Essay Holocaust Denial

One finds oneself doing it, though not without distaste, because, in dealing with Holocaust denial, one has entered the innermost arena of the absurd.During their nearly five decades of activity, as both Ms. Vidal-Naquet note, the deniers have attacked this evidence not by disproving it but through outright lies, nonexistent documents, misquotations, pseudotechnical "investigations," flagrant illogic, the reinterpretation of clear evidence of gassings so as to make it seem to be referring to something else, like deaths from typhus, and the simple refusal to accept any testimony from any source, whether Jewish or Nazi, that contradicts the deniers' position that the Holocaust never happened.Vidal-Naquet's intellectual and moral power and achieves, in the end, a deep appreciation of the absolute centrality of truth to the twin tasks of writing history and preserving memory.

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The weight of the evidence that the Holocaust took place, from materials related to Auschwitz as well as from an immense number of other sources, has been so overwhelming, so abundant and so widely available as to make the Holocaust, quite simply, an inherent, obvious and established fact of 20th-century reality.

Having to cite that evidence now to prove that the Holocaust occurred is in some ways no less absurd than having to cite evidence to prove that the 1940's occurred.

Lipstadt completed her book, a poll by the Roper Organization found that 20 percent of United States high school students and 22 percent of adults think it seems "possible" that the Holocaust never happened.

At the moment it is probably quite limited." In April 1993, shortly after Ms.

It was in France that Holocaust denial started in earnest.

In 1947, Maurice Bardeche, a self-proclaimed fascist, was the first to maintain that the gas chambers that were said to have been used to exterminate Jews had been used, instead, only to disinfect clothing; that the evidence, including photos, documents and testimonies regarding the annihilations of Jews, had been falsified; and that whatever sufferings the Jews had experienced had been deserved, since they had been enemies of the German state.

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. The two books are apt accompaniments to the recent opening of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, which tells the story of the destruction of Europe's Jews by Nazi Germany with immense power, compelling immediacy and a stunning fidelity to the truth.

To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them. Not surprisingly, attempts were made to interrupt the museum's dedication on April 22 by Holocaust deniers, who demonstrated against the museum's "Jewish lies" and handed out pamphlets.

It includes, for example, the testimonies or diaries of SS officers, Nazi officials, among them the commandant of Auschwitz, and ordinary German soldiers involved in the killing operations.

It includes the detailed reports by the chiefs of the mobile killing squads, the Einsatzgruppen, which executed over a million Jews behind the lines of the German Army as it advanced into Soviet territory.


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