A Brief History of Holocaust Revisionism

Willis A. Carto

I am not the first to point out that every person who sets down history in some measure revises that which has gone before, or there would be no point to his efforts. In the U.S., which is the focus of this essay, the term 'historical revisionism' was first used to describe the work of historians after the first World War who debunked the war guilt theory which undergirded the Versailles Treaty, the left-over wartime propaganda that Germany was singularly guilty for that pointless and tragic war. In this effort, Dr. Harry Elmer Barnes was prominent, although not the only historian involved. Thus, it was only natural that the term 'Holocaust revisionism' came into use to describe a process that began immediately after the second World War, a process in which Dr. Barnes was involved, although this time, rather quietly, for the peddlers of false history relative to 'The Holocaust' - as the extermination tale has come to be known - are far stronger, better organized, fueled by vast quantities of money, and able to stifle the writings and tar the reputation of anyone so foolish as to contradict the extreme thesis that six million Jews were gassed or otherwise dispatched by the National Socialists.

This writer's education into the credibility of the six million thesis began, when I came across a simple letter to the editor of Our Sunday Visitor in the June 14, 1959, issue written by Steven F. Pinter, who claimed to have been in Dachau for 17 months after the war as a U.S. government attorney and said there were no gas chambers there or in any other detention camp in Germany. This simple letter could not outweigh the tons of newsprint and books concerning the Holocaust, of course, but from that time forward I began weighing the evidence on both sides instead of accepting the exterminationist thesis uncritically. I was a potential Holocaust revisionist.

The first writer to seriously debunk the Holocaust, aside from early critics of the Nuremberg War Crimes trials who only mentioned it marginally, was a remarkable Frenchman, Paul Rassinier, a Socialist who had himself been a German wartime detainee, or as they say, 'concentration camp survivor'. His first two books, Passing of the Line and The Lies of Ulysses, were published in French in 1948 and 1950, respectively (Editions bressanes, Paris), followed by many more book, perhaps the most famous being The real Eichmann trial, or the incorrigible vanquishers and The Drama of the European Jews.[1]

In Germany, Dr. Dr. Dr. Franz J. Scheidl started as early as 1945 to write a comprehensive work about The History of the Defamation of Germany consisting of eight volumes, four of which were dedicated to the 'Holocaust' and other propaganda of WWII.[2] The manuscript was finished in 1950, but because no publisher dared to touch it, the author published a revised version himself as late as 1967.

Meanwhile, in California, a sometime Stanford history professor, Dr. David Hoggan, was working on what became the first book in English on the same subject. Apparently, he began his labors in 1960 and by 1968 had mailed copies of the manuscript to friends and others he knew would be interested. How many copies he sent out is unknown, but it is known that he sent copies to Barnes, Ralph Townsend of Springfield, Virginia, Prof. James J. Martin of Colorado Springs, and Tom Serpico, publisher of Catholic miscellany and historical books in Hawthorne, California. This manuscript, an account of inconsistencies in the Holocaust tale, was written anonymously, although I assume that many persons who received it knew the identity of the author. After he read it, Tom Serpico passed his copy to me.

I reasoned - incorrectly as it was - that the author was probably Barnes, whom I did not at that time know personally. I asked Tom if he was going to publish it and he was not. Being the proprietor of a small publishing house, The Noontide Press, I immediately published it in 1969, citing the author as Anonymous and writing a brief introduction using a pseudonym, E. L. Anderson. To it I appended four short articles that had appeared in The American Mercury magazine which I published at the time. One of the articles was by Dr. Austin J. App, titled, "That Elusive Six Million", which had appeared in the Summer 1966 issue of Mercury. The volume consisted of 104 pages of the Hoggan manuscript plus the four page introduction and 13 pages of reprints from Mercury, including Dr. App's seminal article. I was genuinely surprised to learn, shortly after the book's publication of its first printing of 2500 copies, that the real author was David Hoggan.[3]

In 1972 in England, Richard Verral, under the pseudonym of Richard Harwood, brought out the first edition of Did Six Million Really Die?[4] Later editions were titled Six Million Lost and Found. Largely a republication of Noontide's The Myth of the Six Million in an illustrated 8.511 format, with some additions and textual changes by Verral, millions of copies of this 'new' edition of the Noontide book have since been circulated (including in tabloid newspaper format edition) and it has been translated into several languages.

In 1973, Thies Christophersen published in German his personal account of Auschwitz entitled The Auschwitz Lie.[5] In 1974, it was published in English and has become one of the most widely-distributed documents in the field.

In 1975, Earl W. Thomas of Silver Spring, Maryland, had Barnes translate Rassinier's Drama of the European Jews, added a foreword by Michael Hardesty and published it under Steppingstones Publications. Later, in 1978, with the blessing of Rassinier's widow and under the imprint of The Noontide Press, I published a library-quality hardbound compilation of Rassinier's various works under the title, Debunking the Genocide Myth - A Study of the Nazi Concentration Cams and the Alleged Extermination of European Jewry.[6]

In 1976, the first edition of Arthur R. Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century appeared in England. In 1978, I published the first American edition of this full-sized, indexed, 315-page, heavily-documented work through The Noontide Press. Later, after I set up the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), the IHR assumed publication of the Butz book. The book was mentioned even in the mainstream press and has gone through ten printings.[7]

In late 1978 and early 1979, Dr. Robert Faurisson, then professor at the University of Lyon, France, published his two famous revisionist articles in the renowned French newspaper Le Monde, challenging the gas chamber myth, which caused a major uproar in France.[8]

In 1979, the German Judge Dr. Wilhelm Stäglich published his book The Auschwitz Myth, in which he critically analyzed the evidence for the 'Holocaust', mainly as presented during the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trial in 1963-1965.[9] This book of high scholarly standards caused a major furor in Germany, leading to its confiscation and burning, the withdrawal of Stäglich's PhD title by the once famous University of Göttingen, and the change of German penalty law to outlaw revisionism.[10]

The year 1979 was a significant year for Holocaust revisionism in general with the sponsorship of the First International Revisionist Conference in Los Angeles, the founding of the IHR, and the preparation of the first issue of The Journal of Historical Review (datelined Spring, 1980) and mailed to former subscribers to the Mercury, which I suspended at that time to make room for the new publication. Volume One, Number One of the Journal was devoted to printing the papers delivered to the 1979 conference by Udo Walendy, Dr. Austin J. App, Louis Fitzgibbon, Dr. Arthur Butz, and Prof. Robert Faurisson.

Between that issue of the quarterly Journal and the Winter, 1992 issue were 43 others, all issued on time except for a single issue combining the Summer, Fall and Winter, 1984 issues, a circumstance required by the firebombing and total destruction of the IHR by arsonists on July 4, 1984. At least $400,000 in book, video and magazine inventory, all internal records including book manuscripts, all equipment and furniture were a total loss.

After this debacle, it was uncertain that the IHR could continue. However, my wife Elisabeth and I decided to attempt another incarnation which, by dint of hard labor and a growing public acceptance of Holocaust revision, became even more successful than before - until October 1993, when the IHR came under the control of others.

During the period beginning with its founding through 1993, in addition to the 45 issues of the Journal, the IHR brought out the following books regarding the Holocaust:

  • 1979, Anne Frank's Diary a Hoax, Ditlieb Felderer;
  • 1983, The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry, Walter Sanning (aka Wilhelm Niedereiter);
  • 1986, The Auschwitz Myth, Judge Wilhelm Stäglich;[11]
  • 1987, No Time for Silence, Dr. Austin J. App;
  • 1989, The Confessions of Kurt Gerstein, Henri Roques,

as well as many other books on other aspects of historical revisionism, wartime propaganda and the promotion of piece.

Today, the two primary periodicals in the English language that carry historical revisionism are The Barnes Review (TBR), a 72-page bimonthly of which I am the publisher,[12] and the more scholarly magazine The Revisionist (TR), a 120-pages quarterly of which Germar Rudolf is the publisher.[13] In addition to Holocaust revisionism, both magazines carry forward the tradition of historical revisionism that began after World War I to which it adds revision of all historical subjects from the prehistoric period to contemporary.

As the owner of Theses & Dissertations Press, Germar Rudolf also publishes a series called HOLOCAUST Handbooks, of which Dissecting the Holocaust was the first issue.[14] In the back of this book, the reader can find detailed information about other books of this series.


For a more comprehensive history of Holocaust revisionism, see Carlo Mattogno, "The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews: Part II", The Journal of Historical Review, 8(3) (1988), pp. 261-302; online: vho.org/GB/Journals/JHR/8/3/Mattogno261-302.html.

[1]Le Véritable Procès Eichmann ou les vainqueurs incorrigibles / Le Drame des juifs européens, Les Sept Couleurs, Paris 1962/1964 (online: www.vho.org/aaargh/fran/archRassi/vpe/vpe.html and .../archRassi/dje/dje.html.
[2]Geschichte der Verfemung Deutschlands, 8 Vols., published by author, Vienna (partly online: www.vho.org/D/gdvd_2)
[3]This book, including all appendices, is available online at: vho.org/GB/Books/tmotsm
[4]Online available at www.zundelsite.org/english/harwood/Didsix01.html
[5]Die Auschwitz-Lüge, Kritik No. 23, Mohrkirch 1973.
[6]Online: www.vho.org/aaargh/engl/RassArch/PRdebunk/PRdebunkIntro.html
[7]Online partly at: www.vho.org/GB/Books/thottc
[8]Le Monde, Dec. 29, 1978, and Jan. 16, 1979.
[9]Der Auschwitz-Mythos, Grabert, Tübingen 1979 (online: vho.org/D/dam).
[10]The so-called "Lex Engelhard" was introduced in 1985; re. Book confiscation, see Wigbert Grabert (ed.), Geschichtsbetrachtung als Wagnis, Grabert, Tübingen 1984; re. Withdrawal of PhD-title, see DGG, "Bundesverwaltungsgericht im Dienste der Umerzieher. Erstmalig Doktorgrad aus politischen Gründen aberkannt", DGG 36(3) (1988), p. 18 (online: vho.org/D/DGG/DGG36_3_2.html); DGG, "Unglaubliches Urteil im Fall Dr. Stäglich", ibid., 36(1) (1988), p. 7 (online: .../DGG36_1_1.html).
[11]Online: codoh.com/trials/tristagintro.sht.
[12]Address: 130 Third Street SE, Washington, D.C., 20003; online: www.barnesreview.org
[13]Address: PO Box 257768, Chicago, IL 60625; online: www.vho.org/tr
[14]For an update on this series, see www.vho.org/GB/Books/HHS.html.

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