The Gas Chambers: Truth or Lie?
Questions by Antonio Pitamitz To Robert Faurisson (Storia Illustrata, August 1979)
Translated by Vivian Bird
Expanded, Reviewed, Corrected by Dr. Robert Faurisson
QUESTION 1: Monsieur Faurisson, for some time now in France - and not only in France - you have found yoursellf at the center of a bitter controversy resulting from certain things which you have asserted on the subject of what is still one of the most somber pages in the history of the Second World War. We refer to the extermination of the Jews on the part of the Nazis. In particular, one of your assertions appears as dogmatic as it is incredible. Is it true that you deny that the gas chambers ever existed?
I assert, in fact, that these famous alleged homicidal "gas chambers" are nothing but a tall story of wartime. This invention of wartime propaganda is comparable to the widespread legends of the First World War about "Teutonic barbarism." The Germans were then already accused (in the First World War) of completely imaginary crimes; of Belgian children with hands cut off; crucified Canadians; corpses turned into soap. The Germans, I suppose, said similar things about the French.
German concentration camps did really exist but the whole world knows that they were not original or unique to the Germans. Crematorium ovens have also existed in certain of these camps, but incineration is no more offensive or criminal than burial. The crematorium ovens even constitute progress from the sanitary point of view where there was a risk of epidemics. Typhus ravaged the whole of wartime Europe. The majority of corpses which are shown to us in photos are clearly the corpses of typhus victims. These photos illustrate the fact that the internees-and sometimes the guards-died of typhus. They prove nothing other than this. To exploit the fact that the Germans at times used crematorium ovens is not very honest. In asserting this one counts on the repulsion or feeling of unease and disquiet felt by people accustomed to burial and not to incineration. Imagine an oceanic population accustomed to burning its dead. Tell such a people that you bury your own and you will appear a kind of savage. Perhaps they would even suspect that in Europe persons "more or less alive" are placed in the earth! One displays one's complete dishonesty when in the same way, one presents as homicidal "gas chambers" the fumigation chambers (autoclaves) which were in reality used for the disinfecting of garments by gas. This never clearly formulated accusation has now been almost totally abandoned, but in certain museums or in certain books we are still confronted with a photo of one of these autoclaves, sited at Dachau, with an American soldier in front, about to decipher the time-table for gassings.
Another form of gassing really existed in the German camps: this is the fumigation of buildings by gas to exterminate vermin. For this purpose the renowned Zyklon B was used, around which a fantastic legend has been built up. Zyklon B, whose license goes back to 1922, is still used today, notably for the disinfecting of furniture, of barracks, of silos, of ships, but also for the destruction of fox burrows or of pests of all kinds. It is very dangerous to handle for, as the letter "B" indicates, it is "Blausaure" ("blue" acid or prussic acid or hydrocyanic acid). In passing, it is worth noting that the Soviets, misunderstanding the significance of this letter, accused the Germans of having killed deportees with Zyklon A and with Zyklon B!
But let us turn to the alleged homicidal "gas chambers." Until, the year 1960 1 still believed in the reality of these human abattoirs where, using industrial methods, the Germans would have killed internees in industrial quantities.
Then I learned that certain authors regarded the reality of these "gas chambers" as contestable; among them Paul Rassimer, who had been deported to Buchenwald and then to Dora. These authors ended up by forming a group of historians describing themselves as Revisionists. I studied their arguments. Of course, I also studied the arguments of the official historians. The latter believed in the reality of extermination in the "gas chambers." They are, if one wishes to so describe them, the "Exterminationists." For many years I minutely examined the arguments of one and another. I went to Auschwitz, to Majdanek, and to Struthof. I have searched, in vain, for a single person capable of telling me: "I have been interned in such a camp and I have seen there, with my own eyes, a building which was undoubtedly a gas chamber." I have read many books and documents. For many years, I have studied the archives of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine (CDJC) at Paris. Obviously, I took a special interest in the so-called "war crimes" cases.
I have devoted very special attention to what has been presented to me as being "admissions" on the part of the SS or of Germans generally. I am not going to enumerate for you here the names of all the specialists whom I have consulted. Strangely enough, it only took a few minutes of conversation before these "specialists" in question would declare to me: "Now, you must know, I am not a specialist on gas chambers. " And an even more curious thing: there does not exist to this day any book, nor even any article from the Exterminationist school on the subject of the "gas chambers." I know that perhaps certain titles can be quoted to me, but these titles are deceptive. In reality, in the formidable mountain of writings devoted to the German camps, there exists nothing which concerns their sine qua non: the "gas chambers!" No Exterminationist has written on the "gas chambers." The most one can say is that Georges Wellers, of the CDJC, attempted to address this subject in an attempt to plead for partial acceptance of the veracity of the Gerstein document, about the Belzec "gas chambers."
On the other hand, the Revisionists have written quite a lot about the "gas chambers" to say that their existence was dubious, or to affirm frankly that their existence was impossible. My personal opinion is joined to the latter. The existence of the "gas chambers" is completely impossible. My reasons are primarily those which the Revisionists have accumulated in their publications. Next, there are those proofs which I have discovered myself.
I have thought it necessary to start at the beginning. You know that in general it takes a long time to perceive that one actually ought to have begun at the beginning. I realized that all of us would talk of the "gas chambers" as if we knew the sense of these words.
Among all those who make statements, speeches or use sentences in which the expression "gas chamber" appears, how many of those people actually know what they are talking about? It has not taken me very long to realize that many people commit one of the most glaring errors. These people imagine a "gas chamber" as being similar to a mere bedroom under the door of which a household gas is released. These people forget that an execution by gas is by definition profoundly different from a simple suicidal or accidental asphyxiation. In the case of an execution, one must carefully avoid all risk of illness, poisoning or death for the executioner and his crew. Such a risk is to be avoided before, during and after the execution. The technical difficulties implied herein are considerable. I was most anxious to know how domestic minks were gassed, how foxes were gassed in foxholes, and how in the U.S. a person who was sentenced to death was executed by gassing. I have found that, in the vast majority of cases, hydrocyanic acid was used for such purposes. This was precisely the same gas which the Germans used to fumigate their barracks. It was also with this gas that they allegedly killed groups of individuals as well as great masses of people. I have therefore studied this gas. I wanted to know its use in Germany and in France. I have reviewed ministerial documents governing the use of this highly toxic product. I had the good fortune of discovering some documents on Zyklon B and hydrocyanic acid which had been gathered by the Allies in the German industrial archives at Nürnberg.
Then, with greater scrutiny I re-examined certain statements and confessions which had been made in German and Allied courts concerning the use of Zyklon B for putting prisoners to death, and I was shocked. And now, you in turn will also be shocked. I will first read to you the statement or confession of Rudolf Höss. Then, I will tell you the results of my research, purely physical, on hydrocyanic acid and Zyklon B. (Please bear in mind R. Höss was one of the three successive commanding officers at Auschwitz; all three of whom were detained and interrogated by the Allies. Only Höss left a confession, for which we are indebted to his Polish jailers.)
In this confession, the description of the actual gassing is remarkably short and vague. However, it is essential to realize that all those others who claim to have been present at this sort of an operation are also vague and brief and that their statements are full of contradictions on certain points. Rudolf Höss writes, "Half an hour after having released the gas, the door would be opened and the fan turned on. The bodies immediately began to be removed." I call your attention to the word "immediately"; in German the word is sofort. Höss then adds that the crew in charge of handling and removing 2,000 bodies from the "gas chamber" and transporting them to the crematory ovens did so while "eating or smoking"; therefore, if I understand correctly, these duties were all performed without gas masks. Such a description runs counter to all common sense. It implies that it is possible to enter an area saturated with hydrocyanic acid without taking any precautionary measures in the barehanded handling of 2,000 cyanided cadavers which were probably still contaminated with the fatal gas. The hair (which was supposedly clipped after the operation) was undoubtedly impregnated with the gas. The mucous membranes would have been impregnated also. Air pockets between the bodies which were supposedly heaped one on top of the other would have been filled with the gas. What kind of superpowerful fan is able to instantly disperse so much gas drifting through the air and hidden in air pockets? Even if such a fan had existed, it would have been necessary to perform a test for the detection of any remaining hydrocyanic acid and to develop a procedure for informing the crew that the fan had actually fulfilled its function and that the room was safe. Now, it is abundantly clear from Höss' description that the fan in question must have been endowed with magical powers in order to be able to disperse all of the gas with such flawless performance so that there was no cause for concern or need for verification of the absence of the gas!
What mere common sense suggested is now confirmed by the technical documents concerning Zyklon B and its usage. In order to fumigate a barrack, the Germans were constrained by numerous precautionary measures: specially trained teams which were licensed only after an internship at a Zyklon B manufacturing plant; special materials including especially the "J" filters which when used in gas masks were capable of protecting an individual under the most rigorous toxic conditions; evacuations of all surrounding barracks; warnings posted in several languages and bearing a skull and cross-bones; a meticulous examination of the site to be fumigated in order to locate and seal any fissures or openings; the sealing of any chimneys or airshafts and the removal of keys from doors. The cans of Zyklon B were opened at the site itself. After the gas had apparently killed all the vermin, the most critical operation would begin: this was the ventilation of the site. Sentries were to be stationed at a certain distance from all doors and windows, their backs to the wind, in order to prevent the approach of all persons. The specially trained crew equipped with gas masks would then enter the building and unclog the chimneys and cracks, and open the windows. This operation completed, they had to go outside again, remove their masks and breathe freely for ten minutes. They had to put their masks on again to re-enter the building and perform the next step. Once all of this work was completed, it was still necessary to wait TWENTY hours. Actually, because Zyklon B was "difficult to ventilate, since it adheres strongly to surfaces," the dispersion of the gas required a long natural ventilation. This was especially important when great volumes of the gas were employed as in the case of a barrack containing more than one floor. (When Zyklon B was used in an autoclave with a total volume of only 10 cubic meters, ventilation (forced or artificially) was still necessary.) After twenty hours had elapsed, the crew would return with their masks on. They would then verify by means of a paper test (the paper would turn blue in the presence of hydrocyanic acid) as to whether or not the site was indeed again fit for human habitation. And so we see that a site which had been gassed was not safely accessible until a minimum of 21 hours had elapsed. As far as French legislation is concerned, the minimum is set at 24 hours.
It becomes, therefore, apparent that in the absence of a magical fan capable of instantly expelling a gas that is "difficult to ventilate, since it adheres strongly to surfaces," the "human slaughterhouse" called a "gas chamber" would have been inaccessible for nearly a full day. its walls, floors, ceiling would have retained portions of a gas which was highly poisonous to man. And what about the bodies? These cadavers could have been nothing less than saturated with the gas, just as the cushions, mattresses and blankets discussed in the same technical document on the use of Zyklon B would have been saturated also. These mattresses, etc., had to be taken out of doors to be aired and beaten for an hour under dry atmospheric conditions and for two hours when the weather was humid. When this was accomplished, these items were then heaped together and beaten again if the paper test revealed any further presence of hydrocyanic acid.
Hydrocyanic acid is both inflammable and explosive. How could it then have been used in close proximity to the entrance of crematory ovens? How could one have entered the "gas chamber" while smoking?
I have not yet even touched upon the subject of the superabundance of technical and physical impossibilities which become apparent upon an actual examination of the site and the dimensions of the supposed "gas chambers" at Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau. Moreover, just as an inquisitive fact-finder of the Polish museum may discover, these chambers were in reality nothing more than "cold storage rooms" (mortuaries) and were typical of such rooms both in lay-out as well as size. The supposed "gas chamber" of Krema II at Birkenau, of which there remains only a ruin, was in fact a morgue, located below ground in order to protect it from heat and measuring 30 meters in length and 7 meters down the center to allow for the movement of wagons). The door, the passageways, the freight lift (which measured only 2.10 meters by 1.35 meters) which led to the crematory chamber were all of Lilliputian dimensions in comparison to the insinuations of Höss's account. According to Höss, the gas chamber could easily accommodate 2,000 standing victims, but had a capacity of 3,000. Can you imagine that? Three thousand people crammed into a space of 210 square meters. In other words, to make a comparison, 286 people standing in a room measuring 5 meters by 4 meters! Do not be deceived into believing that before their retreat the Germans blew up the "gas chambers" and crematory ovens to conceal any trace of their alleged crimes. If one wishes to obliterate all trace of an installation which would be intrinsically quite sophisticated, it must be scrupulously dismantled from top to bottom so that there remains not one shred of incriminating evidence. Destruction by means of demolition would have been ingenuous. If explosives had been employed, mere removal of the concrete blocks would still have left this or that telltale sign. As a matter of fact, Poles of the present day Auschwitz museum have reconstructed the remains of some "Kremas" (meaning, in reality, reconstructions of crematoria and supposed "gas chambers"). However, all of the artefacts shown to tourists attest to the existence of crematory ovens rather than to anything else. If it was the Germans who dynamited those installations (as an army often does in retreat) it was precisely because those installations concealed nothing suspicious. In Majdanek, on the other hand, they left intact installations which were dubbed "gas chambers" after the war.
In the U.S.A. the first execution by gassing took place on 8 February 1924 in the prison of Carson City, Nevada. Two hours after the execution, poison traces were still to be found in the grounds of the prison. Mr. Dickerson, warden of the prison, declared that as far as the condemned man was concerned, the method of execution was certainly the most humane so far used. But he added that he would reject this method in the future because of the danger to the witnesses. Recently, on 22 October 1979, Jesse Bishop was executed by gas at the same prison.
The real gas chambers, such as those created in 1924 and developed by the Americans around 1936-1938 offer some idea of the inherent complexity of such a method of execution. The Americans, for one thing, only gas one prisoner at a time normally (some gas chambers exist, however, which are equipped with two seats for the execution of two brothers, for example). The prisoner is totally immobilized. He is poisoned by the hydrocyanic acid (actually by the dropping of sodium cyanide pellets into a container of sulfuric acid and distilled water which results in release of hydrocyanic acid gas). Within approximately 40 seconds, the prisoner dozes off, and in a few minutes he dies. Apparently, the gas causes no discomfort. As in the case of Zyklon B, it is the dispersion of the gas which causes problems. Natural ventilation for 24 hours is not possible in this case. Obviously, the location of the site of execution precludes such ventilation without seriously endangering the guards as well as other prison inmates. What, then, is the best course of action with a gas which poses such difficult problems of ventilation? The solution is to transform the acidic vapors into a solid salt which can then be flushed out with water. For this purpose, ammonia vapors which are basic are used to react with the acid vapors to form the salt by chemical reaction. When the hydrocyanic acid has all but vanished, a warning signal would alert the attending physician and his aides who are located on the opposite side of a glass barrier. The warning signal is phenolphtalein. It is arranged in containers located at various places in the chamber and turns from pink to purple in the absence of hydrocyanic acid. Once the absence of the poison is indicated and once an arrangement of fans draws the ammonia fumes out through an exhaust vent, the physician and his assistants enter the chamber wearing gas masks. Rubber gloves are used to protect the hands. The doctor ruffles through the convict's hair so as to brush out any residual hydrocyanic acid. Only after a full hour has elapsed since the death, can the doctor and his assistants enter the chamber. The convict's body is washed very carefully and the room is hosed down. The ammonia gas has by this time been expelled via a high chimney stack above the prison. Because of the danger to guards who are normally stationed in the prison watch towers, in some prisons the guards are required to leave their post during such an execution. I will just mention the other requirements for a completely air-tight gas chamber such as the need for locks, "Herculite" glass barriers of considerable thickness (because of the risk of implosion since a vacuum has to be made) a vacuum system, mercury valves, etc.
A gassing is not an improvisation. If the Germans had decided to gas millions of people, a complete overhaul of some very formidable machinery would have been absolutely essential. A general order, instructions, studies, commands and plans would surely have been necessary also. Such items have never been found. Meetings of experts would have been necessary: of architects, chemists, doctors, and experts in a wide range of technical fields. Disbursements and allocations of funds would have been necessary. Had this occurred in a state such as the Third Reich, a wealth of evidence would surely have survived. We know, for example, down to the pfennig the cost of the kennel at Auschwitz and of the bay trees which were ordered for the nurseries. Orders for projects would have been issued. Auschwitz and Birkenau would not have been camps where so much coming and going would have been allowed. In fact, it was because of all this to-ing and fro-ing, and in order to prevent any increase in escapes, that it was found necessary for registration numbers to be tattooed onto prisoners' arms. Civilian workers and engineers would not have been permitted to mingle with the inmates. Passes would not have been granted to Germans in the camp, and their family members would not have had visiting rights. Above all, the prisoners who had served their sentences would not have been released and permitted to return to their respective countries: that well guarded secret among historians was revealed to us several years ago in an article by Louis De Jong, Director of the Institute of World War II History of Amsterdam.
Moreover, in the United States the recent publication of aerial photographs of Auschwitz deals a death blow to the extermination fable: even in the summer of 1944 at the height of the influx of Hungarian Jews, there is no indication of any human pyre or throng of prisoners near the crematorium (but an open gate and a landscaped area are clearly visible) and there is no suspicious smoke (although the smoke stacks of the crematoria reportedly spewed forth flames continuously that were visible from a distance of several kilometers both day and night).
I will conclude with a comment on what I regard as the criterion of false evidence regarding the gas chambers. I have noticed that all of these statements, vague and inconsistent as they are, concur on at least one point: the crew responsible for removing the bodies from the "gas chambers" entered the site either "immediately" or a "few moments" after the deaths of the victims. I contend that this point alone constitutes the cornerstone of the false evidence, because this is a physical impossibility. If you encounter a person who believes in the existence of the "gas chambers," ask him how, in his opinion, the thousands of cadavers were removed to make room for the next batch.
QUESTION 2: How can you assert this, after all that has been said and written during the past 35 years? After all that the survivors of the camps have recounted? After the cases brought against war criminals? After Nürnberg? Upon what proofs and upon what documents do you base your assertions?
Many historical errors have lasted more than 35 years. What certain "survivors" have recounted does indeed constitute evidence, but it is evidence among others. Testimony evidence alone is not proof. In particular, the "evidence" presented at the "war crimes" trials ought to be examined with special caution. Unless I am mistaken, not a sole witness in 35 years has ever been prosecuted for perjury; a fact which amounts to giving a watertight guarantee to everyone desirous of providing evidence of "war crimes." Furthermore, this also explains the fact that earlier tribunals have "established" the existence of "gas chambers" in parts of Germany where it has now been finally and firmly established that there were none (for example, throughout the entire territory of the Old Reich).
The judgements pronounced at Nürnberg have only a relative value. The vanquished were judged by their victors. There was not the least possibility of appeal. Articles 19 and 21 of the Statutes of this political tribunal cynically gave it the right of not having to have solid proof, they even validated hearsay evidence. All the other trials for "war crimes" have, as a result, been inspired by the legislation at Nürnberg. The trials of witches and sorcerers through the centuries used to proceed in such a manner.
There have existed, at least at first glance, "proofs" and "witnesses" of gassing at Oranienburg, at Buchenwald, at Bergen-Belsen, at Dachau, at Ravensbrück, and at Mauthausen. Professors, priests, Catholics, Jews, Communists, have all attested to the existence of "gas chambers" in these camps, and of their use for killing internees. To take only one example: Mgr. Piguet, Bishop of Clermont-Ferrand, has written that Polish priests have passed through the "gas chambers" of Dachau. But since 1960 it has been officially recognized that no one was ever gassed at Dachau.
But even more outrageous: there have been many cases where those in charge in certain camps have confessed to the
existence and the functioning of homocidal "gas chambers" where it has since been revealed by investigation that none ever existed. As far as Ravensbrück is concerned, the commandant of the camp (Suhren), his deputy (Schwarzhuber), and the camp doctor (Dr. Treite), have all admitted to the existence of a "gas chamber" and have even described, in a vague fashion, its operation. They were executed or they committed suicide.
The same scenario existed for the commandant Ziereis at Mauthausen who, in 1945, on his death bed, is reported to have also made such confessions.
One should not immediately assume that the admissions of the Ravensbrück administrators were extorted from them by the Russians or by the Poles. It was actually the judicial apparatus of Britain and of France which obtained these confessions. An even more disturbing factor is that the "confessions" were extracted several years after the war's end. The necessary pressure continued to be applied to such unfortunates right up until as late as 1950, when a man like Schwarzhuber collaborated with his interrogators, or his judges, or his bench magistrates.
No serious historian pretends any longer that people were gassed in any camp anywhere in the Old Reich. Today, allegations are only made about certain camps situated in Poland. 19 August 1960 constituted an important date in the history of the myth of the "gas chambers." On this day, the newspaper Die Zeit published a letter which was entitled "No gassing at Dachau." From the content of the letter, a better title would have been "No gassing anywhere in the Old Reich"; (Germany with its 1937 frontiers.) This letter emanated from Dr. Martin Broszat, director since 1972 of the Institute of Contemporary History at Munich. This Dr. Broszat is a convinced anti-Nazi. He belongs to the group of Exterminationist historians. He believes in the authenticity of the "confessions" of Rudolf Hoss, which he published in 1958 (but with serious cuts of the text in the passages where Hoss had exaggerated "a little too much"-probably obeying the suggestions of his Polish jailers. In brief, Dr. Broszat admitted on 19 August 1960 that gassing had never existed in the whole of the Old Reich. He added, using a confused expression, that there had been gassing "above all"(?) at some chosen points in Poland, for instance Auschwitz.
All the official historians, as far as I know, have concluded by agreeing with Dr. Broszat. I deplore the fact that Dr. Broszat has contented himself with only a letter. A scientific paper was necessary, and detailed explanations were indispensable. It was necessary to explain to us why the proof, the evidence, and the confessions-all of which were considered unimpeachable up to that point-had suddenly lost all of their value. We are still waiting for the explanations of Dr. Broszat after nearly 20 years. They would be valuable to us in determining if the proof, the evidence, and the confessions which we possess on the gassings at Auschwitz or Treblinka are more valuable than the proof, evidence, and confessions which we possess on the faked gassings of Buchenwald or of Ravensbrück. In the meantime, it is extremely curious that the evidence collected (mainly) by the French, British and American tribunals should suddenly lose all its value in this way, while the evidence collected by the Polish and Soviet tribunals should preserve its value on the same subject!
In 1968, it was the turn of the "gas chamber" at Mauthausen (in Austria) to be declared mythical by an Exterminationist historian: Olga Wormser-Migot, in her thesis on The Nazi Concentration Camp System, in particular the section titled "The problem of the gas chambers." Let us retain this heading; for according to the admissions of the Exterminationist historians themselves, there does exist a "PROBLEM of the gas chambers!"
In regard to the false confessions, I one day asked the Exterminationist historian Joseph Billig (attached to the CDJC) how he could, for his part, explain them. Here is his reply: They were, so he said, "psychotic phenomena!" For my part, I have an explanation to offer about these alleged "psychotic phenomena" as well as about the "schizoid apathy" of Höss on the day of his depositions before the Nürnberg Tribunal. Höss had been tortured by his British jailers. He had been "interrogated with a riding whip and primed with alcohol." Likewise at the Dachau Trial, the Americans-as revealed in particular by the Van Roden Commission of inquiry-had abominably tortured other German accused.
But torture more often than not is useless. The procedures of intimidation are numerous. The massive universal condemnation which was brought to bear on the accused Nazis still retains its potency today. When "Anathema resounds with a religious unanimity as dignified as in the great mediaeval communions" there is nothing one can do against it, especially if the lawyers come into play, and impress upon the defendants that concessions are necessary. I well remember my own hatred of the Germans during the war, and just after its end. It was an incandescent hatred which I believed was voluntary. But with the passing of time, I perceived that it was not in fact mine but had been breathed into me. My hatred stemmed from the British radio, from the propaganda of Hollywood, and from the Stalinist press. I myself would have been merciless toward any German who should have told me that he had been a guard at some camp, and that he had not seen any of the massacres which the entire world talked about. If I had been his judge, then I would have considered it my duty to force him to "confess."
For 35 years this scenario involving German defendants has been comparable to that against witches and sorcerers of the Middle Ages. Let us consider for a moment the incredible courage which would be needed for one of these accused witches to dare to say to her tribunal: "The best proof that I have not had dealings with the Devil is simply that the Devil does not exist." Most of the time, those so-called witches could not believe the facts they were blamed for, but they would go along with, or pretend to go along with, their accusing-judges' belief in the Devil. (Accusing-judges during the French Revolution were at one and the same time judge and prosecutor.) In the same way, Dr. Dürrfeld, who had been an engineer at Auschwitz, initially told his judges that he personally had never suspected the existence of "gas chambers" in the camp; then later, joining the fashionable belief, he declared to the tribunal his indignation at "this brand of infamy for the German people."
The witch would use deceit with her judges, just as the Germans, even today during the "Majdanek" trial in Düsseldorf, deceive their judges too. For example, the witch might admit that the Devil had been there on such and such a day, but that he was at the top of a hill while she herself had remained at the foot of the hill. Likewise, a German defendant endeavors to demonstrate that he himself had nothing to do with the "gas chambers." Sometimes, he even goes so far as to say that he assisted in pushing people into the "gas chamber" or even that he was ordered to pour a product through a trap in the ceiling under threat of execution if he disobeyed. Thus, he often gives the impression of sidestepping the issue. His accusers think: "Here again is one who seeks to get out of his predicament. They are extraordinary, these Germans! They almost never saw or heard anything!" The truth, however, is that they neither saw nor knew anything concerning what it was wished they should say in the matter of gassing. Any reproach should be directed at the accusers, not at the defendants who are caught up in the only defense strategy left open to them. The lawyers have a grave responsibility for the adoption of this strategy. I do not speak of those lawyers who, like nearly everyone, believe that the "gas chambers" existed. I speak of those who know or suspect that they are confronted with an enormous lie. They prefer not to raise this question, either in their own interests or in their clients' interests. Eichmann's lawyer did not believe in the existence of the "gas chambers" but that did not prevent him from deliberately avoiding opening this can of worms at the trial in Jerusalem. One cannot reproach him for this. I understand that the statute of this tribunal allowed for the dismissal of the defense lawyer if he should present any argument which fitted the term "intolerable" or a term approximating this.
An old resort of lawyers, a resort necessitated on occasion by the needs of the defense, is to plead the seeming truth rather than the actual truth. The truth is sometimes too difficult to gain acceptance into the judges' minds. One has to be contented with pragmatism. An example admirably demonstrates this. It is recounted by Maitre Albert Naud, the lawyer representing Lucien Léger, whom the entire French press regarded as the perpetrator of an abominable crime. Lucien Léger protested his innocence. He chose Mailtre Naud as his lawyer. The lawyer went to see him in prison. He said to him: "Léger, be serious! If you want me to be your lawyer, we are going to plead guilty." A bargain was struck. Léger saved his head. Some years later, Maitre Naud became convinced that Léger was innocent. He developed an enormous complex because he had forced Léger to plead guilty. He summoned all of his powers to obtain a retrial. Too late. Naud died. And Léger, if he is innocent, will probably pay until the end of his days for the abominable attitude of the press and the blindness of his lawyer.
A tribunal has no capacity for determining historical truth. Even historians have very often the utmost trouble in distinguishing the factual truth on a point of history. The independence of the judges is necessarily very relative. Judges read newspapers just like everyone else. They keep informed, at least in part, through the radio or television. Reviews and books present to them, as to all of us, "documents" or "photographs" of Nazi atrocities. Unless they are especially skilled in the critical appraisal of this kind of document or photos, they tend to fall into the more blatant traps of the media-orchestrated propaganda. Simultaneously, the judges are concerned to bring about respect for public order, public morality, certain norms, usages and beliefs, even, of public life. All of this, without counting the anxiety of ever seeing their name vilified in the press, can only be conducive to judgements in matters of "war crimes" which the historian himself is not obliged to accept as his own.
Justice has been itself judged. At no time during this kind of trial has justice considered asking for an expert's report about the weapon of the crime. When they are suspected of being instruments of a crime, items such as a knife, a rope, or a revolver, are all subject to expert forensic appraisal. Yet, those objects have nothing mysterious about them. But in the case of the "gas chambers" there has not been a single forensic appraisal in 35 years! There is certainly talk of an appraisal supposedly made by the Soviets, but in every case the text of it seems to have remained secret.
For one and a half years, at the Frankfurt trial of 1963-65, a German tribunal conducted the affair called "the Auschwitz guards trial," without ordering any expert forensic appraisal of the actual device used for the crime. The same happened at the Majdanek trial at Düsseldorf and, just after the war, for the Struthof trial in France. This absence of forensic expertise is even less excusable when one considers that not one judge, not one prosecutor, not one lawyer, possessed any experience on the nature and the functioning of these extraordinary "human abattoirs." At Struthof and Majdanek these "chambers" are, however, still represented as being an original fixture: therefore it would suffice to examine the "instrument of the crime" on the spot.
At Auschwitz things are less clear. At the principal camp (Auschwitz 1) tourists are led to believe that the "gas chamber" is authentic, but when the museum authorities are pressed with questions, they beat a retreat and talk of a "replica" (which is nothing other than downright deceit, easily proved as such from certain archive documents). At the Birkenau annex (Auschwitz II) one is only shown the ruins of the "gas chambers." But even there forensic examination is perfectly possible. To an archaeologist even a few meager indices sometimes suffice in order to reveal the nature and the purpose of an encampment inhabited for several centuries. To give you some idea of the complacent attitude taken by the lawyers at the trial in Frankfurt, even to the extent of agreeing with the accusations in advance(!), I would tell you that one of these lawyers even had his photograph taken by the press in the process of lifting a trapdoor (sic!) of the pretended "gas chamber" at the principal camp at Auschwitz. Ten years after the trial I asked this lawyer what had caused him to consider the building in question a "gas chamber." His written reply was more than evasive. It resembled the reply which has been made to me by the authorities of the Dachau Museum. I asked the Dachau people in writing upon what documents did they base their confirmation that a certain piece of camp equipment was an unfinished "gas chamber." In effect, I was surprised to learn that it could be determined that an unfinished structure was destined to become, once completed, a thing which no one had ever seen in his life. One day I will publish my correspondence with these authorities as well as with the officials of the International Dachau Committee at Brussels.
You ask me upon what proofs and upon what documents I base my declaration that the "gas chambers" never existed. I believe that I have already largely replied to this question. I would add that a good part of these proofs and documents are those of the accusers. It suffices to re-read through the texts of the prosecution in order to perceive that the accusation bordered on the opposite of the result which it wanted to establish. The basic texts are the 42 volumes of the International Military Tribunal (IMT), the 15 volumes of the Nürnberg Military Tribunal (NMT), the 19 volumes published by the University of Amsterdam, the stenographic transcripts of the Eichmann trial, various verbal proceedings relating to interrogations, the works of Hilberg, of Reitlinger, of Adler, of Langbein, of Olga Wormser-Migot, the Encyclopedia judaica, the Memorial by Klarsfeld (very interesting for the list of fake gassings), the publications of different institutes. I have, above all, worked a great deal at the CDJC of Paris. But I was hounded at the beginning of 1978, on the initiative, in particular, of Georges Wellers, because it was known at what conclusions I had already arrived in regard to the "gas chambers" and "genocide." The CDJC is a semi-public body. It receives public money. Nonetheless, it arrogates to itself the right to hound those who do not think as it requires. And it says so!
QUESTION 3: You have gone so far as to deny any deliberate intention on the part of Hitler to exterminate the Jews. And lastly, in the course of a debate on Swiss-Italian television, you have said: "Hitler never had a single person killed because they were Jewish." What exactly do you mean to say with this phrase?
I say exactly this: "Hitler never ordered nor admitted that anyone should be killed on account of his race or his religion."
This phrase is perhaps shocking to certain people, but I truly believe it. Hitler was anti-Jewish and racist. His racism was, moreover, not opposed to fostering admiration for the Arabs and Hindus. He was hostile to colonialism. On 7 February 1945 he declared to his entourage: "The Whites have carried to these (colonial) people the worst that they could carry: the plagues of the world: materialism, fanaticism, alcoholism, and syphilis. Moreover, since what these people possessed on their own was superior to anything we could give them, they have remained themselves... The sole result of the activity of the colonizers is: they have everywhere aroused hatred."
Hitler became hostile to the Jews rather late. Before saying and repeating that the Jews are "the grand masters of the lie" he had been rather favorable toward them. He writes in Mein Kampf. "They were persecuted (on account of their beliefs) as I believed, often making my dislike of unfavorable assertions about them almost reach the point of repugnance."
Personally, I know Hitler rather poorly, and he interests me no more than Napoleon Bonaparte. If he raved, then I do not see why we ourselves should rave about him. Let us make efforts to speak of Hitler with the same sang-froid with which one used to speak of Amenophis Akhenaton. Between Hitler and the Jews there was an inexpiable war. It is evident that each holds the other responsible for this conflict. In the person of Chaim Weizmann, president of the World Jewish Congress (and future president of the state of Israel), the international Jewish community declared war on Germany on 5 September 193. Hitherto, as early as 1934, the hostility of the international Jewish community had been manifested by the exigencies of the economic boycott against Nazi Germany. Obviously it had been motivated by retaliation against the measures taken by Hitler against the German Jews. This deadly chain of events, on the part of both sides, was to lead to the world war. Hitler said: "The Jews and the Allies wish for our annihilation, but it is they who will be destroyed," while the Allies and the Jews said: "Hitler and the Nazis and their allies wish for our destruction, but it is they who will be destroyed." The two hostile camps during the whole course of the war thus intoxicated themselves in belligerent and fanatical proclamations. The enemy became a beast to be slaughtered. Think, in the same fashion, of the words of the Marseillaise: "Qu'un sang impur abreuve nos sillions!" ("Let our soil be drenched by their impure blood!")
Moreover, the Allies waged a pitiless war against the Nazis, and 35 years after the war's end, still pursue a kind of "Nazi hunt." But in the same way as the Allies never actually decreed that a civilian National Socialist, whether he be a man, woman or child, should be killed solely on a basis of their National Socialism, in the same way it must also be said that Hitler - in spite of all the antipathy he had toward the Jews - never decreed that all Jews, or even one Jew, should be killed on the sole and unique basis of their Jewishness. Although, in the case of reprisals against "partisans" or "terrorists" when the Germans selected their hostages for execution, it was better to be neither a Jew, nor a Communist, nor a common-law criminal, but in that particular case it was a familiar aspect of hostage-taking (to kill the more expendable hostages) just as had been practiced everywhere throughout the ages.
Hitler had a proportion of the European Jews interned, but in no way does internment mean "extermination." There has been neither "genocide" nor "Holocaust." Every concentration camp is a pitiful sight, and a horror, irrespective of whether it is a German, Russian, British, French, American, Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese or Cuban camp. There are of course degrees in this pity or this horror, and it is certain that in times of war, of famine, of epidemics, a concentration camp becomes even more horrible. But nothing in the case which concerns us here permits us to say that there were deliberate camps of extermination, i.e. camps where people would have been placed to be killed.
The Exterminationists pretend that in the summer of 1941, Hitler gave the order to exterminate the Jews. But no one has ever seen this order. On the other hand, there exist neither specific conversations of Hitler nor measures taken by his armies, which imply that such an order could not have been given. On 24 July 1942, in a restricted gathering, Hitler recalled that the Jews had declared war on him through the intermediary of Chaim Weizmann, and said that after the war he would close the towns to the Jews, one after the other. His precise words were: "... if the Jewish dregs did not decamp and if they do not emigrate to Madagascar or to some other national Jewish homeland." For my own part, I would like to know just how one can reconcile this talk in a circle of confidants with any "definitive order of extermination" supposedly given one year previously (summer 1941).
Even in July 1944, on the eastern front where the German soldiers were engaged in a ferocious war against the partisans (Jews or non-Jews, Russians or Communists, Ukrainians, etc.) the army gave the most draconian orders that no German soldier should participate in any excesses against the civilian population, Jews included. Otherwise, they would be court-martialled. Such excesses were to be absolutely suppressed. Hitler called for a merciless struggle in the fight, especially against the partisans, including, if it were necessary, against women and children mingling with the partisans or who were apparent accomplices of the partisans. He had evidently not rejected the practice of taking hostages (neither had the Allies, of course). But he did not go beyond that measure. The day our media decide to break with certain taboos and devote to the war crimes of the Allies even one thousandth of the time which they devote to the war crimes of the vanquished, on that day there will be astonishment among the naive public. The "crimes" of Hitler will then take on their correct proportions in a proper historical perspective. There is indeed little talk about Dresden and Katyn. But I say that Dresden and Katyn are small matters when compared to the deportations the Allies inflicted on the German minorities in the eastern territories. It is true that officially it was not a matter of "deportations" but of ... "displacement" (e.g. "displaced persons"). And I wonder if the champions of all the "war criminals" have not been the British with their delivery to the Soviets of their Russian internees?
QUESTION 4: What is your conception and what is your definition of genocide?
I describe "genocide" as the act of killing a man on account of his race. Hitler no more committed "genocide" than Napoleon, Stalin, Churchill or Mao. Roosevelt interned American citizens of Japanese extraction in concentration camps. That was not "genocide."
Hitler treated the civilian Jews as the representatives of a belligerent enemy minority. It is regrettably common to treat this type of civilian as dangerous, or potentially dangerous. In fact, with good war logic, Hitler would have been lead to intern all the Jews who had fallen into his hands. He is very far from having done this, and without doubt this was not on account of any humanitarian motives, but for reasons of practicality. In certain parts of Europe he made his enemies wear a distinctive sign: the Star of David (beginning September 1941 in Germany, and June 1942 in the northern zone of France). The wearers of the star were not free to move about, except during certain hours. They were like prisoners of war on supervised parole. Hitler preoccupied himself perhaps less with the Jewish question than with ensuring the security of the German soldier. The average German trooper would have been incapable of distinguishing Jews from non-Jews. The Star of David identified them.
The Jews were suspected of passing information (many of them spoke German), of engaging in espionage, of trafficking in arms, of terrorism, and of black-marketeering. It was necessary to avoid all contact between the Jew and the German soldier. For example, on the Paris metro Jews wearing the Star of David were only allowed to ride in the last of the five cars, and a German soldier himself had no right to enter this car. I am not a specialist on these questions but I believe that this kind of measure was dictated by reasons of military security as much as by reasons of deliberate humiliation. In places where there were large concentrations of Jews it was virtually impossible to keep them under surveillance (except through the intermediary of the Jewish ghetto police), and the Germans feared an insurrection similar to that which took place in the Warsaw ghetto, where a strategically dangerous uprising took place in April 1943. With stupefaction, the Germans discovered then that the Jews had constructed 700 blockhouses. They suppressed the insurrection and transferred the survivors to transit camps, work camps, and concentration camps. The Jews experienced tragedy there.
I know that it is sometimes argued that children of 6 to 15 years of age could not constitute a danger, and should not have been subjected to the restrictive measures. But to convince us of the contrary there exist today sufficient accounts and memoirs by Jews telling us of their childhood when they committed all sorts of illicit activities or resistance to the Germans.
It is necessary to distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy in the representation which is made that the Jews allowed themselves to be slaughtered like sheep. Did the non-Jews resist as much as it is said? Did the Jews resist as little as it is said? The factor which increases the problem is that too many of our judgements are based on a false premise: that of the "genocide" against the Jews. Obviously, if this "genocide" had existed, then one would perhaps regard the Jews as cowards; this is apparently the reproach which young Israelis make against their fathers. But if, as the Revisionists claim, "genocide" is nothing other than a legend, then the reproach of cowardice no longer has a foundation.
QUESTION 5: If there had not been a deliberate intention on the part of Hitler to carry out genocide, then why Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec and the other extermination camps? They existed; they have been a reality. Not only Jews have been imprisoned and died there, but also "politicals," gypsies, Slaves, homosexuals; that is to say, all those "deviants" whom Nazi racism condemned. Why were these camps organized? To what ultimate purpose?
A camp can only be qualified as an "extermination" camp if people are exterminated there. It is so true, that, according to the nomenclature created by the official historians, only those camps where (it is pretended) there existed "gas chambers" can be termed "extermination" camps. These camps have never existed. The horrible epidemic of typhus at Bergen-Belsen did not transform this camp (for a great part without barbed-wire) into an extermination camp. Those dead are not the result of a crime except the crime of war itself, and of human folly. The Allies share with the Germans a grave responsibility for the frightful chaos in which Europe, its towns, its refugee camps, and its internee camps, were found at the end of the war. The Allies have distributed a large number of photographs showing the mass graves of Bergen-Belsen. However, thousands of the internees died of typhus after the entry of the British into Bergen-Belsen. At the time the British did not succeed any more than the Germans before them, in ending this terrible epidemic. Would it have been more honest to treat the British as criminals?
The first Nazi concentration camps were conceived for internment and for re-education (sic!) of the political opponents to Hitler. Propaganda asserted that these camps, open to numerous visits, constituted an advance on prisons where common-law criminals stagnated. Jews were interned there only in so far as they were Communists, Social Democrats, etc. The Jews were placed in the concentration camps only during the war, above all from 1942 onward. Those Jews who had been interned in 1938 as a reprisal for the assassination of von Rath by a Jew had been for the most part set free after only a few months.
Before the war, Hitler had attempted-with a certain amount of success-to promote the exodus of the Jews. The idea was the creation of a Jewish national homeland outside Europe. The "Madagascar project" was conceived as a Jewish homeland under German protection. The initial plans provided, as a matter of priority, drainage works, banking systems, etc. But the war prevented the realization of this project. It would have required too many ships. Little Germany-from the aspect of the map of the world-was engaged with Japan and a few allies in a formidable struggle against giants. The principal concern for Germany was to win the war. A secondary aim was to find a solution to the Jewish problem, a definitive solution; a "final" solution, a "total" solution, to a problem which, in a certain manner, was as old as the Jewish people themselves. This provisional solution, because of the war, was largely going to consist of "driving back toward the East" the Jews in the camps.
Auschwitz was first and foremost a very important complex in Upper Silesia composed of three main camps and 39 sub-camps scattered over the whole of one region. The mining, industrial, agricultural operations, and the researches there, were considerable: coal mines (some with French capital), petro-chemicals, armaments, explosives, synthetics, artificial rubber, cattle-breeding, fish farms, etc. At Auschwitz there were free laborers as well as internees, and prisoners condemned to life imprisonment as well as prisoners interned for a shorter time. In Auschwitz-II or Birkenau camp, there was the distressing spectacle of numerous persons unskilled for any work and stagnating on the spot. Among them were the gypsies, who with few exceptions were not put to work. Numerous gypsy children were born at Auschwitz. It seems that only the nomadic gypsies were interned. This does not seem to have been done for racial reasons, but on account of their nomadism and possible "delinquency." I recall that in France even the Resistance had come to regard the gypsies with suspicion, and had suspected them of espionage, of collecting secret information, and of black market activities. It would be interesting to determine how many gypsy troupes continued to wander around Europe during the war.
As for the homosexuals - classified as delinquents - they were, like many other "delinquents," removed from prison or sent directly to the camps to work there. German legislation, like much other legislation of that epoch, repressed homosexuality. As for the Slavs, those of them who were in the camps were not there because they were Slavs, but as political internees, prisoners of war, etc., as well as other Europeans. At Auschwitz there were even British PoWs, taken prisoner at Tobruk.
The essential pre-occupation of the Germans at the end of 1942 was to put to work all these internees (with the exception of those unable to work, and, it seems, the gypsies) to win the war. At Auschwitz there even existed courses of professional training for the young from 12 to 15 years old, in masonry, for example. The Germans responsible for the deportation of foreigners to the camps insisted upon obtaining the largest possible number of those "capable of work." The foreign governments, for their part, insisted that families should not be separated and that the old and the children should join the convoys. Neither the Jews nor anyone else had any knowledge whatever of leaving for an "extermination" camp, if one is to believe testimonies such as those of Georges Wellers in L'Etoile Jaune à Pheure de Vichy. They had good reason. This "massacre" was happily nothing but a propaganda invention of the war. Besides, it is difficult to conceive that Germany, dramatically short of locomotives, of wagons, of coal, of qualified personnel, and of soldiers, could have laid on such a system of convoys to the "abattoirs." These convoys, I recall, seemed to have had a priority even over the convoys of war materiel. Production, above all, skilled production was what pre-occupied the Germans more than anything in this matter.
QUESTION 6: You have specialized in the literary criticism of texts and documents, but you have made this particular problem your preferred terrain of historical research. Why? What do you wish to say when you continue to assert that there has been a conspiracy of silence concerning the problem of the gas chambers and the extermination of the Jews? Why should a conspiracy of silence exist, and organized by whom?
For me, the critical appraisal of texts and documents aims at establishing the degree of authenticity and veracity of what one reads. One searches therein to distinguish between the true and the false, sense and nonsense, and so on. I suppose that this awareness was destined to guide me to the detection of certain historical fakes, and in particular, to the detection of what in a few years would appear to every historian as a monumental forgery.
The result of the conspiracy of silence surrounding the Revisionist works is that these works are for the most part '6samizdat" ("underground literature"). In regard to the authors who do succeed in breaking the wall of silence, they are treated as Nazis, which in turn ostracises them to an intellectual ghetto. The procedures utilized against the non-conformist historians or individuals range from pure criminality to judicial prosecutions, without forgetting the disgusting conduct of the police. All sorts of lobbies are active in attempting to establish a dominant atmosphere or terror. I am aware of that personally. I can no longer teach at the university. My life has become difficult. I am up against enormous power-blocs. Some young people support me. The light will eventually shine through. Some Jews are on my side; they themselves wish to denounce deception and persecution.
I believe rather less in conspiracies and rather more in the force of conformity. The victors of the last war needed to make us believe in the intrinsic evil of the vanquished. Soviets and Westerners, whatever their differences, had found common ground of agreement there. Hollywood and the apparatus of Stalinist propaganda have conjugated their efforts. What a fracas of propaganda! The principal beneficiaries of the operation have been the state of Israel and international Zionism. The principal victims have been the German people - but not its leaders - and the Palestinian people as a whole. But today there is dissension in the air. Zionists and Poles already present us with a divergent version of Auschwitz.
QUESTION 7: You dispute a very large part of the methods which the official historians have applied in this historical research. In your opinion, this chapter in 20th Century history has not been written in the right way. Why, then? And why would those historians have done so?
The official historians have been lacking in their obligations. They have not observed in this matter the routine methods of historical criticism. They have followed the general current, i.e. that which is sponsored by the media. They have allowed themselves to be absorbed by the system. An official historian such as Professor Hellmut Diwald saw the terrible vexation confronting him when he risked simply writing a phrase saying that "genocide" in spite of the abundant literature dedicated to it, is an affair which in essentials "is not yet well elucidated." Under the pressure of the German Jewish organizations, the second edition of his History of the Germans was issued as "re-cast and improved" (sic!) where it was necessary. The courage of Paul Rassinier consisted in having precisely applied the routine methods of historical criticism. In a way he has said to his accusers: "Show me your proof." "Does your document offer guarantees of authenticity?" "Are you sure that this expression, that this phrase, has in fact the meaning which you attribute?" "Where do your figures come from?" "How have you reached these statistics?" "Where does the caption of this photo come from?" "Who says to me that this old woman and this child in this picture are really 'on the road to the gas chambers'?" "Does this pile of shoes signify that people were gassed in this camp or that many of those detained there were in fact employed in making shoes?" "Where is the manuscript of this extraordinary testimony which ought to have only one form and which is published in many, contradictory forms, even by one and the same historian?" And so on, and so on.
Paul Rassinier, modest professor of history and geography, has given a remarkable lesson of clairvoyance and of probity to his eminent colleagues of the university. A genuine revolutionary, a genuine member of the Resistance, a genuine deportee, this man loved the truth in the manner it is necessary to love it: fiercely and above anything else. He has denounced what he calls "the lie of Ulysses." Ulysses, as we know, experienced a hundred trials during exile but, returning home, he recounted a thousand. We know that man finds it difficult not to make up yarns. He is often fond of stories of hunting, fishing, love, and wealth. But above all he is fascinated by stories of atrocities.
The American author Arthur R. Butz has written a book on The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. This book provokes disarray among the Exterminationists. The demonstration is unavoidable. The German edition has been placed on the list of "works dangerous to young people," and steps are now being taken to have it banned altogether in West Germany. The German Wilhelm Stäglich has published Der Auschwitz Mythos (The Auschwitz Myth). The Swedish group Jewish Information has published Auschwitz Exit. A Jew has written Revisionist works: J. G. Burg in Germany. In very recent times, the extreme left review La Guerre Sociale (The Class War) has published a study entitled "From exploitation in the camps to the exploitation of the camps". In Britain, in the United States, in Germany (in this particular country the persecution of Revisionists is merciless), in Australia, in Belgium, in Spain, in France, almost in every part of the world, voices are raised demanding that this absurd war propaganda be finally renounced.
I even know - although I cannot give here their names - of official historians who have awakened from this nightmare. Perhaps they wish to decide to renounce the delights which the Revisionist historian David Irving calls "incest among historians." This figurative expression illustrates the practice which consists of delighting in reassessing what other historians have affirmed and of not reviving the subject except by subtle outbidding. It is instructive to participate in a congress of historians dealing with Nazism. What strange communion in respect of a taboo! Misfortune to those who wish to disturb the expiatory ceremony by the expression of a non-official theme: derision and censure.
QUESTION 8: Are you an anti-Semite? What is your assessment of Nazism?
I am not anti-Semitic. One must avoid imagining anti-Semites everywhere. Those Jews who denounce the imposture of "genocide" are like Catholics who say Fatima is an imposture (where thousands of witnesses are supposed to have seen the sun dance). The truth, or its research, cannot be anti-Semitic. In fact Nazism was the dictatorship of a Führer. It died with the Führer on 30 April 1945. My enemy is vanquished. Do not count on me to spit upon his corpse. As long as I am a man, I will not accept that the German people should be defamed by attributing to them crimes which are without precedent in human history. And above all, I will not accept that the German people are so thoroughly "reeducated" that they are the first to believe in these crimes, and deprecate themselves even more than their leaders require of them. In my capacity as an historian, I merely state that Adenauer, Brandt and Schmidt repeat the lessons they have learned from the conquerors of the West, while their homologs in East Germany repeat the lessons taught them by their conquerors from the East. It is realpolitik, I suppose.
QUESTION 9: You deny also that the number of victims-six million-is credible. But even if the number of victims had been less, does this change anything in the fact that there was genocide? And would the number of victims matter, in fact?
The six million is equivalent to a population of a country like Switzerland. No one at the Nürnberg Trial had the tiniest scrap of evidence capable of backing up such a figure. It was on the morning of 14 December 1945 that the American prosecutor Walsh attempted to insinuate the acceptance of this figure by means of presenting an affidavit by witness Wilhelm Höttl. That very afternoon he was forced to beat a retreat by the intervention of the lawyer Kauffmann, who decisively demanded the appearance of this witness so that he could be cross-examined in regard to this figure. The sad fact is that the press and the historians have retained this figure as if the tribunal had totally believed it.
My estimation is as follows: First, the number of Jews exterminated by the Nazis (or: "victims of genocide") is happily equivalent to zero. Second, the number of Europeans killed by acts of war (often by atrocious acts of war) could be in the order of 40 millions; among them the proportion of European Jews could be somewhere in the order of one million, but more likely, several hundred thousands if one does not count those Jews fighting in the uniforms of military allies - I insist on the fact that, as far as I am concerned, it is an estimate without proper scientific character. Moreover, I have good enough reason to think that the figure of the dead at Auschwitz (Jews and non-Jews) amounts to around 50,000 and not to 4 million, as has been pretended for a long time. (This was before the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich decided to content themselves with one million as the accepted figure.)
As to the number of dead in all the concentration camps from 1933 to 1945, I think that it ought to be 200,000 or, at the most, 360,000. One day I will cite my sources, but today I assert that, if one employs computers, one can without doubt quickly establish the real number of dead. The deportees were indexed in files by many authorities. They left behind much evidence.
QUESTION 10: Do you realize that you can contribute this toward a "rehabilitation" of Nazism?
Is it rehabilitating Nero if it is said that we do not possess any proof that he set Rome on fire? What one must concern oneself with rehabilitating or re-establishing is the truth! (Or at least, whenever it is possible.) The historian ought not to preoccupy himself with how Peter or Paul is going to react. What is important for me is to make my contribution to a truthful history of the Second World War. If an old Nazi happened to say to me that the pretended "gas chambers" and the pretended "genocide" of the Jews constitute one and the same unique historical lie, I would agree with him as much as if he had told me that two and two make four. I would not go further, and I would leave him to his political ideas.
Neo-Nazism is to a large extent an invention of the media who even sell a kind of Hollywood sex-shop Nazism. This is also the case with the imaginary "Odessa File" or the Nazi colonies in South America. Or the fairy-tale re-appearances of Hitler or Bormann. A lot of money is made through these inventions. In Germany, I believe that those whom their political adversaries classify as "Neo-Nazi" form 0.7 percent of the electorate. We live in a fantasmagoria, in a sort of Nazism without Nazis. About this subject, I would refer to the pertinent analyses of Gilbert Comte which appeared in Le Monde 29 and 30 May 1979. Since nothing happens by accident in this world, it is plain that an examination of this "media hype" reveals a complex play of interests, passions, and conflicts, all on a planetary scale. The state of Israel has a vital interest in the maintenance of this fantasmagoria, which contributed so much to its creation in 1948. Even a state such as the French republic has an interest in masking the reality of all of this, thanks to upholding in everyone's mind a vigilance against the worst enemy who ever existed: the well-known vile beast of Nazism, a beast which died 35 years ago and against which it is permitted to let off steam. Consequently you have those perpetual expiatory ceremonies, those condemnations to eternal flames, this necessity of vengeance, of chastisement, of denunciation without any limit of time, of place, or of person.
QUESTION 11: Don't you think that to treat the problem of Jewish genocide in such a manner is a way to discredit the memories upon which the widespread conviction is principally based that anti-Semitism is the worst of all the racism practiced in the course of the 20th Century? Memories which are discredited in fact serve nothing.
Anti-Semitism is not the worst kind of racism, but a good way of making us believe that it is, is to convince us that "genocide" was practiced against the Jews. However, the Zionists have gone too far. They should have listened to those who counselled against the principle of "financial reparations" imposed on Germany in the name, particularly, of "genocide." Unfortunately, Ben Gurion for the state of Israel and Nahum Goldmann, acting at the same time for Israel and the Diaspora, wished to draw a gigantic financial profit from the whole affair. Adenauer was a party to it. That gives the imposture of "genocide" an even more outrageous coloration. Read the stupefying interview of Nahum Goldmann which appeared in number 624 of Nouvel Observateur (25-29 October 1976). One has rarely seen a man so elated and happy at having succeeded in a splendid financial-political operation.
QUESTION 12: In the course of your dispute with all those who contest this thesis, you have also asserted that a good part of what the public knows is only a legend and that this legend has been rendered possible thanks to the indiscriminate use of the mass media. What exactly do you wish to say by this?
This point is grave and fascinating. The responsibility of the media in all of this is overwhelming. For 35 years, on five continents, this legend of "genocide" and "gas chambers" has been presented to us as a truth. Countless millions of people have been abused in this way . It makes one dizzy. What a lesson for those who believe in the quality of diverse and contradictory information! It has needed the heroic struggle of some individuals, of some non-conformist spirits in order to make a rupture in "official" truth. I could write a long study on the methods used by the French newspapers and television in order to stifle information. The courts help them in this, and also the public authorities as a whole. journalists are afraid that in the near future a data bank of information will be installed. This information would result in a classification of news items, which they would scarcely have means to control. But I have some advice for them. If they wish to know what a risk they are running of being deceived, let them look to the past, and-for some of them at their own past. If they wish to know how lies may look in the future, let them study the way in which the most remarkable lie of all time has been jealously guarded. When Louis XIV lied, his lies scarcely reached beyond a few provinces. Today, lies can take on veritable Hollywoodian dimensions. A "docudrama" like Holocaust is the crowning of an edifice. It was not conceivable in the years which followed the war, and which were indeed full of hatred. It has needed thirty years of intoxication. A drug as strong as Holocaust cannot be administered except to patients already long impregnated with other drugs of the same kind and which automatically require even more virulent drugs. But the overdose has produced some salutory effects through the spectacle of our addiction. Some sane reactions have been noticed. I am thinking in particular of the quite remarkable reactions by the "liberated Jew" Michel Rachline in an issue of Le Figaro (3 March 1979).
The non-existence of the "gas chambers" and of "genocide" is good news. Man, although still capable of many horrors, did not bring about these. And even better: millions of men who have been presented to us as accomplices of a monstrous crime or as cowards or as liars have been in fact decent individuals. I have already said that the Jews accused by their children of being driven like sheep into the abattoirs by the Germans do not in fact merit the accusation. I would add that the defendants at Nürnberg and at a thousand other trials were actually telling the truth when they declared to their accusing judges that they did not know of these terrifying massacres. The Vatican and the Red Cross told the truth when they humbly confessed the same ignorance. The Americans, the British, the Swiss, the Swedes, and all those peoples or governments whom the extremist Jews accused of "having done nothing" no longer have any need to show sinful repentance. The most unfortunate result of this gigantic imposture has been, and will still remain for some time to come, the bad conscience which the extremist Jews created among the western peoples, and in particular among the German people. Above all, I do not wish to give the impression that I am in the least making an apology for Nazism. I would even argue that I am capable of presenting a caustically critical analysis of this type of ideology. But I shall not present this analysis so long as the Exterminationists continue to wear us to death with this fake Nazism which continues to be denounced by the majority of official historians. These people, in attacking a Nazism which never existed, give the impression that they are incapable of attacking the reality of Nazism. They make me think of those people who imagine evil as a Devil with his tenterhooks, his pales, and his ovens. In reality, evil, as we well know, is inherent in the life-styles which man has created. So long as we take on mythical forms of evil, genuine evil will continue to be fighting fit. Our society is disconcerted. The medieval Devil has been re-invented right in the middle of the Twentieth Century. People are combating an imaginary enemy. They have better to do. An effort at analysis is necessary. We should open our eyes and recognize what the mass media have made us into. We should unmask that which lobbies, powers and governments seek to mask everywhere.
Source: Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 2, no. 4, pp. 319-373.
Published with permission of and courtesy to the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).
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