My Path to Historical Revisionism
I was born here in Turku, Finland, in 1978, and have lived here all my life. As a boy I was very interested in ancient history, especially the history of the Roman Empire. My best grades in high school were in history and religion.
Because I loved history, naturally I read lots of history books. When I first read William Shirer's The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, it immediately became a favorite, mainly because Shirer's prose is so lively. There is not a single boring page. My copy has numerous underlinings and notations in the margins, which shows that I did not just read it through. From Shirer I learned how the Nazis tried to eliminate Jews and Slavs from Europe. It was most of all because of this book that I came to think of Hitler and his followers as the most evil people to ever walk the planet. Shirer's book reflected my own political outlook. Although nowadays I'm ashamed to admit it, for a short time I was even a member of a Communist youth organization.
But soon I realized that Marxian Socialism had an even bloodier history than National Socialism. And even though I continued to regard Hitler and Nazism as very evil, I returned to conservative values.
When I was about 15 years old I read an article in a local magazine about British historian David Irving. I was shocked to read that he had spoken to a neo-Nazi meeting in Germany, where he was cheered when he told the crowd that the Auschwitz gas chamber was built after the war by the Poles. "Irving must be mad," I thought. "Anyone who denies the Holocaust must be completely crazy because there's so much undeniable evidence for it."
At about that same time I saw a documentary film on Finnish television, "Profession: Neo-Nazi," which showed an arrogant young Nazi at Auschwitz telling visitors that gassings of prisoners in the gas chamber there were physically impossible. It also showed man named Ernst Zundel. After viewing that film, I naturally regarded him, along with Irving, as one of the world's most evil liars.
In a standard reference book in Finland, Mitii Missiz Milloin ("What, Where, When"), one reads, under the entry for "Oswiecim," that "about four million people, mostly Jewish, were exterminated at the Auschwitz concentration camp there between the years 1940-45."
About a year ago, when I was at a meeting in Stockholm, I met a man who told me that he didn't accept the Six Million figure of wartime Jewish deaths. I replied by saying that I was willing to believe that this might be exaggerated, and that the true figure might be about four million. He responded by saying that it's much less than that, and he told me about Paul Rassinier, a French wartime resistance activist who was interned in German concentration camps. Rassinier, I learned, put the number of wartime Jewish dead at about one million. That's impossible, I thought. The man also told me that, in his view, David Irving is a serious historian. I strongly disagreed, telling him that I regarded Irving as a neo-Nazi.
A few months ago I read a book, written by a University of Turku historian, that mentioned "Holocaust denial" groups in the final chapter. It specifically cited the Institute for Historical Review, which was described as tool of neo-Nazis to whitewash wartime Nazi crimes. As far as I was concerned, the IHR was nothing more than a small group of Nazis thousands of kilometers from Europe who wrote ridiculous articles denying obvious facts that historians have established on the basis of massive documentation and eyewitness testimony.
But what this book told about the Leuchter Report [the 1988 forensic report about Auschwitz "gas chambers"] made me think. It quoted Leuchter's conclusion, which was something like this: "After a thorough examination of the alleged execution facilities in Poland and their associated crematories, the only conclusion that can be arrived at by a rational, responsible person is the absurdity of the notion that any of these facilities were ever capable of, or were utilized as, execution gas chambers."
I began to wonder: Could I have been wrong? Could William Shirer have been wrong? And, most unbelievable: Could all the prominent Holocaust historians be wrong?
On the Internet I quickly found the IHR web site, and from there links to other revisionist web sites. On the VHO site, I was startled to read about modernday collective hatred against Germans. What a claim, I first thought to myself. And yet, when I was in junior high school, all the classes went to see "Schindler's List," which was the first film I saw that I did not myself choose to watch. And now in Berlin, more than 50 years after the end of the war, a huge memorial to Holocaust victims is being built. Isn't that like a reminder to Germans: You are a nation of murderers!
I was struck to realize that laws in Germany, France and other countries that make it a crime to deny the Holocaust really do violate human rights. I was reminded of Communist-era laws. To be a good citizen, you must believe in the Holocaust. And how painful it must be for Germans, who have to believe that their fathers and grandfathers were murderers.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had swallowed the Holocaust tale whole. I soon understood that whether Hitler was a devil or a saint is not relevant to real historical understanding. When I realized how I had mixed politics and history, I became a revisionist almost overnight.
Now looking at that period skeptically, I pondered the evidence presented by Shirer for the Holocaust, above all the "confession" of Auschwitz commandant Hoss - which I learned had been extracted by torture. I considered that all the Nuremberg Tribunal judges were from the victorious, Allied side. I also considered the case of Nuremberg defendant Julius Streicher, who was sentenced to death even though he held no official state position during the war. The more I thought about it, the more that Nuremberg seemed like a murder tribunal.
I sent away for the marvelous, detailed report [compiled by Barbara Kulaszka] on the 1988 Toronto Zündel trial, Did Six Million Really Die?. Now I would like your help organizing a revisionist group here in Finland. I have already found some supporters.
V. L. Turku, Finland
While hopping about the web researching a novel I am writing, I recently came across the article about Simon Wiesenthal [from the July-August 1995 Journal]. Having read many books on World War II (as well as being the child of a WWII vet), I found the article intriguing to say the least. I found it incredible that the points made in the article could be true until I checked a few of the sources cited. Very interesting and very helpful. Thank you for shining a truthful light in the world.
S. L. S. (by e-mail)
A Record of Misanthropy
As I make my way through Kevin MacDonald's book, Separation and its Discontents [reviewed in the May-June 1998 Journal], I am generally impressed - once I got past the first chapter, which is packed with incomprehensible sociological jargon.
My interest grew tremendously as I read his survey of the history of anti-Semitism. As MacDonald shows, the same complaints about Jews keep emerging century after century, in widely divergent nations and cultures, both Christian and non-Christian, European and non-European. The persistence of this pattern forces one to consider that these complaints may have some basis in fact.
This book also helps me to understand the Jewish passion for socialism. It's always difficult to discern the real motives of others, but having closely observed the phenomenon for many years, it is my strong impression that socialism is a manifestation of misanthropy That is, the socialist despises his fellow man.
As Kevin MacDonald points out, Jews have been prone to misanthropy for centuries, as suggested by the persistent pattern of complaints against them wherever they have lived.
C. C. The Woodlands, Texas
Irving's Doomed Libel Suit
As I recall I said, at a dinner in New York with some revisionists around last Christmas time, that to the extent that Irving claims that Lipstadt damaged his reputation in any measurable sense, he will lose. Irving was not black-balled by the publishing industry because of Lipstadt's book. There was not the element of what American lawyers call "but for cause."
Most of the time the trial considered other issues whose involvement in a libel suit was hard to understand. However, as the legally vital claim of damage by, specifically, the Lipstadt book, could not be sustained Irving's position was hopeless from the outset.
Arthur R. Butz Euanston, Illinois
No Gas Chamber in Dachau
The May-June 1993 Journal of Historical Review (page 12) contains a letter by Dr. Martin Broszat [of the Institute for Contemporary history in Munich] regarding the Dachau concentration camp. Broszat mentions a gas chamber there, never completely finished or put into operation.
Toward the end of World War II I was a US Army captain on the staff of Ambassador Robert Murphy, political advisor to General Eisenhower. I was at Dachau about a month after it had been liberated, either the end of May or the beginning of June, 1945. There was no gas chamber there, nor did I see one in the process of construction. What did occur was
that some higher authority in the American occupation government, whether a civilian or military, I don't know, decreed that a gas chamber should be built, which was subsequently done.
I was also at the Buchenwald camp a few days after it was liberated on April 11, 1945. There was a crematory there but no gas chamber.
Homer G. Richey Charlottesuille, Virginia
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