The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/r/rosenfeld.alvin.h/imagining-hitler.001

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism
Subject: Holocaust Denial: The Most Poisonous Lies

Archive/File: people/r/rosenfeld.alvin.h/imagining-hitler
Last-Modified: 1996/09/15

From the Introduction of "Imagining Hitler," by Alvin Rosenfeld:

          "Nazism...has been lifted from its historical base
          and transmuted into forms of entertainment and
          political bad faith.  What a generation ago stood
          before us as a historical and moral scandal of 
          unprecedented proportions is today a source of 
          lighthearted amusement, popular distraction, 
          pornographic indulgence, and antisemitic slander."

In a chapter on "Domesticating Hitler," Alvin Rosenfeld specifically
mentions the Holocaust revisionists:

"Anatoli ended his own book* by stressing the moral responsibility
for remembrance, a responsibility made urgent by the desires of those
who would forget history or, still worse, deny it.  `A former
high-ranking officer in the Gestapo declared recently in an interview
that there had never been any death camps, ovens, or gas-chambers,
that all such things had been invented by propagandists.  He stated,
quite simply, that they had NEVER EXISTED.' In the years since Anatoli
wrote these lines, the Gestapo officer has been joined by a great many
others who would also like to undo the Holocaust by weakening the
tenacity of memory that keeps it alive.  `f you tell them loud, to
their faces, that they are being deceived,' Anatoli went on, `they
won't listen.  They will say it is only a malicious slander.  And if
you produce facts, they just won't believe you.  They will say: 'Such
things never happened.'" (Rosenfeld, 64)

"The most blatant example of this kind of willful substitution [of
a fictitious history for actual historical events] is to be found
among the so-called revisionists, who have attempted to erase the
Holocaust from historical memory by outright denial of the Nazi
program of genocide.  To them, there simply was no such thing as the
Endlo"sung, and all claims to the contrary are dismissed as a `hoax'
invented to serve `Jewish interest.' Thus, they have sought to
disclaim the presence of gas chambers in the Nazi death camps or even
to deny that such camps ever were established in the first place for
the purpose of murdering Jews and others opposed to the Third Reich.
The `hoax,' which is entirely of their own making, is especially
pernicious, for as it is developed through the pages of the
revisionist journals, it assumes the guise of historical scholarship
and seems to take on the character of authenticity.  Authors with
Ph.D.'s trailing behind their names, some of whom hold college and
university teaching posts, regularly participate in a campaign of
disinformation that mimics scholarly research but has as its sole
purpose the undermining of the scholarly enterprise.  For those who
know historical literature about the Third Reich, it is not difficult
to expose the work of the revisionists for what it is -- mostly bogus,
malicious invention -- but to the public at large, perhaps slightly in
awe of academic-looking publications filled out with footnotes and
`scientific' graphs, it is just possible that `revisionism' may begin
to persuade.

"As of this writing, the revisionists have no standing at all in
the scholarly community and seem to be making only minor ripples in
the consciousness of the public at large.  Their desire to rewrite the
history of World War II by denying its very worst features is not
shared by most Americans, although here and there journalists on the
lookout for deviant types are able to turn up an occasional social
studies teacher or small-town preacher who may advocate the
`revisionist line.'  What is of interest about revisionism, therefore,
is not its impact, which is trivial, but its motivation and the fact
that its exponents feel that times have changed enough to allow them
to broadcast freely the most poisonous lies about Hitler's crimes
against the Jews." (Rosenfeld, 66-67)

* Anatoli, A. [Kuznetsov]. Babi Yar. Translated by David Floyd. New 
  York:  Pocket Books, 1977.

                           Work Cited

Rosenfeld, Alvin H. Imagining Hitler. Bloomington: Indiana University
Press, 1985.

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