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« "A man of such principle" | Main | The UN's conspiracy crank »

April 14, 2008

Comments

Mikey

Interestingly Norman Davies in his book Europe: A History (London: Pimlico, 1997)p. 415 also relies on David Irving for an account of the bombing and the death toll at Dresden: "A British historian has suggested a range of 120-150,000." A look at the end notes on page 1,173 of that book shows exactly which "British historian" Davies had relied on.

Ollie

Mikey - I noticed that as well. I guess in Davies's defence the book was published the year before the truth behind Irving's "approach" to history became general public knowledge in the Deborah Lipstadt/Penguin Books trial.

peter

"Thirdly, there is matter of honour."

You are very correct to say this. We dishonour the memory of those who died if we do not fight every instance of genocide denial, despite this being a task without any apparent end.

On the matter of Chomsky, as you probably know, although not a Holocaust-denier, he certainly skirted (at least, for a time) with denial of the genocide undertaken by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Do you know of any apology he has ever made for falsely claiming that reports of this genocide were fabricated?



Albert Seligman

Ollie, with all due respect, David Irving had long been recognised as a liar by mainstream historians before the libel trial and certainly reviled as an anti-semite by civilised people since the mid 1970s.

Norman Davies had no reasonable excuse for citing Irving or even for honouring him with the title of "historian".

RCH

I have in front of me the 2002 edition of Herman and Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent. Far from updating their shoddy work, they have kept to citing the lowest known estimate of 750,000 dead under the Khmer Rouge ("the most careful currently available in print to our knowledge" p. 263)

... when the scholarly consensus is more than twice that.

Why would Herman and Chomsky cut a figure of genocide in half, erasing nearly a million victims of Pol Pot? I'll leave the reader to ponder that for himself.

Michael Santomauro

[Racist spam deleted and nutter blocked]

Bartholomew

Who are these cranks who feel the need to paste long essays rather than just give a link? The procedure in the comment above is the same as we see with Creationism: any nuance, development, or debate among scholars is presented as some amazing concession that no-one has noticed before and therefore evidence that the whole subject is a hoax.

I find this 2000 essay by DD Guttenplan from The Guardian to be a useful introduction to the scholarly field.

Gil

It is safe to say that there is a fairly close correlation between the views of those who deny the Holocaust and their eliminationist attitude toward Jews.

Oliver Kamm

"Who are these cranks who feel the need to paste long essays rather than just give a link?"

This particular crank, Michael Santomauro, runs a Holocaust denial site and has used his own commercial venture to flood people with unsolicited antisemitic material, as he has just done to me. The NYT reported his activities in 2003:

Users of a well-known roommate-matching service in Manhattan say that after signing up with the service they began receiving e-mail messages from a Holocaust-revisionist Web site run by the service's founder.

Michael Santomauro, who started the Roommate Finders service in 1979, also runs a Web site called RePortersNoteBook.com that is critical of Jews and Israel, with headlines like "How Kosher Is the Holocaust Story?" Several users of Roommate Finders said similar material began landing in their electronic mailboxes soon after they gave their addresses to the service.

I will defend Santomauro's freedom of speech, which is in no wise abridged by his being instantly deleted and banned from this site.

Putzi

Oliver, I can agree that you have to delete this post.

But I would have been - let's say - even more impressed, if you would have dealt with his krank "arguments" on a point-to-point basis, thereby rebutting them.

For example: his claim that the Polish authorities have conducted chemical tests, etc. This just can't be true, can it? (If it were, it would be truly shocking!)

And he implies that Hilberg (Hilberg, of all people!!) says there is no proof that Hitler knew about the camps. I am sure that this is a lie, and that Hilberg does no such thing!

You just need to rebut and to expose the untruths - that surely is the best and strongest weapon against these people?

SteveF

Putzi,

I would be very surprised if Hilberg said that. He may have said that no written order from Hitler has yet been found (to my knowledge - which is limited). However, Hitler certainly knew about the camps and Hilberg would have been well aware of the evidence. For example, Goebbels wrote in his diary on 12/12/1941:

Bezüglich der Judenfrage ist der Führer entschlossen, reinen Tisch zu machen. Er hat den Juden prophezeit, daß, wenn sie noch einmal einen Weltkrieg herbeiführen würden, sie dabei ihre Vernichtung erleben würden. Das ist keine Phrase gewesen. Der Weltkrieg ist da, die Vernichtung des Judentums muß die notwendige Folge sein.

With respect of the Jewish Question, the Führer has decided to make a clean sweep. He prophesied to the Jews that if they again brought about a world war, they would live to see their annihilation in it. That wasn't just a catch-word. The world war is here, and the annihilation of the Jews must be the necessary consequence.

dirigible

"But I would have been - let's say - even more impressed, if you would have dealt with his krank "arguments" on a point-to-point basis, thereby rebutting them."

Refutations of such "arguments" are also all over the internet.

There are better things to do than endlessly refuting the same falsehoods.

Oliver Kamm

Putzi, I don't tailor my response to racist nutters or anyone else with the primary aim of impressing you. My website is not a venue for debating the merits of the propositions of Holocaust deniers, and that's that.

On the matter of Hitler's knowledge of and role in the Holocaust, see The Unwritten Order: Hitler's Role in the Final Solution, 2005, by Peter Longerich (one of the expert witnesses for the defence in the David Irving libel suit of 2000). On the fraudulent claims of investigations done by the Institute of Forensic Research in Krakow, you can read the Institute's real report here. Note in particular: "The present study shows that in spite of the passage of a considerable period of time (over 45 years) in the walls of the facilities which once were in contact with hydrogen cyanide the vestigial amounts of the combinations of this constituent of Zyklon B have been preserved."

Michael Santomauro, I see you've tried to post your cut-and-paste job again. You have been blocked from this site, so begone.

Marc

The claim about the Polish authorities really needs some kind of citation. But, if this is the same matter referred to in the Lipstadt trial then it is true that the Auschwitz authorities found high cyanide traces in the rooms used for delousing but much lower quantities in the gas chambers. This is, however, to be expected - the concentration of cyanide used to kill lice is orders of magnitude greater than that needed to kill humans.

Putzi

Sie wollen Ihre Leser nicht beeindrucken? Wirklich??

What can I say? Perhaps this is why the English are such wonderful people: they are like the Germans, yet with the gift of modesty too! :-)

Oliver Kamm

Das ist richtig. Ich habe kein Interesse, an, Sie zu beeindrucken.

Gavin

Albert, it's worse than you think - Irving's figures for the number of dead involved in the bombing of Dresden have been suspect since 1966, when he had to write a letter to "The Times" correcting his use of a forgery to inflate the total. In respect to Dresden, his real nature was evident long before the seventies, and Norman Davis' citation of him in 1997 should be even more discreditable as a consequence. The real problem with Irving was that so few British historians were willing to confront his abuse of the process of historical inquiry, even in the seventies, when this had become apparent to others. Speaking as a British historian myself, I blame the reluctance of British historians in general to grapple with original German source material and call Irving's bluff as a result.

Mikey

For the best discussion about Irving's massive exaggeration of the amount of deaths at Dresden, I thoroughly recommend the following book:

Richard J. Evans, Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust and the David Irving Trial, (New York: Basic Books, 2002)

Richard Evans is Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University and he acted as the chief historical advisor in the David Irving v. Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt trial. Evans and his assistants took the trouble to check the source material that Irving had used which of course included the fictitious estimate of 250,000 deaths that had been leaked by the Goebbels propaganda machine in a forged document known as TB47. Evans shows (p. 170) that the original document put the actual deaths at 20,204 with an expectation that deaths could rise to 25,000. In the forgery that Irving had used, a zero had simply been added hence multiplying the amount of actual deaths ten fold.

I am not sure if the "Ollie" that responded to my first comment in this thread is Oliver Kamm, but I am quite surprised by the statement. Irving's views on the Holocaust have been discussed much earlier than when Davies wrote his book. For example Gill Seidel in her book published in 1986, The Holocaust Denial: Antisemitism, Racism and the New Right (Leeds: Beyond the Pale Collective) had a long discussion on Irving. Deborah Lipstadt in her book first published in 1993 in the USA by Free Press, a division of Macmillan and in 1994 in the UK by Penguin books, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory also accused Irving of being a Holocaust Denier. I find it difficult to accept that Norman Davies was not aware how controversial David Irving was by the time he wrote his own book. I cannot excuse him for using such a discredited person as a source.

What concerned me further was that I sourced a copy of the book by Davies that I mention at the British Library of Political & Economic Science which is the library of London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). The particular copy had a library sticker on it saying something like, "Recommended text."

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