Monday, December 18, 2006

The Holocaust and Its Deniers

60 Minutes ran a story about millions of Nazi documents on the Holocaust being made available to the public.
For the first time, secrets of the Nazi Holocaust that have been hidden away for more than 60 years are finally being made available to the public. We’re not talking about a missing filing cabinet - we’re talking about thousands of filing cabinets, holding 50 million pages. It's Hitler’s secret archive.

The Nazis were famous for record keeping but what 60 Minutes found ran from the bizarre to the horrifying. This Holocaust history was discovered by the Allies in dozens of concentration camps, as Germany fell in the spring of 1945.

As correspondent Scott Pelley reports, the documents were taken to a town in the middle of Germany, called Bad Arolsen, where they were sorted, filed and locked way, never to be seen by the public until now.
On a smaller scale, Eugene's Blog ran a brilliant piece called, How My grandad invented the Holocaust.
I have no cousins. I have no second cousins. I have no third cousins on my father’s side. I have no fourth cousins on my father’s side. How long is the list of natural numbers? If you get to the end of the list, which is not a mathematical possibility, I don’t have those cousins on my father’s side. I have never been to a large gathering of my family – there is not much of it to gather. My father’s father was lucky – he played the trumpet far away from home that year. My father’s father begot my father. My father begot me. That is it on that side. It is a fact.

Now, the President of Iran and a group of assorted nut-jobs that the Associated (with Terrorists) Press has dignified by referring to as “scholars” are holding a “Holocaust Conference.” They would have me believe that my family never was. My grandfather, apparently, made up his story about having a family of 16, or whatever that number was, and then not having it. Part of a grandiose conspiracy spanning the continents and dozens of languages, deep inside the Soviet Union, which a mouse could not have entered unnoticed, not knowing a word of Hebrew or English or whatever other language my people had conspired to dupe the world about their suffering in, my grandfather joined the millions of those who invented their loss.
The problem is that it doesn't matter how well The Holocaust was documented, how many papers, books, photos, movies, stories, or witnesses to the horror there are. It wouldn't matter if every death in every Nazi massacre and concentration camp were on DVD for your viewing pleasure. The Holocaust deniers would still debate the veracity of the Holocaust.

All we have on our side is truth. The deniers have their Jew-hatred, which for them trumps all rational thought. They have 3000 years worth of bright and shining lies, which are repeated, updated, and added to from generation to generation. How many variations of the Blood Libel are there? How many dysfunctions can the Jews be blamed for in the Muslim world? The answer my friend, is blowing through Tehran, supported by Jimmy Carter and Al-Jazeera.

I certainly don't have any answers as to how (or if) these dopes think, but there are two recent articles that offer some insight. Op Ed Review writes about, The Paranoid View of History.
"Anti-Semitism," wrote Stephen Eric Bronner, author of the engaging book A Rumor About The Jews, "is the stupid answer to a serious question: How does history operate behind our backs?" For a wide range of ideological extremists, anti-Semitism is still the stupid answer for why what goes wrong with the world does go wrong. It is a philosophical world view and interpretation of history that creates conspiracies as a way of explaining the unfolding of historical events; it is a pessimistic and frantic outlook, characterized in 1964 by historian Richard Hofstadter as "the paranoid style" of politics, which shifts responsibility from the self to sinister, omnipotent others—typically and historically the Jews.

Long the thought product of cranks and fringe groups, Hofstadter’s paranoid style of politics has lately entered the mainstream of what would be considered serious, and respectable academic enterprise. Witness, for instance, the recent article, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy” by Harvard Professor Stephen Walt and University of Chicago Professor John Mearsheimer which first appeared, not surprisingly, in the London Review of Books, and then was posted in a longer version as a working paper at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where Mr. Walt is also the Academic Dean.
Ayaan Hirsi Ali offers this assessment.
Western leaders today who say they are shocked by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's conference this week denying the Holocaust need to wake up to that reality. For the majority of Muslims in the world, the Holocaust is not a major historical event that they deny. We simply do not know it ever happened because we were never informed of it.
As a Jew, I have to keep repeating the truth. It's not a pleasant truth. It's not pretty or sexy. It does not remove any of my personal responsibility for the way I run my life or raise my children. It does not make me any better or worse as a person than anybody else on this earth. But it is the truth and it must be continuously repeated in the face of all of the Jew-hating liars who believe that their lives will have meaning only if they continue to scapegoat the Jews.

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