Together with the re-emergence of anti – Semitic sentiment, Holocaust denial is also becoming widespread in our time. There are many that share the mind of President Ahmadinejad of Iran that the Holocaust is a great hoax. According to them, its design is to shame Germanyand to justify the establishment of the state of Israel.
The list of names propagating Holocaust denial includes Willis Carto, Revilo P. Oliver, Robert Faurisson, Arthur Butz, David Irving, Henri Roques, Bradley Smith, Mark Weber, Ernst Zundel, and David McCalden. Even though these people were considered propagandists by mainstream scholarship and lacking the necessary academic credentials, the issues they raised became central on the debate about the very existence of the Holocaust itself.
The first issue is about the absence of a unified master plan to annihilate the Jews. It is argued that there is no sufficient evidence that Hitler ordered the extermination of the Jews. Despite of the seizure of tons of German documents after World War 2, no one can identify the existence of such document.
Holocaust proponent responds that lack of a single document does not mean absence of annihilation plan. The mass murder of the Jews should be understood as a gradual process developed out of numerous directives. Hitler’s speeches on several occasions revealed his real intent against the Jews and the Holocaust was just realization of those speeches.
Holocaust denial also capitalizes on the absence of gas chambers in concentration camps proving that genocide did not really happen. It was claimed that sources for the study of gas chambers were unreliable. Testimonies of such gas chambers remain in memory of survivors and most of what was known happened during postwar trials. Deniers assert that such sources were largely influenced by subjective and complex factors.
Among the issues raised by Holocaust deniers, the absence of gas chambers was easily dismissed by numerous evidences about its existence. The fact remains that gas chambers were the primary tools used to execute the Jews during the Holocaust.
The credibility of the outcome of Nuremberg trial is also in question. The confessions of Rudolf Hoss, commandant of Auschwitz before the Nuremberg international military tribunal were considered false, for they were obtained by beating Hoss himself and threatening his family.
Holocaust advocates responded to this by explaining that the procedure in prosecuting Nazi war criminals was lengthy and complex. Differing legal traditions and political agendas were represented. The defendants had access to 206 attorneys and 136 of whom came from Nazi party. If ever there were excesses, it was on the side of too much leniency toward the Nazis.
Holocaust denial includes the unreliability of the testimony of survivors among its issues. It was contended that objective documentation proving the genocide was non-existent. These revisionist scholars proposed that the testimonies of survivors should be settled through free inquiry and open debate for the public to know what really happened to European Jews during World War 2.
On the other hand, refuters claim that no serious Holocaust scholar has entirely depended on survivors’ testimony as conclusive evidence. Instead, they based their conclusion on primary sources including German documents, numerous published sources, writings of Nazi policy makers, and large volume of correspondence.
The primary issue central to Holocaust denial is the lack of basis for the death of six million Jews. Various sources conjecture different data such as 5.1 million and 4.6 million. Even the statistical death from Auschwitz differs. The Allied forces reported 4 million deaths. This was contradicted by revisionists and gave different figures like 1.1 million, 775,000, and 120,000.
Defenders of Holocaust claim that revisionists manipulate relevant references claiming that Jewish population remained stable before and after World War 2. This made the 6 million deaths a fabrication. Refuting this claim, demographic studies of European Jewry demonstrated that nearly 6 million Jews perished under Nazi’s control. Many scholars have confirmed this number. After nearly 50 years of study, many historians agree about the essential accuracy of this data.
After knowing the basic issues denying the Holocaust and their refutation, one wonders about the difference in report. Which camp serves as faithful reporters of historical evidences? Is it the camp of Holocaust denial or the camp of those who affirm it?
You could find more information about Holocaust denial here: