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IMAGES DE L'INTï¿½GRISME EXTERMINATIONNISTE
ou le zinzin qui vrombit
Tout a commencï¿½ avec cet article de Christopher Hitchens:
The Strange Case of David
THE HOLOCAUST ON TRIAL By D.D. Guttenplan; W.W. Norton: 328 pp., $24.95
By Christopher Hitchens
WHEN the first news of the Nazi camps was published in 1945, there were those who thought
the facts might be exaggerated either by Allied war propaganda or by the human tendency to
relish "atrocity stories." In his column in the London magazine Tribune, George
Orwell wrote that though this might be so, the speculation was not exactly occurring in a
vacuum. If you remember what the Nazis did to the Jews before the war, he said, it isn't
that difficult to imagine what they might do to them during one. In one sense, the
argument over "Holocaust denial" ends right there. The National Socialist Party
seized power in 1933, proclaiming as its theoretical and organizing principle the
proposition that the Jews were responsible for all the world's ills, from capitalist
profiteering to subversive Bolshevism. By means of oppressive legislation, they began to
make all of Germany Judenrein, or "Jew-free." Jewish businesses were first
boycotted and then confiscated. Jewish places of worship were first vandalized and then
closed. Wherever Nazi power could be extended -- to the Rhineland, to Austria and to
Sudeten Czechoslovakia -- this pattern of cruelty and bigotry was repeated. (And, noticed
by few, the state killing of the mentally and physically "unfit," whether Jewish
or "Aryan," was tentatively inaugurated.) After the war broke out, Hitler was
able to install puppet governments or occupation regimes in numerous countries, each of
which was compelled to pass its own version of the anti-Semitic "Nuremberg
Laws." Most ominous of all -- and this in plain sight and on camera, and in full view
of the neighbors -- Jewish populations as distant as Salonika were rounded up and put on
trains, to be deported to the eastern provinces of conquered Poland. None of this is, even
in the remotest sense of the word, "deniable." Nor is the fact that, once the
war was over, surviving Jews found that they had very few family members left. The
argument only begins here, and it takes two forms. First, what exactly happened to the
missing ones? Second, why did it occur? The first argument is chiefly forensic and
concerns numbers and methods: the physical engineering of shooting, gassing, burial and
cremation. The second argument is a debate among historians and is known as the
"intentionalist versus functionalist" dispute. The "intentionalists"
say that Hitler and his gang were determined from the start to extirpate all Jews and that
everything from 1933 to 1945 is a vindication of certain passages in "Mein
Kampf." The "functionalists" point out (correctly) that the Nazis actually
killed almost no Jews until after 1941 and that the Endlosung, or "Final
Solution," was a semi-secret plan evolved after Germany began to lose the war on the
Eastern front. On this continuum, Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, with his view that Germans had a
cultural gene of anti-Semitism, is an extreme "intentionalist"; Yehudah Bauer,
of the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem, is a moderate "functionalist."
Differences of opinion between these two schools, and discrepancies in the evidence, have
recently permitted the emergence of something that is more of a phenomenon than a
"school," by which I mean the movement of "Holocaust denial" or
(because it consists of two contrasting tendencies) "Holocaust revisionism."
This movement contains some Nazi revivalists in Germany and elsewhere, some crackpots and
conspiracy theorists and one practicing historian, an Englishman named David Irving. Among
revisionist forces there is even more confusion; they either argue that nothing much
happened at all and that the whole thing is a fabrication or they maintain that the
unforgettable piles of corpses were the result of epidemics, to be blamed on the
disruption of food and medical supplies by Allied bombing. (It will be seen at once that
this latter faction has no good explanation for why the Jews of Europe were packed into
remote camps in the first place.) The toxicity of the argument is increased by four other
factors. First, there are those who maintain that the German people have been blamed
enough and that endless suggestions of collective guilt -- accompanied by incessant
demands for compensation -- are an insult and possibly a provocation. Second, there are
those who resent the exploitation of the Holocaust, or Shoah, by extreme Israeli
nationalists. Third, there is a collective awareness that neither the international
community nor organized Jewry did much to help the victims when it could have made a
difference. Finally, in many countries, including Germany and France, it is actually a
crime to dispute the established version of events, which means that the
"revisionist" movement now has its free-speech martyrs. While in the United
States, protected as it is by the First Amendment, the Holocaust has become a secular
religion, with state support in the form of a national museum. Accusations of ill will or
bad faith are often made against anyone with reservations about the elevation of this
project into something combining a cult, an entertainment resource and an industry, each
claiming to represent the unvoiced dead. Indeed, I myself feel constrained to state here
that my mother's family is of German and Polish Jewish provenance and that on my wife's
side we have not just an Auschwitz "survivor" in our lineage but a man -- David
Szmulewski -- who was one of the leaders of the communist resistance in the camps as well
as one of those who smuggled evidence out of it and later testified against the war
criminals in court. I look forward to a time when I won't feel any need to mention this. I
was raised in two other traditions as well, however. The first was to believe, with the
late Karl Popper, that a case has not been refuted until it has been stated at its
strongest. The second was to take it for granted that historians have prejudices. To
manifest the first point, then, let us summarize the best case that the revisionists can
make. Would it surprise you to know that: 1) there were no gas chambers or
extermination camps on German soil, in other words, at Belsen or Dachau or Buchenwald; 2)
there were no Jews made into soap; 3) the "confession" of Rudolf Hoess,
commandant of Auschwitz, was extracted by force and contains his claim to have killed more
Jews than was "humanly" possible? These are, however, the now-undisputed
findings of all historians and experts on the subject. [We underline -- aaargh] And if
they are sound, then it means that much "eyewitness" testimony is wrong. It
necessarily changes our attitude toward the everyday complicity of average Germans. It
also means that much of the evidence presented and accepted at Nuremburg (left) was
spurious. Of course, we knew some of this already -- the Nazis were charged by Soviet and
Allied judges with the massacres at Katyn in Poland, which had obviously been ordered by
Stalin and are now admitted to have been. And every now and then, a bogus Holocaust
merchant makes an appearance. The most recent was the fantasist "Binjamin
Wilkomirski" whose book, "Fragments," was a whole-cloth fabrication by
someone who had spent the entire war in Switzerland. This did not prevent him from
receiving several awards and the warm endorsement of Goldhagen. Earlier, a high Israeli
court found the evidence of witnesses useless, ruling that John Demjanjuk had not been at
Treblinka in the mythical shape of "Ivan the Terrible."
THE confrontation between Irving and the consensus was therefore long overdue. He forced
the confrontation himself, by putting his own work on trial in attempting to sue the work
of another. But it was high time to have this out in public, in the relatively objective
context of an English courtroom. And so to my second observation, about bias and
historians. History, especially as written by historians in the English tradition, is a
literary and idiosyncratic form. Men such as Gibbon and Macaulay and Marx were essayists
and polemicists in the grand manner, and when I was at school, one was simply not supposed
to be prissy about the fact. We knew that Macaulay wrote to vindicate the Whig school,
just as we knew of the prejudices of Carlyle (though there were limits: Nobody ever let us
read his "Occasional Discourse on the Nigger Question," a robustly obscene
defense of slavery). Handing me a copy of "What Is History?" by E.H. Carr, my
Tory headmaster loftily told me that it was required reading in spite of its "rather
obvious Marxist bias." The master of my Oxford college was Christopher Hill, the
great chronicler of Cromwell and Milton and Winstanley and the Puritan Revolution.
Preeminent in his field, Hill had been a member of the Communist Party and could still be
slightly embarrassed by mention of his early book, "Lenin and the Russian
Revolution," in which the name of Leon Trotsky was conspicuous by its absence. Moving
closer to our own time, we had Sir Arthur Bryant, whose concept of history as a pageant
culminated in extreme royalism and a strong sympathy for Franco and Mussolini and Hitler.
Then there was A.J.P. Taylor, one of the most invigorating lecturers of all time, who
believed that the Nazis had more or less been tricked into the war. And how can one forget
Hugh Trevor-Roper, author of the definitive narrative of Hitler's final days, who had
close connections to British intelligence, who might be overheard making faintly
anti-Jewish remarks and later pronounced the forged Hitler diaries genuine? These were men
who had been witnesses and participants as well as archivists and chroniclers. Their
accounts were essential reading; the allowance for prejudice and inflection was part of
the fun of one's bookkeeping. This of course doesn't license absolute promiscuity. Eric
Hobsbawm, a member of the Communist Party (much later than Hill), may have advertised his
allegiances but retained the respect of most critics because he had a strong sense of
objectivity in his historical work. In other words, no dirty tricks were to be allowed.
However, what I mean to say for now is that when I first became aware of Irving, I did not
feel it necessary to react like a virgin who is suddenly confronted by a man in a filthy
raincoat. That he had a sneaking sympathy for fascism was obvious enough. But his work on
the bombing of Dresden, on the inner functioning of the Churchill government and on the
mentality of the Nazi generals was invaluable. He changed sides on the issue of the Hitler
diaries, but his intervention was crucial to their exposure as a pro-Nazi fabrication. His
knowledge of the German language was the envy of his rivals. His notorious flaunting of
bad taste and his gallows humor were not likely to induce cardiac arrest in anyone like
myself, who had seen many Oxford and Cambridge history dons when they were fighting drunk.
While helping to edit the New Statesman in 1981, I encouraged the American historian Kai
Bird, now a distinguished student of the Cold War, to analyze Irving's work. Bird turned
in a meticulous essay, which exposed Irving's obvious prejudice and incidentally trashed
his least-known and worst book -- a history of the 1956 Hungarian uprising that
characterized the revolt as a rebellion of sturdy Magyar patriots against shifty Jewish
Communists. Irving briefly threatened to sue and then thought better of it. In the early
1990s, he took part in a public debate with the extreme denier Robert Faurisson, at which
he maintained that there was definite evidence of mass extermination at least by shooting
(and gratuitously added that he thought the original Nazi plan to isolate all Jews in
Madagascar was probably a good scheme). I noted this with interest -- there's nothing like
a good faction fight between extremists -- but had no contact with him, direct or
indirect, until he self-published in England his biography of Josef Goebbels in 1996. This
book is still on my shelf. I read it initially because St. Martin's Press in New York
decided not to publish it, or rather, decided to breach its contract to do so. This action
on its part was decisive, in that it convinced Irving that his enemies were succeeding in
denying him a livelihood, and it determined him to sue someone as soon as he could. It was
also important in that St. Martin's gave no reason of historical accuracy for its
about-face. For the publisher, it was a simple question of avoiding unpleasantness
("Profiles in Prudence," as its senior editor Thomas Dunne put it to me
ruefully). Well, as I say, I'm a big boy and can bear the thought of being offended. The
biography, based largely on extracts from Goebbels' diaries, told me a great deal I hadn't
known. I'll instance a small but suggestive example. Irving had in the past been
associated with the British fascist movement led by Sir Oswald Mosley. In my hot youth,
I'd protested at some of the meetings of this outfit and had circulated the charge that,
before the war, it had been directly financed by the Nazis. This charge was always hotly
disputed by the Mosleyites themselves, but here was Goebbels, in cold print, discussing
the transfer of funds from Berlin to the British Black Shirts. On the old principle
famously adumbrated by Bertrand Russell -- of "evidence against interest" -- it
seemed that Irving was capable of publishing information that undermined his own position.
He also, in his editorial notes, gave direct testimony about the mass killing of Jews in
the East (by shooting) and of the use of an "experimental" gas chamber in the
Polish town of Chelmno. The "deniers" don't like this book; on the strength of
it you could prove that the Nazis tried to do away with the Jews. There was some odd stuff
about Hitler's lack of responsibility for Kristallnacht but, as I say, I allowed for
Irving's obsessions. I wrote a column criticizing St. Martin's for its cowardice and
described Irving himself as not just a fascist historian but a great historian of fascism.
One should be allowed to read "Mein Kampf" as well as Heidegger. Allowed? One
should be able to do so without permission from anybody. As a result of this, Irving
contacted me when he was next in Washington, and I invited him to my home for a cocktail.
He got off to a shaky start by refusing any alcohol or tobacco and by presenting me with
two large blue-and-white stickers. Exactly the size of a German street sign, they were
designed to be pasted over the originals at dead of night. "Rudolf Hess Platz,"
they said; a practical-joke accessory for German extremists with that especial sense of
humor. Because they were intended to shock, I tried to look as unshocked as I could.
Irving then revealed, rather fascinatingly, that some new documents from the Eichmann
family might force him to reconsider his view that there had been no direct order for the
annihilation of the Jews. It was a rather vertiginous atmosphere all around. When it came
time for him to leave, my wife and daughter went down in the elevator with him on their
own way out. Later, my wife rather gravely asked me if I would mind never inviting him
again. This was highly unlike her; we have all sorts at our place. However, it transpired
that, while in the elevator, Irving had looked with approval at my fair-haired, blue-eyed
daughter, then 5 years old, and declaimed the following doggerel about his own little
girl, Jessica, who was the same age:
I am a Baby Aryan
Not Jewish or Sectarian;
I have no plans to marry
an Ape or Rastafarian.
The thought of Carol and Antonia in a small space with this
large beetle-browed man as he spouted that was, well, distinctly creepy. (He has since
posted the lines on his Web site, and they came back to haunt him at the trial.) The next
time Irving got in touch with me was after his utter humiliation in court, and I thought
I'd give him one last chance -- though I arranged to meet him in a neutral restaurant this
time. I wanted to know if it was true, as I had read in the press, that he had abruptly
addressed the judge in the case as "Mein Fuhrer." With some plausibility, he
explained to me that this was a misunderstanding; he had been quoting from the slogans
shouted at a rally he was addressing in Germany and had glanced up at the bench at the
wrong moment. The transcript of the trial seemed to make this interpretation possible. So
when telephoned by my friend Ian Buruma, who was writing on the case for The New Yorker, I
suggested that he might check it out. He called me back with the information that, when he
had asked Irving directly about the incident, Irving had taken him into confidence and
said, "Actually, I did say it." At this point I finally decided that anyone
joining a Fair Play for Irving Committee was up against a man with some kind of death
"THE Holocaust on Trial" and "Lying About Hitler" make that very point
in widely differing ways. Like me, D.D. Guttenplan is full of contempt for the censorship
of Irving and quite prepared to consider the idea that the Holocaust has been exploited
and even distorted. However, Guttenplan became disgusted by Irving's alternately bullying
and ingratiating style and by his repeated failure to make good on his historical claims.
His account of the courtroom confrontation, most vividly the confrontation between Irving
and the Dutch expert on the mechanics of Auschwitz, Robert Jan van Pelt, could hardly be
bettered. He also provides a masterly guide to the byways of English law, especially the
grossly biased and oppressive law of libel that Irving hoped to enlist on his side. This
in itself has led to an intriguing subplot, with Richard J. Evans' London publishers
abandoning his book, "Lying About Hitler," because of their own pusillanimous
fear of a libel suit and with Evans giving Guttenplan a rather dismissive review in a
London newspaper. The issue before the court, says Evans (left), was not whether the
Holocaust occurred but whether Irving is a fabricator. Of course that is formally true,
but to my mind, Guttenplan rather beautifully shows it to be a distinction without a
difference. Justice Gray, presiding, expressed the repeated hope that the case would not
involve revisiting Auschwitz, but he had to "go there" all the same before the
case was fully heard. It could not have been otherwise. As Raul Hilberg once phrased it,
at Auschwitz history was destroyed at the same time that history was made. The question
cannot be approached from the standpoint of truth without accepting this contradiction. As
an expert witness at the trial, however, Evans was quite devastating. "Lying About
Hitler" is essentially an expanded version of his affidavit, and it redraws the whole
terrain of the argument. No longer are we faced merely with the question of Irving's
elementary right to speak or be published. We are invited to see if he deserves the title
of historian at all. Evans' method is quite a simple one. He shows, first, that there are
a number of errors, omissions and unsupported assertions in Irving's work. Now, this might
be true of any historian, and there were indeed some distinguished academic practitioners
in the witness box who maintained that no narrative is or can be free from error. However,
what if, as Evans said under cross-examination:
"There is a difference between, as it were, negligence, which
is random in its effects, i.e. if you are a sloppy or bad historian, the mistakes you make
will be all over the place. They will not actually support any particular point of view
.... On the other hand, if all the mistakes are in the same direction in the support of a
particular thesis, then I do not think that is mere negligence. I think that is a
deliberate manipulation and deception."
Evans' knowledge, both of the period and of the German language, are
of an order to rival Irving's. He has little difficulty in showing that there are
suspicious mistranslations, suggestive ellipses and, worst of all, some tampering with
figures: in other words, that Irving knowingly inflates the death toll in the Allied
bombing of Dresden while deflating it in the camps and pits to the East. And, yes, all the
"mistakes" have the same tendency. In a crucial moment, Irving
"forgot" what he had said about Nazi Gen. Walter Bruns, who had confessed to
witnessing mass killing of Jews and had been taped by British intelligence while doing so.
When it suited Irving to claim that Bruns didn't know he was being recorded, he claimed as
much. When it didn't, he suggested that Bruns was trying to please his hearers. Having
listened myself to Irving discuss this fascinating episode, I mentally closed the book
when I reached this stage in it. It was a QED. Irving has long been notorious for his view
that Hitler never gave any order for the Final Solution and that there is no irrefutable
document authorizing it. In court, he was unpardonably flippant on this point, saying
airily that perhaps, like some of Richard Nixon's subordinates, a few of the rougher types
imagined they knew what would please the boss. This argument has always struck me as
absurd on its face in both cases, but Evans simply reduces it to powder. It's not too much
to say that by the end of the trial, the core evidence for the Holocaust had been tested
and found to be solid. The matter of Irving's reputation as scholar and researcher --
which was the ostensible subject of the hearing -- was so much "collateral
damage." It would be tempting to summarize this as a near morality tale, in which the
truth emerges as the stainless winner over bigotry and falsification. However, the
conflict is not conducted in quite such hygienic conditions. Irving did not publish a
series of books on the Nazi era that were exposed as propaganda by a magisterial review
from Evans. That's the way things are supposed to happen but rarely do. Instead, the
efforts of a few obsessive outsiders have sharpened the orthodox debate between
intentionalists and functionalists and also provoked a grand crisis in the "Holocaust
denial" milieu, which now subdivides yet again between those who see Irving as a
martyr and those who see him as a conscious, dedicated agent of Zionism who let down the
team. I myself learned a good deal, about both the subject and the author, by becoming
involved on the periphery of this debate. I still regard it as ridiculous that Irving's
books are almost impossible to obtain in the homeland of the First Amendment. This culture
has assumed several great responsibilities. It sponsored the Nuremberg trials, with all
their peaks and troughs of evidence. It has elevated the Holocaust into a universal moral
example. It is the chief international guarantor of the state of Israel, at whatever
proper size of territory or jurisdiction over others that that state turns out to possess.
And it is the home -- on the basis of equality -- of the most flourishing Jewish community
in history. Given this quadrilateral of historical commitments, there can be no
prohibition of any voice whatever. One asks only, as one must ask with all morally serious
arguments, that those entering the arena be transparent as regards motive and scrupulous
as regards evidence. Irving's contribution to this very outcome is an amazing instance of
the workings of unintended consequence.
Christopher Hitchens is a Columnist for Vanity Fair
and the Nation and the Author most recently ofThe Trial of Henry Kissinger .
Los Angeles Times, Sunday, May 20, 2001.
Aussitï¿½t, Zinzin, l'allumï¿½ de la BNF, saute en piste
Date: Sun, 27 May 2001 09:59:21 -0500
Sender: H-NET List for History of the Holocaust
Subject: Re: LA Times book review (Karmasyn)
From: Gilles Karmasyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Stephen Esrati <email@example.com> wrote
>There is a very fine review by Christopher Hitchins in the Los
>Angeles Times of _The Holocaust on Trial_ by D.D. Guttenplan. The
>book is about the Irving libel trial.
>It is available on line at
>You must use the entire URL.
I could access it more easily there:
Christopher Hitchens' review has several serious defects. The main one is that he buys and
sells deniers' lies and manipulations. A bad start when dealing with holocaust denier
Would it surprise you to know that:
1) there were no gas chambers or extermination camps on German soil, in other words, at
Belsen or Dachau or Buchenwald;
2) there were no Jews made into soap;
3) the "confession" of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of Auschwitz, was extracted by
force and contains his claim to have killed more Jews than was "humanly"
Point 1 is very well known as a falsification of Martin Broszat's
1960 article, where he said that the Dachau gas chamber was not used,
and that there were no gas chambers in Bergen Belsen or in
Buchenwald. Holocaust deniers pretend that that meant that Broszat
said there had been no gas chambers on the "*old* Reich soil"
(Hitchens seems to have forgot the "old reich" flavour of the lie.
Maybe he doesn't know that Auschwitz belonged to the Great Reich).
This is a lie. Broszat never said such a thing. You'll find a study
(in french) of the Broszat article and the way deniers falsify it
there: http://www.phdn.org/negation/broszat.html and in german,
Why does Christopher Hitchens repeat that lie?
Has he not heard of Ravensbruck, Neuengamme,
Orianenbourg-Sachsenhausen? Maybe he heard about Mauthausen (but
then, Mauthausen was in Austria...)
Point 2 has been treated by John Drobniki on Nizkor at this adress:
(It has also been adressed in french, there:
Most important: no
*historian* (with one minor exception) has pretended that Jews were
made into soap. The fact that Jews corpses were not systematically
used to manufacture soap is *no news* for historians.
Why does Christopher Hitchens implies, like the holocaust deniers do,
that "Soap made with jews" is widely accepted,?
Point 3 is a common denier lie: pretending that Hoess has been
tortured into admitting the mass murder of the Jews in Auschwitz. See
Why does Christopher Hitchens repeat that lie?
Why does Hitchens implies that, somehow, Irving (or Holocaust
deniers?) helped in undescovering these "facts", when in fact those
points are either lies or fraudulent presentations?
The anwser seems pretty obvious to me: Hitchens was exposed to those
deniers' manipulations and he didn't do his homework. This kind of
neglect is generally of no importance. But in the case of holocaut
denial, it always bring the lazy people to buy the deniers' lies.
Hitchens complains that he can't find Irving's books but gives the
very proof that he is unable to judge them critically, or any
denier's claim, with his repeating of 3 classical examples of
Holocaust deniers' manipulations.
Hitchens article does not seem "fine" to me. But it *is* remarquable.
Charles Taylor's review on salon.com
appears to be much more lucid about the whole thing.
On voit que Zinzin veut absolument croire ï¿½ TOUTES les salades, et s'il accepte d'en
rejeter quelques-unes, il affirme que les historiens n'y ont jamais prï¿½tï¿½ de crï¿½dit. Il
nage en pleine confusion.
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 13:44:26 -0500
Subject: Re: LA Times book review (McNamara)
From: Niall McNamara <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As a newcomer and non-expert on the Holocaust, I feel that Gilles Karmasyn has been
somewhat unfair to Christopher Hitchen for his widely reproduced review of the book,
"The Holocaust on Trial" by D.D. Guttenplan, which has appeared in the LA Times
and many other newspapers. In detailing three relatively minor issues upon which some
confusion does exist, much of the flavour of Hitchen's review has been needlessly lost. On
the three points Karmasyn centre's his attention on I think many people feel the following
1. Many people today do still assume that soap was made from the fat of the victims of
Nazi exterminations. This had been unchallenged for some time and genuine confusion thus
2. On concentration camps, the use of Auschwitz as a death-camp in the east allowed the
Nazi's policy on racial hygiene to be implemented away from attention of the world; or
that is what the Nazi's and their collaborators incorrectly thought. Whether Jews and
others were murdered within the "old" or the so-called "Greater Reich"
with its extended borders, got by force, should not be let blur the reality of what
happened. It is not a surprise that mass-shootings of Jews took place in Russia.
3. Hoess and other Nazis were tortured and inaccuracies in their statements, where they
exist, cannot be overlooked. Rather, such anomalies should be answered in a scholarly
Hitchen's is not intellectually lazy nor is he someone who refuses to believe in the
Holocaust. I thought it was a very good informative review written in an
4/ Esrati vieux dur ï¿½ cuire zolo
Date: Mon, 28 May 2001 13:41:36 -0500
Reply-To: H-NET List for History of the Holocaust
Subject: re; Hitchens' "denials" (Esrati)
From: Stephen Esrati <email@example.com>
I read the Hitchens piece and found it a fair and precise review of
the Guttenplan book, which is about David Irving's beliefs. It is a
very long review. I do not agree with Karmasyn's view that would make Hitchens appear as a
Holocaust denier because I took it to mean that Hitchens was trying to show what deniers
think and how they think. I did not take these three points to mean that Hitchens believed
that these three points were new or that they were necessarily true.
I, myself, have found the level of ignorance about the Holocaust to
be tremendous. I usually ask people while trying to sell my novel,
COMRADES, AVENGE US, if they knew that there were American prisoners of war in
extermination camps, whether they knew that the SS killed Canadian POWs on Juno beach,
whether they knew about the Counter-Intelligence Corps' "rat line," which
smuggled war criminals into the United States. Most people don't know and think my book
made it all up.
Thus, I do not find it surprising that Hitchens' used these examples
as the lede for his article. I would have done something similar.
5/ Retour du zinzineur
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 09:56:20 -0500
From: Gilles Karmasyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I will adress here the answers of Stephen Esrati and Niall McNamara
about my critics to Christopher Hitchens' article.
I must state that I *am* concentrating on Hitchens' 3 points
statement, because, as I said before, it seems to me *remarquable*.
Maybe Hitchens' article provides some good points, but we cannot
ignore this *major* flaw: Hitchens is buying and selling three
classical examples of Holocaust deniers' lies and manipulations.
Hitchens' article, and Hitchens' approach is disqualified by this
Let me remind what Hitchens wrote (a little bit more complete than
what I cited before):
To manifest the first point, then, let us summarize the
best case that the revisionists can make.
Would it surprise you to know that:
1) there were no gas chambers or extermination camps on
German soil, in other words, at Belsen or Dachau or
2) there were no Jews made into soap;
3) the "confession" of Rudolf Hoess, commandant of
Auschwitz, was extracted by force and contains his
claim to have killed more Jews than was "humanly"
(To read a short analysis of these lies and manipulations with
references to longer rebuttals, see my previous article. It can be
accessed via the following URL:
Stephen Esrati writes:
I do not agree with Karmasyn's view that would make
Hitchens appear as a Holocaust denier because I took it
to mean that Hitchens was trying to show what deniers
think and now they think. I did not take these three
points to mean that Hitchens believed that these three
points were new or that they were necessarily true.
First, I must strongly oppose any view that would imply that I
suggested that Hitchens could appear as a holocaust denier. On the
contrary: what I stated was that he has been the victim of holocaust
deniers. What I suggested and still suggest is that he was their
victim out of lazyness and neglect. I do hold Hitchens as beeing
responsable for his blindness.
Second, it is utterly *false* to believe that Hitchens was ONLY
trying to provide three examples of deniers's thoughts. Sure Hitchens
writes that those points are the "best case that the revisionists can
make". But after the above cited three points, he states very clearly
that he agrees with those points. he writes (emphasis mine):
These are, however, the NOW-UNDISPUTED findings of all
HISTORIANS and experts on the subject. And if they are
sound, then it means that much "eyewitness" testimony
The first point is NOT a "now-undisputed finding". It is a
lie, a gross distorsion of what a real historian said. As
is the third point. As for the second point, historians
*never* bought the soap story. It is a gross
misrepresentation of the historiography and of the history
of the historian knowledge of the Holocaust to pretend that
the fact that jewish bodies were not used to manufacture
soap is, NOW, an undisputed finding of all historians. It
was never considered as a fact by historians. I gave all
the relevant URLs in my previous article
(http://www.phdn.org/hnet.php?gk20010528). None of the three
points are either recent, or "findings", or even true for some of them.
Hitchens does believe that the 3 points making this "best
case that the revisionists can make" are true. Hitchens
falsely states that historians NOW agree with those three
points. His very words contradict Stephen Esrati's these. I
think I had every reason to write that Hitchens buys and
sells Holocaust denier's manipulations.
The more so when he goes straight into abjection and writes:
And if they are sound, then it means that MUCH
"eyewitness" testimony is wrong.
This is a scandalous and vicious attack on witnesses. Using deniers
lies, Hitchens implies that MUCH "eyewitness" testimony is wrong.
Just like the Holocaust deniers. And just like Holocaust deniers,
Hitchens uses quotation marks. Does Hitchens substantiate such an
attack? No. I must insist on the fact that the lie of point number 1
is meant to do just that: disqualifies eyewitness accounts. Hitchens
is really a puppet in the hands of the deniers!
Niall McNamara calls those "three relatively minor issues". I must
disagree with him. Those issues themselves might be minor, not the
fact that they constitute lies and manipulations that Hitchens
presents as truths.
Mr. McNamara answers each of my discussion of the 3 points. Let's
see. he writes:
2. On concentration camps, the use of Auschwitz as a
death-camp in the east allowed the Nazi's policy on
racial hygiene to be implemented away from attention of
the world; or that is what the Nazi's and their
collaborators incorrectly thought. Whether Jews and
others were murdered within the "old" or the so-called
"Greater Reich" with its extended borders, got by
force, should not be let blur the reality of what
happened. It is not a surprise that mass-shootings of
Jews took place in Russia.
Mr McNamara completely misses the point of the lie advanced by
Hitchens as a "now undisputed find by historians": that there had not
been any gas chamber on the german soil. This is the classical lie I
denounced. This is the important point that Mr McNamara did not
Mr McNamara writes, about the soap story:
1. Many people today do still assume that soap was made
from the fat of the victims of Nazi exterminations.
This had been unchallenged for some time and genuine
confusion thus arose.
I do agree with the first sentence. "People" do assume false things
such as the soap story. But, "people" is not who Hitchens talks
about. His target, concerning this "now undisputed finding" are not
people but, according Hitchens' own words: "historians and experts on
the subject". Historians did not believe or propagate the soap story.
For anyone familiar with holocaust denial "litterature" -- which I
have been reading as exhaustively as possible for many years -- those
are very common claims by deniers. Deniers always pretend that they
influenced the "official" historiography with their "findings". That
is untrue. I find it remarquable to find the deniers' vocabulary and
rhetoric (however implicit) under Hitchens' pen.
As for the second sentence, it is simply false. Mr McNamara will find
the illustration that he is wrong when he reads the texts he will
find at the URLs I provided in my previous article (to which I add
the appendices to be found there:
Mr McNamara writes about Hoess:
3. Hoess and other Nazis were tortured and inaccuracies
in their statements, where they exist, cannot be
overlooked. Rather, such anomalies should be answered
in a scholarly fashion.
I am sorry to state that this is not true. Hoess was beaten during
his arrest. Because he refused to admit he was Hoess, not to extract
from him "confessions" as Christopher Hitchens writes, in a way that
could confuse whatever "confessions" he is writing about with the
autobiography written by Hoess while in custody, and which was in no
way extracted from him by any form of pressure. Hoess testified in
Nuremberg as a witness for the defense (called by Kaltenbrunner's
lawyer!). Hoess was *not* tortured into confessing the mass murder of Jews in Auschwitz,
as stated by Hitchens, as Holocaust deniers claim.
I would be very interrested in knowing which Nazis, was ever tortured
in a case relating to the Holocaust. References should be provided in
case of such claims, of course...
As for inaccuracies in statements made by Hoess, some other Nazis, or
anybody, historians have been evaluating them for more than 50 years
for a very simple reason: that is their job. And on the whole, as for
the mass murder of Jews in Auschwitz, Hoess statements have often
been quite accurate (see:
Mr McNamara concludes:
Hitchen's is not intellectually lazy nor is he someone
who refuses to believe in the Holocaust. I thought it
was a very good informative review written in an
If Hitchens is not intellectually lazy, then it is even worse that he
supported Holocaust deniers' lies and manipulations as he did. And it
is because I am convinced that Hitchens is NOT "someone who refuses
to believe in the Holocaust" (something I never suggested) that I do
think that he was lazy and did not do his homework.
Let me state that I was not (and am still not) familiar with
Hitchens' work, or political orientation (if he has any). This
article was the first I ever read from him. [On voit bien pointer l'inculture typique
de ces obs���������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������¿½dï¿½s du Zolo. Ils ne lisent rien que du Zolo. -- aaargh] I really, as a
french, do not have any bias for or against Hitchens (why should I?).
I strongly think that one should not, one cannot deny that he has
been *very* wrong in the way he presented as "now undisputed findings by
historians" what were in reality deniers' lies and manipulations.
He has been even more wrong with his vicious account against
(much...) eyewitness testimony... What would be more interresting, is
understanding why he has been lazy, why he let himself bne lazy about
that subject, why somebody, who seems intellectually equiped, has
been caught in the deniers' web of lies, why somebody who should know
better has even been brought to promote those lies. That would tell
us about the perversity of Holocaust denial and its rhetoric. That
should help us to think about how really bad it is that Irving's
books are hardly found anymore... to think about what the complaints
of Hitchens are worth.
6/ Jacobs nous fait savoir qu'il a des photographies
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 10:00:29 -0500
From: Alan Jacobs <email@example.com>
Karmasyn makes some very good points about Hitchens review. Hitchens and has made a career
out of railing and roiling, not so much when when it is appropriate, but rather for the
sake of splenetic regurgitation and senasationalism. In his case the attraction of his
aggression, so compelling in fast food, politically mean, shoot-em-up America, stands out
far more than his ideas.
Gas chambers a myth? Where has the man been all these years?
As a friend of mine wrote privately, the Hitchens review says more about the reviewer than
Oh yes I am quite surprised to know that the gas chambers I photographed in Dachau,
Mauthausen Auschwitz, and Birkenau are not there. As a matter of fact, I went back to my
slides, and your are, as always, right! They were meatpacking houses, and kindergarten
cloakrooms. Somehow I got it all mixed up. I guess I misunderstood when interviewing
Milton Buki and Filip Mueller, two Sonderkommando from Auschwitz and Birkenau.
Shame on me huh?
7/ Zinzin complï¿½te
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 14:28:41 -0500
From: Gilles Karmasyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I must come back to the issue of what Christopher Hitchens wrote in
his review (see my first article on that subject:
http://www.phdn.org/hnet.php?gk20010528) about there beeing no gas chambers on the
"german soil". There might be some too strong
opinions against Hitchens because of what I previously wrote. So I
must set some record straight.
What Hitchens wrote was:
1) there were no gas chambers or extermination camps on
German soil, in other words, at Belsen or Dachau or
Writing that there was no gas chambers on the german soil *is*
completely false (see below).
But I must be strong on the fact that Hitchens in no way denied that
there were gas chambers in Auschwitz, nor denied the Holocaust. Yes
he bought and sold other holocaust deniers's lies and manipulations,
and must be hold responsible for it, but not to the point of even
approaching holocaust denial.
What is the catch? In 1960 Martin Broszat wrote a short piece for Die
Zeit, in which he stated that the mass murder of Jews in gas chambers
did not take place in the *Old Reich* (Germany within its 1933
borders). He also wrote that the gas chamber of Dachau was not used
(in which he may have been wrong), and that there were no gas
chambers in Belsen and Buchewald, in which he was right, but that was no news to
There *were* gas chambers in the *Old Reich*, for example in
Ravensbrï¿½ck, Neuengamme and Orianenbourg-Sachsenhausen. I am not even citing the
"Operation T.4" centers where thousands of handicapped and disabled human
beeings were murdered. The gas chambers in "Old Reich" concentration camps did
not have the same purpose as gas chambers in killing centers (Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor,
Treblinka, and "mix" camps Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek). The gas chambers in
"Old Reich" concentration camps were used to get rid of sick, unproductive or
"burdensome" (for whatever reasons) inmates. The murder using those gas chambers
was commited in the thousands, whose majority were not jewish, not in the millions.
From the 1960 Broszat piece, holocaust deniers (the french impostor
Rassinier beeing the first) falsely "deduced" that there had not been
any gas chambers *at all* in the "Old Reich". Of course that was a
lie. But they often made reference (in footnotes) to Martin Broszat's
article to purport this lie, often adding also that there had been no
gas chamber in Dachau, another lie, and something Broszat did not
Why did they use this lie? Well, Faurisson made it clear: if there
has been no gas chambers in the Old Reich, that meant that there had
been no gas chambers in Ravensbrï¿½ck, Neuengamme and other such camps
for which we have testimonies from both Nazis and inmates. So those
witnesses had lied. So why believe the witnesses for Auschwitz or the
Operation Reinhard killing centers? What is at stakes is a vicious
attack against *all* witnesses.
The "Old Reich" precision is always compulsory because Broszat used
it for a very simple reason: as I wrote before, Auschwitz was
situated within (if near) the limits of the "Great Reich".
Paradoxicaly, Holocaust deniers choose to be precise in their lie:
the falsified what Broszat had really written, but not about his "Old
Now, obviously Christopher Hitchens has been subjected to these lies.
Obviously he believesd them and he believes what he wrote (see my
second article on that subject:
http://www.phdn.org/hnet.php?gk20010530). But he also got it wrong
(which might also just be what Holocaust deniers want!). He made a
more general statement then the usual deniers' form: "no gas chamber
in the Old Reich". Hitchens went further. He wrote "on the German
soil". Of course he didn't do it on purpose. He must not have even
thought about it. "Old Reich", "German Soil", all those must have
appeared the same to him. He is no historian and no geographer. And
he wouldn't do his homework.
Hitchens must not have realised that, within a second world war
context, within a Third Reich context, "German soil" might mean
"Great Reich" and include Auschwitz. Or Mauthausen. I am convinced
that he did not want to deny the Auschwitz gas chambers or the fact
that Auschwitz was (also) an extermination camp. Maybe Alan Jacob was a little bit too
harsh on him. Hitchens is not a Holocaus denier.
It remains that stating, a he did, that there was no gas chamber on
the German soil is completely false and *does* come from Holocaust
denier's propaganda and lies. Even stating that there was no gas
chamber in Dachau is wrong. It remains that Christopher Hitchens has made his well known
Holocaust deniers' lies.
It remains that Hitchens has made his the abject Faurissonian "logic"
when he writes that, because of the points (which are false) he made,
"much 'eyewitness' testimony is wrong".
As I wrote before, the relevant questions are: why? And: what does
that teach us about Holcoaus denial, the way to treat it, the way
some journalists treat it?
P.S: The original Broszat article can be found here (german page):
The following pages are in french and belong to a (french) web site
against Holocaust denial for which I am responsible.
An analysis of Broszat's article and examples of deniers's lies about
it can be found here (in french):
An analysis of Rassinier's lies about Broszat's article can be found
An analysis of Faurisson repeating 19 times the lie about the Broszat
article can be found here (in french):
Faurisson's "logic" about witnesses (deduced from his lie about
Broszat's article) can be found here (in french):
8/ Keren, dit le docteur approuve. Zinzin se veut une sorte de clone de Keren qui
harcï¿½le tous les forums amï¿½ricains.
Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 15:51:44 -0500
From: Daniel Keren <email@example.com>
I wish to say that I totally agree with Mr. Karmasyn's critique
of Hitchens' article. While the three points addressed by Mr.
Karmasyn may appear minor, they are not; they are, as he correctly
pointed out, three very common lies disseminated by Holocaust-deniers.
That Hitchens didn't even bother to check before writing such
nonsense is indeed scandalous, and it reflects rather poorly on
his research skills and reliability.
Dr. Daniel Keren.
9/ Niall se rebiffe
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 14:40:36 -0500
From: Niall McNamara <firstname.lastname@example.org>
<<Would it surprise you to know that:
1) there were no gas chambers or extermination camps on
German soil, in other words, at Belsen or Dachau or
Mr. Jacob's makes the quote appear to deny Auschwitz by the observation:
"Oh yes I am quite surprised to know that the gas chambers I photographed in
> Dachau, Mauthausen Auschwitz, and Birkenau are not there."
I think Mr. Jacobs is a little hard on Hitchen's. I don't see how the
reality of Auschwitz is denied by the quote above. The confusion about
concentration camps in what was pre-1938 Germany and the post-1938 "Greater
Germany" does not deny the construction and use of the Auschwitz death-camp.
If Mr. Jacob's dislikes Mr. Hitchen's views on US foreign policy and by
extension the Palestine question, Vietnam etc. then that his private view.
It does not bear directly on Hitchen's LA review of Guttenplan's book.
10/ Mazal, vieux mï¿½daillï¿½ des campagnes anti-rï¿½visionnistes, vend son bif:
>Oh yes I am quite surprised to know that the gas chambers I photographed in
>Dachau, Mauthausen Auschwitz, and Birkenau are not there.
[deleted for brevity]
I call the attention of this list to the article entitled "The Dachau Gas
on our web site:
wherein we distinguish between the four small delousing chambers
and the larger homicidal chamber attached to the new crematorium.
I particularly call attention to Rascher's letter to Himmler [FN28]
and Captain S. Payne Best's comments in his book _The Venlo
Incident._ [FN29] Both are included in my article. There are
simply too many coincidences to ignore.
Harry W. Mazal OBE
11/ Niall se rï¿½veille
Date: Thu, 31 May 2001 14:57:23 -0500
From: Niall McNamara <email@example.com>
Dear Mr. Karmasyn,
I wish to post a brief and incomplete reply to Mr. Gilles Karmasyn's recent posting. A
fuller reply is forthcoming. I appreciate the seriousness with which Mr. Karmasyn's views
Mr. Hictchens' review and therefore it deserves structured and referenced reply.
1. To the general public and non-experts of the Holocaust - and I am a
member of both classes - the terms "gas chambers" and "extermination
camps" are invariably and, somewhat erroneously, associated together. Furthermore,
they are linked geographically to areas in Eastern Europe and Poland: additionally, they
are inextricably identified as extermination camps where Jews where murdered on a mass
scale by Nazis and their collabators, with the intent that their deeds would not biome
known. In regard to the mass shootings of Jews, such acts of barbarity were committed in
Russia and less
so in Poland, as these were very easterly districts. This may be due to our schooling
rather than any laziness or neglect conscious or otherwise.
2. It is not an attempt to distance Germany from being a land where
concentration camps were located and murder committed. My opinion is that that Mr.
Christopher Hitchen, whom I do not know nor have I met, though I do read his books and
watch him on TV, may be of a similar mind.
3. It is not intentional. The significant revision downward of the number of Jews murdered
at Auschwitz from 4 million to ca. 1 million persons was surprising for we had always been
taught the former figure at school. As a non-expert I am seeking to improve my knowledge
about the Holocaust. I have read Irving's books, I am a librarian and I can get them
easily; also, I believe in free speech and I would not support the banning of his books,
no more than I would allow Karl Marx's manifesto to be banned or the reports of Amnesty
International, or books critical of Chinese domestic policy, or
books condemned by Pope John Paul II.
4. I have written to Mr Irving in 1999 on the Holocaust explaining to him why I think that
at least 3-4 million Jews were murdered under the Nazi genocidal policy. The famous
Professor Dr. Raul Hilberg conceded that there is no extant order signed by Hitler
ordering the murder of the Jews. But I do believe Hitler may well have allowed it (is that
irrational?) and is fully and morally responsibility for the ill-fate of European Jewry
under Nazi controlled Europe. Hitchen's I believe would accept the same thesis. So, I am
glad you accept he is not a Holocaust denier. You must remember, we are all not experts
but we are trying to master a very complex topical subject or perhaps, in Hitchen's case,
probably meeting a deadline (this latter point is purely speculation on my part).
4. The other points of my email on the Hitchen's article which you helpfully gave me links
to I will read in order to do justice to a reply to you; namely,
3) the "confession" of camp commandant Rudolf Hoess, of Auschwitz, was extracted
by force and contains his claim to have killed more Jews than was "humanly"
(Recall how years later the 4 million reduced to ca 1 million).
4) That Hitchen's is not a Holocaust denier.
5). That Hitchens is not intellectually lazy inter alia.
I will try to document my sources as you wish: namely, the use of physical and
psychological torture or even the threat of it, if any evidence exists, against Nazi's to
force them to admit to historical facts that are now problematic. What is not now in doubt
is the homicidal policy folowed against European Jews. On that we all agree though
location and extent may divide us. But we are here to share views and learn. Perhaps
semantics may bloack us but we can work and overcome them.
12/ Le censeur intervient.
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 09:27:40 -0500
From: Gabriel Schoenfeld <GabrielSchoenfeld@commentarymagazine.com>
The LA Times review by Christopher Hitchens that Stephen Esrati calls "very
fine" is indeed shocking, but not entirely surprising. Back in 1999, the generally
reliable investigative reporter Edward Jay Epstein reported that Hitchens had flirted with
Holocaust denial in his presence. Epstein's account was not widely accepted in the face of
Hitchens' denial at the time that he was or had ever been a denier. But in light of
Hitchens' latest writing, Epstein's account, which appeared in several newspapers, is
What follows is a brief excerpt from the the February 22, 1999 Guardian (London).
<In 1995, the writer Edward J Epstein told a number of media organisations last week,
he and Hitchens had dinner after the New Yorker's 70th anniversary party. At the dinner,
according to Epstein, Hitchens told him that there was no evidence of the existence of
Holocaust death camps and that he was sceptical about claims that the Nazis killed six
million Jews. Epstein said that Hitchens's remarks were so disturbing that he noted them
in his diary that night.>
Senior Editor, Commentary, 165 E. 56th Street, New York, NY 10022, tel: 212 751 4000 x232,
fax: 212 751-1174
13/ Zinzin estoque et veut les oreilles et la quueue
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 13:05:55 -0500
From: Gilles Karmasyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
I must apologize in advance for what will be a long answer about a
point that I consider as having been already made: Hitchens served
Holocaust deniers' lies. But the way Mr. McNamara treats my articles
(which he never cites from) leads me to do so.
A proper understanding would need a reading of my three previous
articles on that subject. They can be accessed using the followin
URLs (subsequently refered to as "my first article", "my second
article" and "my third article"):
I must insist on the fact that the reader won't learn anything new
about Hitchens or the lies he served, however "unwillingly", in the
following exercise. What will be at stakes is what *I* wrote and the
Way Mr. McNamara does not adress it. Maybe not that much
interresting. But *necessary* for future reference and example...
Niall McNamara <email@example.com> wrote:
About the fact that Hitchens stated that there was no gas chamber on
the German Soil, which is a lie....
> 1. To the general public and non-experts of the Holocaust - and I
> am a member of both classes - the terms "gas chambers" and
> "extermination camps" are invariably and, somewhat erroneously,
> associated together. Furthermore, they are linked geographically
> to areas in Eastern Europe and Poland: additionally, they are
> inextricably identified as extermination camps where Jews where
> murdered on a mass scale by Nazis and their collabators, with the
> intent that their deeds would not biome known.
That may be so. *But*:
1) Christopher Hicthens, as I wrote previously is not talking about
"general public" knowledge, but about knowledge by "historians and
experts on that subject" (his own words). Arguing that "general
public" knowledge is confused does not excuse Hitchens as stating
false facts taken from Holocaust deniers' lies.
You have not aknowledged that what Hitchens wrote *is* false and *is*
taken from Holocaust deniers lies. You have not aknowledged that
Hitchens states falsely that these lies are endorsed by "historians
I would appreciate to get answers to what I really wrote. Or no
answer at all, which might be more appropriate in some case.
2) Christopher Hitchens makes it clear that what he is talking about
is also gas chambers in *concentration camps*, since he does cite
Belsen and Buchenwald as not beeing equiped with gas chambers (for
which he is right) and also Dachau where he wrongly states that there
was no gas chambers. Very clearly, Hitchens' subject is *also*, at
least, concentration camps on the "German soil". Very clearly,
Hitchens is wrong about that subject (see my secon article). Very
clearly he got that lie from Holocaust deniers' rhetoric.
> In regard to the
> mass shootings of Jews, such acts of barbarity were committed in
> Russia and less so in Poland, as these were very easterly
> districts. This may be due to our schooling rather than any
> laziness or neglect conscious or otherwise.
The subject of mobile killing operations was not even alluded at.
What about answering *me*?
> 2. It is not an attempt to distance Germany from being a land
> where concentration camps were located and murder committed.
I don't think I ever wrote anything like that. I was never looking
for Mr Hitchens' motivations. I stated *facts* that you have been
unable to adress.
> opinion is that that Mr. Christopher Hitchen, whom I do not know
> nor have I met, though I do read his books and watch him on TV,
> may be of a similar mind.
What mind? A "general public" mind not beeing able to dsitinguish
concentration camps' gas chambers from extermination camps gas
On the contrary, everything shows that Mr Hitchens does not place
himself on a "general public" state of mind, but is posing as
revealing "expert" knowledge *to* the ("surprised") general public.
Everything shows that he does adress the question of concentration
I must remind the reader that the context is not a general discussion
about some knowledge of the Holocaust. No. We are discussing one
point that Hitchens presented, very unduly, as beeing true, and
incidentally more truthfully, as beeing "the best case that the
revisionists can make" -- unwillingly, Hitchens may have stated that
"the best case that the revisionists can make" are still lies! We are
discussing that in the context of the Irving-Lipstadt trial where
Irving was proved to be what he is: a Holocaust denier and a
falsifier of sources and history. The context in which we are
discussing is the very question of historical rigour, the matter of
elaborating an honest, truthful, and as precise as possible,
In *that* context, there was no room for approximation. The more so
that Hitchens pretended to reveal things to its readers, things that
might surprise them... No, Hitchens does not have the excuse of
beeing on the side of the "general public", beacuse he was not,
because he posed to be on the side of the "historians and expert".
Hitchens was no candid. Hitchens was writing for a wide audience. He
has responsability. He has the responsability of beeing accurate, the
more so when the subject is a man -- Irving -- who is willingly
misleading its readers, who was willingly inaccurate.
Incidentally we are also at the heart of the viciousness of Holocaust
denial: it poses as beeing serious, when it is treachery. It pretends
to reveal things to a general public, when it *uses* the "general
public" misconceptions to promote lies.
One more thing: having read Hitchens' books and having watched him on
TV should prevent you from writing that "you don't know him". You
sure have a stronger opinion about him than I could have, since *I*
never read anything from him or about him prior to the article
> 3. It is not intentional.
Well, before stating that "it is not intentional", It would be better
to state *what* is not intentional. So far you did not aknowledge
that what Hitchens wrote were lies and manipulations, usualy found
within Holocaust deniers' litterature.
> The significant revision downward of
> the number of Jews murdered at Auschwitz from 4 million to ca. 1
> million persons was surprising for we had always been taught the
> former figure at school.
Well, well, well!
How is it that *you* now serve a watered down form of a lie promoted by Holocaust deniers?
There was *no* such thing as a "significant revision downward of the
number of Jews murdered at Auschwitz from 4 million to ca. 1
million". What I mean is that Holocaust deniers pretend that there
was one but they try to confuse the fact that the Auschwitz polish
adiministration aknowledged, in 1991, the western historiographical
Western (non-communist) historians have been evaluating the Auschwitz
death toll between 1 and 2 millions for many years (some a little bit
higher, but the least specialized the historian, the higher his
number), from whom 90% were jewish. Let me cite 3 major works:
Poliakov placed in 1951 hte number at 2 millions. Reitlinger in 1953
at between 800 000 and 900 000, and Hilberg since 1961 at 1 million.
The communists have been repeating since 1945 that 4 millions
"persons" died at Auschwitz, willingly concelling the jewish aspect
of the mass murder commited at Auschwitz. Western historians who
wrote about Auschwitz almost never bought that number. Incidentally I was able o determine
that in the communist litterature about
Auschwitz, the majority of the "4 millions" was *not* jewish.
Suggesting the contrary and confusing real historical knowledge with
communist propaganda has been a Holocaust denier lie for such a long time, that it is
known as the "Auschwitz Gambit". Nizkor has a web page about it:
This subject was one of the *first* pages on PHDN (the web site in
frehcn, against Holocaust denial, for which I am responsible), in
The Auschwitz death toll is discussed (in french) there:
(Read those pages if you want to understand why Holocaust deniers
confuse communist propaganda with serious historiography)
So stating that there was a "significant revision downward of the
number of Jews murdered at Auschwitz from 4 million to ca. 1 million"
is a form a an very common Holocaust lie.
A *very* bad point in order to defend Hitchens from having served
Holocaust deniers' lies and manipulations.
You seem to have been subjected to Holocaust denial propaganda and
been unabel to detect it.
> As a non-expert I am seeking to improve
> my knowledge about the Holocaust. I have read Irving's books, I
> am a librarian and I can get them easily;
Trying to improve ones knowledge about the Holocaust reading Irving's
books would be close to trying to improve ones knowledge about
Evolution Theory reading creationist litterature.
> also, I believe in free
> speech and I would not support the banning of his books, no more
> than I would allow Karl Marx's manifesto to be banned or the
> reports of Amnesty International, or books critical of Chinese
> domestic policy, or books condemned by Pope John Paul II.
So far we have the demonstration that the free circulation of
Holocaust deniers litterature made Hitchens and you buy their lies.
Not a strong point.
> 4. I have written to Mr Irving in 1999 on the Holocaust
> explaining to him why I think that at least 3-4 million Jews were
> murdered under the Nazi genocidal policy.
Oh? Really? "at least 3-4 million Jews". Well, you see, the
overwelming majority of all the historians of genocide do place the
total death toll 2 millions higher than you do: between 5 and 6
How is it that you diminish the average usual estimates by 2 millions?
> The famous Professor
> Dr. Raul Hilberg conceded that there is no extant order signed by
> Hitler ordering the murder of the Jews.
Did you know that Holocaust deniers keep coming again and again to
the fact that no written order was ever found? Funnny, no?
Well, there is no written order for the "Night of the long knives"
either. So what? All Hitler's biographers have shown that he had an
oral way of ruling. And Henry Friedlander has convincingly showed
that the "bad" precedent of the written order for "Operation T.4"
might very well have prevented Hitler from writing anything about the murder of the Jews.
And Hitler was kept informed with the
Einsatzgruppen "performances". And many documents, speeches, ans also
testimonies allude more or less directly to a "Fuhrer order". So
what? And Goebbels wrote in his journal that Hitler told him that
"modern peoples have no other solution than to exterminate the Jews"
(may 13th, 1943)
What is the link with Hitchens' scandalous three points?
As for Raul Hilberg "concede" anything (which is just, by pure
conincidence, the vocabulary used by Holocaust deniers), I would
prefer to state that Raul Hilberg has refined his knowledge...
> But I do believe Hitler may well have allowed it
"allowed it"? Hitler didn't "allow it". He made it an option,
ideologically and politically, and made it a more or less spoken wish
towards which any lucid Nazi, in position to to so, would have to
work (See Ian Kershaw's works).
> (is that irrational?)
What would be irrational would be to think that Hitler was not a
force behind the Holocaust. That does not mean the only force, but a
> and is fully and
> morally responsibility for the ill-fate of European Jewry under
> Nazi controlled Europe.
A question that is out of the scope of Hitchens serving Holocaust
deniers' lies and manipulations, which you sill did not aknowledge.
> Hitchen's I believe would accept the same
That is not the subject.
> So, I am glad you accept he is not a Holocaust denier.
To my knowledge.
> You must remember, we are all not experts but we are trying to
> master a very complex topical subject or perhaps, in Hitchen's
> case, probably meeting a deadline (this latter point is purely
> speculation on my part).
Oh my! Hitchens was under pressure to get his paper out so he served
three Holocaust deniers lies and manipulations and resorted to
Faurisson's abject rhetoric against eyewitnesses (see my second and
That *is* really bad luck!
Anything to get Hitchens out this mess?
> 4. The other points of my email on the Hitchen's article which
> you helpfully gave me links to I will read in order to do justice
> to a reply to you; namely,
Where is the lie about the "soap story"? Won't you aknowledge the
fact that suggesting that "historians and experts" had ever bought
the "soap story" was very wrong?
> 3) the "confession" of camp commandant Rudolf Hoess, of
> Auschwitz, was extracted by force and contains his claim to have
> killed more Jews than was "humanly" possible?
I already answered that. I will cite what I already wrote:
I am sorry to state that this is not true. Hoess was
beaten during his arrest. Because he refused to admit
he was Hoess, not to extract from him "confessions" as
Christopher Hitchens writes, in a way that could
confuse whatever "confessions" he is writing about with
the autobiography written by Hoess while in custody,
and which was in no way extracted from him by any form
of pressure. Hoess testified in Nuremberg as a witness
for the defense (called by Kaltenbrunner's lawyer!).
Hoess was *not* tortured into confessing the mass
murder of Jews in Auschwitz, as stated by Hitchens, as
Holocaust deniers claim.
> (Recall how years later the 4 million reduced to ca 1 million).
Recall how this is a Holocaust deniers' mispresentation!
> 4) That Hitchen's is not a Holocaust denier.
To my knowledge.
> 5). That Hitchens is not intellectually lazy inter alia.
Yes he *is*.
> I will try to document my sources as you wish: namely, the use of
> physical and psychological torture or even the threat of it, if
> any evidence exists, against Nazi's to force them to admit to
> historical facts that are now problematic.
But that is *not* what I asked! What I wrote (my second article) was:
I would be very interrested in knowing which Nazis, was
ever tortured in a case relating to the Holocaust.
References should be provided in case of such claims,
I wrote: "in a case relating to the Holocaust". Not "historical facts
that are now problematic".
You see, the Holocaust is not a "historical fact that is now problematic".
Once again, you don't answer (or don't intend to answer) to what I wrote.
> What is not now in doubt is the homicidal policy folowed
> against European Jews.
The homicidal policy *pursued" against European Jews was *never* in doubt...
> On that we all agree though location and extent may divide us.
No. The location of it does not divide anybody that I know of. As for
the extent, it is not a matter of "division", but a matter of
precision. The order of the estimates do not differ.
What "we" agree about concerning these subjects is not what counts.
What counts is the work and results obtained by historians and
> we are here to share views and learn. Perhaps semantics may
> bloack us but we can work and overcome them.
The first step should be to read correctly what your interlocutor
writes and cite what you answer to in order to avoid going astray.
Hitchens served 3 Holocaust deniers' lies and manipulations. He made
a vicious and unjustified attack against eyewitnesses. You did not
aknowledge any of these and you served a watered down form of a
Holocaust deniers falsification.
I do not find our exchange very fruitful.
14/ Rï¿½ponse de Niall.
Date: Mon, 4 Jun 2001 10:27:35 -0500
From: Niall McNamara <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Dear Mr. Gilles Karmasyn,
> I accept your points that I digressed on some, or perhaps all, the issues you raised.
I will attempt to address your requests as best I can.
> I will deal with a set number of points in my 2 replies in order to articulate myself
as clearly as I can. I need to read up on things as I am unfamiliar with many aspects of
the questions. But I am willing to learn.
> On any issue one cannot expect 100% agreement on complex issues and the
historiography of the Holocaust illustrates such complexity. This would be true of the
orthodox school which understands the Holocaust as the > deliberate and premeditated
murder of the Jewish people and other victims of Nazi evil.
> To be fair, to say one does not know somebody whom one has never meet, is a common
statement that means one has no personal knowledge of the person other than that mediated
through their intellectual work. I read a lot of Noam Chomsky but I do not know the man
albeit I know his views on economics, politics, certain social issues etc. So it would be
fair to say I don't know him. Or I should write I do not personally know him and have no
personal motive or motivation to defend them.
> The same is true of other authors I read like Norman Finkelstein, Marc Bloch,
Heinrich Boll and others. I respect Hitchen's socialist views as I am a socialist myself.
Recently I came across several books by Primo Levi and I liked what I read. I would rather
that there is no personalization in our exchanges as I find your intellectual observations
interesting and thought provoking. I am not patronizing to you and would welcome if you
treated me without adopting patronizing and ironic(?) or sarcastic(?) asides.
> I will post this email in my initial reply on H-HOLOCAUST@H-NET.MSU.EDU to show that
I accept your view that I digressed from directly answering your questions. There was
nothing personal or insensitive about this, I did not know you required such definitive
categorical replies. Your methodology is very good in that one must reply directly to the
issues at hand (if this was put harshly at times).
To answer your question:
> Well, well, well!
> How is it that *you* now serve a watered down form of a lie promoted > by
I don't think I qualify as a Holocaust denier as I think I have made clear that the Nazi's
implemented a policy to systematically eliminate the Jewish people by the use of poisin
gas in gas chambers. There is no doubt that extermination camps existed.
In relation to Auschwitz and the 4 million who died there I admit to not knowing what it
is you are asking of me. But my non-expert understanding is:
The number of people murdered at Auschwitz is "...[A]ccording to the Polish historian
Francizek Piper, at least 1.1 million people had been murdered in Auschwitz, of whom 90
percent were Jews." This source is available online at:
_1945_5.html. In "Nazi mass murder : a documentary history of the use of poison
gas" edited by Eugen Kogan ...[et al], (Yale : 1993) -originally published in German
1983 - the (then) most recent figure cited for the least number of victims is given at
1.33 million and Georges Wellers is credited with the scholarship for studies leading to
that conclusion (Kogon : 1993:173).
> There was *no* such thing as a "significant revision downward of the
> number of Jews murdered at Auschwitz from 4 million to ca. 1
> million". What I mean is that Holocaust deniers pretend that there
> was one but they try to confuse the fact that the Auschwitz polish
> administration acknowledged, in 1991, the western historiographical estimations.
In relation to the figure of 4 million victims this would revise the number downward by
2.67 million. Therefore, 1.33 would be 0.33% of the figure first given. In any person's
language this is a significant reduction based as you said on Western scholarship
methodology. The Holocaust debate has become somewhat "Americanized" whereas you
prefer the communist approach.
That is a question of methodology. And thus source material. You have your preferences for
Richard R. Evans has written: "And of course it is not Holocaust denial to point out,
as has been known at least since the post-war publication of the memoirs of Rudolf Hss,
the Commandant of Auschwitz, that the best estimate for the number of victims of gassing
there was slightly in excess of one million, not the four million that has sometimes been
On Auschwitz's place within "Greater Germany" the original name was in Polish as
it was part of Poland. Its annexation to "Greater Germany" was illegal. It was
always Polish. Neither of Mr. Jacob or us would argue about the violation if international
law by such an annexation. There was no referendum for the Poles to vote to give the
region to Hitler.
About the fact that Hitchen's stated that there was no gas chamber on
> the German Soil, which is a lie....
If this refers to Auschwitz see above; but if it's Dachau on German soil, see below.
Dachau's place in the history of concentration camps.
"Dachau was not planned as an extermination camp; its prisoners were shot trying to
escape or died of hunger, disease, and exhaustion, under torture or as victims of
pseudoscientific experiments. Source: Encyclopedia of the Third Reich (New York:
Eugon Kogon states (Cambridge : 1993), it is stated that: "It has not yet
been conclusively proved that killing by poison gas took place at Dachau."
However, it then states some accounts to indicate how gas may have been used. But visitors
are alerted to the fact that it "has not been proved that the gas chamber on site was
ever used". (Kogon : 1993:204). Does that answer your question on gas chambers within
I will address the other points very shortly.
15/ Zinzin lï¿½che pas le bout.
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2001 09:36:32 -0500
From: Gilles Karmasyn <email@example.com>
Mr. McNamara wrote:
> As I am the non-expert and the general public referred to, may I
> perhaps explain my argument?
> In "Nazi mass murder : a documentary use of poison gas" edited by
> Eugen Kogon et al, (Yale : 1993) under the heading in appendix 8
> entitled, "Map showing "Euthanasia" facilities, concentration
> camps, and extermination camps" , there are no extermination
> camps identified within the Germany which pre-dated the "Greater
> Germany". In a posting to Mr. Gilles Karmasyn I explain a little
> further about this.
In that article you confused collective representation and
historiography. You defense of Hitchens lie did not conform to where
Hitchens explicitly placed himself: on the side of "historians and
experts". See my answer: http://www.phdn.org/hnet.php?gk20010602
Stating that there was no extermination camp (no killing center) in
the Old Reich is true. Stating that there was no gas chambers in
Germany is a lie that Hitchens has burrowed from Holocaust deniers.
> On the issue of the 4 million and western
> historiography I cited what Professor Evans (who defended
> Professor Lipstadt) said about the 4 million.
No serious historian ever bought the communist figure of 4 millions.
This has been already explained. See other articles in the same
> Discussions on the
> site illustrate how hard it still is to get exact figures for the
> number of people who entered Palestine before immigration to that
> area was stopped after war broke out. One can image the
> difficulty in establishing other data especially where it was
> intentionally concealed.
But concerning Auschwitz, the scale and nature of the murder in
Auschwitz (between 1 and 2 millions, from whom 90% were jewish, *not*
4 millions with a non jewish majority) has been known for decades!
> But I would not get too bogged down with
> the "Germany" and "Greater Germany" issue: don't retrospectively
> legitimise Hitler's annexation of parts of Poland to his Germany.
About that beeing outside the scope of Hitchens having burrowed from
Holocaust deniers propaganda, see
> If only I Jew had died under Nazi Germany than that is still one
> soul too many.
That makes about 6 millions souls too many.
> On euthanasia and its evil fall-out yes the very
> ill and mentally ill population of Germany were murdered within
> the old Germany without any question.
In gas chambers that were located in Germany. Hitchens has burrowed a
lie commonly made by Holocaust deniers.
> One should examine the evidence as impartially as possible.
What evidence are you talking about?
16/ Zinzin fait la manche:
Comment aider PHDN ?
Et lutter ainsi contre le nï¿½gationnisme...
La premiï¿½re faï¿½on de lutter contre le nï¿½gationnisme est de connaï¿½tre l'histoire. Lisez
les ouvrages des historiens tant sur le nazisme que
sur le gï¿½nocide. Lisez ï¿½galement des ouvrages sur le nï¿½gationnisme pour en comprendre
les mï¿½canismes. De cette faï¿½on, vous saurez
vous protï¿½ger, ainsi que vos proches, des falsifications nï¿½gationnistes
Vous pouvez ï¿½galement aider PHDN.
Dans le cadre de ce projet nous nous sommes fixï¿½s comme moyen de lutte la connaissance,
aussi poussï¿½e que possible, tant de l'histoire
du gï¿½nocide que du fonctionnement du discours nï¿½gationniste et des origines et buts
idï¿½ologiques de ses sectataires. Nous nous
efforï¿½ons d'extraire de cette connaissance, tirï¿½e de la pratique de l'histoire et des
travaux des historiens, les ï¿½lï¿½ments qui permettent de
prï¿½senter l'histoire du gï¿½nocide et de dï¿½monter les falsifications nï¿½gationnistes de
faï¿½on pertinente et efficace. Le site PHDN est le
rï¿½sultat de cette dï¿½marche.
Notre principal outil de travail, ce sont les livres. Ces livres, nous les achetons,
depuis de nombreuses annï¿½es, sur nos fonds
personnels, et nous les lisons. Nous disposons aujourd'hui d'une bibliothï¿½que de
plusieurs centaines d'ouvrages sur la Shoah,
l'antisï¿½mitisme et le nï¿½gationnisme. Ce sont les ouvrages en anglais et en allemand qui
nous font le plus dï¿½faut. Aussi avons nous
constituï¿½ deux listes d'ouvrages (une en anglais, et une en allemand) sur ces sujets, sur
le site web du libraire on line Amazon. Tout un
chacun peut choisir des ouvrages dans ces listes et nous les faire parvenir en les
rï¿½glant sur le site web d'Amazon. Prï¿½cisons que nous ne
tirons aucun avantage ni bï¿½nï¿½fice financier des achats effectuï¿½s sur Amazon. Nous en
sommes simplement nous-mï¿½me clients depuis
plus de quatre ans.
Bref, pour nous aider ï¿½ lutter contre le nï¿½gationnisme,
ENVOYEZ NOUS DES LIVRES (en anglais)
ENVOYEZ NOUS DES LIVRES (en allemand)
Responsable de PHDN
Il oublie de dire qu'il est censï¿½ travailler ï¿½ la BN, oï¿½ l'on trouve quelques livres...
17/ Niall a aussi quelques activitï¿½s marginales:
Documents on the Fight to Preserve the Right to Free Speech
Niall McNamara Lodges a Formal Complaint with the Charities
Commission about the Wiener Library Ltd
Charitable Institutes and their obligations to the public
Sun, 19 Mar 2000
From: Niall Mcnamara
Re.: Rights of Researchers to Consult Historical Archives At Wiener Library
The Charity Commission for England and Wales,
8-16 Great New Street
New Street Square
London EC4A 3EU.
I am writing to you in relation to the charitable status of bodies that are incorporated
as non-profit making organizations within the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and their obligations as by law established.
In the recent high court action taken by Mr. Irving against Professor Lipstadt and Penguin
alleged defamation, it appears some archival source material held by the Wiener Library of
the Institute of
Contemporary History, which was required by Mr. Irving (whom I do not know nor have I ever
was denied to him. Apparently, this material was required for a lawsuit. The Wiener
access to Mr. Irving because of some remarks they say Mr. Irving made against some
of the Institute. In essence, the Institute, a charitable body, funded by tax-free gifts
and public monies,
proceeded to deny Mr. Irving access to the diary of a Doctor Kremer, which was a document
contemporaneous to a period of time (c.1943?) required by Mr. Irving for his law case. It
identified that this diary was made readily available to lawyers for Dr Lipstadt and
I think a charitable public body, enriched by its public charitable status and public
monies has an
obligation, in fact a duty, to make important historical material available to everyone,
regardless of how
any individual may have inappropriately expressed themselves in relation to personnel of
This is more so the case when an individual requires such material for a legal case. This
apply to everyone in such a predicament; it is not an issue that relates solely to the
episode concerning Mr.
Irving. Should a precedent be set about whom may, and whom may not access material, one
could have a
form of censorship or the deliberate withholding of information to anyone who needs to
in the large and valuable collection held by your Institute's library. This would be most
authoritarian. It would also pose serious legal implications.
I would welcome your observations about this matter. A public archive has duties to
perform, and the
issue is not whether an institute likes the researches who use such archival material or
not, it is about
meeting the rights of researchers who need to consult the material held by a
(quasi)-public body. As the
Charitable Commission are responsible for the evaluation of what bodies qualify for
tax-exceptions and public subsidies, I feel it is your duty is to ensure that all bona
fide researchers have
access to the archives at the Wiener library, regardless of the personal feelings some
members of the IHR
and Wiener Library hold about the individual/s concerned.
It is about openness, accountability and fairness to all academics and researchers who
need access to
material held in trust for the people. I believe the International Federation of Library
requires that all peoples, no matter what their political opinions are, alleged or
otherwise, have access to
all libraries, public and specialist. Given the Wiener's Library's high esteem in the eyes
of many, it would
be a great pity if it were to appear that it fails to uphold the standards of the
International Federation of
Library Associations (IFLA).
I look forward to a reply from you to my letter in the near future.
Niall McNamara M.A. (Dubl., NUI), D.L.I.S. (NUI).
(ï¿½ Focal Point David Irving 2001)
18/ Zinzin n'a pas le temps de livre les livres de la Bn parce qu'il doit intervenir
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 08:54:57 +0200
Subject: [medito3] pas de dï¿½bats avec les interlocuteurs de mauvaise foi ou les
L'historien Gilles Karmasyn nous fait l'honneur d'ï¿½crire plusieurs pages dans le prochain
numï¿½ro de medito dans le contexte du nï¿½gationnisme /rï¿½visionnisme :
Ces sujets touchent aussi la libertï¿½ d'expression.
Faisant suite au plaidoyer pour la loi Gayssot "Peut-on lire les ï¿½crits
contestant les crimes contre l'humanitï¿½ ?", Gilles Karmasyn nous donne sonopinion
sur les limites du dï¿½bat.
(voir aussi : Pour la loi Gayssot par G Karmasyn)
(voir aussi : des avis contre la loi Gayssot de Jorge Semprun, Madeleine
Rebï¿½rioux (ligue de droit de l'homme), Jacques Toubon, Alain Griotteray, Pierre
Vidal-Naquet) http://www.medito.com/hi0706k.htm (provisoire)
GK: Vous me permettrez une petite digression sur cette notion de " dï¿½bat " :
Un dï¿½bat ne peut avoir lieu qu'entre personnes honnï¿½tes qui utilisent *la
mï¿½me* mï¿½thodologie pour ï¿½tablir la vï¿½ritï¿½. On ne saurait avoir le moindre
ï¿½change avec des individus qui cultivent systï¿½matiquement la mauvaise foi,
comme les nï¿½gationnistes. N'importe qui de sensï¿½ a pleinement conscience
qu'aucun dï¿½bat n'est possible avec un interlocuteur de mauvaise foi.
De plus, l'histoire ne se fait pas dans des " dï¿½bats publics " (qui est la
forme de discussion toujours revendiquï¿½e par les nï¿½gationnistes)
Qu'il me suffise ici de citer le palï¿½ontologue Stephen Jay Gould qui a
entrepris, lui de contrer les "crï¿½ationnistes", ces illuminï¿½s qui prï¿½tendent
que la terre a ï¿½tï¿½ crï¿½ï¿½e il y a 7000 ans.
" Le dï¿½bat est une forme d'art. Il s'agit de sortir victorieux de la
confrontation. Il ne s'agit pas de dï¿½couvrir la vï¿½ritï¿½. Le dï¿½bat relï¿½ve d'un
certain nombre de rï¿½gles et de procï¿½dï¿½s qui n'ont absolument rien ï¿½ voir
avec l'ï¿½tablissement des faits [...] Ils [les crï¿½ationnistes] sont trï¿½s bons
ï¿½ ce jeu lï¿½. Je ne pense pas que je pourrais avoir le dessus dans un dï¿½bat
contre les crï¿½ationnistes "
(Confï¿½rence donnï¿½e ï¿½ Caltech en 1985, citï¿½ par Michael Shermer, Why People Believe
Weird Things, W. H. Freeman and Company, New York, 1997, p. 153)
La rï¿½clamation par les nï¿½gationnistes et leurs sympathisants d'un " dï¿½bat
public " montre une seule chose: seule une tribune pour leur propagande les
Je rappellerai en outre que les Protocoles des Sages de Sion furent en leur temps
amplement " dï¿½battus " et leur caractï¿½re antisï¿½mite et faux
parfaitement dï¿½montrï¿½. Pourtant ils ne cessï¿½rent pas d'ï¿½tre ï¿½ditï¿½s et de faire des
dï¿½gats considï¿½rables. Il aurait fallu les interdire tout
La rï¿½alitï¿½ de l'extermination des Juifs n'est *pas* la conclusion des
travaux des historiens, mais l'ï¿½vï¿½nement sur lequel ils travaillent, le
point de dï¿½part de ce travail, leur matï¿½riau. Les historiens ï¿½tablissent
comment, pourquoi, dans quel contexte cet ï¿½vï¿½nement a eu lieu et permettent de mieux le
connaï¿½tre et le comprendre. Ils ne dï¿½cident *pas* s'il a eu lieu ou non. La rï¿½alitï¿½
des faits existe en dehors du travail des historiens. Le discours nï¿½gationniste ne
constitue pas l'expression d'une " opinion " mais relï¿½ve d'une propagande
Le fait de parler d'" opinion " ï¿½ propos du nï¿½gationnisme semble suggï¿½rer
(plus ou moins consciemment) que nous serions en prï¿½sence d'une " thï¿½se "
comme un autre, d'une " autre version " de l'histoire. Ce n'est absolument pas
le cas pour les deux raisons dï¿½jï¿½ ï¿½voquï¿½es: 1) le gï¿½nocide est un fait. 2) Par sa
*mï¿½thodologie*, le discours nï¿½gationniste ne relï¿½ve absolument pas d'un discours
historien et ne peut prï¿½tendre ï¿½ se prï¿½senter comme " interlocuteur " de
bonne foi. Il trahit toutes les rï¿½gles de production de la connaissance historique. Il
pratique l'hypercritique, le mensonge, la falsification, la citation hors contexte.
Hors il faut bien reconnaï¿½tre: un mensonge nï¿½gationniste, s'il s'ï¿½nonce en une phrase,
en nï¿½cessite 40 pour la dï¿½monstration du mensonge. Vous en trouverez un exemple
Je prendrai un exemple auquel je crois vous serez sensible. Imaginez qu'une secte
d'allumï¿½s dï¿½cide de promouvoir la double " thï¿½se " suivante: le sida n'est
pas du ï¿½ un virus et le prï¿½servatif n'est pas une protection efficace contre le sida,
qui en fin de compte n'est pas une maladie sexuellement transmissible. Autrement dit: le
prï¿½servatif est inutile. Imaginez que le tout soit servi par un rhï¿½torique
pseudo-scientifique qui apparaisse crï¿½dible aux yeux du profane.
Tant que ces imbï¿½ciles ne rï¿½pandent pas leur discours, pas de problï¿½me
n'est-ce pas? Mais le jour oï¿½ Le Monde fait sa premiï¿½re page sur le sujet, ainsi que le
Parisien, qu'une revue prï¿½tendument mï¿½dicale est distribuï¿½e par les NMPP, que des
tracts sont distribuï¿½s dans les lycï¿½es, la situation est-elle toujours la mï¿½me?
Pensez-vous *vraiment* qu'il ne soit pas temps de lï¿½gifï¿½rer?
Gilles Karmasyn Responsable de PHDN:
* Webzine de rï¿½flexion mï¿½dicale : http://www.medito.com
18/ La potion est amï¿½re.
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 13:57:26 +0100 (BST)
medito : j'ai du mal ï¿½ vous suivre dans votre dï¿½fense
de la loi Gayssot
comprends le bon sentiment qui semble l'animer...)
Gilles Karmasyn : L'objet de cette page est moins
d'exprimer mon sentiment ï¿½ l'ï¿½gard de cette loi que
d'en fournir la lettre et des exemples
d'interprï¿½tation par des politologues et des juristes
et de couper court aux mensonges que les
nï¿½gationnistes profï¿½rent ï¿½ son sujet.
Il reste que je suis, ï¿½videmment, favorable ï¿½
l'existence d'une telle lï¿½gislation.
medito : je comprends le bon sentiment qui semble
l'animer, mais suis plutï¿½t rï¿½ticent en raison du
risque d'avoir une "histoire" officielle dictï¿½e par la
loi - rï¿½ticent comme Semprun, Weill et bien d'autres.
Gilles Karmasyn : Je suis tout ï¿½ fait d'accord sur le
fait que la loi Gayssot puisse faire question.
Plusieurs annï¿½es de confrontation avec des personnes
hostiles (pour de bonnes ou de mauvaises raisons) ï¿½ la
loi Gayssot, m'ont cependant amenï¿½ ï¿½ constater que la
plupart des reproches faits ï¿½ la loi Gayssot ne
rï¿½sistaient pas ï¿½ un examen minutieux.
Vous me permettrez de vous faire part ici de ces
rï¿½flexions, dont la plupart ne figurent pas (ou pas
par ma voix) sur la page que vous citez.
La loi Gayssot induit-elle le risque de l'existence
d'une " histoire officielle "? Cette question relï¿½ve
de la premiï¿½re grande catï¿½gorie de critiques contre la
loi Gayssot: elle risquerait d'ï¿½tre une sorte
d'entrave au travail de l'historien.
Combien de fois ais-je vu poser cette question? Je ne
compte plus. Jamais en tous cas je n'ai vu d'argument
accompagnant la question et sa rï¿½ponse plus ou moins
implicite. Pourtant la question a-t-elle un sens? Je
prï¿½tends que non. Il n'y a pas un domaine de
l'histoire qui fasse aujourd'hui l'objet d'une version
" officielle ", c'est-ï¿½-dire dï¿½fendue par
l'institution (mettons par l'ï¿½tat) de telle faï¿½on
qu'elle ï¿½toufferait des " thï¿½ses non-officielles ".
La loi Gayssot interdit l'expression publique du
nï¿½gationnisme, ï¿½ savoir de la nï¿½gation de la rï¿½alitï¿½
et de l'ampleur du gï¿½nocide des Juifs pendant la
Seconde Guerre mondiale. Est-ce lï¿½ participer d'une "
histoire officielle "?
Le nï¿½gationnisme n'est pas une autre " version de
l'histoire ". Il n'y *pas* plusieurs " versions " de
la rï¿½alitï¿½, en ce qui concerne le gï¿½nocide et son
ampleur. Il peut y avoir plusieurs " interprï¿½tations "
de la rï¿½alitï¿½. Mais il n'y a *pas* plusieurs rï¿½alitï¿½s
diffï¿½rentes qui constitueraient autant de " thï¿½ses ".
La loi ne contraint pas plus les historiens ï¿½
"conclure" ï¿½ l'existence du gï¿½nocide que les
astronomes ne sont contraints ï¿½ celle de la lune. La
lune existe. Point.
La loi ne fixe pas la rï¿½alitï¿½. Elle *prend acte* de la
rï¿½alitï¿½. Les anglo-saxons ont une notion proche de
cette approche: ils appellent cela " to take judicial
notice ". Cette notion juridique permet d'ï¿½viter de
discuter du fait que le Soleil se lï¿½ve l'Est et se
couche ï¿½ l'Ouest.
La loi Gayssot n'interdit nullement de revenir sur les
explications et les interprï¿½tations de la destruction
des Juifs d'Europe par les Nazis et leurs complices.
D'ailleurs la vigueur de l'historiographie des
politiques d'extermination nazies le prouve de faï¿½on
Le *fait* du gï¿½nocide relï¿½ve de la *rï¿½alitï¿½*, une
rï¿½alitï¿½ qui existe en dehors de toute interprï¿½tation
historienne. Le *fait* de l'extermination des Juifs
par les Nazis, son ampleur, ses modalitï¿½s, sont
connues et ï¿½tablies de telle sorte que leur nï¿½gation
ne relï¿½ve pas d'un discours historien, mais d'un
discours a-historique, un discours qualifiï¿½ par
Bernard Comte d'" anti-historique ", un discours tout
simplement antisï¿½mite (j'y reviendrai)
Le *fait* est advenu quelle qu'en soit *l'analyse*
Surtout: il n'y a *pas* d'historien (c'est ï¿½ dire
d'historien travaillant sur le gï¿½nocide) qui soit gï¿½nï¿½
dans son travail par l'existence de la loi Gayssot,
dans la mesure oï¿½ la loi Gayssot et l'historien
suivent un mï¿½me chemin: celui de la rï¿½alitï¿½
historique. Le gï¿½nocide est un fait. N'importe quel
historien travaille avec ce matï¿½riau factuel et donc
ne peut ï¿½tre gï¿½nï¿½ par la loi Gayssot. Les dizaines
d'ouvrages rï¿½cents de dizaines d'historiens, de toutes
nationalitï¿½s, que je possï¿½de sur le sujet, en sont la
Un historien, qui par dï¿½finition ne peut que prendre
acte de la rï¿½alitï¿½ du gï¿½nocide et de son ampleur, ne
peut pas ï¿½tre gï¿½nï¿½ par la loi Gayssot. En
l'occurrence, aucun historien travaillant sur le
gï¿½nocide des Juifs n'a ï¿½tï¿½ gï¿½nï¿½, ni ne peut ï¿½tre gï¿½nï¿½
par la loi Gayssot,
La loi Gayssot n'interdit pas de revenir sur la
connaissance du gï¿½nocide, de l'affiner, de la
rï¿½interprï¿½ter, de la rï¿½viser, mï¿½me si le fait et
l'ampleur (du gï¿½nocide) sont patents, ï¿½vidents,
ultra-documentï¿½s. La loi Gayssot ne signifie
aucunement que cette connaissance soit figï¿½e ou
absolue. D'ailleurs, une telle connaissance, absolue,
d'un ï¿½vï¿½nement est impossible quel que soit
Mais le sens commun accordï¿½ ï¿½ un ï¿½vï¿½nement permet de
dï¿½terminer ï¿½ quoi ce que le vocable de gï¿½nocide des
Juifs recouvre: une politique d'assassinat
systï¿½matique, l'ampleur globale du crime, les
principales modalitï¿½s de ce crime.
La connaissance de la bataille de Verdun, la
reconnaissance de sa rï¿½alitï¿½, n'implique pas que l'on
connaisse sa durï¿½e ï¿½ la seconde (la milliseconde?)
prï¿½s, ni que l'on dï������������������������������������������½termine au centimï¿��tre carrï��½ prï¿½s
la surface du champs de bataille, ni que l'on
connaisse ï¿½ la dizaine de milliers prï¿½s le nombre de
Cela ne m'empï¿��chera pas d'affirmer haut et fort que la
bataille de Verdun est un ���������������������������½vï¿��nement patent, ï¿½vident,
ultra-documentï¿½. De la mï¿½me faï¿��on, le fait du gï¿½nocide
est patent, ï¿½vident, ultra-documentï¿½.
On objectera alors qu'aucune loi ne prend acte de la
rï¿½alitï¿½ de la bataille de Verdun. Nous touchons lï¿½ ï¿½
la nï¿½cessitï¿½ de la loi Gayssot: l'expression publique
du nï¿½gationnisme est interdite tout simplement parce
que le nï¿½gationnisme est un discours antisï¿½mite.
Il s'agit ici de la seconde grande catï¿½gorie de
critique envers la loi Gayssot: la lï¿½gislation
existante serait suffisante...
De quelle lï¿½gislation parlons-nous? De la lï¿½gislation
qui interdit l'expression publique des discours qui
incitent ï¿½ la haine. Je pars d'un premier postulat que
la nï¿½cessitï¿½ de l'interdiction de tels discours ne
saurait ï¿½tre remise en cause.
Le second postulat, qui n'en est pas un mais dï¿½coule,
en ce qui me concerne de la lecture systï¿½matique que
j'effectue de la littï¿½rature nï¿½gationniste, est le
caractï¿½re antisï¿½mite du nï¿½gationnisme. Un
antisï¿½mitisme extrï¿½mement virulent et pervers. Je ne
discuterai pas ici des arguments ï¿½tayant cette
constatation, mais ils sont disponibles sur PHDN,
ainsi que dans l'abondante littï¿½rature, souvent des
ï¿½tudes fouillï¿½es, qui traite du nï¿½gationnisme. On peut
cependant rappeler que les nï¿½gationnistes se sont
exprimï¿½s librement de 1948 ï¿½ 1990. Cela a suffit pour
comprendre que leurs propos ne relevaient que de
l'incitation ï¿½ la haine. Laquelle est justement
Le nï¿½gationnisme est donc, sans la moindre ambiguï¿½tï¿½
possible, un discours antisï¿½mite. Il l'est
implicitement, dans l'objectif mï¿½me de rï¿½habiliter un
antisï¿½mitisme explicite et de promouvoir les
conditions de survenue de l'ï¿½vï¿½nement mï¿½me qu'il nie.
Mais le nï¿½gationnisme peut parfaitement prendre la
forme d'un discours raisonnable et
Dans le cas des discours nï¿½gationnistes, les procï¿½s
qui eurent lieu avant 1990 ont montrï¿½ que les
nï¿½gationnistes avaient beau jeu de jouer sur la
*lettre* de la loi pour prï¿½tendre que leurs discours
n'ï¿½taient ni diffamatoires ni incitatifs ï¿½ la haine.
Des juges les ont parfois entendu, ï¿½ fort mauvais
escient. Certains se sont mï¿½me permis un jugement
apprï¿½ciatif du "travail" de Faurisson, une vï¿½ritable
aberration lorsqu'on connaï¿½t un peu le caractï¿½re
proprement frauduleux de son discours (voir notamment
http://www.phdn.org/negation/faurisson/). C'est bien
l'illustration qu'un jugement sur la qualitï¿½ d'un
travail qui se prï¿½sente frauduleusement, mais
habilement, comme un travail historique, ne saurait
ï¿½tre laissï¿½ ï¿½ l'apprï¿½ciation des juges, dont ce n'est
*pas* le mï¿½tier. Lorsque les nï¿½gationnistes furent
condamnï¿½s, ce fut souvent sur la forme plus que sur le
fond. Ils apprirent ï¿½ ï¿½dulcorer la forme, sans
remettre en cause le fond: la nï¿½gation radicale de la
rï¿½alitï¿½ du gï¿½nocide. La situation devenait pï¿½rilleuse
pour le juge qui devait de plus en plus recourir ï¿½ une
interprï¿½tation des intentions de l'auteur
nï¿½gationniste, voire ï¿½ une analyse historienne. Le
dï¿½lit de "tromperie dï¿½libï¿½rï¿½e" n'existe pas en droit
franï¿½ais, et ce n'est pas sur cet aspect lï¿½ que
pouvait se fonder une interdiction du nï¿½gationnisme.
C'est en tant que discours antisï¿½mite, qu'il est
normal -- je dirais naturel, dans notre sociï¿½tï¿½ -- que
le nï¿½gationnisme soit interdit.
La sociï¿½tï¿½ se fonde sur une prise de responsabilitï¿½ du
lï¿½gislateur sur des problï¿½mes qui doivent ï¿½tre traitï¿½s
parce qu'un seuil a ï¿½tï¿½ franchi. Si le nï¿½gationnisme
n'avait pas dï¿½passï¿½ le stade de la "thï¿½se" discutï¿½e
dans leur coin par trois hurluberlus, il n'y aurait
eut aucun besoin de lï¿½gifï¿½rer. Mais il faut constater
qu'ï¿½ la fin des ann��¿½es 1980, un seuil dangereux avait
ï¿½tï¿½ atteint. Le lï¿½gislateur en a pris acte et dï¿½cidï¿½
que la sociï¿½tï¿½ devait protï¿½ger ses membres. Il a
dï¿½cidï¿½ de dï¿½charger le juge de prises de positions par
rapport ï¿½ la lettre de la loi (interdisant
l'incitation ï¿½ la haine et la diffamation), ï¿½
l'histoire, et pris, enfin, acte du caractï¿½re
antisï¿½mite du nï¿½gationnisme.
La loi Gayssot interdit donc le discours nï¿½gationnisme
en tant que discours d'incitation ï¿½ la haine. La
rï¿½alitï¿½ n'intervient que comme ï¿½lï¿½ment de *diagnostic*
du discours nï¿½gationniste. Il faut bien fixer un
critï¿½re aussi objectif que possible d'identification
de ce discours par la loi, afin d'ï¿½viter les abus. Ce
critï¿½re, c'est la nï¿½gation de la rï¿½alitï¿½ du gï¿½nocide
telle que fixï¿½e par l'article 24bis de la loi sur la
libertï¿½ de la presse de 1881. Mais la loi ne fixe
aucunement la rï¿½alitï¿½. En fait, la loi permet d'ï¿½viter
au juge de se prononcer sur des points d'histoire
(Voir ï¿½ ce sujet:
Si on avait interdit la propagation des Protocoles des
Sages de Sion, ce faux antisï¿½mite fabriquï¿½ par la
police tsariste au dï¿½but du siï¿½cle, peut-ï¿½tre
aurait-on pu ï¿½viter bien des massacres. (A ce sujet,
Sur le motif d'interdiction de l'expression publique
du nï¿½gationnisme, il convient de rajouter ceci: dans
la mesure oï¿½ il est largement admis, reconnu, ï¿½tabli
que le nï¿½gationnisme *est* un discours antisï¿½mite, il
serait aberrant, sous prï¿½texte que le nï¿½gationnisme
*prï¿½tend* ï¿½tre un discours historique (ce qui est
faux), de ne pas l'interdire! Un discours d'incitation
ï¿½ la haine bï¿½nficierait en quelque sorte d'un
passe-droit parce qu'il s'incarnerait (en tous cas, il
le prï¿½tend) sous une forme "intouchable"? Il y aurait
*lï¿½*, un vï¿½ritable scandale.
Ayant ï¿½tabli, je crois, la nï¿½cessitï¿½ de la loi
Gayssot, on peut revenir sur la premiï¿½re catï¿½gorie de
critique: la loi et l'histoire. Une autre faï¿½on
d'exprimer cette critique et de prï¿½tendre que par la
loi Gayssot, c'est le juge qui dit l'histoire. Cette
affirmation serait encore plus fausse que celle (que
j'ai d'abord discutï¿½e) comme quoi ce serait la loi qui
dirait l'histoire. En effet, la loi Gayssot permet
*justement* au juge de ne pas dire l'histoire, de ne
pas avoir ï¿½ se prononcer sur la qualitï¿½ historienne
des discours qu'il a ï¿½ juger.
Ainsi que je l'ai ï¿½crit plus haut, avant l'existence
de la loi Gayssot, ï¿½ plusieurs occasions, des juges
eurent ï¿½ se prononcer sur des points d'histoire.
C'ï¿½tait une aberration. Le juge n'a pas ï¿½ se mï¿½ler
d'histoire. Et de fait, c'est ce que la loi Gayssot
permet d'ï¿½viter (Voir
http://www.phdn.org/negation/troper.html). Le juge n'a
plus ï¿½ se prononcer que sur le respect ou le
non-respect de cette loi.
Un contre-exemple paradigmatique a ï¿½tï¿½ donnï¿½ l'annï¿½e
derniï¿½re en Grande-Bretagne, ï¿½ l'occasion du procï¿½s de
l'ï¿½crivain britannique David Irving, passï¿½ au
nï¿½gationnisme en 1988. Celui-ci avait portï¿½ plainte
contre une historienne amï¿½ricaine, Deborah Lipstadt,
qui avait produit un ouvrage sur le nï¿½gationnisme et
les nï¿½gationnistes, trï¿½s critique (et pour cause) ï¿½
l'encontre d'Irving. (Sur Irving, voir:
http://www.phdn.org/negation/irving/). L'enjeux du
procï¿½s ï¿½tait de prouver que Deborah Lipstadt avait dit
vrai en ï¿½crivant qu'Irving falsifiait la rï¿½alitï¿½.
La Grande-Bretagne n'est pas dotï¿½e d'une loi semblable
ï¿½ la loi Gayssot. Le procï¿½s vit Irving ï¿½taler ses
thï¿½ses nï¿½gationnistes et, pour le contrer, il a fallu
recourir ï¿½ des dï¿½monstrations historiennes. Le juge a
quasiment eu ï¿½ se prononcer sur des questions
d'histoire. Cela a durï¿½ des semaines. Les journaux ont
rendu compte du dï¿½roulement du procï¿½s d'une faï¿½on
scandaleuse, faisant la publicitï¿½ du pseudo
argumentaire d'Irving et oubliant d'en dï¿½monter la
mï¿½canique mensongï¿½re. Irving a bien ï¿½videmment perdu
son procï¿½s. La grande luciditï¿½ du juge ne lui a
cependant pas permis d'ï¿½viter de se prononcer sur le
terrain de l'histoire. Sa grande compï¿½tence, la durï¿½e
trï¿½s longue du procï¿½s, ont permis que des impairs
soient ï¿½vitï¿½. Mais le juge ne peut remplacer
l'historien. Cela aurait pu se passer beaucoup plus
Ce sont de telles situations que la loi Gayssot permet
d'ï¿½viter en France.
Elle est un outil indispensable et salutaire. Dans son
principe, je pense qu'il est heureux qu'elle existe.
Je peux vous assurer que si tel n'ï¿½tait pas le cas,
les lycï¿½es seraient saturï¿½s de tracts, et la presse
extrï¿½miste (de droite ou de gauche) serait constamment
ï¿½maillï¿½e de propos nï¿½gationnistes.
Il demeure que la rï¿½daction de la loi peut ï¿½tre
discutï¿½e. C'est une autre question.
medito : Les textes rï¿½visionnistes sont terribles mais
on devrait pouvoir se forger son opinion en comparant
les textes originaux et les rï¿½actions anti)
Gilles Karmasyn : Je me permets de bondir devant votre
formulation: " on devrait pourvoir se *forger une
Je ne peux absolument pas vous suivre sur ce terrain.
La rï¿½alitï¿½ et l'ampleur du gï¿½nocide ne sont pas
l'objet d'une " opinion ".
Ce sont des faits historiques qui existent en dehors
de la connaissance et de la conscience que l'on peut
Mï¿½me la jurisprudence amï¿½ricaine (pourtant placï¿½e sous
l'ï¿½gide du tout puissant premier amendement) reconnaï¿½t
que la prï¿½sentation frauduleuse des faits ne relï¿½ve
pas de l'"opinion".
Les nï¿½gationnistes ne prï¿½sentent pas une " autre thï¿½se
". Ils falsifient la rï¿½alitï¿½ dans un but antisï¿½mite.
Le gï¿½nocide fut. Il ne peut y avoir de " dï¿½bat " sur
Vifs remerciements ï¿½ Gilles Karmasyn de PHDN.
A noter le site Pratique de l'histoire et dï¿½voiements
19/ Signalons une ï¿½niï¿½me resucï¿½e de Zinzin dans Information juive, Paris,
numï¿½ro 206, mars 2001, p. 12. On retiendra la conclusion du type qui tend sa sï¿½bille aux
ponte de la communautï¿½: "Nous sommes dans une phase critique parce que l'Internetr
explose et que les nï¿½gationnistes tiennent le haut du pavï¿½, pour ce qui est des
textes en franï¿½ais. On peut ï¿½tre confiant pour le long terme [ce n'est pas notre avis]
mais pessimiste sur le court terme. Combien d'ï¿½mules les nï¿½gationnistes auront-ils le
temps de fabriquer grï¿½ce aux ï¿½normes lacunes actuelles?".
Ce type voudrait bien que la "communautï¿½" lui file des caisses de roupies. Il a
envie de rouler carrosse. A notre avis, il seront trop radins. Ce sera Niet. Zinzin va
vï¿½gï¿½ter, avant de sombrer dans l'oubli. Il nous aura fait rire un peu. C'est dï¿½jï¿½ ï¿½a.
(30 juin 2001)