Follow the Money

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Follow the Money

Since the 1984 fire-bombing that destroyed the IHR office, they are understandably cautious about revealing their location to outsiders. Situated in an industrial area, the office has no sign on the building, which is entered through a glass door with one-way mirrored coating. The door is dead-bolted at all times so one must be identified and admitted by the secretary working in a small office in front. There are several offices for the various staff members, and considerable shelf space for their voluminous library. Not surprisingly, World War II and the Holocaust is the major focus of their resources. In addition, a warehouse filled with back issues of the journal, pamphlets and promotional materials, books and video tapes, is part of their catalogue business which, they claim, in addition to subscriptions, accounts for about 80% of their revenue. The other 20% comes from tax-free donations (they are a non-profit organization). Whatever funds they were receiving through Willis Carto have now dried up with the recent falling out and subsequent lawsuits with the former founder of the IHR.

In February, 1994, Director Tom Marcellus did a mass mailing to their members with “AN URGENT APPEAL FROM IHR” because they had “been forced to confront a threat to the editorial and financial integrity . . . that in the past several months has drained, and continues to drain, literally tens of thousands of dollars from our operations.” Without the readers’ help the “IHR may not survive.” Carto is then accused of becoming “increasingly erratic” both in personal matters and in business, and that he “involved the corporation in three costly copyright violations.” Most interestingly, and in keeping with the movement’s attempt to disassociate themselves from earlier anti-Semitic connections and present themselves as objective historical scholars, they accuse Carto of changing “the direction of IHR and its journal from serious, non-partisan revisionist scholarship, reporting, and commentary to one of ranting, racialist-populist pamphleteering.” (This shift is not unlike that made by the Institute for Creation Research, in distancing themselves from the more radical fundamentalists who were preventing them from making inroads into the mainstream.)

As a result of the ensuing battle between Carto and the IHR, the corporation’s board of directors voted to sever the ties between the two. Carto apparently did not take this lying down. According to the IHR, among the many things Carto has done to them (including having “stormed IHR’s offices with hired goons”), he “puts out the fantastic lie that the Zionist ADL has been running IHR since last September.” The letter concludes with a dramatic promise by Bradley Smith that if the IHR really is being run by the ADL, “I’ll fly to Washington, DC, call a press conference, and eat my shorts on the front steps of the Liberty Lobby.”

Before this break the IHR leaned heavily on the “Edison money,” a total of about $15 million willed by Thomas Edison’s granddaughter, Jean Farrel Edison. According to Irving (1994), about $10 million of that money was apparently lost by Carto in “in lawsuits by other members of the family in Switzerland,” and the remaining $5 million was made available to Carto’s Legion for the Survival of Freedom. “From that point on it vanishes into uncertainty. Certain sums of money have turned up. A lot of it is in a Swiss bank at present.” The story is complex but will be sorted out through the courts. David Cole predicts that “the IHR is going to have to depend a lot more on journal and book sales.” The job of rescuing the Institute falls on the shoulders of Marcellus, says Cole, and following the money leads us to their right-wing, anti-Semitic backers (1994):

What Marcellus realizes is that in order to keep the IHR in the black they have had to cater to the far right. I think if you were to look at their book sales you would see that some of the more complex, really solid historiographical works probably don’t sell as well as Henry Ford’s International Jew or the Protocols of Zion, or some of the other things they sell. If they had to rely on the sales of Holocaust revisionist works alone they’d be screwed. They have to cater to the money. There are a lot of elderly people with money saved or with social security checks, who want to spend the last years of their life fighting the Jews. Bradley can get checks for $5,000, $7,000, $3,000. These people are very, very wealthy, and completely anonymous. There is a lot of money to be made by getting a really good ideological mailing list and the IHR has one that caters mainly to people of the far right.

At the time of this writing (June, 1994) it remains to be seen whether this split with Carto will take down the IHR. They won a judgment against Carto on December 31, 1993, where Judge Robert J. Polis ruled that Carto had exercised control beyond his legal authority. They are now suing Carto for damages caused by his raid on the IHR offices that destroyed equipment and ended in fisticuffs; as well as other monies which, Weber claims, went “to Liberty Lobby and other Carto controlled enterprises. Probably the money has been frittered away by Carto but we are trying to track this down” (1994b). Nevertheless, they are still planning their 1994 “Twelfth International Revisionist Conference” in Los Angeles, location to be announced only to paying attendees (at a pricey $355.00). The JHR continues to be published. Promotional literature and their book/video catalogue are regularly mailed out. Even if the IHR does not survive the break with Carto, we must remember that the revisionist movement is not a homogenous group held together through this organization. Zuendel, for example, is “presently negotiating a deal with an American satellite company who promised me that they can get a signal over Europe that can be picked up on satellite dishes.” His goal is to move revisionism into the mainstream in Europe and America, where “I think in another 15 years revisionism will be discussed over pretzels and beer” (1994).

Work Cited

Shermer, Michael. “Proving the Holocaust: The Refutation of Revisionism & the Restoration of History,” Skeptic, Vol. 2, No. 4, Altadena, California, June, 1994. Published by the Skeptics Society, 2761 N. Marengo Ave., Altadena, CA 91001, (818) 794-3119.

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