Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist
IT’S DARK, IT’S DINNER TIME, and I’m driving over to Pasadena to give a radio interview at KPCC on the campus at Pasadena City College. My appearance has been announced on the air. It’s not impossible that a Jewish Defense League goon will make a fuss over it so I won’t drive directly to the interview. I haven’t been the target of a car bombing yet and I don’t feel this is the night to set myself up for one.
I park in downtown Pasadena and since I’m early I go into a bar for a rum and black coffee. That doesn’t take long so I have another. It’s a nice Pasadena bar. I feel good. I’m at the beginning of my career as a radio personality. In the middle of the third rum and coffee I realize that the broadcast is about to start. I run outside, flag a taxi and make it to the interview at the last minute.
The host is a relaxed young man without the air of self-righteousness that older talk show hosts feel it necessary to exhibit. He may be Jewish. Some of his questions befuddled me a little. We’re half-way through the broadcast before I realize I can’t think clearly because I’m half snockered. I’d had only three rums but I’d poured them into an empty stomach.
A lady who introduces herself as a survivor of Treblinka calls in to say she lost 80 of her relatives there. She seems to believe they were all gassed. I try to get her to tell me something about Treblinka but she wants to talk about Auschwitz, a place she never saw until she took the Auschwitz tour with her son a couple years ago. What she remembers most clearly about the exhibits are the piles of eyeglasses. In her mind, each pair of eyeglasses originally belonged to a Jew who had been gassed.
“We don’t know where those glasses came from,” I say. “They’ve been put on display by the Polish communist government for our edification. Do you believe that when you see old eyeglasses on display that proves that Jews were exterminated in gas chambers thirty-five years ago?”
“Yes. That’s what I believe. And it wasn’t just some eye-glasses. There were piles of them.”
“If you see piles of eyeglasses then, you believe that’s proof that piles of Jews were exterminated?”
“Not piles. Mountains! There were mountains of eyeglasses.”
“If you see a mountain of eyeglasses then, to you that means a mountain of Jews were exterminated? Is that the way you think?”
“Yes, it is. But I don’t want to discuss it with you.”
The survivor lady addresses herself to the moderator and says she called to make a statement about her own experience and is not going to talk to a revisionist. That is, she tries to initiate the “survivor gambit.” An ex-internee will tell some outrageous story, always containing an implicit accusation of criminal behavior against Germans or some other European people, then refuse to respond to any rational questioning on the matter, as if it’s beneath the dignity of a “survivor” to have his or her accusations against others questioned. While I understand why some survivors would want to do this to save themselves the embarrassment of having their inventions exposed, it’s beyond me why the press and our intellectuals go along with it.
What interests me about the exchange isn’t the foolishness of the lady’s position, but my awareness that I am not affected, for the purpose of this dialogue, by her story of having been an internee at a German concentration camp, or by the claim that 80 of her relatives were exterminated, or by any of the implications of those claims about how much she has suffered. That’s the game these ladies play. It’s purpose is to make you appear cruelly insensitive if you question them about their accusation. Almost everything they say is an accusation against others. Tonight I have found out that I no longer feel it necessary to play a role in that game.
It’s the first of the month so I drive to my ex’s house with our rent money. Her new husband, Harvey, is helping a driver load up a truck with cartons of merchandise. Harvey is an engineer and designs products to sell by mail. I go in the house and leave the envelope under the Portuguese platter on the dining-room table and when I step outside again Harvey says that there is something he wants to say to me.
We stand on the broad wood deck in the noonday sun while Harvey tells me about how he had dinner with an old friend last night and how his friend had related the story of how he had been among the first American military to enter Dachau concentration camp the day of its liberation. His old friend described to Harvey the horrors he had found in the camp and how he had seen the Dachau gas chamber with his own eyes.
Harvey isn’t telling me this story out of the blue. There’s something behind it. The Holocaust story has come up between us before. One evening I was asked to leave his dinner table after I said that I consider the Diary of Anne Frank to be a literary fraud. Another time I received a note in the mail from Harvey saying that my newsletter, Prima Facie, is “trash” and to not send it to his house anymore. There have been other incidents as well, but those two are standouts for me. I thought it was finished between Harvey and me about the Holocaust. So I’m surprised, though not unpleasantly, when Harvey volunteers his friend’s Dachau gas-chamber story to me.
I suppose Harvey thinks that since he got it straight from the mouth of a trusted friend, he can depend on the story being true. When Harvey was afraid he might be losing the Holocaust game he wrote that my observations on the gas chamber stories are “trash” and not worthy of being in his house. Now that he believes he has found a winning Holocaust gambit, Harvey wants to discuss the gas chamber stories on his front deck. Now he has no fear of trashing the place. I know it’s base, but when I see one of these little ironies unfold before my eyes a reckless happiness invades my heart.
I listen while Harvey tells his story and when he finishes I assure him that I believe he has put his finger on something very significant, the stories about the Dachau gas chamber, and that I will send him some material on the matter in a few days.
“What kind of material?,” he says. “About what?”
“I’ll send it to you. It’ll be better if you see it in black and white. It’ll be better than if I just tell you.”
I’ve been busy with other projects for ten days but now I’ve put together some material on the Dachau gas chamber story. I’ve included a note outlining precisely what I understand we are going to consider–Harvey’s friend’s eyewitness account of the Dachau gas chamber, and the claim that Germans used it to exterminate Jews and others during World War II.
First, then, I quote Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust studies: “There were no gas chambers at Dachau.” Short, sweet and unequivocal. I give the source: KCKC Radio, San Bernandino, California, 2 October 1985– and I note that I have a cassette recording of the broadcast, including Rabbi Hier’s statement, in my possession.
Secondly, I quote Martin Broszat, director of the Institute for Contemporary History, Munich, a man known far and wide as a Holocaust True Believer: “There were no gassings at Dachau….” I give the source: The New Statesman, London, 1979.
I quote Gitta Sereny then, commenting on Broszat’s observation that there were no gassings at Dachau. Broszat is trying
. . . to hammer home, once more, the persistently ignored or denied difference between concentration and extermination camps; the fundamental distinction between the methodical mass murder of millions of Jews in the extermination camps in occupied Poland on the one hand, and on the other the individual disposal of concentration camp inmates in Germany– not necessarily, or even primarily Jews . . . .
I give the source: The New Statesman, London, 2 November 1979. I point out that I will not attempt to address any of the claims made by Sereny other than her assertion that there were no extermination camps in Germany, and that it has never been claimed that extermination camps existed in Germany that did not employ poison gas chambers.
I quote Simon Wiesenthal, the renowned “Nazi hunter.”
“there were no extermination camps on German soil . . . .”
This statement was reported in Books and Bookmen, London, April 1975. I explain that some historians are now trying to create a middle ground regarding the existence of the Dachau gas chamber. Gitta Sereny, for example, the highly respected author of Into That Darkness, asserts that: “Dachau had a . . . (poison gas chamber) . . . but it was never used.”
If this assertion is true it could provide some support to Harvey’s friend’s eyewitness account of what he believed he saw at Dachau. The assertion that there was a gas chamber at Dachau that was never used suggests a few questions itself. If the gas chamber was never used, how are we to determine that it’s a gas chamber? By the machinery that accepted the gas “crystals”? The machinery that pumped the gas? The machinery that evacuated the gas from the chamber? None of that machinery exists today, and there is no record of it existing the day the camp was taken by the American military.
If the Dachau gas chamber was never used, and if there is no recorded sighting of the machinery that comprised the guts of this great murder weapon, how do we know it was a gas chamber? Are there design plans, construction plans, operations plans? No. Are there records of its operation? No. What is there then? Nothing. Just the stories.
So the question that must be asked Gitta Sereny and the other Dachau-gas-chamber “middle-grounders” is: If there are no plans for your gas chamber, and no gas chamber machinery, and the room that is supposed to have been the gas chamber was never used as one, and at the time it was liberated the Americans had never seen a homicidal poison gas chamber, what credible evidence did they have that the room was a gas chamber? Intuition?
Raul Hilberg has a table (No. 79) in his The Destruction of the European Jews showing which German camps had “gassing devices,” in his opinion. Dachau is not listed among them and I included a photocopy of the Table 79 in the packet for Harvey. Quite accidentally I ran across Konnilyn Feig’s wonderful Hitler’s Death Camps: The Sanity of Madness at the Central Library. Here is a woman who is willing to believe almost anything she has ever read or heard about the gas chambers but on a map of Dachau where the exact locations of the vegetable garden and the laundry are pointed out, even Konnilyn Feig does not go so far as to try to point out a gas chamber. Maybe she overlooked it, but on the chance that she knew what she was doing in this instance, I am including a copy of her map in the packet.
I’ve included copies of some illustrations Butz used in his Hoax of the Twentieth Century. One shows members of the United States Congress standing inside the shower bath at Dachau just like they had good sense while a United States military officer informs them that the Germans had used the room as a gas chamber. I have no evidence that any of these Senators and Congressmen asked so much a single question about what credible evidence there was to support what they were being told. After having participated in running a government that for nearly 30 years had invested its imagination in anti-German hate propaganda, they appear ready to believe anything.
Another photo illustrates the building which housed the crematoria, a third shows the inside of the crematoria in which three of the four ovens are pictured, each clearly intended by its size to accept one body at a time. I put in the photo that shows a United States GI, his hands in his pockets, looking at the outside of the door to the disinfection chamber upon which is printed in German, beneath a skull and crossbones,”Caution! Gas! Danger! Do not open!” An unlikely notice, I would assume, for Germans to post on the outside of the door through which they would drive a couple hundred thousand Jews to be exterminated. Even assuming that Germans would have thought it amusing, I think Jews would have found it annoying.
As Harvey’s friend had entered Dachau on the day it was liberated and saw many gruesome sights, I’m sending along a copy of a photo showing the central yard there, all in apparently reasonable order, the internees forming into companies bearing flags and banners. And lastly another showing internees swarming up a watch tower, laughing and waving their caps for the camera. I wondered if his friend had mentioned that there were several tens of thousands of healthy and cheerful internees at Dachau when he arrived?
I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Harvey’s friend’s claim he saw a gas chamber at Dachau. Somebody told him– there was no other way for him to “know”–that the shower room was a gas chamber, and being no wiser or better informed than United States senators and congressmen he had believed it. For a number of years United States soldiers were regularly propagandized about the Dachau gas chamber. Thus, in the January, 1947 issue of National Geographic Magazine, you can read:
At Dachau where the Nazis cremated more than a quarter of a million civilian victims, the toughest SS prisoners are now guarded….The Nazi implements of horror and their cages and chambers of torture are preserved for exhibition. I met a colonel commanding the Air Forces reinforcement depots at Fuestenfeldbruck, not far away, who was transporting all recruits fresh from the States to this infamous place so that they might visualize what the Allied armies had fought.
Keeping in mind that Rabbi Hier, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, tell us that “there were no gas chambers at Dachau,” it is an interesting experience to visualize hundreds of thousands of United States soldiers being shown the Dachau gas chamber on orders of their superior officers year in and year out. Following that, it is also interesting to visualize those young men carrying the Dachau-lie all over the Western World, spreading it like a plague until 40 years after the lie was first told an innocent emissary brings it home, so to say, to people who in my heart I feel are my family, where it attacks our relationship like a cancer.
And then there’s the little matter of the Dachau “implements of horror,” and the “cages and chambers of torture.” Where are they now? Why are they no longer preserved for exhibition? Who ordered them to be removed? On what grounds? What was done with these implements and cages? Are they stored someplace nearby in a United Stated military warehouse, for example, on the chance that our leaders will one day decide to reinvigorate its own creation — the Dachau lie? These are small questions, but to be able to answer them would be interesting.
Although many of the old claims about Dachau are no longer considered current, the Dachau Lie is alive and well. In some respects it is still growing. While the proportion of Jews in the Dachau population was always small, until the end, and while there is no credible evidence that the camp contained a homicidal gassing chamber, you can still find American newspapers publishing insidiously ignorant stories like this one:
. . . at Dachau an estimated 238,000 Jews were enslaved, starved, gassed to death and cremated in giant ovens during the war.
Here “victims” become “Jews” and the quite ordinary crematory ovens have grown into “giants.” It hasn’t occurred to me until this moment to ring up the editor of The Patriot Ledger and ask the follow where he’s getting his info on Dachau. Not to roust him, newspapermen can’t be well-informed about everything, but to find out who it is who is still peddling the Dachau Lie. In exchange, I could give him the telephone number of the Dachau Memorial outside Munich. There he could discover for himself that during the 12 years the Dachau camp existed, the Memorial claims that 31,951 prisoners perished from all causes, including lawful executions for terrorism, black marketeering, desertion, disease and so on. He could get it from the horse’s mouth about how it is no longer claimed that Jews or anyone else were exterminated there in poison gas chambers.
In my letter to Harvey I suggest that he ring up the Dachau Memorial. I didn’t think of it at the time, but it would be an interesting experience for Harvey’s old friend to ring up the Memorial himself and find out what they have to say there about gassings. What an interesting experience it could be for him to discover that for 40 years he has sincerely believed that he saw and touched a demonstrable proof for the extermination of the European Jews, when he had not. What that would produce in the breast of an honest man? I know what a similar experience produced in my own. It devastated me.
I finish my letter to Harvey by suggesting that he has two problems with the Dachau gas chamber story. If he wants to continue to believe that the story is true, then he needs to explain the dissenting views of Rabbi Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, Martin Broszat of the Institute for Contemporary History in Munich and historians Raul Hilberg and Gitta Sereny and the staff of the Dachau Memorial, among others. If he decides to stop believing the Dachau gas chamber story he needs to explain the reasons why, at the end of World War II, the United States Government invented the Dachau gas chamber story in the first place. He will have to wonder about how many other lies his leaders have told him about the “Holocaust.”
I end by stipulating that nothing I have enclosed in the packet constitutes the slightest proof that the Holocaust did not happen, or that six million Jews were not exterminated by order of the German State during World War II. I want to make it clear to Harvey that he can give up the Dachau gas chamber story without having to give up everything else. He can still have Auschwitz, Treblinka. Maidanek, Sobibor and all the rest. I’m making it as easy on him as I can. All I want is a tiny, tiny concession. A hairline crack in the dike of his belief. If Harvey can give me only Dachau, I’ll give all the rest to him. For the time being.
Three months have passed. I haven’t heard from Harvey about Dachau. Maybe he’s checking out the references I supplied. That first day when I told him that I would send him the material he said plainly he would read it.
“It’ll be a strain,” he said, “but I’ll read it.”
Maybe it’s a bigger strain than he thought it would be. Maybe he’s in the process of discovering that I’m wrong about everything. Maybe he’s about to provide me with incontrovertible proof that I took the wrong turn six years ago and have been barking up the wrong tree ever since. That would be fine with me. My interest is in the story. No matter which way the cat jumps, the story will still be there.
I did speak to Harvey a couple weeks after our meeting on his deck. About the new smoke detectors that the city had ordered installed in our house here. I was going to do it myself, then I realized that the job is going to be inspected by the fire department. So I rang up Harvey to ask a couple questions. He was helpful. There was a friendliness, even an enthusiasm in his voice. He didn’t mention the Dachau gas chamber caper, however, and I didn’t mention it either. I think it’s his responsibility to mention it first. I’ve swatted the ball into his court.