliberate murder of 11 million people, including 6 million Jews, into question? What happened, no matter what the most popular term for it has been over the years.

The fact that our presently favored terminology for a historical event is newer than the event itself doesn't in any way call into question the historicity of the event — "World War I" was not known by that name until over 20 years later, but no one doubts it really happened, and the Black Death wasn't known by that name until centuries after it swept through Europe, but it still happened. Historical events often do not receive their current names until many years, sometimes even centuries or millennia, after they occur.

[edit] Martin Glynn's "Holocaust" article from 1919

Martin H. Glynn,[wp] former Governor of New York State, wrote an article in October 1919 to encourage American Jews to send humanitarian aid to starving European Jews in the wake of World War I and the Spanish flu.[5]

By coincidence, Glynn counted "six million" European Jews, and used the word "holocaust" (see above) to describe the threatening famine. As seen in the Metapedia-annotated article text, this has led to some interesting interpretations.

Metapedia merely claims that the article was propaganda:[6]

The American Hebrew on 31 October 1919 published a propaganda article under the headline "The Crucifixion of Jews Must Stop!" In the article, it was claimed that during the world war because of epidemics, starvation and "holocaust", six million Jews might have succumbed. Later everything turned out to be war propaganda.

Other Holocaust deniers have used this article to "prove" that the idea of staging the murder of six million Jews originated from at least 1919.[citation needed] This idea has several issues:

  • Besides the phrases six million and holocaust, the article has nothing in common with the Holocaust which we know from World War II - although deniers might falsely claim it to mention murder, Germany or the war.
  • Deniers claim that the article originated as a speech.[citation needed] This statement is not backed by evidence, nor does it matter.
  • Deniers still have to explain exactly what this article proves. Was the claimed plan to stage a genocide already worked out in 1919? Was the "staged" holocaust just an a posteriori carbon copy of Mr. Glynn's article?

[edit] The Holocaust denial movement

Nearly all Holocaust deniers seem to belong, or be affiliated to, any of these four groups:

[edit] Aims and techniques of deniers

This is manifested in some of the aims of Holocaust denial:

  • Making National Socialism an acceptable political alternative again.[8]
  • Questioning the United Nations' decision to claim land for Israel in 1948, or any recognition of the state of Israel.
  • Using the story of a "staged" Holocaust as part of an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Holocaust deniers almost never base their agenda on an alternate hypothesis. Finding "their story" can be very difficult. The bulk of their arguments contains many miscellaneous loose statements that question the credibility of the Holocaust. This article aims to provide universal proof but mainly deals with replying to deniers' objections.

[edit] Famous deniers

Some famous Holocaust deniers described in brief. See each entry for a case study.

  • Mahmoud Ahmadinejad - Former President of Iran. Hosted a 2006 conference, the "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust," at which the panel of speakers included among others David Duke and Robert Faurisson. Ahmadinejad is proud of his achievement: “That was a taboo topic that no one in the West allowed to be heard,” Ahmadinejad said in a speech, according to the Iranian Fars news agency. “We put it forward at the global level. That broke the spine of the Western capitalist regime.”
  • Sultan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - United Arab Emirates politician. Promoted a Holocaust denial symposium in Abu Dhabi in 2002.[9]
  • Steven Anderson - Pastor of the Faithful World Baptist Church in Tempe, Arizona. Producer of the "documentary" video Marching to Zion in which he rants about the "blasphemous teachings of the Talmud and Kabbalah" and "scriptural evidence that the Jews are no longer God's chosen people."[10] According to the ADL, he "has a history of anti-Semitism through his sermons and a series of YouTube videos."[11]. On one of his videos, in which he denies the Holocaust, he openly says, "Frankly, I don't believe that the official version of the Holocaust is true, whatsoever." [12] [13]
  • Harry Elmer Barnes - Originally, a mainstream writer and historian. After World War II, a marginal crank who brought his marginalization on himself because he insisted that all accusations against Germany and Japan were fabricated wartime propaganda. Revered and frequently name-dropped by today's Holocaust denial movement but their politics are likely far from Barnes' which were more along the lines of "I didn't leave liberalism, liberalism left me."
  • David Brandt Berg ("Moses David") - Founder of the Children of God cult. He peppered many of his group's tracks with anti-Semitic rants and occasional denials of the Holocaust, such as, "You hear all about Hitler & how he was supposed to have killed 6 million Jews!--Well, they've never been able to prove yet that he even killed 60,000!"[14]
  • Arthur Butz - Professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University; author of the 1976 book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry. Accused of getting another professor removed from the department for incorporating the Holocaust into his lecture on ethics in engineering.[15]
  • Willis Carto - Founder of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) in 1979, the main Holocaust denial group in the United States. Founder of the Barnes Review, a "historical revisionist" magazine that mostly runs articles questioning the Holocaust but covers it up with other articles on serious historical topics. Previously founded the wingnut Liberty Lobby in 1955.
  • Francis E. Dec[16]- Disbarred lawyer[17] turned pamphleteer known for vehement and often incoherent screeds of a delusional and paranoid nature. In one of his pamphlets, dated Spring 1984, he insisted that during World War 2, the Jews lived in luxury while the concentration camps were run by both the Jews and the Nazis in order to exterminate Polish and Slavic people.[18]
  • David Duke - Neo-Nazi extremist well-known and despised in the United States. Notably came disturbingly close to being elected Governor of Louisiana in 1990.
  • Robert Faurisson - French writer, prosecuted for defamation in 1979 after writing letters to Le Monde claiming there were no gas chambers. The author of a 1991 booklet claiming the Diary of Anne Frank is a forgery.
  • Bobby Fischer - American world chess champion. Despite his openly anti-Semitic remarks and denial of the Holocaust in the 1980's until his death, he reportedly was on good terms with Jewish chess players.
  • David Irving - A "historian and a neutral observer" who believes that the Jews asked for it.
  • Milton L. Kapner aka Brother Nathanael Kapner - Born to Jewish parents, he converted to Russian Orthodox Christianity and joined a monastery.[19] While he often wears the trappings of a monk, he no longer is one, and his actions have been denounced by the Synod of Bishops of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia.[20] Runs the "Brother Nathanael Foundation" (a tax-deductible 501(c)3 Non-Profit), and a website called "Real Jew News" where he has a page listing "Holocaust Hype Articles". He has also made a number of YouTube videos promoting his views.
  • Charles Wing Krafft - Pop artist noted for his "disasterware" (Delft plates depicting violent disasters or fascist themes) and funerary memorial porcelain artworks crafted from human remains, who was outed as an anti-Semite and holocaust denier. On a July 28, 2012, podcast on The White Network, a site that officially hosts the program "Whites Talking To Whites About White Interests", he openly stated, "I believe the Holocaust is a myth."[21] In an e-mail to writer Jen Graves of The Stranger, regarding his thoughts on the Holocaust, he stated,
"I don't doubt that Hitler's regime killed a lot of Jews in WWII, but I don't believe they were ever frog marched into homicidal gas chambers and dispatched. I think between 700,000–1.2 million Jews died of disease, starvation, overwork, reprisals for partisan attacks, allied bombing, and natural causes during the war." [22]
  • Fred Leuchter - Consultant to the lucrative capital punishment industry in the U.S. and manufacturer of electric chairs. In 1988, he was hired by Ernst Zündel to investigate whether the gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps could have been used for mass extermination. Leuchter claims he concluded they could not have been and published The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek Poland. Fred Leuchter has no scientific background to have made such a claim. He was the subject of the 1999 Errol Morris documentary Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr..
  • Texe Marrs - Christian writer and conspiracy theorist. On his website he sells his own recordings entitled The Holocaust Controversy and the Falsification of History, and Holocaust Dogma Unmasked — A Grim Global Conspiracy Mocking Reality and Capitalizing on Death is Outed by Brave Truthtellers. He also peddles Victor Thorn's book The Holocaust Hoax Exposed: Debunking the 20th Century’s Biggest Lie, and Brian Alois Clèrauba's book A Greater "Miracle" Than The Lost Ten Tribes Discovered...—The Dead "Six Million" Uncovered...!, as well as the anti-Semitic screeds The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and Martin Luther's On the Jews and Their Lies.
  • Eustace Mullins - Anti-Semitic writer and (until his recent demise) contributing editor to Barnes Review.
  • Ahmed Rami - Moroccan-Swedish writer, and founder of Radio Islam. Sentenced by a Swedish court in 1990 to six months in prison for hate speech rising from the material including, but not limited to, Holocaust denial. Has co-written a Holocaust denial book, Tabubelagda tankar (Tabooed Thoughts), with Swedish Neo-Nazi leader Björn Björkqvist.
  • George Lincoln Rockwell - US Navy veteran of both WW2 and the Korean war, and one-time commercial illustrator, advertising agent, magazine publisher, and sign painter, later founder of the American Nazi Party (later known as National Socialist White People's Party), which was one of the first US organizations to promote Holocaust revisionism and denial as part of its ideology. (It splintered off into numerous groups after his 1967 murder by a purged party member.) An outspoken white supremacist and anti-Semite, he was quoted in an April 1966 interview in Playboy:
"I don't believe for one minute that any 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated by Hitler. It never happened." ... "I emphatically deny that there is any valid proof that innocent Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis. The photographs you've seen that have been passed off as pictures of dead Jews have been identified as pictures of the corpses of German civilians -- mostly women and children and refugees who were killed in the one-night Allied bombing of Dresden, which slaughtered 350,000 innocent people."
  • Germar Rudolf - German student who released a poorly researched report while interning at the Max Planck institute claiming that samples taken from gas chamber walls showed no more cyanide evidence than random farmhouses. He ignored the basic chemistry of cyanide by not discriminating against iron-based cyanide compounds[23]. The study was subsequently falsified, and Rudolf was fired and imprisoned. Rudolf has since gone on to other impressive feats such as denying 9/11.
  • Bradley Smith - A crank who has spent the last 25 years trying to place advertisements in newspapers calling for an "open debate" on whether the Holocaust happened. He seems to crave the controversy that results and chants the mantra of "free speech" a lot. He is especially fond of trying to place these ads in student newspapers on college campuses, which usually results in free publicity for him and his pet cause whether or not the ads are accepted for publication.
  • David Stein aka David Cole - Leader of Republican Party Animals, a Hollywood-based conservative political group. In 2013, he was exposed as being "David Cole," a Holocaust revisionist who made a splash in the media in the 1990's.[24]
  • Paul Topete - Lead vocalist of the "Patriot" rock band Poker Face. On the band's on-line forum, Topete, using the handle "Pokerkid", has made a number of anti-Semitic statements, including the following (reproduced verbatim):
"I am always amazaed at how many roads lead back to one of the largest if not THEE [sic] largest scam ever played on humanity... Yes that [sic] right... the HOLOHAUX aka holocaust. 1985 and 1988 Ernst Zundel DESTROYED the Myth known as the cult of holohauzianity. In a canadien [sic] court of law, Ernst zundel took on the biggest frauds in the SHOAH Industry, and showed them to be the frauds that they were. Names like Raoul Hilberg and Vrba. And several other parasites known to infest this worldly sham. Wake up people, You are being played for fools for you LACK KNOWLEDGE."[25]
  • Hal Turner - White supremacist, shortwave and internet talk show host and FBI informant, now convicted felon. Quoting him directly:
"Jews love to complain about the 'Holocaust.' Let me tell you, there was no Holocaust in World War 2 -- but rest assured, there most certainly IS GOING TO BE a holocaust. I look forward to participating with zeal."[26]
  • Richard Williamson - British Roman Catholic Bishop and former member of the Catholic Traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, was fined by the German government for denying the Holocaust on Swedish TV while on German soil. [27] During the interview, he stated, "I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler."[28] and "I think that 200,000 to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, but none of them in gas chambers."[29]
  • Shaun Patrick Winkler - American White Supremacist and failed Sheriff candidate for Bonner County, Idaho who attempted to build an "Aryan compound" to replace the now defunct Aryan Nations Church.[30] In an interview, he was quoted as saying, "The bad, evil, rotten Jew is behind a lot of things. We look at the media, we look at society in general. We look at even our public school systems. They paint this pretty little portrait for Jews, how they were such victims of the Holocaust or, as I like to refer to it, the ‘Holo-Hoax.’ We … deny that 6 million died."[31]
  • Francis Parker Yockey - An American Hitler admirer who wrote an unreadable post-WWII tome called Imperium under the pen-name "Ulick Varange," a book which you can't make heads or tails of but vaguely has something to do with advocating European unification around a program of "total politics."
  • Ernst Zündel - German writer and neo-Nazi who, through his Canadian publishing company (he lived in Canada 1958-2000) and his website, has been a prolific promoter of Holocaust denial through. Was prosecuted in Germany and sentenced to five years in prison in 2007 for violating Germany's law against inciting hatred. Released in 2010, but seems to have been relatively inactive since.

[edit] Laws against Holocaust denial

Denial of crimes against humanity is outlawed in thirteen European countries and Israel. In the Netherlands, courts have ruled that genocide denial is hate speech, and therefore implicitly illegal. While these laws ARE an affront to free speech and a terrifying precedent, deniers who claim that these laws are part of the conspiracy ignore that:

  • These laws are much younger than Holocaust denial itself. Most of them were made in the late 1980s or 1990s, as a counter-measure against the rise of white supremacism in a European generation which had no experience of the war. During most of post-war history - more than 40 years - Holocaust denial has been legal in all countries of the world. It was only in 1990 that the French government enacted the Gayssot Law, which declares questioning the scale or existence of any crimes against humanity a crime. This was the first European statute explicitly outlawing denial of the Holocaust.
  • Most of these laws outlaw denial of all crimes against humanity, not limited to the ones committed by the Axis of World War II, but also explicitly (as in Poland, Slovakia, or the Czech Republic) or implicitly including crimes by Communist regimes, and other crimes often emphasized by Holocaust deniers. Only in Romania is the law limited to Holocaust denial. The Israeli law is the only one of these laws actually mentioning Jews.
  • Currently, there are 179 countries, and several autonomous territories, without any law or judicial precedent against Holocaust denial. This list includes all of North and South America, Africa, Oceania, Asia (except Israel; as if any Holocaust denier would want to go there in the first place) and 37 of the 50 countries in Europe. On July 8 1986, the Israeli parliament passed a law criminalizing denial of the Holocaust. In 2007, The European Union approved legislation that makes Holocaust denial a crime punishable by jail time. [32] The laws against Holocaust denial do not even cover the areas affected by the Holocaust; genocide denial is legal in the former Yugoslav states, Greece and several other countries where the Nazis abducted Jews during the war (see the extensive Appendix list).
  • The number of countries banning genocide denial has been largely constant since the 1990s. Spain repealed their law against genocide denial in 2007. Parliaments in United Kingdom and Sweden have rejected proposals for such laws. The European Parliament has also rejected a directive to criminalize genocide denial. Canada's Supreme Court sentenced James Keegstra in R. v. Keegstra in 1990 for hate speech not limited to Holocaust denial, but in R. v. Zundel in 1992 they acquitted Zündel and declared Holocaust denial to be protected by the Canadian Constitution. The only recent law against genocide denial was made in Hungary in 2010. Previously, the trivialization of the Holocaust was illegal. The new law prohibits "denial of genocide committed by Communist or Nazi system," with no special mentioning of the Holocaust or Jews.[33]
  • Deniers may claim that these laws are a product of Jewish influence. In that case, how come that Holocaust denial is legal in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Russia, which have significant Jewish populations, but is illegal in Poland, Romania and Lithuania, where hardly any Jews live today (and how come so few Jews live there)?[34]

[edit] Evidence for the Holocaust

Deniers might use the one single proof gambit to confuse the opponent, and request very specific evidence, such as

  • a written order by Hitler to exterminate the Jews
  • an autopsy record concluding that a Jewish prisoner died from gassing

or some other remnants. However, though the Nazi government tried massively to hide evidence for mass murder by tearing down buildings and burning documents, plenty of the remains have survived.

[edit] Nazi documents, speeches etc.

This is just a sample of the wealth of documentary evidence from the Nazi government itself.

(Caveat: Holocaust deniers reason that, since the Holocaust did not happen, any evidence to the contrary is a forgery created by the Jews as part of their International Jewish Conspiracy™.

They claim that forgers created these and other documents - complete with complex internal reference markings, on typewriters that perfectly matched those used by the various German units said to have written the documents - and then planted thousands of these perfect forgeries in numerous different archival collections (in exactly the right file and in precisely the right sequence) all over Europe. Not only is such a scenario fantastically improbable, it fails to explain why these supposedly incredibly talented forgers did not succeed in producing the one piece of paper that deniers demand as 'proof' that genocide took place under the Third Reich - an order from Hitler authorising the destruction of the Jews. Deborah Lipstadt[35]

Indeed a few counterfeit Nazi documents - notably the Hitler Diaries - have been exposed since the war. However, several of the documents mentioned here have been authenticated by forensics, or are accepted as genuine by Holocaust deniers such as David Irving.)

[edit] Hitler (duh)

Hitler quote.gif

In 1922, Hitler told a journalist that:

Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews. As soon as I have the power to do so, I will have gallows built in rows - at the Marienplatz in Munich, for example - as many as traffic allows. Then the Jews will be hanged indiscriminately, and they will remain hanging until they stink; they will hang there as long as the principles of hygiene permit. As soon as they have been untied, the next batch will be strung up, and so on down the line, until the last Jew in Munich has been exterminated. Other cities will follow suit, precisely in this fashion, until all Germany has been completely cleansed of Jews.
— Adolf Hitler, 1922. (Josef Hell, "Aufzeichnung," 1922, ZS 640, p. 5, Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte. Translation at Nizkor)

(Caveat #2: While some serious historians see this as evidence that Hitler had planned the Holocaust long before coming to power, other serious historians don't believe that any plan for the Holocaust existed so early, and see Hitler's words as simply an expression of his virulent anti-Semitism rather than a sign that he had any concrete plans at that date.)

In a speech to the Reichstag on 30 January 1939, he made his intentions clear with this quote, which was even used in the 1940 Nazi propaganda film "Der ewige Jude" (The Eternal Jew)

...if the international Jewish financiers in and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations once more into a world war, then the result will not be the Bolshevizing of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe![36][37]

Note that this is one of the best examples of how whacked-out Hitler had become, as he was conflating international capitalism and Soviet Bolshevism as the exact same thing.

Hitler also gave the Obersalzberg Speech[38] in August 1939, a week before the invasion of Poland, and expressed intentions of mass murdering the Polish population.

On 18 December 1941, Himmler asked Hitler, "What to do with the Jews of Russia?", to which Hitler replied, "als Partisanen auszurotten" ("exterminate them as partisans"). This remark is probably as close as historians will ever get to a definitive order from Hitler for the Holocaust.[39][40] [41]

[edit] Holocaust plans in Mein Kampf

If at the beginning of the war and during the war twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the nation had been subjected to poison gas, such as had to be endured in the field by hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers of all classes and professions, then the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain.
—Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf[42]

Many historians, including Ian Kershaw[wp] (one of the world's leading experts on both Hitler and Nazi Germany) has pointed out that several passages in Mein Kampf are of an undeniably genocidal nature.[43] Among these passages, Hitler also overtly suggested that;

The nationalization of our masses will succeed only when, aside from all the positive struggle for the soul of our people, their international poisoners are exterminated.
—Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf[44]

The suggestion that a future genocide was intended from day one by Hitler is also corroborated by excerpts from the first edition of Mein Kampf, in which Hitler emphasizes that the literal destruction of the "weak and sick" (terms meant by him to encapsulate his enemies, and not to objectively describe fragility) is, quote, "far more humane than their protection." while also having the intrinsic purpose of providing what he saw as the proper space and purity for the "strong".[45]

[edit] Goebbels' diaries

German Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels' extensive diary notes contains several references to the ongoing mass murder of the Jews. Example:

"The intellectual does not have the natural means of resisting the Jewish peril because his instincts have been badly blunted. Because of this fact the nations with a high standard of civilization are exposed to this peril first and foremost. In nature life always takes measures against parasites; in the life of nations that is not always the case. From this fact the Jewish peril actually stems. There is therefore no other recourse left for modern nations except to exterminate the Jew...." [46]

Considering David Irving had access to the entirety of Goebbels's diaries, using them as the basis for a book, he presumably accepts these accounts as true.[47]

[edit] Jäger report

A report written in December 1941 by SS commander Karl Jäger, describing the killing of 137,346 people in the Baltic states.[48] The literal descriptions in this document are unusual to the Nazis, who typically used euphemisms for mass killings (see below).

[edit] Wannsee Conference

A conference on 20 January 1942, documented by the Wannsee Protocol (Protokoll is the German word for "minutes")[49]. As most official Nazi record, the protocol uses euphemisms instead on literal orders to kill all Jews, however Adolf Eichmann provided demographic data estimating Jewish population in Europe to 11 million; consistent with the scholarship.

Under proper guidance, in the course of the final solution

the Jews are to be allocated for appropriate labor in the East. Able-bodied Jews, separated according to sex, will be taken in large work columns to these areas for work on roads, in the course of which action doubtless a large portion will be eliminated by natural causes.

The possible final remnant will, since it will undoubtedly consist of the most resistant portion, have to be treated accordingly, because it is the product of natural selection and would, if released, act as a the seed of a new Jewish revival

(see the experience of history.)[50]

The minutes of the conference were the basis for two films: the 1984 West German made-for-tv film Die Wannseekonferenz (The Wannsee Conference)[51], and the 2001 HBO/BBC co-production Conspiracy[52].

[edit] Himmler's 1942 report

On 29 December 1942, Himmler presented Hitler with the "Report to the Führer on fighting against gangs," No. 51.1. This report, which covered the period from August to November 1942, and which referred only to a part of the occupied Soviet area (southern Russia, Ukraine and the district of Bialystok); included the following numbers concerning persons imprisoned or executed:

1. Bandits

a) Established number of deaths after combat 1,337
b) Prisoners executed immediately 737
c) Prisoners executed after lengthy thorough interrogation 7,828

2. Gang helpers and suspects

a) Arrested 16,553
b) Executed 14,257
c) Jews executed 363,211[53]

This is yet one of the few Nazi records that explicitly mentioned the killing of Jews, without euphemisms.

[edit] Himmler's speeches in Posen

In 1943 in the Posen (Polish: Poznań) town hall, Himmler spoke openly about the extermination of the Jewish people, as well as the equivocation used to cover it up, during a speech to SS Officers. See Himmler on the execution of Jews for more information.

[edit] Odilo Globocnik's reports

The reports describe Aktion Reinhard, with special mentioning of confiscated immobile and mobile property.[54]

[edit] Korherr report

Written in March 1943, by Dr. Richard Korherr of the SS. Describes that 2.5 million European Jews have been "evacuated" to "special treatment" (German: Evakuierung, Sonderbehandlung), and estimates that European Jewish population had declined by 1.5 million by emigration, uprisings and harsh living conditions in ghettos and camps, totalling a decline of 4 million European Jews (out of more than 10 million).[55]

The telegram

[edit] Höfle Telegram

Sent on January 11, 1943. Discovered in 2000. Describes Operation Reinhard.

[edit] Other wartime documents

There is an abundance of documents from the concentration camps by guards and leaders describing the details of the death camps and even "death vans".[56]

[edit] Kurt Gerstein

SS officer Kurt Gerstein witnessed mass murders in Belzec and Treblinka during 1942 and told foreigners, among them Swedish diplomat Göran von Otter, and officials of the Vatican, about what he had seen. He wrote a report in 1945. Gerstein's stories are unreliable but are significant as an early testimony from the Holocaust.

[edit] Gunnar Eklöf

Gunnar Eklöf (1922-91) was a Swedish Waffen-SS volunteer in the Nordland Division. The 2014 book Hitlers svenska SS-soldater ("Hitler's Swedish SS Soldiers") by Bosse Schön describes his career extensively. During his 1943 furlough back home in Sweden, he bragged about murdering Jews on the Eastern front. His scandalous behaviour and his stories from the mass murders were noticed by the press and the police (which is confirmed by archives); however, he never faced investigation or trial.

[edit] "Sonderbehandlung" and other euphemisms

As mentioned before, mass executions were rarely described literally (the Jäger Report being a notable exception). The Nazi documents used euphemisms instead; more than twenty different euphemisms were in frequent use, such as Umsiedlung (resettlement) and Endlösung (Final Solution).[57]

Perhaps the most infamous one was Sonderbehandlung ("Special treatment"). Revisionists might claim that Sonderbehandlung meant delousing and disinfection, introduced in the Nazi camps in Poland.

However, Sonderbehandlung was an established term for killing, confirmed by police documents from 1939, and reports from Action T4, a program for killing people with disabilities. Adolf Eichmann testified that Sonderbehandlung meant "killing."

[edit] Testimonies

The truth of the Holocaust has been supported by many thousands of oral and written testimonies by several groups, including but not limited to (a few references are given to provide a general picture):

  • Concentration camp prisoners (including but not limited to Jews, Poles, Roma and Sinti, homosexuals, and political opponents).[58][59][60]. Sonderkommandos (prisoners recruited for corpse disposal)[58] witnessed the extermination campaign directly.
  • Railroad crews, civil servants, commanders and other off-site soldiers and civilians.[citation needed]
  • Allied soldiers from various countries.[61]
  • Humanitarian expeditions from various countries.
  • Testimonies from German soldiers have been gathered by German historian Sönke Neitzel.[62]

[edit] Guards, officers etc

Many thousands of German officers and guards were stationed at the camps in Poland and were suspected of carrying out or ordering the Holocaust (Franz Suchomel, Hans Stark). Many were sent to trial, and some of them confessed or testified about mass murder. Holocaust deniers might claim that these testimonies were given out of torture.

Indeed, many Nazis were mistreated during the Allied occupation. But several German veterans have testified about mass murder decades after the occupation.[63]

Many lived west of the Iron Curtain (Münch, Suchomel, Stark etc), many east of it, many in exile outside Europe (Josef Mengele).[citation needed] Most of them lived in freedom for many years (Münch, Suchomel, Stark, Mengele, etc). Very few are still alive. Why has not one of them testified in favour of the "revisionist" view?[citation needed] Not during the trials, not anonymously in an interview with any of these "revisionist scholars", not for any of the "revisionist" books, websites, or radio broadcasts, not on their deathbeds, not in their posthumously released wills - not at all. Those who were tried at court had the opportunity to cry out anything during trial and those who were executed had the opportunity to say some last words. How come every one of these thousands of "innocent" guards has remained silent, or falsely confessed themselves guilty, for decades? And how come that deniers cannot produce one single testimony, supporting their idea?

See also Red herrings in Holocaust denial#Nuremberg trials and subsequent trials.

[edit] Prisoners, Sonderkommandos and Kapos

The guards intentionally tried to keep the extermination campaign secret from prisoners. Those who arrived as the eastern camps were either killed on arrival, or kept at a labour section, separate from the gas chambers.

Sonderkommandos were the only prisoners allowed to see anything of the mass murders. Still, Sonderkommandos regularly killed themselves, and were replaced by new prisoners, so very few of them survive today.

[edit] Diary of Anne Frank

The Diary of Anne Frank is one of many written testimonies from Holocaust victims. Revisionists such as Robert Faurisson have claimed that the text was forged, but the Dutch government has conducted a forensic investigation confirming the book's authenticity.[64] The Anne Frank Museum in Amsterdam has issued a press release entitled Ten questions on the authenticity of the diary of Anne Frank, refuting many of the claims against the diary.[65]

The diary, the one that was originally published, was indeed edited; this was because it was the private diary of a girl going through puberty, and records things ranging from masturbation and homosexuality to various arguments amongst family members. Obviously, her father Otto Frank didn't want all of his daughter's (and family's) personal moments open to the public. This provides avenues of attacks from two different sets of crazies. The first, the aforementioned deniers who will latch on to any alteration being "proof" of a coverup, and when the unedited version became published, the moral guardians who didn't want kids learning about the little man in the boat[66].

[edit] Claims to dissenting testimonies

Holocaust deniers have made some really lame efforts to find a "second opinion".

Paul Rassinier (1906-67) - a French journalist, called "the father of Holocaust revisionism." Rassinier participated in the French Resistance and was therefore imprisoned at Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora. He claimed that the Nazi government had no plan for extermination of Jews and that the death toll was not more than roughly a million.[67]

Richard Baer (1911-63) - the commander of Auschwitz I. After the war, he lived undercover in Hamburg, until he was seized in 1960 following the arrest of Adolf Eichmann. He refused to testify and died in detention in 1963. Deniers might claim that the government killed Baer behind locked doors because his refusal to testify against Eichmann.[68] This is, of course, a hypothesis without the support and does not in any way qualify Baer as a dissenting witness. If Baer had something to tell the world, why didn't he make use of his 15 years as a fugitive?

Red Cross reports: The Red Cross famously visited Theresienstadt in the present-day Czech Republic, and reported relatively good conditions among the inmates. After the war, they could show that the Nazis had deceived the observers. [69] Among the false evidence given to the Red Cross was the Nazi-staged propaganda film Theresienstadt: Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet (Terezin: A Documentary Film from the Jewish Settlement Area), also known as Der Führer Schenkt Den Juden Eine Stadt (The Führer Gives the Jews a City), supposedly showing the humane environment the Jews lived in.[70][71]

[edit] "We knew nothing"

When the facts of the Holocaust were presented to the defendants of the Nuremberg Trials, as well as other German and Axis citizens, many of them replied "davon haben wir nichts gewusst", translated to "about that, we knew nothing". This statement might be read as if the common man was ignorant of the Holocaust until 1945. Holocaust deniers might exploit this perceived ignorance, to argue that evidence and testimonies have been fabricated.

The phrase davon haben wir nichts gewusst implies that the speaker knew that something was going on (davon is roughly translated "about that"),[72], so the translation We knew nothing is incomplete.

In fact, the extermination campaign was known outside Germany as early as 1942. Whether the common man did believe the news or did bother about it, is another question.

[edit] Swedish journalists; Valentin and Fredborg

Swedish journalist and historian Hugo Valentin wrote in newspaper Göteborgs Handels- och Sjöfartstidning (GHT) during 1942, about an ongoing extermination of Jews. In October, he wrote that at least 700,000 Jews had been murdered in Poland. Many other Swedish newspapers quoted Valentin's articles.

Though neutral, the Swedish government was under pressure from Nazi Germany, at least until 1943. On behalf of Germany, the Swedish government censored anti-German propaganda and obstructed GHT at several occasions.

Arvid Fredborg was a Swedish correspondent in Berlin from 1941 and 1943. His 1943 book Behind the Steel Wall estimates that 2 million Jews and 1 million Poles had been executed.

[edit] Allies' knowledge during the war

On December 17, 1942, British Foreign Minister Anthony Eden read the Joint Declaration by Members of the United Nations[73] on behalf of the Allies, where he condemned the ongoing mass murder of Jews.

[edit] Death toll and census data

As mentioned before, Holocaust deniers claim that the Jewish death toll in the Holocaust is significantly less than the 5.7 million claimed by current scholarship. The exact number claimed varies - the IHR claims 300 000, while David Irving has raised his claim to 4 million, though he may have raised it to avoid a harsh prison sentence when on trial in Austria.[74]

According to censuses, there were about six million more Jews in Europe in early 1942 (as the Holocaust began) than there were at the German surrender in 1945. The Wannsee Protocol from 1942 said that there were 11 million Jews in Europe, of which roughly 6 million were living in German-controlled territories (as the Third Reich was at its peak by 1942).[75] Where did they go?

Revisionists, such as the IHR, have claimed that the Jewish population within the Nazi-occupied area was just four to six million. This contradicts the Wannsee Protocol, as well as other demographics.[76]

[edit] World Almanac gambit

Some deniers, such as the IHR, refer to World Almanac statistics which claim that there was no decline in the global number of Jews during the war. However, the Almanac data for Jews until 1948 were old estimates. The fresh estimate for 1948 shows a decline of 4.4 million. Updated estimates for 1949 show a total decline of 5.3 million.[77]

[edit] Where did the Jews go?

Holocaust deniers claim that millions of Jews in the Nazi camps in Poland either were "deported to the east" or had survived captivity.[78] In the end, they would have moved to foreign countries, with Palestine (including the areas that would form Israel), the United Kingdom, the United States and the Soviet Union mentioned. Some of them might have disguised as non-Jews. Several Jews did indeed escape Axis territory during the war (such as 7,800 Danish Jews who fled to Sweden), but these are not included in scholarship's death toll.

The Korherr report provides statistics on Jewish emigration from Axis territories from 1933 until 1943, differing from "evacuation" (transport to Nazi camps in Poland). As much of this emigration took place before the war, the numbers are insufficient to explain the disappearance of the 11 million Jews mentioned in the 1942 Wannsee Protocol.

Israel had no more than 590,000 inhabitants at its foundation in 1947, including non-Jews (Arabs, Druze etc), Jews who arrived before 1939, and Jewish immigrants from non-Axis territories. The Jewish immigration to the United States around World War II was in a lesser order of magnitude.[79] The United States upheld a harsh immigration policy throughout the war, preventing Jewish refugees from arriving.[80] Soviet censuses are more uncertain, but could hardly hide millions of immigrants. Also, deniers have yet to suggest a Jewish migration path from the Nazi camps in Poland, across the Eastern Front (one of the deadliest fronts in history) into the Soviet Union.

Scholars are aware that a large number of Jews (together with several civilian non-Jews) from the western Soviet Union did migrate eastwards before the German troops invaded the land and started rounding up Jews and opponents. However, this does not help revisionists explain what happened to Jews outside of the Soviet Union.

There is a $4,000 reward for anyone who can provide names of Jews who were transited from death camps in Poland to the Soviet Union.[81]

[edit] Not quite six million Jews

According to current scholarship, around 5,700,000 Jews were killed in the Holocaust.[82][83][84] Revisionists may point out that this number is less than six million - either claiming a revisionist success, or criticizing the well-known number of six million killed Jews. However:

  • Six million is a correct approximation of 5.7 million, fully according to mathematical and statistical conventions. Since no exact number is available, the approximation must be at some level.
  • When Roma, non-Jewish Poles and other victims of mass murder are included, still not counting civilian deaths outside the Holocaust scheme, the death toll is well above six million. Indeed, it is approximately doubled.
  • In many jurisdictions, even six would be considered mass murder (not to say even the lowest death tolls estimated by Holocaust deniers), so what is the issue here exactly?

[edit] Discrepancies in per-camp death toll estimates

Western historians have different estimates for the exact death toll for each individual camp. Deniers might claim that this makes established history self-contradicting, which is untrue given that the commonly cited figures are derived primarily from demographical evidence (specifically pre-war and post-war population comparisons) and not from a sum of all of the individual camps.[85]

[edit] The Auschwitz gambit

Similarly, some Holocaust deniers have claimed that "revisionist" research has corrected the official death toll of Auschwitz from 4 million to 1.1 million. The number of 4 million originated with the first Soviet publications about the Holocaust. It has been used by the Auschwitz museum until the 1980s, in then-communist Poland, which exaggerated enemy atrocities for propaganda purposes. Western scholars have never claimed that 4 million people died at Auschwitz.[86] Compare this with the controversy on the bombing of Dresden.

Either these shoes were from the Holocaust victims or the Nazis were some serious foot fetishists. Take your pick.

[edit] Alexander Scronn

According to the 1965 book General Psychologus by pseudonym Alexander Scronn, the Red Cross estimated the death toll to be 230,000 to 270,000. This figure has never been verified. Further, in 1975 Red Cross delegate Françoise Perret attested that the organization never published information of the sort and that a similar claim made by Richard Verrall, attributing a figure of 300,000 victims to official Red Cross documents, was a fraud. [87]

The document in question is from the Red Cross International Tracing Service, an organization created during WW2 to track missing persons. The 300,000 number specifically (per the ITS itself) does NOT include the vast majority of those murdered in the camps, but rather those for whom the ITS was able to issue a death certificate at the request of family members. [88] The ITS has never compiled a count of all those who died in the camps.

[edit] Physical evidence

The preserved camps contain plenty of physical evidence for mass murder: remnants of human bodies (piles of ashes, bones, hair etc), belongings (clothes, prosthetics, bags etc) and equipment (gas chambers etc). Some of this material has undergone forensic examination.

[edit] It's the shoes, stupid!

The Red Army managed to recover 300,000 pairs of shoes from Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek.[89] 20,000 pairs were predicted to be collected each day, around the rate of gassings at Auschwitz II.[90]

[edit] Revisionist explanation to the deportations

Revisionists do not deny the deportation of Jews from all of Europe and the detention in camps in Poland (which was semi-annexed by Greater Germany and abolished in name). They have several explanation models to motivate the Nazi deportation of Jews. None of them are bulletproof.

[edit] New homeland

The Nazis used several euphemisms for killing; one was "deportation", according to the Nazi policy to cleanse Germany from Jews. The Nazis indeed had ideas of a Jewish homeland on Madagascar. Madagascar was under Vichy French control (but practically isolated from Germany) until 1942, when it was occupied by the Allies. Auschwitz, Sobibor, and other international concentration camps were located in Greater Germany. So - if the Nazis intend to expel the Jews out of Greater Germany, why did they take the effort to ship Jews into Greater Germany from distant occupied countries such as Norway, France and Greece (which were ruled by domestic puppet governments, with no intention of being annexed)?

[edit] Labor

Some revisionists claim that Jews were rounded up for forced labor. This does not explain why small children and elderly people were deported, separated from their families. Since Poles and other Slavic peoples were used for forced labor, abducting more of these people would have been more economical than transporting Jews from distant occupied countries, such as Norway, France, and Greece.

[edit] Security

Some revisionists, such as the IHR,[91] claim that the internment of Jews was motivated since they posed a security risk. However, while most Jews were deported to Poland, Nazis did not routinely deport resistance fighters or non-Jewish civilians from occupied nations. In any case, this explanation is no good for the deportation of children as young as five, and old people in their eighties.

[edit] Details about the Holocaust

Leftover Zyklon B with cans (note skull and crossbones)

Experienced Holocaust deniers might bring up technical details, such as the chemical properties of Zyklon B, the size of cremation ovens, or soap recipes.

A novice skeptic might be deceived that all these details are true and that they support the denier's arguments. Look closer and you'll see easily that they don't.

Among the public, there is some confusion about what happened, and what did not happen, during the Holocaust. Even academics argue about some details. Holocaust deniers try to use these spots of uncertainty to disprove the whole event.

[edit] Detention camps in Germany, death camps in Poland

Old Germany, within the borders of the Weimar Republic and annexed Austria, contained several detention camps (Dachau, Sachsenhausen, Mauthausen, etc.) set up before the war. Dachau was the first, set up in 1933 for political prisoners. Though some gassings and other executions took place there, for correctional and experimental purposes, they were not built for mass murder. Later, the Nazis built extermination camps; "camp" is, however, a misnomer, as the only residents were the guards, and prisoners were usually killed on arrival. Most extermination camps were built in the territory that used to be Poland; Auschwitz and Chelmno were located in Ostgebiete (provinces which had been transferred from Germany to Poland in 1918, and re-annexed into Germany in 1939) or the eastern General Government (Treblinka, Sobibór, Majdanek, Belzec), in essence, a colony run by a German military junta, planned to be annexed and settled by Germany. For the occupation, the Nazis abolished the name Poland. In this article, the camps in present-day Poland are described as "Nazi camps in Poland" to emphasize this difference, and avoid the presupposition that many of these were extermination camps. Some camps were also set up in Czechoslovakia and conquered parts of the Soviet Union.

It should be noted that none of the best-known camps were extermination camps. This is because the well-known camps are the ones that people survived. The name Auschwitz is more known than Birkenau/Auschwitz II; the extermination department of the Auschwitz complex. Also, many parts of the Warsaw Pact (due to their own problems with collaboration and anti-Semitism) tried to erase the history of these extermination camps. However, this does not in any way disprove the existence of real extermination camps, such as Treblinka, Bełżec, and Sobibór.

[edit] Conditions in camps; swimming pool, orchestras etc

Auschwitz I, a detention area within the enormous Auschwitz complex, contained a firefighting water reservoir, later rebuilt into a swimming pool. Revisionists might insinuate that the presence of a swimming pool is a sign of good living conditions for the prisoners. However, the pool, as most other recreational facilities, were restricted to guards, kapos, and privileged prisoners. A vast majority of the prisoners arriving at Birkenau (Auschwitz II) never got close to the swimming pool.[92]

Other Holocaust deniers have presented survivor testimonies about orchestras, theatres, and cinemas in Auschwitz and other camps.[93] Just like the swimming pool, these amenities were a privilege for few prisoners. They do not contradict the Holocaust.

[edit] Gas chambers

In the eastern camps, gas chambers were the primary murder weapon. As said before, denial of gassing is a cornerstone of Holocaust denial, and deniers have many claims to disprove the use of gas chambers. They might claim:

  • Lack of Nazi documents on gas chambers (see above)
  • Lack of testimonies about gassing (see above)
  • That gas chambers were only used for delousing (see below)
  • Lack of forensic examinations supporting the use of gas chambers (see below)
  • Hydrogen cyanide (in the form of Zyklon B) being useless for extermination (see below)
  • Hydrogen cyanide being dangerously explosive (see below)
  • The lack of Prussian Blue on gas chamber walls
  • Gas chambers being difficult to ventilate (see below)
  • Gas chambers were not useful for execution at all (contradicted by use in the United States)

[edit] Zyklon B

Zyklon B was the trademark of a solid substance (wood or soil) impregnated with hydrogen cyanide (HCN), which easily vaporizes at normal temperature.

As deniers point out, Zyklon B was purposed as a delousing agent[94], and much of the Zyklon B sent to the camps was indeed used for delousing. This does still not disprove the fact that it was also used for killing people. The concrete in a gas chamber at the extermination camp at Majdanek that the Nazis did not successfully destroy shows evidence of the use of cyanide through a strong blue coloring of door from a reaction between iron and cyanide fumes.[95]

HCN is explosive in large concentrations, and deniers might say that this contradicts testimonies that guard smoked cigarettes in gas chambers between gassings. However, 300 parts per million of HCN in air kills a human within minutes, but the minimal concentration for an explosion is 56,000 ppm. These figures are even supported by Nazi documents.[96]

[edit] Forensic examinations on gas chambers, crematoria etc.

Some gas chambers remain (Majdanek), some have been rebuilt (Auschwitz) and others were destroyed (Treblinka, Sobibór).

Holocaust deniers might claim that there is no forensic proof of gassings. During R v. Zündel in 1985, Raul Hilberg, well-renowned Holocaust scholar, and author of The Destruction of the European Jews, was unable to mention any scientific report proving gassings. Though Hilberg mentioned that there were plenty of Nazi documents describing the Holocaust, this apparent absence of scientific proof has caught some revisionists' attention.[97]

However, since the trial, at least two scientific reports on the gas chambers have been published:

  • Jean-Claude Pressac (1944 - 2003) - a French pharmacist who used to be a Holocaust denier, who in 1979 undertook a forensic examination of the Auschwitz gas chambers. The result? He was shocked by the overwhelming evidence. In 1989 he published a book that confirmed the established view that the gas chambers were functional, killing between 631,000 and 711,000 prisoners.[98]
  • Deborah Lipstadt's book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth & Memory won the UK libel case Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt. The case contained forensic examination for the use of gas chambers.

One of the usual such claims involves the reconstructed gas chambers built by the Polish government after the Second World War at Auschwitz as a memorial to the victims. The Nazis destroyed the original gas chambers where mass murders were committed, and the simulated gas chambers at Auschwitz have never had Zyklon-B deployed in them. Holocaust deniers frequently exploit such confusion. At Majdanek, which the Nazis did not successfully destroy, evidence of the use of Zyklon-B appears in the bluing of the concrete. Hydrogen cyanide reacts with iron compounds to form the pigment Prussian blue, a strong and very stable dye.

[edit] The Leuchter Report

Holocaust denialists often point to the Armleuchter[99] Leuchter Report as 'evidence' that the gas chambers were not gas chambers. The Leuchter report found that significantly fewer cyanide traces were found in the gas chambers than in the delousing chambers, and concluded that this somehow proves that the gas chambers never contained HCN. This conclusion is based on incorrect assumptions about the concentrations of HCN needed to kill lice and to kill humans. In delousing clothes, concentrations of up to 16,000 ppm are sometimes used, and exposure time can be up to 72 hours; while 300 ppm will kill people in 15 minutes or so. Not only were the concentrations themselves higher, but the length of contact was much greater. Thus, the walls of the delousing facility should have a much greater concentration of detectable cyanide today, which is what the original Leuchter report and the Polish report both confirm. [100] The main problem with Leuchter's original report is a flaw in the major premise: that cyanide traces should be found in the homicidal gas chambers at a comparable rate as found in the delousing chambers. This is completely backward to reality, and it plays on a misunderstanding that people have about HCN. The average person would believe that it would take as much, if not more, HCN to kill a person than to kill a lice or flea. However, this is not the case. In fact, a much lower concentration of HCN is needed to kill any warm-blooded animal as opposed to cold-blooded. The institute's team found significant potassium cyanide residue in delousing facility samples, while next to none in alleged "gas chamber" samples. If the gas chambers were used for something other than murder, NO as in ZERO cyanide should have been found there. Not even the smallest trace amount. The fact that Leuchter did find trace amounts of cyanide in the gas chamber walls confirms, contrary to the Leuchter's report's conclusions, that they were, in fact, gas chambers.

Much of Leuchter's claims are refuted in Errol Morris' 1999 documentary Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr..

[edit] Corpse disposal and cremation

Deniers might have objections against the capacity of corpse disposal and cremation. This is, by part, a consequence of miscalculation. Considering Auschwitz-Birkenau, the first crematory ovens were indeed overburdened, and additional ovens were constructed. The officers had to resort to burning corpses in pits.[101]

Another objection deniers have put forth is that the amount of fuel necessary to cremate that many bodies would have been impractical. In 2000, David Irving sued an author in British high court for libel, for calling him a "Hitler partisan" who manipulated the historical record to deny the reality of the Holocaust. At the widely publicized trial, the prosecuting attorney claimed that it would take mountains of coke to burn all the bodies. An expert witness for the defense countered by showing German patents, issued before the war, for a mass crematorium that could be run almost entirely off the body fat of the corpses disposed in it.

One common objection revisionists hold, is due in part to two facets of the crematoria which were found in Auschwitz. The first of these facets is the curious structure of the crematorium smokestack. They will often argue that it is fake because it is not directly connected to the ovens by any visible means. However, historical data from Topf and Sons (makers of the crematoria) proves that the design used in Auschwitz (and other camps) was one where the exhaust gasses from the retorts were fed down through the floor and outside to a free-standing chimney.

The second objection in regards to the ovens themselves is more arguing semantics. They often note that the designs used in the camps, in particular, Auschwitz, were not crematoriums as might be defined by modern standards; but instead were based off of a large-scale hospital incinerator design which Topf and Sons created prior to the war for industrial uses. In this, they are marginally correct that the crematoriums are in truth incinerators, but this does not remove from the discussion that the use of either would have the same results. Historians note that it is easier, both in explaining what Germany was doing during the Holocaust, as well as teaching younger people, to simply call the ovens crematoriums; as stating anything else would only confuse people.

[edit] Ash disposal

Deniers ask what happened to the ashes of the cremated corpses; the volume corresponds to a full shoebox for each body. The officers at Auschwitz and other camps had many opportunities to dump it - in rivers, on farm fields (as a good fertilizer, yummy.) and in marshes, so ash disposal was not a problem. Much of it rained from the smokestacks. It was also used to grit icy road and paths around Auschwitz II (Birkenau), recalled Yehuda Bacon at the 1961 Adolf Eichmann trial, who had been 14 years old when he was sent to Auschwitz in December 1943.[102]

[edit] Methods except gassing

According to scholarship, the Axis powers killed more than a million Jews through methods other than gassing. Many of them died in the Soviet Union and other Eastern territories, at the hands of Einsatzgruppen and other paramilitary forces. These events are less known to the public than the Nazi camps in Poland, and they are still subject to research.[103]

Deniers might point out that many laymen falsely claim that six million Jews were gassed, but that has never been claimed by scholars. Though the Jewish death toll of gas chambers is far below the total six million, it still does not contradict the mass gassings.

[edit] A few things once believed about the Holocaust are now known not to be true

The Holocaust gave birth to many rumors about atrocities. Some of these turned out to be true while others were false. Examples include allegations that the Nazis manufactured soap and lampshades out of their victims' remains on an industrial scale. The fact that these allegations have been disproved is supposed to imply that revisionists have been successful changing the minds of historians and that the main facts of the Holocaust are also in question. However, it has no relevance to the big picture of the Holocaust.

[edit] Soap manufacturing

Recipes of soap made from human corpses have been found in Holocaust documents, and possibly some experimental production was done. However, according to the Nizkor Project (an Internet project documenting and refuting Holocaust denial),[104] serious historians of the Holocaust never believed the Nazis mass-produced soap from the corpses of Jews, so it was never a case of historians changing their minds to begin with.[105]

In any event, soap is manufactured from fats, and the emaciated victims of the Holocaust and the mistreatment of Soviet POWs (other 'candidates' for such treatment due to sheer numbers and frequently murdered) would rarely have had the sufficient fats for processing into soap. Nazi Germany had copious sources of fats from livestock butchered for meat.

[edit] "Why didn't the Jews fight back?"

Holocaust deniers and other laymen might raise confusion about the claim that the Jews did not fight back when sent to certain death.

In fact, there were Jewish revolts with approximately 100 resistance groups in various ghettos. The most famous ghetto uprising was the Warsaw ghetto uprising where many Jews of that city decided to die fighting rather than be sent to the death camps. The camps in Sobibór and Treblinka were both had uprisings that resulted in hundreds killed. Others escaped from Kruszyna, Minsk-Mazowiecki, and Janowska where they joined partisan units which fought against the Nazis. Even in Auschwitz-Birkenau, the Jews resisted but were, ultimately, all executed.[106][107]

[edit] Red herrings in Holocaust denial

See the main article on this topic: Red herrings in Holocaust denial

Holocaust deniers might use red herrings; argument without relevance to the reality of the Holocaust. Here is a brief description of red herrings in Holocaust denial:

[edit] Holocaust compared to other atrocities

The Holocaust is not the largest mass murder in history.[108] Deniers might compare British and American atrocities (bombing of Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki etc) to Nazi atrocities, but the millions of Axis civilian victims are still an order of magnitude more than the civilians killed by the Western allies.

  • Holocaust deniers might claim that the Allied bombing of Dresden killed around 250,000 people, though the death toll was only 20,000-25,000 people—lower in fact than the death toll of the bombing of Hamburg in 1943.
  • The Allied bombings and detentions were never censored or denied.
  • Revisionists might point out that Allied leaders were never tried or sentenced for war crimes. However, no defendant in Nuremberg was tried or sentenced only for war crimes.
  • Though Japanese-American prison camps were shameful, this is a completely different case from the Holocaust because prisoners did not suffer mass extermination, starvation, epidemics or forced labor.
  • The IHR compares the Nazis' Nuremberg Laws to the Jim Crow laws or other segregation laws in some states of the USA at the same time. This has no relevance, and the Nazis were much worse. Jews were stripped of their citizenship, and violation usually led to a death sentence.
  • Just as Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union invaded neutral countries, used forced labor and murdered civilians. But that does not disprove the Holocaust.
  • Israel's armed forces have killed some tens of thousands of people since 1948. This number is dwarfed by the Holocaust's death toll. The IHR also compares the Nuremberg Laws to present-day laws of Israel. Most of these claims are lies, and they are all irrelevant.
  • Based on the aftermath of these and other atrocities (the Armenian genocide, Rwandan genocide, etc.) Holocaust deniers might claim that the Holocaust gets too much attention. Holocaust deniers are welcome to commemorate these other atrocities, and be attentive to deniers.

[edit] Nuremberg trials

Holocaust deniers might claim that the Nuremberg trials were unfair. These claims do not disprove the Holocaust even if the trials were unfair. The purpose of a trial is to evaluate the defendants' guilt, not to decide whether the crime has happened. They might complain that the judges came from Allied countries, and would, therefore, be biased. This request is absurd - if a defendant could refuse a judge belonging to an enemy country, no spy or terrorist could ever be brought to justice. Also, judges of the German Reich would, of course, be biased for them. West German courts (with German judges) have held subsequent trials, such as the Frankfurt trials.

[edit] Claimed bias against Holocaust denial

Holocaust deniers might claim that governments and (Jewish) mass media use the Holocaust as propaganda, and oppress "revisionist" views. First, this is irrelevant. Second, the Holocaust deniers also have had their endorsements. Iran held a conference dedicated to Holocaust denial, and deniers have spread their word in many countries through books, radio, and the Internet.

[edit] Semantics

Some Holocaust deniers use this fact in the reasoning "the Jews were not exterminated, therefore, it was not a real genocide." However, the legal definition of genocide does not require the successful implementation of a plan.

[edit] A claimed agenda

Holocaust deniers might claim that the global Jewish community "declared war" on Germany in 1933, according to a headline in the London Daily Express on March 24, 1933, saying "Judea Declares War on Germany," describing a proposed Jewish boycott of German goods. That was not a literal war.

Holocaust deniers, as well as others, might assert the existence of a "Holocaust industry", claiming that the Holocaust was made up to "blackmail" Western governments and German corporations for economic compensation. This is irrelevant. Reparations have been paid to survivors, not for people who were killed.

Deniers might also complain about survivors' profiteering on books and lectures. This is irrelevant, and many high-ranked Nazis earned royalties from books after the war.

[edit] General conspiracy theory/pseudo-history components

Holocaust deniers might point out that many other people in history have falsely confessed crimes after torture or other pressure (such as witchcraft). However, the Holocaust is backed by technical evidence. Also, not a single one of the thousands of guards and officers has withdrawn their confessions, or provided a dissenting confession.

Holocaust deniers frequently repeat the cliché that victors write history. On a literal plane, this is false. Dönitz, Speer, and other high-ranked Nazis, wrote and published their memoirs. Re-telling the events of the war is a strong tradition in Germany.

Some history books might tell that Jews were deported to concentration camps, without mentioning the gas chambers or the death toll. Some do not use the term "Holocaust." However, a book is nothing more than the words of its author. If a textbook omits the Holocaust, we should go ask the author why. The most probable answer would be "lack of space."

[edit] Questions to ask a Holocaust denier

  • Did the Nazis exterminate Romani, gays, and anti-fascists?
    • If they did, the gas chambers and crematories were functional, despite Holocaust deniers' "proof" that they were useless.
    • If they did not, these groups of people were also part of the conspiracy. How large can a conspiracy become?
  • Very few Holocaust deniers/revisionists possess degrees in history.[109] Why not first pursue an academic career in 20th-century history at any university in the Western world (without mentioning "revisionist" views), and then write a paper on the Holocaust? "Revisionists" would claim that such a paper would effectively end the scholar's promotion. But being the first Ph.D. with a degree in history to take this position would surely allow for a career as a "revisionist" writer and lecturer, wouldn't it?
  • Documents showing evidence of personal culpability of Nazi leaders and ranking subordinates were discovered in huge numbers after the defeat of Nazi Germany. Such documents included architectural plans for the camps, engineering drafts, test results, accounting ledgers, railroad timetables, payroll records, commendations, orders, deportation lists, and death counts. The victorious Allies could not have forged so many documents so quickly, and Nazis who may have claimed that their signatures on incriminating documents were forgeries did not claim that the documents themselves were forgeries. If these incriminating documents were generated by the Nazis, then why would they create such evidence that would surely lead to their imprisonment or execution as war criminals?
  • If one can deny the Holocaust, then can one not equally deny other mass murder and enslavement -- including the mass killings by Communists, the decimation of native populations of the Americas, or the Atlantic Slave Trade? If one can deny the Holocaust, one of the most well-documented events in history, can one not deny practically anything in history and make history itself meaningless?

[edit] Appendices

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

  1. Holocaust denier jailed, The Guardian
  2. Eisenhower, Dwight D. Crusade in Europe. Doubleday, 1948
  7. In the "iconoclasts and curmudgeons" category can be found some astonishing examples from either left-wing or libertarian politics: James J. Martin, Paul Rassinier, Harry Elmer Barnes, L.A. Rollins, Samuel Edward Konkin III, and Laird Wilcox. Except for Rassinier and Barnes they are better known for other things and only incidentally linked to Holocaust denial, but neo-Nazis and anti-Semites like to use them as cover by promoting their names and work to show that denial spans the political spectrum. It doesn't; these are freak occurrences. This category could also include Norman Finkelstein and Noam Chomsky neither of whom denies the Holocaust, but rails against the "Holocaust industry"[wp] (Finkelstein), or makes a point of defending deniers on free speech grounds (Chomsky).
  14.; Berg: The Holocaust hoax
  15. [1]
  16. Dec "fan" page includes copies of his pamphlets and a history of the man
  17. Copy of Dec's disbarment in New York State
  18. No, seriously, he really wrote that.
  21.; "We let Charles Krafft fool us"
  22. "Charles Krafft Is a White Nationalist Who Believes the Holocaust Is a Deliberately Exaggerated Myth"
  34. There is a reasonable case against making all genocide denial a crime. The Holocaust is well researched and it can easily be argued that deniers are either wilfully ignorant or liars. Other genocides are less well known ie. it is much more difficult for historians to estimate the death toll in the massacres of Native Americans, as Native Americans left no record of births and deaths or of causes of death. What proportion of deaths were intentional killings and what proportions were the results of infectious diseases introduced unintentionally? When denying or trivializing a case of genocide is a criminal offense, people who want to keep within the law become reluctant to discuss it, and this can hinder an impartial analysis.
  35. Denying the Holocaust
  39. Rethinking the Holocaust, Yehuda Bauer
  40. Shofar FTP Archive File
  41. als - ausrotten
  42. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Volume Two - A Reckoning, Chapter XV: The Right of Emergency Defense, p. 984, quoted in The Holocaust: The Fate of European Jewry, 1932-1945
  43. Ian Kershaw, Hitler 1889-1936 Hubris (1999), p.258
  44. Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Volume One - A Reckoning, Chapter XII: The First Period of Development of the National Socialist German Workers' Party
  45. A. Hitler. Mein Kampf (Munich: Franz Eher Nachfolger, 1930), pg 478
  48. English translation
  49. Wikipedia entry on the Wannsee Conference
  51. IMDb listing for The Wannsee Conference
  52. IMDb listing for Conspiracy
  55. the report in question, translated to English
  58. 58.0 58.1
  63. Nizkor's reply to IHR's question 20
  66. Campaign to ban just about every book with sexual themes
  67. Other Holocaust deniers may claim that a concentration camp prisoner denying the Holocaust would have special credibility. However, Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora were labor camps in Germany proper, and not used for mass extermination as the Nazi camps in Poland were, so Rassinier was not witness to the exterminations. Given that he was imprisoned far from where the bulk of the killings took place, Rassinier would have less first-hand information about what happened to the Jews than people who lived in freedom in German-controlled territory.
  70. Wikipedia: Theresienstadt (film)
  71. A surviving fragment of the film can be seen on YouTube:
  76. Nizkor reply to IHR's question 15
  78. Nizkor reply to IHR question 17
  79. Nizkor reply to IHR question 16
  82. What is the Holocaust?
  83. Jewish Population of Europe in 1945, according to the US Holocaust Museum
  84. FAQ about the Holocaust, as answered by Yad Vashem's Holocaust Resource Center
  87. Six Million Did Die / Arthur Suzman & Denis Diamond, Johanesburg. Page 10.
  91. Nizkor's response to IHR question 9
  94. Nizkor reply to IHR question 28
  95. File:
  96. Nizkor reply to IHR's question 32
  99. German-language pun of the name of this "report". "Armleuchter" means something like "bonehead" in German.
  100. Nizkor reply to IHR question 4
  101. Nizkor reply to IHR's question 44
  102. Testimony of Yehuda Bacon (Bakon). Trial of Adolf Eichmann trial. 7 June 1961. Session 68. Nizkor.
  108. So let's ignore millions of people dying! Yay!
  109. Several of them are academics in other fields, but not in history.
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