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Chapter Five

Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist

Chapter Five

 

SATURDAY AFTERNOON THERE WAS A CALL on my office machine from a young man who introduced himself by saying that he and some others wanted to organize a White students union at Santa Monica College. They wanted to work together to get rid of the “scum Jew.” He sounded like a nice kid. I liked his manner and tone of voice. He said he wasn’t sure that the college would allow a White students union to be formed on campus and he was calling me because he had heard that my organization had some young men in it who were willing to take part in activist programs against the “scum Jew.” He said he would call me back.

While I felt a little uneasy at hearing the expression “scum Jew,” it was interesting to observe at the same time that I didn’t feel deeply offended by it. It didn’t ruin my day. My first reaction wasn’t to want to write the kid off, or to hope that I would get a chance to denounce or insult him. I wanted to talk to him, see if I could discover–perhaps how we could discover together–how he had reached such a place as he had with respect to Jews. I wanted to see if it wasn’t possible to have some effect on how he was reading the story of his own life.

The disinterest of mine in feeling outrage over the bigotry and prejudices of others gets me in hot water with the Very Best People on the one hand, and with Revisionists on the other. The Very Best People keep their outrage on tap, as it were, and draw on it instantaneously to attack every word or deed that suggests, even in the most recondite way, that the Very Best Ideals of the day are being transgressed, or are about to be, maybe. Spokesmen for the Holocaust lobby are currently the most brilliantly outstanding examples of this type of Very Best People who live their lives in an almost perfect accord with the Very Best Ideals. It’s a matter of record that these people despise Holocaust Revisionists and on principle refuse to speak to us. It’s not going to be easy to initiate a dialogue with people who hold themselves in such high esteem, but I’m not going to give up on them.

At the same time I am looked upon with suspicion and some distrust by individuals within the Revisionist community. I’ve lived among Jews too long, too many of my friends have been Jews, my ex is a Jew and together we raised her two children. I read at Daniel’s bar mitzvah, which took place on the green lawns at our house where two young rabbis played guitars and sang for us in the flawless afternoon light, in the flawless afternoon air, while at dusk a candle was lit on each white-clothed table and all our friends, Jews and non-Jews alike, continued to celebrate the occasion, unaware that we should be irrevocably divided because we did not all believe the same stories. In any event, that’s how I recall it, and that’s how I tell the story to my new friends.

Most particularly I have been warned away from talking to Irv Rubin, the national director of the Jewish Defense League. Rubin and I don’t talk often, but occasionally he’ll ring me up at the office to browbeat me about something. It’s widely believed among Revisionists, though there is no proof for it, that Rubin had something to do with the arson destruction of the Institute on July 4th, 1984, and more recently with the murder of Alex Odeh, the Southern California director of The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination League in Santa Ana. It’s possible Rubin knew something about the plan to burn down the Institute, but if I had to guess I’d say the bomb murder of Odeh came as a surprise to him.

Rubin has chosen to play the part of the anti-anti-Semite bully. He has philosophical and idealistic rationales for pushing people around, threatening them, and attempting to suppress points of view that are not favorable to his own and so on, but I find these characteristics commonplace in the press and universities as well, and not uncommon any place else. Revisionists are on the side of the angels in this one, for across the board we support the ideals of a free press and the free exchange of ideas. It’s easy to support a free press when you are systematically refused a public forum to express what you think and how you feel. If the people who now support Holocaust Revisionism came to power, however, I have little doubt that the new bullies of the age would be among them, or that I would be thrown out of their ranks, or that my associates would then become those who despise me now.

When Rabbi Meir Kahane founded the Jewish Defense League in 1968 he announced that it would be necessary for the organization to use violence to gain its ends. Over the years the JDL has acted out the fantasies of its leader to leave behind it a trail of bombings, arson and intimidation, the whole litany of Stalinist-Fascist terror tactics used all over the world by those who recognize that what they long for most passionately will not pass the test of reason and goodwill among a free people.

Irv Rubin was approaching 30 years of age and was still in college when he first heard Rabbi Kahane speak, whereupon he suffered a conversion on the spot to the mad rabbi’s mystique. He learned Kahane’s fundamental lesson for American Jews–that a good Jew, a brave Jew, does not sit down over coffee with a Nazi and try to reason with him. Jews who are good and brave are to smash Nazis and have done with them.

The primary weakness of this policy is that there are so few Nazis around. If you really want to smash some, and you can’t find any, one response is to create some yourself then smash those. Just as at the beginning God created Jews out of nothing, or next to nothing, the JDL set about creating Nazis from thin air and other insubstantial substances. This technique is a proven money-raiser for most other Jewish organization but has been only moderately successful for Mr. Rubin, who still seems to need part-time jobs as a printer and process-server to keep things going.

It’s not so difficult to create Nazis out of whole cloth as you might think. Rubin would explain the procedure this way: I myself am a Nazi, he would say to me, because I express disbelief about the gas chamber stories, and because I ridicule some of the stories Holocaust survivors tell. It’s not possible for an American not to be a Nazi if he does not believe the gas chamber theory and all survivor tales.

By this logic the Institute for Historical Review is Nazi because it publishes books and a journal that expresses disbelief about the gas chamber theory. It’s that simple. The individuals who work at the Institute are Nazis then by definition, as are those who write for The Journal of Historical Review, while all those who read publications of the Institute are either Nazis or neo-Nazis, a neo-Nazi being someone who cannot be recognized as a full-fledged Nazi by anything he has ever said or done but does not dismiss out of hand every word published by the Institute.

I first came to Rubin’s attention through a story I wrote for Prima Facie title “Nazi ‘Smiled’ as Dog Ate Jew.” The title was taken verbatim from a headline that appeared over a story in the Torrance Daily Breeze (17 October 84), Torrance being the Los Angeles suburb that had hosted the arson-destruction of the Institute. I thought the Breeze headline disgusting on the face of it, and after I read the story I thought that was loathsome as well. I saw the headline and the story together as exemplifying, in our own neighborhood so to say, the ignorance, bad faith, and sadomasochistic imagery American editors and publishers encourage in their reporting of survivor tales.

Following is the complete story printed by the Breeze, which noted that it was a “news service report” originating in Hamburg, West Germany. That is, by the time I saw it, the story had been reprinted all over the Western world.

Accused Nazi Gestapo officer Harri Schulz looked on smiling as his German shepherd dog killed an elderly Jewish man in a Polish marketplace in the summer of 1942, an American woman told a Hamburg court Tuesday.

Rita Ledor, a Polish-born Jew now living in San Antonio, Texas, said the old man had been dragged to the marketplace when he was found hiding from German officials in the Jewish ghetto of Zawierce in Nazi-occupied Poland.

“The old man lay screaming on the ground. Next to him Harri Schulz stood and watched as his German shepherd dog ate him alive,” Ledor said.

Schultz, 70, is accused of murdering seven people in the Zawierce ghetto and helping deport 5,000 to the Auschwitz death camp in 1942-43.

He has denied the charges and said he worked only for the Nazi border police in occupied Poland.

Granted, this was a small story published in an insignificant suburban daily, but I felt disgusted by the way the Breeze had handled it. Breeze editors had had access to the work of the Institute for seven years by then. The offices of the two publishing companies were within spitting distance of each other, yet the Breeze was unable to handle this small story about Jews and a German with even a modicum of professionalism or decency. It was a s if the Breeze editor responsible for printing the story with such mock objectivity had been so dehumanized by 40 years of Holocaust hate propaganda that in his mind’s eye he was unable to see the scene his story depicted. I decided to take a look at in print.

For example, didn’t that editor want to consider what size that bloody Nazi dog was and what size the old Jew was? Wouldn’t that information have some bearing on the credibility of the accusation made by the old survivor from San Antonio? Let’s say the dog was an 80-pounder — hell, let’s say it was a 100-pounder! Now, let’s say the elderly Jew was small and frail, maybe only a 100-pounder himself. Is that fair? Is it reasonable? With respect to the elderly Jew and the Nazi dog then, the first question we want to ask ourselves is this one: How much of the one could the other really eat? There aren’t a lot of hard facts to go on. There oftentimes are not when Jewish survivors make accusations against Germans. so I had to go with what there was, just like the Breeze editor did. Through the force of my imagination I put myself in the place of that great bloody Nazi dog. It took a little concentration, but I was treating with an accusation of murder most foul, a scene flushed with the imagery of sadomasochistic brutality, and a claim of innocence by the accused party. I figured it was worth my time.

My technique was to begin by identifying with what I share in common with a German shepherd Nazi dog. I am a carnivorous being, for example, just as German shepherd dogs are, regardless of their political affiliations. A great-grandfather, or a great-great-grandfather, carried the name of von Shmeeter so I am at least part German, again like the bloody dog in the Breeze story. At the National Writer’s Union Conference a few months earlier in New York I had been labeled an “animal” (Nazi swine) for expressing disbelief in the gas chamber stories, which is what every other bloody dog is labeled. Oh, we had plenty in common, that dog and me. All that was left to do then was to thrust myself imaginatively into the form of a bloody ferocious Hitlerian hound ready to obey every whim, no matter how disgusting, of my German Nazi master, Harri Schulz.

It wasn’t long, in my mind’s eye, before I was able to see an image of myself there at my master’s side, salivating at the sight of the elderly Jew. I could hear Harri’s guttural German voice ordering me to eat the old man “alive.” I leaped at it like any bloody Nazi dog would. The first 10 or 15 pounds slid down real smooth. I paused to gulp a little air but my Nazi master ordered me to get on with it. I gobbled down another five pounds or so, but the bloom was definitely off the rose. I gazed up at Harri, pleading for a little common sense, but instead I saw a fury gathering in his bloody German face. So, calling up a final tremendous surge of demonic Nazi dog power from deep within my dog heart, I tossed down four or five more pounds of my victim, but that finished it for me. Twenty-five pounds of the old fellow down the chute, my master Harry Schulz petting my neck, urging me on — those Nazis never did know when enough was enough — but I was ready to chuck up the whole bloody mess. I was ready to tell Harry to shove it along. Don’t get me wrong, I would have obeyed his command if only I could have — you know how we German bloody dogs are — but I was at my Nazi dog limit. I’d rather have gone straight to Nazi dog-hell than contemplate eating 55 more pounds of that old man. Let Harry eat it himself, the Nazi….! That’s how I felt about it.

The original story published by the Breeze used 126 words to compromise the German Schulz and ends with 18 words that could prove compromising to the Jewish survivor, Rita Ledor: “He (Schulz) has denied the charges and said he worked only for the Nazi border police in occupied Poland.” In my article for Prima Facie I asked if anyone had ever read in any newspaper a similar story where the Nazi proved to be an honest man and the Jewish survivor a liar. I hadn’t then, and I haven’t now.

One of those who I impressed most with my Nazi-Smiled-As-Dog-Ate-Jew story was the Jewish Defense League’s Irv Rubin. He rang me up at the office and said he would like to get to know me. There was and edge to his voice — more than an edge. He wanted to get together with me immediately, any place I chose. I demurred. He suggested I take him home and introduce him to my family. I demurred. He began telling me about his own dog, some great, humongous hound from Brazil that weighs in at 150 pounds and is trained to eat Nazis just as Harry Schulz’s dog had been trained to eat Jews.

I said from the sound of it, it was one hell of a dog.

“I guarantee you, Bradley — may I call you Bradley?”

“Sure, Irv,” I said.

“I guarantee you that my dog could eat a Nazi like you without much difficulty. You’re a big man from what I hear, Bradley, so he might not be able to finish you off in one sitting, but he could do the job in two at the outside. Would you like to meet my dog, Bradley? I’d like to introduce you to him. I really would. I think it would be good for your education. It would cure you of some of the snideness that gets into your writing.”

“I’d do almost anything to improve my writing,” I said. “But I’m going to take a raincheck on meeting you and your dog. Maybe when we get to know each other better.”

“Bradley, what are you afraid of? Do you think if we meet in public that I’d do something to you that would get me arrested? Be serious, Bradley. You’re a grown man, you’re old enough to be my father. I’d like to meet you, Bradley. Wouldn’t you like to meet me?”

“You didn’t like my Nazi-Smiled-As-Dog-Ate-Jew story, did you?”

“I’ll never forget it.”

“Do you want to talk about why I wrote it, what it was really about?”

“I know why you wrote it, Bradley. You’re a Jew-hating Nazi, you publish a Nazi rag, and you associate with those Nazi scum out in Torrance. I know why you wrote it.”

“Your perspective is flawed, Irv.”

“What I want to talk about, Bradley, is why you have no balls. You’re the one who’s flawed. Do you know what balls are? You won’t meet me right now because you don’t have them, Bradley. You insult my people, you insult the dead, you bring immeasurable grief to survivors of the Holocaust, but you’re a ball-less wonder.”

“Why don’t we talk about why I wrote the article? You might learn something.”

“It’s not worth the time I would have to spend on the phone. Nazi scum like you aren’t worth the ten cents it takes to call you. If you ever locate your balls, Bradley, call me up and we’ll get together.”

So ended out first conversation. A week or so later Rubin rang me up again and we had a more wide-ranging talk. It appeared that he was willing to talk if the conversation went where he steered it, if he was allowed to dominate it, and if I would not rise to his insults. He told me the story of his man-eating Brazilian hound again. After about 45 minutes he said: “I don’t know why we’re still talking. This is the longest I’ve ever talked to a Nazi scum bag.”

“Maybe we have something to talk about, Irv,” I said.

“I don’t have anything to talk about with Nazi scum,” he said. “If you ever locate your balls, maybe we can get together someday.”

One afternoon when Rubin rang me up I asked him if he’d seen the press report from Hamburg, West Germany, that Harry Schulz had been acquitted of the charges of having smiled as his dog ate a Jew.

The court ruled after a 15-month trial that the prosecutors had failed to prove beyond doubt that the defendant, Harri Schulz, 70, had shot three Jews and taken part in the killing of four others in Poland 1942 and 1943.

“I saw that report,” Rubin said.

“Do you think it’s possible that the old Jewish lady who testified that she had watched Harry Schulz smile while his dog ate a Jew was a little inventive in her testimony against Mr. Schulz?”

Rubin said: “The trouble with prosecuting these Nazi scum is that 40 years have passed. It’s not easy to get a strong case together.”

“Isn’t it possible though that the old Jewish lady gave false testimony, and that in this case the German told the truth?”

“I haven’t the slightest doubt that the Nazi scum is guilty. It happened too long ago and it can’t be proved. But I have no doubt, in my heart, that he’s guilty.”

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