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  JEWISH AND KOSHER LIFE IN IRAN   יהודי איראן

JEWISH AND KOSHER LIFE IN IRAN      יהדות איראן

 
 
 
  IRAN    
 
IRAN AND HOLOCAUST DENIAL:

HOLOCAUST: Auschwitz concentration camp, arrival of Hungarian Jews, Summer 1944

Auschwitz concentration camp, arrival of Hungarian Jews, Summer 1944. Photo: Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-N0827-318 / CC-BY-SA
 
Iranian President Ahmadinejad

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad frequently denies the Holocaust although he has on occasion confirmed his belief in it.

Holocaust denial is relatively new to the Middle East, as Kenneth Jacobson, assistant national director of the Anti-Defamation League, said in an interview with Haaretz: "Adopting the theories of Holocaust denial of Western scholars is a relatively new phenomenon in the Muslim world. The accepted attitude had been to say that whereas it was true the Holocaust had taken place, the Palestinians should not have to pay the price. A look at Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statements shows that he has mixed the two approaches."

In a December 2005 speech, Ahmadinejad said that a legend was fabricated and had been promoted to protect Israel. He said,

They have fabricated a legend, under the name Massacre of the Jews, and they hold it higher than God himself, religion itself and the prophets themselves ... If somebody in their country questions God, nobody says anything, but if somebody denies the myth of the massacre of Jews, the Zionist loudspeakers and the governments in the pay of Zionism will start to scream.

The remarks immediately provoked international controversy as well as swift condemnation from government officials in Israel, Europe, and the United States. All six political parties in the German parliament signed a joint resolution condemning this Holocaust denial.

Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal described Ahmadinejad's comments as "courageous" and stated that "Muslim people will defend Iran because it voices what they have in their hearts, in particular the Palestinian people." In the United States, the Muslim Public Affairs Council condemned Ahmadinejad's remarks.

On April 24, 2006, Ahmadinejad demanded a free evaluation of the real extent of the Holocaust "in order to find the ultimate truth."[134] In a May 30, 2006 interview with Der Spiegel, Ahmadinejad again questioned the Holocaust several times, insisting there were "two opinions" on it. When asked if the Holocaust was a myth, he responded "I will only accept something as truth if I am actually convinced of it".

On December 11, 2006, the "International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust" opened to widespread condemnation. The conference, called for by and held at the behest of Ahmadinejad,  was widely described as a "Holocaust denial conference" or a "meeting of Holocaust deniers", though Iran denied it was a Holocaust denial conference A few months before it opened, the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi stated: "The Holocaust is not a sacred issue that one can't touch. I have visited the Nazi camps in Eastern Europe. I think it is exaggerated."

Mir-Hossein Mousavi is the former Prime minister of Iran and an opposition leader. During a TV-debate preceding Iran's 2009 elections, the Jerusalem Post reported that Mousavi "slam[med] Ahmadinejad's Holocaust denial". He also said that it had cost Iran its international standing. According to Press TV, Mousavi has said that the Holocaust is not Iran's business, and that Iran should instead try to "find the most reasonable way to solve the Palestine case".

In early June 2009, Ahmadinejad described Israel as "the most criminal regime in human history" and spoke about the "great deception of the Holocaust" in a speech quoted by IRIB.

At the September 2009 Quds Day ceremonies in Tehran, Ahmadinejad stated Israel was created on "a lie and a mythical claim,"that the Western powers "launched the myth of the Holocaust. They lied, they put on a show and then they support the Jews" – what the New York Times considered his "among his harshest statements on the topic," and one immediately condemned by the US, UK, French and German governments.

In September 2010, during a State visit to New York City, Ahmadinejad once again questioned the Holocaust, saying it “has been exaggerated as a pretext for war.” In an interview with the editor of the magazine Atlantic Monthly on September 28, he said, “The question is, why don't we allow this subject to be examined further ... It is incorrect to force only one view on the rest of the world.” He added: “How come when it comes to the subject of the Holocaust there is so much sensitivity?”

Ahmadinejad made similar statements later that day during what was described by Agence France-Presse as a “chaotic speech” at the United Nations summit on the Millennium Development Goals. He further charged that the U.S. government "orchestrated" the World Trade Center attacks in order to reverse declines in the U.S. economy and "save the Zionist regime." He broke off at one point during the speech to complain that his words were not being accurately translated. (Organizers said they were translating from a prepared text submitted by the Iranian delegation.)

Ahmadinejad was praised by Syrian Author Muhammad Nimr Al-Madani (author of "Were the Jews Burned in the Ovens?, Beirut: Al-Manara, 2001), who has previously claimed that "Hitler Was Falsely Accused of Committing Genocide against the Jews". In an interview on Al-Alam TV (Iran), Al-Madani stated that "I was very happy when the Iranian president denied the Holocaust. Since I am convinced of the need to fight this lie, I was filled with admiration at the words of the Iranian president" and that "those who claim that the Holocaust took place do not have any proof." He also praised Ahmadinejad as "the first leader in the world to adopt Holocaust denial. This is a great event."


Holocaust denial
is the act of denying the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust during World War II.  The key claims of Holocaust denial are: the German Nazi government had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas chambers to mass murder Jews, and the actual number of Jews killed was significantly (typically an order of magnitude) lower than the historically accepted figure of 5 to 6 million.

Holocaust deniers generally do not accept the term denial as an appropriate description of their activities, and use the term revisionism instead.  Scholars use the term "denial" to differentiate Holocaust deniers from historical revisionists, who use established historical methodologies.  The methodologies of Holocaust deniers are criticized as based on a predetermined conclusion that ignores extensive historical evidence to the contrary.

Most Holocaust denial claims imply, or openly state, that the Holocaust is a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples. For this reason, Holocaust denial is generally considered to be an antisemitic] conspiracy theory.

Terminology and etymology

Holocaust deniers prefer to refer to their work as historical revisionism, and object to being referred to as "deniers". Scholars consider this to be misleading, since the methods of Holocaust denial differ from those of legitimate historical revision. Legitimate historical revisionism is explained in a resolution adopted by the Duke University History Department, November 8, 1991, and reprinted in Duke Chronicle, November 13, 1991 in response to an advertisement produced by Bradley R Smith's Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust:

That historians are constantly engaged in historical revision is certainly correct; however, what historians do is very different from this advertisement. Historical revision of major events ... is not concerned with the actuality of these events; rather, it concerns their historical interpretation – their causes and consequences generally.

In The Holocaust: Problems and Perspectives of Interpretation, Donald L. Niewyk gives some examples of how legitimate historical revisionism—the re-examination of accepted history and its updating with newly discovered, more accurate, or less-biased information—may be applied to the study of the Holocaust as new facts emerge to change the historical understanding of it:

With the main features of the Holocaust clearly visible to all but the willfully blind, historians have turned their attention to aspects of the story for which the evidence is incomplete or ambiguous. These are not minor matters by any means, but turn on such issues as Hitler's role in the event, Jewish responses to persecution, and reactions by onlookers both inside and outside Nazi-controlled Europe.

In contrast, the Holocaust denial movement bases its approach on the predetermined idea that the Holocaust, as understood by mainstream historiography, did not occur. Sometimes referred to as "negationism", from the French term négationnisme introduced by Henry Rousso,  Holocaust deniers attempt to rewrite history by minimizing, denying or simply ignoring essential facts. Koenraad Elst writes:

Negationism means the denial of historical crimes against humanity. It is not a reinterpretation of known facts, but the denial of known facts. The term negationism has gained currency as the name of a movement to deny a specific crime against humanity, the Nazi genocide on the Jews in 1941–45, also known as the holocaust (Greek: complete burning) or the Shoah (Hebrew: disaster). Negationism is mostly identified with the effort at re-writing history in such a way that the fact of the Holocaust is omitted.

Examination of claims

The key claims which cause Holocaust denial to differ from established fact are:

  • The Nazis had no official policy or intention of exterminating Jews.
  • Nazis did not use gas chambers to mass murder Jews.
  • The figure of 5 to 6 million Jewish deaths is a gross exaggeration, and the actual number is an order of magnitude lower.

Other claims include the following:

  • Stories of the Holocaust were a myth initially created by the Allies of World War II to demonize Germans.  Jews spread this myth as part of a grander plot intended to enable the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, and now to garner continuing support for the state of Israel.
  • Documentary evidence of the Holocaust, from photographs to the Diary of Anne Frank, is fabricated.
  • Survivor testimonies are filled with errors and inconsistencies, and are thus unreliable.
  • Interrogators obtained Nazi prisoners' confessions of war crimes through the use of torture.
  • The Nazi treatment of Jews was no different from what the Allies did to their enemies in World War II.

Holocaust denial is widely viewed as failing to adhere to rules for the treatment of evidence, principles that mainstream historians (as well as scholars in other fields) regard as basic to rational inquiry.

The Holocaust was well documented by the bureaucracy of the Nazi government itself. It was further witnessed by the Allied forces who entered Germany and its associated Axis states towards the end of World War II.

According to researchers Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman, there is a "convergence of evidence" that proves that the Holocaust happened. This evidence includes:

  1. Written documents—hundreds of thousands of letters, memos, blueprints, orders, bills, speeches, articles, memoirs, and confessions.
  2. Eyewitness testimony—accounts from survivors, Jewish Sonderkommandos (who helped load bodies from the gas chambers into the crematoria in exchange for a chance of survival), SS guards, commandants, local townspeople, and even high-ranking Nazis who spoke openly about the mass murder of the Jews.
  3. Photographs—including official military and press photographs, civilian photographs, secret photographs taken by survivors, aerial photographs, German and Allied film footage, and unofficial photographs taken by the German military.
  4. The camps themselves—concentration camps, work camps, and extermination camps that still exist in varying degrees of originality and reconstruction.
  5. Inferential evidence—population demographics, reconstructed from the pre–World War II era; if six million Jews were not killed, what happened to them?

Much of the controversy surrounding the claims of Holocaust deniers centers on the methods used to present arguments that the Holocaust allegedly never happened as commonly accepted. Numerous accounts have been given by Holocaust deniers (including evidence presented in court cases) of claimed facts and evidence; however, independent research has shown these claims to be based upon flawed research, biased statements, or even deliberately falsified evidence. Opponents of Holocaust denial have documented numerous instances in which such evidence was altered or manufactured (see Nizkor Project and David Irving). According to Pierre Vidal-Naquet, "in our society of image and spectacle, extermination on paper leads to extermination in reality."

 Attempts at concealment by perpetrators

Historians have documented evidence that as Germany's defeat became imminent and the Nazi leaders realized they would most likely be captured and brought to trial, great effort was made to destroy all evidence of mass extermination. Heinrich Himmler instructed his camp commandants to destroy records, crematoria, and other signs of mass extermination.  As one of many examples, the bodies of the 25,000 mostly Latvian Jews whom Friedrich Jeckeln and the soldiers under his command had shot at Rumbula (near Riga) in late 1941 were dug up and burned in 1943.  Similar operations were undertaken at Belzec, Treblinka and other death camps.  In the infamous Posen speeches of October 1943 such as the one on October 4, Himmler explicitly referred to the murder of the Jews of Europe and further stated that the murder must be permanently kept secret:

I also want to refer here very frankly to a very difficult matter. We can now very openly talk about this among ourselves, and yet we will never discuss this publicly. Just as we did not hesitate on June 30, 1934, to perform our duty as ordered and put comrades who had failed up against the wall and execute them, we also never spoke about it, nor will we ever speak about it. Let us thank God that we had within us enough self-evident fortitude never to discuss it among us, and we never talked about it. Every one of us was horrified, and yet every one clearly understood that we would do it next time, when the order is given and when it becomes necessary. I am now referring to the evacuation of the Jews, to the extermination of the Jewish people.

In 1945, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander, anticipated that someday an attempt would be made to recharacterize the Nazi crimes as propaganda and took steps against it:

The same day  I saw my first horror camp. It was near the town of Gotha. I have never been able to describe my emotional reactions when I first came face to face with indisputable evidence of Nazi brutality and ruthless disregard of every shred of decency. Up to that time I had known about it only generally or through secondary sources. I am certain however, that I have never at any time experienced an equal sense of shock.
I visited every nook and cranny of the camp because I felt it my duty to be in a position from then on to testify at first hand about these things in case there ever grew up at home the belief or assumption that "the stories of Nazi brutality were just propaganda". Some members of the visiting party were unable to go through with the ordeal. I not only did so but as soon as I returned to Patton's headquarters that evening I sent communications to both Washington and London, urging the two governments to send instantly to Germany a random group of newspaper editors and representative groups from the national legislatures. I felt that the evidence should be immediately placed before the American and the British publics in a fashion that would leave no room for cynical doubt.

Eisenhower, upon finding the victims of the death camps, ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury the dead. He wrote the following to General Marshall after visiting a German internment camp near Gotha, Germany:

The visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering as to leave me a bit sick. In one room, where they [there] were piled up twenty or thirty naked men, killed by starvation, George Patton would not even enter. He said that he would get sick if he did so. I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to "propaganda."

History and development after World War II

After World War II, many of the former leaders of the SS left Germany and began using their propaganda skills to defend their actions (or, their critics contended, to rewrite history). Denial materials began to appear shortly after the war.

Harry Elmer Barnes

Harry Elmer Barnes, an American, was at one time a mainstream historian; he assumed a Holocaust-denial stance in the later years of his life.  Between World War I and World War II, Barnes became well known as an anti-war writer and a leader in the historical revisionism movement, where he had worked closely from 1924 onwards with Centre for the Study of the Causes of the War. This institute was a pseudo-historical think-tank based in Berlin, secretly funded by the German government and headed by a former völkisch activist named Major Alfred von Wegerer, whose sole purpose was to prove Germany was the victim of Allied aggression in 1914.  Following World War II, Barnes became convinced that allegations made against Germany and Japan, including the Holocaust, were wartime propaganda used to justify U.S. involvement in World War II.

In his 1962 pamphlet, Revisionism and Brainwashing, Barnes claimed that there was a “lack of any serious opposition or concerted challenge to the atrocity stories and other modes of defamation of German national character and conduct”.  Barnes went on to write that in his view there was “a failure to point out the atrocities of the Allies were more brutal, painful, mortal and numerous than the most extreme allegations made against the Germans”.  Starting at this time, Barnes started to cite the French Holocaust denier Paul Rassinier, whom Barnes called a “distinguished French historian” who Barnes claimed had exposed the “exaggerations of the atrocity stories".  In a 1964 article entitled “Zionist Fraud” published in the American Mercury, Barnes wrote that:

The courageous author [Rassinier] lays the chief blame for misrepresentation on those whom we must call the swindlers of the crematoria, the Israeli politicians who derive billions of marks from nonexistent, mythical and imaginary cadavers, whose numbers have been reckoned in an unusually distorted and dishonest manner”.

Using Rassinier as his source, Barnes claimed that Germany was the victim of aggression in both 1914 and 1939, and the Holocaust was just propaganda to justify a war of aggression against Germany.  Barnes took the view that World War II had ended in disaster for the West with Germany divided and the United States locked into the Cold War, made all the worse in Barnes’s eyes, as in his view Germany never wanted war. Barnes claimed that in order to justify the “horrors and evils of the Second World War”, the Allies were required to make the Nazis the “scapegoat” for their own misdeeds.  Barnes claimed there were two false claims made about World War II, namely that Germany started the war in 1939, and the Holocaust, which Barnes denied.

Following the example of Barnes, a few other early libertarian writers also concerned with anti-war historical revisionism began to take a Holocaust-denial stance, including James J. Martin. Most libertarians, however—even those who otherwise hold Barnes' writings in high regard—reject his Holocaust denial. Barnes' name has since been appropriated by some modern Holocaust deniers in an attempt to lend credibility to their cause, most notably Willis Carto.

The beginnings of the modern denial movement

In 1961, the American historian and a leading protégé of Barnes, David Hoggan published Der Erzwungene Krieg (The Forced War) in West Germany, which claimed that Germany had been the victim of an Anglo-Polish conspiracy in 1939. Though Der Erzwungene Krieg was primarily concerned with the origins of World War II, it also down-played or justified the effects of Nazi antisemitic measures in the pre-1939 period. For an example, Hoggan justified the huge one billion Reich-mark fine imposed on the entire Jewish community in Germany after the 1938 Kristallnacht as a reasonable measure to prevent what he called "Jewish profiteering" at the expense of German insurance companies and alleged that no Jews were killed in the Kristallnacht (in fact, 91 German Jews were killed in the Kristallnacht). Subsequently, Hoggan wrote one of the first books denying the Holocaust in 1969 entitled The Myth of the Six Million, which was published by the Noontide Press, a small Los Angeles publisher specializing in antisemitic literature. Hoggan became one of the early stars of the Holocaust denial movement, because he had a number of university professorships.

In 1964, French historian Paul Rassinier published The Drama of the European Jews. Rassinier was himself a concentration camp survivor (imprisoned in Buchenwald for his having helped French Jews escape the Nazis), and modern-day deniers continue to cite his works as scholarly research that questions the accepted facts of the Holocaust. Critics argued that Rassinier did not cite evidence for his claims and ignored information that contradicted his assertions; he nevertheless remains influential in Holocaust denial circles for being one of the first deniers to propose that a vast Zionist/Allied/Soviet conspiracy faked the Holocaust, a theme that would be picked up in later years by other authors.

The publication of Arthur Butz's The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The case against the presumed extermination of European Jewry in 1976; and David Irving's Hitler's War in 1977 brought other similarly inclined individuals into the fold. In December 1978 and January 1979, Robert Faurisson, a French professor of literature at the University of Lyon, wrote two letters to Le Monde claiming that the gas chambers used by the Nazis to exterminate the Jews did not exist. A colleague of Faurisson, Jean-Claude Pressac, who initially shared Faurisson's views, later became convinced of the Holocaust's evidence while investigating documents at Auschwitz in 1979. He published his conclusions along with much of the underlying evidence in his 1989 book, Auschwitz: Technique and operation of the gas chambers.

Henry Bienen, the former president of Northwestern University, has described Arthur Butz's view of the Holocaust as an "embarrassment to Northwestern". In 2006, sixty of Butz's colleagues from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty signed a censure describing Butz's Holocaust denial as "an affront to our humanity and our standards as scholars".The letter also called for Butz to "leave our Department and our University and stop trading on our reputation for academic excellence."

 Institute for Historical Review

In 1978 Willis Carto founded the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) as an organization dedicated to publicly challenging the commonly accepted history of the Holocaust. The IHR sought from the beginning to attempt to establish itself within the broad tradition of historical revisionism, by soliciting token supporters who were not from a neo-Nazi background such as James J. Martin and Samuel Edward Konkin III, and by promoting the writings of French socialist Paul Rassinier and American anti-war historian Harry Elmer Barnes to attempt to show that Holocaust denial had a broader base of support besides just neo-Nazis. The IHR brought most of Barnes' writings, which had been out of print since his death, back into print. While IHR included articles on other topics and sold books by mainstream historians in its catalog, the majority of material published and distributed by IHR was devoted to questioning the facts surrounding the Holocaust. The IHR became one of the most important organizations devoted to Holocaust denial. In recent years the IHR underwent an internal power struggle which ousted Willis Carto and put Mark Weber in charge. Carto went on to found the Barnes Review magazine after his ouster from IHR, a magazine which is also devoted to Holocaust denial.

In an "About the IHR" statement on their website, the IHR stated that "The Institute does not 'deny the Holocaust'."  The IHR journal, however, states:

There is no dispute over the fact that large numbers of Jews were deported to concentration camps and ghettos, or that many Jews died or were killed during World War II. Revisionist scholars have presented evidence, which "exterminationists" have not been able to refute, showing that there was no German program to exterminate Europe's Jews, and that the estimate of six million Jewish wartime dead is an irresponsible exaggeration. The Holocaust – the alleged extermination of some six million Jews (most of them by gassing) – is a hoax and should be recognized as such by Christians and all informed, honest and truthful men everywhere.

Commentators and historians have noted the misleading nature of statements by the IHR that they are not Holocaust deniers. Paul Rauber, a senior editor for the Sierra Club Magazine, writes that:

The question [of whether the IHR denies the Holocaust] appears to turn on IHR's Humpty-Dumpty word game with the word Holocaust. According to Mark Weber, associate editor of the IHR's Journal of Historical Review [now Director of the IHR], "If by the 'Holocaust' you mean the political persecution of Jews, some scattered killings, if you mean a cruel thing that happened, no one denies that. But if one says that the 'Holocaust' means the systematic extermination of six to eight million Jews in concentration camps, that's what we think there's not evidence for." That is, IHR doesn't deny that the Holocaust happened; they just deny that the word 'Holocaust' means what people customarily use it for.

According to British historian of Germany Richard J. Evans:

Like many individual Holocaust deniers, the Institute as a body denied that it was involved in Holocaust denial. It called this a 'smear' which was 'completely at variance with the facts' because 'revisionist scholars' such as Faurisson, Butz 'and bestselling British historian David Irving acknowledge that hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed and otherwise perished during the Second World War as a direct and indirect result of the harsh anti-Jewish policies of Germany and its allies'. But the concession that a relatively small number of Jews were killed was routinely used by Holocaust deniers to distract attention from the far more important fact of their refusal to admit that the figure ran into the millions, and that a large proportion of these victims were systematically murdered by gassing as well as by shooting.

Bradley Smith and the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

In 1987, Bradley R. Smith, a former media director of the Institute for Historical Review, founded the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH). In the United States, CODOH has repeatedly tried to place newspaper advertisements questioning whether the Holocaust happened, especially in college campus newspapers.Some newspapers have accepted the advertisements, while others have rejected them. Bradley Smith has more recently sought other avenues to promote Holocaust denial – with little success. On September 8, 2009, The Harvard Crimson school paper ran a paid ad from Bradley R Smith. It was quickly criticized and an apology was issued from the editor, claiming it was a mistake.

Bradley referred to his tactics as the CODOH campus project. Bradley says, “I don’t want to spend time with adults anymore, I want to go to students. They are superficial. They are empty vessels to be filled.” “What I wanted to do was I wanted to set forth three or four ideas that students might be interested in, that might cause them to think about things or to have questions about things. And I wanted to make it as simple as possible, and to set it up in a way that could not really be debated”. Holocaust deniers have placed[…]“Full page advertisements in college and university newspaper, including those of Brandeis University, Boston College, Pennsylvania State University, and Queens College. Some of these ads arguing that Holocaust never happened ran without comment; others generated op-ed pieces by professors and students.

James Keegstra

In 1984, James Keegstra, a Canadian high-school teacher, was charged with denying the Holocaust and making antisemitic claims in his classroom as part of the course material. Keegstra and his lawyer, Doug Christie, argued that the section of the Criminal Code of Canada (now section 319{2}), is an infringement of the Charter of Rights (section 9{b}). The case was appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, where it was decided that the law he was convicted under did infringe on his freedom of expression, but it was a justified infringement. Keegstra was convicted, and fired from his job.

The Zündel trials

The Toronto-based photo retoucher Ernst Zündel operated a small-press publishing house called Samisdat Publishing, which published and distributed Holocaust-denial material such as Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood (a.k.a. Richard Verrall – a British neo-Nazi leader). In 1985, he was tried in R. v. Zundel and convicted under a "false news" law and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment by an Ontario court for "disseminating and publishing material denying the Holocaust."  The Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg was a notable witness for the prosecution at the 1985 trial. Zündel gained considerable notoriety after this conviction, and a number of free-speech activists stepped forward to defend his right to publish his opinions. After his conviction in 1985, Zündel was able to have it overturned in an appeal on a legal technicality, leading to a second trial in 1988, in which he was again convicted. The 1988 trial was notable for the appearance of Fred A. Leuchter, David Irving and Robert Faurisson as defense witnesses for Zündel, and for the presentation of the pseudo-scientific Leuchter report as a defense document. The Leuchter report was published in Canada in 1988 by Samisdat Publishers and in Britain in 1989 by Irving's Focal Point Publishing. In both of his trials, Zündel was defended by Douglas Christie and Barbara Kulaszka. His conviction was overturned in 1992 when the Supreme Court of Canada declared the "false news" law unconstitutional.

Zündel has a website, web-mastered by his wife Ingrid, which publicises his viewpoints.  In January 2002, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal delivered a ruling in a complaint involving his website, in which it was found to be contravening the Canadian Human Rights Act. The court ordered Zündel to cease communicating hate messages. In February 2003, the American INS arrested him in Tennessee, USA, on an immigration violations matter, and few days later, Zündel was sent back to Canada, where he tried to gain refugee status. Zündel remained in prison until March 1, 2005, when he was deported to Germany and prosecuted for disseminating hate propaganda. On February 15, 2007, Zündel was convicted on 14 counts of incitement under Germany's Volksverhetzung law, which bans the incitement of hatred against a portion of the population, and given the maximum sentence of five years in prison.

Ernst Nolte

The German philosopher and historian Ernst Nolte, starting in the 1980s, advanced a set of theories, which though not denying the Holocaust appeared to flirt with Holocaust denial as a serious historical argument.  In a letter to the Israeli historian Otto Dov Kulka of December 8, 1986 Nolte criticized the work of the French Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson on the ground that the Holocaust did occur, but went on to argue that Faurison’s work was motivated by what Nolte claimed were the admirable motives of sympathy towards the Palestinians and opposition to Israel. In his 1987 book Der europäische Bürgerkrieg (The European Civil War), Nolte claimed that the intentions of Holocaust deniers are "often honourable", and that some of their claims are "not obviously without foundation".Nolte himself, though he has never denied the occurrence of the Holocaust, has claimed that the Wannsee Conference of 1942 never happened, and that the minutes of the conference were post-war forgeries done by "biased" Jewish historians designed to discredit Germany

The British historian Ian Kershaw has argued that Nolte was operating on the borderlines of Holocaust denial with his implied claim that the "negative myth" of the Third Reich was created by Jewish historians, his allegations of the domination of Holocaust scholarship by “biased” Jewish historians, and his statements that one should withhold judgment on Holocaust deniers, whom Nolte takes considerable pains to stress are not exclusively Germans or fascists. In Kershaw's opinion, Nolte is attempting to imply that perhaps Holocaust deniers are on to something. In a 1990 interview, Nolte implied that there was something to the Leuchter report: "If the revisionists [Holocaust deniers] and Leuchter among them have made it clear to the public that even "Auschwitz" must be an object of scientific inquiry and controversy then they should be given credit for this. Even if it finally turned out that the number of victims was even greater and the procedures were even more horrific than has been assumed until now." In his 1993 book Streitpunkte (Points of Contention), Nolte praised the work of Holocaust deniers as superior to "mainstream scholars". Nolte wrote that "radical revisionists have presented research which, if one is familiar with the source material and the critique of the sources, is probably superior to that of the established historians of Germany". In a 1994 interview with Der Spiegel magazine, Nolte stated "I cannot rule out the importance of the investigation of the gas chambers in which they looked for remnants of the [chemical process engendered by Zyklon B]", and that “'Of course, I am against revisionists, but Fred Leuchter's "study" of the Nazi gas ovens has to be given attention, because one has to stay open to "other" ideas.”

The British historian Richard J. Evans in his 1989 book In Hitler's Shadow expressed the view that Nolte’s reputation as a scholar was in ruins as a result of these and other controversial statements on his part. The American historian Deborah Lipstadt in a 2003 interview stated:

Historians such as the German Ernst Nolte are, in some ways, even more dangerous than the deniers. Nolte is an anti-Semite of the first order, who attempts to rehabilitate Hitler by saying that he was no worse than Stalin; but he is careful not to deny the Holocaust. Holocaust-deniers make Nolte's life more comfortable. They have, with their radical argumentation, pulled the center a little more to their side. Consequently, a less radical extremist, such as Nolte, finds himself closer to the middle ground, which makes him more dangerous.

The Mayer Controversy

In 1988, the American historian Arno J. Mayer published a book entitled Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?, which did not deny the Holocaust, but appeared to lend support to Holocaust denial by stating that the majority of people who died at Auschwitz were the victims of diseases rather than gassing. In addition, critics of Mayer such as Lucy Dawidowicz assailed him for listing the works of Arthur Butz and Paul Rassinier in his bibliography, and charged his statements about Auschwitz were factually incorrect. Holocaust expert Robert Jan van Pelt has noted that Mayer's book is as close as a mainstream historian has ever come to supporting Holocaust denial. Holocaust deniers such as David Irving have often cited Mayer’s book as one reason for embracing Holocaust denial. Though Mayer has been often condemned for his statement about the reasons for the Auschwitz death toll, his book does not deny the Holocaust as Holocaust deniers often claim.

Holocaust deniers have often quoted out of context Mayer’s sentence in Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? that “Sources for the study of the gas chambers at once rare and unreliable” as the authors Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman have noted that the paragraph from which the sentence is taken states that the SS destroyed the majority of the documention relating to the operation of the gas chambers in the death camps, which is why Mayer feels that sources for the operation of the gas chambers are "rare" and "unreliable"

The Israeli historian Yehuda Bauer wrote that Mayer "popularizes the nonsense that the Nazis saw in Marxism and Bolshevism their main enemy, and the Jews unfortunately got caught up in this; when he links the destruction of the Jews to the ups and downs of German warfare in the Soviet Union, in a book that is so cocksure of itself that it does not need a proper scientific apparatus, he is really engaging in a much more subtle form of Holocaust denial".

Ken McVay and alt.revisionism

Ken McVay, an American resident in Canada, was disturbed by the efforts of organizations like the Simon Wiesenthal Center to suppress the speech of the Holocaust deniers, feeling that it was better to confront them openly than to try to censor them. On the Usenet newsgroup alt.revisionism he began a campaign of "truth, fact, and evidence," working with other participants on the newsgroup to uncover factual information about the Holocaust and counter the arguments of the deniers by proving them to be based upon misleading evidence, false statements, and outright lies. He founded the Nizkor Project to expose the activities of the Holocaust deniers, who responded to McVay with personal attacks, slander, and death threats.

David Irving and the Lipstadt libel case

Deborah Lipstadt's 1993 book Denying the Holocaust was sharply critical of questionable analytical methods used by various Holocaust deniers, in particular British author David Irving, whom she accused of deliberately misrepresenting evidence to justify his preconceived conclusions. In 1996 Irving filed a libel suit against Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books. American historian Christopher Browning, an expert witness for the defense, wrote a comprehensive essay for the court summarizing the voluminous evidence for the reality of the Holocaust, and under cross-examination, effectively countered all of Irving's principal arguments to the contrary. Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, another defense expert witness, spent two years examining Irving's writings, and confirmed his misrepresentations, including evidence that he had knowingly used forged documents as source material. The judge, Justice Charles Gray, ultimately delivered a long and decisive verdict in favor of Lipstadt that referred to Irving as a "Holocaust denier" and "right-wing pro-Nazi polemicist."

In February 2006 Irving was arrested in Austria, where Holocaust denial is illegal, for a speech he had made in 1989 in which he denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz. Irving was aware of the outstanding arrest warrant, but chose to go to Austria anyway "to give a lecture to a far-right student fraternity." Although he pleaded guilty to the charge, Irving said he had been "mistaken", and had changed his opinions on the Holocaust. "I said that then, based on my knowledge at the time, but by 1991 when I came across the Eichmann papers, I wasn't saying that anymore and I wouldn't say that now. The Nazis did murder millions of Jews." Irving served 13 months of a 3 year sentence in an Austrian prison, and was deported in early 2007. The episode sparked intense international debate over the limits of freedom of speech. Upon hearing of Irving's sentence, Lipstadt said, "I am not happy when censorship wins, and I don't believe in winning battles via censorship ... The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth."

According to CNN, upon Irving's return to the UK, he "vow[ed] to repeat views denying the Holocaust that led to his conviction" stating he felt "no need any longer to show remorse" for his Holocaust views.

Recent developments and trends

In Turkey, in 1996, the Islamic preacher Harun Yahya distributed thousands of copies of a book which was originally published the previous year, entitled Soykırım Yalanı ("The Holocaust Lie") and mailed unsolicited texts to American and European schools and colleges. The publication of Soykırım Yalanı sparked much public debate. This book claims that “what is presented as Holocaust is the death of some Jews due to the typhus plague during the war and the famine towards the end of the war caused by the defeat of the Germans.” In March 1996, a Turkish painter and intellectual, Bedri Baykam, published a strongly worded critique of the book in the Ankara daily newspaper Siyah-Beyaz ("Black and White"). A legal suit for slander was brought against him. During the trial in September, Baykam exposed the real author of the book as Adnan Oktar. The suit was withdrawn in March 1997.

In France, Holocaust denial became more prominent in the 1990s as négationnisme, though the movement has existed in ultra-left French politics since at least the 1960s, led by figures such as Pierre Guillaume (who was involved in the bookshop La Vieille Taupe during the 1960s). Recently, elements of the extreme far right in France have begun to build on each other's negationist arguments, which often span beyond the Holocaust to cover a range of antisemitic views, incorporating attempts to tie the Holocaust to the Biblical massacre of the Canaanites, critiques of Zionism, and other material fanning what has been called a "conspiratorial Judeo-phobia" designed to legitimize and "banalize" antisemitism.

In Belgium in 2001, Roeland Raes, the ideologue and vice-president of one of the country's largest political parties, the Vlaams Belang (formerly named Vlaams Blok, Flemish Bloc), gave an interview on Dutch TV where he cast doubt over the number of Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. In the same interview he questioned the scale of the Nazis' use of gas chambers and the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary. In response to the media assault following the interview, Raes was forced to resign his position but vowed to remain active within the party. Three years later, the Vlaams Blok was convicted of racism and chose to disband. Immediately afterwards, it legally reformed under the new name Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) with the same leaders and the same membership.

 Accusations of a Zionist conspiracy

The thesis of 1982 doctoral dissertation of Mahmoud Abbas, a co-founder of Fatah and president of the Palestinian National Authority, who earned his PhD in history at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, with Yevgeny Primakov as thesis advisor, was "The Secret Connection between the Nazis and the Leaders of the Zionist Movement". In his 1983 book The Other Side: the Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism, based on the dissertation, Abbas wrote:

It seems that the interest of the Zionist movement, however, is to inflate this figure [of Holocaust deaths] so that their gains will be greater. This led them to emphasize this figure [six million] in order to gain the solidarity of international public opinion with Zionism. Many scholars have debated the figure of six million and reached stunning conclusions—fixing the number of Jewish victims at only a few hundred thousand.

In his March 2006 interview with Haaretz Abbas stated:

I wrote in detail about the Holocaust and said I did not want to discuss numbers. I quoted an argument between historians in which various numbers of casualties were mentioned. One wrote there were 12 million victims and another wrote there were 800,000. I have no desire to argue with the figures. The Holocaust was a terrible, unforgivable crime against the Jewish nation, a crime against humanity that cannot be accepted by humankind. The Holocaust was a terrible thing and nobody can claim I denied it.

A different version of this conspiracy theory claims that Nazis and Zionists had a shared interest or even cooperated in the extermination of Europe's Jewry, as persecution would force them to flee to Palestine, then under British Mandate administration.Similar claims are occasionally heard from Hezbollah.

Holocaust denial in the Arab world

Denials of the Holocaust have been regularly promoted by various Arab leaders and others and in Arab media throughout the Middle East. According to Associated Press reports, Arab world attitudes towards the Holocaust range from total denial to a minimization of the extent of the genocide and holocaust denial is rife within Palestinian society and in the Palestinian territories. In 2009, a University of Haifa survey revealed that 40.5 percent of Israeli Arabs claim the Holocaust never happened.  Prominent Arab figures from the Middle East have rarely made publicized visits to Auschwitz  and individuals from the Syrian government, the Palestinian Authority, and a number of Palestinian groups have all engaged in various aspects of Holocaust denial. According to Robert Satloff writing in the Washington Post, "A respected Holocaust research institution recently reported that Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia all promote Holocaust denial and protect Holocaust deniers."

According to Bernard Lewis, the three most common positions on the historicity of the Holocaust are: "it never happened; it was greatly exaggerated; the Jews deserved it anyway. On the last point, some more enterprising writers add a rebuke to Hitler for not having finished the job."

In August 2002, the Zayed Center for Coordination and Follow-Up, an Arab League think-tank whose Chairman, Sultan bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, promoted a Holocaust denial symposium in Abu Dhabi. The government of the United Arab Emirates closed down the Zayed Center as a result.

Hamas leaders have also promoted Holocaust denial; Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi held that the Holocaust never occurred, that Zionists were behind the action of Nazis, and that Zionists funded Nazism. A press release by Hamas in April 2000 decried "the so-called Holocaust, which is an alleged and invented story with no basis." In August 2009, Hamas refused to allow Palestinian children to learn about the Holocaust, which it called "a lie invented by the Zionists" and referred to Holocaust education as a "war crime."

Holocaust denial has also been resisted by prominent intellectual figures in the Arab world; in 2001, an outcry led by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, Lebanese writer Elias Khoury and others brought about the cancellation of a conference the Holocaust denial organization Institute for Historical Review had planned to hold in Beirut.

In 2005 the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, Mohammed Mahdi Akef, denounced what he called "the myth of the Holocaust" in defending Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of the Holocaust.

In 2007, the founder of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Sheikh Abdullah Nimr Darwish, condemned Holocaust denial in the Muslim world (especially that by Mahmoud Ahmedinejad).

Holocaust denial has been practiced in schools and youth organisations. A private English-language school in western Beirut censored excerpts of the diary of Anne Frank out of a school textbook after it caused uproar when Hezbollah learned the chapter was included in the textbook The United Nations body UNESCO stopped funding a children's magazine sponsored by the Palestinian Authority that commended Hitler's killing of Jews. It deplored this publication as contrary to its principles of building tolerance and respect for human rights and human dignity.

In a debate which aired on Al-Alam TV on May 5, 2010 (as translated by MEMRI), Ali Hatar of the Jordanian Association against Zionism and Racism stated that "To this day, those who claim that [the Holocaust] did take place have been unable to provide any evidence whatsoever to that effect." He claimed that a report by the Red Cross in 1949 "refutes the claim that anyone was killed in these camps, during the so-called Holocaust. It also mentions the self-management [of the camps] by the Jews."

  Propaganda in the media

According to James Najarian, Holocaust deniers working for the Institute for Historical review are not trained in history and "put out sham scholarly articles in the mock-academic publication, the Journal of Historical Review".  They appeal to “our objectivity, our sense of fair play, and our distrust of figurative language”. Thus, they rely on facts to grab the readers’ attention. These facts, however, are strung by what Narjarian calls “fabricated decorum” and are re-interpreted for their use. For example, they pay particular attention to inconsistencies in numbers.

Holocaust denial propaganda in all forms has shown to influence the audiences that it reaches. In fact, even the well-educated—that is, college graduates and current university students alike—are susceptible to such propaganda when it is presented before them. This stems from the growing disbelief that audiences feel after being exposed to such information, especially since Holocaust witnesses themselves are decreasing in number. Studies centered on the psychological effects of Holocaust denial propaganda confirm this assertion. Linda M. Yelland and William F. Stone, in particular, show that Denial essays decrease readers’ belief in the Holocaust, regardless of their prior Holocaust awareness.

Reactions to Holocaust denial

Types of reaction

Scholarly response to Holocaust denial can be roughly divided into three categories: Some academics refuse to engage Holocaust deniers or their arguments at all, on grounds that doing so lends them unwarranted legitimacy. A second group of scholars, typified by the American historian Deborah Lipstadt, have tried to raise awareness of the methods and motivations of Holocaust denial without legitimizing the deniers themselves. "We need not waste time or effort answering the deniers' contentions," Lipstadt wrote. "It would be never-ending ... Their commitment is to an ideology and their 'findings' are shaped to support it."] A third group, typified by the Nizkor Project, responds to arguments and claims made by Holocaust denial groups by pointing out inaccuracies and errors in their evidence.Even scholarly responses, however, can trigger vigorous rebuttals. In 1996, the British historian David Irving brought a civil defamation suit against Lipstadt and her publisher, stemming from Lipstadt's book Denying the Holocaust, in which she named Irving as "one of the more dangerous" Holocaust deniers, because he was a published author, and was viewed by some as a legitimate military historian. He was "familiar with historical evidence," she wrote, and "bends it until it conforms with his ideological leanings and political agenda." Irving, who appeared as a defense witness in Ernst Zündel's trial in Canada, and once declared at a rally of Holocaust deniers that "more women died in the back seat of Edward Kennedy's car than ever died in a gas chamber at Auschwitz", claimed that Lipstadt's allegation damaged his reputation. After a two-month trial in London, the trial judge issued a 333-page ruling against Irving.

Public figures and scholars

No serious historian questions that the Holocaust took place.
—Governing council, unanimous declaration, American Historical Association

A number of public figures and scholars have spoken out against Holocaust denial. The American Historical Association, the oldest and largest society of historians and teachers of history in the United States, states that Holocaust denial is "at best, a form of academic fraud." Dr. William Shulman, director of the Holocaust Research Center, described the denial "as if these people [in the Holocaust] were killed twice", a sentiment echoed by literary theorist Jean Baudrillard, who argued that "Forgetting the extermination is part of the extermination itself."] In 2006, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said: "Remembering is a necessary rebuke to those who say the Holocaust never happened or has been exaggerated. Holocaust denial is the work of bigots; we must reject their false claims whenever, wherever and by whomever they are made."Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel calls the Holocaust "the most documented tragedy in recorded history. Never before has a tragedy elicited so much witness from the killers, from the victims and even from the bystanders—millions of pieces here in the museum what you have, all other museums, archives in the thousands, in the millions." He made a similar statement on a special edition of The Oprah Winfrey Show after his final trip to Auschwitz, along with host Winfrey.

In January 2007, the United Nations General Assembly condemned "without reservation any denial of the Holocaust", though Iran disassociated itself from the resolution.

Former SS members

Critics of Holocaust denial also include members of the Auschwitz SS. Camp physician and SS-Untersturmführer Hans Münch considered the facts of Auschwitz "so firmly determined that one cannot have any doubt at all", and described those who negate what happened at the camp as "malevolent" people who have "personal interest to want to bury in silence things that cannot be buried in silence." Zyklon B handler and SS-Oberscharführer Josef Klehr has said that anyone who maintains that nobody was gassed at Auschwitz must be "crazy or on the wrong". SS-Unterscharführer Oswald Kaduk has stated that he does not consider those who maintain such a thing as normal people. Hearing about Holocaust denial compelled former SS-Rottenführer Oskar Gröning to publicly speak about what he witnessed at Auschwitz, and denounce Holocaust deniers, stating:

I would like you to believe me. I saw the gas chambers. I saw the crematoria. I saw the open fires. I was on the ramp when the selections took place. I would like you to believe that these atrocities happened because I was there.

Holocaust denial and antisemitism

Holocaust denial is generally viewed as antisemitic. The Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, for example, defines Holocaust denial as "a new form of anti-Semitism, but one that hinges on age-old motifs". The Anti-Defamation League has stated that "Holocaust denial is a contemporary form of the classic anti-Semitic doctrine of the evil, manipulative and threatening world Jewish conspiracy" and French historian Valérie Igounet has written that "Holocaust denial is a convenient polemical substitute for anti-semitism." In 2005, the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (now the Fundamental Rights Agency) published a "working definition" of antisemitism which gave as an example of the way that antisemitism might manifest itself, "denying the fact, scope, mechanisms (e.g. gas chambers) or intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people at the hands of National Socialist Germany and its supporters and accomplices during World War II (the Holocaust)".

Some have argued that not all Holocaust deniers are necessarily antisemitic. In a defense of professor of literature and Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson, and of having an essay of his included in the introduction of one of Faurisson's books, linguist and political activist Noam Chomsky stated "I see no antisemitic implications in denial of the existence of gas chambers, or even denial of the holocaust". Chomsky would later elaborate:

I was asked whether the fact that a person denies the existence of gas chambers does not prove that he is an anti-Semite. I wrote back what every sane person knows: no, of course it does not. A person might believe that Hitler exterminated 6 million Jews in some other way without being an anti-Semite. Since the point is trivial and disputed by no one, I do not know why we are discussing it. In that context, I made a further point: even denial of the Holocaust would not prove that a person is an anti-Semite. I presume that that point too is not subject to contention. Thus if a person ignorant of modern history were told of the Holocaust and refused to believe that humans are capable of such monstrous acts, we would not conclude that he is an anti-Semite.

In a defense of Holocaust denier Bishop Richard Williamson against the charge of being antisemitic, the journalist and writer Kevin Myers argued "It is not anti-Semitic to make a fool of yourself in public about a historical fact. It is anti-Semitic to preach or promote a dislike of Jews because they are Jews, which is what Bishop Williamson has not done."

According to Walter Reich, psychiatrist and then senior scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, one-time director of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and now professor of international affairs at George Washington University:

The primary motivation for most deniers is anti-Semitism, and for them the Holocaust is an infuriatingly inconvenient fact of history. After all, the Holocaust has generally been recognized as one of the most terrible crimes that ever took place, and surely the very emblem of evil in the modern age. If that crime was a direct result of anti-Semitism taken to its logical end, then anti-Semitism itself, even when expressed in private conversation, is inevitably discredited among most people. What better way to rehabilitate anti-Semitism, make anti-Semitic arguments seem once again respectable in civilized discourse and even make it acceptable for governments to pursue anti-Semitic policies than by convincing the world that the great crime for which anti-Semitism was blamed simply never happened—indeed, that it was nothing more than a frame-up invented by the Jews, and propagated by them through their control of the media? What better way, in short, to make the world safe again for anti-Semitism than by denying the Holocaust?

The French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet described the motivation of deniers more succinctly:

One revives the dead in order the better to strike the living.

 Laws against Holocaust denial

Holocaust denial is explicitly or implicitly illegal in 17 countries: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, and Switzerland. The European Union's Framework decision on Racism and Xenophobia states that denying or grossly trivializing "crimes of genocide" should be made "punishable in all EU Member States". Slovakia criminalized denial of fascist crimes in general in late 2001; in May 2005, the term "Holocaust" was explicitly adopted by the penal code and in 2009, it became illegal to deny any act regarded by an international criminal court as genocide. The Parliament of Hungary adopted the most recent legislation, which declared denial or trivialization of the Holocaust a crime punishable by up to three years imprisonment, in February 2010.

Such legislation remains controversial. In October 2007, a tribunal declared Spain's Holocaust denial law unconstitutional.In 2007 Italy rejected a denial law proposing a prison sentence of up to four years. In 2006 the Netherlands rejected a draft law proposing a maximum sentence of one year on denial of genocidal acts in general, although specifically denying the Holocaust remains a criminal offense there. The United Kingdom has twice rejected Holocaust denial laws. Denmark and Sweden have also rejected such legislation.

A number of deniers have been prosecuted under various countries' denial laws. French literature professor Robert Faurisson, for example, was convicted and punished under the Gayssot Act in 1990. Some historians oppose such laws, among them Vidal-Naquet, an outspoken critic of Faurisson, on the grounds that denial legislation imposes "historical truth as legal truth." Other academics favor criminalization. Holocaust denial, they contend, is "the worst form of racism and its most respectable version because it pretends to be a research." In the Belgian Senate the Minister of Justice Laurette Onkelinx compared laws criminalizing Holocaust denial with those condemning incitement to ethnic or racial hatred in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.

Focus on Allied war crimes in Holocaust denial literature

The focus on supposed Allied atrocities during the war has also been a theme in Holocaust denial literature, particularly in countries where outright denial of the Holocaust is illegal. According to historian Deborah Lipstadt, the concept of "comparable Allied wrongs" such as the post-war expulsions and alleged Allied war crimes like the bombing of Dresden,is at the center of, and a continuously repeated theme of, contemporary Holocaust denial; phenomenon she calls "immoral equivalencies".[194] Pierre Vidal-Naquet pointed out the same phenomenon in the earlier version of Les Assassins de la mémoire under the title Auschwitz et le tiers monde (Les Assassins de la mémoire, Paris, 2005, pp. 170–180), and accurately about the declarations of Klaus Barbie's lawyer Jacques Vergès. In 1977, Martin Broszat in a review of David Irving's book Hitler's War maintained that the picture of World War II drawn by Irving was done in a such way to imply moral equivalence between the actions of the Axis and Allied states with both sides equally guilty of terrible crimes, leading to Hitler's "fanatical, destructive will to annihilate" being downgraded to being "no longer an exceptional phenomenon".

Other genocide denials

Other acts of genocide have met similar attempts to deny and minimize. Gregory H. Stanton, formerly of the US State Department and the founder of Genocide Watch, lists denial as the final stage of a genocide development: "Denial is the eighth stage that always follows a genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims."

 Prominent Holocaust deniers

See also

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