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True Stories : Oprah, Elie Wiesel, and the Holocaust

Historians/History




Ms. Barnouw is Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California, and author of Visible Spaces: Hannah Arendt and the German Jewish Experience, John Hopkins (1990). She lives in Del Mar, California. Her latest book is The War in the Empty Air: Victims, Perpetrators, And Postwar Germans.

In his portrait of Mordecai Strigler (New Yorker, 10 Jan. 1994) David Remnick describes how, after his liberation from Buchenwald, he immediately began to write Maydanek "as if truly possessed, spinning out a vast cycle of semifictional books on the Holocaust, which were among the first eyewitness accounts of horror." The "semifictional" mixing of facts and fictions does not seem to qualify for Remnick the value of "eyewitnessing;" and Strigler's highly personal docu-fictional narration has been the model for a huge body of Holocaust literature dealing with the experience of literally unbelievable victimization. More than six decades after the historical events, it is important to be more clear about the fact that, notwithstanding the enormous general importance of their topic, these docu-fictions are products of an openly subjective and in that self-fictionalizing imagination. Written out of a profound desire to "forever" protect the memory of the horrors of Nationalsocialist persecutions, they established a supra-historical immediacy of "the Holocaust" whose "essential" or higher truth would trump the plausibility protocols of historical inquiry. It was precisely this supra-historical immediacy that in the postwar era would support claims to an enduring uniquesness of the Jewish Holocaust and the cultural centrality of its memory that, in turn, granted almost absolute authority to the memory-stories of Holocaust survivors.

The increasing sanctification of the Holocaust-survivor as witness to the "higher truth" of the Jewish experience was arguably helped by the Eichmann Trial with its emphasis on individual witnesses performing their true stories of unbelievable persecution on "the stage of the world" created by the modern mass media. The trial also helped the reception of Elie Wiesel's now paradigmatic Holocaust memoir-novel Night; and over the decades its author has made himself the most visible and influential proponent of this sanctification. He has declared as anti-Semitic all attempts to “desanctify” or “demystify” the Holocaust by "historicizing" the Nazi period. And this position led him to assert that “any survivor has more to say than all historians combined about what happened.” Peter Novick's study The Holocaust in American Life (201) quotes both this assertion and the complaint of the education director of Yad Vashem that “the survivor has become a priest; because of his story, he is holy"--a status that often has not been helpful to judging the historical relevance of these "sacred" stories.

The issue here is not the juxtaposition of fact or fiction (memoir or novel), not even the increasingly weak distinctions between them, but the desire of huge audiences for "true stories" in a world dominated by the fabricated stories of the mass media. The most desirable and therefore most protected "true stories" have survivor protagonists who by telling their individual true stories of victimization make it a part of a paradigmatic story of redemption. When Oprah callled Larry King to protest the protest against James Frey's fabrications in his promised true story, his "memoir," she invoked the "essential truth" of his story of redemption. Curiously, she did not at first understand the depth of his readers' angry disappointment which also meant a potential threat to her own "sacred" cultural status. They had expected and paid for the "truth" of every nitty-gritty detail of Frey's story because, in the court of morality, only this "whole truth" would validate the story of redemption that they craved. The publisher, expertly focused on "truth" as commodity, immediately returned their money. And Oprah, after casting away the sinner Frey before the eyes of the whole world --a serious moment of disturbingly comical hypocrisy--crowned her "new pick," Elie Wiesel's Night, on January 16, 2006. She did not forget to point out the significance of the date, the King Day holiday.

There were a few shadowy suggestions that Oprah's second choice might have been just a touch shaky in the matter of "whole truth." Night had begun its eventually stellar rise as a novel; though over the years it has also been called a memoir. Some press releases about Oprah's choice presented it as "a novel so personal that the author calls it a memoir." To be safe, Amazon, the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity," and Wiesel's publisher, among others, officially "recategorized" the text as a memoir. The NYTimes(January 19, 2006) noted that the new translation of Night corrected several "errors" such as discrepancies regarding Wiesel's age as a teenage prisoner in the camps, but that old questions remained. More importantly, even if Night had been conceived as a memoir, and despite Wiesel's much repeated insistence on its "stenographic" truth," there still would be the important question of the instability of memory, particularly regarding extreme, traumatic experiences. But the "sacred" nature of survivors' stories has on the whole precluded such questions--a testimony to the remarkable cultural and political power of "the Holocaust" as meta-historical construct of memory-stories growing around and above the historical persecutions.

On that fateful King Day holiday, Oprah declared that, selecting Night, she had "a dream of my own, too, that the powerful message of this little book would be engraved on every human heart and will never be forgotten again. That you who read this book will feel as I do . . . that these 120 pages should be required reading for all humanity." But how could the book's message of "never forgetting" have been forgotten when there were (in Wiesel's words) "many, many million copies in print"? Speaking on a "higher" level, Oprah simply transmitted the book's message to all humanity as a super-community of Holocaust believers, carrying copies of Night and vowing never to forget not-forgetting . Elie Wiesel in his politically potent sanctified role as Holocaust survivor could not but confirm and bless this act. Remember how in late February 2003, he bestowed a “confirming moment" on the American president fixing to invade Iraq by telling him what he needed to hear, that ”Iraq was a terrorist state and that the moral imperative was for intervention. If the West had intervened in Europe in 1938, World War II and the Holocaust could have been prevented." (Robert Woodward, Plan of Attack, 320-21). Whatever has been good for the cause of the Holocaust has been good for Elie Wiesel; never mind the ever growing deadly mess in the Middle East. By definition, his sacred story as told in Night would never disappoint readers' desire for a "true story" because its pre-authorized claim to the universal relevance of Jewish suffering --in "every human heart," "never to be forgotten"-- has itself become a redemptive story, its author the redeemer. If Oprah's choice has made Elie Wiesel richer, it also has redeemed her from her wrong, potentially diminishing choice of Frey's A Million Little Pieces.

For those increasingly disturbed by the political uses of "the Holocaust" there are questions about the still growing redemptive power of the "sacred" stories of the Jewish Holocaust in the era of notoriously volatile globalization. A good case in point here is Binjamin Wilkomirski's memoir of his experiences as a child Holocaust survivor, an intriguing scandal in the late 1990s. Under the title Fragments. Memories of a Wartime Childhood, the middle-aged author recalled the extreme violence suffered by a three or four-year old boy in the archetypal death camps Majdanek and Auschwitz.. His descriptions of incredible experiences of physical and psychological cruelty and brutality were received with reverential admiration. Extraordinary claims were made for their cultural significance that immediately elevated him to the hallowed Holocaust-survivor status of an Elie Wiesel. There were many endorsements and prizes: the US National Jewish Book Award, the French Prix Mémoire de la Shoah, the British Jewish Quarterly Literary Prize and many more.

Critics in Germany and the US asserted that the slight volume had "the weight of this century." The "inexorability, density and power of its images" make it a literary masterpiece, "if one dares to apply literary criteria which shame forbids," gushed one reviewer. Another claimed that "the effect of the book is profoundly different from that of the usual Holocaust books. It is the perspective from deep down, the very earliest experiences, the child's perspective which profoundly stirs the emotions, appalls and shames.” Like everyone else, the New York Times had nothing but praise for the book and immediately put it on the list of notable books for 1997. As their reviewer saw it in early 1997 (January 12), this "extraordinary memoir" "recalls the Holocaust with the powerful immediacy of innocence, injecting well-documented events with fresh terror and poignancy."

But by the fall of 1998, discrepancies between Wilkomirski's authorial and legal identity had been mounting. They were reported in the NYTimes (November 3, 1998), as were questions relating to a then altered moral and literary status of the famous text and its author. He was born in 1941, the illegitimate son of a German-Swiss working-class woman, and later adopted by an upper-middle-class gentile Zuerich family. The local school file listed him as attending first grade in 1947, and there is photographic documentation that he lived with his adoptive parents in 1946. Religious adoration of Fragments changed quickly to embarrassed ambivalence or outright rejection, though some promoters drew back earlier than others. The award-winning author had served successfully as a poster child for unspeakable victimization on an extended fund-raising tour for the US Holocaust Memorial Museum. Exquisitely sensitive to the slightest indication of negative publicity, they immediately removed all copies of Fragments from their giftshop.

The German Suhrkamp Verlag, whose 1995 publication of Bruchstuecke--aus einer Kindheit 1938-1948 as a "memoir" had convinced many foreign publishers of the text's documentary authenticity, was more loyal. It issued a statement that they saw no reason to mistrust Wilkomirski's explanations concerning the troubling discrepancies. The publisher continued to believe its author's assertions that he was a Latvian Jew whose earliest memories were of the beating death of his father, and who came to Switzerland only in 1948 after the experiences of unspeakable violence in concentrations camps. According to Wilkomirski, the Swiss records had been tempered with by, among others, his adoptive father, a physician and alleged Nazi-sympathizer who had taken him in only because he had survived Mengele. A year later, however, Suhrkamp announced at the Frankfurt Book Fair the withdrawal of the book--an act that was international news in the NYTimes the next day (October 14, 1999). The publisher acted on new information gathered by a Swiss historian who, with the consent of Wilkomirski, had been hired by his Swiss agent to clear up the matter. It could no longer be disputed that at the period for which Binjamin Wilkomirski claimed the remembered experience of extreme, incredible victimization--torn apart limb by limb, crushed, smashed to pieces, deprived of all language, even his brother's Yiddish--, he had been living comfortably as Bruno Doessekker in the Zuerich home of his adoptive parents, a normal small child, talking in German.

Wilkomirski's case has raised intriguing questions of identity based on authentic or inauthentic memory in current Western culture where authority is easily granted to claims of identity on the basis of memories of persecution or extreme adversity--Frey's "demons" of drug addiction among them. On the seemingly most simple level one could ask, what if Wilkomirski's text had been presented as fiction rather than memoir? Would the reception have been different? Would there have been a more critical attitude regarding its literary quality? The in hindsight, but only then, deliciously silly reviews prostrated in adoration of the "authentic" memoirs, that instant "classic of Holocaust literature," obviously did not concern themselves with either the text's literary or its documentary quality. They were clearly motivated by the fact that it contributed so dramatically to the new "hot" child-survivor memoirs extending the memory of victimization for another generation. Wilkomirski's text added a new dimension of violence and innocence: a savage child lost, without sense of place, time and language, in the unspeakable, therefore unknowable dystopia of the camps, the most profound, unbelievable mysterious truth of the Holocaust.

The strongest motivation for the obviously disturbed adult to retrieve his memories was the extreme nature of victimization, the child's purest form of self-loss in that utter abandonment. Wilkomirski did not claim any authority other than that of the remembered small child's; and he benefited from the extraordinary authority of Holocaust literature only after the success of his book. This explains his seeming lack of concern when accused of false identity and inauthentic memories; his simply repeating that they were his memories and thereby his identity. Since they were of violently total, indeed "incredible" victimization, he was indeed the purest victim. And the reviewers' religiously fervent response to Fragments was to the drama of regaining identity in the memories of its total loss. To rob its author, by questioning them, of his memories would make him even more lost, an even purer victim. In the current culture and cult of remembrance built on the memory of Jewish persecution as the singular most defining event in Western modernity, Wilkomirski's existential lostness is in important ways indistinguishable from that experienced by the Jewish author of an authentic Holocaust memoir of a child-survivor. Could the controversy really have been avoided if the collection of memory fragments had been called "Fragments from a Therapy" as some critics suggested? But would not the then 'unattached' fragments, too, have been seen as a profoundly significant and authentic contribution to Holocaust memorial literature simply by virtue of association: their stereotypically violent images; their peculiarly literal relating of memory and identity? And could--or would--not the Suhrkamp Verlag in any case have responded to the "strong Holocaust market" with marketing strategies that emphasized these associations? What about Amazon's earnest "recategorization" of Wiesel's Night from novel to memoir--distinctions that are obviously readership-oriented, that is, commercial. Readers want "true stories," the more true, the more unbelievable, particularly if they are pre-authorized or authenticated as Holocaust memory stories.

The Wilkomirski affair shows above all a dismaying lack of critical judgment. Standards of documentary evidence are indeed a matter of increasing concern in our late modern high-tech culture that craves the immediacy of "true stories" but prefers the permissiveness of "docu-fiction" to the stricter plausibility protocols of the straight documentary. Yet Wilkomirski's muddled case does not seem to me a threat to the integrity of authentic Holocaust memoirs, as has been argued. The issue is, rather, that it shares in their problems, namely the fundamental instability of memories and the uses to which they can be put, among them notably the political uses of not-forgetting. The general tendency over the last half century to embrace all Holocaust-survivor memoirs, no matter what they actually say or how they say it, has had important, if perhaps unforeseeable, consequences. Among other things, this tendency has upheld an exclusive and limited cultural memory of the in many ways still obscure, incompletely understood political and generational catastrophe of WWII.

The extraordinary commercial and critical success of films like Schindler's List as documentary "Truth" about the Holocaust and Begnini's Life is Beautiful as making "Evil" more real, more true, more accessible, the stellar rise of Fragments because it made absolute Evil more evil, the terror more "fresh," raise important questions about current perceptions of historical memory and historical understanding. Why was the new translation of Night so important now? Why did Oprah "really" choose that book? Why should we care what Oprah and Wiesel are doing in Auschwitz? Or her high school essay contest on Night? Are we more comfortable with the familiar horrors that do not ask for our social and political intervention now, but only for the busy timeless rituals of never-forgetting?


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Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

OK. Some other time.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Clarke:
This is a fine post. I like your voice. I appreciate having it here. I will get to it when I can. With regard to broken links on the CODOH Library page, the site was down for three, four years and we are just now getting it back up.

You put one question to me however that is so easy to answer that I will do so now. No research. No rereading old journals. You ask what I believe I have accomplished over the years with this work. My answer is: apparently not very much. And so it goes, as Kurt used to have it.

BTW: if you're willing to go through my stuff, I want to encourage you to look at one book and one video that are on the Founder's Page, and maybe in the Library as well.

The first is "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes" by Sam Crowell. The story has never before been placed in such a wide ranging context (he says).

The second is the video "David Cole Interviews Dr. Francizek Piper." The fraud, and more importantly the willingness to forward fraud, at the Auschwitz Museum is right there on film. David was in his early 20s when he did this. Almost fifteen years later he has recommitted himself to the work.

Again -- thanks for your post, and your voice -- the way you express your reservations about what you have found about what I have written.



Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

MR.CLARKE: Re your post (#83916)

CLARKE: At any rate, I have looked in further detail at only “your side” of this debate: specifically at the web writings referenced in your last comment here, which you say address the question of “what’s in it for me”. What I found does not add up to a clear and convincing answer.

SMITH: I wrote that: “It’s not a question I can answer with any precision.” That you find that I did not do what I suggested I can not do makes sense to me.

CLARKE: You have obviously devoted a huge chunk of your life to matters surrounding the Holocaust in the Second World War … and it is unclear what you have accomplished, what you think you have accomplished, or what you ever hoped to accomplish.

SMITH: I had hoped to encourage an open debate on the Holocaust story. I have been saying this consistently for 25 years. The response, consistently, by all sorts of folk, including the professors, is that either it is not necessary, or would be harmful, and in any event is a dirty business because the story is just fine the way it is, or that only special people be allowed to address the matter. Very early on, seeing that the story needed “revising” (in my view), I wrote someplace that it would bring about the rewriting of the history of the 20th century. While there is no reason to take such pronouncements seriously when made by someone like myself, the effort to encourage, rather than discourage, open debate about a pivotal historial event seems to me to be a worthwhile idea.

Occurs to me only at this moment to say that part of the reason for me to get involved with this issue is the immense drama of it.

CLARKE: As you relate it, this flyer [the article by Faurisson printed in Le Monde] led you to read Arthur Butz’s “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century” which, in turn, produced some kind of profound everlasting transformation, namely that … Here a warning bell sounds unmistakably, however:

… What the Nazis’ intentions were, what they actually did, many Jews were killed by them, how deep was their support for this killing amongst the general German population, etc...these are all radically different questions, each of them also quite separate from the question of HOW the killing was done (e.g. in gas chambers or otherwise). Furthermore, “probably not been demonstrated to be true” is a far, far cry from a deliberate hoax. Facts, logic, and categories are in a severely tangled mess here.

SMITH: Remember, this is a journal. I had only then discovered that there was an issue. I was going out on a limb to say anything at all. I didn’t know what the story was yet, and was not even familiar with revisionist literature. I didn’t “read” Butz that day, but perused it. I think I made that clear.

CLARKE: But, there is a bigger problem than sloppy thinking that is also going on here: Your “Before” and “After” story does not ring true because there are serious inconsistencies in it.

In the early 1979 excerpt you stated “I maintain a studied indifference to the "Holocaust." This suggests an active degree of skepticism (otherwise why the quotes around Holocaust?) already BEFORE the Great Transformation of the Bonaventure Hotel. BEFORE the flyer in the hotel, EITHER you were skeptically “indifferent” (the early 1979 excerpt) or you “believed without reservation” (the late 1979 excerpt) in “something that morally condemns an entire people of complicity in horrific criminal behavior”. To assert the coexistence of a deep belief, encompassing a whole “heart” and “mind”, in "unique German monstrosity" (as stated in the late 1979 excerpt) with the feeling, expressed in the early 1979 excerpt, “that the memory of the Holocaust is used as a technique to unify and bind together the "Jewish people," and as a way of creating for Jews a special place in the consciousness of all of us. It creates "Jewishness" on the one hand, and on the other it creates a "space" for them to be”, strains credulity beyond the breaking point.

SMITH: This is an interesting set of observations. You write that “A studied indifference” suggests “an active degree of skepticism.” It can in fact suggest that. What it “suggests” to you however may not be accurate. In my case, what I was getting at, is that I had become aware of how the story was used to morally justify the U.S. alliance with Israel, which I thought was a catastrophe for America, which in my view it has been. The “studied indifference” then was not for me skepticism about the story, but how it was used to morally justify bad foreign policy. Since then, and I was not aware of this a the time, it is common in the Israeli press to observe that the Holocaust story is what “enabled” Israel, and what what is used to morally justify it’s conquest and occupation of Arab land.

Your “studied indifference” remark then is a reasonable reaction to what I wrote, it’s a logical inference, but was not used the way you thought, think, it was.

CLARKE: When I further note (a) that in the “Before” period (early 1979) you were already railing that “the American press has been pro-Zionist for as long as I've been reading it” (really? 1970s newspapers across heartland America in little towns, many, many miles from the nearest synagogue, all marching in lock-step to a Zionist tune?),

SMITH: Yes. Though I don’t believe I have used the word “Zionism” much. I use the term “Israel-Firsters.” You don’t have to know anything whatever about Zionism to be an “Israeli-Firster.”

CLARKE: (b) that you are writing a whole book entitled “Adolf Hitler and Me” (“Adolf and me, we have a lot in common...we are two expressions of the oneness of all humankind")

SMITH: And your point here?

CLARKE: and (c) that the one section of your website which at least hints at a substantial contribution to our knowledge about what really happened in World War II, what the Nazis did, what happened to the Jews, etc. leads only to dead ends, dead links, or unhistorical polemics (at http://theholocauststory.blogspot.com/), I give up.

SMITH: That is not the page to visit. I’m not working that page any longer. And it was never intended to do scholarly work, but to comment on news stories.
Try http://www.codoh.com/index2.html

CLARKE: I don’t know what you are really up to, but it certainly has almost nothing to do with an "open debate on the Holocaust" let alone with an objective examination of the fate of European Jews in the 1940s, or the role of Nazis or Germans in that fate.

SMITH: When you write that what I do “certainly has almost nothing to do with an ‘open debate on the Holocaust’ suggests a lack of communitcation here that, while I must be responsible for some part of it, I do not believe I am responsible for all of it. Life.

One last example of what I am getting at. I don’t see how this can be so difficult to get across, and this is why I see a “taboo” against taking seriously the need for an open debate on the Holocaust.

I began this thread by noting that Dagmar Barnouw had moved very quickly from the matter of Elie Wiesel to a second-level fraud survivor fraud Binjamin Wilkomirski. My interest was to encourage some back and forth on Elie Wiesel. I suggested some questions that could be starting points. Frederick Thomas added some of his own. Everyone else, including yourself, went “around” the questions and on to something else.

It is my view that encourage an open debate on the Elie Wiesel’s of the world—that is, survivors who promote the unique monstrosity of the Germans, and who are demonstrable frauds at the same time—is in fact encouraging an “open debate” on the Holocaust. I do not know why you would say it is not.

Example: You took time to read some of my stuff, a man of very little import, and to get back to me with interesting observations, questions, and an expressions of doubt about my credibility. You have done it in a way that I find emminently sensible, tho I disagree with you here and there. But—and this is a big but—you have not taken the time to do the same with Elie Wiesel, an immensely important voice on the Holocaust story. Who am I? Which is where, after all, we started from. You have, in so many words, followed the lead of the Holocaust Lobby/Cult: Always question those who question the authenticity of suvivor stories, never question the survivor stories themselves. It’s really so obvious. Have you even noticed that that is what you did? Again: who am I?

CLARKE: With all due respect, I think it is time for another radical life transforming change. I could suggest some good places for fish tacos and beer in San Felipe and Santa Rosalia. With bamboo hamocks nearby in need of repair and offering a chance to work off the calories.

SMITH: I haven’t been to Santa Rosalia in fifty years. In those days the “highway” from San Quintin on the West Coast south to Santa Rosalia was dirt, and in some places in the mountains only a track. There were no buses. It took four days of hard driving to make the trip (I was hitchhiking) while today it is about a five-hour drive on paved road. With regard to life transforming changes, it’s late, but I’m ready. The good thing about life transforming changes is that you don’t have to do anything special. They lift you up and take you with them. Whoever is responsible for bringing about such events had better get serious. There isn’t a lot of time left.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Dagmar Barnouw’s article is titled “True Stories: Oprah, Elie Wiesel, and the Holocaust. No one has remarked on the irony of the title. Oprah promoting a false true story about a petty criminal. Elie Wiesel promoting his own story of deception and fraud. Oprah promoting Wiesel’s false memoir/novel as a “true story.” And the implication throughout that the Holocaust story itself is not being examined seriously.

In her final paragraph Barnouw writes: “The extraordinary commercial and critical success of films like Schindler's List as documentary "Truth" about the Holocaust and Begnini's Life is Beautiful as making "Evil" more real, more true, more accessible, the stellar rise of Fragments because it made absolute Evil more evil, the terror more "fresh," raise important questions about current perceptions of historical memory and historical understanding. Why was the new translation of Night so important now? Why did Oprah "really" choose that book? Why should we care what Oprah and Wiesel are doing in Auschwitz? Or her high school essay contest on Night? Are we more comfortable with the familiar horrors that do not ask for our social and political intervention now, but only for the busy timeless rituals of never-forgetting?”

All sound questions. The irony (and worse) of Schindler’s List being treated as “documentary Truth about the Holocaust” is that we all know it was based on a cheap novel. This is a movie I saw. It was very well produced. Spielberg is a very good film maker. There is not one German portrayed in this Spielberg film as a decent man, other than Schindler himself, who is treated as an “honorary” Jew. Even the Americans who participated in the intentional extermination of hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians, are treated as human beings by media and the professors. They can be interviewed on American televsion and asked touching questions about their personal lives. Their participation in mass murder is kept to one side. Why should that be? They are not Germans. Those they exterminated were not Jews.

In the final sentence of the article, Barnouw writes: “Are we more comfortable with the familiar horrors that do not ask for our social and political intervention now, but only for the busy timeless rituals of never-forgetting?”

I believe we are. The professors and politicos never tire of the “busy timeless rituals of never-forgetting” the Jewish Holocaust story. That is, the story that was used to morally justify the creation of the Israeli State on land where others were living, and that is used to this day to morally justify the U.S. alliance with that State.

If we were to examine the “history” of Elie Wiesel publicly, using his own stories, the Big Story of the Big Holocaust might possibly begin to unwind, just a little. What would we do then with the “comfortable horrors” that we have spent so much comfortable time with the last half century because they were done to others by others? Perhaps we would see that we need to address the uncomfortable horrors that we carried out ourselves, even though they were not carried out against Jews. We might then summon up enough character to address the sufferings of those who were not Jews with the same attention that we address the suffering of those who were Jews.

What a concept!


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Leiberman: Where do I say anything like what you suggest I have said with your "the ceaseless threat Jews pose to everything that is good, decent, holy, etc?"


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Leiberman: Re yours at (#84764)
Where do I say anything like what you suggest I have said with your "the ceaseless threat Jews pose to everything that is good, decent, holy, etc?"


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Friedman:

With regard to yours of #83976.

Many trust the SWC implicity. Some of us do not. The below link takes you to one reason why.

http://www.codoh.com/revision.html

Because of the nature of the institution, and the role it plays in forwarding the orthodox Holocaust story, I believe an open debate on this particular (apparent) fraud would be a good idea. The professorial class appears to think it not worth the bother. And there you are.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Clarke:

Here is where you go very wrong.

"Once we break free of the professional mind-numbing Holocaust Industry and put the Holocaust Denial Industry not in jail but in the dustbin of lunatics where Alien Kidnappees, the Flat Earth Society, and inventors of Perpetual Motion machines already reside, we can perhaps give the Holocaust the historical scrutiny and respect it deserves but has too often been denied."

Those who front for the Holocaust Industry are not wrong about everything. Not by a long shot. The problem for you is that apparently you can only approach this matter if you think that the "Holocaust Denial Industry (some Industry!--not a millionaire among them)" IS wrong about everything.

With this viewpoint you set yourself square in the middle of what is, ironically, the Industry you call "mind-numbing." That is its mantra. All revisionist arguments are either wrong or lies. All of them. Always.

I suspect that you have not read, or are even familiar with, the major revisionst writers: Germar Rudolf (in prison in Germany), Carlo Mattogno, Jurgen Graf (in exile from Switzerland), Carlos Porter (particularly on Nuremberg and the other trials), Serge Thion, Arthur Butz, Robert Faurisson (on most everything), Fritz Berg (on gas vans particularly) Sam Crowell (on the cultural mix in which the gas chamber tales rooted and then flowered).

The manner in which you suggest that there is nothing of any value whatever in revisionist arguments, nothing!, argues for your unfamiliarity with them. Tell me I'm wrong, and how.

What we do not have here is a cultural enviornment in which The Story can be examined freely from every point of view, without severe social and professional penalties. What kind of "truth" is it that has to be proected from routine examination by suppression, censorship, taboo and prison?

With what I presume is your unfamiliarity with revisionist arguments, and your nevertheless (forgive me) arrogant dismissal of them at the same time, you appear to place yourself squarely with those who depend on taboo and prison to protect their world view.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Miller:
There are a number of assertions here that I would like to address.

MILLER: Taboo, Mr. Smith? Not taboo, just not much of a market for lies.

SMITH: This is a careless statement, which surprises me, as I have not seen you making careless statements in the many posts and articles I have read of yours. We are speaking to one another. Am I the liar? What are the lies? There are liars in every group. Elie Wiesel is a demonstrable liar. I will not charge, because of that, that all Holocaust survivors are liars, or all Jews, or all who defend them from an open debate about their demonstrable lies.

MILLER: “Whatever Barnouw's views towards Jews (you have already made yours clear)…”

SMITH: I wonder why you believe you know what my views toward Jews are? I don’t know the answer, because you don’t say. I will speculate. I do not believe in the gas-chamber stories any longer so I am necessarily – what? I literarlly do not understand what you mean when you write that I have made such views “clear.”

MILLER: “… her screeds tend to be in service to a "new" European history that seeks to liberate itself from older, more dangerous memories. That new history requires accomodation with Europe's new minorities, i.e. Muslims, as well as the rewriting of history to assert a fascist-free incarnation of European norms of international behavior.

SMITH: This is a dense set of assertions which seem reasonable to me.

MILLER: Contrary to the assertions of you and your ilk about Holocaust Denial being criminalized at "the Jews'" behest, the truth is that most of those laws were passed by non-Jewish Social and Christian Democrat types decades ago in an effort to exert social controls on those they feared more than the "Jewish backlash" of your fevered imagination--after all, it was the mainstream European democrats of the 1950s and 60s who had also been victimized between the 1920s and 40s by various fascist movements.

SMITH: I don’t know why you take such matters for granted as you do here, when I have not seen you do it anywhere else. I have consistently argued that while, as Arthyr Burtz put it recently at Northwestern, the gas-chamber-Holocaust story had a “Zionist provenance,” it was institutionalized by the courts of the Allied Government and has since been criminalized by those parties you yourself mention. As luck would have it, I published a column only last month making pretty much the core of your own argument that you make here. I think we agree here then.

MILLER: These laws were passed not to satisfy Jews but, to put it bluntly, to control individuals much like yourself who, they feared, given a chance, would be all to happy to finish what the Germans and their willing collaborators began.

SMITH: I agree with the initial assertion here—the laws were not passed (primarily) to satisfy Jews. Then you fall into the great cliché forwarded by the Holocaust Industry, precisly to prevent a sane and open debate on the matter -- that those of us who question the gas-chamber story want to murder all the remaining Jews in the world. There is something rather too stupid about this cliché (I am not saying that you are stupid for expressing it—it is a charge that “everyone” who has not looked at the other side of the story forwards as if they are on some kind of “automatic” reply machine).

My suggestion, which I am pefectly willing to be convinced that I am wrong about, is that the unique monstrosity of the Germans was not institutionalized primarily to morally justify Jews in their claim on Arab land in Palestine, but to distract the rest of us from an honest reappraisal of our own behavior via the political and cultural horrors committed by the Allied Governments before and during the war.

One consideration about Nuremburg and the other war crimes trials that revisionists consistently refer to is that while the Germans were convicted of using the most effective weapon of mass destruction the world had ever seen to murder the Jews of Europe, it was not thought necessary to investigate the murder weapon. It’s not like television where a pocket knife, if suspected of having been used in a homicide, is thoroughly examined using the most sophisticated machings of analysis and a detailed report written. Pocket knives, yes, gas chambers no?

Who benefited from the “stipulation” of a great murder weapon, and the absence of “proof” for a great murder weapon? On the other hand, perhaps there was a thorough investigation of the German gas-chambers at Nuremburg. Maybe you can point me to it. It should be based on war-time generated documents, and forensic studies of the gas chambers and ruins of gas chambers that remained at the time of the trial. If there is, please point me to it. It might change my life.

MILLER: That would include, incidentally, not only the destruction of various minorities and democracies, but also the existence of individual European nation states. The German vision, you may recall included a united Europe under German hegemony. Sort of proto-EU, you might say, but dedicated to vastly different purposes.

SMITH: Agreed, I think.

MILLER: Baranouw teaches at a major California university; you may post here or contribute articles to the Institute of Historical Review--just your sort of people, I would imagine. Many people have "used" the Holocaust for many reasons, Mr. Smith. Your use of the topic is all too familiar.

SMITH: Some of the people associated with IHR over the years have been my kind of people, some have not been.

I agree with you wholeheartedly that “Many peole have ‘used’ the Holocaust for many reasons…” I will suggest that among them are the Soviet mass murderers, who were primarily responsible for providing “proof” of gas chambers (would Josef lie about something like that?), the British and French who at that time held maybe 800-millions of non-white peoples in racist subjugation, and the Americans who intentionally murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians via high explosive, incendiary bombs, and nuclear weapons, all for a greater good, of course. And then there are our Jewish friends. I do not want to address them in any way different than I address Americans. Do you? Jews used, and are still using, the gas-chamber story to morally legitimate their claim to a land where other people are living and who do not want them there. And for other reasons as well.





Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Willis:

If you want to see some back and forth with Nizkor ask at CODOH Forum at www.codoh.com I don't do Nizkor. The CODOH Forum ( www.codoh.com ) does. If your interested, please take it there.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

We start off here with Elie Wiesel but move on rather too quicly to the Wilkomirski fraud. There is enough fraud in the Elie Wiesel story to entertain readers. We dodn't have to go to second rathers. Matters to be addresed, always with a comic sensibility, are:

How many death camps does Elie say he was liberated from? How far did Elie fly when struck by a taxi cab in Manhatten? How many people were burned alive at Buchenwald every day while Elie was there? Who did the counting?

How long does Elie say that geysers of blood erupted (like--ERUPTED!) from Jewish graves at Babi Yar? What did Elie's father say to him when the Germans ordered The old man to burn his son alive? When the Russians were about to liberate Auschwitz, why did Elie and his father choose to go with the German genocidalists rather than wait for their communist liberators?

What does Elie believe every Jew should keep in his heart with regard to Germans, and what do the Germans personify for Elie? Did Elie join his comrades after Buchenwald was liberated in going to town tpo rape German girls?" If he did, did he enjoy it? Was that nice? If not, why not? And why did Elie change his story about raping German girls?

Does it matter?

Just a few questions before bed tonight. If I weren't exhausted from a night on the town in Baja, I could go on here for another hour or so.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Clarke:

I agree in general with what you say here. I don't address the historical questions, with a few exceptions re a couple significant "eyewitnesses" to gas chambers. In the end, what happened happened, whatever that was.

The issue that caught my attention a long time ago is that it is taboo to publicly question the gas chamber stories. The recent furor at Northwestern over Arthur Butz--thirty years after the publication of his Hoax of the 20th Century--is a perfect example of how academics are willing to slander a writer who they are unwilling to examine with academic "objectivity."

So I'm really interested in the taboo against open debate on this matter, the lack of open debate, and the willingness of the professorial class, as a class, to support the suppression of open debate to do, in effect, the work of the Holocaust Industry.

Who benefits from the forwarding of this taboo on campus generally? Students? Or professors? I'm willing to argue that it is not students, or the American public generally.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Well, I'm a colourful guy.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Miller:

Thanks for this post. You surprise me, as always. There are some misunderstandings in it (or it appears to me that there are) that I cannot address right now, as I am on deadline to finish my hardcopy newsletter, Smith’s Report. SR reports on my work to forward an open debate on the Holocaust story. The lead article in this issue of SR addresses concerns that most people have about those of us who doubt the gas chamber story, or are associated with revisionism in any cooperative way. If anyone wants a printed copy of this issue of SR to see that the below quote is accurate, I can be addressed at bsmith@prodigy.net.mx


[BEGIN QUOTE.
Opening Paragraphs]

I’m going to get into a difficult matter here, it may ruffle a few feathers, but it’s a matter that I find interesting and important. I believe most of you will be interested in the subject, though I expect many will disagree with me. Holocaust revisionists and Jews have a special relationship with one another. There is a lot of frustration, anger, denial (no pun intended), and mistrust on both sides. And that is the crux of the matter: for me—there is no “side.” That’s what is difficult to make clear.

In February I submitted a column to the student press titled “Why are we making this power-mad extremist look so good?” (referring to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad—I printed it in SR 125).” It was published in two campus newspapers that I am aware of. The first was in “The “Daily Hornet” at California State University at Sacramento, the second in “The University News” at DePauw University, a rather elite Christian campus in Indiana.

The last week in February I heard from Robert Faurisson, who had read the column as it was printed in “The Daily Hornet.” He was very direct in his criticism of how I had written about Jews. The core of his concern was:

“You are careful to totally exonerate the Jews. You go on repeating: "It's NOT the Jews, NOT the Jews, NOT the Jews."

It’s true, I did use that phrase, though in specific contexts. Briefly, I wrote that revisionism is where it is, and revisionists are where we are, not because of how Jews behave, but because of how Jews and those of us who are not Jews behave--together.

[END QUOTE]

For what it’s worth. I’ll get back later.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Liebereman:
Re the passage you find revealing: There are two questions there. You address the second, ignore the first.

I wrote: "What does Elie believe every Jew should keep in his heart with regard to Germans, and what do the Germans personify for Elie?" The proper response might have been:

“Every Jew, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate -
healthy, virile hate - for what the German personifies and for what
persists in the German.” (Legends of Our Time, “Appointment with Hate, NY,
Avon, 1968, pp. 177-178).

I have found that students oftentimes understand the implications of this statement when brought to their attention, while their professors appear not to want to. Perhaps if we change two key words in Elie Wiesel’s sage advice, it will focus the attentioon of a stray academic here or there.

“Every Palestinian, somewhere in his being, should set apart a zone of hate - healthy, virile hate - for what the Jew personifies and for
what persists in the Jew.”

It's kind of ugly when we look at Elie's subjective life from this perspective, or don't you think so? What a conformist professorial class does not want to admit publicly is that Elie's original formulation is kinda ugly as well. Or, and forgive me for repeating myself, don't you think so?


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr: Friedman:
Your questions are perfectly reasonable. No problem. I understand now that I began this thread inapproiately, and will not continue with it. I failed to communicate the idea that the "eyewitness" testimony of an Elie Weisel is important. The parts that are true are important, and the parts that are inventions, all of which go to the unique monstrosity of the Germans, are important. No one here thinks so, or at least no one who wants to talk about it. This means, to me, that I have put the matter badly. I'll take another run at it somewhere down the line.

Meanwhile, I'm out of the thread.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Clarke:
Suggesting that we cut an old guy some slack here resonates well with me. I’m an old guy myself—76 years. One difference between Elie Wiesel and me is that Elie has had a significant impact on American culture, while I have had none. I would argue that Elie’s impact, regrettably, has been regrettable. Elie has been one of the primary voices in America promoting the “unique monstrosity” of the Germans over the last half century.

More specifically, Elie has contributed mightily to the prevalent concept that to question the orthodox Holocaust story, and thus the unique monstrosity of the Germans, is to do something filthy. The Holocaust is not to be examined in the routine way that all other historical events are open to examination. Simply put, such an examination is taboo. It was taboo from the beginning. That is one of the reasons that at Nuremburg the greatest murder weapon of all time (the “gas chambers”) was simply stipulated to have existed and successfully used. There was no thought to examine the weapon itself. Why bother with such detail? Forget CSI Miami. We have a taboo here.

I have the impression from what I know about Elie Wiesel that he believes that it is right, and that it is morally justified, to ignore the fact (what I take to be a fact) that Germans are human beings in about the same way that Jews are human beings. Elie is a leading personality fronting for the Holocaust Industry in its work to assure us that it will remain taboo to question the “fact” of the unique monstrosity of the Germans, and taboo to question the “fact” of the unique human honesty of those Jews who have given us “eyewitness testimony” about--the unique monstrosity of the Germans with thier gas chambers.

To be specific, but without going on about it (it’s a very long list), a couple names. Yankiel Wiernik. Abraham Bomba. Elie Wiesel.

The way I see it (and I know, I know—who am I?) is that it would be of some benefit to American culture if we could talk, rather carefully if that is not completely impossible, about what it is that “morally justifies” the U.S. alliance with Israel, and how that alliance benefits Americans, if it does. I do not believe it would be very long before we would have to address that old saw about the “unique monstrosity” of the Germans.

As a Jewish writer for a New York weekly observed recently [paraphrase]: “Every question about U.S.-Israeli policies ends up in the gas chambers of Birkenau.”

It’s an old story—an oldie but apparently a goodie.



Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Lieberman (I’m slow, but I can do it):

I agree with the thrust of your first paragraph: it’s only natural. My beef isn’t with Elie so much as with a fearful and conformist professorial class that will not address either his endless promotion of unique German monstrosity, or the lying he uses as a tool to promote it. Elie then has an excuse: what excuse do the professors have?

You see my questioning of a handful of Jewish frauds (Wiesel, Bomba, Wiernik etc., etc.) as an antipathy toward Jews. I just don’t see it that way. If I were to express my disdain for the Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons (and I have), your way of thinking would have it that I have a personal antipathy for all evangelical Christians (which would put me in the cooker because my wife is among them).

Again: the great majority of the professorial class in this country are not Jews. In my view the professors are obligated, Jews and those who are not Jews alike, as representatives of the university, and as citizens, to encourage an open debate on the Holocaust story, not discourage it. This is an idea that is so simple that I do not understand my inability to get it across.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Milller: This is all reasonable and reasonably expressed (thank you), except for one thing: you miss the point.

The fact that I no longer believe the gas-chamber stories is neither here nor there. Who am I?

I always make it perfectly clear that I do not do the chemistry of gassings, do not do the engineering issues of gas vans, do not do the calculations about how many bodies can be burned with how many kilos of coal in how many minutes, do not understand the science of making human soap, or how to treat human hides from murdered Jews to make comfortable riding breeches of them. I am not an expert, or even a novice with re to the Nuremberg documents. I leave all those matters to the academics and other professionals who have the necessary training. So I suppose your concern with “evidentiary” questions is rather off the mark.

I only do one thing. I try to encourage an open debate on the matter. It’s a tough slog. To do so always – always! – brings forth accusations of anti-Semitism, but never an open debate. This thread is a good example of it. I began the thread. I thought Barnouw had moved too quickly away from Elie Wiesel onto the second rater Wilkomirski. It is my view that Wiesel is an important element in the dialogue that needs to take place on the issue of survivor testimony, while Wilkomirski is not. So I listed a few questions about Wiesel’s suvivor “eyewitness” testimony that I assumed might interest the history-minded folk who post here. These very simple questions remain at the top of the thread. No reader addressed any of the questions, which together suggest that Elie Wiesel lies about his experience with Germans, and he lies. Would it be a significant milestone to admit the obvious of an “eyewitness” to unique German monstrosity?

Maybe not, but we have to start someplace. I think I am usually pretty dispassionate about it all.

With re to Hillberg: why not? I don’t recall he had much (almost nothing) to say about gas chambers, but why not? Reminds me that Churchill, in his formidable history of WWII, unlike Hillberg, had nothing whatever to say about gas chambers. Maybe it slipped his mind. Or Eisenhower in his Crusade in Europe. The greatest WMD of all time. Maybe Ike was an anti-semite (I can hear it now -- Smith’s being a smart-ass again). Still. . . one wonders why?

“…the question you claim to answer--the existence of the gas chambers.” This is just a dead wrong observation. I do not write anything whatever about gas chambers. If I do a piece on an Abraham Bomba and his eyewitness gas chamber testimony, for example, I deal with Bomba's text, not the gas chambers themselves. Again (forgive me) you miss the point. While I no longer believe the gas-chamber story, what I believe and don’t believe has nothing whatever to do with whether gas chambers existed or not. I am pointing out that the professors refuse to discuss any aspect of the Holocaust story that might possibly make them the target of those fronting for the Holocaust Industry.

The common response, ala Deborah Lipstadt, is that such a dialogue is worse than useless, as there cannot be “another side” to the gas chamber story. Revisionists like Mattogno, Crowell, Graf, Butz, Rudolf and Faurisson are routinely suppressed, censored, prosecuted and imprisoned for trying to argue their case. How can the the profesorial class stand aside and let that go on? Holocaust ture believers have a word for that behavior, a word of contempt: "Bystanders"

“… first you were "holocaust-believing" and then, following some event on the road to Damascus (pun intended), you became ‘holocaust-disbelieving.’" What should be said here is that, according to the story, Saul found something. I found nothing. Paul was filled with what he found. I was emptied by what I found. You are the second to use the “road to Damascus” phrase with re to how I fell into revisionism. The first was a long time ago and made by James J. Martin, author of “The Man Who Invented 'Genocide': The Public Career And Consequences of Raphael Lemkin” among other titles. He thought it was a swell story.

Re the Faurisson quote: In an earlier post you were advising me that it was not the Jews who were responsible for writing censorship legislation into law in Europe, but the legislators themselves (I’m paraphrasing). By coincidence, a couple weeks earlier I had published a column in the Cal State Hornet saying the same thing. I told you about it. I had found something that we agreed on. It was not the Jews. And then I heard from Faurisson, who had read the column and found it disgusting that I would try to let the Jews off the hook for how he has been persecuted for the last 30 years. So I quoted part of it for you. I have since written an article on the matter. The problem for me is that I cannot please all revisionists all the time, and I can not please anyone who is not a revisionist any of the time.

And so it goes.

(By the way: re an article you published a couple weeks ago about the Iraq story: what is a “shaped” IED?)



Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008


Mr. Clarke:

This is a perfectly sensible post and generally speaking I agree with all of it, including the last paragraph—with the understanding that some who argue for an open debate on the gas chamber story behave like you suggest here, while others do not. And I will note that your last sentence, a little ironically, leaves out “making rude statements” about Germans. This double standard here is so pervasive in American culture that accusing Germans of monstrous crimes without being able to demostrate that those specific crimes took place is not considered “rude.”

By “monstrous” crimes I mean those crimes that we do not charge any of the Allied Governments with making.

An aside only: Churchill wrote his great study of the Second World War from a very privilged position of knowledge, understanding, and access to information. In the entire text he did not mention the German homicidal gassing chambers. Maybe it slipped his mind. I don’t know, but I find it very suggestive. The greatest WMD in human history. Of course, we all have our blind spots. Maybe he hated Jews. Or maybe he had other reasons.

You write: “Try talking about Rumsfeld's shaking hands with Saddam at a Republican Party gathering if you want to experience taboo.” I like this. I believe it should be talked about because it opens a door onto the American thurst into the Middle East. As would an open debate on the Holocaust. That is the story that was used to morally justify giving Arab land in Palestine to Jews from Europe, against the will of the people living on it. We see what has come of that one.

Friedman wonders what’s in it for me. You think it a good question. It’s not a bad question. It’s not a question I can answer with any precision. But I was stunned when I discovered that something might be wrong with the story. It was in September 1979. I was almost fifty years old. Had never doubted a word of the story. Had never questioned the unique monstrosity of the Germans, never doubted the unversal honesty of those who made those charges. For me, it was a remarkable experience, and there was a remarkbly foreboding air about it. I have written about that night. You can find it at:

http://www.codoh.com/newsite/index2.html

When you get there, click on “Smith Exposed.”
Scroll down to HOLLYWOOD II, then click on “Libertarians, Aliens and Mal-Contents”
It’s easier than it sounds.
I’m giving these instructions because there is a bad link.
The whole operation will take you a few seconds.

Meanwhile, let’s ask what is in it for those who never tire of forwarding the charge of unique German monstrosity, who never tire at working to suppress and censor revisionist arguments, and who universally either support or accept by their silence the imprisonment of revisionist writers and publishers.

I should add, to try to answer the question of what is in it for me, that I really do not believe in thought crimes, and do not think it a complete waste of time to argue that free men and women have a natural inclination to want to speak their minds and should be allowed to do so. When Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust was founded, that’s what it was. We did not name it The Committee to Prove the Holocaust Never Happened. Or The Committee to Prove That Nazis were Good Guys.

Open debate. Many ordinary folk consider it to be, well, a good thing (thank you, Martha).


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Kovachev:

Your entire post (forgive me) is little more than a “tacky bitch session.”

You suggest that I might serve as a “sonderkommando” for Ms. Barnous. Sonderkommandos were usually Jews who volunteered to collaborate with Nazis in the extermination of Jews as a people—or so the story goes. I don’t believe it, but in any case your analogy to the present issue appears to me a little forced.

So fas as sticking one’s neck out and being explicit, I have asked a few specific questions about Elie Wiesel which you refer to without identifying, then ignore, as if you are unwilling to commit yourself to being “clear” about what you think about this unusual man.

So far as Jews forwarding a “false version of pop history,“ I will suggest that Jews have been up to their necks in that one, but in a symbiotic realtionship with those of us who are not Jews. Jews have followed this path to “make money,” to “gain cultural prominence through pity,” which they believe morally justifies them to cheat the (fill-in-the-blank) Palestinians of their land. But never alone. Always in partnership with those who are not Jews. Nuremburg, where this dirty business (in my view) was institutionalized, was not run by Jews. They were there, but the power was in the hands of those who were not Jews; Stalinists, Democrats, Republicans.

With regard to being a “bitch,” a perfect example of it is where you associate Barnouw’s work with that of Ernst Zundel, where your only bitchy point is to encourage a guilt by association that you in no way demonstrate exists. Zundel believes the gas-chamber stories are a fraud, and he has been willing to go to prison for saying what he thinks. He’s a pricipled man, he may be wrong (I don’t think so), but he’s principled. Bitches, on the other hand, remain their tacky selves. They whine, they evade, they throw temper tantrems, and they are very careful of course to stay out of prison.

I hope we can find a better way of talking than the one we have just indulged ourselves with.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Friedman:

I no longer believe in Nazi "genocide" of the Jews. This is a very big issue. We can't really do it here. Meanwhile, it is evident that the orthodox Holocaust story, in order to maintain its public credibility, has to be protected from open debate by taboo in America and prison in Europe. That should give reasonable people pause about the whole affair.

Meanwhile, I do not want to imply that I question whether the Jews of Europe experienced a catastrophe during the Hiterian regime. I do not. They did.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Reich:

Let me take a run at this one. Those responsible for this page might feel that there are certain historical issues and perspectives flowing through the culture that academics generally are unwilling to discuss openly. They have too much to lose to address taboo matters. Thus, we have this service. Maybe it's something else, but that would be my first guess.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Clarke; thanks for this response. It perfectly sensible and direct regarding issues of time, interests, focus, all of it.

Re Butz: what interests me about his case relates to what you mention: he published The Hoax 30 years ago. For 30 years academics at Northwestern and throughout the academy have slandered him in the absolutlely vilest manner. Today, academics and Hillel have banded together at Northwestern (see Never Again there) to try to get him fired from his job. Meanwhile, after 30 years of the vilest slander by academics and others, not one academic Northwestern or anywhere else to my knowledge has published one paper in a peer reviewed journal to show us where Butz is wrong about anything. What do we call this?

I call it simply -- fear. They are afraid, once they are finished vetting The Hoax, that they will have to acknoweledge what is right in the book. They can't bring themseleves to face what Butz has volunteered to face for 30 years, the little darlings.

Again, then, I am not doing any work on the History of the Holocaust itself (I think I have already confessed to doing several profiles of leading survivor eyewitnesses). My work has to do with encourging historians and others to encourage, rather than discourage, an open debate on the matter. It's a tough slog. I'm a simple guy. But even the simplest among us understand that intellecdtual freedom is preferable to free men than its suppression, censorship, taboo, and the threat of prison.

I should add, that if you decide to read any revisionist work that you look at Sam Crowell's "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes." Crowell is trained as a historian, this is a pen name, and the book deals in a very sophisticated way with the origins of the gas chamber stories. For what its worth. http://www.codoh.com/incon/inconshr123.html

Anyhow, thanks again for your last message. I will be absent the next couple, three days.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Thomas:

Makes me wonder why no one around here is interested outing an Elie Weisel. Could be that it would lead to other matters more important that need to be outed. I suppose either one would go against the accepted taboo that protects the Elie Wiesels, as well as the other more important matters, from such an outing.

But then, maybe it isn't a taboo. Maybe it's something else. Meanwhile, Oprah and her advisors sail right along, protected by the silence of the professorial class.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Friedman:

With re to your misreading my comment: it happens.

Re "factories for killing people in the millions:" I don't believe in that concept any longer--so you can see we would have a long way to go.

Re the questions you ask: as I noted in an earlier post, the specifics of these kinds of questions are so multilayered that it can't be done here. Let's say that I cannot do it here. I suggest you run it past AnswerMan at http://www.codoh.com/answer/answerman.html

Or go to the CODOH Fourm at
www.codoh.com where they are waiting to go back and forth with you. Good luck.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Occurs to me that since above I mention a column that was published in The Daily Hornet at Cal State Sacramento, that I might as well point to it here.

http://www.statehornet.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2006/02/13/43efdd72f3075


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Clarke: You mention "gas vans." Are you familiar with the work of Fritz Berg? http://www.nazigassings.com/dieselgaschambera.html


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Friedman:

I did not suggest that you do not believe what you wrote, but that I do not believe it. No offense intended. I do not suggest that you take my word for it. I suggested a couple places where you might get help. You don't want it, leave it.

Meanwhile, if you want to talk about why revisionists have to go to prison in Europe for saying they they do not believe the "factory of death" tales, or in America sacrifice their careers, I am willing to take a run at it. I'm willing to be convinced that maybe that's the way it should be. Suppression, censorship, taboo, and prison. Just the thing for free men and women.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Remarkable. Thanks.


Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

Mr. Lieberman:

OK. Thanks for your reply.


omar ibrahim baker - 10/19/2007

Mr Clarke
"Wiesel's eagerness to be an advocate for one of the most Hitler-like acts in American history (the deceit-laden, colossally hypocritical, and -for America's national security- disastrous "

What else did you expect from this Zionist "saint"?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

I would like to address the issue of what Ms Barnouw calls the "rituals of never-forgetting" from a different angle: the perspective of historical measurements.

In one of his early comments, poster Bradley Smith raised the matter of what he (in comment #83771) called the “gas chamber story.” In an even earlier post (#83541) he did already imply that he cared little about the actual history of the gas chambers (“...I don't address the historical questions...what happened happened, whatever that was”), but that does not mean one cannot follow his lead in looking at the "story" without adhering to his disregard for the historical facts connected to it. I, for example, would like to endorse a quite different perspective: that what did or did not actually happen in World War II gas chambers is something important, and mainly important to History.

There seems to be a kind of symbiotic relationship between Holocaust promoters (Wiesel, arguably) and deniers (Irving, apparently). To no small extent they thrive on each other. Wiesel gains standing whenever there seems to be an organized effort to deny that something extremely awful happened to millions of European Jews in the 1940s. Irving gains standing whenever he is denied the right to speak because what he might say about the Holocaust is offensive to many people.

An alternative approach that might deflate both Holocaust deniers and deniers of free speech to Holocaust deniers is suggested by
the following part of HNN’s “mission statement” (see http://hnn.us/articles/820.html )

“To deflate beguiling myths. To remind Americans of the irony of history. To put events in context. To remind us all of the complexity of history.”

The issue of how many Jews died in gas chambers during World War II is complex, difficult, beguiling, and ironic. It is also an important question that has been assiduously neglected by both extremes in debates over the Holocaust. If the one extreme has it right, then six million were gassed in gas chambers. If the other extreme is correct, than zero, or no more than a few thousand died in gas chambers. It is not hard to believe that the truth lies in between, but to be more precise than that risks transgression against some kind of “taboo” (to use a favorite phrase of Mr. Smith) because to “go there” threatens to rob both extremes of both their own potency and the potency of each’s symbiotic opponent.

I went to the website recommend by Mr. Friedman in his most recent post on this board. Although the link in his post was not good, I think that this one is:

http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/site/pp.asp?c=gvKVLcMVIuG&;b=358201


The website has a number of deficiencies, one of which is a dearth of good historical source references, but since most of what I ran across there seems to come from the “Encyclopedia of the Holocaust" of 1990 it is no doubt a representative example of the (pre Soviet archive disgorging) “orthodox” school of Holocaust history.

At any rate, here are the round numbers of Jews murdered by Nazis, according to this Wiesenthal website:

Death marches: 1/4 million
Gas in vans: 3/4 million
“Einsatzgruppen” (machine gunning): 1 1/4 million

Okay, right here, already 2.25 million men women and children slaughtered in cold blood. I have no doubt that there are good bonafide historical documents to back up these numbers, but let’s suppose for sake of argument that they are all too high by double.
That still leaves over 1 million massacred by the nation of Goethe, Schiller, Beethoven, etc. At this point Smith and Co can pack up their dubious website and head for the taquerias of Baja Sur. Nothing in the history of modern western civilization compares. Even Dresden and Hiroshima, which were slaughters as a MEANS to an end, not slaughter AS AN END IN ITSELF, don’t come close.

But what about Wiesel and the sanctifiers of The Unique and Outside of History Holocaust? They have a lot to answer for too. What happened to the other 3.75 million? “Up to 1 1/2 million” died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau, says the Wiesenthal Center site. But Auschwitz, by any reckoning, was by far the biggest extermination camp. How did the other 2.25 (=6-2.25-1.5) million die? And, by the way, how roughly were 1.5 gassed at Birkenau? How could so many bodies be burned? What happened to all the bones? Why no records of the numbers liquidated month by month. If, as the Wiesenthal site rather crudely and unconvincing asserts, the “Final Solution” was to kill every last Jew in Europe, all 13 million, with German meticulousness, where is there any record of accounting, tracking, counting, or progress reports of the implementation of this “plan”? Try googling for answer without drowning in neo-Nazi sites, and you can go around in circles a long time before getting small shreds of an answer. Millions for a fancy museum and website, but pennies for historical research or even up-to-date summaries of such research, it would seem. Shame on Wiesenthal’s center, etc.

I have little doubt that with enough time and effort a reasonable solid estimate of the Holocaust death toll and its causes could be put together. No doubt most of the component parts already exist scattered in manuscripts, articles, footnotes, handbooks, and databases. Once we break free of the professional mind-numbing Holocaust Industry and put the Holocaust Denial Industry not in jail but in the dustbin of lunatics where Alien Kidnappees, the Flat Earth Society, and inventors of Perpetual Motion machines already reside, we can perhaps give the Holocaust the historical scrutiny and respect it deserves but has too often been denied.

PKC


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

The link to the Wiesenthal Center online "Multimedia Learning Center" website referenced in my post does NOT work, after all. This problem has cropped on HNN before (in Mr. Friedman's comment above, and other instances weeks ago). What I put in my text, is not what was posted. In between these two events, the ; was added. That link WILL work if you

1) do not click on it in my comment
2) copy the whole link, all the way to the final number 1 (including the highlighted and unlighted portions of that line
3) paste into your browser "address window"
4) hand delete the ; leave the rest as is
5) hit the return button

Alternatively: just use
http://motlc.wiesenthal.com


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Smith, you "presume" mistakenly. I am not in any of the traditional "camps" here. It is true that I have not read Arthur Butz. Life is short, there are oceans of stuff to read about the Holocaust, it is not the only thing that ever happened in History, and History is not my whole life. I have time at the moment to read a few real historians, and to occasionally debunk some of the utterances of the many pseudo-historians who inhabit or frequent this interesting but very uneven website. Butz is/was not a historian. That does not mean that he is incapable of adding to our stock of historical knowledge. But, I operate on the assumption that to the extent that findings or arguments of his (and of other widely read non-historians of the past) still have any validity today (and anything written 30+ years ago on THIS subject must be assumed to be at least somewhat out of date), some genuine historian will have picked up on them. David Irving IS a bonafide historian, notwithstanding the obvious non-historical agendas to which he also adheres. I have read web excepts of Irving and will read more when time permits. I do, however, tend to often be rather dismissive of people who make outlandish and patently implausible claims without apparently giving a hoot about historical evidence pertinent to such assertions. You are not the first one on this website to arouse my suspicions in this regard.

In the meantime, I have seen nothing written by Irving or anyone else to indicate that there was not a monstrous, deliberate, coordinated, and massively successful attempt by the Nazis to wipe out nearly every Jew they could lay their hands on from circa 1941 on. In my experience, most Germans today have a solid basic appreciation for this that is clearly not a result of any Holocaust Industry influence. (PS to Mr. Simon: that is NOT the same thing as saying Hitler had a plan for exterminating all 13 million Jews in Europe. That latter claim -which is approximately what the Wiesenthal site says- is a good example of the kind of reckless and perfectly stupid exaggeration which give Holocaust deniers field day after field day).

P.P.S. re Wiesel: In an comment above, Smith asked why I don't do to the former what I did a few posts ago to the latter. One answer is complexity. There is no one site where I can get a quick impression of Wiesel, as the Smith site provides for him. A second answer is relevance. If I take a fellow poster here to task for historical fallacies, there is at least a chance that he (or, rarely, she) might actually listen and clean up his/her act a bit. I have seen it happen on occasion. And I learn things here too. What chance that Wiesel senile or otherwise, would shift one cell of his brain in response to anything I were to write?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

You are right, Mr. F., in that rarely can one find an explicit claim to the effect that all 6 million died in gas chambers. But there is clearly a widespread disregard for the kind of careful specificity that would help discourage such sloppy presumptions from becoming widespread.

G.W. Bush never quite said explictly that Saddam was behind 9-11. But he obviously worked hard to avoid disabusing any of his duped supporters from leaping to such a wild conclusion.

The deliberate disdain for historical precision practiced by too many Holocaust "specialists" bolsters the denialists in much the same way that that the bumbling and dishonest Bush administration has given considerable impetus to Al Qaeda like movements within radical Islam.

Find another analogy if you don't like that one, but I think you can follow my drift.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Friedman,

Thanks for the remarks. And I'll also say one thing positive about Mr. Smith too: he is polite. Maybe we can both learn something there.

I tend to question a lot of things I read (that is my nature, I guess) and on HNN where a huge variety of very questionable stuff seems appear quite regularly, if not as a matter of deliberate course, I tend to be skeptical most of the time.

I think Wiesenthal was a superlative detective, and brilliant at tracking down and exposing Nazis. The further he departed from areas where his genius-quality memory for detail was of crucial importance, the less stellar his record, however. I would agree that Smith's photo does not prove a thing. I don't really know about your quotes, though.
If I could go to the website page where they came from I could at least examine the context, which would help evaluate their validity.

Based just on the text alone, I would say there is little reason to doubt that the Nazis developed poison gas in order to efficiently kill people in large numbers. It is an open question in my mind how many were actually murdered by this method. Certainly is not to the credit of "orthodox" Holocaust scholars that they have devote such relatively miniscule attention to trying to figure out such basic measurements. I also remember being quite taken aback when I visited Auschwitz (in the early '90s) and discovered (still then) the degree of Soviet style propaganda there, and the almost total absence of any mention of gas chambers (except for the one little reconstructed demo chamber at the smaller of the two camps). I don't doubt that chambers existed and were used there and elsewhere. It is however at least quite questionable to me whether most Holocaust victims were killed off that way. And, it would clear the considerably if some of the full-time scholars in this field would stand up and publicly apologize for the amount of sloppy BS that has been thrown around by too many of them for too long. It has not been a service to either History or to the memory of the victims of this horrible calamity.

As for the total victim number, I would also say that it is almost shameful that this has been so neglected by writers and memorializers of the Holocaust. This has given denialists a huge opening for their mischief-making. I would agree that six million does not seem radically off (even if it was more or less pulled out of the air originally) and whether the true figure was 3,4,5,6,7 or 8 milliong and even if deliberate killing by the Nazis was only, for sake of argument, half that total, that does not make it any less of genocidal atrocity. But a lot has happened since 1946 when at least some of the estimates in your quote were prepared. Whole Saddam Hussein palace sized USSR archives have been released to scholars, since then, for example. It ought to be possible to get a fairly solid estimate (with some plus or minus of course) by adding up the various forms of death. But instead vast resources, museums, and whole university departments are devoted to parsing psychological trivia, or splitting ideological hairs over extraneous tangents of the Holocaust, while the basics are left to the denialist cranks to gorge on, spin, and make up weird fables about.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

One explanation for the Nazis' particular treatment of rounding up Jews first and deporting them to concentration camps, and only then (after first getting some work out of them in some cases), putting them to death, is that the earlier methods of machine gunning masses first thrown into predug pits, on the spot, was having (by about 1941) clearly negative impacts on the "morale" of German soldiers doing the gunning down (see for example, Paxton, "Europe in the 20th Century" (2nd ed.), p. 463). Disease, overwork, gas vans, and gas chambers (in roughly that order of usage, it would seem) were more indirect ways of mass annihilation. This rather undermines Goldhagen's interesting but ultimately dubious thesis, since even the most hardened of his supposed nation of "willing executioners" evidently found it hard to keep pulling the trigger after a while. Maybe the Turks were less squeamish and/or less technologically and organizationally adept.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Your last question is a pertinent one, Mr. F. Let's see if a full and forthcoming answer will be provided. And, for gazillionth time, please cite your sources. You cut and pasted that quote from some place that has a url. Next time take 5 seconds to copy the url too. Not that hard.

As for the gas chambers, I think you and Mr. S are both off on tangents. People tend to want to scream about this subject, even though, over 60 years later, one might think it time to get around to doing the math.

As near as I can tell, millions of Jews were deliberately killed (and if this was not a genocide, then there never has been such a thing in all of world history - which would be a proposition that almost "everyone who reads this website knows to be" NOT true). But most of the Jewish victims in World War II were not killed in gas chambers, by the Nazis. Something like a million died by being round up and shot during Barbarassa, most of them even before implimentation of the "Final Solution", somewhere around the same number died of starvation or disease while incarcerated. Others died on the "death marches". Still others were murdered by the Soviets, who had as much practice at that kind of thing as the Nazis did. No doubt a non-neglible number (given their weakened state by then) also died after '45 in the allied DP camps.

Net, net, it seems that the often-repeated 6 million figure is an overstatement by a million or two and that, of the 4-5 million who were indeed in some fashion victims of the Holocaust, most did not die in gas chambers.

I do not expect to ever go to jail for making such (obviously roughy "ball-park") assertions, however. The problem with Irving and Zündel and the like, is that they are not satisfyied simply address or correcting the errors and exaggerations of the so-called "Holocaust Industry": they want more. The want to shout slogans to semi-educated crowds who glorify Hitler, wear swastika arm bands, make rude statements about Jews, or Churchill or Israelis, and all too often behave like spoiled children.
Mr. Smith can speak for himself, but I don't understand his obsession with this stuff. It's not like downrating the WWII gas chamber is the most taboo subject in America. Trying talking about Rumsfeld's shaking hands with Saddam at a Republican Party gathering if you want experience taboo.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Wiesel's eagerness to be an advocate for one of the most Hitler-like acts in American history (the deceit-laden, colossally hypocritical, and -for America's national security- disastrous aggression against Iraq in 2003) has shredded his credibility with me. But that does not mean that his entire life has been worthless or that the Nobel Prize committee committed some egregious error by picking him for its prize. The man is now in his late ‘70s, e.g. a bit older than Ronald Reagan was when he firmly believed that he had personally liberated Auschwitz. Can’t we cut a geezer who may be on the verge of senility a bit of slack, and not assume that he must be part of some vast Jewish conspiracy, as Barnouow seems to want to repeatedly, and with practiced indirectness, insinuate (this being about her 3rd or 4th harping on the same anti-Holocaust theme on HNN)?


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Mr. Smith,

I have taken some time to peruse your website, looking specifically at the portions you referenced. I would gladly do the same with Friedman’s stuff too were he to bother to provide the web addresses. Maybe he is embarrassed to disclose their extremist origin, maybe he is just too ignorant to realize that when you quote somebody verbatim you ought to identify them out of integrity and fairness.

At any rate, I have looked in further detail at only “your side” of this debate: specifically at the web writings referenced in your last comment here, which you say address the question of “what’s in it for me”.

What I found does not add up to a clear and convincing answer.

You have obviously devoted a huge chunk of your life to matters surrounding the Holocaust in the Second World War (time that could have been spent finding nice spots for fishing in Baja, or repairing decks in Topanga Canyon), and it is unclear what you have accomplished, what you think you have accomplished, or what you ever hoped to accomplish.

The two sections of your website which you mentioned are excerpts from some sort of diary from 1979. In your current mind, I suppose they amount to a “Before” (February, 1979) and “After” (September, 1979) comparison evidencing your path to enlightenment regarding the “Holocaust Hoax”. As related in these diary excerpts, the “central event” of your “recent life” which “changed it” from that “moment on” came when you -while attending a Libertarian convention at LA’s Bonaventure Hotel- were handed a copy of a newspaper article stating that “stories about six million Jews being killed during World War II are not true”.

As you relate it, this flyer led you to read Arthur Butz’s “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century” which, in turn, produced some kind of profound everlasting transformation, namely that

“something I have believed for 35 years with all my heart and all my mind, that a uniquely monstrous German regime had intentionally murdered six million Jews in an attempt to physically destroy them as a people, has probably not been demonstrated to be true”

Here a warning bell sounds unmistakably, however:

What the Nazis’ intentions were, what they actually did, many Jews were killed by them, how deep was their support for this killing amongst the general German population, etc...these are all radically different questions, each of them also quite separate from the question of HOW the killing was done (e.g. in gas chambers or otherwise). Furthermore, “probably not been demonstrated to be true” is a far, far cry from a deliberate hoax. Facts, logic, and categories are in a severely tangled mess here.

But, there is a bigger problem than sloppy thinking that is also going on here: Your “Before” and “After” story does not ring true because there are serious inconsistencies in it.

In the early 1979 excerpt you stated “I maintain a studied indifference to the "Holocaust." This suggests an active degree of skepticism (otherwise why the quotes around Holocaust?) already BEFORE the Great Transformation of the Bonaventure Hotel. BEFORE the flyer in the hotel, EITHER you were skeptically “indifferent” (the early 1979 excerpt) or you “believed without reservation” (the late 1979 excerpt) in “something that morally condemns an entire people of complicity in horrific criminal behavior”. To assert the coexistence of a deep belief, encompassing a whole “heart” and “mind”, in "unique German monstrosity" (as stated in the late 1979 excerpt) with the feeling, expressed in the early 1979 excerpt, “that the memory of the Holocaust is used as a technique to unify and bind together the "Jewish people," and as a way of creating for Jews a special place in the consciousness of all of us. It creates "Jewishness" on the one hand, and on the other it creates a "space" for them to be”, strains credulity beyond the breaking point.

When I further note (a) that in the “Before” period (early 1979) you were already railing that “the American press has been pro-Zionist for as long as I've been reading it” (really? 1970s newspapers across heartland America in little towns, many, many miles from the nearest synagogue, all marching in lock-step to a Zionist tune?), (b) that you are writing a whole book entitled “Adolf Hitler and Me” (“Adolf and me, we have a lot in common...we are two expressions of the oneness of all humankind") and (c) that the one section of your website which at least hints at a substantial contribution to our knowledge about what really happened in World War II, what the Nazis did, what happened to the Jews, etc. leads only to dead ends, dead links, or unhistorical polemics (at http://theholocauststory.blogspot.com/), I give up. I don’t know what you are really up to, but it certainly has almost nothing to do with an "open debate on the Holocaust" let alone with an objective examination of the fate of European Jews in the 1940s, or the role of Nazis or Germans in that fate. With all due respect, I think it is time for another radical life transforming change. I could suggest some good places for fish tacos and beer in San Felipe and Santa Rosalia. With bamboo hamocks nearby in need of repair and offering a chance to work off the calories.


Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

Since I started the thread, I will take the liberty of jumping back in (despite my doubts about its current trajectory) with the following reply to Mr. Smith's #83393:

I think if you read bonafide, scholarly, non-jailed historians on the subject (such as C. Browning, "Ordinary Men") you will find it hard to believe that the poison gas agents developed by the Nazis were intended only for delousing. Rounding up huge numbers of men, women, and children wholesale and machine-gunning them to death is not, for instance, a standard method of disease control.

That does is not to say that questions of how many Nazi victims died and how they died during that horrible period have been adequately addressed in either what you call the "orthodox" story or by writers such as Barnouw who cast cleverly rhetorical aspersions about the messengers while doing no research to improve the accuracy of the message.


Stephan Xavier Reich - 11/24/2006

Mr. Willis:

I'll save you the trouble. I looked (against my better judgement) at the CODOH forum and found that those who provide fact based research are attacked by Smith's boys in a weirdly unconvincing way. When someone asked what happened to the six million missing Jews of Europe if they were not killed, a flurry of ignorant and ahistorical answers were unleashed.Some of them are confused about Israel's population ("is it just a coincidence that Israel today has six million Jews???") others about the differences between African and European Jews. One of the more creative answers was that the half million Jews of Algeria were originally Polish. I don't know what to say to these freaks other than never have a group of people been so justly marginalized!


Stephan Xavier Reich - 11/24/2006

It may come as a shock to some HNN readers (given her prominence here) that Dagmar Barnouw has no training in history and is not regarded with an ounce of seriousness by any German historian you've heard of. So why has HNN now published four of her "articles" on this subject? We could profitably hear from a historian instead!


N. Friedman - 4/1/2006

Mr. Smith,

That is a cop out. You clearly do not want to express your views.


N. Friedman - 3/30/2006

Correction due to typo:

Mr Smith,

I have trouble following your points.

Here are my questions for you:

What happened to Europe's Jews during WWII? Were they slaughtered en masse? Did Nazism foster eliminationist Antisemitism?

Should there be substantial umbrage taken regarding Germany's behavior during WWII? If so, why? If not, why not?

If Germany's behavior during WWII was not unique, how should we categorize it? And why?


N. Friedman - 3/30/2006

Mr Smith,

I have trouble following your points.

Here are my questions for you:

What happened to Europe's Jews during WWII? Were they slaughtered en masse? Was Nazism foster eliminationist Antisemitism?

Should there be substantial umbrage taken regarding Germany's behavior during WWII? If so, why? If not, why not?

If Germany's behavior during WWII was not unique, how should we categorize it? And why?


David I Lieberman - 3/29/2006

Mr. Smith,

You appear determined to mistake my point. The issue of antisemitism rests not merely on whether you question a handful of individuals whom you describe as "Jewish frauds," although at some point the accumulation of enough of such examples would achieve a certain critical mass. The issue I raise is your ready and quite seamless integration into such "questioning" of the familiar tropes of antisemitic rhetoric. Indeed, you have provided yet another example of this in the immediately preceding post (#84904). Your veiled description of the professorial class as too "fearful" to challenge the myth of "unique German monstrosity" invokes the dreaded might of Jewish power -- surely the bedrock assumption of any antisemitic world view. Moreover, as an evidentiary matter, your claims for this "fearful and conformist" professoriate don't stand up particularly well; the uproar occasioned by Daniel Goldhagen's peddling of his version of the "monstrous German" thesis could hardly be characterized as "fearful." Rhetorical posturing conflated with factual inaccuracy are classic hallmarks of antisemitic argument.

On another point of mischaracterization, you have described Wiesel as engaging in "endless promotion of unique German monstrosity," yet your evidence for this consists of an excerpt from a thirty-eight-year-old text. Unless you have evidence that Wiesel has repeated these arguments about the Jewish obligation to hate Germans more recently than that, I'd say your claims about "endless promotion" constitute yet another example of rhetorical posturing.

David I. Lieberman


Richard F. Miller - 3/28/2006

Thank you for your reply.

A "shaped" IED consists of explosive charge placed in the rear of a concave cone, usually made of copper. When detonated, the released heat transforms the copper into a jetstream of molten metal, (sometimes referred to as plasma) that, at the correct angle and distance from the target, will strike surfaces at approximately 8,000 meters per second. This jet will penetrate all but the heaviest armor; once inside the vehicle, it produces an effect known as spalling, essentially incinerating anything--or anyone--inside.

"Normal" IEDs detonate crudely wired artillery and mortar shells, relying on blast and shrapnel for effect. Shaped IEDs are more sophisticated and require machine tooling for the copper cone. It is my understanding from conversations with intelligence officers--but entirely unsourced and beyond my ability to corroborate--that shaped IED cones have been traced to Iranian machine tool shops.

Shaped IEDs require exact timing and distance from the target to be effective. Too far, and the plasma solidifies into a slug; too close, and the plasma fails to concentrate into a stream, and thus loses effect.


David I Lieberman - 3/28/2006

Mr. Smith,

You do seem to be having difficulty with my name.

You are certainly entitled to express disdain for Wiesel and his opinion of Germans or things German. Wiesel belongs to a generation of Jews who had a peculiar experience with the effects of a self-proclaimedly authentic Germanness. I belong to another generation whose experiences have been quite different, and do not conform with his. Perhaps someone who experienced as much loss as he at the hands of a policy executed in the name of Germanness needs to be more magnanimous in his grief if he is to win your sympathy. A man who has experienced unlovely treatment gives voice to unlovely sentiments. Shocking.

I notice, of course, that you do not address the main point of my argument -- that you are quite willing to indulge in a variety of antisemitic rhetorical devices that seem to have little direct connection to your contempt for Elie Wiesel. I take it, then, that you concede the point -- that for you Wiesel is little more than a stalking horse for your more generalized antipathy for Jews, of which your intellectually discreditable campaign against historical understanding of the Holocaust disguised as "rational inquiry" is another symptom.

David I. Lieberman


Richard F. Miller - 3/28/2006

Dear Mr. Smith: I have returned from Iraq and may now answer you more fully, although some of what I have to say has been said more eloquently by other posters, notably, Mr. Lieberman and Mr. Korchev.

I did not say that you were a liar. I said that Holocaust Deniers are retailing lies. This does not make every Denier a liar. Quite the contrary. Even the brightest among us--perhaps especially the brightest among us--seem unusually willing to accept and purvey untruths. One thinks of Orwell's famous reply to a friend who tried to sell him on the glories of Stalinism: "Only an intellectual would believe that."

Despite your gentlemanly mien and affect of reasonableness, it's as easy to dismiss your "arguments" as it is those of your more extreme (sounding) fellow travelers. The reason has to do with what you have in common with the IHR types--you place what should be strictly evidentiary questions in the service of a broadly anti-Semitic agenda. In truth, I doubt you can help yourself.

Let us assume, arguendo, that the question of the existence of gas chambers was debatable based on conflicting or ambiguous evidence. The question would be debated on its merits, detached from the "other" matters that your types inevitably drag into your argument. In short, it's not really just a question of gas chambers, is it? Indeed, you can't consider that question without tying it into the legitimacy of the Israeli state, its purported crimes (Jews stole the land, as you not-so-quaintly put it), the degree of Israeli control over U.S. foreign policy, and so forth. It is your lack of dispassion that raises questions about your credibility. You come here purporting scholarship, peddling truth, when in fact, you're a politician, peddling a political agenda, albeit an extreme one.

In addition, I've noted one other matter that you have in common with some of your fellow travelers--a degree of self-confessional narcissism that impels you to "share" with the rest of us exactly how you came to your particular insights. It always seems to occur to your types as a sort of epiphany in which (to use Dagmar-speak) first you were "holocaust-believing" and then, following some event on the road to Damascus (pun intended), you became "holocaust-disbelieving." Hitler relates a similar epiphany (although about Jews generally, not the Holocaust) in Mein Kampf. David Duke, relates the same experience in his recent tome, Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question. Your own conversion, which you discuss at length, seems to have occurred during the late 70s, and has been amply dissected in this post by Mr. Clark.

All this makes for a compelling personal interest story, but like your perpetual confusion between evidentiary issues related the Holocaust, the foundation of Israel, the influence of Jews, and so forth, is immaterial to the question you claim to answer--the existence of the gas chambers.

In short, you are not believable because you lack dispassion. This is not to say that you're a liar. It simply means that your arguments deserve as much serious consideration as RNC or DNC press releases do about, say, the state of the U.S. economy. There are serious academic questions in Holocaust studies. But frankly, I'll look for answers from scholars like Raul Hilberg and not from those with politics for sale.

Nothing personal, old sport. It may well be that in a hundred years, somebody real will come along and prove that there were no gas chambers. But life is short and reading lists are long--and most of the world (outside of the IHR, NA and government in Cairo) will not be looking for Holocaust information from the Smith Report.

Incidentally, there's little that's laughable in your replies save one thing--you're actually peddling as a positive the negative endorsement from Robert Faurisson that your arguments insufficiently blame "the Jews". Was he praising you with faint damns, or what?


David I Lieberman - 3/28/2006

I rather think this passage is revealing:

"What does Elie believe every Jew should keep in his heart with regard to Germans, and what do the Germans personify for Elie? Did Elie join his comrades after Buchenwald was liberated in going to town tpo rape German girls? If he did, did he enjoy it? Was that nice? If not, why not? And why did Elie change his story about raping German girls?"

Riffing on the ten-year-old revelation that Wiesel's Yiddish text differs with the English and French versions of *Night* on whether recently-liberated youths incarcerated at Buchenwald "slept with" or "raped" German girls in Weimar, you immediately spin this into accusations against Wiesel himself that are nowhere supported in any version of the text.

You say you are convinced that Wiesel is a liar. Fair enough, yet you seem quite eager to take him at his word when he inadvertantly slips the cover far enough to reveal the truth about some distinctively Jewish moral defect. As I'm sure you are aware, constructions of the male Jew as a sexual threat is a pervasive feature of Judaeophobia of long standing. Now here comes Elie Wiesel, apparently lending credence to the claim by calling (Yiddish-reading Jews') attention to the criminal behavior of brutalized young men at a moment when the social structures that underpin and enforce civilized conduct have been utterly wiped away, and you pounce. (And, please, don't waste your time with the useless prevarication that you are, after all, only asking the questions. The question mark as typographical prophylactic is one of the oldest, dodgiest, not to say sleaziest tricks in the book.) So, it would seem, Wiesel is only a liar when his words may be opportunistically construed to imply that he believes in some sort of intrinsic Jewish saintliness (which I reject, and I believe Wiesel does, too), but an (accidental?) truth-teller when his words may be opportunistically construed to suggest instrinsic Jewish villainy. And you do seem to demonstrate a peculiar enthusiasm for disseminating (so to speak) this particular notion of Jewish venality.

Moreover, to claim that Jews have been perpetuating the myth of extermination by gas chamber in order to justify the existence of Israel and the dispossession of the Palestinians is inherently antisemitic. The fact that you also emphasize the opportunism of non-Jewish elites in the perpetuation of this myth changes the antisemitic nature of the accusation not one jot. As, again, I am sure you are quite aware, another constitutive component of the rhetoric of antisemitism is the claim that Jews collaborate with non-Jewish elites in order to repress the non-Jewish masses; your arguments about collusion between Jews and the Allied powers at Nuremburg is just another spin on this very old tale.

I see no value and many moral and practical dangers in giving in to the impulse to define the Holocaust as a transcendental event off-limits to rational inquiry. For this reason, I admire the work of Raul Hilberg, whose unimpeachable intellectual integrity seems to have particularly outraged your colleague Faurisson. Hilberg credits the challenges from Faurisson, Irving, etc., with goading real historians to closer, more thorough examinations of the record. When a man of his stature makes such an argument, attention must certainly be paid. He clearly does not, however, believe such characters are themselves engaged in the pursuit of historical knowledge, and as far as I know has not seen any reason to valorize the patently antisemitic agenda of Holocaust denial by engaging its proponents in debate.

Your echo chamber, Mr. Smith, and welcome to it.

David I. Lieberman


Richard F. Miller - 3/27/2006

Dear Mr. Smith: I did not say that you were a liar. I said that Holocaust Deniers are retailing lies. This does not make every Denier a liar. Quite the contrary. Even the brightest among us--perhaps especially the brightest among us--seem unusually willing to accept and purvey untruths. One thinks of Orwell's famous reply to a friend who tried to sell him on the glories of Stalinism: "Only an intellectual would believe that."

Despite your gentlemanly mien and affect of reasonableness, it's as easy to dismiss your "arguments" as it is those of your more extreme (sounding) fellow travelers. The reason has to do with what you have in common with the IHR types--you place what should be strictly evidentiary questions in the service of a broadly anti-Semitic agenda. In truth, I doubt you can help yourself.

Let us assume, arguendo, that the question of the existence of gas chambers was debatable based on conflicting or ambiguous evidence. The question would be debated on its merits, detached from the "other" matters that your types inevitably drag into your argument. In short, it's not really just a question of gas chambers, is it? Indeed, you can't consider that question without tying it into the legitimacy of the Israeli state, its purported crimes (Jews stole the land, as you not-so-quaintly put it), the degree of Israeli control over U.S. foreign policy, and so forth. It is your lack of dispassion that raises questions about your credibility. You come here purporting scholarship, peddling truth, when in fact, you're a politician, peddling a political agenda, albeit an extreme one.

In addition, I've noted one other matter that you have in common with some of your fellow travelers--a degree of self-confessional narcissism that impels you to "share" with the rest of us exactly how you came to your particular insights. It always seems to occur to your types as a sort of epiphany in which (to use Dagmar-speak) first you were "holocaust-believing" and then, following some event on the road to Damascus, you became "holocaust-disbelieving." Hitler relates a similar epiphany (although about Jews generally, not the Holocaust) in Mein Kampf. David Duke, relates the same experience in his recent tome, Jewish Supremacism: My Awakening to the Jewish Question. Your own conversion, which you discuss at length, seems to have occurred during the late 70s, and has been amply dissected in this post by Mr. Clark.

All this makes for a compelling personal interest story, but like your perpetual confusion between evidentiary issues related the Holocaust, the foundation of Israel, the influence of Jews, and so forth, is immaterial to the question you claim to answer--the existence of the gas chambers.

In short, you are not believable because you lack dispassion. This is not to say that you're a liar. It simply means that your arguments deserve as much serious consideration as RNC or DNC press releases do about, say, the state of the U.S. economy. There are serious academic questions in Holocaust studies. But frankly, I'll look for answers from scholars like Raul Hilberg and not from those with politics for sale.

Nothing personal, old sport. It may well be that in a hundred years, somebody real will come along and prove that there were no gas chambers. But life is short and reading lists are long--and most of the world (outside of the IHR, NA and Cairo) will not be looking for Holocaust information from the Smith Report.

Incidentally, there's little that's laughable in your replies save one thing--you're actually peddling as a positive the negative endorsement from Robert Faurisson that your arguments insufficiently blame "the Jews". Was he praising you with faint damns, or what?


David I Lieberman - 3/27/2006

I arrive at this discussion quite late. I continue to be perplexed by the episodic outbursts of Jew-bashing that seems to characterize a thread of the discourse at HNN. I suppose what I take from the various fulminations of Bradley Smith, Frederick Thomas and their ilk is that they deserve to be left alone in their own specially reserved echo chamber, where they can endlessly entertain themselves with rapt odes to the intellectual contributions of David Irving, Arthur Batz and, apparently, Dagmar Barnouw in their heroic determination to expose the ceaseless threat Jews pose to everything that is good, decent, holy, etc.

My real question is for Peter Clarke, whom I have seen raise a distinctive claim several times in the threads accompanying this item: the claim that some measurable contingent of Holocaust 'enthusiasts' (to coin an expression) maintain that the majority -- if not the totality -- of Jews murdered during the genocidal campaigns of the Second World War died in the gas chambers. In spite of his insistence that claims of fact need to be documented, I do not find anywhere in his contributions anything that goes anywhere near proving such an assertion. Certainly, no historical studies of the Holocaust familiar to me (Raul Hilberg's, Leni Yahil's) make any such claim. Pray tell, Mr. Clarke, who, precisely, are those insisting that "six million were gassed in gas chambers," and where do they make these claims? If it is your intent to assert some sort of moral equivalence between Holocaust deniers and such Holocaust totalizers, don't you at least have an obligation to tell us who they are?

David I. Lieberman


N. Friedman - 3/25/2006

Peter,

As I said, I did not read Goldhagen's book so my comments on it are rather fleeting. One point about the topic. The population could have been rather gung ho for the killings to some extent. That could be the case yet those actually involved in killing people could find the matter - faced with actually killing unarmed people - gruesome and a morale sapper. So, I do not quite think your point automatically follows.

As for the Armenians, the massacres of 1894-96 were somewhat different than during the Armenian genocide during WWI. The military was largely involved in what occured during WWI. In the 1894 - 1896 barrage, it really was often, though not only, ordinary people, fired up in a variety of ways.

In both of the Armenian horrors - and, so far as I know, the 1908 massacres as well - religion was used in order that the killings would be done in good conscience. In WWI, the words used, to my knowledge, included the word Jihad, even though the Ittahadists were basically non-religious.


Rob Willis - 3/24/2006

The credibilty of being a "trained historian" therefore means nothing, especially now.

Mr. Smith, no verbal rearrangment of your phrases, rights, childhood heroes, favorite dog breeds, footnotes, or intentions will make you a sane human being.

R. Willis


N. Friedman - 3/24/2006

Peter,

I think the lack of clarity is due to the fact that the details (a) are very painful (particularly to Jews) and (b) because the notion that a people - the Germans - would set up a factory like system, whether through gas chambers, human experimentation, deprivation, etc., (in order to eliminate whole peoples [i.e. Jews and gypsies]) is ghastly. And the part which is rather unique - since the Germans hardly have the monopoly on attempting to wipe people out - is the factory system.

In simple terms, whether they killed 1 or 2 million people in gas chambers or 1,000 people in such an arrangement, the mechanization of the process is extraordinary, suggesting a remarkable degree of barbarism against, basically, people who were no threat by any rational standards.

In this, there is a contrast with the ghastly things that the Ottoman Empire did to the Armenians between 1894 - 1896. In that case, it was all up close and personal. Among other things, officials from the government would visit mosques and, thereafter, mobs would leave after prayer and literally hack Armenians to death and, evidently, all in good conscience, screaming things - as recorded by observers - such as Allahu akbar!!!

That also is too awful for words. But, presumably there was a reason for the Germans to separate populations from their surroundings before massacring them. I do not know if it was the fear that the public would not support the campaign - which, perhaps but does not necessarily contradict Goldhagen's position (although I have not read his well known book) -, that it would be too contraversial to do openly or whatever.

I note that the Nazis may - and I just guessing - have investigated the impact on the Ottoman Empire's war efforts as it became known that, during the war, the empire was committing genocide on the Armenians. Germany, as shown by Dadrian, had substantial involvement in and knowledge of what the Young Turk government was doing so it is, I suppose, possible that there was considerable information to examine and consider.

Whatever the facts are, the point is that the German approach was rather different.


E. Simon - 3/23/2006

Starvation and diseases like typhus were no doubt employed to great effect as well, assuming you accept that the sheer numbers of photographs of emaciated bodies mean much, as well as the "living" conditions that accompanied such accomodations. There are typical population-based considerations to account for as well, such as the percentage of elderly, young, infirm, etc., for whom lack of food and adequete sanitation would be particularly perilous.

Not sure why, given ample evidence through Nuremburg and elsewhere, one would stoop to question the intention of the final solution, as if the intention behind it couldn't be separated from its effectiveness. Based on such thinking, one could equally question whether a thousand-year Reich (or at least long-term domination of Europe) was actually intended, simply because it didn't materialize. What a silly way to confound things...


N. Friedman - 3/23/2006

Peter,

I do not think the claim is that 6 million died in gas chambers. The claim is that about that many people were murdered and that Nazism promoted such murders and would have, if it could, killed all Jews.


N. Friedman - 3/23/2006

Peter,

Here is, I think, the URL where both quotes originated: http://motlc.wiesenthal.com/site/pp.asp?c=gvKVLcMVIuG&;b=394667

As for the rest of your comment, you are probably correct. Then again, I have not followed the issue about numbers and gas chambers all that carefully - at least since the time I first heard about such things in the early 1960's and then read up on the matter and heard what people in my family who had suffered in the face of the Nazis told me -. My suspicion is that, as you suggest, a lot has and will be learned from the Soviet archives.

So far as gas chambers are concerned, I see no reason to doubt eye witnesses or, in general, the general outline at least of what SWC reports. How many were killed that way is anyone's guess, unless of course the Nazis denoted such things on Hollerith cards. Maybe some of them have been found since - unless Edwin Black's book is (and Mr. Smith may think this the case) entirely fake - IBM data machines were used at the camps.

I do know that you are a skeptical reader. That is a good thing. However, you occasionally read out of existence some rather good scholarship. Of course, all of us do that.





N. Friedman - 3/22/2006

Mr. Smith,

I read the page you posted. I even googled the quoted material alleged to have been used by SWC.

For the sake of argument, let's say that the pictures were really somehow altered. The question is, what do we make of that fact - and again, I am taking your word, solely for sake of argument, for what you assert and what is asserted on other genocide denial sites - ?

Did SWC perpetrate a fraud? Or, was SWC the victim of a researcher's fraud or mistake? Or, was there an error in the manner by which the photograph was reproduced which, in turn, led to a mistake in interpretation of what was on the picture? Or, was there damage, unnoticed by SWC, to the copy used by SWC to make the copy it posted? Or, did SWC notice the problem but the person who posted the photograph did not know about the problem and thus misinterpretted the picture. I have no idea - and, again, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt -. Clearly, the material you post does not suggest that anyone has even considered an interpretation other than fraud. And the other conspiracy denial sites do not seem to consider such other possibilities either.

Now, I do not hold SWC to perfection. And even if the error you claim you exposed is real, that does not undermine SWC or their basic contention of what the Nazis were doing in the camps and elsewhere. It merely undermines a portion of a picture.

But, let us take the matter further. Examine the portion of the picture you do not claim to be a fake. What do you think is shown? It looks pretty horrendous to me. So, I do not see your point other than to note some petty discrepancies which are the norm in nearly any history investigation.

One last point about mistakes in order to illustrate why you are jumping to conclusions. There is a letter circulating regarding Martin Luther King's position on Israel. In fact, the letter is a fake. But, the letter has been endorsed as authentic by the members of the King family in a book. Why? Because it actually represented Martin Luther King's views. So, people scream that the use of the letter is deceiptful but, in fact, if the goal is to represent King's actual views, it is a minor point. And the fake letter circulates not to perpetrate a fraud but because those involved thought it to be real.

Again, you have not proven a thing. And, frankly, I do not take the word of CODAH that there are any fake photographs. They may be. Or, maybe they are real and what is posted on your link is wrong. In short, I merely was indulging you for sake of argument.


Rob Willis - 3/22/2006

http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/camps/chelmno/sonderdruck.html


Would you be kind enough to discredit this information, please?

Thanks for your time.

R. Willis


N. Friedman - 3/22/2006

Peter,

I shall do something I rarely do, namely, compliment you. I was truly, truly impressed by your above post. Having read it, I have a newfound respect for you. Excellent!!! I only wish you investigated topics related to Jihadism as carefully.

As for the quotes I posted, I noted the goose comments as a hint for you. Now, in fact, I did not do any substantial research before posting those quotes. I took them from the Simon Wiesenthal Center website which, so far as I know, does not post made up stuff. I do not claim complete accuracy for what I posted but I have no real reason to question the materials I posted. Do you?

The gander will no doubt be accused of publishing a biased, pro-Zionist source. But note: you are not the goose in the story. Capice?


Lorraine Paul - 3/22/2006

In Melbourne, Australia we have the largest number of holocaust survivors. Also, one of my friends, who is Jewish, survived the siege of Leningrad...(I make no apologies for not calling it St Petersburg as Leningrad was the name of the city at the time.) I wonder how many in the world can claim that distinction. It has left him with a life-long affection for the Russian people.


N. Friedman - 3/21/2006

Peter,

More seriously, I do not claim that all or most died in gas chambers. I think that Smith's refusal to believe in them, however, is rather remarkable. So, I responded to that point. And I asked a reasonable question - as you note -.

As for numbers, I have not investigated the matter carefully. I note that a reputable online site states as follows:

The 6 million figure can be demonstrated by comparing Europe's Jewish population before and after the war. Even after making allowances for those who fled Europe and others who could be expected to die due to natural causes, there are nearly 6,000,000 people who cannot be accounted for.

Authentic German documents confirm the slaughter of Jews in the millions. The famous "Korherr Report,"(named after Richard Korherr, chief statistician for the SS) puts the number of Jewish losses at more than 2,454,000 by the end of 1942 alone. The war in Europe would not end until May, 1945.

The Anglo-American Commission of Enquiry, meeting in April 1946, put the total Jewish Holocaust losses at 5,721,500. On the basis of wartime statistical reports on ghettos, concentration camps and mass murder operations carried out by the Nazis, historian and international jurist, Jacob Robinson, arrived at a figure of 5,820,960. German historian, Helmut Krausnick, put the number of Jewish losses nearer to seven million. While the exact figure will never be known, scholars of the Holocaust find the rounded-off figure of six million to be in line with all the evidence.


I suspect that the last sentence makes the most sense as it 6 million is a reasonable estimate. But, the number may be a bit lower or higher. Either way, we are dealing with monstrous barbarism.


N. Friedman - 3/21/2006

Peter,

Come now, Peter. etiquette on your part. What is good for the goose. What is good for the goose.


N. Friedman - 3/21/2006

Mr. Smith,

No proof of gas chambers? Here is what one online source states:

The use of gas chambers by the Nazis is proven by a wide array of evidence. Testimony by the perpetrators themselves as well as the first-hand accounts of prisoners, especially members of the "Sonderkommando" (groups of inmates forced to remove the dead from the gas chambers and dispose of their bodies) constitute only a part of the evidence.

Documents including blueprints of the killing installations as well as orders for construction materials and Zyklon B (the deadly hydrogen cyanide preparation used for gassings at Auschwitz and Majdanek...carbon monoxide exhaust was used at other camps) survived the war as did some of the actual gassing facilities themselves. Photos clandestinely taken by prisoners of Auschwitz-Birkenau even show the disposal of corpses removed from the gas chamber. The manufacture, distribution and use of the deadly gas was clearly demonstrated at the "Zyklon B Trial" in March 1946, Hamburg, Germany. Two of the defendants, Bruno Tesch and Karl Weinbacher, the owner and a major executive of a company that manufactured the gas were sentenced to death after notes of their trips to Auschwitz disproved their contention that they were unaware that the poison was used to kill inmates.


That sounds like good enough evidence to convict someone beyond a reasonable doubt. And that, so far as historical evidence of things is concerned, is proof.

What you want, however, does not exist. Hitler did not write: Murder them all in gas chambers. So, we judge based on how things on earth are judged. And, in this case, the evidence is rather overwhelming. And, as I said, I have relatives who perished in the camps and some who escaped. So, you can rant as you will. You are wrong - whether or not you believe in what occurred or not -.

One wonders, following your question, what is to gain by denying what I and nearly everyone else who reads this website knows to be true. So, what is in it for you, Mr. Smith?


N. Friedman - 3/20/2006

Mr Smith,

You did not read what I said. I said you do not believe your words, not mine.

As for the death camps, you may not believe in them but I have relatives who died in them. And some who survived. So, call it a bit of family history. In this case, you have no idea what you are talking about.


N. Friedman - 3/20/2006

Mr. Smith,

I see. It is all made up.

Well, I am going to try some revisionism on your post. Here goes.

I do not believe that you believe what you wrote. It is too difficult for me to prove what I say, but take my word for it.


Frederick Thomas - 3/20/2006

Mr. Smith,

Thank you for the humorous recital of Mr. Wiesel's wide-ranging litany of fibs, which unless one believes in the tooth fairy, can only have been deliberate.

I understood that he was actually protected by a German friend and worked in a railroad switching yard most of the war, and never saw a KZ until after it was all over.

For what precise purposes does Mr. Wiesel lie?

Initially he was one of many Jews trained as false witnesses by Soviet security forces, for Neuremberg, to justify the Soviets' own worse atrocities, such as the Ukranian "famine," with its 10 million civilian dead, or the ethnic rape of East Prussia, with 3.5 million civilian dead, Katyn Woods, the Gulag, etc. ad nauseum ad infinitum

Of course, he continued to fabricate stories after Nueremberg to enrich himself as an author at the expense of the gullable.

He also lied to help provide media cover and generate contributions to enable the ADL to find anti-semites under every stone (If anyone were paid a million a year, like Mr. Abe Foxman, to find anything, you can bet he will find a whole lot of it.)

He also lied to provide cover to permit the WJC to perform shakedowns such as the recent Switzerland caper, which in total have netted a bit less than a trillion dollars over 60 years for the Bronfman-Eagleburger-Soros gang both personally, and for their protege, Israel.

Finally, he does it to provide Israel media cover for its atrocious human rights record which started with the Dier es Salaam massacre in 1947, the King David Hotel bombing, etc. on to today's "targeted assassinations," ongoing shooting of civilians and continuing land grabs. This is a state perhaps less ethical than any other.

Mr. Wiesel thus is a part of a RICO, which continues to defy and scorn US presidents and the international community with total impunity, while the media truckles and non-working hasids in Israel get full pensions for torturing the Talmud to come up with "religious" justifications for ethnic cleansing and murder of Palestinians, as well as the murder of their own politicians, such as Mr. Rabin, who do not toe their line.

Europe has already caught on to this. I suspect that the US will also do so at some point, so maybe Mr. Wiesel's checkered career will come to an end. Meanwhile Opra will perhaps be a little more careful.

Sources: UNHRO and UNCOR Reports, Human Rights Watch, B'Tselem,

http://www.btselem.org/English/index.asp

"Image and Reality of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict," "The Holocaust Industry," etc. Dr. N. Finklestein.

http://www.normanfinkelstein.com/


N. Friedman - 3/20/2006

Mr. Smith,

I misread your comment "Re: The general vs the particular," http://hnn.us/comments/83393.html (#83393). I see you understand, or at least to claim an understanding, that Jews were the subject of a terrible tragedy during WWII.

Do you believe that Germany, the nation operating the death camps - really factories for killing people by the millions -, deserves special consideration for its barbarism? If not, why not? Or, is your objection merely to the term Holocaust or genocide?

If, as appears to be the case, the Nazis sought to destroy European Jewry, what name would you append to such activities? Collatoral damage? Ordinary war crimes?

Or, is your point that it is wrong for Jews to mention their treatment in Europe over the centuries, especially during the 20th Century, when they plead their causes? It seems to me that pointing out trivial "errors" in Wiesel and others does not a case make. Nor does finding offense that Jews might link Israel's justified existence with the outcome of the Holocaust and its ongoing existence with the efforts by Israel's enemies to complete Hitler's work - a common refrain among anti-Zionists, particularly in the Middle East -. If you do not believe me, see the reports from the "human rights" meeting at Durban in September of 2001 - including "One Jew, one bullet" and "Hitler did not finish the job," etc., etc.





N. Friedman - 3/20/2006

Peter,

Again, very well said.


Peter Kovachev - 3/20/2006

Thank you for your response, Mr. Smith. I don't know whether to be glad or to be disappointed about being dead-on about you.

While I'm sure you have plenty to say about Mr. Wiesel, quite frankly I'm not interested. I can easily google a few words and find myself hip-deep in the cesspool from which your notions about Wiesel and any topic relating to the Holocaust and Jews came from. History is my interest; not psychopathology...or sewage treatment.

The relevant question here is why Barnouw limits her "critique" of Wiesel and others to coy inuendos. She knows, or should know, that the main, if not exclusive sources of this "critique" is in the exclusive domain of the cranks in the Holocaust Revisionist lunatic fringe crowd, just as you have capably and colourfully demonstrated.


Peter Kovachev - 3/20/2006

Thank you, Mr. Miller.


Peter Kovachev - 3/20/2006

Thank you.


Richard F. Miller - 3/20/2006

Mr. Kovachev: Rarely am I moved to give an unqualified, "Yes!" but do so now with a smile. All I can say about your response is that I wished I'd have written it.


Richard F. Miller - 3/20/2006

Taboo, Mr. Smith? Not taboo, just not much of a market for lies. Whatever Barnouw's views towards Jews (you have already made yours clear), her screeds tend to be in service to a "new" European history that seeks to liberate itself from older, more dangerous memories. That new history requires accomodation with Europe's new minorities, i.e. Muslims, as well as the rewriting of history to assert a fascist-free incarnation of European norms of international behavior.

Contrary to the assertions of you and your ilk about Holocaust Denial being criminalized at "the Jews'" behest, the truth is that most of those laws were passed by non-Jewish Social and Christian Democrat types decades ago in an effort to exert social controls on those they feared more than the "Jewish backlash" of your fevered imagination--after all, it was the mainstream European democrats of the 1950s and 60s who had also been victimized between the 1920s and 40s by various fascist movements. These laws were passed not to satisfy Jews but, to put it bluntly, to control individuals much like yourself who, they feared, given a chance, would be all to happy to finish what the Germans and their willing collaborators began. That would include, incidentally, not only the destruction of various minorities and democracies, but also the existence of individual European nation states. The German vision, you may recall included a united Europe under German hegemony. Sort of proto-EU, you might say, but dedicated to vastly different purposes.

Baranouw teaches at a major California university; you may post here or contribute articles to the Institute of Historical Review--just your sort of people, I would imagine. Many people have "used" the Holocaust for many reasons, Mr. Smith. Your use of the topic is all too familiar.


N. Friedman - 3/20/2006

Mr. Smith,

I guess that the death camps were just fictions. My relatives who died there in droves will be happy to know that.


N. Friedman - 3/19/2006

Peter,

Very well said.


N. Friedman - 3/19/2006

Mr. Smith,

You write: "Elie has been one of the primary voices in America promoting the 'unique monstrosity' of the Germans over the last half century."

I think the thing which singles Germany out over the last century is that the country made into a factory industry the massacre of innocent civilians, by the millions, for no imaginable reason other than blind hatred.

Now, you are correct that people have a right to question the US alliance with Israel, just as we have the same right to question any alliance with Germany or France or Britain or Japan. And other people are free to say that any of these alliances is in the interest of the US. That is the American way.

You seem to think it unfair that Americans believe that the Nazis behaved with rather remarkable barbarism, particularly against Jews. Well, if the massacre of millions of people in death factories/camps does not raise eyebrows, nothing does. Which is to say, Germany deserves its reputation for rather unique brand of barbarism.


Peter Kovachev - 3/19/2006

This isn't a scholarly paper; it's another trashy Holocaust Revisionism gossip column tarted-up to look like a serious work.

In spite of what comes out as a tacky bitch-session over pop culture icons, this isn't really about Elie Wiesel, Oprah Winfrey or Steven Spielberg. Nor about popular culture versus historiography. It's simply a "soft-sell" of the genre of Holocaust Revisionism which begins with the recognition that while it's impossible to deny that the Holocaust happened (at least in sane and civilized circles), the same ends-- whatever they happen to be --can be served by simply denying its uniqueness and significance and by obscuring or erasing its memory.

Dagmar Barnouw tries to do this here by latching onto a few straw men and by attempting to discredit them with a spasmotic series of inuendos and knowing winks and nudges. But she needn't stick her neck out by being explicit with her charges or clear with her message; she knows that there is a legion of reputation-free and eager crackpots see Bradley Smith's "Is Oprah in the Soup Again ?" above) willing to act as her sonderkommandos.

Strip Barnouw's piece down to its main elements and find a message that would be at home in any neo-Nazi website, not to mention *Mein Kampf*: "The Jews are whining again by claiming to suffer more than others. They are bamboozling the good Gentiles by manipulating the arts establishments and the media to peddle a false version of pop history in order a)to make money, b)to gain cultural prominence through pity and c) to cheat the quietly suffering and under-appreciated ___________ (fill-in with either Germans, East Europeans, poor WASPs, Palestinian Arabs, etc.)."

I'm not sure what exactly the field of "comparative literature" is all about, but if it's actually about comparing literature, perhaps
a budding scholar here could have a field day by comparing Barnouw's work to that of more popular, but less educated or refined fellow-travellers like, let's say, Ernst Zundel.