Holocaust “Revisionism” or Holocaust Denial?

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Table of Contents

The Question

Let’s get straight what we’re saying. It’s true that “revisionists” don’t like to be called “Holocaust-deniers.”

The question for this web page: is the term accurate?

Some might ask why we need the term “denier” at all. Why not call them what they want to be called? (Frank Miele, among others, argues for this position.)

The answer is that the term “revisionist” is misleading. Historical revisionism is an honest process that occurs all the time. Any work that examines a well-understood facet of history and comes to a radically new conclusion may be said to be revisionist history. Some works are more strongly revisionist than others.

However, so-called “Holocaust revisionism” is not history at all; it is dishonest. Calling their efforts “revisionist history” is like calling the Piltdown man hoax [broken link]“revisionist science.”

It’s not history. It’s fraud.

The Answer

To be a Holocaust-denier, one would have to deny the facts implied in the term “Holocaust” as it is generally used. Let’s examine the definition of the word as given first by Greg Raven of the IHR [page not ready]

Mr. Raven wrote [page not ready] in 1994 that:

For the purposes of this discussion, I am using a fairly generic definition of the word Holocaust, which is
the murder of six million Jews
as a central act of state by the Nazis during the Second World War,
many in gas chambers.

So, someone who denied these things would be a Holocaust-denier, right?

Mr. Raven later explained his views:

Revisionists DO say
that there was no German program to exterminate Europe’s Jews,
that numerous claims of mass killings in “gas chambers” are false,
and that the estimate of six million Jewish wartime dead is an irresponsible exaggeration.

Astoundingly, Mr. Raven first presented these views together in the same article, prefaced by the admonition “I do not deny the Holocaust happened.” [!]

This was in his “challenge” post, his first big entrance to the Internet, on April 20, 1994. You may see the full context by referring to Nizkor’s complete archive of Mr. Raven’s posts to Usenet in April 1994 [page not ready]; but here is an unedited excerpt:

First, I do not deny the Holocaust happened. Let me repeat that. I do not deny the Holocaust happened. For the purposes of this discussion, I am using a fairly generic definition of the word “Holocaust,” which is “the murder of six million Jews as a central act of state by the Nazis during the Second World War, many in gas chambers.” If anyone has a problem with this definition, I invite you to provide your version.
Second, here is what Holocaust revisionists REALLY say: The Jews of Europe suffered a great tragedy before and during the Second World War. Many were mistreated, and many died under horrific conditions. However, a) there is no evidence that the Nazis had a plan or policy of exterminating the Jews, b) there is no evidence that there were homicidal gas chambers for murder [sic] Jews, and c) the figure of six million Jewish victims is an exaggeration.

This isn’t a one-time occurrence that Nizkor has struggled to find, either. This is simply how Greg Raven states his position. For example, when interviewed by the L.A. Times for a story which saw print on October 28, 1996, Mr. Raven repeated himself in almost identical words:

“We do not deny the existence of the Holocaust,” he said. “That’s a lie put forth by our opposition. We do say the claims of the Holocaust have been exaggerated.
We believe there was no Nazi plan to exterminate the Jews during World War II.
We also believe there were no Nazi gas chambers,
and we also believe that 6 million Jewish victims [of the Holocaust] is an irresponsible exaggeration.”

(This story was available online at but has been relegated to their archives.)

In March 1992, in a discussion forum [page not ready] on the GEnie network, Mr. Raven explained that the Holocaust was a “myth” and a “hoax.” Furthermore, there was no evidence that “there was such a thing as a Holocaust”:

Category 15, Topic 4
Message 20 Fri Mar 13, 1992
G.RAVEN at 00:36 ESTTo M.Feins, The Holocaust IS a hoax, and not only for one moment but for nearly 50 years now. And not merely possibility, but fact. No gas chambers!
Category 15, Topic 4
Message 33 Fri Mar 13, 1992
G.RAVEN at 03:02 ESTFor those who ask what I mean when I say I doubt the Holocaust myth, I will say that in my study of both exterminationist and revisionist sources, I have found NO documents, NO photos, NO confessions, NO trial transcripts, NO forensic evidence, and NO eyewitness testimony that comes even close to proving there was such a thing as a Holocaust[…] The fact that there is NO evidence to support the Holocaust myth is Another Big Clue. […] If anyone would like to receive some information about the Holohoax from my perspective, I have a limited quantity of pamphlets that I would be happy to mail to you.

(The all-caps are Mr. Raven’s emphasis; the strong style is Nizkor’s.)

Mr. Raven went on to repeatedly use the term “Holohoax.”

This pattern repeats for almost all Holocaust-deniers. Ernst Zündel’s Zündelsite [broken link], for example, contains these claims over and over. Here are three examples chosen pretty much at random:

Official state policy towards the Jews in the Third Reich was emigration, not extermination.
No gas chambers operated in German concentration camps expressly for the purpose of killing human beings.
What proof exists that the Nazis killed six million Jews? None.[broken link]

Or, one can just read their straightforward statement on the matter:

There is no proof that the Holocaust, as depicted by the Holocaust Promotion Lobby and the highly politicized Hollywood industry, actually occurred.

Bradley R. Smith [page not ready] claims to be in pursuit of “open debate,” and often appears not to take sides, saying he only wants to allow “revisionists” to speak their peace. But what does he himself believe? He explains in “What I Believe, What I Don’t, and Why [broken link]“:

…I no longer believe the German State
pursued a plan to kill all Jews
or used homicidal “gassing chambers” for mass murder.

And, here’s how he defines “revisionist theory,” as posted to Usenet [page not ready] in September 1994:

…I’ve decided to post a generally agreed-upon (by revisionists) definition of revisionist theory. It’s probably been posted before. To wit:
No plan, no budget,
no weapon (that is, no homicidal gassing chambers), and no victim (that is, not one victim identified as having been gassed in a gassing chamber in any of the half dozen so-called “death” camps).

Australia’s Adelaide Institute [page not ready] explains the meaning of the Holocaust on their home page. (Early in 1997, they moved some this text around; see also their About the Institute page).

People who claim that during World War II, the Germans gassed millions of Jews are levelling three allegations at the Germans:
1. The Germans planned the construction of huge chemical slaughter houses;
2. The Germans constructed these huge chemical slaughterhouses during the middle of World War II; and 3. The German used these huge slaughterhouses
to exterminate millions of Jews.

Just a few paragraphs later, after stating “We are not ‘holocaust deniers,'” they write:

We proudly proclaim that to date there is no evidence
that millions of people were killed
in homicidal gas chambers.
What proof is there to back up these claims? Firstly, where are the plans of this enterprise? […] To date, there has been no proof offered to the world.

Their next sentence[broken link] quotes Robert Faurisson [page not ready], who refers to the holes through which Zyklon-B was inserted into the gas chambers:

Robert Faurisson sums it up well: “No holes, no Holocaust!”
The Institute’s director, Frederick Töben, repeated that theme twice in correspondence [page not ready] about the Holocaust in 1996.

And, as we have seen, Greg Raven has no qualms about referring to the “Holohoax” and the “Holocaust myth.”

It is not inaccurate to call this attitude “Holocaust-denial.”