The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Auschwitz image, Auschwitz painting

Auschwitz: Introduction & Editorial Notes

Auschwitz, AUSCHWITZ, auschwitz, holocaust, Holocaust
A January, 1993 newspaper article (Foner) presents a series of lies and distortions regarding events at the Auschwitz concentration camp as historical fact. The article illustrated an increasing effort on the part of world-wide neo-Nazi political organizations to deny that the collective events commonly known as the Holocaust did occur. Conot addressed the need for a continuing effort to combat such material in his introduction (Justice at Nuremberg):

Speaking to the Nuremberg tribunal in his opening address, Justice Jackson remarked: 'What makes this inquest significant is that these prisoners represent sinister influences that will lurk in the world long after their bodies have returned to dust.'

These influences, in fact, have regenerated like a poisonous weed. Anti-Semitism and the euphemistic catchwords that led to 'the Final Solution of the Jewish Question' have reappeared hand in hand. A world-wide cult has arisen claiming that the Holocaust never happened. A hundred books, booklets, and pamphlets have been printed alleging that the slaughter was imaginary or exaggerated, and is but a Jewish invention.

All of this might be dismissed as the frustrated thrashing about of a radical, irrational fringe were it not for the haunting parallels to the pre-Hitler era, and the continuing employment of Nazi propaganda methodology. A leader of the French neo-Nazis, for example, asserts that those Jews who died had merely been victims of the wartime food shortage. The Nazis had, in fact, originally planned to starve the Jews to death, allocating 186 calories per capita daily for their sustenance, but had abandoned the scheme for more direct methods after the ensuing epidemics had decimated not only the Jews but threatened to spread to the relatively well-fed German population.

Similar in nature is the assertion that Zyklon B gas was employed only as a disinfectant at Auschwitz. This had been the case until the fall of 1941, when an enterprising SS officer had concluded that if Zyklon B killed lice it could kill people just as well. Thereafter, the gas had been used, first to murder thousands of Soviet prisoners of war, and then hundreds of thousands of Jews - nearly all of them women, children, and old people unfit for 'extermination through work.' Hitler's dictum that 'the magnitude of a lie always contains a certain factor of credibility, since the great masses of the people ... more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a little one' has once more come into vogue.

The most effective means to combat such distortions is to make the facts accessible, and, with them, expose the statements for what they are. At Nuremberg, General Telford Taylor, the prosecutor of more war criminals than any other man, said: 'We cannot here make history over again. But we can see that it is written true.' (Conot, xii-xiii)

This article is presented in that spirit, and in lasting memory of those who were ruthlessly destroyed during the Holocaust. It is the result of the combined effort of many, and contains data from myriad sources. I would like to acknowledge the contributions from Danny Keren ( in particular, and the subscribers to the Holocaust Research Information List in general. Without their contributions, this document could not have been written.

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