The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Deceit & Misrepresentation
The Techniques of Holocaust Denial

The Mayer Gambit

While Mayer's views are certainly controversial, as the ADL demonstrates, they in no way suggest denial. Nor, it must be emphasized, does the ADL label him in in way, shape, or form as a Nazi, antisemite, or Holocaust-denier.

Mayer is a true scholastic revisionist - he questions the accepted version of Holocaust history with regard to the chronology of decisions and motives of the actors, and suggests alternatives. He does not, as those employing the "Mayer Gambit" suggest, deny the event itself: the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews.

As the ADL tells us, Mayer's revisionism consists of the fact that he does not believe that the attempt was predetermined, but rather a reaction to Nazi reversals during the Russian campaign. Mayer's reaction to the attention he has received by those he calls the "rejectionists" is provided by the ADL:

Mayer himself responded to this promotion of his work in the October 15, 1989, issue of the Asbury Park Press, saying "the rejectionists try to appropriate one or two sentences in a book of 500 pages. And when you have friends like that, you don't need any enemies. [They] poison the debate." [7]

For the denier, perhaps the most damning indictment of the "Holocaust Myth" is this Mayer statement:

"[T]here is no denying the many contradictions, ambiguities, and errors in the existing sources. These cannot be ignored...." [8]

Obviously, they imply, since there are errors, contradictions, and ambiguities, all evidence must be discarded.

What the denier doesn't want you to think about is the nature of the errors, contradictions, and ambiguities.

One such contradiction is on the number of deaths. Since no accurate record was kept of those selected for gassing immediately on arrival at Auschwitz, different people made different estimates. The deniers would have you accept the assertion that the conflicting estimates prove nothing is reliable - and therefore no gassings occured!

Other errors or ambiguities might concern such trivial details as the number of steps leading into a cellar, or the number of doors in a particular room, but any police officer will tell you that even witnesses to a simple traffic accidents can contradict each other on such points.

Although all might agree that one driver ran a red light at high speed, and caused the accident, they might well disagree as to the color of his vehicle, or what might have been said after the accident - they might, in fact, be completely wrong with regard to all such details. The principles of denial logic would, in such cases, demand that you conclude the driver who ran the red light was not responsible, or that the accident did not occur at all!

However, while the deniers invoking the Mayer Gambit would have you believe that Mayer is at least skeptical of the entire gas chamber claim, viewing his quotes in context makes it quite obvious that this is completely untrue.

O'Keefe's review offers an interesting and damning example of denial's contempt for the intelligence of its audience in the sentences preceeding those quoted at the beginning of this section:

Another tactic (or failing) of Denying the Holocaust, is in the matter, already adverted to, of omission -- omission of all sorts of pertinent facts, arguments, writings, personages, and attainments of Revisionist scholars.

Lipstadt seems only half aware of the compass of revisionist research and publication. Her book contains no mention of such key Revisionist authors as Wilhelm Stäglich, Fritz Berg, Carlo Mattogno and Enrique Aynat.[9]

Since Mr. O'Keefe has asserted that omission is a failing of Lipstadt's work, we think it will be instructive to include Mayer's comments as the closing portion of this article, complete and within context. We leave it to the reader, when confronting the Mayer Gambit, to decide who is committing a sin of ommission:

Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable. Even though Hitler and the Nazis made no secret of their war on the Jews, the SS operatives dutifully eliminated all traces of their murderous activities and instruments. No written orders for gassing have turned up thus far.

The SS not only destroyed most camp records, which were in any case incomplete, but also razed nearly all killing and cremating installations well before the arrival of Soviet troops. Likewise, care was taken to dispose of the bones and ashes of the victims.

Most of what is known is based on the deposition of Nazi officials and executioners at postwar trials and on the memory of survivors and bystanders. This testimony must be screend carefully, since it can be influenced by subjective factors of great complexity.

Diaries are rare, and so are authentic documents about the making, transmission, and implementation of the extermination policy. But additional evidence may still come to light. Private journals and official papers are likely to surface. Since Auschwitz and Majdanek, as well as the four out-and-out killing centers, were liberated by the Red Army, the Soviet archives may well yield significant clues and evidence when they are opened. In addition, excavation at the killing sites and in their immediate environs may also bring forth new information.

In the meantime, there is no denying the many contradictions, ambiguities, and errors in the existing sources. These cannot be ignored, although it must be emphasized strongly that such defects are altogether insufficient to put in question the use of gas chambers in the mass murder of Jews at Auschwitz. Much the same is true for the conflicting estimates and extrapolations of the number of victims, since there are no reliable statistics to work with. Just as the fact of the Jewish ordeal at Auschwitz is not contingent on the use of gas chambers, so the crime of gassing does not turn upon the exact number of Jews gassed."[10] [Emphasis Nizkor's]

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