The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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From mkelley@U.Arizona.EDU Wed Jul 10 17:39:22 PDT 1996
Article: 49499 of alt.revisionism
Path: nizkor.almanac.bc.ca!news.island.net!vertex.tor.hookup.net!hookup!gatech!ennfs.eas.asu.edu!noao!news.Arizona.EDU!nevis.u.arizona.edu!mkelley
From: Marty Kelley 
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Re: Hagen Responds
Date: Wed, 10 Jul 1996 15:41:19 -0700
Organization: The University of Arizona
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To: Brlhagen 
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On 10 Jul 1996, Brlhagen wrote:

> Regretfully, I find that you ignored many of my points or distorted them. 

It would be fruitful if you would identify specific points that you feel
were distorted; it's safe to say we _disagree_ strongly, but in my
response to your initial post, I did my best to avoid distorting what you
wrote.  If you are going to accuse me of distorting your claims, please
allow me the chance to defend my own claims.

> So I will feel free to ignore your specific points and respond generally. 
> (Though I will work diligently not to distort what you have said.)  Your
> scriptures are not mine and so when you quote or reference them it has
> less impact on me than you apparently imagine or hope will be the case.

I find your use of the term "scriptures" troublesome, Mr. Hagen.  Its
religious connotations imply that historical documents and analysis are
matters of faith, not of fact. If you are going to reject documents, you
are going to have to present a very compelling reason to do so, not simply
label them "scriptures" and say they are untrustworthy.  WHY do you find
them untrustworthy, as compared to other similar historical documents and
analyses?
  
> I have stated, all along, that brutality and atrocity ocurred (on both
> sides if in very different ways).  Much of your critique implies I am
> denying this.  

I know that I also acknowledged that brutality and atrocity occurred on
both sides; your own initial post directly stated, however, that some
acts of Nazi brutality (the policy of extermination and the use of gas
chambers as one means of extermination) did not happen (even as you
acknowledged that other acts of brutality did). That seems to fit the
definition of denial. If you prefer, I am open to using more neutral
terms--would I be correct in saying that you are attempting to disprove
the established historiography regarding these Nazi actions?

> Someone reading only your responses to me, and not my own
> words, would conclude I had written something very different from the
> actual document I posted.

Since both mr. Mittleman and I took pains to include large portions of
your original text, I am unsure how this applies to our responses; if you
feel we quoted particular portions of your precis out of context, please
present your evidence.

> Also there is a good deal of, "that statement is anti-semitic and
> therefore it is invalid or untrue," on your part.  I don't accept the term
> "anti-semitic" to be anything other than, in our day,  a smear term
> meaning bad thought, impermissible idea, or, most appropriately, heresy. 

I know that I and "Ehrlich606" (who considers himself a "revisionist," by
the way) both objected primarily to your statement that "Historically 
there seems to be something about the Jews that brings forth a plenitude
of animosity on the part of people amongst whom they live."  This
statement, on its face, places the responsibility for prejudice against
Jews ON Jews themselves, rather than upon those who are prejudiced against
them.  I, for one, would like to see you define, defend, or ammend that
statement.  I would also point out that I did not make any further
reference to it in my discussion of the other parts of your post, and that
Mr. Mittleman made no response to it at all.

[snip]

> The essence of my position regarding the Jewish Holocaust flows out of my
> disbelief in the gas chambers.  If there were no gas chambers there was no
> extermination, no genocide.  

That's a VERY questionable definition of "genocide," and one with which
virtually no one familiar with hman rights and international law would be
likely to agree. The term usually refers to any attempt to murder large
numbers of people solely on the basis of their ethnic, religious, or
cultural background, and its definition has NOTHING to do with the means
of killing.  The Khmer Rouge committed genocide in Cambodia without a
single gas chamber, for instance. 

> There can be an abundance of cruelty,
> brutality, slavery, inhumane confinement, murderous behavior, etc. (and
> there was, as I have indeed stated) without gas chambers but there cannot
> be genocide.  

Again, you seem to be inventing your own meaning for the word
"genocide" here. 

>If there was no genocide what was there?  As I said in my
> precis clearly there was the intent to expel Jews from Europe.  There was
> also a barbaric war between Germans and Jews in eastern Europe and Russia
> in which tens of thousands of the latter were killed . 

Please explain your last sentence.  The Einsatzgruppen murders of Jewish
civilians--about a million of them, according to the Nazis' own records-- 
in Eastern Europe were perpetrated _after_ the territories had already
been defeated and occupied by the German army.  Are you seriously claiming
that the Jews murdered by the Einsatzgruppen were killed in combat, either
as fighters or as civilian bystanders?  What _is_ your explanation of the
Einsatzgruppen's own records of mass slaughter of civilians?

> There was no
> shortage of atrocities.  But - and if you're honest you will concede this
> - without the gas chambers there was no genocide.  

For a third time, you *don't* need gas chambers to commit a genocide.  The
Nazis certainly _did_ commit genocide, and they _did_ use gas chambers,
but mass gassings were only one means of mass killing.  The others
included deliberate starvation, mass shootings, deliberate overwork of
inmates in concentration camps, deliberate withholding of adequate housing
and medicine, and medical expermimentation on unwilling human subjects.

> Without genocide you
> have only expulsion and brutality.  Bad enough, sure, but very much in the
> same universe of atrocity committed by the anti-German side: Dresden, the
> carpet-bombing of German working-class areas which resulted in a million
> or more deaths among non-combatants, the post-war rapine of Germans and
> persons of German descent.  All of the latter atrocities,  on those rare
> ocassions when they are even mentioned, invariably are dismissed because,
> after all, the Germans were "bad" people and anything that was necessary
> to defeat them and win the war was perfectly justified.  And of course
> after the war it was only proper they be severely chastised.  

I am willing to discuss the comparative morality of wartime killing and
outright genocide--the line is easily blurred, as we have seen in Bosnia
and Rwanda.  I have seen very few, if any, opponents of Holocaust denial
claim that the deaths of civilians is ever a good thing--at most, some say
it was a sad necessity in pursuit of military victory (which is the usual 
justification of Hiroshima--it was necessary to kill hundreds of
thousands to save millions of others). Others of us who oppose Holocaust
denial go farther and condemn Dresden as a war crime.  You seem to be 
claiming unanimity of opinion where there is none. 

> Sorry I don't buy it.  There were atrocities on a massive scale on both
> sides in WWII and its aftermath.  Holocaustery is the very essence of
> denying this truth.  

How does acknowledging the historical reality of the Holocaust in any way
"deny" other aspects of WW II?  I genuinely do not understand your
reasoning.  While it is probably correct to say that people
in general tend to be overly nationalistic in their views of history
(i.e., the American view that everything "we" did was right), that view is
not generally one that historians or many other thinking persons take to
the extremes that you seem to be suggesting. Your reasoning here is as
specious as that of people who complain about memorializing Hiroshima's
destruction because thousands of U.S. servicemen died at Pearl Harbor.
The reality of one event doesn't negate the reality of the other.

> History is not a football match
> in which we root for our team and wish the opponents poorly.  We should be
> pushing for truth or as close to it as we can get.  And damn the
> consequences.  

I couldn't agree more.  That is why I point out the flawed methodology and
faulty reasoning of Holocaust deniers.  If they were really doing honest
history, I'd be the first to listen to them.  But they quite simply don't
do it.  They quote out of context, they ignore important evidence, they
dismiss inconvenient facts, and most damning of all, they fail to offer a
credible alternative to the nearly-univerally-accepted historiography.

> So, as regards the existence of gas chambers, I think your side (the side
> of the Holocaust as the overarching evil of our epoch or of any epoch) is
> in serious trouble.  

To begin with, I don't think the Nazis needed gas chambers to be evil.
Their racial theories and attempts at genocide would be evil without a
single cannister of Zyklon-B.  However, I am also convinced of the reality
of the gas chambers--all of the scientific information that I have seen
indicates that HCN AND CO2 are lethal to human beings, and that the
engineering for the gas chambers wasn't particularly complicated.  As a
layman, I understand the science behind homicidal gassing pretty well. As
programs of mass murder go, the Nazi Holocaust seems to differ from other
genocides only in scale and bureaucratization. 

> I think very many people are beginning to doubt the
> gas chambers because it is a pretty incredible story if you examine it
> with any objectivity.  There is very little believable evidence for gas
> chambers if you filter out the hysterical and the religious. 

These are some terms you're going to have to define if you're going to be
taken seriously.  How are the Nazis' own internal memoranda, receipts for
gas chamber equipment, and railway records "hysterical" or "religious"?

> I note that a number of my critics mention repeatedly something along the
> lines of "no credible historian accepts your view of the Holocaust," and
> therefore, by the numbers, you lose.  I don't think that follows at all. 
> I have pointed out (and surely you cannot deny this) in the world we
> inhabit it is very foolish and even very dangerous for someone, in
> academia or outside, publicly to express a revisionist position or even
> sympathy for a revisionist position.

You are correct that people who do unscholarly work tend to get drummed
out of academia.  (How many rearch grants have Pons and Fleischmann
received since "cold fusion"?)  However, if there were a significant body
of facts to support the proposition that our current knowledge of the
Holocaust is based on a hoax, those facts would be turning up and would be
receiving the attention they deserved.  And yet, there are NO
significant recanted testimonies, no FOIA suits revealing CIA
(or OSS) complicity in forging documents, nothing that indicates that the
generally accepted history is seriously flawed.  If it's a hoax, where are
the hoaxters?

[material on David Irving snipped]

> Have any of
> you defended Irving's right to speak, to be heard, to do research, to
> publish? 

Yes, many of us have. Repeatedly.

> How does he differ from Salmon Rushdie?  

Ummm...he doesn't have a death warrant (with promise of eternal paradise
for his killer) hanging over him?

> Oh, I forgot:  Irving's
> a bad guy, an anti-semite.  Of course.  Untrue but no doubt you believe
> it.  If you don't, say so.

I have read reports (if someone has details, please post 'em) that Irving
addressedd an IHR convention by referring to Jews as "our enemy," which
sure as hell sounds anti-semitic to me.  Regardless of whether he's an
antisemite, he still has the same 1st amendment rights (in the U.S.) as
anyone else, and I would protest any attempt to silence him.

> Interestingly enough, Ehrlich, in commenting on something said by SF924,
> shed important light when he pointed out that in his experience very few
> of his colleagues would touch anything to do with revisionism because they
> would not wish to assist it any way or be thought "anti-semitic."  And he
> said any academic who jumped into the fray would risk "professional
> ostracism."  Very true words.  

Just as any physicist touting perpetual motion or any biologist or 
geologist pushing "scientific creationism" would likely face ostracism.
BUT--if our hypothetical rebel researcher had facts and credible data on
his/her side, it's possible that they could shift the established view.
Once again, this is where the denial program breaks down--for anyone who
looks at all the evidence, the accepted history holds together quite well.

> So why is there any surprise that no
> credible historian is on the revisionist side?  It's really a Catch 22. 
> The moment a credible historian became sympathetic to revisionism he would
> be denounced, he would be shunned, he would lose his book contracts,
> probably his job. 

Actually, I believe that Arthur Butz has kept his job, despite efforts to
oust him.  Of course, he's not even remotely a historian.

But you're right about the Catch 22 --since Holocaust deniers are
attempting to refute something that is firmly established as having
happened, they are in a rather untenable position.

> Generally I don't think your collective critique of my position - what
> I've seen so far - has been very effective.  You nitpick and continually
> demand evidence proving my case though the evidence your side has thus far
> shown to prove the existence of the gas chambers is quite pathetic -
> again, once you filter out the hysterical and the religious. 

Beg your pardon?  We nitpick?  You have failed the most elementary of your
goals: presenting a comprehensive, credible alternative explanation of the
events of 1933-1945 which accounts for the Nazis actions, the
documentary and physical evidence, the testimony of both survivors and
perpetrators, and the nearly universal acceptance of the Holocaust as
fact.  You simply said "No credible evidence exists of the gas chambers"
and ignored other parts of the Nazi extermination program.  If the world
is wrong about the Holocaust, what is your explanation of how the world
was fooled? 

> And I think
> you really have to concede that Holocaustery rises or falls on the
> existence of those gas chambers.   

How so?  While I do accept the documented evidence for the gas chambers, I
also recognize that those installations were only one means of killing.
The mass shootings, starvation, ghettoization, slave labor, and epidemics
that the Nazis employed to kill their victims are enough to secure them a
place in infamy.  Their largely successful attempt to turn the
pseudoscience of eugenics into national policy is likewise enough to make
sure that their victims be remembered.

> If someday
> the existence of gas chambers is proved definitively I will alter my view
> and renounce Holocaust revisionism.  And I will congratulate you for being
> correct all along.  But my very honest view is that I'm quite safe from
> such humiliation.  Are you?

OK--this raises an important question: what, for you, would constitute
"definitive proof" of a Nazi gas chamber?  

(In a future post, I'll provide an outline of proof that I would need in
order to be convinced that the history of the Holocaust is severely
flawed)

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----------------------
Marty Kelley  (mkelley@U.Arizona.EDU)

"All that I care to know is that a man is a human being--
that is enough for me; he can't be any worse."
					--Mark Twain






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