By Ashitha Nagesh on metro.co.uk Tuesday 30 Jan 2018.
Between 1941 and 1945, the German National Socialists carried out the worst genocide in history.
The National Socialists – Nazis – systematically and horrifically murdered around six million Jewish people in Europe. They rounded their victims up into ghettos, imprisoned them in labour camps, and killed them in purpose-built gas chambers.
The following sentence shouldn’t need to be said, but sadly it does – all of the above facts are true.
Despite being repeatedly refuted, disproven and even outlawed in many countries, denial and distortion of the Holocaust unfortunately remains rife.
But it may be even more insidious than many people realise – because saying ‘the Holocaust didn’t happen’ isn’t the only way that people deny the Holocaust. Denying the scope of the Holocaust – by questioning the death toll, or the methods – is also a form of denial. Suggesting that Jewish people exaggerate or exploit the Holocaust to their own benefit is a form of denial.
And how many times have we seen campaigners comparing their issue to the Holocaust? For example, when some animal rights activists compare animal slaughter to the Holocaust, or anti-abortion campaigners saying that abortion is the Holocaust of the 21st century. This is common in a lot of activism, but it is a form of Holocaust distortion known as ‘trivialisation’. The difference between trivialisation and other forms of Holocaust denial and distortion, however, is that it is not often motivated by anti-Semitism.
In fact, some forms of Holocaust denial are so thickly shrouded in the guise of ‘open debate’ that people may not immediately realise what they’re witnessing.
The only reason to deny the Holocaust is to inculcate and foster anti-Semitism. The Holocaust has the dubious distinction of being the best-documented genocide in the world – so for anybody to disbelieve, they’ve got to come to it with some sort of pre-conceived notion.
– Deborah E. Lipstadt, Emory University Professor
Most are familiar with overt Holocaust denial – where people say, outright, ‘the Holocaust never occurred’. This denial can be traced to Nazi Germany itself, when Heinrich Himmler, Reichsführer of the SS, told SS generals in Poznan that the mass murder of European Jews should remain a secret and go unrecorded. The Nazi destruction of concentration camps at the end of the war was another instance of crude denial.
Since then, pseudoacademics motivated by anti-Semitism have claimed to ‘prove’ that the Holocaust didn’t happen, basing their claims on fabricated figures and false science. Many have attempted to use academic rigour to mask their falsehoods – for example Arthur R. Butz, a Northwestern University engineering professor who published ‘The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry’ in 1976; William David McCalden, who founded the anti-Semitic Institute for Historical Review (IHR) in 1978; and Fred Leuchter, a self-proclaimed specialist in execution methods, travelled to Auschwitz and wrote ‘Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, Poland’ in 1988 – only to be exposed in 1990 as having no engineering degree, licence to practice, or training in biology, toxicology or chemistry. Despite these revelations, the most ardent Holocaust deniers continue to use Leuchter’s false report to support their claims.
These outright deniers aren’t particularly subtle. They usually claim that the gas chambers were a fabrication, the Nazis had no official policy or intention to exterminate the Jews, and that six million Jewish people were not systematically murdered during WWII.
Read the whole article on metro.co.uk