Very good rejoinder. Excellent, careful, painstaking work. We will try to run it in the next issue. Meantime, here's a clipping for your archives from 1921. All the best,
Feb 4, 2011
What sort of TRUTH is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?
What sort of TRUTH is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?
What sort of TRUTH is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?
by Carolyn Yeager
The activities of the Irgun dominate Wiesel's life and attention in 1948.
This propaganda poster was for distribution in central Europe. It was designed in 1937 by the wife of a Polish reserve officer who was working with Irgun representatives. [See story below: Irgun in Central/Eastern Europe] The entire area was called Eretz Israel and was claimed for a future Jewish state.
Dear Readers, As it has turned out, there is much to relate about this one year of 1948 before we get to Elie's travels. Therefore, I ask for your patience once again. When we left off in Part I, he had just gone to work for the Irgun newspaper, Zion in Kamf. It was November 1947. Here is how he describes his vision of the underground "resistance" at this time.
Strangely, this sounds like the "ideas and ideals" of the National Socialists in Germany in the 1920's who sought the way to lift themselves out of the humiliation and extreme economic hardship imposed on them by the Versailles dictate. But to young Wiesel, the only suffering worth seeing or talking about was that of the Jews. He had not a thought or concern about the native people in Palestine and what was happening to them, just as the Jews of the previous inter-war generation had no concern for the Germans they were exploiting. These others, for him, could not be seen as the "weak and oppressed," but only as the new enemy that must be overcome by whatever methods were necessary. To Wiesel, even in his youth, only the Jewish militant fighters were "noble" when they carried out their tough and "necessary" actions.
Wiesel admits that by going to work for the Irgun in Paris he was: "risking neither death nor imprisonment. Even deportation from France was unlikely. Stateless persons were rarely deported, that was one of the few advantages of the status." (Rivers, p162)
I am not going to argue that "The Holocaust didn't happen." My position is that some of it happened and some of it didn't happen. Specifically, my thesis is that there were no gas chambers in the Nazi concentration camps. I am going to give six reasons for this:
In the last couple of days (May 19-20, 2005) some people have been posting links to this page on various sites. In spite of what I just said, they give the title as "Six Reasons the Holocaust didn't happen."
Why am I surrounded by morons????
Of course the Holocaust happened, in a general sense. The question ishow much of it happened. Only an idiot would say "the Holocaust didn't happen." The other side tries to pretend that revisionism is "Holocaust denial." When you say "the Holocaust didn't happen," you are just playing right into their hands, and discrediting revisionism.
Now, to continue what I was saying, here are the six reasons why the gas chamber story is a lie -
1. The physical evidence -- the rooms themselves.
This has to be the starting point. If you could go to Auschwitz and find a room that was obviously a gas chamber, then there would be no such thing as revisionism. That would settle the matter once and for all. The problem is, when you go to Auschwitz and look at the room that is supposed to have been a gas chamber, you find a room that is obviouslynot a gas chamber. That's why revisionism is possible. That's why revisionism is necessary.
The basic fact in the whole subject is that the room that is supposed to have been a gas chamber isn't a gas chamber.
If I were teaching Psychology 101, I would use this as a paradigm case of beliefs governing perceptions. Some people look at those pictures and see a gas chamber. Others look at the same pictures and see a morgue. This is like that experiment where everybody in the room says the red pencil is longer, and the experimental subject, whose eyes tell him the green pencil is longer, is afraid to contradict the group.
My eyes tell me that the green pencil is longer, and I'm going to say so, even if it's illegal to say it (especially if it's illegal to say it): the very idea that people were gassed in that room or any such room is absurd on its face.
2. The gap in the documentary record.
If there were documents covering the whole sequence of events, then there would be no such thing as revisionism. The problem is, the documents one would expect to find do not exist. We have documents relating to every aspect of the war, including every aspect of the Holocaust, except for the gassing of the Jews. It is not possible to gas six million people, or to do anything else involving millions of people, without leaving a paper trail. If the gassing happened, there would be thousands of documents to verify it, starting with the planning stages and continuing throughout the course of events. But no such paper trail exists.
3. The gap in the photographic record.
If there were photographs of the whole sequence of events, including photographs of piles of corpses in gas chambers, then there would be no such thing as revisionism. That would settle the matter immediately. The problem is that no such pictures exist. We have photographs of every aspect of World War II, including every aspect of the Holocaust,except for the gassing of the Jews. There are photographs of Jews getting off the train at Auschwitz, photographs of Jews in the camp, and photographs of bodies in mass graves, but there are no photographs of anyone being gassed.
4. The testimony of witnesses doesn't prove that there were gas chambers.
There are three points that need to be made about witnesses.
a. The witnesses are not unanimous. Some witnesses didn't say anything about gas chambers.
For example, Jan Karski wrote a report in the fall of 1942 in which he stated that he visited the camp at Belzec to investigate rumors of extermination. He said the Jews were being killed by electrical shocks in a room with a metallic floor. In 1944, he published a book in which he said that the Jews were being loaded into wagons filled with quicklime and left to die outside the camp. Neither the article nor the book says anything about gas chambers. Now, of course, the official history of Belzec says nothing about electrical shocks or wagons filled with quicklime. We are supposed to believe that the Jews at Belzec were killed in gas chambers. But Jan Karski, who was there at the time (so he says), said nothing about gas chambers.
b. Witness testimony about gas chambers doesn't stand up under examination.
One of the witnesses who is quoted as an authoritative source is Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, the supposed author of Auschwitz, a Doctor's Eyewitness Account. There really was a Dr. Nyiszli. He was a Hungarian doctor. He was sent to Birkenau (not Auschwitz), where he worked in the pathology lab under the infamous Dr. Mengele. After the war, he testified at the Nuremburg trials. He died in 1949. The book was published in 1951. Throughout the book, the author says he was in Auschwitz. He says there were four crematoria at Auschwitz. In fact, there was one crematorium at Auschwitz, and four at Birkenau. Obviously anyone who was there would know that. Anyone who was there would know which camp was which. At the end (page 206), when they are evacuating in January of 1945, the author says
We left, filled with the feverish sensation of liberation. Direction: the Birkenau KZ, two kilometers from the crematoriums.
Dr. Nyiszli didn't leave Auschwitz and go in the direction of Birkenau. He was already in Birkenau. This is just the most glaring impossibility in a book full of impossibilities. This book was not written by Dr. Nyiszli. It couldn't have been written by anyone who was there. And yet this book is cited as one of the most authoritative witness statements.
If you read only one book about the Holocaust, that book should be Auschwitz, a Doctor's Eyewitness Account. Let them give you their best shot. Use your own judgment. Is this book an eyewitness account, or not?
c. Witnesses by themselves don't prove anything.
Suppose a hundred thousand witnesses claim that something happened. Does that mean it happened? There are probably a hundred thousand people who have "seen a UFO" at one time or another in the last fifty years. Does that mean there are flying saucers in the sky? There are hundreds of people who say they have not only seen UFOs, they have been in them. They have been abducted. They will tell you in vivid detail about their experience, and they have no obvious motive for lying. Does that mean it happened?
Go back and look again at the "gas chamber" - if someone says he saw people being gassed in that room, does that mean it happened?
5. The fact that standard reference books can't be trusted.
In the summer of 1995, when I was a novice in this subject, I went to a debate between Michael Shermer, editor of Skeptic magazine, and Mark Weber, a revisionist. It was supposed to be a debate, but actually it was what Michael Shermer calls a "meta-debate." Dr. Shermer tried to pretend that there was nothing to argue about. However at one point he did condescend to say something about the evidence. He said that if anyone really wants to look at the evidence for the gas chambers, the place to look is Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, by Gutman and Berenbaum, especially the article by Pressac.
It probably never occurred to Dr. Shermer that anyone would actually read the book, but I did. I searched all over Los Angeles for this book, and finally found it at the UCLA bookstore. I read Pressac's article, including the footnotes. Many of his assertions about gassing are not documented at all. When Pressac does give footnotes, they can't be checked out. Most of them are of the form "Oswiecim, BW 1/19" or "Moscow/October Revolution, 7021-108-32, 46."
However, there is one exception. Pressac says, on page 234,
The first gassing in crematorium IV did not go well. An SS man, wearing a face mask, had to climb a little ladder to get to a "window," then open it with one hand and pour in the Zyklon B with the other. This acrobatic routine had to be repeated six times. When the gas-tight doors were opened to evacuate the gas, it was noticed that the natural aeration was ineffective; a door had to be cut immediately into the north corridor to get an air current flowing. 
The footnote for this paragraph is:
143. Auschwitz Album (New York, 1980), photo 112.
This can be checked out. The Auschwitz Album is out of print and hard to find, but at least one doesn't have to go to Poland or Russia. Eventually I found a copy in a library, and eagerly looked up photo 112. This photo has nothing to do with the paragraph quoted above. In fact, none of the photographs in the Auschwitz Album has anything to do with that paragraph.
In other words, the only footnote I was able to check turned out to be bogus.
As far as I know, the Auschwitz Album is not available online. (Since writing this I have discovered that part of it is available here.) I'm not going to scan photo 112 and post it here. This is left as an exercise for the reader. Do you care if the gas chamber story is true? How much do you care? Enough to go to the library and check out footnotes? What Michael Shermer is counting on is that almost no one will do this.
What I'm counting on is that a few people will. It only takes a few, in the beginning. At every university, I hope at least one student or professor will care enough about academic honesty to look up photo 112, and then will have enough courage to speak up. Make no mistake, it does take courage. Consider what happened to David Cole and other revisionists.
More information about Pressac and his footnotes can be found on the Dead Footnotepage. I have added some new and somewhat ironic comments to this page in October of 2004. It's not as simple as I thought.
6. The fact that Hitler declared his intentions openly, and the Nazis committed atrocities openly.
Conventional historians account for the lack of photographs and documents by claiming that the Holocaust was so secret that no photographs were ever taken, and no incriminating documents were allowed to exist. This is supposed to have been true even when the Final Solution was in the planning stages, as far back as 1941.
Hitler talked about exterminating or annihilating the Jews on many occasions. For example, here is a sentence from Mein Kampf. (This is from page 338 of the Houghton-Mifflin hardback edition. Other references to extermination may be found on pages 169 and 679.) Hitler wrote,
The nationalization of our masses will succeed only when, aside from all the positive struggle for the soul of our people, their international poisoners are exterminated.
We are supposed to believe that Hitler announced to the world that the Jews would be annihilated, and at the same time went to great lengths to maintain the pretense that they were not being annihilated. The intention was declared openly, but the act itself was so secret that the Nazis never even discussed it among themselves. This is nonsense.
On page 679 he said this:
If at the beginning of the War and during the War twelve or fifteen thousand of these Hebrew corrupters of the people had been held under poison gas, as happened to hundreds of thousands of our very best German workers in the field, the sacrifice of millions at the front would not have been in vain. On the contrary: twelve thousand scoundrels eliminated in time might have saved the lives of millions of Germans, valuable for the future.
At that point the "secret" was already out. Having broached the idea of gassing the Jews inMein Kampf, it would make no sense for Hitler to pretend it wasn't happening, if he actually did it. But there is no other reference to gassing in anything else he ever said or wrote. We have voluminous records of everything Hitler, Himmler, and the other Nazis said in public, and much of what they said in private, and there is no mention of gassing anywhere, even on occasions when they were talking about getting rid of the Jews.
We have a transcript of a speech (the Poznan speech) in which Himmler addressed a private meeting of the senior officers of the SS. Even if he didn't want to mention gassing publicly, he would feel free to speak plainly at a private meeting of the SS. (He would have to speak plainly at some point. They would have to discuss it among themselves. You can't do anything without saying what you are doing.) But he said nothing about gassing, even though he was talking about sending the Jews to concentration camps. He did not say "I am now referring to the gassing of the Jews, to the Ausrottung of the Jewish people." On the contrary. What Himmler said was,
I am now referring to the evacuation of the Jews, to the Ausrottung of the Jewish people.
In another private meeting (in 1941), Hans Frank mentioned the idea of killing the Jews with poison gas (or some kind of poison), only to dismiss it:
We cannot shoot these 3.5 million Jews, nor can we poison them, yet we will have to take measures which will somehow lead to the goal of annihilation...
Even at the Wannsee conference, nothing was said about gassing.
In 1941, the Nazis were winning the war. War crimes trials were the last thing on anybody's mind. (In fact there was no such concept until 1945. War crimes trials had not been a standard part of wars in the past.) The Nazis had no reason to create an illusion for posterity. They thought they were going to be posterity. They thought they would never answer to anybody for what they did. And yet we are supposed to believe that even in 1941 they were looking ahead to a postwar era in which it would be necessary to cover up their actions.
The Nazis were not shy about killing people. They committed atrocities openly. They flaunted it. We have pictures of Nazi soldiers shooting Jews in cold blood and laughing about it. These pictures were not taken surreptitiously by someone else, they were taken by the Nazis themselves. But we are supposed to believe that the gas chambers were so secret that no photographs were ever taken.
We are also supposed to believe that it would be possible to cover up an action involving six million people.
The gassing scenario is supposed to have gone like this: a trainload of Jews arrives at Auschwitz. They are separated into two groups, those who are fit for labor and those who are not. The latter group is taken to the crematorium right then. First they go to the undressing room, where they take off their clothes. Then they are led into another room, which is supposed be a shower room, or a delousing room. When they are in that room, they are locked in and gassed. A few minutes later the guards go in and drag the bodies out and take them to the ovens to be cremated.
If six million Jews were gassed, this scenario must have been repeated thousands of times. Do the math. This must have happened at least twelve thousand times, at several different camps, over a period of several years. This macabre scene is something a photographer would give his right arm for, especially since naked women were involved. But supposedly it was forbidden to take photos, so no photos were ever taken. This is nonsense. Prison guards are a law unto themselves. You can't stop them from taking pictures. Ask Lynndie England - and her many fans and imitators who think it's all a big joke. (If that page disappears, try searching for "do a Lynndie". Something will come up.) Gallows humor existed in 1943 just as much as it does in 2004.
If the gassing scenario happened at all, let alone thousands of times, there would be photographs. But there are none.
There are no photographs of anyone being gassed because nobody was gassed.
Arthur Butz is one of the great pioneers in this subject. He made the essential point thatthis has to be a simple thing.
If you are considering the question whether there is an elephant in your basement, you don't have to go down there and look around with a magnifying glass. You don't have to construct a long, involved argument to settle the question. If the elephant is there, he is obviously there, and if he is not there, he is obviously not there.
Likewise, the question of whether six million Jews were gassed cannot be an obscure question. It has to be obvious, one way or the other. That's why I began my argument with the physical evidence, the rooms themselves. Once you see that the room isn't a gas chamber, everything else falls into place. Of course there is no documentation of gas chambers. How could there be? Of course there are no photographs of anyone being gassed. How could there be? It's not a gas chamber!
The very idea that anyone was gassed
in this room or any such room
is absurd on its face.
That's the end of the six reasons argument. There are a few more things that should be discussed.
Women and children in the camps
There is another reason that I originally included in my list of reasons, but I removed it because strictly speaking it doesn't bear directly on the gas chamber question. However it is something that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere, and if you widen the context of the discussion just a little, it is relevant.
I am referring to the fact that women and children lived in the concentration camps. Anne Frank is the most famous example. The standard story that we are all supposed to believe is that when the Jews disembarked from the train, they were sorted into two groups, and the ones who were not fit for labor were taken to the gas chambers, immediately. How then could a little girl spend two months in Auschwitz, and five months in Bergen-Belsen? She finally died of typhus in March of 1945. Why wasn't she gassed in the summer of 1944, as soon as she arrived at Auschwitz?
I recently found another example. This article is not about the concentration camps per se.It is about a woman who is trying to get the Czech authorities to acknowledge her father as a resistance fighter. The camps are mentioned in passing:
After the outbreak of the Second World War Jiøina Urbanová's parents joined the antifascist resistance movement. Ema Faitová worked in Nation Revival for the famous combat unit Morávek - Balabán - Masín. The Gestapo seized both of them in the beginning of the year 1943. Father was executed by the fascists in Flossenburg in February 1945 and Mother went through the camps in Auschwitz, Birkenau, Ravensbruck and Neustadt-Gleve. Jiøina being 4 years old together with her 7-year-old brother went into an orphanage... Both the children met their mother only after the war.
Here you have a woman who went through four camps, including two of the "extermination camps." She spent two years in these camps and survived.
On the Scrapbook site (reference given below), the same phenomenon is mentioned:
When the size of the Birkenau camp is quoted as a mile long by a mile and a half wide, this measurement includes the security area around the camp and the Mexico section; the actual area where the prisoners lived is not that large. Still, I heard one survivor say that she lived in the camp for two years and never found out the location of the latrine. Another survivor who lived there as a child said that she never saw her father the whole time she was in the camp, although he was also a prisoner there.
This by itself does not imply that there were no gas chambers, but it does imply that Jews were not routinely exterminated in the Nazi concentration camps.
The following paragraphs are from an article by Mark Weber, "Pages from the Auschwitz Death Registry Volumes" (reference given below).
Consistent with the Sterbebuch records, other German wartime documents show that a very high percentage of the Jewish inmates at Auschwitz were not able to work, and were nevertheless not killed.
For example, an internal German telex message dated September 4, 1943, from the chief of the Labor Allocation department of the SS Economic and Administrative Main Office (WVHA), reported that of 25,000 Jewish inmates in Auschwitz, only 3,581 were able to work. All of the remaining Jewish inmates -- some 21,500, or about 86 percent -- were unable to work.
This is also confirmed in a secret report dated April 5, 1944, on "security measures in Auschwitz" by Oswald Pohl, head of the WVHA agency responsible for the concentration camp system, to SS chief Heinrich Himmler. Pohl reported that there was a total of 67,000 inmates in the Auschwitz camp complex, of whom 18,000 were hospitalized or disabled. In the Auschwitz II camp (Birkenau), supposedly the main extermination center, there were 36,000 inmates, mostly female, of whom "approximately 15,000 are unable to work."
The Six Million question
Revisionists argue that the number of Jews who died in the camps was much less than six million. Unlike the question of whether six million Jews were gassed, the question of whether six million Jews disappeared is far from obvious. There is nothing simple about it. You would have to know how many Jews were in Europe (especially Poland) before the war, and how many were left after the war. Reliable statistics are hard to come by. The revisionists say that a lot of Jews had already gotten out of Poland before the war, and many others migrated to the Soviet Union, America, Israel, and various other places during and after the war.
I'm not going to discuss this question in detail here. The only point I want to make is thatthe number of Jews who were killed implies nothing about how they were killed. It's a separate issue which doesn't affect my point about gas chambers.
Suppose six million Jews died in the Nazi concentration camps. This would not imply that they were gassed. In the Soviet Union, the communists killed tens of millions of people. They didn't have gas chambers in the communist concentration camps, but that didn't stop them from killing millions of people. There are lots of ways to kill people. Starvation, exposure, disease, and bullets, to name a few.
On the other hand, suppose the Revisionists are right, and only one million Jews (or even less than a million) died in the Nazi camps. What would this imply about gas chambers? It wouldn't imply anything one way or the other.
We have nothing to gain by denying anything. I despise the whole concept of "denial." We have absolutely nothing to gain by pretending that Nazi Germany was not what it was, or by pretending that anything is not what it is.
This also applies to the Jews. They have nothing to gain by lying. I think the Jews will eventually realize that the gas chamber lie is hurting their own cause, and they will abandon it. I don't know how they will manage this, since they have painted themselves into a corner that's going to be very difficult to get out of, but they will find a way. They have to find a way. Their position is untenable. If they persist with what they are doing, there is going to be a huge backlash.
They may not care about the backlash, but they should care about the effect lies have on their own minds. It's almost impossible to keep repeating a lie over and over for 50+ years without believing it yourself. If they believe their own lies, and no longer care about staying in touch with reality, then they are in more trouble than they know. They have given up their best weapon.
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who does not lift up his soul to an idol,
Or swear by what is false.
He will receive blessing from the Lord
And vindication from God his Saviour.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
And he who pours out lies will perish.
This isn't just empty moralizing. It's literally true. Idolatry means taking something to be real that isn't real. One of the basic ideas of the Old Testament is that idolatry is self-defeating. "Blessing" and "vindication" mean victory on the battlefield (among other things). The way to win battles is to see reality more clearly than your opponent.
This page is meant to be read with its companion pages:
Reply to Michael Shermer: A Logical Analysis of "Proving the Holocaust" -- This is a long article about the methodology of revisionism and anti-revisionism. Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, says the gas chambers can be proved with a "jumping together" argument. The epistemological question is whether a "jumping together" argument can ever be a valid proof of anything. This is a philosophical point that may be of interest even to those who have not read Michael Shermer's article.
Reply to Michael Shermer, the short version -- an examination of his 18 bits of evidence.
The Dead Footnote Society -- This page has further discussion of Pressac's footnotes. If you are one of those rare individuals who looks things up, and you would like to meet others in that select group, you might want to join the Dead Footnote Society.
Other pages on this site:
Ministry of Illusion - Review of a series of films from the Third Reich
The Sanskrit Story and the Third Wave - a revisionist look at Ron Jones's "Third Wave" experiment in Palo Alto, California. I argue that the story is not what it purports to be. The Third Wave didn't happen the way Ron Jones described it. It has some basis in fact, but most of it is fiction. It's a fable, intended to make a political point. However, it's notpresented as a fable. It's supposed to be historical fact. It isn't.
What is National Socialism - National Socialism is the opposite of international finance capitalism, i.e. the opposite of globalization. Under National Socialism, engineers would not lose their jobs to outsourcing, and great industrial cities would not be disintegrating and turning back to farmland. There would be no dumbing-down policy in the schools or anywhere else. Under National Socialism, there would be no such thing as multiculturalism, or political correctness, or affirmative action. Schools would not teach kids to listen to hip-hop. First world countries would not turn themselves into third world countries. Just the opposite: National Socialism represents the gentrification of the world. Strength through Joy is the heart of it. The gas chamber lie is designed to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.
The Untouchables Page - 9/11 and what can be done about it - HOW can we take our country back? It can't be done by setting up a confrontation between the people and the government. Change has to start within the government. I'm not talking about a coup. What I have in mind is to set the wheels of the law in motion. That is the only thing that could possibly work.
What I have tried to do on this page is lay out the basic logic of revisionism in its simplest form, so you can get an overview of it. There are actually many other reasons for questioning the gas chamber story. Here are some links for readers who want to pursue the subject in more detail.
The Scrapbook site -- a tour of Poland, including Auschwitz. This is not a revisionist site. I'm just including it for background. The author occasionally makes skeptical remarks, but for the most part he just tells you what the tour guides told him, so this is almost like being there and taking the standard tour that visitors get when they go to Auschwitz and the other camps.
And now, some revisionist links:
Samuel Crowell, The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes - An Attempt at a Literary Analysis of the Holocaust Gassing Claim "Samuel Crowell" is a pseudonym. The author appears to be a mainstream professor (not a professional revisionist) who doesn't want to use his real name. "The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes" is probably the most important revisionist document on the internet. As of January 2005 the CODOH site is back online, and naturally this was one of the first documents restored to the new site.
"One third of the Holocaust" - Videos that examine the Holocaust in detail. The first episode gets off to a slow start - the narrator's comments about the newspaper are silly - but be patient. It gets better after the first couple of minutes. Check out Episode #28 in particular, about Eichmann's confession.
Carlo Mattogno, The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews: Part I
Germar Rudolf, The Rudolf Report
Mark Weber's testimony in the Zündel Trial
Mark Weber, Pages from the Auschwitz Death Registry Volumes
William Halvorsen, review of The Holocaust in American Life by Peter Novick
Nick Herbert (author of Quantum Reality), Why I admire David Irving
Note added December 10, 2003
Here is an example of the level on which this page is discussed. I get a report from my ISP which tells me, among other things, where my visitors are coming from. I noticed I was getting visitors from www.livejournal.com and I decided to investigate. The following paragraph is what I found. It was posted by somebody who calls himself jihad_al_nafs (his real name is Chris, and he later changed his livejournal name to "hyperform"):
I don't think i've ever even read anywhere that anybody claims that auschwitz was used for gassing... The whole argument is strange to me. Apparently it's a popular thing for holocaust deniers to hold on to, I did a search and basically everything that came up with auschwitz and gassing were people talking about how it couldn't have happened, or at least how it couldn't have happened like "history claims." Auschwitz was a work camp. They employed the jews to assemble weapons and process rubber. It wasn't an extermination camp. In fact, it was decided early on that gas was just too messy and difficult to deal with for any of the camps to adopt it. It's not to say that people weren't gassed at some of the extermination camps like Dachau or Buchenwald; I've stood inside of Dachau and Buchenwald, they definately had sealed facilities for gassing, I saw them with my own eyes. I wish people would stop writing all this reactionary literature and just let the history and the photographs speak for themselves. If you read anything about the holocaust, you'll find that gassing wasn't very common. Shootings, starvations, and burial alive were more common.
This is TRULY BIZARRE.
Yes, children, just about everybody claims that Auschwitz was used for gassing. If you go to the library (it's that big building with a lot of bookcases, usually near the center of campus) and read any mainstream history book about the Second World War, it will tell you that six million Jews were killed, most of them by gassing. That has been the official story for more than fifty years, and it still is. In some countries you could be arrested for questioning it. Auschwitz is the most famous of the so-called "extermination camps" where the gassing supposedly took place. (Note added in 2010: Since writing this, I have discovered something. When I said "any mainstream history book," I may have overstated my case. The Holocaust was not mentioned in books written by the participants at the time. Try to find anything about the gas chambers, the six million Jews, etc. in the memoirs of Eisenhower, Churchill, and DeGaulle. All three of them somehow managed to overlook the most important event in the history of the universe. However, that does not really affect the point I am making here. It is still true that all mainstream histories of the war written since the mid-1950's repeat the official story about extermination by gassing.)
When I wrote this page, I assumed that my readers would at least know what the argument is about. It never occurred to me that the page would be read by people who don't even know that Jews were supposed to have been gassed at Auschwitz. "I don't think i've ever even read anywhere that anybody claims that auschwitz was used for gassing..." I really don't know what to make of this.
I keep hearing things about today's students, like they can't locate the Pacific Ocean on a map (even if they live at the beach), so I guess I shouldn't be too surprised, but I am still astonished when I encounter this degree of ignorance. It reminds me of The World According to Student Bloopers.
I just hope they aren't all like that.
But wait a minute. There is something about this that gives me pause. He says
I did a search and basically everything that came up with auschwitz and gassing were people talking about how it couldn't have happened, or at least how it couldn't have happened like "history claims."
So the revisionists have won, as far as the internet is concerned, and therefore we have won as far as today's students are concerned. When you do a search for Auschwitz and gassing, you find revisionist sites that explain why the official story is wrong. And since today's students live on the internet and seldom set foot in a library, that's the reality they live in. Chris has never read anything to the effect that millions of Jews were gassed at Auschwitz and the other concentration camps, because he doesn't read books, he only reads websites.
Maybe we have won, in that sense, but I'm not happy about it. It's a Pyrrhic victory. We have gained the point about the gas chambers but lost the much more important point about looking things up. In this particular case, books may lead you astray, and the internet will give you information that can't be found in most libraries. But that's not always true. I don't want students to believe that there were no gas chambers because that's what "comes up" when you "do a search." It shouldn't be a matter of belief, it should be a matter of logic and evidence -- and looking up footnotes, which can only be done in a library.
What really bothers me about this is that if the kids who participate in "livejournal" are any indication, historical memory is very, very short. It's not just Chris. When he said "In fact, it was decided early on that gas was just too messy and difficult to deal with for any of the camps to adopt it... If you read anything about the holocaust, you'll find that gassing wasn't very common," his friends didn't know enough to challenge these preposterous statements. A couple of them offered hesitant demurrals, but they weren't confident enough to tell him flatly that he doesn't know what he's talking about.
I guess it's possible that this isn't a fair sample. Maybe you have to be an idiot to participate in the livejournal discussion. But I'm afraid not. Clearly some of them are idiots, but I think most of them are typical college students. If they are typical, then most of today's students (in America, at least) have only the dimmest recollection of the most famous event of the 20th century.
If memories are really that short, then all the knowledge stored in libraries is no more permanent than a pile of leaves on a windy day.
As I said above, I hope they aren't all like that -- and in fact I know they aren't. Like any generation, this one includes the whole range from monkeys to scholars. A few students read the reply to Michael Shermer all the way through and look up photo 112. It only takes a few, in the beginning. Eventually they will restore the integrity of the history profession. It's not going to be easy, but it can be done.
For readers who are not familiar with the the canonical Auschwitz story, here are some links. They aren't that hard to find. I don't know why Chris and his friends couldn't find them. Nor do I know how anybody manages to finish high school without learning about this.
The Holocaust Memorial Center -- "The Holocaust (also called Shoah in Hebrew) refers to the period from January 30, 1933, when Hitler became chancellor of Germany, to May 8, 1945 (V-E Day), when the war in Europe ended. During this time, Jews in Europe were subjected to progressively harsh persecution that ultimately led to the murder of 6,000,000 Jews (1.5 million of these being children) and the destruction of 5,000 Jewish communities... While the Nazis murdered other national and ethnic groups, such as a number of Soviet prisoners of war, Polish intellectuals, and gypsies, only the Jews were marked for systematic and total annihilation. In the famed Nazi use of euphemism, they were marked for "Special Treatment" (Sonderbehandlung). "Special Treatment" meant that Jewish men, women, and children were to be methodically killed with poisonous gas."
Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum -- "The majority of the Jewish men, women and children deported to Auschwitz were sent to their deaths in the Birkenau gas chambers immediately after arrival."
"After all every sort of shouting is a transitory thing.
It is the grim silence of facts that remains."
-- Joseph Conrad