The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history,soc.culture.jewish,talk.politics.misc
Subject: Proving the Holocaust: Moral Inequivalencies (11 of 15)
Summary: Dr. Michael Shermer's article on Holocaust revisionism,
         "Proving the Holocaust: The Refutation of Revisionism & the 
         Restoration of History," _Skeptic_, Vol. 2, No. 4, Altadena, 
         California, June, 1994. Published by the Skeptics Society, 
         2761 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena, CA 91001, (818) 794-3119.
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Followup-To: alt.revisionism
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[Followups directed to alt.revisionism]

Part 11: Moral Inequivalencies

After denying that the Nazis intended to exterminate the Jews,
revisionists then argue that what the Nazis treatment of the Jews is
really no different from what other nations do to their perceived
enemies. Revisionists point out, for example, that the U.S. government
obliterated two Japanese cities with atomic weapons--the first and only
government in history to so swiftly eliminate a civilian population
(Irving, 1994). Furthermore, Americans also concentrated Japanese-
Americans in camps, not unlike, revisionists argue, what the Germans did
to their perceived internal enemy--the Jews (Cole, 1994). This
particular theme, and many others (e.g., the bombing of Dresden), have a
not-so-hidden agenda to implicate America and Britain as guilty co-
equals, along with Germany, for the mass destruction of the Second World
War. 

   But there is a big difference between two nations fighting one
another with trained and armed militia, versus the systematic and
organized killing of a group of unarmed, unsuspecting, deceived group of
people, many in the same nation, not in self-defense, not to gain more
territory or raw materials or wealth, but simply because they are
different in some way. At his trial in Jerusalem Adolf Eichmann, one of
the chief planners and organizers of the Final Solution, tried to make
the moral equivalency argument. But the judge nailed him, as this
sequence from the trial shows (Russell, 1963, pp. 278-279):

   Judge Benjamin Halevi to Eichmann: You have often compared the
extermination of the Jews with the bombing raids on German cities and
you compared the murder of Jewish women and children with the death of
German women in aerial bombardments. Surely it must be clear to you that
there is a basic distinction between these two things. On the one hand
the bombing is used as an instrument of forcing the enemy to surrender.
Just as the Germans tried to force the British to surrender by their
bombing. In that case it is a war objective to bring an armed enemy to
his knees.

   On the other hand, when you take unarmed Jewish men, women, and
children from their homes, hand them over to the Gestapo, and then send
them to Auschwitz for extermination it is an entirely different thing,
is it not?

   Eichmann: The difference is enormous. But at that time these crimes
had been legalized by the state and the responsibility, therefore,
belongs to those who issued the orders.

   Halevi: But you must know surely that there are internationally
recognized Laws and Customs of War whereby the civilian population is
protected from actions which are not essential for the prosecution of
the war itself.

   Eichmann: Yes, I'm aware of that.

   Halevi: Did you never feel a conflict of loyalties between your duty
and your conscious?

   Eichmann: I suppose one could call it an internal split. It was a
personal dilemma when one swayed from one extreme to the other.

   Halevi: One had to overlook and forget one's conscience.

   Eichmann: Yes, one could put it that way.

[Continued in Part 12]

                            Work Cited

   Shermer, Michael. "Proving the Holocaust: The Refutation of
      Revisionism & the Restoration of History," _Skeptic_, Vol. 2,
      No. 4, Altadena, California, June, 1994. Published by the
      Skeptics Society, 2761 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena, CA 91001,
      (818) 794-3119.

_Skeptic_ magazine:
http://www.skeptic.com

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