I was working for a small land developer in Malibu and Topanga Canyon, I hired illegal aliens for cheap labor, get drunk, staying out of trouble, evading entirely the Internal Revenue Service, chastising myself for not paying more attention to the kids, trying to think of interesting books my mother would read, tracking down the owners of the goddamned neighborhood dogs, complaining about Bureaucrats and Bureaucratic ideals to anyone who would listen, in short living one kind of everyday life in an everyday neighborhood in a small canyon in Hollywood.
Unfortunately I was also reading an occasional book or magazine, keeping up with things in my own way, and that’s what led to the fix I’m in now, causing me to be ridiculed by friends and strangers alike. That’s one of the problems in living in a country where you’re allowed to print up any god dam thing you want then go out on the streets and peddle it. You can get things to read in this country that in other more progressive societies are simply repressed by the State for your own good. Like the clap, say, and other libertarian ideas.
Here the Bureaucracy has told the sex perverts and pornographers to print and sell everything their hearts desire and after those sweeties swung into action with their high sounding statements and their low-life publications, right after them came the new fascists, the neo-Nazis, the anti-Semites and racists and right-wing crazies, all of them thinking they have a right to express themselves freely in this society. What the hell is going on here? Maybe upstairs in the great pressrooms across America none of these people are taken seriously but in the streets, in the despised twilight world of common people and conspiracy newsletter, the world of working men and women and patriotic weeklies, there is a different story for right-wing extremists.
So I read this offprint of a translation from the French, originally published in Le Monde, distributed by an Australian civil rights (he,he) attorney at a Libertarian Party convention in Los Angeles. The headline was hot enough to wake up even the sleepiest professor: The Problem of the Gas Chambers. Or the Rumor of Auschwitz. It had been written by a professor Robert Faurisson, who I had never heard of but then I hadn’t kept up with the anti-Semites and neo-Nazis the way so many do. I didn’t have to keep up with them. If I had ever needed to get the dope on an anti-Semite, and I don’t recall ever did, I could have rung up any of a couple dozen friends who are either Jews or left-radicals, or both, and found out what I wanted to know.
Now this professor Faurisson observed that Zyclon B, the pesticide that Nazis used to gas to death millions of Jews is not one of the “ventilative” gases, that it’s manufacturers warn that it “clings to surfaces” and takes more than twenty hours to ventilate a room that has been filled with it. Faurisson then pointed out that the German confessions and Allied accusations agreed on one point, that the corpses began “soon”, usually “half an hour”, after the victims were killed.
Faurisson concluded the since the qualities of Zyclon B are known to all and questioned by none, the descrepency in the story must like with those who swore the chambers were ventilated in one half-hour rather that the twenty-odd hours that were needed. I thought that was a pretty interesting observation. It certainly was not an observation I had heard before, and it was uncomplicated. It all hinged on whether Zyclon B could be ventilated quickly within a half-hour, from the gas chamber or whether it took twenty hours. Faurisson cited his sources in the War Crimes documents and in the confessions of Germans and the testimonies of survivors. What could be simpler?
Jesus Christ, I thought, what is this? Is it actually possible to question the historical reality of the Nazi gas chambers? Those veritable human slaughter houses? Those monstrous projections of the most evil minds of all time? Could it be even remotely possible that even part of the most self-righteous literature of the age, the spiritual foundation of so many Hollywood movies could be part truth, part confusion and part hot air?
I was in my room by then, walking in circles on the carpet. I couldn’t believe was I was reading but I couldn’t dismiss it either. It was too simple. I hadn’t read the pamphlet where I had gotten it, I did not want to be seen by others actually reading something about the Nazi gas chambers that did not take the right line. I didn’t want to be tarred with that brush. I do plenty of foolish things but I am not a complete idiot, I have some sense of what is permitted to read publicly in this society without risking your reputation and a lot of other things. I would have thrown the article away on principle if I hadn’t notice that it had been printed first in Le Monde. What I did, I folded it up and put it in my back pocket and when I got to my room that night, like a thief skulking through the dark I took it out and read it.
It was a considerable error in judgment.
Faurisson didn’t let it go with the Zyclon B ventilation cunundrum; he mentioned in passing that it is now agreed by all, the establishment historians and revisionists, that there never were any gas chambers in Germany that they had only existed in Poland. While that may be old news to Holocaust experts, it was new news to me. I felt my jaw go slack. The mind began recalling the photographs of Dachau in Barvia, the photographs of the inside of the gas chamber there I had had the privilege of gazing upon in one book after another for the last thirty-five years. I thought about Buchelwald, Bergen-Belsen, German names that have made my hair stand up just to see them on the printed page.
I thought: Is it true? I thought: have I been a patsy about this for thirty-five years?
I telephoned my friend Joel, who is a Jew by birth and occasionally by inclination.
“Listen,” I said. “I want to ask you a question. Just tell me what you know, what you have always believed since we have known each other.”
“I’ve got a broad up here,” Joel said. “Do you want to say something or are you just going to fuck around?”
“We’ve known each other twenty-five years now. Right?”
“You’ve got about ten seconds.”
“Alright. Is it your understanding that the Nazis used gas chambers to get rid of a lot of Jews at Dachau?”
“That’s right, baby.”
“How about Buchenwald and Bergen-Belsen?”
“That’s right. What the hell is this anyway?”
“Just curious. I’ll talk to you some other time.”
“I can’t hold on now. I’m too up in the air. I’m reading some neo-Nazi literature that’s a knockout.”
“What the hell kind of telephone call is this?”
“That lady you have up there, Joel, she Jewish or not-Jewish?”
“How the hell would I know?”
“Come on, Joel.”
“You crazy son of a bitch,” he said, and he hung up on me.
The most pictorial image in Faurisson’s article was where the Camp Commandant of Auschwitz, a man named Hoess, described how the Jewish workers entered the extermination chambers to drag out hundreds, thousands of vomit and shit covered Jewish corpses while eating sandwiches and smoking fags, and this confession is accepted as being true by Jewish historians. Well, no point in giving up the pleasures of a good smoke and a little snack just because you’re ass-deep in slimey corpses, just because you’ve volunteered to give a hand to the destruction of the Jewish race in Europe. In the old days, according to the literature anyhow, Jews lived and died by higher standards. The suicidal heroes of Masada who slit the throats of their own children-I suppose this is a high standard- rather than have them reeducated by the Romans must have felt some distress looking down on the behavior of their descendants.
And what kind of sandwiches, I wondered? Cheese? Beef sausage? Tongue on pumpernickel?
This whole affair, the Nazi extermination of the Jews in Europe, in one evening became too good a story to not follow up on. For forty-five years I had bought the story the way it’s sold, without ever asking a single question. Suddenly I had a lot of questions. I got hold of that horrible book, The Hoax Of The Twentieth Century, by Professor Butz of Northwestern University. Questions that Faurisson had only touched on Butz delt with extensively, documenting everything, but documenting plenty. What a revelation.
On page 22 I learned that during the trials at Dachau the Americans tortured German prisoners to get a little information about war crimes. Americans beat German prisoners, knocked out their teeth, tortured them with burning splinters, hid fake trial in darkened room lit by candlelight, and “ruined” one hundred thirty-seven German testicles in the process. All documented. I thought about Commandant Hoess of Auschwitz confessing to how Jews handled their own dead. I thought about what I might confess to if someone were putting a boot in my nuts. Most anything the boot-owner desired I suppose. I think if someone were kicking my nuts off I might confess to some pretty exotic stuff. If I didn’t have the correct information, if I didn’t know what I was supposed to know, I might even invent something ludicrous. And I would have been praying all the while, if I had been in Commandant Hoess’s place, that I not be sent to Poland to be interrogated there by the Communist Party apparat, which he was anyway, poor soul.
After Butz I bought the establishment historians who have written on the Holocaust, Reitlinger, Hilberg, Davidowicz, Leven, Shire, Poliakov and a few others. Thousands of pages of manuscript about the Nazis, here and there a page, a paragraph on the gas chambers. I hadn’t know, I hadn’t dreamed, there was so little information on what had been used to exterminate so many. I hadn’t dreamed that so much history had been written around a core of so little knowledge. And I never could have dreamed that the little information there was about the “gas chambers” could be so contradictory, rest of such fraudulent sources, and in the end be so ridiculous.
But that wasn’t even what really bothered me. What bothered me was that men like Faurisson and Butz were persecuted for what they had written, their characters maligned, attempts were made to drive them from their place of work, their lives were threatened. What wasn’t done, was that their observations were never responded t, their accusations never answered, the facts never disputed, the arguments never challenged in open debate or in a free (ha ha) press. That’s what disgusted me. That’s what made me go deeper and deeper into the story of the “six million”, the “gas chambers”, the “extermination” stories.
Step by step I was led to the weekly and monthly Jewish press, then the right-wing press, the Journal for Historical Review, then the racist National Vanguard Instauration. I’d never really followed the Jews on the anti-Semites or the anti-Semites on the Jews. It was bracing stuff, a lot of craziness and honesty, that special brew of those who suppress others and of those who are programmatically suppressed. There was so much of it particularly coming from the Jewish side in conjunction with the mainline press, that I knew early on that I would never be able to keep up with it.
I had to make a decision. I sure as hell wasn’t going to decide for the Nazis. But I wasn’t willing any longer to decide for those who refused to talk about issues. My only choice was to decide for free inquiery, and open press, a considerate attitude toward those who were challenging the Court History of the Twentieth Century. Did someone want to write that the story of the Six Million isn’t quite true? Lets hear it. Lets hear why it isn’t. does somebody want to write that the evidence supporting the stories of the Nazi gas chambers leaves something to be desired in the area of credibility. I’m all for it. Let’s see it. Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff here. I don’t care which way the story goes. What I can’t stand is when a man’s words are shoved back down his throat without a fair hearing. All we’re talking about here is a little history. Let’s talk about it. Why are there so many people who won’t talk about it? Why are there so many people who don’t want others to talk about it?
One rainy afternoon I was having a drink with Vicky Cummers at the Raincheck Room on Santa Monica Boulevard. I’d had a thing about Vicky since the morning when I rang her doorbell to borrow the morning paper and she had answered it wearing her paisley button-down-the-front gown. When she opened the door the gown was unbuttoned and she started doing this can-can dance and laughing.
“Hi, Reed,” she said, singing some can-can tune and kicking her naked legs in the air. “Wanna fuck?”
At that moment I couldn’t decide, I felt rather set back, but afterwards I always had this thing for her.
So this rainy afternoon we were at the bar drinking rum and cokes and chit-chatting and in my minds eye, I was seeing her white thighs doing the can-can. At first we talked about what Vicky’s doing, she’s an actress looking for a job, like all the actresses I’ve ever known, but after a while the conversation turned to what it is I’m doing. I was contracting concrete then as I am now but of course she was interested in what I was writing. So I told her, in as careful a way as I could, that I’d been looking at the evidence used to support the Nazi gas chamber stories, about my surprise at how flimsy that evidence was turning out to be, and the impossibility of finding a magazine of book publisher that was interested in hearing about it. I told her how uncomfortable I felt in trying to look at the problem of the gas chambers objectively, that sometimes I felt guilty, and even ashamed.
Vicky said: “What do you mean objectively?”
“Well, looking at them without prejudice. Evenhandedly.”
“You mean you’re looking at the evidence the Nazis gave and the evidence the Jews gave and you’re putting it all on the same level?”
“Yeah,” I said with some enthusiasm. “Something like that. I’m trying to consider what evidence there is that supports the gas chamber stories as if I were looking at it for the first time, as if I hadn’t heard all the horror stories I have heard over the last forty years.”
“And what conclusions are you coming to?”
“All’s not well in Holocaust land.”
“I see,” Vicky said, a little coolly I thought. “It might even turn out the Nazis were good guys, eh?”
“Oh, no,” I said. “I don’t think so. Those were the guys who destroyed Jewish culture in Eastern Europe. They’re stuck with that one.”
“I see,” Vicky said with a definite coolness.
“The double whammy about this stuff is that while the gas chamber stories aren’t everything they’ve been cracked up to be, the people who are writing about it are being programmatically suppressed and censored. They can’t get published, they can’t talk on radio or television, they can’t teach. Even the commies can teach, but if you don’t follow the establishment line on the gas chambers you can’t teach.”
“I think for you, it might just work out that the Nazis were right,” Vicky said. “It doesn’t really surprise me. This might be a good time to mention I never much liked your ideas on taxation and social security either. And there’s something else…”
“Wait a minute. It’s starting to get confusing here. I haven’t said anything at all about the Nazis being right. And this new stuff…”
“This new stuff as you call it is old stuff. I’ve listened to your bullshit for years and I’ve never said anything, but if you’re going to tell me Nazis didn’t exterminate Jews in gas chambers and that maybe the Jews just invented the whole thing or that…”
“Wait a minute. What’s the matter here? What do you know about any of this? Zip, that’s what you know. What are you getting so hot about? It’s only history. The gas chambers either existed or they didn’t. German social policy is a separate question.”
“Like genocide was one issue for the Nazis and social policy was another? Like that Reed?”
“Not like that,” I said. I knew it was all over, we’d reached the end and there was no use going on about it. That was the way it usually ended.
Then I heard Vicky yell: “BARTENDER.”
When he came over Vicky said: “We’ll have another round. The Nazi here will pay.”
The bartender looked at me and laughed. He made a couple drinks.
“That’s right,” Vicky said. “The Nazi here is paying.”
“You keep on about the Nazi business,” I said, “I’ll kick you right in the ass.”
“You try it,” Vicky said, “and I’ll kick your nuts up under your collar.”
“I won’t try it then.”
“You try it and I’ll kick your nuts out on the Boulevard.”
“I don’t know why that strikes me funny.”
“You try something funny with me I’ll kick your nuts behind the juke box.”
“Are you feeling a significant sexual urge,” I said, “like you really want to be with me?”
“I don’t fuck Nazis. Maybe I’ll kick your nuts into that bucket behind the bar where they keep the broken bottles.”
“I don’t know if you’re sober enough to talk to…”
“Try me you Nazi bastard!”
“But Hollywood actors have a difficult time judging things Jewish objectively. I have no idea why. It certainly has nothing to do with all those Jewish producers and Jewish directors and all that Jewish money. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that an actor would rather have a job than think straight. That idea would never cross my mind. But I can remember seeing about ten thousand movies where Hollywood actors have played parts humiliating Germans and I’ve never seen a Hollywood actor playing a role that humiliated Jews.”
“Don’t you think you’re exaggerating a teeny weeny bit?”
“Name one. And come to think of it I have never seen a Hollywood actor playing a part that threw a bad light on a Jewish rabbi but I’ve seen plenty of principled Hollywood actors playing drunken, immoral and ill-willed Christian ministers and priests. Name one.”
“That does it.” Vicky got off her stool and took a couple steps backward. She wasn’t too steady. “Ladies and gentlemen…,”
“Come on, Vicky, not so loud, eh?”
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN…” her trained voice carried easily through the bar into the lounge behind the partition. “AND WE HAVE HERE THE RAINCHECK’S LEADING NAZI WRITER, BRADLEY…”
“Hey, come on, Vicky.”
The other people in the room turned and looked at me. Some of them smiled and some of them didn’t. Some of the faces looked Jewish. Most of the faces looked Jewish.
“HERE’S A MAN WHO SAYS THE GAS CHAMBERS NEVER EXISTED, THAT THE JEWS MADE IT ALL UP, THAT THE NAZIS WERE SWEETHEARTS.”
“Hey, bartender,” I said. I gave him a twenty. He took it with out looking at me.
“Hey,” I said. “I’m not a full-fledged Nazi. I’m just a neo-Nazi. Neo-Nazis hardly count.”
He put the change on the bar without looking at me.
Vicky said: “RAINCHECK’S LEADING NAZI WRITER PICKING UP HIS MARBLES, READY TO GO. NAZIS DOING WELL, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA.”
I leaned over the bar toward the bartender: “Actually, neo-Nazis aren’t worth a shit either. That’s the truth.”
He was busy washing glasses and didn’t look at me.
Vicky said: “what’s the matter, Reed? Cat got your tongue?”
“If I weren’t so nice,” I said, “I’d kick your nuts back on the pool table.”
“Call me sometime, Big Boy.”
“I’ll call you all right.”
Outside on the Boulevard it was still raining. I was angry, furious, but I was unsettled in other ways too that were too complicated to sort out. I knew I’d been taken advantage of. I was certain of that.
Across the street a couple dozen homosexuals were waiting in line to get into a homosexual bar. They stood there patiently, some of them telling stories to amuse others. There wasn’t an overweight in the bunch. They looked eager and content.
They were unaware of the man who had just stepped out the door of the Raincheck Room. I pulled in my belly and hitched up my belt a notch. They were completely unaware of who had his eye on them. They didn’t know they were living in a fools paradise. It wasn’t only the Jews who had been singled out.
Not at all.