The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/l/lipstadt.deborah/press/christian-science-monitor.0893

Archive/File: holocaust/usa/lipstadt csm.081193
Last-Modified: 1994/07/29 

           Copyright 1993 The Christian Science Publishing Society   

                         The Christian Science Monitor 
                           August 11, 1993, Wednesday 
Lipstadt Free Press; 278 pp.; $ 22.95   
LENGTH: 492 words   
HEADLINE: Refuting Those Who Deny the Holocaust   
BYLINE: Judith Bolton-Fasman; Judith Bolton-Fasman is a freelance
writer who lives in Baltimore.   
BODY:    AT the dedication of the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum in Washington last April, the history of the Holocaust was
more than a memory - it was a palpable presence. Yet that same week,
a Roper survey reported that 22 percent of the adults it polled
allowed for the possibility that the Holocaust had never happened. An
additional 12 percent doubted that Hitler's Nazi regime
systematically slaughtered more than 6 million Jews and other
minority groups.     
   In her important new book, "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing
Assault on Truth and Memory," Deborah Lipstadt elucidates that
paradox. She contends that an ignorance of history, misguided
interpretations of the First Amendment, and the growing visibility of
Holocaust revisionists have created the "other side" of an argument
that is not debatable. Nevertheless, Holocaust revisionism has been
insinuating itself into mainstream thinking.   
   Lipstadt traces Holocaust revisionism in America back to Harry
Elmer Barnes, a history professor who argued that the World War II
Allies were more brutal than the Germans and rationalized the
latter's virulent anti-Semitism. Barnes's successors currently
include Robert Faurisson of France, David Irving of Great Britain,
the German-born Ernst Zundel of Canada, and Fred Leuchter, a
self-described "execution-hardware expert" based outside of Boston.
In particular, they promote Barnes's contention that gas chambers
were "postwar inventions" fabricated to perpetuate the "evil image of
the Nazi empire."   
   By the 1970s, anti-Semites had repackaged Holocaust denial as
historical revisionism. In 1979 Willis Carto, founder of the
anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby, became a primary supporter of the
California-based Institute for Historical Review. As implied by its
name, IHR attempted to win scholarly acceptance for deniers. But its
transparent agenda, Lipstadt writes, was simply "the equivalent of
David Duke without his robes."   
   Holocaust revisionism has been more entrenched in German academia.
Lipstadt observes that President Reagan's visit to a German military
cemetery in Bitburg was a "political manifestation of this historical
tendency to try and normalize the German past...." Expanding upon
those "gray areas" of interpretation, conservative German historians
have also formulated what Lipstadt calls an "immoral equivalency" by
equating the Holocaust with other 20th-century atrocities.   
   But Lipstadt writes: "This is not a matter of comparative pain or
competitive suffering. It is misguided to attempt to gauge which
group endured more.... To attempt to say that all are the same is to
engage in historical distortion."   
   Holocaust deniers, who once were more blatant in their bigotry and
thus discredited themselves, have subtly blurred the line between
fiction and reality. "Denying the Holocaust" skillfully distinguishes
between the two, but in the process Lipstadt is, in her words,
"forced to prove" established facts.   
LOAD-DATE-MDC: August 11, 1993, Wednesday    

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