The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Letter to the Editor
Public & Access Services Quarterly


The following Letter from Mark Weber to PASQ editor Virgil L. P. Blake is copyright 1997 by The Haworth Press, Binghamton, New York. It was published in Public & Access Services Quarterly, Vol. 2 (3) 1997, pages 45-48. Article copies are available from The Haworth Document Delivery Service: 1-800-HAWORTH, E-mail address: getinfo@haworth.com

[Note: For a well-documented answer to this letter, see John Drobnicki's response

A LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Dear Dr. Blake,

"Holocaust-Denial Literature in Public Libraries," the informative article in Public & Access Services Quarterly, Vol. 1 (1), regrettably contains a number of serious errors and distortions.

The article's authors seem entirely unfamiliar with the Holocaust revisionist literature, about which they write with such apparent authority. For example, even a cursory look at the works they cite disproves the assertion that revisionists "always" spell Holocaust with a lowercase h. To the contrary, every noteworthy revisionist scholar, as well as the leading revisionist periodical, The Journal of Historical Review, invariably spells it with an upper-case H.

Similarly inaccurate are claims made about the Institute for Historical Review, the foremost publisher of Holocaust revisionist literature. The IHR is not, and never has been, "under the institutional control of the ultra-right Liberty Lobby. " In fact, Liberty Lobby and its weekly paper, The Spotlight,, viciously attack the IHR. The Spotlight even absurdly claims that our Institute has been "taken over" and is " controlled" by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith!

While it is true that Liberty Lobby boss Willis Carto was at one time associated with the IHR, he has had no association whatsoever with this Institute since September 1993.

Noontide Press is not a subsidiary of the IHR. The two are related but distinctly separate entities. The Journal of Historical Review, of which I am the editor, has been published since 1980 by the IHR. It has never been published by "IHR/ Noontide."

The definition of Holocaust revisionism provided at the beginning of the article is maliciously inaccurate. Revisionist scholars do not believe that "concentration camps, gas chambers and the entire concept of genocide was just one huge 'hoax' concocted by 'Zionists' and their cohorts."

Holocaust revisionists do not "deny" the terrible persecution and suffering of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Revisionist scholars such as French professor Robert Faurisson and best-selling British historian David Irving acknowledge that hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed and otherwise perished during the Second World War as direct and indirect result of the brutally anti-Jewish policies of Germany and its allies. Irving, for example, has documented mass shootings of Jews in the occupied Baltic region.

At the same time, revisionists point out, for example, that numerous specific Holocaust claims have, over the years, been quietly abandoned as untrue. For instance, apparently persuasive evidence presented at the Nuremberg Trial of 1945-46 "proving " that prisoners were gassed at the Dachau and Buchenwald concentration camps is now universally recognized as worthless.

Among the article's other misrepresentations is the description of the doctoral thesis of French scholar Henri Roques , which the IHR publishes under the title The 'Confessions' of Kurt Gerstein. This revisionist work has earned praise from recognized scholars such as British historian Hugh Trevor-Roper, who lauded it as "an entirely legitimate, scholarly and responsible work of Quellenkritik [source critique] on a limited but important subject."

Misleading is a charitable way to characterize the article's description of the IHR's legal dispute with Auschwitz survivor Mel Mermelstein. What readers are not told is that his campaign against the IHR came to a dramatic end on September 19, 1991, when his $11 million lawsuit against the IHR was dismissed in Los Angeles Superior Court. Judge Steven Lachs granted the IHR's motion for dismissal of his malicious prosecution complaint, and soon afterwards Mermelstein himself dismissed his libel and conspiracy complaints. Mermelstein's appeal of the ruling was unanimously rejected by the California Court of Appeal on October 28, 1991.

Contrary to the impression given by the authors of this article, Holocaust revisionists represent a diverse range of political views and racial and ethnic backgrounds, including Jewish. In fact, Jewish revisionists have come under particularly intense criticism, and even physical violence, for their dissident views about the Holocaust.

The generally acknowledged founder of scholarly Holocaust revisionism was Paul Rassinier, a French educator and underground Resistance activist who was arrested by the Gestapo in 1943 and interned until the end of the war in the Buchenwald and Dora concentration camps. Rassinier's courage and suffering were later recognized with France's highest decoration awarded for Resistance activities, and he was elected to the French National Assembly as a deputy of the Socialist party (SFIO).

Rassinier's principle writings about his concentration camp experiences and the wartime treatment of Europe's Jews are published by the IHR under the title The Holocaust Story and the Lies of Ulysses.

If the revisionist view of the Holocaust were really as absurd as this article suggests, it would not have gained the support of university professors such as Arthur Butz and Robert Faurisson, historians such as David Irving and Harry Elmer Barnes, and former concentration camp inmates such as Paul Rassinier. These individuals did not decide publicly to reject the orthodox Holocaust story-- thereby risking public censure, and worse--because they are fools, or because their motives are evil, but rather on the basis of a sincere and thoughtful evaluation of the evidence.

True friends of intellectual freedom and open inquiry are deeply disturbed by bigoted efforts to suppress dissident scholarship about the Holocaust. At least one person, a French teacher named Francois Duprat, was murdered because of his revisionist views. In a few countries, it is a crime to distribute revisionist books that are readily available in libraries across the United States, and in many other countries of the world.

Mark Weber
Editor
The Journal of Historical Review
Institute for Historical Review

[Note: For a well-documented answer to this letter, see John Drobnicki's response
Newport Beach, CA


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