Socialist Worker

Obscene denial of Nazi death camps

Issue No. 1680

David Irving 'Holocaust denial' libel trail

Obscene denial of Nazi death camps

By Charlie Kimber

A LIBEL case which began in the high court last week centres on the greatest crime in history, the Holocaust - the Nazis' murder of six million Jews. David Irving is suing US academic Deborah Lipstadt. Her book says that Irving denies the existence of the Holocaust as a historical fact and wilfully distorts history. Lipstadt says her remarks are justified. Disgracefully, the case will not be heard by a jury but only a judge, because of the "complexity" of the evidence.

The Holocaust was the result of divide and rule taken to its most terrible extremes. It was the mass killing of a whole group of people who had been identified as scapegoats for the problems in society. The Nazi ruling class officially vilified Jews as sub-human and worthy only of death. It is over 50 years since the liberation of concentration camps like Auschwitz revealed proof that vast numbers of men, women and children were gassed and then hurled into ovens. But still an international network of Holocaust deniers says this mass murder is a myth.

As Deborah Lipstadt writes in her book, "The central assertion for the deniers is that Jews are not victims but victimisers. They 'stole' billions in reparations, destroyed Germany's good name and won international sympathy for what they claimed had been done to them." Those who have been centrally involved in Holocaust denial include:

  • Robert Faurisson: A former professor of literature at a French university, Faurisson says that the "so called gassings of Jews were a gigantic politico-financial swindle". He argues that the killings are dubious because no death camp victim has given eyewitness testimony of actually being gassed. This incredible demand is not only nonsensical, it also ignores the evidence of those who had to drag the bodies from the gas chambers. Faurisson's lies have encouraged people like French National Front leader Le Pen to describe the Holocaust as a "mere detail" of history.
  • William McCalden: Although he did much of his work in the US, McCalden was born in Belfast and was once an official in the British Nazi movement the National Front. In the US he was a founder of the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), set up to spread Holocaust denial propaganda. McCalden is now dead but the IHR lives on.
  • Arthur Butz: a professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University in Illinois, Butz published The Hoax of the Twentieth Century in 1976. Although he has tried to pose as a scholar with no political links, his books are promoted by the Ku Klux Klan and Nazi groups. His "theory" is that the "Holocaust myth" is a vast conspiracy perpetrated by Jews, communists, the US government, the British government, the USSR and the Red Cross.
  • Willis Carto: active since the 1950s in Nazi circles, Carto founded the Liberty Lobby. His mission is to explain that "Jews and negroes" are out to undermine the US and the West in general. The Liberty Lobby sponsored a conference in 1994 where one session included David Irving speaking with former Ku Klux Klan leader and US Nazi David Duke.

"The gas chambers at Auschwitz which they show to tourists are a fake."

  • IRVING to meeting of the far right German National Party, 1990

"The Jews are very foolish not to abandon the gas chamber theory while they still have time."

  • IRVING to the Jewish Chronicle, 1992

"You may be pleased to know that your relatives almost certainly died of typhus."

  • IRVING to woman outside the high court last week whose grandparents were killed in Auschwitz

By his friends so ye shall know him

ACROSS THE world Holocaust deniers look to David Irving. Last week the defence's opening statement from Richard Rampton QC exposed some of Irving's disgusting history. Rampton showed that in 1977 the first edition of Irving's Hitler's War accepted that the Holocaust had occurred. Instead of outright denial that it had happened, Irving's "thesis" was that Hitler was not responsible for what happened.

Rampton told the court that "Irving went to considerable lengths to achieve his exoneration of Hitler". This included the deliberate misrepresentation of extracts from the private files of top Nazi Heinrich Himmler. But, Rampton explained, much worse was to follow from Irving's pen. By the second edition of Hitler's War in 1991, said Rampton, "All traces of the Holocaust, in the sense of systematic mass murder of the Jews in purpose-built extermination factories, had disappeared. "Auschwitz, for example, had been transformed from a monstrous killing machine into a mere slave-labour camp."

Irving's "conversion" followed the 1988 trial in Canada of Ernst Z�ndel. Z�ndel, author of such books as The Hitler We Loved and Why, had published material which denied the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. As part of his defence Z�ndel recruited the help of Fred Leuchter, "a consultant in the design of execution facilities in the USA." Leuchter went to Auschwitz and collected samples from the buildings. He "analysed" these and claimed there had not been mass murder in gas chambers.

Irving, who gave evidence in support of Z�ndel, was so enthused by Leuchter's report that he published it himself in Britain with an appreciative foreword. Rampton said last week, "The Leuchter report is bunk and Mr Irving knows it. It was comprehensively debunked in court in Canada." None of this had moved Irving. His new views, which denied mass murder at Auschwitz, found a warm welcome among extreme right wingers and Nazis. As Rampton told the court last week, "Mr Irving has done a lot of public speaking over the years. His audiences often consist of radical right wing neo-fascist, neo-Nazi groups of people.

Groups like the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi, white supremacist organisation in the USA, gatherings of 'revisionists' - in truth, largely Holocaust deniers - the British National Party and so on." In 1991 a college meeting Irving addressed in Canada was picketed by Jewish and left groups. Irving told his supporters, "They're zeroing in on the university: 'Nazism not welcome here. Self professed moderate fascist...' I strongly object to the word moderate."

He added, "I don't see any reason to be tasteful about Auschwitz. It's baloney. It's a legend. I say, quite tastelessly in fact, that more women died on the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Oh, you think that's tasteless. How about this? There are so many Auschwitz survivors going around, in fact the number increases as the years go past. I'm going to form an association of Auschwitz survivors, survivors of the Holocaust and other liars, or the ASSHOLS."


What we think

Never again!

THERE IS only one reason for denial of the Nazi Holocaust. It is to make it possible again. For Nazis themselves the fact that the Holocaust happened does not matter. Indeed, they celebrate it.

But they know that all decent people are sickened by it. So they systematically lie. If the Holocaust deniers' lies were believed it would be easier for Nazi groups to grow.

Instead of the anti-Nazi slogan, "Never Again!" the Holocaust deniers say, "It never happened." Holocaust deniers should be confronted whenever they raise their heads, and Irving's books should be banned from every public, college and school library.


Books that tell the truth

TO FIND out the truth about the Nazis and the Holocaust read:

  • Donny Gluckstein, The Nazis, Capitalism and the Working Class.
  • Martin Gilbert, Atlas of the Holocaust and The Holocaust: the Jewish Tragedy
  • Any of the works by Primo Levi, particularly If This is a Man and The Drowned and the Saved.

All of these are available from Bookmarks socialist bookshop, phone 020 7637 1848.

  • Contact the Anti Nazi League on 020 7924 0333. They can supply you with pamphlets and campaigning material against the Holocaust deniers.

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Thu 20 Jan 2000, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1680
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