The Controversy about the Extermination of the Jews
"No student, no researcher and no layman should believe any facts to be
1. A German-Jewish Vision of the Future
When the cultural and social integration of the Jews in Germany became a reality in the course of the 19th century, this development also heralded one of the greatest and most fruitful symbioses that ever connected two peoples. For one, the identification of the central and partly also of the eastern European Jews with German culture and even with the German nation could not be overlooked. The high points of Jewish participation in the fate of the German nation no doubt include the many Jewish front-line soldiers of World War I, some of whom were highly decorated for their valor. Another manifestation of this solidarity, however, was the opinion widely shared by the Zionists, that the official language of the future state of Israel would be German.
But the interconnectedness of these two peoples goes much deeper than that. Who still remembers today the name Eduard von Simson, the son of formerly Jewish parents who later converted to the Protestant faith? He was the one who played decisive roles in all stages of Germany's state unification in the 19th century, a process in which he was far more important than, for example, King Wilhelm I or Heinrich von Gagern.
Who could forget the great and immensely important Jewish sector of the German intellectual elite, the philosophers and poets, scientists and artists who contributed so decisively to Germany's world-wide fame in art and science for the past three centuries? An examination of a list of Nobel laureates for the first part of the 20th century reveals not only the striking predominance of German scientists, but also, among these, the large numbers of adherents to the Jewish faith.
Could this symbiosis, so profitable for the whole world, be possible once again today?
If it seems a distant, utopian dream: why?
Today, German-Jewish relations are dominated by the accounts of suffering between 1933 and 1945. These years seem to have irretrievably poisoned German-Jewish relations, which are marked by a pattern of never-ending accusations on the one side and equally never-ending penitence on the other. What falls by the wayside is any recollection of such events of our common history that have positive value and could serve as a model for future co-existence.
It is my wish that both peoples should come together again in a partnership of mutual respect, so as to take up the traditions of an era that brought the world, Jewry, and the German people such immense benefit. It is also my wish that the time may come, at long last, where all the reciprocal contempt or disdain, mutual distrust and fear are eroded and ultimately removed. I long for the end of an era that has brought the world, Jewry, and the German people as much misfortune as perhaps no era before.
Michael Wolffsohn, Professor of History at the University of the German Bundeswehr in Munich, realized that the Jewish side in particular considers the constant remembrance of the Holocaust to be the third main pillar of Jewish identity today, right next to the Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. This attitude, however, can result in the Jewish side's perpetual consideration of Germany and the German people as 'the enemy', which can only detract from the peaceful co-existence of the two peoples. A discussion thus seems called for regarding the part which the Holocaust should play in the way Jews see themselves, so that both peoples may share a future relationship based on partnership.
A reconciliation between both people, however, requires more than that. Reconciliation can progress only in a climate which fosters speaking from the heart and listening with an open mind and spirit; where opinions are expressed rather than choked back or even suppressed; where points of contention are discussed in a civilized manner and not hidden by hushing-up, distractionism, or violence.
Therefore, it is not only a matter of a discussion of the Holocaust's proper place in Jewish self-perception; it is also a matter of the question whether historical accounts as they are presented today are correct. It is a question of whether the tendency, pointed out by Professor Wolffsohn, to remodel the Holocaust into a new transcendental pillar of Jewish identity, might have contributed to exaggerations and hence distortions of the way in which the events in question are themselves portrayed.
With this handbook of free scientific expression of opinion regarding the historiography of the Holocaust, I wish to extend a general invitation to an open discussion of these matters among equals, despite - or because of - the fact that, unlike most other publications on this topic, the position taken here is a controversial one. For the sake of such a discussion it is imperative that neither party disputes the other's honesty and desire for reconciliation. The first and foremost goal of this discussion is the joint and sincere search for truth, in order to contribute to a reconciliation between Jews and Germans, which may perhaps result in a realization of my dream of a revival of the German-Jewish symbiosis.
2. The Central Taboo of Our Time
But does this discussion, conducted in a spirit of partnership, also include the Holocaust? Whatever happened to the Jews in Hitler's sphere of control between 1941 and 1945, was it not bad enough in any case? Does any specific how and how much even matter? And so, isn't any discussion of it superfluous?
Let us assume for a moment that how and how much do not matter; to an extent, this view is certainly morally justified. Why then is there a need today for official insistence, backed up at least in most countries of Europe with threats of criminal prosecution, that things were exactly as we are being told they were, and not a whit different? If the details really do not matter very much at all, then why is there such adamant refusal to discuss them and to consider other opinions? If no one questions the morally reprehensible nature of the persecution of the Jews per se, why should it not be possible to discuss individual aspects of this persecution in a controversial manner? Is it a social taboo that must be respected, as Professor Arnd Simon said? In the mid-1980s, the theories of the German historian Professor Ernst Nolte caused a stir because he not only demanded a scientific comparison between National Socialism and Stalinism, but also introduced arguments regarding the motivation behind the National Socialist persecution of the Jews which had previously been the sole province of right-wingers, and which therefore were frowned upon. That alone sufficed to warrant criticizing Nolte severely for these breaches of taboo. Since historical and political developments as well as recent findings following the opening of the archives of former Eastern Bloc nations confirmed Nolte's position as being self-evident, the hue and cry has now died down.
However, Ernst Nolte was not content with this, and elaborated his point further: in 1993 he published his work Streitpunkte, an overview of the topics which are still in dispute regarding the historiography of the Third Reich. He included not only such points of contention as are accepted by establishment historians, but also focused emphatically on the theories of 'radical revisionism' which dispute, and attempt to refute, any planned genocide of the Jews by the Third Reich, specifically through the use of poison gas in stationary or mobile gas chambers. According to Nolte this thesis "can no longer be dismissed as merely absurd or malicious [...]."After careful examination of the revisionist body of literature, which he outlines in part, along with its theses or claims, he grants that the revisionist school of thought is based on a scientific standard which, as far as a comprehension of source materials is concerned, is at least equal to that of the establishment historians, even though he concludes that he cannot share the opinions of the Revisionists. No doubt the statements he made in his book represent a much greater breach of taboo than did those which led to the 'Historians' Dispute', since after all in this book he rendered the Revisionists and their theories and arguments socially acceptable - something which, according to Nolte, had been carefully avoided previously by means of rejection, slander or simply hushing-up. Nevertheless, his professional colleagues as well as the media kept perfectly quiet after his publication.
Needless to say that the radical leftists did take counter-measures - not in the form of published rebuttals, but in the form of violence. When Nolte was to give a lecture in Berlin in early February 1994, he was attacked and prevented from speaking by some 30 persons; not by anarchists, but by normal 'anti-fascist' intellectuals, who attacked him verbally with cries of "Nazi!", as well as physically with tear gas, blows and kicks. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung correctly called it "terrorism of conviction" in the Federal capital. I wonder whether Professor Nolte still accuses Robert Faurisson, the French Professor of Text and Document Criticism, the best-known Revisionist world-wide, of being himself partly to blame for the violent assaults against him, since after all he had allegedly phrased some of his theories in a polemic and aggressive manner?
3. Germany's Paralysis By Political Correctness
Non-German readers are probably not the only ones who will need an explanation regarding the continuing decay of democratic values in Germany and how this came about.
In a recent speech, Günther H. Rehak, Austrian Social Democrat and formerly the personal secretary to the Austrian Federal Chancellor Dr. Kreisky, showed how the anti-Fascist movement - which fights so vehemently against any critical assessment of historiography, especially that of the Third Reich - differs from the other 'anti'-movements. Whereas anti-Capitalism or anti-Communism, for example, were always a matter of personal convictions and never became institutionalized, anti-Fascism has become organizationally firmly entrenched and structured on all social levels, especially in the German-speaking countries. There are, for example, anti-Fascist cafés (such as in Vienna and Berlin), anti-Fascist bookstores, and an almost endless number of organizations that incorporate the term 'anti-Fascist' in their name or at least somewhere in their statutes. While one's reply to the question 'are you anti-Communist?' or 'are you anti-Capitalist?' has few noteworthy social repercussions, how to reply to 'are you anti-Fascist?' is becoming more and more of a sixty-four-thousand-dollar-question for people especially in German-speaking countries: anyone who then fails to clearly establish his anti-Fascist sentiments has all but disqualified himself morally.
Gerard Radnitzky has given an excellent account of the origin, mechanisms and effects of German anti-Fascist opinion terrorism, a phenomenon which is also generally downplayed as 'political correctness' (PC). While PC has shown social effects in the United States, it has remained largely without pronounced consequences in the political and especially the legal arena there, and has also prompted considerable counter-currents. Primarily in German-speaking countries, on the other hand, it has increasingly become the yardstick by which all political and legal decisions are measured. The origins of this development are complex. For one thing, by means of the provisions for compulsory licensing the so-called re-education program of the post-WWII American government in Germany ensured that socially influential positions, particularly those in the major print and broadcast media, in historiography, and in sociology, were held by decidedly anti-Fascist, i.e., pronouncedly leftist persons, and that anti-Fascist and anti-national attitudes were deliberately fostered there. There was no free press and no academic freedom at the universities until 1955, when Germany was granted partial sovereignty. Conservative or right-wing publications could not counterbalance the economic advantages held in 1955 by the media that had been established in 1945 or shortly thereafter. The same goes for certain academic circles in German colleges and universities, where ideologically defined elements constantly perpetuate themselves. And to make sure that the situation could not change in political respects either, the so-called Office for the Protection of the Constitution was established in Germany; besides combating openly Communist political parties, this Office does all it can to shunt all conservative, national or right-wing parties and their members into a juridical void. Consequently, Germany has no major conservative or right-wing media, next to no such university or college professors, and no such political parties of any significance.
The second break which Radnitzky identifies in German post-war history is the so-called 'Student Revolt' of 1968, in the course of which German students, incited by the leftist or even Communist teachings of their professors whom the Allied occupation armies had installed in the German universities two decades earlier, provoked severe riots with their pro-Communist slogans. A small part of this movement descended into left-wing terrorism that kept Germany on tenterhooks in the 1970s, while the majority of these leftists began its march into the country's various institutions. Today, in the late 20th century, this generation with its Socialist to Communist ideas is at the height of power. Its members are strongly represented in all facets of German society and are very adept indeed at bringing public opinion under their control by means of the so-called 'Fascist Two-by-Four', i.e., the way in which any and all opposition is silenced by the automatic fear of being accused of Fascist leanings. Radnitzky exposes the methods with which this manipulative, mendacious and falsifying elite uses media campaigns to bring about the downfall of persons holding dissenting opinions, and how this elite does not even balk at using or at least tolerating violence, for example in the form of assassination and arson of (insignificant) right-wing politicians or publications. The voices warning that the intellectual climate in Germany is becoming more and more poisoned by this opinion terrorism and that Germany's democracy is in grave danger are now growing louder, but of course the German media, those "enemies of free society", keep these voices from the public, and the rest of the world also studiously ignores them. Obviously, as was already the case before World War Two, a weak and self-destructive Germany, descending into a new totalitarian state in whose internal affairs the powers-that-be meddle at will, is again preferred to a strong German democracy, which would obviously present unwelcome economic, political and moral competition.
The chief mechanism with which these leftist circles hystericize and psycho-terrorize the German people is the so-called 'theory of collective guilt', sometimes veiled as 'collective shame' or 'collective responsibility'. Radnitzky gives excellent examples describing how this method attempts to hold the German people morally, politically, and economically liable for Hitler's crimes until the end of time. The prerequisites for an implementation of this concept are: 1. the absolute acceptance of all allegations of German guilt, as well as 2. the moral (and increasingly, the legal) rejection of all attempts of revision and the hushing-up of similar or even worse crimes committed against the German people by others. By now this behavior pattern has won out not only in large sectors of German historiography and the media, but is also practiced almost without exception by the German people's political representatives. And once such practices have morally branded Germany's history and the German people in their capacity as its carriers as being 'Fascist', the self-proclaimed anti-Fascists are in a morally unassailable position, with which they can get away with almost anything.
Perhaps the best analysis of the situation of the historians engaged in exploring German contemporary history was presented by Backes, Jesse and Zitelmann in 1990. They describe the sheer impossibility of getting public attention for new findings - much less even getting them published - as soon as they are considered by the public opinion to improve the image of the Third Reich. Many historians are more interested in preserving the politically correct image of this period of history rather than in supporting impartial research. Unfortunately, in most European countries the situation worsened during the last decade, perhaps because more and more historians as well as non-historians are no longer willing to accept these illegal restrictions, and as a result, the media as well as the political and legal systems in Europe react with even more persecutions and legal restrictions.
4. Total Juridical Blockade
If terrorism against one's convictions or opinions was the only problem we had to wrestle with today, we might almost consider ourselves lucky, since, after all, one might expect that the authorities would protect us from this if they want to be acknowledged as authorities of a legitimate 'state under the rule of law'. However, the problem is much greater than that, at least in most parts of Europe and, e.g., lies hidden in Article 5 of the German Basic Law, which covers the right of free expression of opinion, academic freedom, and freedom of research and teaching.
According to Nolte, and in accordance with the UN Human Rights Convention, science and research must be permitted to question everything without exception. Anyone wishing to criminalize such doubts, formulated as theses and evidence and published in an objective manner, violates the principle of academic freedom in a way which must be sharply rebuffed. But what is the situation like in reality? Can one be sure of the protection of German Law if one postulates that certain aspects of the complex described as the Holocaust of the Second World War did not take place? Let's look at some relevant court decisions. Regarding freedom of opinion and of research, these verdicts indicate that the same are limited by the basic right of the inviolability of human dignity (Article 1 of the Law), which certainly no one will contest. If someone makes slanderous statements, or such tending to public incitement, this is beyond the legal pale of the free expression of opinion. But now it has become the rule for German courts to decree that even the mere supposition that certain specifics of the Holocaust did not take place constitutes an insult to the victims of the Holocaust. For this reason, they state, such claims are not protected by Article 5 of the Law. The question arises, of course, whether the thesis that not as many Jews died as had been presumed, and particularly not in the manner believed, can possibly constitute an insult to our Jewish fellow-citizens. To reword this in neutral terms: can a person who to date has believed that all his five missing siblings lost their lives in some horrible events be insulted by a third party advancing the claim that four of the five siblings did not die in said gruesome events, but rather had been dispersed throughout the world by the upheavals of war, and had assumed different names, which makes them impossible to trace today? One might at least expect the person in question to listen to the arguments presented, and then to draw fresh hope from, or even rejoice in, this piece of potential good news. The question, in other words, is whether it can be an insult to someone to claim that a certain injustice or misfortune did not befall him or his relatives. Is it not rather the case that if the theory proved to be correct, one should be mutually happy that the injustice did not occur? In other words, the situation hinges on the proof.
But will German courts permit such proof? The German justice system works on the presumption that the Holocaust, both in its entirety and in specifics, is 'self-evident', and unrefuted by public life and events, and that therefore any claims to the contrary are considered patently false until proven otherwise. In such cases of 'self-evidentness' the German Code of Criminal Procedure exempts the Prosecuting Attorney's Office and the Court from the obligation to bring evidence in their own case. In fact, however, the courts go even farther, by interpreting the paragraph in question in such a way that the defense is not permitted to bring counter-evidence against the generally accepted tenet!
This §244 of the German Code of Criminal Procedure also offers a theoretical possibility for overcoming the court's refusal of evidence. The paragraph states that evidence already present at the trial may only be refused if it is proven to be utterly unsuitable. In other words, if, with respect to a point at issue, the defense moves to hear an expert witness who is present in the courtroom and who has been summoned by the defense in accordance with proper procedure, the Court can refuse to hear the evidence only if an examination of the qualifications of the expert witness reveals that he is not properly qualified, either by a relevant educational background or by equivalent practical professional experience, to give expert testimony on the point at issue. In actual fact, however, Federal German courts as a rule refuse not only to hear present evidence but also present expert witnesses, dispensing with any examination of qualifications on the grounds of self-evidentness or of utter unsuitability. To date there has only been one exceptional case where an expert witness was even so much as questioned on his qualifications. The court decided that the educational status of the witness as Diplom-Chemiker (academically accredited chemist) was insufficient to allow him to give expert testimony on questions relating to chemistry. That, they decided, would require at least a doctorate. It is important to note that this accredited chemist was the author of this article and that following my appearance at the court, the Central Council of German Jews intervened with my employer in order to put a stop to my activities as expert witness. There can be no doubt that this intervention contributed to my subsequent dismissal without notice from my term position with the Max-Planck-Society. Further, the University of Stuttgart denied me my doctorate despite the fact that I had met all formal and qualitative academic criteria. It is very likely that the aim of all these backstage arrangements was to ensure that I would not make even more trouble for standard historiography, a plan that did, however, fail completely.
But back to 'self-evidentness'. Since the law generally accepts that matters considered by our society and hence our courts to be patently true are not necessarily always so - old 'truths' are forever being upset by new findings - written German law grants the defense the right to disestablish 'self-evidentness' and thus to open the doors for further hearing of evidence. This may be done in two ways:
In fact, however, in recent years all motions by defense counsels to prove the superiority of new evidence have also been refused on the grounds of the self-evidentness of the Holocaust, even though the Holocaust itself was not even the point at issue in the motions; the point having been merely the claim that the new evidence was superior to the old.
Anyone who considered this suppression of evidence to be a violation of the German Code of Criminal Procedure, had to face the fact that only recently even the German Federal Supreme Court does not deign to respond to appeals brought by the defense against this state of affairs. The dismissal of motions to examine the qualitative superiority of new evidence over old on the grounds of the self-evidentness of the Holocaust was declared to be correct because it concurred with the decision-making process of all Federal German courts. In other words, the German courts cite each other as proof of their own claims.
Just recently the German Federal Constitutional Court took an especially easy way out when it decided that one particular researcher's scientific theses pertaining to the same subject represented an allegation of fact which, not being a statement of opinion, was not protected by the right of free expression thereof and hence could be banned outright. Even the testimony of an expert witness who is to appear in court to testify with regard to the topic at issue is no longer free today, even disregarding for the moment the aforementioned ruinous professional consequences which such activity entails. Presiding Judge Peter Stockhammer of the Nuremberg District Court, for example, cautioned the author of the present article that he might be committing a criminal offence if he were to support the theses of the accused, A. Vogt, which proposed that the gas chambers in Auschwitz had not existed. This was the first time that a German court stated outright that an expert witness on the subject of the Holocaust must always arrive at a pre-set conclusion if he wishes to avoid committing a criminal offense. But what are the implications of this for the value of all those expert reports drawn up to date on this subject of history, if the experts writing them never had any choice but to conform to Allied and German political handicaps? An indirect answer to this was given by a renowned expert witness, the historian Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm:
"Today the history of the Holocaust is considered to be by far one of the best-researched chapters of recent history. A closer look at this subject, however, usually reveals very quickly that our understanding is still based on a very unstable foundation. Often the congruity of the various research can only be explained by the historians' practice of uncritically copying each other's work[sic!] - while at the same time court files, which to this day are not generally accessible, continue to harbor undiscovered documents which even the prosecutors who dealt with the 'case' at the time may not remember today. Demands requiring historical expert witnesses to keep silent also at times cause the 'state of research' to lag behind the state of knowledge and awareness held by some few individuals."
So what are "demands requiring historical expert witnesses to keep silent"? This appears to be nothing less than the admission of a renowned expert witness that incomplete and thus biased testimony by those witnesses is the rule rather than the exception, i.e., that they all commit perjury, probably partly because they are convinced that this is morally (in other words, politically) correct, or because they are simply afraid of the public reaction that is to be expected if they break the unwritten rules of Germany's strongest taboo.
In light of these circumstances it seems sheer mockery that the courts state that one of the prerequisites for the disestablishment of 'self-evidentness' is that there must be noticeable public dissent, especially since anyone who dissents is mercilessly prosecuted in court and has not even the shadow of a chance to prove his objections, as he is denied the right to bring any evidence towards this end. In late March 1994, Federal Minister of Justice Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, summarily slandering all dissidents as 'neo-Nazi' liars, stated that the underlying purpose of declaring the Holocaust to be self-evident was precisely to make it impossible for those disputing certain aspects of official historiography to explain their theses and their evidence in court and in public:
"Hearing evidence [regarding the Holocaust] is therefore [i.e., due to its self-evidentness] superfluous. To many this may seem trivial, but it prevents the neo-Nazi liars from gaining a forum in the courts and the public."
The German Federal Supreme Court has decided in 1994 that, contrary to previous court practices, simply denying the destruction of the Jews in the Third Reich does not in itself constitute public incitement (§130, German Criminal Code) or incitement to racial hatred (§131). Rather, it must be proven that such denial was related to the National Socialist school of thought regarding the Jews, or alternatively that it was insinuated that the Jews had set up the 'Holocaust-Lie' in order to blackmail, plunder or destroy the German people, etc. (the "qualified Auschwitz-Lie"). In its decision, the German Federal Supreme Court confirmed again the 'self-evidentness' of the murders in the gas chambers. In other words, objective revisionist research into the Holocaust and the publication of resultant findings would not come under the threat of prosecution under §§130f., even though they cannot be presented as evidence against the 'self-evident truth' about the Holocaust. Following a massive uproar in the media, the Federal Supreme Court stated in its written opinion that the mere denial of certain National Socialist mass murders - if presented in a scholarly way or not - certainly could disparage the memory of the people (supposedly) killed in these mass murders, as well as insulting Jews living today, and might thus be punishable under §§185, 189 of the German Criminal Code.
5. From Juridical Blockade to Juridical Terror
Following this German Supreme Court decision, it was to be expected that German legislators would endeavor to render even the so-called "basic Auschwitz-Lie" - the objective scientific disputation of the Holocaust - a criminal offense under §§130f., as is already the case in Austria and France and as several German political parties have also demanded for Germany following the Supreme Court decision. And indeed, Section 3 of the revision of §130, which came into effect at December 1, 1994, provides that anyone is guilty of incitement of the people
"[...] who, publicly or at an assembly, approves, denies or trivializes, in a manner suited to disturbing public law and order, any act committed under the National Socialist regime which comes under §220a Section 1 [genocide; G.R.]."
Although the German Federal Constitutional Court has decided before that laws which prohibit certain opinions are unconstitutional and therefore illegal, the revised §130 created a special law which does exactly this: it provides for the punishment of approval, denial or trivialization of specifically and exclusively those acts of genocide actually or allegedly committed under the National Socialist regime. Such a revision would be constitutional only if it prohibited the approval, denial or trivialization of any and all acts of genocide ever committed.
However, suits against this law are always dismissed, and complaints by German judicial experts, stating that this special law against freedom of speech, which was not thought through to the end, is an "assault against the intellectual freedom of all dissidents" and that its "legitimacy is at least questionable", are generally ignored. Even a doctoral dissertation written by a student of a fervent anti-revisionist professor of law, which solely focused on the "Punishability of the Auschwitz-Lie" and concluded that outlawing radical revisionism is unconstitutional, went totally unheeded.
By now, clearly even historians perceive the politicians' and jurists' efforts to grossly restrict contemporary historians' freedom of research as very oppressive. For example, the late historian Joachim Hoffmann of the German Armed Forces' own Research Centre for Military History wrote:
"The efforts of the political parties to restrict the legally guaranteed freedom of scientific research are gradually taking on truly grotesque proportions. The result[...] would be that controversies relating to contemporary history would, in future, be laid before the court, and decided by criminal courts according to criminal law."
Elsewhere he becomes even more explicit with respect to measures of censorship, for example on p. 185:
"The Auschwitz problem has recently become the object of intensive journalistic debate, generally conducted both knowledgeably and intelligently in all its aspects, both in Germany and abroad, even if many groups zealously exceed the proper limitations of this debate due to their political motivations. This controversy is being conducted less in the "official" literature than in rather remote publications, and is not a little influenced by official prohibitions against certain forms of thought and speech, suspiciously watched over by a system of political denunciation. The related prevention of free discussion of an important problem of contemporary history, no matter how unfortunate it may be today, will, of course, be ineffective in the long run. Experience shows that free historical research can only be temporarily hindered by criminal law as it exists in many European countries. Historical truths usually continue to exert their effects behind the scenes, only to emerge triumphantly at a later time."
These and other politically incorrect views prompted the leftist press to call Hoffmann's book "a scandal". Since Hoffmann's former superior, Manfred Kehrig, who was still in office at the time, had written the preface to this book, certain circles attempted to initiate penal or at least disciplinary action against him, but their efforts failed. Perhaps the most noteworthy comment was that of Daniel J. Goldhagen, who repeatedly stated in German-language media that the undemocratic German "Auschwitz Lie law" ought to be abolished, and the sooner the better. Heinz Höhne, for many years the editor of the leftist German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel, also recently commented critically on the ever-intensifying inquisition to which his colleagues are subjected:
"But if historians, in the course of their research, touched on this Manichaean idea of good and evil, they could easily end up in a mine field of taboos and forbidden thoughts, where bizarre coalitions of 'pedagogues for the people', self-proclaimed 'High Court judges of history', and paragons of political correctness jealously guard their own brand of historical truth. They are driven by the gnawing suspicion that, given professional historiographers' penchant for revision, there will eventually be little or nothing left of the once so solidly established view of the Fascist regime of terror."
As a result of the tightening of criminal law, the spring of 1995 saw a wave of book destruction in Germany, in which history books of revisionist nature as well as political books went the way of the state shredder; these books were exclusively of a right-wing nature, some of them even only allegedly so. The fact that books with historical or political content can be destroyed in Germany on the orders of a court is largely unknown. This may be due to the fact that such campaigns of book destruction are not generally publicized - in other words, they are carried out behind the public's back. Since book confiscations are accompanied by corresponding criminal proceedings against all persons involved in the production, import and/or distribution of forbidden literature - i.e., against authors, editors, publishers, booksellers, printers, and multiple-copy purchasers, even in cases where the books were produced, distributed or bought at a time when they were not yet banned - the list of persons being prosecuted for "thought crimes" in Germany is growing at an alarming rate. These account for a considerable portion of those cases which have led to the recent enormous increase in the category of alleged "right-wing crimes" in Germany. Because censorship, book burning, and the persecution of people for "propaganda offenses" in Germany is such an important, but hardly ever discussed topic, we have included a more detailed study about that by Anton Mägerle in Appendix 3 of this handbook.
The first seize-and-destroy order that was issued after the legal revision of December 1, 1994, was carried out in late March 1995 against the German edition of the book you are holding in your hands, Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte. Though some 1,000 German academics protested against this book-burning, and two distinguished historians have even testified in court in favor of it, the court nevertheless decided that the book has to be destroyed, the publisher to be fined (30,000 DM), the editor jailed, some authors imprisoned, and several book sellers and purchasers fined or imprisoned as well. Though apparently supported by the German Federal Constitutional Court, this ruling is quite obviously a violation of human rights, for this interpretation strikes at the heart of the fundamental right to freedom of research, i.e., the right to freedom of choice in the selection of one's theses and the right to openness of research findings (cf. Karl R. Popper).
The trial concerning the 'freedom' of this very book Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte in Germany - that is, concerning the freedom of its authors, editor, publisher, printer, sellers and buyers - will likely drag on for several more years and is indeed a crucial case which will contribute significantly to shaping the future course of human rights in Germany.
But unfortunately this was not the final turn of the ever-tightening thumb screws on freedom of speech in Germany. The next round was rung in by the Cologne physician Prof. Dr. Wolfgang de Boor, who stated in a letter-to-the-editor that Revisionists ought not to be put into prison, but into insane asylums due to their obvious mental aberration, which is reminiscent of the abuse of psychiatry by totalitarian systems to 'treat' dissidents. The fact that the justice system in the German-speaking regions did not even wait for this suggestion before acting in this vein is demonstrated by the case of the Austrian Revisionist Emil Lachout, whom the Austrian justice system had tried in vain, in 10 years of preliminary proceedings, to drag into court for his beliefs. When the European Court decided in early 1997 that such lengthy preliminary proceedings were a violation of human rights, the appropriate District Court in Vienna hurriedly barreled the trial through on July 1, 1997, and summoned the psychiatrist Dr. Heinrich Pfolz as expert witness to assess the accused's capacity for criminal responsibility. Since this psychiatrist was unable to actually examine the accused, who had refused to attend the hearing, he indicated in his expert report on Lachout's mental condition that if he had been able to examine the accused, he would have concluded that he was partially mentally enfeebled! On the basis of this 'expert report', the case against Lachout was dismissed due to insufficient capacity for criminal liability. A similar farce may soon take place in Berlin, where the Tiergarten County Court has commissioned the psychiatrist Dr. Platz to determine whether the accused in this particular case, a Berlin publisher who is being prosecuted for publishing revisionist articles and books, is criminally responsible or perhaps suffers from a
"mental disorder, a profound disturbance of consciousness, or a severe mental aberration."
For as long as such psychiatric assessments only result in the corresponding cases being dismissed, one can take a certain degree of comfort. However, one must of course ask oneself how soon the next step will follow: namely, when the accused will not be released after their cases have been dismissed, but rather will be sent to a closed psychiatric institution, that is, an insane asylum, for their "profound disturbance of consciousness or severe mental aberration". At that point there would be no difference left between the former communist German Democratic Republic and the reunited Germany of today.
The latest development is a decision by the German Federal Supreme Court which ruled in late 2002 that defense lawyers who dare to ask for the introduction of revisionist evidence in a trial against a revisionist defendant accused of "denying the Holocaust" is breaching the same law and has to be prosecuted and sentenced as well. In this specific case, Attorney at law Jürgen Rieger had simply filed a motion to hear the author of the present article as an expert witness on chemical and technical aspects of the gas chambers of Auschwitz, a request the German Supreme Court considered to be illegal and punishable with up to five years in prison.
In light of the aforementioned experiences with European courts and the reactions of the public it must seem downright miraculous that there are in fact members of the establishment who dare to tackle the taboo surrounding the Holocaust. Walter Lüftl, President of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Engineers until spring 1992, is certainly one of these. When he expressed his doubts about details of the Holocaust due to technical considerations, the Austrian justice system struck as mercilessly as is the rule in France or Germany. Since the academically accredited engineer Lüftl, being an 'average' citizen and exceedingly well qualified in his area of specialization (architecture), had not expected such behavior from his 'state under the rule of law', this meant a painful learning process for him. W. Rademacher describes the case of Lüftl as an introduction to our topic, to show how Johny Doe and respected public personalities alike can suddenly find themselves caught up in the wheels of a dubious state-administered justice system bent on safeguarding a taboo. At the same time he shows the contrast between the treatment accorded to expert witnesses in trials pertaining to National Socialist crimes and to similar witnesses in normal trials, and acquaints the reader with our topic by means of some technical explanations.
6. Dubious Evidence for the Holocaust
What kind of evidence is it that provides the foundation for those verdicts which German courts cite time and again in their claims of self-evidentness? To date, in its trials of the so-called National Socialist mass murders of Jews, the Federal German justice system - and others as well - has concerned itself merely with convicting individual accused persons of sole or joint guilt. The crimes themselves were never investigated by a court, but presumed to be self-evident, namely on the basis of the conclusions of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunals. These too, however, dispensed with any on-site investigations of the presumed crimes and based their conclusions on eyewitness testimony and documents, both obtained by dubious means, as we will learn later.
The self-evidentness of the National Socialist genocide of the Jews, therefore, exists even though neither the whole of the genocide nor parts thereof were ever investigated by a court, e.g., by means of examining the remains of victims, the murder weapons, perpetrators, or even the crime itself. But if the Holocaust is considered to be self-evident from the start and any court investigation is thereby automatically blocked, no court can or may ever come to any conclusion other than that the crimes attested to were in fact committed. Under these conditions it is especially important to view eyewitness testimony in a critical light, for it is to be expected that testimony which disputes a crime or a set of crimes will be rejected as worthless without any reason for such rejection, while incriminating testimony is indiscriminately accepted as truth. For the courts, in other words, the overall nature of the crimes is settled from the start at any trial, and evidence is superfluous except for purposes of determining the degree of guilt and the punishment thereof.
In the second section of this volume, Manfred Köhler outlines the conditions under which eyewitness testimony and confessions came about in the five decades that have passed since the Second World War. He has deliberately refrained from a critique or even an assessment of the testimony itself. His objects were strictly the peripheral conditions of the post-war trials, whether conducted under Allied or especially under Federal German control, as well as the social atmosphere particularly in the Federal Republic of Germany. The results are perforce shocking, as they are remarkably similar to the conditions of the 16th and 17th century witch trials: a general conviction of the infallibility of official views, and a profound disgust and consternation at the alleged crimes which through its intensity inhibits any ability to think critically. Especially during the Allied post-war trials, these two factors necessarily led to an extensive undermining of those marginal conditions of any state under the rule of law which are indispensable to the determination of truth. The verdicts handed down by the International Military Tribunal and in the related other trials set the historical norm which no one questioned even in Federal German courts until quite recently. In other words, self-evidentness practically came into existence as early as 1946, and Federal German courts have sought ever since to reinforce this view of history unquestioningly without encountering opposition from any quarter. And what is more: the mental climate prevailing in Germany as well as everywhere else in the world, molded by the story of the Holocaust, inhibited any doubts, even nipped them in the bud with methods which it is quite fair to compare with the violent attacks employed against Professor Nolte, as described previously.
Of course all this does not necessarily mean that the thousands of eyewitness reports and confessions regarding the Holocaust are false. But our justice system knows from centuries of experience that eyewitness testimony is the least valuable evidence, being the most unreliable kind. Therefore it must not be forbidden under any circumstances to seek or to demand other, better evidence before accepting a certain view of history as correct.
That there is also more than a little wrong with eyewitness testimony where content is concerned is easily proven by a critical examination of these witness statements. Köhler shows that Revisionists have been doing this for decades, so that we will dispense with a comprehensive study in the present volume even though much research is certainly still needed in this area before all testimony has been adequately assessed. A vitally important subsection of such testimony, however, will be discussed in detail - namely, the witnesses, i.e., their testimony regarding the gassing of human beings in the alleged execution gas chambers of Auschwitz and Birkenau. Professor Faurisson has specialized his studies on this problem for some time already, for this is the heart of the Holocaust story. The results of an analysis of the pertinent testimony, however, is shocking: as soon as the alleged eyewitnesses are questioned more closely, for example in cross-examination in a courtroom, they fall apart entirely. What remains is a mere skeleton of all the testimony, which a Canadian court has credited with the quality of a work of fiction at best - or perhaps even the quality of a fairy-tale? A more recent study by the author of this article shows a similar result: In an interview with a former SS-man of Auschwitz he could establish that accounts of eyewitnesses 50 years after the end of the war are inconsistent, mixed up with rumors, biased due to media impressions, incongruent with reality and therefore absolutely unreliable.
Subsequently we are shown the trial of an alleged National Socialist criminal, from the perspective of the friends of the accused's family. To date the literature about the Federal German trials of alleged National Socialist criminals has been written almost exclusively from the perspective of prosecutors and judges; only Laternser has reported from the position of the defense. The accused themselves, or their relatives and friends, have never yet been able to tell how such a trial appears from their side of things. The report included here represents the first step towards rectifying this deficit. It is admittedly subjective in its approach, but in light of the enormous preponderance of no less subjective portrayals by judges and prosecutors it is no more than a necessary corrective to be welcomed in a pluralistic society. If one accepts as correct the facts brought to light by Claus Jordan in his years-long, self-sacrificing struggle for fair treatment for the accused Gottfried Weise - as one will have to do until and unless these facts are disproved - then one can but hope that the tragic miscarriage of justice which resulted in an innocent old man being sentenced to imprisonment for life is an isolated case. Like almost all other verdicts in trials of National Socialist crimes, the verdict of life imprisonment handed down against Weise is based primarily on the testimony of witnesses for the prosecution, who - as Claus Jordan proves - were mistaken, at the least.
Unfortunately, the actions of Federal German - as they are graphically demonstrated by Manfred Köhler and borne out by the experiences of many defense counsels in such trials - allow only the opposite conclusion, namely that the trial of Gottfried Weise is nothing short of a model for thousands of other cases. Only the facts that Herr Weise had many courageous friends who helped him every minute of their spare time and that his trial continued into a time where new evidence has come to light through the opening of many Eastern Bloc archives as well as through the advanced researches of historians, among which Revisionists number not a few - only these facts render this case different from the others. However, our hope that the requested retrial would end like the trial of Demjanjuk did, namely with an acquittal, was disappointed. Gottfried Weise was released from jail in April 1997 on behalf of mercy (he was severely ill), and died in early 2000.
7. Six Million Jews are Missing, So Who Cares About Details?
Once the first hurdle in a discussion with Johny Doe has been taken - in other words, once a realization of the inadequacy of eyewitness testimony has been achieved and understanding gained for the fact that a charge as horrendous as that of the destruction of the European Jews requires supplemental and better evidence - the question usually crops up whether it is even appropriate to quibble about details of this destruction and its provability, since after all the disappearance of six million Jews during the Second World War is an undeniable fact.
Examining the literature which discusses the statistics of Jewish losses during World War II, one soon finds that there are only two detailed works on this topic: the revisionist publication The Dissolution of the Eastern European Jewry by Walter N. Sanning (1983) and the 1991 compilation edited by Wolfgang Benz, Dimension des Völkermords. Whereas Sanning's work places the number of unexplained losses of European Jews at about 300,000, Benz's findings agree with the beliefs of the status quo and cite a loss of approximately six million. The contradiction between the two works is clearly apparent and undeniable, and hence a comparison is imperative.
It is interesting to note that it was once again the Revisionists who were the first to present a study regarding a central aspect of the Holocaust. Even though the work by Wolfgang Benz was clearly a reaction to the revisionist book, Nolte's observation regarding the treatment that the establishment historians accord the Revisionists also applies in this instance: they are either hushed up or defamed. At no point in Benz's book is there any objective discussion of the arguments presented by Sanning. It only remains, therefore, to compare the two works in terms of the data they present and to assess the relative merits of the authors. The results of this comparison, as they are presented by me in this volume, are, first of all, that the two works give completely different definitions of what constitutes a victim of the Holocaust. While Sanning sums up only those victims who died as a result of direct measures taken in the course of a National Socialist policy of destruction, Benz credits all European Jewish casualties to the Holocaust, i.e., including those Jews who died in the service of the Red Army, those who fell victim to Soviet deportation and forced-labor camps, and those population decreases resulting from the rise in natural mortality rates, religious conversion, etc.
What is more important, however, is the fact that Benz gives no attention to the matter of population migrations during and after the Second World War. But this is the core of our statistical investigation. Benz simply ignores the emigration of the Jews from Europe that has become known as another Exodus and which began prior to World War II, was largely interrupted in 1941 and reached its high point between 1945 and 1947. Benz also largely disregards the migrations of the Jews in eastern Europe, as well as the questions of how many Polish Jews managed to escape from the German army and how great a number of Jews was deported by the Soviets in 1941 and 1942. These are points where Sanning's survey shines with a wealth of documentation, so that one cannot avoid the impression that Benz, not knowing with what to counter Sanning, simply jettisoned the uncomfortable topic.
Of course this does not answer the question: Which of these two works comes closer to the historical truth? This decision is left to the reader, since far more detailed research is needed before anything can be stated with certainty where the touchy subject of Jewish world population statistics is concerned. An example may serve to clarify: whereas David B. Barett, a missionary statistician working in the United States, asserted for many years that the number of people professing the Jewish faith stagnates at some 18 million worldwide, - a figure strikingly similar to pre-war figures - the American Jewish Yearbook had given the number of Jews worldwide as being static at only 14 million as early as 1979. After an intervention of the staticians of the American Jewish Yearbook in 1994, Barett reduced his number of worldwide Jewish population down to just under 13.5 million. The reason for this reduction is that the responsible editors of the American Jewish Yearbook do not accept Jews of different race such as Jews with black skin or Indian Jews, whose communities include several hundred thousand members. Whoever approaches population statistics with such different and - regarding the staticians of the American Jewish Yearbook - arbitrary methods, must be questioned if his goal is to deceive the public rather than to inform it.
Already we are confronted with the next objection: it really doesn't matter how many Jews lost their lives in the German sphere of influence, through whatever circumstances, because even one victim is one too many.
Doubtless it is correct that even one is one too many, and really one must go even farther than that: even those measures of Third Reich persecution which did not result in outright deaths were in every respect unacceptable. But this is not a valid argument against the statistical investigation of the 'whether' and 'how' of the destruction of the Jews, and for three reasons.
First of all, this objection does not satisfy simply for the reason that it is precisely the number of victims that has been considered sacrosanct for decades. If the number of victims did not matter, it would not be necessary to protect it as a social and even criminal taboo. Evidently there really is more to the six-million figure than merely the fact that it includes a great many individual fates: what is at stake is a symbol not to be easily relinquished, since justified doubts about the number might quickly lead to further undesirable skepticism about further subsections of the Holocaust complex. While not wishing to deny the victims the tragedy of their individual fates in any way, science must nevertheless insist that numbers must always be open to discussion. It is downright irrational that those, on the one hand, who doubt the six-million figure are socially persecuted or even subjected to criminal litigation while society and the justice system, on the other hand, react to valid arguments against this selfsame six-million figure by suddenly declaring this figure to be irrelevant and insisting instead on the dignity of even the very first victim. Is the six-million figure a standard deserving of protection by criminal law, or is it irrelevant? It cannot be both at once.
Secondly - and this is the most important argument - the ethically correct evaluation that even one victim would be too many must not be a pretext for prohibiting scientific research. This is intolerable for the simple reason that science must always be allowed to find precise answers. What would we think of an official who demanded that a physicist not be allowed to determine the exact value of his stress experiment, because even a small value would be bad enough? A physicist subjected to such an absurd demand would quickly arrive at incorrect results and would be a threat to any company that hired him. The same holds true for the historian. If the historian is forbidden to conduct critical investigations because they might be considered morally untenable, then we have to assume that the results of such skewed historiography are unreliable. And since our knowledge of contemporary history exerts a direct influence on politics, our public policies are mistaken and unreliable as well. It is the key function and responsibility of every branch of science to provide accurate figures and values. The principles which hold true for engineering, physics, and chemistry can not suddenly be abandoned in historiography for political reasons - unless one is intellectually prepared to retreat deep into the darkest middle ages.
Thirdly and finally, the morally correct view that even one victim is one too many cannot on principle be a barrier to the scientific investigation of a crime which is generally called so morally reprehensible as to be unique and unparalleled in the history of mankind. An allegedly uniquely reprehensible crime must be open to a procedure that is standard for any other crime as well, namely that it is - and must be - investigated in detail. I would go even further: anyone who postulates a crime to be unique must be prepared for an uniquely thorough investigation of the alleged crime before its uniqueness is accepted as fact. If a person or group blocks investigation of an allegedly unique crime on grounds of moral outrage, then that person or group is guilty of a unique crime itself. This unique crime consists of first denying defense against preposterous allegations, then disallowing criticism of such tyrannical methods on a pretext of unusual guilt. This was the precise fate of Germany following World War II, with the result that Germans were first brutalized, then slandered and denied opportunity to defend themselves. The treatment of vanquished Germany by the victorious Allies has been truly unique in modern times, since the same Allies otherwise allow even the most notorious murderers opportunity to defend themselves in court.
8. Largely Uncontested Matters of National Socialist Injustice
In discussing the postulated murder of the Jews, the historians of the status quo identify the technical and organizational origins of this mass murder as to be found in the program of euthanasia which was enforced as of the beginning of the war - the killing of so-called 'life not worthy of life', in other words, mentally and/or physically severely disabled people. The reason for this assumption is the considerable overlap, i.e., continuity of staff in both areas. However, it seems to me a very dubious practice to attempt to construe this continuity as evidence for the mass murder, since it may very well mean only that the leadership had wished to retain staff which had previously proven loyal in one socially extremely controversial operation, for a subsequent, no less controversial purpose. And whether this controversial purpose was the resettlement, ghettoization, or mass murder of the Jews, is still an open question.
To the best of my knowledge there have been no doubts advanced by the revisionist side regarding the factuality of those killings effected within the scope of euthanasia; these killings number some 100,000. The moral assessment of such an elimination of totally incapacitated persons is a different matter. In the western democracies in particular, this topic was the subject of much controversial discussion and in some cases was even practiced right until the end of the war, and only recently the question whether passively and actively assisted suicide should be expanded, in severe cases, to include euthanasia as well, has once again taken center stage. Far be it from me, a non-specialist, to advance an opinion of my own on this explosive topic. Like Nolte, however, I cannot help but remark in amazement that people today are morally outraged by the killing of 100,000 generally severely disabled persons for perhaps dubious reasons of 'genetic public welfare' during the 12 years of National Socialist dictatorship, whereas those same people are not shocked in the slightest by the willful murder of unborn, but healthy persons numbering some four million in the last 12 years in Germany alone - murders in most cases motivated solely by materialistic and egoistical considerations. Clearly the moral categories by which we judge today are completely different than those between 1933 and 1945 in Germany. I doubt that they are better.
But back to the supposed genocide of the Jews. Aside from some aspects of the so-called Reichskristallnacht of November 9, 1938, the Revisionists and the historians of the establishment do not differ very much in their accounts of the various stages of National Socialist persecution of the Jews up to the alleged start of an extermination in the summer of 1941 - although there are occasional differences in the accounts of specifics regarding the extent and the intentions behind individual measures: exclusion from professions, dismissals, 'Aryanization' of commercial enterprises, freezing of assets, forced labor, expulsion, i.e., resettlement into ghettos, confiscation of property and assets, identification with the Star of David, rationing of food, and deportation to transit and concentration camps. The Revisionists, of course, also accept that negligence, at the least, cost thousands of Jews their lives especially in the context of deportation, ghettoization and forced labor. But even the question whether there were also deliberate murders of Jews due solely to their different faith has no consensus among the Revisionists; personally I consider these murders as given, but cannot comment on their extent or whether they were approved or even decreed from higher-up, due to lack of evidence.
Even where the National Socialists' plans regarding the future of the Jews in their sphere of influence up to mid-1941 are concerned, there certainly are similarities in the views held by the Revisionist and the so-called functionalist school of historians. In light of the actual policies of the National Socialists, M. Broszat pointed out in 1977 that, aside from verbal threats on Hitler's part, there is no evidence in political events until mid-1941 for any National Socialist plans for extermination. Rather, documents as well as the actual results of Hitler's policies proved that until October and November 1941 all measures were aimed at removing the Jews from the German sphere of influence by means of resettlement. In this respect, the contemporaneous documents which mention evacuation, deportation, resettlement etc. of the Jews are in no way examples of a 'code' language; they simply say exactly what they mean. This view was recently supported by Jerusalem historian Yehuda Bauer.
So let us considers this part of the National Socialist injustice towards the Jews, on which Revisionists and exterminationists agree, in the light of the legal definition of genocide of post-war legislation - which is defined in the current German Criminal Code as follows:
"§220a. Genocide. Anyone who, in the intent to completely or partially destroy a national, racial, religious or ethnic group per se,
1. kills members of said group,
2. inflicts [...] severe physical or mental harm on members of said group,
3. subjects said group to living conditions suited to bringing about its complete or partial physical destruction,
4. institutes measures designed to prevent births within said group, [...]
shall be punished with imprisonment for life."
Accepting this definition, one could indeed consider that the crime of genocide would exist even without a planned, industrial-style mass extermination of the Jews, especially through poison gas and mass executions. Revisionists do not deny that the National Socialist regime deliberately, or at least through gross negligence, subjected the Jews in its sphere of influence to conditions which, in part, inflicted severe physical and mental harm, resulted in part in their physical destruction, and caused a deliberate reduction in their birth rate through the segregation of the sexes. Certainly, there is an argument between Revisionists about to what extent the government of the Reich was aware of the conditions in the concentration camps and ghettos, to what degree it approved them, failed to adequately improve them, or perhaps even promoted them, all of which would affect the judicial valuation of the National Socialist measures against the Jews. But these interesting and important questions are beyond the scope of this volume. I am sure that a lot of research still has to be done in that field.
But even if points 2. to 4. of above quoted §220a would apply, could the National Socialist government have been punished for this after the war? The above definitions of genocide under points 2. to 4. were introduced into the German Penalty Law and accepted internationally only a few years after the end of WWII. This means: it was not considered a crime until after the final defeat of the Third Reich. And since in a state under the rule of law nobody can be punished due to a law made ex post facto, Hitler and his comrades could not have been punished under this law, but only under then existing laws, a fact which rendered actual German post-war trials in such cases somewhat clumsy. Additionally one must consider that the leaders of the victorious powers made sure that they could not be punished for similar or even worse crimes: post-war treaties with Germany have determined that no citizen of the allied nations can be prosecuted by German authorities, and amnesty declarations set an end to any prosecution in many countries. Thus, neither Stalin nor Roosevelt, neither Churchill nor Tito, neither de Gaulle nor Edward Beneš and their millions of "willing executioners" could have been punished for the genocides they committed against the German people during the war (by air raids) and mainly after the war ('ethnic cleansing' of eastern Europe, POW camps, GULag). Subsequently, the genocide against the German people, perhaps the biggest genocide in the history of mankind, is nearly forgotten. Under this perspective, the entire 'Nazi'-witch-hunt, which has lasted more than 50 years, is nothing more than a gigantic hypocrisy.
Thus, even if one cannot doubt the National Socialist's persecution of the Jews in principal, doubts about subsections of this topic must be permissible, such as individual killing measures or higher-up intentions, plans and orders to implement mass murder.
9. Of Documents Ignored to Date, or Accepted Without Question
In the functionalists' opinion, it was not until mid- to late 1941, when the German war situation had become desperate and it had proven impossible to expel the Jews from Europe, that the National Socialists resorted to murdering the Jews. This is where revisionist criticism comes in, as documentary evidence for this theory is more than scarce or even indicates that the opposite is true. Arthur Butz has shown how the authorities of all major powers during WWII, including the western Allies, the Vatican, the Red Cross, Jewish organizations as well as resistance fighters in occupied eastern Europe, acted throughout the war as if they knew that the Jews were not exterminated. Carlo Mattogno has pointed out that the series of documents that emanated from high German governmental authorities and reported about evacuations, deportations, resettlements etc., by no means broke off even after November 1941. On the other hand, not a single bureaucratic document exists dealing with the summary extermination of Jews, specifically no order signed by Hitler which states the like. Attempts to explain this fact relate it to the strict secrecy surrounding this mass murder; in other words, the supposed criminals avoided creating, or carefully saw to the destruction of any documentary evidence. If one tried to reconstruct the Holocaust story only on the basis of documents, one would have to assume that as of autumn 1941 the documents no longer really mean what they say and that at about this time a code language came into effect in whose terminology formerly innocuous words, like 'resettlement' and 'special treatment', meant 'murder'. This is exactly the interpretation of today's historians and has found the ultimate expression in the book by E. Kogon, H. Langbein and A. Rückerl, where the section "Unmasking the Code Terms" enlightens the reader to the effect that he can only understand the documents correctly if he interprets them as saying something other than what they actually say.
Now it may well be that in many cases terms such as 'special treatment' were demonstrably used as euphemisms for an execution. On the other hand, it is also true that this was not always the case. Rather, the term included many different measures, for example disinfection and quarantine, punishments as well as preferential treatments of all kinds, and much more. It is thus impossible to use a number of proven cases as basis for a generalization about all those other cases that have not been cleared up to date. Such a practice would require genuine documents giving guidelines for the general use of a code language, i.e., the exact definition of the terms to be used. However, no such key has ever yet been found. After all, one must wonder how the recipients of coded orders would know when to take the wording of an order literally and when to go against it, and in which way - and all this in light of the fact that acting against orders carried at times very severe punishments in the Third Reich. This point of utmost significance was recently raised by this author, but as is the norm in matters of factual revisionist questions, the opposing side completely ignored this point in their reply. However, the establishment's view of history, based as it is on the anti-literal interpretation of these documents, stands or falls with the answer to this question. While the issue represents a gap in historical research which it is beyond the scope of the present volume to fill, a group of revisionist researchers is currently working on this problem.
Of course there are also other documents and subsections of the Holocaust complex which the historians of the establishment believe provide evidence for the entirety of the postulated extermination of the Jews. There have been many revisionist critiques of these arguments, so that this handbook will give only a few examples. What is most astonishing in this context is that the establishment historians almost entirely neglect their most important task - the factual criticism of the documents on which they base their view of history. The unquestioning acceptance of any and all documents which may incriminate Germany is a common phenomenon, a scandal, which reached its high point in the scandal of the forged Hitler diaries - a scandal which was only exposed through the contribution of a foreigner, namely David Irving, who has since become fully revisionist in his views.
Historians should take general warning from the fact that the Allies and their accessories found every conceivable means for forgery at their disposal after the war - original letterhead stationery, typewriters, rubber stamps, printing presses etc. It is all the more amazing to see how credulous and naive today's historians - mostly Germans, but others as well - are in their approach to supposed documents of those days.
Almost every one of the authors contributing to the present handbook encountered, in the course of his or her chapter, the need for critical analysis of a wide range of documents which cannot all be enumerated here, so that I will restrict myself to a brief introduction of those chapters dealing almost exclusively with document criticism. The voluminous revisionist critiques of the so-called 'Wannsee Conference Protocol' is one of the foremost examples which - symptomatic of many other topics - has been completely ignored by historians of the establishment to date. Only E. Nolte pointed out as early as 1987 that there are doubts as to the authenticity of the protocol. Since the establishment seems to have been unable to come up with anything by way of reply to the many and varied arguments of the Revisionists - summarized in the German edition of this book by Johannes Peter Ney - it appears that this 'document' is quite clearly a forgery, and of no value whatsoever as documentation for any possible plans for extermination on the part of the government of the German Reich.
Another point, much more important, is the criticism Ingrid Weckert presents regarding the documents treating the alleged ordering, modification and use of the so-called gas vans in which, it is claimed, countless thousands of Jews were murdered by means of exhaust fumes. Here, too, the evidence and circumstantial proofs strongly indicate that the crucial 'incriminating documents' are forgeries. Ms. Weckert also discusses the credibility of the eyewitness testimony accompanying this topic.
Next, Udo Walendy examines the alleged visual documents - photographs - that are claimed to prove the atrocities perpetrated by the National Socialists against the Jews. The question at issue is what exactly the pictures show, whether they were retouched or whether they may even be completely fabricated, i.e., montages or drawings. A pile of dead bodies or an open mass grave, for example, can be presented as evidence for the gas chamber murders, but what is there to prove that the pictures do not in fact show the German victims of Allied air-raids, or the victims of starvation or epidemics in German or Allied camps, soldiers killed in action, victims of pogroms, or even persons killed by the Soviet secret service? Udo Walendy discusses the criteria by which an altered or completely forged photo can be identified as such, and then shows, with some examples, that the falsification of photographs for purposes of incriminating the Third Reich is rather more the rule than the exception. It is astonishing to note that there are usually many different versions of a forged photograph, which makes it easy to spot cases of alteration. Proof of the common nature of such forgeries does not, of course, indicate anything one way or the other about the factuality of the crimes in whose support the faked photographs are cited, so that the criticism of photo documents cannot refute such claims. But really it should be the case that accusations must be proven with incontestable evidence before one must accept them as fact. The photo documents known to us, however, do not serve the purpose of incontestable evidence, even if the modern-day public and especially our magazine- and television-oriented consumer society likes to rashly accept them as proof, on the premise that 'if I saw it with my own eyes, it must be true.' What is commonly overlooked in this reasoning is that it is not only the eye that determines what one believes one has seen, but that, rather, certain associations with the pictures are responsible for the viewer's interpretation of the context of the pictures. These associations are as a rule provided by accompanying text and commentary which, however, tend not to stand up to closer scrutiny.
There are also, of course, photo documents which have taken us a good step further in the investigation of the supposed Holocaust. These are the aerial photographs which were taken by German or Allied reconnaissance planes, in areas and at times where the alleged extermination of the Jews is purported to have taken place. In his chapter, professional air photo interpreter John Clive Ball presents the most important air photos of Treblinka, Babi Yar and Auschwitz-Birkenau and shows that the allegations of mass exterminations at these sites, while decreed to be correct by court verdicts, not only cannot be proven by the aerial photographs, but are even for the most part conclusively disproved by them. J. C. Ball's work as well, even though it already dates from late 1992, has yet to receive a single word of notice from the establishment historians. Once again, what is clearly irrefutable is simply ignored. A solitary exception is a former director at the federal Militärgeschichtliche Forschungsamt, based in Freiburg and Potsdam, who at least calls in doubt in his recently published book Stalin's War of Extermination 1941-1945 that the National Socialist committed a mass killing of Jews in Kyiv in 1941.
While the greater part of the revisionist research presented here was generally aimed to attack and refute establishment notions - to be destructive, as it were - its future focus will no doubt shift to constructive research, i.e., to resolving the questions of how things really were if traditional accounts are false. The predominantly destructive nature of revisionist research in the past decades was frequently the result of the fact that Revisionists, working as they were individually and with ridiculously meager financial means, and even under conditions of massive state repression, were dependent for their material on the crumbs that fell to them from the banquet tables of the establishment historians who enjoy worldwide organization and countless millions in state funding. This will change in the future, if only because access to archives is becoming ever easier in both the East and the West, and because the numbers of Revisionists as well as their means are increasing with their growing public acceptance. After all, once it has been proven that the view taken to date of this historical complex is not quite correct, it cannot but dawn even on state and academic circles that there is a need for new, constructive research and that new explanations must be sought and found.
Today we find ourselves right in the middle of the radical change-over from the desperate defense of the old, to the search for new approaches. While on the one hand much of the work of revision pertaining to the evidence on which historiography has been based to date has not yet been done - due to the dearth of qualified researchers with the will to revise, the means for its implementation and, most importantly, access to the evidence. Most Revisionists have already begun to work on new approaches. As early as 1991, for example, Steffen Werner postulated that even after 1941 there was a continued National Socialist emigration policy with respect to the Jews, which resulted in a massive Jewish settlement in White Russia and the Ukraine. Once again, establishment historians do not see fit to even comment. The documents from the Auschwitz Central Site Office of the Police and Waffen-SS, recently discovered in Prague, also provide completely new perspectives, showing that the German authorities invested tens of millions of Reichsmark in the construction of the Birkenau camp - which hardly indicates extermination to have been the purpose of this camp, but certainly does suggest that the complex was a straight-forward forced-labor camp. Aside from these documents there are still extensive records to be gone through in the United States, in Moscow, Prague, Warsaw, Lublin and Auschwitz. Research into these archives has only been begun so far by such supporters of the extermination theory as G. Fleming and J.-C. Pressac. In their studies, however, these researchers only ever search for documents that might serve to strengthen the establishment position, and particularly the findings of Pressac are more than scant. No establishment researcher has ever gone through the enormous wealth of these archives with an eye to find materials in support of new approaches, or even only different interpretations than that of the extermination theory.
10. What Material Evidence Can Reveal
Time and again, the Federal German justice system, and hard on its heels historiography, concluded that the National Socialists had covered up the evidence of their crime so well that no clues remained to be found today: all gas chambers and gas vans were destroyed, mass graves dug up, the bodies contained therein burned and no traces left, and evidence of the graves was destroyed by filling-in and landscaping.
But is it really conceivable for a number of people almost twice the population of Berlin to vanish from the face of the earth without leaving a trace?
Some of the alleged gas chambers in, for example, the concentration camps of the original Reich (borders of December 31, 1937), Austria, and Alsace are in fact still in fairly good condition where on-site investigations could be performed. Few people know, for instance, that the dispute regarding the existence of the gas chamber at Dachau could be resolved easily enough if someone mustered up the courage to use an induction locator to find the water pipes in the ceiling of the alleged gas chamber which to this day could supply the showerheads installed in the ceiling with hot water if the water boiler was once again activated. This conclusion is a logical necessity, for if the room described as a gas chamber really was one, then there would have been no shower installed for the inmates in this disinfestation complex with its many delousing chambers for material objects. But it has been proved that there certainly was a shower there, since this was where many thousands of inmates were deloused and showered. So, Dachau's gas chamber is nothing other than exactly what it seems to be: a shower room.
Other, equally simple and straight-forward checks regarding the authenticity and serviceability of the facilities presented as gas chambers or other execution sites in all sorts of camps formerly under German control would be an easy matter for architects, construction engineers etc. to perform. But the authorities never so much as lift a finger towards this end, preferring instead to lop off the heads of the Revisionists if they get half a chance to do so. It is a fact, after all, that any exposure of a massive gas chamber fraud in the concentration camps of the original German Reich would beg the logical question: Why should the eyewitness testimony and reports about camps of the East, which have been locked away behind the Iron Curtain for decades, be any more trustworthy than those reports about western camps which would then have been exposed as false statements or downright lies? This is why the establishment's view of history cannot afford to question the existence of even one gas chamber of the Third Reich, and it is also the reason why even the official German Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History) persists in the claim that there were gas chambers even in the concentration camps of the original German Reich, even if it concedes that no mass gassings actually took place there.
I am proud that Jürgen Graf has contributed an article to this handbook which takes a look at the National Socialist concentration camp system in general, that is, primarily at the conditions prevailing in them and at mortality rates and reasons, and also addresses false allegations about extermination of prisoners in concentration camps located in the Reich proper, with some more details about the Sachsenhausen camp north of Berlin. Showing how false atrocity stories about these camps came into being, how they are refuted and lead to a general revision of the historiography of these camps, teaches us a lot about the alleged extermination camps in eastern Europe, as the propaganda history of the western camps is often a mirror image of that of the eastern camps.
Not only the camps of the original German Reich, but also those of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek still have more or less well-preserved remnants of buildings where mass murders are alleged to have taken place, and even where such buildings have been completely destroyed, experts can still come to very important insights based on building plans and blueprints.
In this regard it should be pointed out that the only expert report about the possible interpretation of the blueprints of the alleged gas chambers of the Auschwitz and Birkenau crematoria ever presented to a court to date concluded that it was neither possible to identify those rooms as gas chambers nor to convert them into gas chambers. This sensational report was given in the early 1970's in Austria, but was covered up by the media, and the court files about this report have vanished.
First steps towards a resolution of engineering and architectural questions regarding this complex are currently being taken by two groups of revisionist researchers, relying mainly upon the vast archival resources of several eastern European cities like Moscow, Prague, and Warsaw. But since it is too early to come to any final conclusions, we have decided to include only two selected topics combined in a single article in this handbook.
The first part of this contribution, by Hans Jürgen Nowak, reveals a fascinating insight into how the camp authorities in Auschwitz tried to save the lives of their inmates by using high-tech devices to combat lice. During World War II the Germans developed microwave ovens, and the only place where this technology was used during the war was as a delousing device in Auschwitz.
The second part of this article addresses the vexing question of what the infamous "gas-tight" doors were really all about which the SS authorities ordered for the Auschwitz camp. In fact, the original German documents, discovered by Rademacher and Nowak in the files of the former Auschwitz construction office of the Waffen-SS, show that there is nothing sinister with these gas-tight doors.
Since the research is ongoing, we hope to present more results in a subsequent book that is dedicated exclusively to a documentary historiography of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps.
In the following contributions of this handbook, Germar Rudolf and Carlo Mattogno address the alleged mass-execution function attributed to the crematoria of Auschwitz and Birkenau and the material-delousing facilities of Majdanek. Whereas Mattogno has drawn up the first-ever expert assessment of the crematoria of Auschwitz that deserves the title 'expert', Rudolf presents a few decisive observations and conclusions from the perspective of construction engineering, regarding the use of some facilities as execution gas chambers. In contribution based on new findings from recent studies in Polish archives, Mattogno presents his research results about the alleged gas chambers of the concentration camp Majdanek. The bottom line of these investigations is clear: a criminal use of the buildings examined cannot be proven and has even, the author believes, been clearly refuted.
Aside from these construction engineering reports, studies in the fields of toxicology, chemical engineering and machine dynamics are required to determine which poison gas would have brought about which results through which methods and under which circumstances, whether the scenarios of mass murder attested to were technically even possible, and whether there ought to be evidence surviving to the present. The chemical and toxicological portion of this volume is carried by this author. In it, I describe the discussion launched by Fred A. Leuchter about the issue of the formation and detectability of cyanide compounds of iron (marked by long-term chemical stability) produced by the poison gas Zyklon B, and if these compounds are to be expected and can be found in the gas chambers described in Auschwitz/Birkenau, Majdanek and Stutthof.
The inconsistency between the results of analyses performed in the alleged homicidal gas chambers of Auschwitz and Birkenau on one hand and Majdanek and Stutthof on the other is something that should be put at the heart of the discussion about chemical residues. In all cases it is claimed that the facilities were used as execution gas chambers utilizing Zyklon B, but only at the facilities of Majdanek and Stutthof cyanide residues can be found. Since the establishment school of historians has settled the discussion about the gas chambers of Auschwitz and Birkenau to their satisfaction by authoritatively concluding that execution gassings did not allow for the formation of chemical residues, the question arises why large quantities of cyanide residues could form in Majdanek and Stutthof, where the procedure was allegedly exactly the same as in Auschwitz and Birkenau. According to their own dogma, these cyanide residues are a result of delousing procedures (and I agree with that). But if the 'gas chambers' in Majdanek and Stutthof were used as delousing facilities instead, how do we assess all the eyewitnesses who testified that these rooms did not serve as delousing chambers, but exclusively as homicidal gas chambers? And if we consider these eyewitness as unreliable, how can we assume that similar eyewitness accounts about Auschwitz and other camps are more reliable? And how can it be proven by other means than eyewitness accounts that these rooms were used both for delousing and killing? There appears to be no other way. The establishment historians have driven themselves into a corner where it is impossible to prove or refute their claims, which is a certain indicator that their thesis is unscientific. We are eager to see whether and how they will manage to get themselves out of it.
The question, under what sorts of conditions it would have been possible to use Diesel engines - the murder weapon alleged for Treblinka and Belzec - to suffocate people to death, was already addressed in detail by Friedrich Paul Berg in 1984, but, in keeping with tradition, the literature of the historians of the establishment dispensed with any reaction to his report. Berg's analysis was updated and expanded for this handbook, and concludes that the conditions attested to for the alleged gassings with Diesel exhaust fumes would not have allowed for successful mass killings, and also that it would have been ridiculous, if not to say downright idiotic, to resort to this method in the first place, considering that a method using wood-gas generators was available and both cheaper as well as hundreds or even thousands of times more effective. In Berg's opinion, the tale of Diesel exhaust gassings is an instance of Soviet propaganda that backfired. The direct implications of this analysis for the alleged extermination camps Treblinka and Belzec are obvious.
In his chapter, Arnulf Neumaier considers problems of construction engineering associated with the alleged gas chambers of Treblinka, and particularly the issues of whether the methods which witnesses claim were used to destroy the evidence - in this instance, the complete incineration of almost one million people - were at all technically possible, what sorts of evidence one ought nevertheless to expect, and how these conclusions compare with the evidence that has in fact been found. The bottom line is devastating: the scenarios described by the witnesses are ridiculous and completely unrealistic, and do not agree even remotely with the results of on-site investigations.
Next, Herbert Tiedemann introduces us to a different field: The alleged mass shootings by German armed forces in Russia during World War Two. He presents an extensive critique of eyewitness testimony and media representation of the alleged mass execution of Jews from Kyiv by German task forces in the valley of Babi Yar in autumn of 1941. Since his study incorporates critiques of eyewitness testimony and documents as well as technical and scientific elements, it represents, in a way, a methodological synopsis of revisionist criticism on the basis of one specific example, and is thus a fitting conclusion to our handbook.
The wide variety and inconsistency of the testimony and accounts of this case alone practically beg for extreme skepticism, and the absolute lack of any such skepticism on the part of our historians, journalists, and politicians makes us doubt their capacity for common sense. Unfortunately this is only a model case for many other subsections of the Holocaust complex as well.
Babi Yar is also a starting point for the critique of a body of documents which revisionist research has hardly dealt with to date: the reports about the mass executions of Russian Jews. These are divided into two main groups:
However, nobody took much notice of a similar case where the British Government published excerpts from exactly these documents as early as 1981. Perhaps this was because these excerpts included the exciting revelation that the British Intelligence Services had succeeded in 1942 and 1943 in deciphering top-secret radio messages from the administration of the German camps, in which details about deceased and killed prisoners were reported to Berlin, including the method of their execution and other circumstances of death. The reason for this media cover-up may be rather simple, as the following shows:
"The messages from Auschwitz, with 20,000 prisoners the largest of the camps, mentioned illness as the main cause of death, but also included references to shootings and hangings. There were no references in the decrypts to gassings."
Why should the persons responsible, in their top-secret messages, report to Berlin about shootings and hangings, but keep silent about gassings? In fact, the gas chambers seem to be ever decreasing in importance as a killing method, as opposed to mass shootings. The Dutch historian M. Korzec was the first to offer the theory that not more than a few hundred thousand Jews were killed in gas chambers, but that many millions were killed by mass shootings in Russia. This theory would require that many more Germans were involved in these mass killings than would have been necessary if one assumes the gas chambers as the main weapon. Consequently, this theory is more suited to supporting a different theory, i.e., that of the collective guilt of at least the German soldiers of the eastern front, if not of all Germans, for the Jewish Holocaust. This logical conclusion was drawn by Daniel J. Goldhagen, who merely repeated Korzec's theses and added a new aspect: an anti-Semitic gene that led specifically the German people to commit such a cruel deed. The reaction of the German historians in particular was appropriately furious, even if those same historians had backed somewhat similar theses in the previous decades. They simply harvested what they themselves had sown.
The tendency in recent historiography seems to be more and more to abandon the gas chambers, for which the sources are "at once rare and unreliable", as Prof. Arno J. Mayer put it, or for which there are absolutely no "documents, traces or material evidence" at all, as French historian Jacques Baynac recently said. This is no doubt the result of past revisionist research, which urged the historians of the establishment to concede that their old story is wrong. They now seek to restore their damaged image by trying to rescue the 'Holocaust' by sidestepping into a field where they believe revisionist criticism cannot reach them: into the endless Russian steppe. But I am not certain that they will succeed. Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm, one of the most renowned experts regarding the Einsatzgruppen, stated as early as 1988 that he is not sure that the numbers given in these Event Reports are correct. As a result of his skepticism, he warns his colleagues:
"If the reliability[of these reports] is no greater in non-statistical respects - something which could be corroborated only by a comparison with other sources from the same region - then historical research would be well advised to make much more cautious use of SS sources than it has done to date."
This was only logically consistent, since in his first book about this topic he had already raised a few doubts about the reliability of those documents, i.e., he suspected the figures given in them to be exaggerated. Sybille Schröder recently added more points to this ever growing list of criticism. We must therefore demand more reliable, i.e., physical evidence for the accusations directed against several German armed forces in the East, before we can accept the data given by these suspicious documents.
From the air photos discussed by J. C. Ball, for example, it is apparent - and this has not been refuted to date - that the mass murder of Jews allegedly committed by the Einsatzgruppen in a valley called Babi Yar, near Kyiv, never took place. Thus it is clear that at least these Event Reports and, accordingly, the corresponding radio messages, if there should be any, are false. Further research, for example with the aid of air photos yet to be discovered, is needed to determine the conclusions to be drawn from this with respect to the hundreds of other related reports, and I am quite sure that we can expect even more surprises. Another case with a different approach may have a similar impact on the thesis of 'Goldhagen & Co.': In the summer of 1996 the town of Marijampol, in Lithuania, decided to erect a Holocaust Memorial to the tens of thousands of Jews allegedly slaughtered and buried there by German Einsatzgruppen. In order to build the Memorial at the correct location, they tried to find where the mass graves are. They excavated the site described by the witnesses, but did not find a trace. Further digging throughout an entire year, all around the alleged killing site, has revealed nothing but undisturbed soil. So, did the Germans do a perfect job by destroying all traces and even restoring the original sequence of soil layers? Did they perform miracles? Or are the witnesses wrong?
To allow for an idea of the cruel conditions under which the Germans were forced to fight in at the eastern front, and which rules of warfare were generally accepted regarding partisan actions and reprisals, we have translated an excellent legal expert report of Karl Siegert about the legitimacy of reprisals in wartime. This report was prepared in the 1950s for the defense of a German soldier accused of having committed war crimes in Italy by shooting civilians as reprisal for partisan warfare. In order to understand the historical context of German reprisals in eastern Europe, this author has written an introduction and some concluding remarks about the cruel und illegal partisan warfare as it was initiated and conducted mainly by the Soviet Union. These contributions were not included in the German edition of this volume.
Of course the evidence presented in this volume is but a bare introduction to what else is possible, and necessary, for a comprehensive resolution of the Holocaust complex. Other, similar studies could support our findings - or refute them. With today's modern technology it is no doubt possible to improve considerably upon our present level of knowledge. Archaeologists, for example, are able today to apply the techniques of aerial photography to locating the remnants of human settlements, deserted for many millennia and at times located far below the earth's surface. Archaeologists are also able, on the basis of very meager remnants of Stone Age fire sites, to determine from which period the fire dates and under what sorts of conditions it burned (kind of wood, size and kind of camp, diet based on the presence of certain animal bones, degree of civilization based on the presence of tools and refuse, etc.).
We firmly believe, therefore, that the aerial photographs taken by German as well as by Allied reconnaissance planes during World War II, which in part still reside untouched in the archives today, are a source of reliable insight into the events of those days, and further, that air photos taken today would still allow scientists to determine the size of former mass graves, or even the foundations of buildings no longer extant. What is more, excavations and the analysis of sediments and residue can certainly still determine the size of mass graves or the kind and quantity of residue from burning sites - if only one cares to investigate.
The fact that to this day no one sees fit to gather this evidence, which the Soviet anti-Fascist propaganda of the past decades would not have been the only one to jump at, makes me wonder, to put it mildly; all the more so because nowadays, expert reports on technical matters are required for even the most routine court case following, say, a car accident, never mind for murder trials, where a single life was lost! So why does the establishment refuse to bring, or to allow, even one bit of material evidence in court in this case of an allegedly unparalleled mass murder? Because they fear that their thesis of the collective guilt of the German people (and accordingly, the collective innocence of the Jewish people) might be completely refuted?
11. The Purpose of This Book
The trend pointed out by Nolte - that the establishment historians, the media, justice system and even society in general suspect revisionist authors of being followers or at least sympathizers of a National Socialist ideology - can be traced through a series of publications and culminated in the work by Kogon, Langbein and Rückerl, where the Revisionists are slandered outrageously and suspected of all sorts of things, while their names are never mentioned nor any revisionist publications cited to enable the reader to confirm the editors' allegations for himself. In the end, this type of pseudo-argumentation by the establishment historians always comes down to the same thing, namely to impute to the Revisionists an apologia for the National Socialist system, in other words, the unconditional resolution to defend the National Socialist system even against supposed reality. Anyone who stands up for something considers that something worth defending, i.e., in this case must be a sympathizer with the National Socialist system.
It must be said here and now that none of the authors contributing to the present work considers himself ideologically anywhere in the vicinity of National Socialism. This aside, however, such an accusation is no argument suited to invalidating our own. It seems reasonable to suspect that the establishment historians resort to this verbal garrote merely to distract attention from those factual questions, which they obviously do not feel competent to field. In any case, it is clear that anyone who evades factual arguments by means of political accusations cannot have any scientific motivation for doing so, since a scientifically motivated researcher is interested first and foremost in factual arguments. Political motivation is the only thing that could possibly prompt these historians to voice political accusations; this, however, places the charge of political choreography of our understanding of history squarely back on their own shoulders.
Every reader ought to examine the intentions with which he approaches this volume, for:
"If you must worry about motive, however, it is incumbent on you to examine as well the motives of those who consistently argue against intellectual freedom on this one issue. If you don't want to examine the motives of those on both sides of the issue, perhaps (forgive me) you should examine your own."
We will also not accept the change of topic to certain marginal issues within the debate on the Holocaust which certain Revisionists may have started - for example, the discussion about the definitely eccentric theory that the National Socialists had resorted to the murder of the Jews in self-defense following the publication of T. N. Kaufman's book Germany must perish!, or the theory (untenable under international law) that following the declaration of war which had in fact been made against the Third Reich by international Jewish private (!) organizations, the National Socialists had rightly interned all the Jews in their sphere of influence as members of an enemy nation. What is more, this erroneous thesis is usually advanced by people who simultaneously condemn the Soviet deportation of the Volga-Germans at the start of Germany's Russian Campaign in the summer of 1941, or the USA's internment of Germans and Japanese when Japan entered the war. This kind of peripheral phenomenon is not our issue. It is not our goal in this volume to justify or in any way rationalize a proven injustice. Our issue is solely and exclusively the question whether the evidence offered for the Holocaust - defined as the intentional, planned mass murder of the Jews in the sphere of influence of the Third Reich - suffices to give it continued credibility in its present form, especially with respect to the mass gassings, or whether new evidence may perhaps require the revision of historiography.
The thesis that the Holocaust as defined above may not have taken place is naturally an explosive topic for the study of contemporary history, as for all aspects of social life directly or indirectly associated with it. We are fully aware of this. But it is important to keep in mind that since 1955 at the latest, when the official Institut für Zeitgeschichte determined that it was the Soviets who had perpetrated the 1940 massacre of more than 20,000 members of the Polish elite at Katyn and elsewhere, the federal German media could have been disseminating the truth about Katyn, despite Soviet propaganda to the contrary, which continued to lay its own guilt for this crime at Germany's door as late as 1990. Yet right until the late 1980s, the leftist media in particular thoughtlessly parroted this Communist propaganda. The reason for this is probably to be found in the politically, i.e., non-scientifically motivated desire to keep the Third Reich from being exonerated from historical guilt even where this has become inevitable, the greater purpose being to prevent, by thwarting even the partial revision of historiography, any farther-reaching revisions which might ultimately cast doubt upon the politically desirable, unique and unparalleled evil of the National Socialist regime.
But this is not the only contentious issue in which the media deny the truth for ideological reasons. There are subsections of contemporary history where neither the media nor many historians are particularly concerned about honesty. For four decades, for example, almost all of German contemporary historiography has championed the claim that the German campaign against Russia had been a merciless attack intended solely to gain territory in the East, at the expense of the Slavs living there. This claim persisted until V. Suvorov and E. Topitsch both presented compelling proof that the Russian Campaign was in fact a preventive war against the Soviet Union which had been poised to strike - which, of course, does not preclude a policy of Lebensraum (living space) on the part of the Third Reich. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the opening of Soviet archives it has suddenly grown quiet among the ranks of those historians who formerly argued against the thesis of the preventive war; especially the German media, however, continue to propagate the lie of the attack on peace-loving Russia - in contrast to the Russian media. Neither Topitsch, the philosopher, nor Suvorov, the Russian officer in exile, are German historians, yet their researches have resulted in a radical re-thinking process. Admittedly, many historians as yet shy away from the theses of Suvorov and Topitsch, since it is a matter of principle with them to feel ill at ease with a thesis which exonerates the Third Reich from one of its evil deeds.
Another sensitive subject also had to be broached by a foreigner first before the German historians began to consider the topic. In 1989 James Bacque, a Canadian, published a work in which he proved that in the years between 1945 and 1947 the Americans, Canadians, and French together deliberately starved some one million German civilian internees to death, which constitutes genocide. Since according to Bacque the Soviet archives reveal that some 450,000 abducted German prisoners died in Russia after the war, and since it has been a known fact for years that approximately 1.4 million Germans never returned from Allied imprisonment, Bacque feels that he can state the number of losses in the camps of Germany's current friends, the western Allies, quite precisely at one million. Considering all deaths caused by the Allied policy of destroying Germany, he totaled the German post-war losses as high as at least 5.7 million. Some historians reacted to this Canadian (self-)accusation that the USA, Canada and France had committed genocide against the German people by denying the correctness of Bacque's analysis and jumping to the defense of the Allies.
The extensive field of research related to the many concentration camps established after the war in eastern and southeastern Europe for purposes of the indiscriminate internment of mostly German victims, many of whom were to die an agonizing death there, was also introduced to a broader international public by a non-German, namely John Sack. In his book he describes how mostly Jewish concentration camp guards in Polish camps took gruesome revenge on innocent Germans who had been rounded up more or less at random. The attempt to publish this book in Germany shows just what a state this country is in. Although the Munich publishing firm Piper Verlag had already printed the German edition, it decided just prior to the release date to pulp, in other words to destroy, the entire press run, since they did not want to contribute to a 'relative' perspective of the German crimes against the Jews and also did not wish to expose the Jews as perpetrators. Eventually Sack did succeed in finding a German publisher.
The situation regarding the blame for the bombing of the German civilian population has been no less paradoxical for decades. Whereas the British openly acknowledge their guilt (and are even proud of it), a great many of the German historians insist that Hitler was to blame for absolutely everything, including the bombing war against the German civilians.
If one adds to these more than half a million German victims of the Allied bombing (which violated international law) the 1.4 million victims of Allied starvation camps, at least 2.1 million victims from the expulsion from the German eastern territories, and uncounted hundreds of thousand victims of starvation and diseases resulting from the initial implementation of the genocidal Morgenthau plan, one arrives at a total of around 6 million Germans killed by the Allies and their accessories, deliberately or at least through gross negligence, and in contravention of international law. This total approaches another, heavily symbolic number.
In the face of these disasters that have befallen German researchers in contemporary history in recent years, it is understandable that the majority of German historians feel that at least the Holocaust must remain intact if they are not to lose even their last shred of credibility. In 1977, in light of the fact that no document has ever yet been found in which Hitler ordered the murder of the Jews or which reveals his awareness or approval of the mass murder, D. Irving (another non-German national) postulated that Hitler may not even have known of the murders. M. Broszat commented rightly:
"Rather, Irving's theory touches the nerve of the credibility of historiography regarding the National Socialist period."
But what is left of this credibility if the Holocaust did not take place as generally believed? This revisionist thesis, advanced in the last decades primarily by, once again, citizens of the western Allied nations, not only touches the nerve of the credibility of historiography, it shatters it outright. And now that this handbook is published, one will have to expect reactionary responses by unnerved historians. But can the issue at stake take into consideration the poor state of the nerves of certain historians and their followers, or is the ascertainment of historical truth the more important issue? And is it not also particularly the question whether academia and the right to the free expression of opinion are in fact still free in Europe, in other words, whether human rights, the moral foundation of western civilization, really still deliver what they promise? In any case, the semi-conservative German daily newspaper Welt demanded in a fit of outrage at the above mentioned Federal Supreme Court verdict (Supreme Court v. Deckert, cf. Note ) that Revisionists should not only be convicted for their attack on Jewish dignity without the prior unnecessary ado of hearing evidence, but claimed as further justification that
"[a]nyone who denies Auschwitz [...] also shakes the very foundations of this society's self-perception."
The leftist German weekly paper Die Zeit also explained why the disputers of the Holocaust must be silenced by the justice system and Defense Forces of the Constitution:
"The moral foundation of our Republic is at stake."
No, my dear ladies and gentlemen of the press, quite the reverse is true! Anyone who threatens academic freedom and freedom of the expression of opinion shakes the very foundations of the German society's self-perception and endangers the moral foundation of Germany!
Unless, yes, unless the Federal Republic of Germany defines itself not in terms of the human rights set out in her constitution, but in terms of the prevailing belief in the Holocaust. But before anyone expects us to accept this theocratic approach, it would have to be set down in black on white in the Constitution - after prior approval by the German people.
The fact that the above newspaper reports were not simply a passing craze was proven a short time later by the Welt, which wrote:
"Anyone who denies the truth about the National Socialist extermination camps betrays the principles on which the Federal Republic of Germany was built. This state is supposed to be a valiant democracy that defends itself when anti-democrats try to subvert it."
Well, there we have it: anyone who holds a contrary opinion on certain topics is anti-democratic. That makes about as much sense as the statement that nights are colder than outdoors.
Regarding the Welt's indirect accusation that the authors of this volume are anti-democratic, I just want to point out that in my opinion an increase in democratic rights in the form of popular plebiscitary participation in the state's decision-making process would be a major boon to Germany. In view of the conditions described in this introduction, to which we researchers and scientists are subjected in Germany and other western nations, it is evident that these nations suffer from considerable deficits of democratic and human rights - not only in terms of freedom of opinion, research, and science, but also in terms of access to the media.
Further examples show that the above quoted media statements are not just the opinion of some few media people, but rather that it is the honest conviction of most of the German elites. The former German Federal President R. von Weizsäcker, for example, is quoted as having said that "it is not NATO, but Auschwitz, that constitutes the [German] reasons of state".
This view was recently confirmed by the German Minister for Foreign Affairs, Josef Fischer:
"All democracies have a base, a foundation. For France this is 1789. For the USA it is the Declaration of Independence. For Spain it's the Civil War. Well, for Germany it is Auschwitz. It can only be Auschwitz. In my eyes, the remembrance of Auschwitz, the 'never again Auschwitz', can be the sole foundation of the new Berlin Republic."
German lawyers offer similar arguments:
"The Holocaust and its admission is the normative foundation of our[German] Constitution. Our Basic Law's legitimacy - in the sense of deserving recognition - is built upon the acknowledgement of National Socialist crimes, which claimed the lives of the Jews in en masse technological destruction."
In the German Bundestag (parliament) this view is expressed and confirmed with applause from all (!) parties:
"Anyone who trivializes or denies the National Socialist mass murder of the Jews - in other words, the Holocaust - must know that he is attacking democratic foundations."
The kind of fire they are playing with here was shown clearly by Patrick Bahners when he wrote, in reference to the verdict against the leader of the right-wing National Democratic Party of Germany, Günter Deckert:
"If Deckert's [revisionist] 'view of the Holocaust' were correct, it would mean that the Federal Republic of Germany was based on a lie. Every presidential address, every minute of silence, every history textbook would be a lie. In denying the murder of the Jews, he denies the Federal Republic's legitimacy." 
Anyone who tries to make the legitimacy of the Federal Republic of Germany's existence hinge on the truth or falsehood of historiography about a detail of contemporary history (and almost all the major media and many politicians have been doing this lately), suffers from a profound misconception of the foundations of this Republic, which is not based on the Holocaust but on the agreement of its citizens and on inalienable human and national rights. At the same time, such a person commits several unpardonable sins. First, he gives the actual enemies of the current German republic an easy means for destroying this system. Further, it is both irresponsible and ridiculous to make the weal and woe of a nation dependent on a 'detail of history'. Everybody who is confronted with this opinion must wonder what he should think of a state that tries to define certain views of history as the ultimate truth by means of the threat of prosecution, and which slanders dissidents as enemies of democracy. Friedrich Karl Fromme, co-editor of the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and certainly above suspicion where anti-democratic leanings are concerned, recently wrote:
"Historical truth cannot be established by criminal law; such endeavors do not become a state committed to liberality, no matter how painful or embarrassing it may be in individual cases."
One might expect that the truth will hold its own in a factual, scientific encounter even without the protection of criminal law. On the other hand, it is almost impossible for truth to prevail under the constant threat of criminal prosecution.
So, what is such a state to do when it turns out that the Revisionists really are right? Is it supposed to dissolve itself? Or is it supposed to ban the study of history and to jail all historians? It is easy to see how far from the straight and narrow such erroneous views lead: someone who pretends to wish to protect this Republic through the ruthless defense of the standard Holocaust tales will, in the crunch, find himself forced to undermine the actual pillars of this state, which are freedom of expression, freedom of research, teaching and science, and an independent justice system under the rule of law. He thus becomes, not the protector of a free and democratic fundamental order, but its greatest threat.
That this threat is more than real was shown by the reactions to the infamous Mannheim verdict against Günter Deckert. In this instance, one of the foremost principles and prerequisites of a state under the rule of law, namely the independence of the trial judges, was annulled in that two of the three judges were punished for their verdict by means of their (forcibly extracted) 'notification of illness' and subsequent forced retirement, while all the time threatened to be prosecuted for an Orwellian, Brave New World type "perversion of justice". They were accused not only of having sentenced Deckert too leniently, but also of having considered the subjective aspects of Deckert's offense in too much detail and too benevolently. While such in-depth and benevolent evaluation of subjective aspects was introduced as part of the liberal policies of the past few decades, and is very much desired when what is at issue is the sentencing of common criminals or even Leftist political offenses (such as violent demonstrations against industrial construction projects), this practice is suddenly turned into a scandal when it benefits a right-winger. Whether the overemphasis on subjective aspects, to the detriment of deterrence, is an advantageous facet of our modern justice system or not is a moot point. What should be cause for concern, however, is the obvious fact that in trials against persons who dispute certain aspects of the National Socialist persecution of the Jews, it is no longer only the objective facts of the case - for example, the question of whether the claims made by the accused are true or not - which are decided on by the justice system even before start of the trial, namely through the 'judicial notice' credo. If the media, the politicians, and even many jurists have their way, the subjective aspects are now also supposed to be settled beforehand! A Holocaust Revisionist may not, on principle, have any good character traits, he must perforce have only evil intentions and must therefore be sentenced without mercy or compassion - that is the basic trend in the media's reactions. This renders the trials against Holocaust disputers nothing more than show trials whose results and verdicts are already set in advance.
Beyond that, it would be little short of a miracle if the judges in the Federal Republic of Germany had not learned - from the way in which their Mannheim colleagues' careers were abruptly cut short - that if they wish to keep their own jobs, they better convict Revisionists without mercy. My statement, that a point at issue for the judges in trials against Revisionists is always whose head it is that will roll: that of the accused or that of the judge - a statement that was controversial in 1993 - has thus been proven entirely correct only one year later. In practice it has even been taken a step further: to save his own skin it does not suffice for the judge to merely convict the accused; no, in addition he must also show the accused to be a monster, and must punish him as harshly as possible.
The parallel drawn by M. Köhler (in his chapter in this book) between the medieval witch trials of suspected demonic agents and today's trials against suspected 'Holocaust Deniers' has thus proven more than true.
The misconception about the foundations of the free and democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany also gives rise to another danger for this order. This danger lies in the circumstance that the advocates of this misconception also declare as enemies of the state such people who wish no evil on this state and its citizens, or who are even prepared to serve and benefit it; these people are demonized merely for the reason that they hold different opinions about certain aspects of contemporary history. Consequently, imaginary enemies are created. By means of the incitement against them, loyal citizens of the state are practically forced into the role of enemy - in other words, the process creates the very enemy it pretends to fight. This self-generated enemy is then used to justify the escalating restrictions on the fundamental rights guaranteed by the German Constitution, as described. With the increasing scientific success of revisionism, this forcing of basically well-meaning citizens into an unwanted enemy role must lead to social polarization which is anything but beneficial to the internal peace of the Federal Republic of Germany.
To protect the status and reputation of Germany, therefore, it is high time to strive for objective, scientific dialogue and to assign to the Holocaust the role it deserves, namely as merely one stone in the mosaic of history.
Scholarship is a process of constant revision. As this edition appears, portions of it may be superseded by new findings. That is so in almost every field of science. Now that the archives of the former Eastern Bloc nations have at last become accessible, our view of the Second World War and the events associated with it is changing rapidly. In order to give our readers the opportunity to keep abreast of the latest developments, we have added Internet addresses to the footnotes of this book which, it is hoped, will continue to make developments in this discussion accessible to the public for years to come, despite increasing attempts in western countries to censor precisely this kind of content.
This book does not pretend to give definitive answers to the many whats and hows of the history of the Holocaust, as everything has to be permanently revised due to new findings. Nor does it try to describe, in detail or in brief, how certain events happened, as do most history books. This book rather goes to the very roots of historiography: document criticism and detailed, interdisciplinary expert analysis of certain (alleged) historical events. It simply attempts to build, or to reveal, a solid and exact scholary foundation about a few sections of contemporary history, on which a source discriminating historiography can rely in its future research.
Furthermore, the purpose of this book is the factual, scientific debate about the question of where the truth is to be found regarding the Holocaust. This volume is to serve as a beginning, not as conclusion to this debate. Everything else may follow. We hereby introduce our theses regarding subsections of the Holocaust and look forward to objective replies and possibly refutations. Anyone, however, who can think of no better reply to our work than cheap polemics has disqualified himself from a factual point of view from the outset.
12. About Academic Freedom
"The protection that the Law provides for academic freedom depends neither on the correctness of methodology or the results, nor on the soundness of the arguments or line of reasoning, nor on the completeness of the points of view and evidence forming the basis of a scientific treatise. Good or bad research, truth or untruth of findings can only be assessed scientifically [...] Thus, academic freedom also protects minority opinions as well as approaches to, and findings yielded by, research that proves incorrect or flawed. Similarly, unorthodox or intuitive approaches are protected by the Law. The only prerequisite is that what is in question is scientific or academic; this includes anything which, by virtue of form and content, is to be regarded as a serious attempt to ascertain truth [...]
No work may be denied scientific or academic character for the sole reason that it is one-sided or incomplete or neglects to adequately consider contrary opinions. [...] A work fails to qualify for scientific or academic character only if it fails to meet the requirements of scientific or academic approach not only in individual respects or as defined by specific schools of thought, but systematically. In particular, this is the case when the work is not intended to ascertain truth but merely to give an appearance of scientific origin or provability to preconceived opinions or findings. One indication of this may be the systematic disregard of facts, sources, opinions and conclusions which cast the author's views into doubt. On the other hand, it does not suffice for a work to be deemed unscientific in the course of intra-disciplinary controversy between diverging material or methodological approaches."
Verdict of the German Federal Constitutional Court,
January 11, 1994, Ref. 1 BvR 434/87, pp. 16f.
A comparison of establishment history writing on the so-called Holocaust with more recent revisionist publications reveals a fundamental difference between the two scholarly communities. In the following I would like to consider this difference, and how it illuminates the concerns addressed in this book.
As already mentioned, the establishment historiography dealing with the National Socialist persecution of the Jews assumes that certain events of recent history took place in a certain, widely accepted manner. When writing about the actual events of physical extermination of the Jews, witness statements are almost the exclusive form of evidence in establishment historiography. These statements are rarely examined critically, nor can any comprehensive document criticism be found; the interpretation of a document in the framework of the thousands of other documents that provides its context is particularly rare.
Often it is considered sufficient to cite portions of documents out of their proper context, or arbitrarily select a few documents from many others of relevance. The well-known book by Daniel J. Goldhagen represents in effect the climax of this approach, and it has been massively criticized for this even from the establishment side. However, Goldhagen's work is merely the logical, radical conclusion of this general tendency to selectively interpret source materials. Consequently, the criticism directed at Goldhagen generally reflects poorly on his establishment critics themselves. Two prominent examples for such poor historiography are the well-known authors Jean-Claude Pressac and Danuta Czech. Both profess to reconstruct the history of Auschwitz (or Auschwitz-Birkenau) on the basis of documents and, in the case of Danuta Czech, also of eyewitness testimony.
Aside from the fact that, where gas chambers and mass extermination are concerned, both authors clearly give eyewitness testimony priority over all other forms of evidence and thus proceed in a grossly unscientific manner, their books also exhibit two other grave errors. First, neither of the two authors has attempted to draw on the hundreds of thousands of documents stored in the Moscow, Auschwitz and Prague archives to write a history of the camp as reflected in the original documents. Both authors content themselves with choosing, from amongst the masses of all that is available, only such documents that they find appealing, and then combining them into an overall picture that reflects their bias.
Furthermore, in almost every one of its treatises, the science of history as espoused by the historians of the establishment ignores, on principle, any opposing scientific or academic view that the Revisionists submit regarding the Holocaust. A prime example of this are Jean-Claude Pressac's books, frequently propagated in the late 80's and early 90's as the 'last word' of Holocaustology. Despite claiming to refute the Revisionists' arguments, Pressac systematically disregards any and all facts, sources, opinions and conclusions that cast his own view into doubt. No revisionist work is cited, not one single revisionist argument is discussed. One could live with that if at least he did justice to what he promises in his book's title, namely to present a treatise sound in technical, i.e., technological respects. In fact, however, his work contains not a single source from a technical publication. It does not contain even one conclusion drawn from his own technical studies or those of others. Further, he mingles his own frequently unfounded opinions indistinguishably with the contents of documents he quotes - an academically most unsound procedure. One would be fully justified in saying that Pressac systematically disregards not only arguments running counter to his own views, but also the scientific method as a whole.
Exactly the same is true for Prof. Robert Jan van Pelt's works. Pelt does not quote a single source of the expert literature about toxicology, chemistry, engineering, or architecture. He does not perform a single calculation, and he does not care about the vast research done by others, like Germar Rudolf, Carlo Mattogno, Franco Deana, Werner Rademacher, Friedrich Paul Berg.
Not surprisingly, such a modus operandi results in the grotesque situation where documents of 'innocent' or at best ambiguous content are taken out of their proper context, declared to be "criminal traces" (J.-C. Pressac), and promoted to the status of central evidence for the Holocaust, even though these documents have nothing at all unusual about them when considered in context. A truly scientific study of the Auschwitz concentration camp, however, would have to consider all other documents as well and would have to assign each document its proper place and significance in the context of the many others. It is telling that no-one has tackled this gargantuan task to date. Evidently none of the many Holocaust 'scholars' springing up like mushrooms, especially in the United States, is interested in a solid history of this camp, based on documentary evidence. Or are they simply too lazy?
One reason for their missing motivation can be found by simply looking at the editorial board of the world's leading Holocaust journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies. Aside from historians and political scientists, one of the leading professions represented is - theology. This is not surprising, since it is widely accepted that the Holocaust is a "founding myth of Israel" and a sort of a new secular religion of modern Jewry that is used by Jewish organizations to garner support for Israel, promote Jewish identification, and advance the cause of multi-culturalism. And it is well known that religions and political ideologies are more interested in defending dogma than in searching for truth.
Among the Revisionists, on the other hand, aside from historians, there are many engineers and exact scientists (physicists, chemists, geologists). Since scholars in the exact sciences have a completely different approach to their fields - "You must never trust an eyewitness account." -, it is no surprise that their results are completely different from those of scholars swayed by theology.
First of all, the discussion of the opinions on the Holocaust as they are recorded in the works of establishment historians is the heart of the matter of this handbook. Nothing is disregarded. The intensive examination of facts, sources, opinions and conclusions of the opposing side is the foremost reason for the publication of this book.
Secondly, the critique of documents and witness testimony has always been the domain of revisionist analysis and fundamental criticism. The present volume contains several chapters on this subject, so I will dispense with a detailed discussion here.
Finally, in insisting on hard, i.e., documentary and material facts, the revisionist side has begun the task of writing a reliable history of the Holocaust basing almost entirely on the total documentary and material record available, and supported by proper and exact scientific expertises.
This is, what science is all about. And it is a heinous crime to punish revisionist scientists for their findings, as many European countries do today.
However, due to constraints of time and finances, the Revisionists' focus has been on resolving one detail after the other, fitting the mosaic together piece by piece. But since the Revisionists are being increasingly persecuted for their labors by state prosecution, especially in Europe (lately the Federal German government has even tried to exert diplomatic pressure on eastern European countries to make it more difficult for us to access the archives there), their work will probably take many more years. This volume contains only a few examples; of these, Carlo Mattogno's articles in particular are based on intensive archival research, which he has been conducting for many years. Further findings worthy of publication in book form will likely become available in the coming months and years.
13. The Scientist's Ethical Responsibility
Let us assume for the moment that our theses are correct. Should this be kept from the world, or should it be made known? Or, to put it more clearly: can the dissemination of our theses have negative consequences for the co-existence of different peoples? It is a negative possibility; but it is also possible that it may have positive consequences, just as it is conceivable that the dissemination of the view commonly held of the Holocaust today may also have had, and may continue to have, not only positive but also negative effects on the co-existence of different peoples, especially as far as the Germans are concerned. The crucial factor in determining the political ramifications of a scientific theory, i.e., insight, is its treatment in politics and, today, especially in the media. A theory or insight cannot be eliminated by attempts to suppress or even to ban it, by whatever means. Even self-denial on the part of the scientist can result at most in a delay, but never in a termination of the process of learning and discovery. Friedrich Dürrenmatt described this accurately in his drama The Physicists. No power on earth can stop the process of learning and discovery. That is why a wise politician must strive to incorporate this process into a framework in accordance with his ideas and goals. This implies that politics must determine its objectives at least roughly in accordance with the state of scientific knowledge.
At present many people in the western hemisphere have grown very comfortable with the standard view and vigorously oppose new insights and findings on the Holocaust. They are loath to give up their simplistic view of good vs. evil historical personages and ideologies. Recently, however, new untamed forces have appeared on the horizon, forces that won't be slain by the conservative inertia that paralyzes the increasingly decrepit Great Powers: these forces are nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism. It is difficult to say at this point whether they will prove to be a curse or a blessing. Yet it is already clear that these two forces have the power to revolutionize the current system of world politics, and the decrepit Great Powers know it.
Historical revisionism is the first great intellectual adventure of the 21st century. Judging from the way things look today, this revisionist adventure will in the future be more than just an intellectual one, though.
Whoever controls the histories of nations controls those nations and their peoples. The Second World War ended in the total victory of the enemies of the Third Reich and its allies. Their victory gave the conquerors a power to write the world's history that was unprecedented in scope. But the power that brings total victory intoxicates. Like their predecessors, the victors, in their hubris, would write a history that was arbitrary, self-serving, and at odds with what actually happened. No less inevitable than this intoxication of victory, however, is the gradual erosion of their one-sided view of history, and thus an erosion of the power based upon it. Viewed in this way, historical revisionism is a weapon against abusive political power. Nor does it function as such a weapon only at present: it has in the past, and will do so in the future.
The possible political impacts of the findings of Holocaust revisionism become apparent if one considers what in our world is being dominated by the Holocaust taboo. I have shown elsewhere that the social sciences of western societies suffer under severe restrictions as soon as topics are involved which somehow can be brought into context with the Third Reich, even if the way it is brought into such a context is sometimes quite pathological. Subsequently, western societies are increasingly incapable to solve their social problems. Willis Carto has drawn attention to the financial consequences for U.S. taxpayers as a result of the Holocaust taboo, which is in the order of magnitude of many hundred billion dollars. Robert Hepp has summarized what would be at stake, should it turn out publicly that our opinion about Second World War in general and the Holocaust in particular is seriously wrong: basically the entire postwar world order. Under these circumstances, simply everything might be jeopardized on which the reigning power elites depend.
The new, emerging forces of nationalism and Islamic fundamentalism have obviously understood this, and are grasping the intellectual weapon of revisionism which will enable them to dethrone the old and waning powers once and for all. It is my conviction that awaiting us after the intellectual adventure of revisionism is a second, political adventure at the outset of the 21st century that will draw its ammunition to no small extent from the findings of historical scholarship.
The role of the scientist in this process ought to be to repeatedly remind politicians of the aforementioned insight: banning something does not eliminate it, it only makes it all the more interesting to those factions that enjoy working in the twilight of the semi-legal or illegal. But most of all, the legislators and powers-that-be who impose bans on research and science invariably place themselves in the wrong in the eyes of the public, and thus lose all their credibility, for anyone who forbids discussion is quickly suspected of having something to hide, or of lacking sound arguments of his own.
Anyone who wishes to keep certain insights or theses from being misused by extremist groups can only succeed by addressing the issues in question himself. In other words, if Racists, National Socialists and anti-Semites are to be prevented from using Holocaust revisionism for their own political purposes, their opponents have to cover revisionism themselves. Responsibility and leadership has to be taken inside Holocaust revisionism in order to determine, how unavoidable revisions of our views of history affect the self-understanding of our societies. One has to take an offensive rather than a defensive approach to revisionism.
It ought therefore to be the foremost concern of moderate politics to see to it that the discussion about the Holocaust spreads to social circles other than radical or extremist ones, so that any potential consequences of a revision of historiography can be represented and implemented credibly and competently by respectable and respected politicians. And the foremost concern of the scientist must be to alert the politicians to this fact and to accompany them as they steer their way among the cliffs of scientific insights.
It is to be hoped that revisionist historians will be able to resist the Faustian temptation to intoxicate themselves on their power that probably will increase in future.
Thus, this book is offered as intellectual ammunition, but is not meant to serve any political ideology. Scholarship serves a cause, the cause of Truth. Historiography must follow the motto of the Greek Muse Clio: "Get it right!" As a proper guideline, I have added a few paragraphs written by Bruno Leoni. May the reader be inspired by this.
Germar Rudolf, Rothenburg o.d.T., August 25, 1994
revised: Chicago, IL, April 29, 2003
Bruno Leoni, Freedom and the Law, Indianapolis, Liberty Fund, 1991, pp. 148-150:
"No truly scientific result has ever been reached through group decisions and majority rule. The whole history of modern science in the West evidences the fact that no majorities, no tyrants, no constraint can prevail in the long run against individuals whenever the latter are able to prove in some definite way that their own scientific theories work better than others and that their own view of things solves problems and difficulties better than others, regardless of the number, the authority, or the power of the latter. Indeed, the history of modern science, if considered from this point of view, constitutes the most convincing evidence of the failure of decision groups and group decisions based on some coercive procedure and more generally of the failure of constraint exercised over individuals as a pretended means of promoting scientific progress and of achieving scientific results. The trial of Galileo, at the dawn of our scientific era, is in this sense a symbol of its whole history, for many trials have since actually taken place in various countries up to the present day in which attempts have been made to constrain individual scientists to abandon some thesis. But no scientific thesis has ever been established or disproved in the end as a result of any constraint whatever exercised upon individual scientists by bigoted tyrants and ignorant majorities.
On the contrary, scientific research is the most obvious example of a spontaneous process involving the free collaboration of innumerable individuals, each of whom has a share in it according to his willingness and abilities. The total result of this collaboration has never been anticipated or planned by particular individuals or groups. Nobody could even make a statement about what the outcome of such a collaboration would be without ascertaining it carefully every year, nay every month and every day throughout the whole history of science.
What would have happened in the countries of the West if scientific progress had been confined to group decisions and majority rule based on such principles as that of the 'representation' of the scientists conceived of as members of an electorate, not to speak of a 'representation' of the people at large? Plato outlined such a situation in his dialogue Politikos when he contrasted the so-called science of government and the sciences in general with the written rules enacted by the majority in the ancient Greek democracies. One of the characters in the dialogue proposes that the rules of medicine, of navigation, of mathematics, of agriculture, and of all the sciences and techniques known at his time be fixed by written rules (syngrammata) enacted by legislatures. It is clear, so the rest of the characters in the dialogue conclude, that in such a case all sciences and techniques will disappear without any hope of reviving again, being banished by a law that would hinder all research, and life, they add sadly, which is so hard already, would become impossible altogether.
Yet the final conclusion of this Platonic dialogue is rather different. Although we cannot accept a state of affairs like this in the scientific field, we must, said Plato, accept it in the field of our law and our institutions. Nobody would be so clever and so honest as to rule over his fellow citizens in disregard of fixed laws without causing many more inconveniences than a system of rigid legislation.
This unexpected conclusion is rather similar to that of the authors of the written codes and written constitutions of the nineteenth century. Both Plato and these theorists contrasted written laws with the arbitrary actions of a ruler and maintained that the former were preferable to the latter, since no individual ruler could behave with sufficient wisdom to secure the common welfare of his country.
I do not object to this conclusion provided we accept its premise: namely, that the arbitrary orders of tyrants are the only alternative to written rules.
But history supplies us with abundant evidence to support the conclusion that this alternative is neither the only nor even the most significant one open to people who value individual freedom. It would be much more consistent with the historical evidence to point out another alternative - for instance, that between arbitrary rules laid down to particular individuals or groups, on the one hand, and spontaneous participation in the law-making process on the part of each and all of the inhabitants of a country, on the other.
If we view the alternative in this light, there is no doubt about the choice in favor of individual freedom, conceived of as the condition of each man making his own choices without being constrained by anybody else to do unwillingly what the latter imposes.
Nobody likes arbitrary orders on the part of kings, state officials, dictators, and so on. But legislation is not the appropriate alternative to arbitrariness, for arbitrariness may be and actually is exercised in many cases with the help of written rules that people must endure, since nobody participates in the process of making them except a handful of legislators.
Professor Hayek, who is one of the most eminent supporters of written, general, and certain rules at the present time as a means of counteracting arbitrariness, is himself perfectly aware of the fact that the rule of law 'is not sufficient to achieve the purpose' of safeguarding individual freedom, and admits that it is 'not a sufficient condition of individual freedom, as it still leaves open an enormous field for possible action of the State.' (F. A. Hayek,The Political Ideal of the Rule of Law, National Bank of Egypt, Cairo 1955, substantially republished in his The Constitution of Liberty)
This is also the reason why free markets and free trade, as a system as much as possible independent of legislation, must be considered not only as the most efficient means of obtaining free choices of goods and services on the part of the individuals concerned, but also as a model for any other system of which the purpose is to allow free individual choices, including those relating to the law and legal institutions."