Essay Holocaust Denial

The mountain of irrefutable evidence for this historical fact is available in the immense body of careful scholarship by numerous historians, some of which is summarized by Ms. 4, 1943 -- by which date most of the Holocaust's victims, probably close to five million, had already been killed -- in which he talked about the Nazi program for the "extermination of the Jewish people," stressed his conviction that "we have the moral right, the duty to our people, to destroy this people which wanted to destroy us" and boasted that the extermination program was "a glorious page in our history and one that has never been written and can never be written." A recording of this speech can be heard at the National Archives in Washington; by recording it, and by using clear language about the exterminations, Himmler violated his own orders to use euphemisms, camouflage and indirection in discussing the German program to murder the Jews.

The evidence for the Holocaust also includes an enormous number of documents about the killings.

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.

Some were sympathetic not only to Germany but also to Hitler, and they argued that the Germans had done nothing against civilians, including the Jews, that had not been matched in magnitude by the actions of the Allies, such as the bombing of Dresden or the transfers after the war of Germans from parts of Poland and Czechoslovakia.

In addition, some historians, journalists, members of Congress and public figures, like Charles Lindbergh, bitterly criticized Allied war crimes trials and denazification programs.DENYING THE HOLOCAUST The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. Although those deniers would have had no interest in reading either of these books, it is good to know they are now available to people of good will who do not know what to say, or what to think, when they are told -- by demonstrators, in advertisements, in classrooms or on television -- that the Holocaust never happened. But it seems unlikely that as many as a fifth of all Americans would have doubts that the Holocaust ever happened were it not for the strenuous efforts during the last half-century, and especially during the last 15 years, of the Holocaust deniers, who have grown ever more successful in having their arguments presented -- and heard with receptivity and respect -- in high school classrooms, on college campuses and on television talk shows. Lipstadt's important and impassioned work, as well as Pierre Vidal-Naquet's penetrating "Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of the Holocaust," could not have come at a better time.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.It is important to say, though dismaying to have to say it, that for any legitimate historian, as well as for any reasonable person weighing the evidence, the Holocaust -- the planned and systematic extermination by the Germans, during World War II, of approximately six million European Jews -- is, quite simply, a fact. This evidence includes, for example, speeches and orders by the highest Nazi leaders: for instance, Heinrich Himmler's secret speech in Posen (the German name for Poznan, Poland) to SS leaders on Oct.The two books cover some of the same ground but are quite different in tone, focus and organization.Both analyze the arguments of the Holocaust deniers and demolish them thoroughly and effectively. Lipstadt, who teaches religious studies at Emory University, has written a book that, unlike Mr. "The impact of Holocaust denial on high school and college students," she notes, "cannot be precisely assessed. Lipstadt's alarm about the increasing influence of those who claim that the Holocaust never happened that helped provoke her to write "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory." Yet even she may have underestimated the full extent of that influence. 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.


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