The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Notes on a Discourse Analysis
of Selected Zündelsite Materials
(Part 2 of 13)


The Canadian Human Rights Commission has provided me with an extensive set of passages taken from the "Zundelsite". My major, but not exclusive, attention is directed to the highlighted portions of those passages. In addition I have examined the three documents entitled "Did Six Million Really Die?", "66 Questions about the Holocaust", and "Jewish Soap".

I have employed basic analytic methods, including those mentioned above to construct interpretations of those passages. Those methods include analyses of the ways Gricean maxims, rhetorical strategies, lexical selection and collocations, syntactic structures, information distribution, topic continuity, and other discourse-founded principles have been used in the messages to advance particular claims and arguments.

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Discourse Analysis of Selected Passages


In the following analyses, I have treated three specific documents, Jewish Soap, 66 Questions and Answers on the Holocaust, and Did Six Million Really Die: Truth at Last - Exposed, as providing a context and frame of reference for the other documents. These three documents establish a set of assertions, assumptions, presuppositions, and a general ontological framework in terms of which the other documents take much of their meaning, since the latter assume the same presuppositions, etc. As those in the three framing documents. For this reason, it is useful to note a few of the explicit and implicit assumptions and presuppositions of these documents and to offer some comments on their discourse structure and argumentation styles before moving on to detailed analyses of the other documents.

Tab 3. Jewish Soap

This document is written in a style which is at one and the same time both pseudo-scholarly and unabashedly polemical. It is pseudo-scholarly in the sense that while it quotes numerous individuals, documents, and even some books, it fails to provide specific citations and references to any sources, an absolute necessity in real scholarly research. The document is unabashedly polemical in a highly negative sense, using terms like lurid, vile, etc. Again, such negative inflammatory terms have no place in true scholarly writing, although they can serve an obvious function in polemical texts. For example, the quote:

"More recently, Jewish historian Walter Laquer "denied established history" by acknowledging in his 1980 book, The Terrible Secret, that the human soap story has no basis in reality." (P.5)

asserts through the use of scare quotes that Laquer has somehow "denied established history", where the important term is established. The writer implies that (a) the human soap story is a part of `established' history, (b) that a Jewish historian has refuted the truth of the story, and (c) that the writer also ascribes to the claim that the story is false. In order for the argument to go through, it is crucial to accept (a), when in fact the story may well not be a part of history, in spite of the various claims and rumours about it. If (a) is false, then there is no substance to its denial by either Laqueur or anyone else, since it is not informative to assert that an acknowledged piece of fiction is a piece of fiction (i.e., to assert a tautology).

The gist of this piece is to establish that the "soap story" was (1) widely believed and cited by Jewish and non-Jewish sources, (2) later proved to be false, (3) fabricated by the Jews. However, the real message of the entire piece lies in its final sentence:

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"That so many intelligent and otherwise thoughtful people could ever have seriously believed that the Germans distributed bars of soap brazenly labelled with letters indicating that they were manufactured from Jewish corpses shows how readily even the most absurd HoIocaust fables can be -- and are -- accepted as fact."

The thrust of this final sentence is (1) the Jewish soap story is untrue, thus (2) other claims about the Holocaust are also false (by arguing from metonymy). Thus, all that leads up to the final sentence is an attempt to establish the soap story as a typical, representative Holocaust story and by denying it to deny other Holocaust stories.

Tab 2. 66 Questions and Answers on the Holocaust

This document is presented in style which invites the interpretation of factual questions and specific answers, again with a pseudo-scholarly tone Like all information seeking questions, each of the questions presented here carries with it one or more presuppositions. If such presuppositions are not accepted by the reader, the sense (i.e., meaning) of the question and its answer are lost. Consider a few examples.

41. Can bodies be burned in pits?

No. It is impossible for human bodies to be totally consumed by flames in this manner because of lack of oxygen.

This question contains two crucial presuppositions: (1) someone claims that bodies can be burned in pits, and (2) such burning would result in total consumption. Note that no reference is given for who makes such claims and no justification is given for the claim, if it exists, that such burning results in total consumption. The answer provided to the question is only sensible if the reader accepts these two presuppositions.

47. If six million people had been incinerated by the Nazis, what happened to the ashes?

That remains to be "explained". Six million bodies would have produced many tons of ashes, yet there is no evidence of any large ash depositories.

This question presupposes that the Nazis did incinerate six million people. However, it is logically possible, for example, that Nazis could have killed the six million but not incinerated them all (some could have been buried, etc.). However, for the question to be sensible, for it to be placed in a context observing the Gricean principles, the reader must accept the presupposition. Moreover, as every serious scientist and historian must logically recognize, the absence of evidence for some X does not imply evidence of absence of that X.

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Finally, the pseudo-scholarly tone of this document is revealed by the absence of serious scholarly form, but more importantly by a remarkable and insulting cynicism. Consider, for example, the crass trivialization [sic] human life in the answer to question 39:

39). What is the difference if six million or 300,000 Jews died during the Second World War?


The response attempts to make a sick play on the ambiguity of the phrase "What is the difference....?" The author chooses to represent his dismissive attitude toward the value of Jewish lives by exploiting the mathematical sense of difference rather than its ethical or moral sense. It is hard to imagine a more powerful means of showing disdain and utter contempt for a group of persons.

Tab 1. Did Six Million Really Die

This document is simply the articulation of a Holocaust- denial position. It contains many familiar assertions found in Holocaust denial literature and serves to establish a well-defined position dealing with a view of the Holocaust which places blame on the victims of the Holocaust, while at the same time portraying the aggressors (the Nazis, sometimes equated with all Germans) as the real victims.

With these few comments on the three documents as background, I turn now to specific discourse analyses of particular passages. In each of the analyses, I cite the passage under consideration and then provide analysis. Each passage is identified by both title and tab reference in the book of documents provided to me by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Specific Analysis

Tab 5. Mission Statement (p. 1)

"To claim that World War II was fought by the Germans, as the Holocaust Lobby incessantly claims, to kill off the Jews as a group, is a deliberately planned, systematic deception amounting to financial, political, emotional and spiritual extortion. The "Holocaust, " first sold as a tragedy, has over time deteriorated into a racket cloaked in the tenets of a new State religion. "

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