The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Holocaust Denial Today
Manuel Prutschi, Canadian Jewish Congress

The Holocaust deniers, in contrast, when they approach the Holocaust flatly say there was none. It was an invention by Jews or Zionists - and they use these terms interchangeably - to gain reparations from Germany for themselves and for the State of Israel. Holocaust deniers are not historians but evil magicians. In the claims of the Holocaust deniers, the victims of the genocide are made into liars and criminals, perpetrators as they are of the greatest fraud in history while the Nazis - the very perpetrators of the genocide - emerge as victims. Since there was no crime of genocide there can be no Nazi war criminals. Nazis in effect are falsely accused. The criminals are innocent and the innocents are criminal.

This is a classic inversion of images which George Orwell warned us about in his book 1984. Orwell wrote the book in 1948, but since it was supposed to presage a future society, for the title he simply inverted the order of the date's numbers and he called it 1984. In his book Orwell dealt with the bastardization of language and doublespeak. Black is white. Peace is war. Truth is false. Falsehood is truth.

With Holocaust denial, the world foreseen in 1984 has arrived. Holocaust deniers are out to mesmerize, to confuse and to dislocate. They are out to make people unsure about definitions, to unhinge them from their certainties, to make them lose sight of right and wrong. In this way they aim to achieve their ultimate purpose, which is the unabashed and unqualified rehabilitation of the Third Reich. If there was never any crime of mass murder then there are no mass murderers. Nazism and the Third Reich are whitewashed and made once again respectable and, what is most important for the neo-Nazis, attractive.

The Holocaust made Nazism into a tainted product, even causing many who might otherwise be attracted to its doctrines, to shy away from it. If Nazism was to remain viable as an ideology, in light of the Holocaust, logic absolutely demanded that, as neo-Nazism, it deny that the Holocaust ever happened. A movement whose raison d'etre is to hate and to promote the hatred of Jews, needs to attack anything which elicits sympathy for Jews. A movement bent on marketing the thesis that there is a Jewish conspiracy to conquer the world, must deny that there was a conspiracy on almost a global scale of commission, collaboration, and omission, to destroy the Jewish people. Holocaust deniers want to bring back Nazism and make it today and tomorrow the powerful political force that it was yesterday.

The Nazis, to create the atmosphere which made the delegitimization, the persecution and, ultimately, the annihilation of the Jewish people possible, adopted and disseminated the notion of a Jewish conspiracy to control the world. The basic document which outlined and encapsulated the conspiracy theory for the Nazis, was the infamous Czarist Secret Police forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

That is why the historian Norman Cohn, in a seminal study, has rightly and so aptly described the Protocols as a "warrant for genocide". In the historian's unchallengeable view, the myth of a Jewish world-conspiracy led directly to the Holocaust.

Holocaust denial is but a new layer, superimposed on the traditional world Jewish conspiracy theory. It also elaborates and expands upon the theory because it incorporates another dimension drawn from the cosmology of antisemitism - of the Jew as a cheat and extortionist. The theory clearly implies that only the Jews, expert cheats and conspirators that they are, successfully could pull off this conspiracy of conspiracies, this scam to beat all scams - a hoax not merely global but truly universal in its scope.

Ernst Zundel is the prime practitioner of Holocaust denial in Canada In the early 1980's he gave Canada the dubious distinction of being the principal source for Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi material being exported to West Germany. Zundel, in his publications and activities, forthrightly purveyed Nazi memorabilia, advanced Nazi doctrine, and admired Nazi personalities. He sold military SS-like paraphernalia, glorified Aryan man, and was the co-author of the panegyric work, The Hitler We Loved and Why.

In 1985, in Toronto, Zundel was charged under Section 181 of the Criminal Code which makes it a crime to disseminate false information, known to be false by the disseminator, and likely to cause injury or mischief to the public interest. In the Zundel case "public interest" was particularized by the Crown to mean social and racial tolerance.

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