One of the most notable anti-Semitic propaganda movements to develop over the past two decades has been the organized effort to deny or minimize the established history of Nazi genocide against the Jews. In the United States, the movement has been known in recent years primarily through the publication of editorial-style advertisements in college campus newspapers. The first of these ads claimed to call for "open debate on the Holocaust"; it purported to question not the fact of Nazi anti-Semitism, but merely whether this hatred resulted in an organized killing program. A more recent ad has questioned the authenticity of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. These ads have been published in several dozen student newspapers on campuses across the country.
Similar propaganda has established a beachhead on the computer Internet. In addition to creating their own home pages, Holocaust deniers have sometimes "crashed" the sites of legitimate Holocaust and Jewish discussion groups in a blatant effort at anti, Jewish provocation and self-promotion. Additionally, Holocaust deniers have advertised their Web sites by purchasing innocuous-sounding, inconspicuous classified ads in college and community newspapers.
These paid advertisements and Internet activities have been a national phenomenon since 1991. Though there is no evidence that they have persuaded large numbers of students to doubt the settled record of events which comprise the Holocaust, their appearance has generated acrimony and has frequently caused friction between Jewish and non-Jewish students.
This is precisely the intent of the Holocaust deniers: by attacking the facts of the Holocaust, and by framing this attack as merely an unorthodox point of view, their propaganda insinuates subtle but hateful anti-Semitic beliefs of Jews as exploiters of non-Jewish guilt and Jews as controllers of academia or the media. These beliefs, in fact, bear comparison to the preachings which brought Hitler to power in prewar Germany.
This pamphlet has been designed to provide a brief summary of the propaganda campaign known as Holocaust "revisionism," or Holocaust denial. What follows is (1) a "Q&A" description of the movement, its history, and its leading activists, as well as a review of legal and scholarly responses to this propaganda; (2) a summary of the movement's most common allegations, with brief factual responses, and (3) a selection of quotes by the leading propagandists, demonstrating their anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi agendas.
It is highly unlikely that this report will dissuade the Holocaust deniers from their mendacious and hateful campaign. But this information should provide students and educators with the facts to make informed decisions and vigorous responses to these bigoted lies.
(For further details concerning the Holocaust denial movement, see also the Anti-Defamation League publication, Hitler's Apologists: The Anti-Semitic Propaganda of 'Holocaust Revisionism')
The Movement: What You Should Know
1. What is Holocaust denial?
Holocaust denial is a propaganda movement active in the United States, Canada and Western Europe which seeks to deny the reality of the Nazi regime's systematic mass murder of 6 million Jews in Europe during World War II.
2. Who started the movement?
The roots of Holocaust denial can be found in the bureaucratic language of Nazi policy itself, which sought to camouflage the genocidal intent of what the Nazis called the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question," even as these directives were being carried out. After the war, former Nazis and Nazi sympathizers dismissed the overwhelming proof of the Holocaust established at the Nuremberg war crimes trials; similarly, an obscure group of post-War French Trotskyists and anarchists led by Paul Rassinier (since deceased), seeking to advance their own political agenda, denounced evidence of the genocide as "Stalinist atrocity propaganda."
However, as an organized propaganda movement, Holocaust "revisionism" took root in 1979 when Willis Carto, founder of Liberty Lobby - the largest anti-Jewish propaganda organization in the United States - incorporated the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). The IHR is a pseudo-academic enterprise in which professors with no credentials in history (for example, the late Revilo P. Oliver was a retired University of Illinois Classics teacher; Robert Faurisson earned a Ph.D. in literature from the University of Lyon; Arthur Butz is an engineer at Northwestern University), writers without formal academic certification (such as David Irving, Henri Roques and Bradley Smith), and career anti-Semites (such as Mark Weber, Ernst Zündel and the late David McCalden) convene to develop new outlets for their anti-Jewish, anti-Israel and, for some, pro, Nazi beliefs.
Since 1993, Willis Carto has broken with the IHR in a very public, litigious feud. He has devoted considerable funds and rhetorical vehemence to dis. crediting his former employees, and has also established a rival "revisionist" journal, The Barnes Review. At issue in the feud, primarily, is not the history of the Holocaust - which both sides of the dispute argue never really happened - but rather Carto's reportedly dictatorial management style, and the control of a multimillion-dollar bequest to the parent corporation of the IHR. Although the dispute remains in litigation, as of this writing a Superior Court Judge in California has awarded $6.4 million to the IHR in their civil suit against Carto. The judge, in his ruling for the Institute, characterized Carto as "evasive and argumentative" and added that his testimony in large part "made no sense.... By the end of the trial, I was of the opinion that Mr. Carto lacked candor, lacked memory and lacked the ability to be forthright about what he did honestly remember"; ironically, this description could accurately characterize the entire propaganda movement which Carto founded.
(For further details about this feud and its aftermath, see Liberty Lobby: Hate Central, ADL Research Report, 1995.)
3. Where is Holocaust denial active today?
IHR has tapped into an international network of propagandists who write for the group's Journal of Historical Review (JHR) and meet at its more-or-less annual conventions. The leading activists affiliated with IHR have included Mark Weber, Bradley Smith and Fred Leuchter (USA); Ernst Zündel (Canada); David Irving (England); Robert Faurisson (France); Carlo Mattogno (Italy); and Ahmed Rami (Sweden). Of these activists, Bradley Smith, who served for many years as IHR's "Media Project Director," has attracted the most notoriety in the U.S., due to the series of "revisionist" advertisements which he has placed in college newspapers since 1991 for the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH).
Nonetheless, IHR has suffered noticeably from its feud with Carto. Since breaking with its founder in 1993, the professional staff at the Institute has shrunk from seven to two - Mark Weber, now serving as director, and Greg Raven, who operates IHR's World Wide Web site - and its increasingly infrequent publications have consisted mostly of reprints from previous issues of the Journal of Historical Review, along with at times desperate appeals for funding. Most recently, IHR announced that its 1996 conference would be postponed indefinitely.
4. What is CODOH?
Though Smith claims the "Committee" is an independent entity devoted to promoting "open debate," it has operated essentially as a vehicle for IHR propaganda. CODOH was first headed by Smith and Mark Weber, then-editor of the JHR; its founder was the late William Curry, a longtime supporter of the IHR. Every other associate of the group has also been a public participant in IHR conferences. CODOH ads and flyers list the IHR address and cite IHR sources almost exclusively. Additionally, Bradley Smith's Web page on the computer Internet - which is fairly elaborate and has constituted the bulk of his activity since 1995 -provides links to the IHR site, as well as other Holocaust-denial outlets. Smith, moreover, appears to have suffered from
the same decline in fortune affecting the IHR. He has not written a new editorial-style advertisement since 1993, and his pre-existing ads appeared in only seven newspapers in 1995, and one in 1996, down from 13 in 1993. Instead, Smith's current campus outreach tends to consist of inconspicuous, anonymous classified ads promoting his Web site; the only indication of Smith's agenda in these ads is a reference to "Unanswered Questions About the Nazi Gas Chambers."
5. Are there other propagandists promoting Holocaust denial on the World Wide Web?
In addition to overt neo-Nazi groups, such as the National Alliance,1 which promote denial of the Holocaust as part of a comprehensive racist and anti-Semitic agenda, one of the most active Holocaust deniers on the computer Internet is the German-born Canadian hatemonger Ernst Zündel Zündel whose anti-Semitic activities extend back to the mid-70s, and include associations with the IHR and the neo-Nazi publication, Liberty Bell, as well as the authorship of books such as The Hitler We Loved and Why, has established perhaps the most extensive Holocaust-denial Web site on the Internet. Often updated daily, Zündel's home page, operated by a previously obscure Southern California writer named Ingrid Rimland, publishes materials in English, French and German and includes audio recordings of Zündel's own speeches. In addition to his Internet activities - which he, like Bradley Smith, promotes by purchasing inconspicuous ads in college and local newspapers - Zündel also produces a cable-access TV program as well as German and English-language shortwave radio broadcasts, each of which is also devoted to Holocaust denial.
6. Are there laws regulating Holocaust denial?
In Canada and Western Europe, Holocaust deniers have been successfully prosecuted under racial defamation or hate crimes laws. In the United States, however, the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech, regardless of political content. Nonetheless, though the First Amendment guarantees Holocaust deniers the right to produce and distribute their propaganda, it in no way obligates newspapers or other media outlets to provide them with a forum for their views.
7. What do American legal precedents indicate about such propaganda?
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1974 decision, Miami Herald Publishing Company v. Tornillo , that "A newspaper is more than a passive receptacle or conduit for news, comment and advertising. The choice of material to go into a newspaper... [constitutes] the exercise of editorial control and judgment." Simply stated, to require newspaper editors or broadcasters to provide Smith, or any other individual, with a forum would deny the newspaper or other media their own First Amendment rights to operate a free press, without government coercion; such requirements would also diminish the public's ability to distinguish historical truth from propaganda.
Like the editor of a private newspaper, the editors of all private and most public college newspapers have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial control over which advertisements appear in their newspaper. The only situation in which an editor of a state university newspaper would not have this right would be if the university administration controlled the content of the campus newspaper and set editorial policy. In such a case, the university would essentially function as an arm of the government, and prohibition of newspaper advertisements based on content would violate the First Amendment. There are few universities, however, where the administration exercises this type of control over the student paper.
At public elementary and secondary schools, the administration has the right to refuse to print Holocaust-denial advertisements in a student newspaper; the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1988 decision, Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier, that "educators do not offend the First Amendment by exercising editorial control over. . . the content of student speech in school-sponsored expressive activities so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concern." Based on that decision, it is clear that public school officials have the same right as student editors to reject Holocaust-denial advertisements, since this propaganda encourages bias and prejudice, offends many individuals and has a negative educational value.
The one case directly involving the substance of Holocaust-denial propaganda in an American court was a 1985 lawsuit brought against the IHR by Mel Mermelstein, a Holocaust survivor living in Long Beach, California. In the early '80s, Mermelstein had responded to a cynical IHR publicity campaign which offered $50,000 to anyone who could prove that Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz by submitting evidence that members of his own family had been murdered at that concentration camp. When the IHR failed to comply with its promised terms, Mermelstein filed his suit. In July 1985, the lawsuit was settled in Mermelstein's favor. The settlement, approved by judge Robert Wenke of the Los Angeles Superior Court, called for the IHR to pay Mermelstein the $50,000 "reward," as well as an additional $40,000 for pain and suffering. Moreover, at a pre-trial hearing, the Court took judicial notice of the fact that gas chambers had been used to murder Jews at Auschwitz.
Several months later, Mermelstein won another victory against the Holocaust-denial movement. In January 1986, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury awarded Mermelstein $4.75 million in punitive damages and $500,000 in compensatory damages in a suit he had filed in 1981 against Ditlieb Felderer, a Swedish Holocaust denier whose publication, Jewish Information Bulletin (it is in fact none of these), had mocked the killing of Jews at Auschwitz and had attacked Mermelstein personally. Later that year, the IHR and Willis Carto sued Mermelstein, claiming he libeled them during a radio interview given in New York. In 1988, they voluntarily dropped the charges.
8. What have academic authorities said about Holocaust denial?
The History Department at Duke University, responding to a CODOH ad, unanimously adopted and published a statement noting: "That historians are constantly engaged in historical revision is certainly correct; however, what historians do is very different from this advertisement. Historical revision of major events. . . is not concerned with the actuality of these events; rather, it concerns their historical interpretation - their causes and consequences generally. There is no debate among historians about the actuality of the Holocaust... there can be no doubt that the Nazi state systematically put to death millions of Jews, Gypsies, political radicals and other people."
David Oshinsky and Michael Curtis of Rutgers University have written, "If one group advertises that the Holocaust never happened, another can buy space to insist that American Blacks were never enslaved. The stakes are high because college newspapers may soon be flooded with ads that present discredited assertions as if they were part of normal historical debate. If the Holocaust is not a fact, then nothing is a fact...."
Peter Hayes, Associate Professor of History and German at Northwestern University, responded to a Smith ad by stating, "[B]ear in mind that not a single one of the advances in our knowledge since 1945 has been contributed by the self-styled 'Revisionists' whom Smith represents. That is so because contributing to knowledge is decidedly not their purpose . . . . This ad is an assault on the intellectual integrity ... of academicians, whom Smith and his ilk wish to browbeat. It is also a throwback to the worst sorts of conspiracy-mongering of anti-Semitic broadside.... Is it plausible that so great and longstanding a conspiracy of repression could really have functioned? ... That everybody with a Ph.D. active in the field - German, American, Canadian, British, Israeli, etc. - is in on it together?... If one suspects it is, might it not be wise to do a bit of checking about Smith, his organization and his charges before running so implausible an ad?"
Perhaps most significantly, in December 1991, the governing council of the American Historical Association (AHA), the nation's largest and oldest professional organization for historians, unanimously approved a statement condemning the Holocaust-denial movement, stating, "No serious historian questions that the Holocaust took place." The council's action came in response to a petition circulated among members calling for an official statement against Holocaust-denial propaganda; the petition had been signed by more than 300 members attending the organization's annual conference. Moreover, in 1994, the AHA reaffirmed its position in a press release which stated that "the Association will not provide a forum for views that are, at best, a form of academic fraud."
Holocaust Denial Themes
The following are summaries of major assertions employed by Holocaust-denial propagandists, with brief factual responses.
1. The Holocaust Did Not Occur Because There Is No Single "Master Plan" for Jewish Annihilation
There is no single Nazi document that expressly enumerates a "master plan" for the annihilation of European Jewry. Holocaust-denial propagandists misrepresent this fact as an exposure of the Holocaust "hoax"; in doing so, they reveal a fundamentally misleading approach to the history of the era. That there was no single document does not mean there was no plan. The "Final Solution" the Nazis' comprehensive plan to murder all European Jews - was, as the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust observes, "the culmination of a long evolution of Nazi Jewish policy."2 The destruction process was shaped gradually: it was borne of many thousands of directives.3
The development and implementation of this process was overseen and directed by the highest tier of Nazi leadership, including Heinrich Himmler, Reinhard Heydrich, Adolf Eichmann, Hermann Goering and Adolf Hitler himself. For the previous two decades, Hitler had relentlessly pondered Jewish annihilation.4 In a September 16, 1919, letter he wrote that while "the Jewish problem" demanded an "anti-Semitism of reason" - comprising systematic legal and political sanctions - "the final goal, however, must steadfastly remain the removal of the Jews altogether."5
Throughout the 1920s, Hitler maintained that "the Jewish question" was the "pivotal question" for his Party and would be solved "with well-known German thoroughness to the final consequence."6 With his assumption to power in 1933, Hitler's racial notions were implemented by measures that increasingly excluded Jews from German society.
On January 30, 1939, Hitler warned that if Jewish financiers and Bolsheviks initiated war, "The result will not be the Bolshevization of the earth, and thus the victory of Jewry, but the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe."7 On September 21, 1939, after the Germans invaded Poland, SD chief Heydrich ordered the Einsatzgruppen (mobile killing units operating in German-occupied territory) to forcibly concentrate Polish Jews into ghettos, alluding to an unspecified "final aim."8
In the summer of 1941, with preparations underway for invading Russia, large-scale mass murder initiatives - already practiced domestically upon the mentally ill and deformed - were broadly enacted against Jews. Heydrich, acting on Hitler's orders, directed the Einsatzgruppen to implement the "special tasks" of annihilation in the Soviet Union of Jews and Soviet commissars.9 On July 31, Heydrich received orders from Goering to prepare plans "for the implementation of the aspired final solution of the Jewish question" in all German-occupied areas.10 Eichmann, while awaiting trial in Israel in 1960, related that Heydrich had told him in August 1941 that "the Führer has ordered the physical extermination of the Jews."11 Rudolf Hoess, the Commandant of Auschwitz, wrote in 1946 that "In the summer of 1941... Himmler said to me, 'The Führer has ordered the Final Solution to the Jewish Question... I have chosen the Auschwitz camp for this purpose.'"12
On January 20, 1942, Heydrich convened the Wannsee Conference to discuss and coordinate implementation of the Final Solution. Eichmann later testified at his trial:
These gentlemen... were discussing the subject quite bluntly, quite differently from the language that I had to use later in the record. During the conversation they minced no words about it at all... they spoke about methods of killing, about liquidation, about extermination.13
Ten days after the conference, while delivering a speech at the Sports Palace in Berlin that was recorded by the Allied monitoring service, Hitler declared: "The result of this war will be the complete annihilation of the Jews... the hour will come when the most evil universal enemy of all time will be finished, at least for a thousand years."14 On February 24, 1943, he stated: "This struggle will not end with the annihilation of Aryan mankind, but with the extermination of the Jewish people in Europe.15
Approximately 6 million Jews were killed in the course of Hitler's Final Solution.
2. There Were No Gas Chambers Used for Mass Murder at Auschwitz and Other Camps
Death camp gas chambers were the primary means of execution used against the Jews during the Holocaust. The Nazis issued a directive implementing large-scale gas chambers in the fall of 1941 but, by then, procedures facilitating mass murder, including the utilization of smaller gas chambers, were already in practice. Before their use in death camps, gas chambers were central to Hitler's "eugenics" pro, gram. Between January 1940 and August 1941, 70,273 Germans - most of them physically handicapped or mentally ill - were gassed, 20-30 at a time, in hermetically shut chambers disguised as shower rooms.16
Meanwhile, mass shooting of Jews had been extensively practiced on the heels of Germany's Eastern campaign. But these actions by murder squads had become an increasingly unwieldy process by October 1941. Three directors of the genocide Erhard Wetzel, head of the Racial-Policy Office: Alfred Rosenberg, consultant on Jewish affairs for the Occupied Eastern Territories, and Victor Brack, deputy director of the Chancellory, met at the time with Adolf Eichmann to discuss the use of gas chambers in the genocide program.17 Thereafter, two technical advisors for the euthanasia gas chambers, Kriminalkommissar Christian Wirth and a Dr. Kallmeyer, were sent to the East to begin construction of mass gas chambers.18 Physicians who had implemented the euthanasia program were also transferred.
Mobile gassing vans, using the exhaust fumes of diesel engines to kill passengers, were used to kill Jews at Chelmno and Treblinka - as well as other sites, not all of them concentration camps - starting in November 1941.19 At least 320,000 Chelmno prisoners, most of them Jews, were killed by this method; a total of 870,000 Jews were murdered at Treblinka using gas vans and diesel-powered gas chambers.20
Gas chambers were installed and operated at Belzec, Lublin, Sobibor, Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau from September 3, 1941, when the first experimental gassing took place at Auschwitz, until November 1944.22 Working with chambers measuring an average 225 square feet, the Nazis forced to their deaths 700 to 800 men, women and children at a time.22 Two-thirds of this program was completed in 1943-44, and at its height it accounted for as many as 20,000 victims per day.23 Authorities have estimated that these gas chambers accounted for the deaths of approximately 2E to 3 million Jews.
Holocaust-denial attacks on this record of mass murder intensified following the end of the Cold War when it was reported that the memorial at Auschwitz was changed in 1991 to read that 1 million had died there, instead of 4 million as previously recorded. For Holocaust deniers, this change appeared to confirm arguments that historical estimates of Holocaust deaths had been deliberately exaggerated, and that scholars were beginning to "retreat" in the face of "revisionist" assertions. Thus, for example, Willis Carto wrote in the February 6, 1995, issue of The Spotlight, the weekly tabloid of his organization, Liberty Lobby, that "All 'experts' until 1991 claimed that 4 million Jews were killed at Auschwitz. This impossible figure was reduced in 1991... to 1.1 million.... The facts about deaths at Auschwitz, however... are still wrong. The Germans kept detailed records of Auschwitz deaths.... These show that no more than 120,000 persons of all religions and ethnicity died at Auschwitz during the war...."
In fact, Western scholars have never supported the figure of 4 million deaths at Auschwitz; the basis of this Soviet estimate - an analysis of the capacity of crematoria at Auschwitz and Birkenau - has long been discredited. As early as 1952, Gerald Reitlinger, a British historian, had convincingly challenged this method of calculation. Using statistics compiled in registers for Himmler, he asserted that approximately 1 million people had died at Auschwitz; Raul Hilberg in 1961, and Yehuda Bauer in 1989, confirmed Reitlinger's estimate of Auschwitz victims. Each of these scholars, nonetheless, has recognized that nearly 6 million Jews were killed overall during the Holocaust.24 Polish authorities were therefore responding to long-accepted Western scholarship, further confirmed subsequently by documents released in post-Soviet Russia; the cynical allegations of "Holocaust revisionism" played no part in their decision.
3. Holocaust Scholars Rely on the Testimony of Survivors Because There Is No Objective Documentation Proving the Nazi Genocide.
Another frequent claim of Holocaust "revisionists" concerns what they describe as the lack of objective documentation proving the facts of the Holocaust, and the reliance by scholars on biased and poorly collected testimonies of survivors. However, the Germans themselves left no shortage of documentation and testimony to these events, and no serious scholar has relied solely on survivor testimony as the conclusive word on Holocaust history. Lucy Dawidowicz, in the preface to her authoritative work, The War Against the Jews 1933-1945, wrote, "The German documents captured by the Allied armies at the war's end have provided an incomparable historical record, which, with regard to volume and accessibility, has been unique in the annals of scholarship.... The National Archives and the American Historical Association jointly have published 67 volumes of Guides to German Records Microfilmed at Alexandria, VA. For my work I have limited myself mainly to published German documents."26 The author then proceeds to list 303 published sources - excluding periodicals -documenting the conclusions of her research. Among these sources are the writings of recognizable Nazi policy makers such as Adolf Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hoess and Alfred Rosenberg.
Similarly, Raul Hilberg in his three-volume edition of The Destruction of the European Jews, wrote, "Between 1933 and 1945 the public offices and corporate entities of Nazi Germany generated a large volume of correspondence. Some of these documents were destroyed in Allied bombings, and many more were systematically burned in the course of retreats or in anticipation of surrender. Nevertheless, the accumulated paper work of the German bureaucracy was vast enough to survive in significant quantities, and even sensitive folders remained."26
It is thus largely from these primary sources that the history of the Holocaust has been compiled. A new factor in this process is the sudden availability of countless records from the former Soviet Union, many of which had been overlooked or suppressed since their capture at war's end by the Red Army. Needless to say, the modification of specific details in this history is certain to continue for a number of years to come, considering the vastness and complexity of the events which comprise the Holocaust. However, it is equally certain that these modifications will only confirm the Holocaust's enormity, rather than - as the "revisionists" would -call it into question.
4. There Was No Net Loss of Jewish Lives Between 1941 and 1945.
Another frequent "revisionist" assertion calls into question the generally accepted estimates of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. In attempting to portray the deaths of millions of Jews as an exaggeration or a fabrication, Holocaust deniers wildly manipulate reference works, almanac statistics, geopolitical data, bedrock historical facts and other sources of information and reportage.
For example, "revisionists" commonly cite various almanac or atlas figures - typically compiled before comprehensive accounts on the Holocaust were available - that appear to indicate that the worldwide Jewish population before and after World War II remained essentially stable, thereby "proving" that 6 million Jews could not have died during this period.
The widely cited "6 million" figure is derived from the initial 1945 Nuremberg trial estimate of 5.7 million deaths; subsequent censuses, statistical analyses, and other demographic studies of European Jewry have consistently demonstrated the essential accuracy of this first tally.27 After nearly 50 years of study, historians agree that approximately 6 million Jews perished during the course of the Nazi genocide.28
In The War Against the Jews, Lucy Dawidowicz offers a country-by-country accounting of Jewish deaths.29
5. The Nuremberg Trials Were a "Farce of Justice" Staged for the Benefit of the Jews.
Yet another centerpiece of "revisionist" propaganda attacks the objectivity and legal validity of the postwar Nuremberg Trials, where much information about the Holocaust first became public, and where the general history of the genocide was first established.
The actual process of bringing Nazi war criminals to justice was a lengthy and complicated effort involving the differing legal traditions and political agendas of the United States, England, France and the Soviet Union. As the historical record shows, the allied victors, if anything, erred on the side of leniency toward the accused Nazis.
Discussions concerning allied treatment of war criminals had begun as early as October 1943.30 In the summer months following Germany's surrender in 1945, British, American and Soviet representatives met in London to create the charter for an international military tribunal to prosecute "major criminals" whose offenses extended over the entire Reich, and who therefore could be punished by joint decision of the Governments of the Allies.31
By early autumn, the Allies had resolved their debates over whom to prosecute and how to define the crimes committed during the Holocaust; the first trials began thereafter in Nuremberg, before an international military tribunal. The chief defendant was Hermann Goering, but the prosecution also selected 20 other leading officials from the Nazi party, German government ministries, central bureaucracy, armament and labor specialists, the military and territorial chiefs.32
These trials did not result in either "rubber stamp" guilty verdicts or identical sentences. In fact, of the 21 defendants, three were set free; one received a 10-year sentence; one a 15-year sentence; two, 20-year sentences; three, life sentences, and 11 received the death penalty.33
The defendants, moreover, had access to 206 attorneys, 136 of whom had been Nazi party members.34 Furthermore, as Raul Hilberg stated, "The judges in Nuremberg were established American lawyers. They had not come to exonerate or convict. They were impressed with their task, and they approached it with much experience in the law and little anticipation of the facts.35
A second round of trials resulted in 25 death sentences, 20 life sentences, 97 sentences of 25 years or less, and 3 5 not-guilty verdicts.36 By 1951, following the recommendations of an American-run clemency board, 77 of the 142 convicted criminals had been released from prison.37
1For more information about the National Alliance, see William L. Pierce: Novelist of Hate, ADL Research Report, 1995.
2Israel Gutman (Editor in Chief), Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Volume 2, New York, 1990, p. 788.
3Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (Student Edition), New York, 1985, p. 263.
4See Lucy Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, 1933-1945, New York, 1975, pp. 150,166.
5Gutman, Volume 2, p. 489.
6Ibid., p. 489.
7Gutman, Volume 2, p. 490.
8Holocaust, Jerusalem: Keter Books, 1974, p. 104.
9Gutman, Volume 2, p. 657.
10Ibid., p. 492.
11Ronnie Duggar, The Texas Observer, Austin, 1992, p. 48.
12Gutman, Volume 2, pp. 641-642.
13Ibid., Volume 2, p. 657.
14Duggar, p. 48.
15Holocaust, pp. 105-106.
16Gutman, Volume 2, p. 453
17Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, New York, 1985, p. 219.
18Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, Volume 3, New York, 1985, pp. 873-876.
19Gutman, Volume 2, pp. 541-544.
20Gutman, Volume 2, p. 542; Volume 4, pp. 1483, 1486.
21Gutman, Volume 1, pp. 113, 116.
22Holocaust, p. 86.
23Ibid., p. 87.
24Reitlinger, who conducted his research before Hilberg and other scholars, arrives at a more conservative figure of approximately 4.5 murder victims; he nonetheless estimates that one-third of the internees at concentration camps died as a result of starvation, overwork, disease, and other consequences of their captivity. Although his murder count is somewhat lower than that of later scholars, his overall death count remains consistent with subsequent research.
25Dawidowicz, p. 437.
26Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1223.
27Dawidowicz, p. 402.
28Peter Hayes, Associate Professor of German History at Northwestern University, states, "after years of studying this matter, I know of no authority who puts the number of Jews killed [emphasis in original] by the Nazis at less than 5.1 or more than 5.9 million men, women and children."
29Dawidowicz, p. 403.
30Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1060.
31Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1061.
32Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1066.
33Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1070.
34Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1075.
35Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1076
36Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1077-1078.
37Hilberg, Vol. 3, p. 1079.
Source: Holocaust Denial, (NY: ADL, 1997). Copyright Anti-Defamation League (ADL). All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.