Combating Holocaust Denial

The Holocaust has been an undisputed fact of history since WW2. Yet there are people out there who deny that it ever happened, or that the events presented to us are altered in some way, be it death count or how the prisoners were actually treated. This belief first appeared almost immediately after the end of World War 2, as people were just learning about the brutality of the Nazi regime.

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A combination of shock and horror of the violence that could be inflicted upon another human being made belief difficult, and had people creating lighter, less horrific stories to ease them.

Historically, Holocaust Denial started as the Nazis destroying all documents of their deeds as to cover up what happened in the horror camps. Then later, people were appalled at the reports that came out regarding the concentration camps. Not to mention that previously, there was an anti German account in the papers called The German Corpse Factory that made fallacious claims. These lies undermined the validity of the news from the camps and made sending relief difficult. Furthermore, when put on trial, the Nazis claimed that the camps were lies put up by the Brits in an attempt to get them sentenced, and cited the Corpse Factory as proof that they had lied once before. Actually the Corpse Factory story is cited as a particular reason for why people doubted the Holocaust because, as the Christian Century put it The parallel between this story and the ‘corpse factory’ atrocity tale of the First World War is too striking to be overlooked.

Some early major players in denying would be several members of the SS. They claimed that the Holocaust was nothing but a lie spread throughout the world to discredit and vilify them. They were able to able to build some form of a defense because of precautions they took during, the germans wrote down as little as possible about their plans/ orders to avoid having documents fall into oppositions hands. Most of the killing orders were communicated verbally, particularly with the higher-ups. Hitler’s order to kill Jews was issued only on a need-to-know basis. The leaders generally avoided detailed planning of killing operations, preferring to proceed in a systematic but often improvised manner. The Germans destroyed most documentation that did exist before the end of the war, making it hard to pin them with the crime. With a lack of documented evidence, they were able to convince some of the population that the Holocaust was a lie.

Even the modern heralds for Denial, cite this lack of documented evidence as an important detail for denying. Most notable modern denyers include; B.o.B who said in his song Flatline Do your research on David Irving, Stalin was way worse than Hitler, That’s why the POTUS gotta wear a kippah. Historian David Irving, who was cited by English court “”for his own ideological reasons persistently and deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence”” as well as distorting historical evidence in his books to portray Hitler in a favorable and sympathetic light. Irving’s beliefs have shifted wildy to Hitler was bad to Hitler was great, even going as far as to say that he and Hitler had a spiritual connection and that it was his job to wipe away the slime that was unjustly applied. Bobby Fischer, chess grandmaster and eleventh world chess champion,was also anti semitic. Jan Hein Donner, Dutch Grandmaster, wrote that at the time of 1961, “”He idolized Hitler and read everything about him that he could lay his hands on. He also championed a brand of anti-semitism that could only be thought up by a mind completely cut off from reality.””. There is also Fred A. Leuchter, infamous for his botched and unscientific report titled the Leuchter Report which has been disproven and has been criticised for a complete disregard for the Scientific Method.

These people all had different ways of coming to the belief that the Holocaust was wrong. Irving apparently read several reports and heard several accounts from sources that were later proven to be fallacious, biased, and generally incorrect, although the damage was done, and he started endorsing denial movements. He even got all the neo nazis in England to join one faction that he presided over called Focus. This venture fell short though due to lack of funds. B.o.B seems to have been influenced by the writings and lectures of David Irving, once again, saying in his song Flatline that Irving had done his research and that Stalin was worse than Hitler. Leuchter changed when he was asked to provide a paper detailing if gas chambers existed at Auschwitz to provide defense at Ernie Zundel’s trial. Ernie was a photo retoucher who also operated a small-press called Samisdat Publishers which published and distributed Holocaust-denial material such as Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood. In 1985, he was convicted under a “”false news”” law and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment by an Ontario court for “”disseminating and publishing material denying the Holocaust””.

The Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg was a witness for the prosecution at the 1985 trial. But his conviction was overturned in an appeal on a legal technicality, resulting in a second trial in 1988, in which he got himself again convicted. The 1988 trial included Fred A. Leuchter, David Irving and Robert Faurisson as witnesses for the defense. Leuchter report was presented as a defense document and was published in Canada in 1988 by Zundel’s Samisdat Publishers, and in Britain in 1989 by Irving’s Focal Point Publishing. In both of his trials, Zundel was defended by Douglas Christie and Barbara Kulaszka. His conviction was overturned in 1992 when the Supreme Court of Canada declared the “”false news”” law unconstitutional. Zundel has a website, web-mastered by his wife Ingrid, which publicises his viewpoints. This website landed him in more legal trouble as, in January 2002, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal delivered a ruling involving a complaint with his website, in which it was found to be defying the Canadian Human Rights Act. The court ordered Zundel to cease spreading his hate messages. In February 2003, he was arrested again in Tennessee based on an immigration violations matter, and few days later, Zundel was sent back to Canada, where he tried to gain refugee status. Zundel remained in prison until March 1, 2005, when he was deported to Germany and prosecuted for disseminating hate propaganda. In 2007, Z??ndel was convicted on 14 counts of incitement under Germany’s Volksverhetzung law, which bans the spread of hatred against a portion of the population.

During this the details of how the Leuchter report came out. He traveled to Auschwitz with a draftsman, a cinematographer supplied by Z??ndel, a translator fluent in German and Polish, and his wife. Once at the former Auschwitz concentration camp site, and another at the Majdanek concentration camp. At these, they filmed Leuchter illegally collecting what he said were quality samples of materials from the wreck of the former gas extermination facilities. His wife and translator were lookouts in case authorities came around. Drawings of where the samples were taken from, the film footage of the sample collection and Leuchter’s notebook detailing the work were given to the trial court as evidence. Leuchter claimed that his work and writings were based on his expert knowledge of gas chamber operation, his visual inspection of what remained of the structures at Auschwitz, and original drawings and blueprints of some of the facilities. He said that the blueprints had been given to him by Auschwitz Museum officials. When questioned about his authority on the subject, he admitted that he wasn’t a toxicologist, he only had a B.A. in art, and then went to say that he didn’t need to be a toxicologist to study toxicology samples. The judge presiding over the hearing said that his methodology was “”ridiculous”” and “”preposterous””, and dismissed many of the report’s conclusions on the basis that they were basically “”second-hand information””, and refused to allow him to testify on the effect of Zyklon B on humans because he had never worked with the substance, and was neither a toxicologist nor a chemist. The judge even dismissed Leuchter’s opinion because it was of “”no greater value than that of an ordinary tourist””. Several of the people Leuchter claimed to have helped him, like DuPont and the officials that gave him the blueprints for the crematoria at the concentration camps, have said that they never helped or offered to help, and that he basically lied.”

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