Break His Bones:
The Private Life of A Holocaust Revisionist
Just as Auschwitz is the centerpiece of the Holocaust cult in Europe, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C. is the focal point of the cult in North America. No one ever doubted that it would be. The President of the United States, Ronald Reagan, spoke at the opening festivities, condemning Holocaust revisionism while he was at it. His speech was written by Norman Podhoretz’s boy, the senior Podhoretz being the longtime editor of the interesting and influential Jewish ethnic monthly, Commentary,
When the Museum opened I believed it would become the organizing instrument around which the Holocaust controversy could focus. That the standing of the cult itself would be increasingly and irreversibly linked to the perception of the cult that the public would have after touring the Museum or talking to others who had. The Museum would provide revisionists with a focus for promoting an open debate that we could never have provided by ourselves.
With the details of the Holocaust story exhibited on the walls and in the glass cases of the Museum, the story could no longer be obfuscated and mystified in the isolated sanctuaries of universities, and in the endless river of media junk stories focused on a nexus of unique German bestiality. What would be there in the Museum would be there, what wasn’t there wouldn’t be there, and there would be no escape from either one or the other, either for the Museum or for revisionism,
I believed that a continuing, growing interest in revisionist theory would depend on the dialogue, the debate, which would ensue over the museum’s exhibits and how they were interpreted. Not on condemnations of the Museum as a Zionist plot to destroy Western culture, but on the response of revisionists to what would be exhibited in the Museum, to the context in which the exhibits were displayed, and to the importance of relevant materials that might have been omitted from the exhibits.
The Museum would either exhibit proof of the extermination “gassing chambers” or it wouldn’t. It wasn’t complicated. If the proof were there, the Holocaust happened like the cult, and the Holocaust Industry it had spawned, argue that it happened. If the proof wasn’t there, the version of the Holocaust story they had promoted would be seen as an intellectual and cultural fraud. This would be do or die for the Industry. It would be do or die for revisionist theory. Revisionism would either reach increasingly broad public audiences through its response to the museum’s exhibits, or the public would ignore revisionist research because of its reasonable perception that the Museum’s exhibits displayed proof of the gas chambers, thus proof of the orthodox Holocaust story.
Because of these and other factors that were associated with the Museum, I decided that I would make the Museum the focus of my attention. The Museum’s exhibits, the Museum’s publications, the people who managed the project that created the Museum, spokespersons for the Museum, and how the museum would be written about by media and scholars. I had been waiting for the Museum’s opening impatiently, eager to get on with the work, unable to move forward with the project until I saw the thing itself. As is often the case with my enthusiasms, I overstated the importance of the Museum with regard to the Holocaust story itself, and overstated its importance to the revisionist struggle to get the story into accord with the facts.
Oddly, the week the Museum opened, while I was still in California, I received a call from a producer at WFTL radio in Ft. Lauderdale-Miami. I was offered the chance to be interviewed on the Al Rantel show along with Professor Michael Berenbaum, Project Director of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. We would be on a conference call, the professor would be in his offices in Washington D.C., myself on the horn from Visalia, California. I was rather taken aback by the coincidence of the call, and why the project director of the USHMM would want to go on the air with me. What did he have to gain?
Al Rantel’s producer explained (with rather more satisfaction than was necessary it seemed to me) that Berenbaum was the author of eight books, most of them on the Holocaust, and scores of scholarly articles. On top of that, he was also the author of the coffee table book titled The World Must Know: The History of the Holocaust As Told in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. This is the book that represents the Museum itself. It’s the book everyone will buy when they visit the Museum and take back home and display prominently for their guests to see. Its pages follow the actual Museum tour and contain much of the text and photographs that, I learned later, you actually see when you take the tour. So Berenbaum would know everything about the Museum when we did the broadcast, while I would know nothing about it.
I had done a lot of radio during the mid and late 1980s, I hadn’t done much in several years. I hadn’t seen the Museum yet, I hadn’t read any of Berenbaum’s books, not even the one on the Museum. So the morning of the interview I rose from my slumbers two hours early and boned up on the story. If Berenbaum could spend most of his adult Ph.D. life producing books and scholarly articles about the “German Holocaust” (the expression I later found used on the back cover of his Museum book), it seemed prudent to me to pass a couple hours getting my radio and TV interview notes in order.
When the time came, and I was already on an open line with Al Rantel, Professor Berenbaum could not be found, so Rantel, who later identified himself as being Jewish, interviewed me solo. With regard to the Museum, I had only one point I wanted to make. If the Museum exhibited proof that homicidal gassing chambers existed at Auschwitz I would find that very interesting, but if it did not exhibit proof that gas chambers existed at Auschwitz, the Museum would have to be seen as a 150-million-dollar fraud, paid for my U.S. taxpayers. I had one question for Professor Michael Berenbaum. The people who ran the Auschwitz Museum had recently decided that it was not true that the Germans had murdered four million people at Auschwitz, but something like one million. My questions was: where were three million murdered victims of Auschwitz who had not been murdered after all, and where had they been for the last forty years? And of course I argued that an open debate on these matters would shed more light on the Holocaust story than the suppression and censorship of open debate. Nothing new.
For his part, Professor Berenbaum appeared to be playing some kind of game. He came on the show late, said that he could not hear what I was saying, but one time uncontrollably jumped into the middle of something I was saying. He refused to have any back and forth with me, stating that it was his policy to not discuss anything with “deniers,” the standard maneuver of those who represent the Holocaust Industry and cannot afford to discuss matters openly. He would listen to what I had to say, then maneuver to have the last word. Everything for Berenbaum was maneuver. He blamed the false four-million-murdered figure at Auschwitz on the Poles, Jews had nothing to do with it, although the figure had been used for decades by Jewish ethnic special interests and the professorial class as a whole, to slander Germans. It’s similar to how the human soap story was being handled. Now that the story was recognized to have been a fraud, Germans were being accused of starting the rumor that it was true.
In the end, it was just another radio interview, reminding me of the reasons I had stopped doing them. The project director for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum mouthed the same platitudes, used and misused and omitted the same information that I had heard so many hundreds of times before. At one point he asked me if I was familiar with his work. When I said I wasn’t he became agitated, saying that he had read my published work. The only book I had published was Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist, a text of literary journalism. And then there were the texts of a couple large advertisements that I had run in student newspapers in universities around the country. While he had read my book, and maybe the ads, he had nothing to say about any of it. That was his chance. Berenbaum could have used all the expertise represented in his eight books and uncounted scholarly articles to demonstrate to our listening audience that I had published errors of fact either in the book or the ads. But that might have caused an exchange of ideas to occur. He wouldn’t want that. He said had already said he wouldn’t want it. So he didn’t get it. That’s how professors manipulate the Holocaust question in public.
Over the next few weeks my initial enthusiasm over the Holocaust Museum slipped away. I had heard about the Museum from other revisionists who had toured it and I did not expect to see anything that would particularly interest me or surprise me. I was already terminally bored with the focus on the cult on Jewish suffering, and I didn’t want another big dose of it. Nevertheless, I had told everyone I would go, so I went. I’m very glad I did. The exhibits were considerably more interesting than I had expected them to be, and I experienced something I would never have expected to experience.
The day before I left I sent a press release to major media outlets in the Washing-ton-New York area announcing my imminent arrival in Washington, my plans to travel to New York, and my availability for interviews. The primary statement in the release was a question:
Is the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum “A necessary, civilizing memorial” [Time magazine] or a 150-million-dollar monument to vulgarity and fraud?
The second part of the release was a letter (printed below) to the Museum’s permanent exhibit director, Raye Farr, asking five pertinent questions. The third part was a copy of “The Holocaust Controversy The Case for Open Debate,” the article that had caused such a scandal in the university system and the prestige press when I ran it as a newspaper advertisement student newspapers at colleges and universities around the country the year before.
Arriving in Washington I rented a car, a hotel room in Crystal City, which across the river from Washington and less expensive, and called home to Visalia to pick up the responses from media. There was nothing. I was surprised and I wasn’t surprised. I’d been blacked out on Washington D.C. radio and TV for six years and largely blacked out in New York for five years, so I wasn’t surprised. But I was in Washington, all those media people know more or less who I am and what I do, and I was there to talk about a hot story and I had at least half-believed that this time I would get through. The travails of a hopeless optimist.
The note I addressed to Raye Farr, permanent exhibit director for the Museum, and included in the press release, briefly listed the four questions that I would have liked to have answers to. They were not new questions or questions that I thought up on the spur of the moment. They were the questions revisionists have been asking for years:
Is there one or more exhibits in the Museum that demonstrates that there was an order or a plan to exterminate the European Jews?
Does the Museum exhibit proof that there was a budget worked out to pay the costs for such an immense mass murder?
Which of the displays in the Museum exhibit proof that the gassing chambers actually existed.
And what displays in the Museum prove that one man, women or child was murdered in a homicidal gas chamber?
Somehow, I sent the Raye Farr letter to everyone on my media list in Washington except Farr herself. I was still in Visalia when I discovered this little oversight, so I rang up Ms. Farr at her office, introduced myself and asked for her fax number so I could get the letter to her right away. She was very nice, gave me the number, and I tried for two days and nights to fax her the materials but I couldn’t get through. In the end I did not think that it was entirely coincidence. By the time I arrived in Washington I suppose she had gotten copies of the questions from two or three dozen media and other sources. It is certain that Farr and everyone else at the Museum knew how to reach me. But no one reached me.
At 7am on the morning of 27 May I walked into the lobby of the Crystal City Marriot Hotel, took the escalator down to the underground and rode under the Potomac River to the 15th street exit. Up on the surface, I soon found myself on the Washington Mall. I’d never been there. The dimensions of the green were more impressive than I had thought them to be. There was a casualness to it all that I found pleasant. The walks were of brown sand and gravel. The grass was cared for but accessible, as if you are invited to use the green, to walk on it and sit on it, not just look at it.
I wasn’t sure how to get to the Museum. There weren’t many people about. I asked six different people where the Museum was before I found someone who knew. The first five were White guys. The guy who knew was Black. I wondered if there were the suggestion of some sociological significance there. Probably not. I expected the Museum to front on the Mall itself but it’s two blocks off the green. It is, indeed, “beneath the shadow” of the Washington Monument, but so are the U.S. Department of Agriculture and half a dozen other uninspiring buildings. I think too much has been made of the “location” issue, which is different from the issues of government sponsorship, the dishonest financing, etc., etc.
It was not quite 8am when I arrived at the Museum to stand in the modest line that trailed back alongside the building. By 10am, when the exhibit opens, the line led back a quarter mile and turned a corner out of sight. While we waited I did a kind of ethnic survey of those in line and those passing by to reach the end of it. About half appeared to be Jewish. There were four or five Blacks, a half dozen Asians and maybe a couple Latinos. The rest appeared to be Gentile tourists from all over the country.
By 10am I had my tickets and in a few minutes my friend Hans Schmidt met me at the front entrance. Schmidt is older than me and is a veteran of the German Waffen SS who fought on the Eastern front against the Soviets, where he was wounded, and in the Battle of the Bulge against the Americans. We took the elevator to the fifth floor and when the doors opened we stepped out into a modest room where the one thing we could view was an immense black and white photographic mural covering the entire wall facing us, maybe eighteen feet across and reaching from close to the floor almost to the ceiling. It pictured a smoldering pyre of logs and fifteen or twenty half-consumed corpses. In the background are a similar number of American Gils looking on, their hands in their pockets, unintelligible expressions on the faces. It’s a powerful photograph, revealing a terrible event. The technical quality of this singular graphic display is top notch. The caption reads:
American soldiers in front of calcinated corpses of concentration camp inmates. Ohrdruf, Germany, April 1945. National Archives, Washington, D.C.
And here we have the primary exhibition concept of the Museum from top to bottom. A startling photograph enlarged into a powerful mural presented in a stunning manner and, at the same time, entirely out of context, intentionally misleading, dishonest and finally base.
The viewer is not told, for example, who the people are in the photo that have been cremated. Were they Jews? How do we know? If they were not Jews, who were they? If they weren’t Jews, what significance does the display have? We are not told how they died. Did they do something naughty for which they were executed? If so, what did they do? Was their punishment cruel or unusual? Or were they victims of disease? If so, was an effort made to treat them? Did their sickness take place in a context where it was impossible to treat them? In any event, why were the bodies burned rather than buried? Did the victims die of exposure? How do we know? Did they die of malnutrition? Were the victims worked to death? How do we know? Did the Germans create this grisly scene as a photo op for the U.S. Signal Corps, or did they have something else in mind? What does the exhibit tell us about any of this? Does it matter? More importantly, what does the use of the photograph, and the way it is used, tell us about the Museum?
The Museum doesn’t answer any of these questions and doesn’t attempt to. It presents the graphic display with verve and virtuosity and allows the viewer to “fit it in” to his pre-formed understanding of what happened during the “Holocaust,” which the Museum directors are betting is the orthodox understanding promoted so heavily and with so much money and propaganda. This approach, a repetition of one interesting and even powerful and sometimes horrible graphic display after another, either entirely out of context or in a highly debatable or even straightforwardly dishonest one, makes up the five-floor display of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
There was almost nothing in the Museum of any value other than the photographs and some print graphics from the same era. I understood from the get-go that I was touring a museum organized around a crooked cultural and political scam. At the same time, the photographs were real and endlessly interesting. As I went from display to display I became immersed in the pictorial record of the destruction of one Jewish community after another by the German State. I ignored as best I could the one-sided context and dishonest interpretations that accompanied the photographs. The photographs were very real. I began to feel the terrible anguish that Jews felt when they experienced the sudden destruction of their homes, their family life, their communities, their cultural presence in city after city, nation after nation.
As I continued the tour-and there is simply too much material on exhibit for me to try to even outline it for you here-as I witnessed a pictorial history of the terrible catastrophe of the European Jews during the Hitlerian regime, I grew increasingly aware of how each photograph condemned Western culture. At the same time there was no compassion whatever for the awful catastrophes suffered by Christians and other Gentiles. No historical aware-ness, and no desire to express an awareness, that all the peoples of Europe were failed and betrayed by their leaders and suffered great catastrophes. This gross failure of sensibility, together with the dishonest historical context where lying by omission is clearly the rule rather than the exception, gradually created an environment that was suffocating.
The Museum is about Jews and nothing else, Jews from beginning to end and those who mistreated Jews or are accused of mistreating Jews. Jews as the centerpiece of World War II. Jews as historically the most significant people of the 20th century. Jews as role models for all others. Jews as victims, victims, victims but never as victimizers. The complete suppression of the Jewish role and Jewish players in the gigantic upheavals and turmoil of 20th century Europe. The message of the Museum is that everybody everywhere hates Jews and wants to murder Jews but that everywhere Jews are innocent of all wrongdoing. It’s a childish point of view, but when so much money and so much influence can be pumped into it, it can be an insidious one too.
This is a museum that follows the rules that all historical museums would follow in a totalitarian state. No other people in America, so long as we remain a relatively free society, would even think of creating an exhibition like this one. Absolutely shameless in its propagandizing, shamelessly presenting its exhibits in isolation from the relevant historical context, incorrigibly insensitive to all peoples but those people related to themselves by blood and culture, and without any intelligible need to tell the truth-any other people in America trying to establish a museum like this one would be hooted out of town. In the old days they would have been candidates for being tarred and feathered and ridden out on a rail. All that said, a little surprise was waiting for me.
My main interest was in seeing what the Museum exhibited to prove the “gas chambers.” There were three significant items in the gas chamber exhibit:
a) an aerial photograph of Birkenau from the National Archives in Washington which we have all had access to for years and doesn’t contain any proof whatever for gas chambers or even any evidence for them;
b) a plastic model of a metal door from a standard disinfestation chamber at Majdanek, the sort of structure that was used in German camps all over Europe to fight disease;
c) a plastic model of an artist’s conception of the morgue and cremation facilities known as Krema II which here is labeled as one of four “killing installations” at Birkenau.
The evidence for gas chambers at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum was pathetically weak and vacuous. The plastic model of Krema II on display in Washington is a copy of the plastic model that’s displayed at Auschwitz. The original was created from the imagination of Mieczyslaw Stobierski, a Polish artist who we are told based his creation on documents and on the testimonies of SS guards. Stobierski has used his imagination to sculpt scores of little figurines inside this “killing installation.” He has sculpted imaginary scenes of his imaginary people being prepared for an imaginary “gassing,” shows them actually being “gassed,” and then their little corpses being disposed of afterwards. If you have nothing real, you might as well hire an artiste.
And there you have it. That was more or less what I had expected to see as “proofs” of the gassing chambers. That’s why I didn’t much want to spend the money to go there to start with. I had lost faith entirely in the capacity of these people to put together anything whatever about gas chambers that could prove to be interesting. So why bother schlepping around the country pretending that I might actually see something? Those were my thoughts as I continued on my way through the rest of the exhibits. And it was then that I was taken a little by surprise.
I was in that part of the exhibit titled “The Last Chapter.” It covers the liberation of the camps, includes some of the terrible photographs we have been shown so many times and a few I hadn’t seen, and has one section titled simply, “Children.” The standard claim is repeated that the Nazis murdered a million Jewish children “in their attempt to achieve ‘The Final Solution to the Jewish Problem.’” You can’t escape from the distress of seeing photographs of children who are suffering or who have been mistreated but when you’ve been shown the photos for 40 years or so, and you begin to realize why you are being shown them so often, you tend to rather take them in stride.
Then I before an enlarged photo of the head and shoulders of one poorly dressed man holding a little girl. The caption read:
“Father and daughter in the Warsaw ghetto. Warsaw, Poland.”
Bundesarchiv, Koblenz, Germany.
The father is a thin, black-eyed, hook-nosed, sunken-cheeked specimen with big ears that in the photo look pointed. He’s wearing a cheap woolen coat or jacket with the collar turned up against the cold, and a style of billed cap that I have seen in other photos of central and eastern Europeans. His scrubby face looks like it hasn’t been shaved for a week or two. He’s looking uncertainly to his left from the corner of his eye at something we can’t see. His expression is apprehensive, distrustful, perhaps fearful. We don’t really know.
The little girl appears to be wrapped around in cheap woolen blanket. She’s wearing a kerchief so that you can’t see her hair, but we can see her face clearly in three-quarter profile. She has dark eyes like her father but pretty features. She’s going to be considerably more attractive than her daddy, if she survives. Her head is lying against her father’s shoulder, almost touching the side of his face. Her eyes are open and she appears to be looking in the same direction as her father, but there is no suggestion in her expression that she sees anything to worry about. She’s resting, she’s comfortable, and her daddy will take care of everything for her. She’s absolutely convinced of it. He always has and he always will.
As I stand looking at the photo I feel a movement of anguish well up in me that even there among the other onlookers I can’t keep down. I feel wracked with the pain of a father facing death or maybe something worse holding his little girl in his arms who is comfortable and content and who trusts him utterly to protect her and stay with her and never let her go while he knows it is out of his hands, that she is going to share his fate and there is nothing he can do about it and at the moment his fate looks very bad. I’m unable to suppress my feelings, to stop the tears, and I duck into a men’s room to get a hold on myself.
I’m not a kid any longer. I understand something of the mechanics of what goes down in these little incidents. After all, I have a little girl myself. She lays her head on my shoulder just like the girl in the photo because she loves me and knows that when she’s with me she is safe and that it is unimaginable that anything can go wrong. But I’m standing on thin ice, just like the man in the photo. I’m not in the Warsaw ghetto but I’ve been on thin ice for a long time now. I accept it and like to joke about it but I understand too that at any moment something or someone can break the ice and I can go down and my little girl might well go down with me, along with the rest of us. It’s the awareness of that kind of uncertainty, rooted in the lack of a regular income, the hostility and contempt of almost everyone for the work I do, the loss of old and even lifelong friends, the feeling of alienation that is irreparable, the threat of violence that’s always in the background and so on and so forth that creates the anxiety. This little bundle of anxieties isn’t focused on any one present danger, so it “floats,” and at odd moments will suddenly fix itself onto something or someone that you would never have predicted it would choose-for example, a photograph of a Jewish father holding his little girl on a street in the Warsaw ghetto half a century ago-and that’s the moment when suddenly something is out of your hands and you make a fool of yourself in a public place.
There are many photographs of similar power and beauty in the exhibition. Simple, directly conceived, humane images of Jewish life in central Europe, which we now view with our understanding of the terrible impending doom that was waiting just beyond the reach of the camera’s lens. But the beauty and power of the photographs have been co-opted by transparent Jewish chauvinists intent on condemning Germans for bestial crimes the Museum cannot demonstrate were committed. Because of these failures, and other similar failures, the Museum illustrates a crude exercise in special-interest ethnic propaganda intended to convince us, as is clear in its final exhibits, that after World War II the Jewish invasion of Palestine was morally legitimate. That’s the cheap, final, historical message of the Museum.
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