The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/s/stein.michael/1996/true-revisionist-theme


From: mstein@access5.digex.net (Michael P. Stein)
Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: The true revisionist theme
Date: 26 Jun 1996 20:41:20 -0400
Message-ID: <4qslbg$qiq@access5.digex.net>

In article <4qpm13$6uc@atlas.uniserve.com>,
Hilary Ostrov  wrote:
>In <4qoh46$m66@news-e2d.gnn.com>, Widmann@gnn.com (Richard Widmann)
>wrote:

>[snip]

>>Revisionism is a label.  It has as much and as little value as just 
>>about any other label.  Classical music is a label as well.  Listen 
>>closely and you will find many different ideas. 

>Indeed it is ... and one, I might add, that many of the authors to
>whom you referred appear to have expropriated so that others might be
>persuaded that they are engaging in the accepted practice of
>historical revisionism.  Unfortunately, the works of those to whom you
>have referred do not meet the standards and criteria for this practice
>and consequently have devalued this particular label.

>But I do find your music analogy somewhat apt.  Those writers to whom
>you have referred tend to hit the same few notes - reminds me of much
>of contemporary symphonic music which to my ear is a veritable
>caucophony.  But if one listens carefully, one will find that they are
>all variations on the same theme.  In my humble opinion, of course.

    I have to agree and disagree with both positions.

    Not that a certain very prolific poster I could name has noticed, but
I have tried to stay away from addressing any argument by saying, "You're
an antisemite" or "You're a Nazi" even when the antisemitism was quite
overt. It is a logical fallacy (check the "fallacies" feature on Nizkor).
2+2=4 even if a Nazi says so.  So I have tried to stick to addressing the
substance (or pointing out the lack thereof) in arguments.

    In my experience, there _is_ a higher than normal level of
antisemitism, racism, and/or Nazi sympathy among "revisionists" than among
the population at large.  But I am quite prepared to state that there are
those who are not, and others about whom I am still not sure - all I can
say is, I have seen no evidence. 

    So I was not thrilled with Dr. Keren's use of Milton Kleim as
emblematic of "revisionism" as a whole.  I side with Mr. Widmann on this
one.  But I have to side with Hilary in saying that they are variations on
a theme, albeit one other than she intended.  That theme is: inconsistency
of standards of evidence and argument.  It is for _this_ reason that I use
"sneer quotes" around the word "revisionism."

    As an example: the rarity of documentation for gas chambers is cited
as evidence of their nonexistence, but the rarity of documentation of the
true resettlement of the Jews (railroad records, etc.) is not viewed with
similar suspicion.  Russians can destroy evidence but Germans cannot?

    Despite Mr. Widmann's (proper) rejection of the notion of painting
with a broad brush, revisionist methodology - and here it is a true
Johnny one-note from all I have seen - holds that since some eyewitness
testimonies are unreliable, _all_ of them are, _even the ones from SS
men_.  (Except, of course, for those which claim torture at the hands of
their interrogators.  Despite the fact that genuine criminals do confess
and then think better of it, claiming coercion in an attempt to get off,
apparently no SS man could do that.)

    I've rebuked my ostensible allies both privately and in public on
occasion, perhaps not often enough.  I think that those revisionists who
are sincere in their beliefs (and I do believe they exist) should be more
willing to do the same.  Greg Raven _has_ presented blatantly dishonest
and distorted editing and paraphrases.  Mark Weber _has_ quoted Gitta
Sereny deceptively and out of context on the soap issue.  I don't care how
dubious you find even the story of the Mazur experiment, simple
intellectual honesty demands that if you are quoting an author to support
your argument, you should admit those points where the author does not
agree with you.  Friedrich Berg did a lot of handwaving in his work on
diesel exhaust - read my writeup on Nizkor, but also look at the end where
I acknowledge that I have not proved that anything of the sort _did_
happen, only that Berg made so many mistakes that he fell far short of
making his case that it was nearly impossible. 

    If I were really in the business of defending a Holocaust myth at all
costs, I would not be saying what I am about to say.  Because I am telling
the revisionists what needs to be done to clean up revisionism to make it
respectable.  It's not to get rid of the antisemites and Nazi
sympathizers.  It's to get rid of - or at least acknowledge the
shortcomings of - those who are approaching this business as defense
lawyers whose purpose is to get their clients off the hook by creating
"reasonable doubt" by any means possible, no matter how ridiculous the
argument.  (The most extreme example I know: Degrelle's letter to the Pope
in which, in order to "prove" that there was not enough time to pull all
the gold teeth, he claimed that it was faster to pull a tooth from a live
patient than from a corpse.) 

    I have my doubts that the numbers at Auschwitz were over a million. 
However, part of that is due to the testimony (oops!) produced by Mattogno
that the registration records were misinterpreted, and that the number
_sent_ to Auschwitz was not as great as previously believed.  Lowering the
death toll for this reason really doesn't lend any support to the case
that there were no gas chambers.  And I know from anecdotal survivor
testimony that some people _were_ shipped into and then out of Auschwitz
to other work sites without ever being registered there.  Unfortunately,
that still doesn't explain what happened to the unregistered people unable
to work.

    I told Al Baron some months ago that catching a liar does not entitle
you to claim that all those who say the same thing are liars - if it did,
I could have pointed to all the lies told by revisionists and declared
victory two years ago.  But revisionists have to acknowledge the same
thing about eyewitness testimony, and it is certainly the case that when I
see so many lies (and by this I include lies by omission, the most
frequent sort) I am not willing to trust anything I have not doublechecked
for myself.

    Someone recently asked (in essence) what difference it would make if
everything I believed about Auschwitz turned out to be false.  Not a bit,
really.  What makes a difference to me is that it be established using
consistent and _honest_ standards of evidence and reasoning.

-- 
Mike Stein			The above represents the Absolute Truth.
POB 10420			Therefore it cannot possibly be the official
Arlington, VA  22210		position of my employer.


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