Holocaust Denial has already been mentioned previously in relation to Antisemitism and antisemitic propaganda, but its significance as a political force requires a separate answer. It has also become the shared tool of radical political and religious ideologies.
1. The Nazi (National Socialism) hierarchy from Hitler downwards went to great lengths to mask their intentions to annihilate the Jews and then disguise their decisions in paraphrases.They went on to conceal their acts from most of the world, and subsequently to hide, ditch, and destroy the incriminating records and other evidence, so that they could deny it ever happened: firing mass graves, building crematoria, razing buildings to the ground, and even dumping the contents of cremation packets into the river at Terezin.
In post-war "West" Germany, many Nazis were "rehabilitated" and promoted to positions of authority, which allowed them to protect their past, forego proper historical accountability for the Holocaust, as well as depriving the world and modern media of vital evidence/testimony. The Nuremberg trials were quickly forgotten in the free, non-communist world, as the Cold War between the United States (with the West) and the USSR (with Eastern Europe/the communist bloc) took centre stage.
2. From 1939 through 2005, only a small part of mankind received part of the body of knowledge concerning the Shoah [Holocaust], in selective contexts, and only gradually and very late on, in the free world. For the most part, in the run-up to and during most of the Second World War, the leaders of the free world did not even want to know , or were not ready address the implications. For over half a century, the vast majority of three generations of human beings hold no collective memory of the Holocaust; they provided fertile ground for the manipulations and outrageous lies of Holocaust denial - especially where Denial is not against the law, or where the existing law is not enforced.
3. In the USSR and its extended territories (granted by Germany under Stalin's treaty with Hitler at Brest-Litovsk ), the antisemitic essence of Nazism was suppressed by the Soviet regime. In so doing, Stalin left the civilian Jewish population completely exposed to the Nazis in areas that were overrun by Germany in 1941 - whereas many more lives might have been saved through evacuation. Moreover, the local nationalists, opponents of Communism, willingly and enthusiastically collaborated in most of the massacres of Jewish villagers and townspeople in the western USSR.
This suppression continued after the Second World War, throughout the Communist bloc, and was also bequeathed through Soviet propaganda to its proteges, especially the Arab and Muslim world that is hostile to Israel.
The UN GA Resolution on Zionism=Racism [1975, rescinded 1991] was one of its long-lived and infamous legacies.
4. From Germany throughout western Europe, there has traditionally been a vociferous, xenophobic right-wing. With the Nazi Party being declared illegal and formally disgraced in Germany and many other countries, its former members and the disaffected right who were proud of their ideology sought a way to restore its respectability. Many also wished to be able to identify with Hitler as a leader and to rehabilitate him. They therefore created their own fictitious historical narrative to exclude and deny the Holocaust, by disputing the testimony, facts and evidence.
The term 'Historical Review' is one cover for Holocaust Denial. The misnomer 'Revisionism', referring to a selective historical approach, is the most commonly used as a synonym to cloak Holocaust denial.
In an interview published by the JCPA, Professor Deborah Lipstadt discusses the self-styled and disgraced historian, David Irving as a neo-Nazi and his motives for Holocaust Denial, and affords a more detailed insight into its history in Germany and western Europe. She also addresses the nuanced variations of the origins and nature of Holocaust Denial.
1. Lipstadt brings the fundamental connection between Holocaust Denial and Antisemitism in reference to David Irving, whom she feels was "first and foremost" a neo-Nazi and "only thereafter" an antisemite.
2. While addressing the almost unique essence of the Holocaust, she goes on to discuss and criticize "immoral equivalences" made with the Holocaust: the soft-sell approach, using false comparisons with horrific massacres or political ideologies, in order to justify killing Jews in the throes of war and strife. This has been an effective method in rehabilitating Hitler and Nazism considerably in the wider public, as well as discrediting the Holocaust.
3. Professor Wistrich and Professor Dina Porat go further. They trace competitive claims for the status of victimhood, as presented in recent years in relation to persecutions, executions, massacres, civil wars, genocides and militia-manias of Europe, Asia, and Africa, that have been perpetrated since the height of the Cold War. These are designed to devalue the Holocaust, deprive the term of its primary Jewish semantic field, and thus deprive its victims, descendants, and Jewish communities of their platform and status as victims of Hitler's genocidal and megolamaniacal Antisemitism.
- Holocaust Denial lies about History and distorts facts. It creates fictitious narratives to diminish responsibility or raise doubts about the veracity of the Holocaust.
- It finds a receptive audience and is perpetuated by the trend for relativism and subjectivism in 'historical review', under the guise of deconstructionism and similar trendy fads.
- Holocaust Denial has a soft-sell and a hard-sell line, in relation to its target audience, such as: not all Jews were killed, or the numbers and facts are wrong; there are 'equivalent' tragedies; Israel is accused of pepetrating a Holocaust. The hard sell is used less in the West today.
- Its substance and its antisemitic motifs form a major and integral tool of contemporary Antisemitism and criticism of Israel, from the political left-wing and anti-Israel, anti-Zionist circles.
- Holocaust Denial is used both to delegitimize the Jewish people and Israel.
- Holocaust Denial serves as a common platform and venue for the political right and left, which is shared, widened, and even dominated today by the forces of fundamentalist Islam that support international terror.
- Yad Vashem: the collection of authentic documents about the Shoah is so vast, that it begs the question that anyone could deny it: over 2 million names on the database, other factual evidence; http://www1.yadvashem.org/about_holocaust/index_about_holocaust_video.html
- Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University: Holocaust Denial on Trial http://www.hdot.org - see "Background" from the index page. Also see http://lipstadt2.blogspot.com/ ;
- The Cybrary of the Holocaust - an academic repository for issues related to the Shoah: documents and testimony, including photos, music, art exhibits, videos, ebooks, virtual tour of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum; student interface; lesson plans for all ages. Countering Holocaust Denial resources underneath the website;
- The Nizkor web offers focused information and advocacy tools about: the Nazi concentration and death camps; major figures then and deniers today; research guides to and advocacy FAQs on the Shoah and Holocaust denial; country data for rescue and embargoes on Jewish immigration and resistance; Nazi war crimes trials; pseudoscience & Leuchter. Some data in Spanish;
- Holocaust History offers an excellent repository of analyses and FAQs on Holocaust denial techniques, helpful in sourcing antisemitic allegations;
- ADL: 3-part article about Holocaust Denial
- www.wiesenthal.com - the essential bibliography of Denial
- http://www.jafi.org.il/education/actual/haider/1.html [The Irving/Lipstadt Libel Case]