WARNING: This post contains questions about a period of history that is, in some countries in the world, illegal to question, and in most countries in the world considered distasteful to question. The legal right to express the opinions and questions presented here is given in Article 19 of the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
The moral and ethical necessity of stating these opinions and asking these questions is the subject of the article, itself.
A while back I wrote on Facebook, “I’ve heard talk recently about how what is going on in Europe right now is a sort of repeat of what happened in Germany leading up to WWII. I would offer a slightly different perspective.” The post was actually in response to a specific article, though at the time I saw no reason to link to the article. I found the article to be overly simplistic at best…not really worth drawing attention to. Since then, quite a few comments have been added to the article. I’d already offered few thoughts on the article in the above mentioned post, but after reading the comments I’d like to offer something a bit more in depth.
But first, a brief word on why I am bothering to write this. I’ve never shied away from approaching delicate and/or controversial subjects. I have explored the possibility of various conspiracies, of coverups in assassinations, of evidence of a worldwide network of pedophiles that includes highly placed government officials, and more. With a record like that, one might assume that tackling the holocaust would come naturally. Believe me, it doesn’t. In fact, coming to terms with both the information in this article, and the very idea of writing it, has been one of the most difficult things I’ve done.
Like any normal person living in the West, I’ve was raised on stories of the holocaust, had believed unquestioningly the testimony of the witness, and have felt abject horror and revulsion from the stories they have told. The very idea of questioning those who suffered in this way has seemed as abhorrent to me as the idea of questioning the veracity of the story told by a clearly traumatized victim of rape. And yet, here I am…and the question is, why?
The long and short of it is, for love of humanity, and all of our cultural expressions. It is for this reason that I can also say that I detest the cultural policies that have been claimed to be of the NSDAP — the National Socialist Workers Party, more commonly known as the Nazi Party. I don’t want to live in a culturally homogenous society. I love the varied cultural expressions of humanity. I live in the Los Angeles area, and while there is much to dislike about LA (the traffic being right at the top of the list), my favorite aspect of LA is the cultural mix. As I’ve put it in the past, in LA a person can travel the world without ever leaving town.
So why write something that could be perceived as defense of the Nazis? I’m not. Let me state that more clearly: I AM NOT DEFENDING THE NAZIS. If I were living in Nazi Germany I would have been one of those speaking out against Hitler, and against his policies. That is, if the me of today were there. If I had been raised in the cultural milieu of the late 19th and early 20th century, I would quite likely have been a very different person. However, my dislike of their policies does not lead me to simply accept everything that has been said about them, no matter how tearfully, no matter how it tugs on my heartstrings, and no matter how many epithets and slurs those who are deeply vested in maintaining those ideas in the mind of the populace want to apply to me.
Many of the earliest stories of the holocaust have already been proven a complete fiction. Much of the testimony about the atrocities allegedly committed by Germany during the war are difficult to reconcile with known facts. And, as we’ve moved further in time from the actual events, the stories told have become more and more fabulous. Accepting these stories unquestioningly as we are asked — no, demanded to do, does nothing to promote the cause of understanding the roots of how we have come to our current position of never-ending war, and rapidly eroding rights; a position that has its roots firmly in the two world wars of the first half of the 20th century.
As difficult and distasteful as we might find the questions, I think the time has come when these questions should be considered more than simply a matter of revising our picture of history. The New Testament contains the following saying attributed to Jesus: By their fruits you will know them. What have been the fruits of the victors of WWII — those who painted themselves as liberators, and the defenders of democracy and human rights? Just look around you: deceit, corruption, hatred, and never-ending war. One of the common tools used to perpetuate this state of affairs is the specter of the holocaust and the fear of a new Adolf Hitler rising up to threaten the world again. So the questioning of the stories told by the victors is not merely a question of history, it is a question of moral imperative. How did we get here, and how do we get out? Without at least something of an answer to the first question, we have no chance of finding an answer to the second.
The difficulty in approaching this subject is perfectly stated below by historian David Irving, as is his very life and career. After decades of locating and translating original documents, Irving compiled a picture of Hitler and National Socialism that was second to none. If he had dealt with any other period in history, Irving’s already stellar reputation as an historian would have risen even higher. But Irving made the fatal mistake of ignoring Hitler the caricature as painted by the victors, and instead painted a picture of Hitler the man. This wasn’t a picture of evil incarnate, it was a picture of a flawed man with political goals that were not so unlike the political goals of other nations of the time and the nations of today. For his sin, Irving has been vilified as antisemitic and a Hitler apologist, even by those who pretend to take an objective look at history. Neither of those claims is true. In Irving’s own words,
The biggest problem in dealing analytically with Hitler is the aversion to him deliberately created by years of intense wartime propaganda and emotive postwar historiography. I came to the subject with almost neutral feelings. My own impression of the war was limited to snapshot memories-1940 summer picnics around the wreckage of a Heinkel bomber in the local Bluebell Woods; the infernal organ note of the V-1 flying bombs passing overhead; convoys of drab army trucks rumbling past our country gate; counting the gaps in the American bomber squadrons straggling back each day from Germany; waving to the troopships sailing in June 1944 from Southsea beach to Normandy; and of course, VE-day itself, with the bonfires and beating of the family gong. Our knowledge of the Germans “responsible” for all this was not profound. In Everybody’s magazine, long defunct, I recall “Ferrier’s World Searchlight” with its weekly caricatures of a clubfoot dwarf called Goebbels and the other comic Nazi heroes.
The caricatures have bedeviled the writing of modern history ever since. Confronted by the phenomenon of Hitler himself, historians cannot grasp that he was a walking, talking human weighing some 155 pounds with graying hair, largely false teeth, and chronic digestive ailments. He is to them the Devil incarnate; he has to be, because of the sacrifices that we made in destroying him.
The caricaturing process became respectable as the Nuremberg war crimes trials. History has been plagued since then by the prosecution teams’ methods of selecting exhibits and by the subsequent publication of them in neatly printed and indexed volumes and the incineration of any document that might have hindered the prosecution effort. At Nuremberg the blame for what happened was shifted from general to minister, from minister to Party official, and from all of them invariably to Hitler. Under the system of “licensed” publishers and newspapers established by the victors in postwar Germany the legends prospered. No story was too absurd to gain credence in the history books and memoirs.David Irving
My thesis is that the crimes against the Jewish people, and others, committed by the Nazi party have been grossly exaggerated in order to pave the way for ongoing atrocities committed by Western governments and Israel. This is not a radical thesis. All history is written this way. The only thing that can make the idea seem in the least radical is the idea, driven into our heads with unprecedented efficacy through endless propaganda documentaries and movies, that somehow historians on the winning side have actually written an accurate history this time. That propaganda has been bolstered by demeaning anyone who dares challenge it with epithets like antisemite, or conspiracy theorist. Well, so be it. Like any body, the body politic must have an immune system that seeks to destroy and eliminate anything that threatens its existence. Once one begins to approach a truly objective picture of the events of WWII one realizes that there is a very good reason for the prohibitions against questioning that period of history.
At the time of WWII the US was coming into its own as a world superpower that was quickly spreading its influence around the globe, France was still attempting to build an empire with colonies in Asia and Africa, and England could still proudly proclaim that the sun never set on the British Empire. As for Israel, while they have continually claimed to be mere victims trying to find a safe home for the Jewish people, or only protecting themselves, the new state was immediately seized by people who, as Albert Einstein pointed out in a letter to the New York Times, written December 2, 1948, were closely akin to the Nazi and Fascist parties. As we are about to see, this kinship was evident before and during the war.
“Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our times is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the “Freedom Party” (Tnuat Haherut), a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist, right-wing, chauvinist organization in Palestine.”Albert Einstein -- New York Times, Dec 2, 1948
The actual quote is from the P.C. Hodgell novel, Seeker’s Mask, and reads, “That which can be destroyed by the truth, should be.” There is a wonderful irony in a quote about truth being fraudulently attributed — an irony that is closely related to the subject at hand. It is also a sentiment I tend to agree with, and so will be the guiding principle for this exploration of history.
And I write this because, given the state of the world in which we live, it is high time we realize that we have been had. The holocaust is not an historical event, though it does have its roots in historical events. The holocaust is a religious belief — a fundamental tenet of the religion of the Nation State. Like the monotheistic idea of God as creator, judge, and savior, the religion of the Nation State holds that the State is the creator, judge, and protector of society. Without the State, so this religion claims, the world would devolve into chaos; there would be no one to protect the people from the likes of another Hitler rising to power– the irony being that it is the State itself that allows and nurtures the very people it pretends to protect us from.
The foundation of various States follow the same patterns of development as the great religions. The formation of the US State parallels the formation of Christianity amazingly well, from its founder event that includes original apostles and the codification of beliefs in a sacred document, its insistence that all of its actions are blessed by God, its eventual schism and war over conflicting beliefs, its creation of martyrs and saints celebrated on appointed days each year to focus the flock’s attention on the desirability of and glory in personal sacrifice for the State, to its evangelism around the world. And, as in medieval Christianity (and all current cults), while the various religiously designated sins of lust, avarice, gluttony, etc. — the sins that God himself has allegedly denounced — all have rather benign remedies in the form of penance, payment, or acts of devotion, while the only sin that carries a penalty of banishment, torture, or death is the sin of questioning the religion itself or its fundamental tenets.
This is seen most clearly in the holocaust story, which must mean that this story is fundamental to upholding the authority the State claims for itself today. There is something deadly to the State hidden within that story. Like the story of Jesus in Christianity, there are historical events that formed the foundation of the story, but anyone delving deeply into the known history soon finds that the story is a clear confabulation that uses historical events to give an appearance of historical accuracy. And, as in Christianity, continued faith and obedience is promoted in successive generations through the creation of even more fabulous stories and, as we’ll see, even miracles.
Hitler’s state religion followed more the pattern of Judaism, focusing on racial history rather than a unique founder event as it’s basis. This is why the German Zionists who worked toward creating a State of Israel — a form of Zionism fathered by the Austrian Theodor Herzl — found such a willing accomplice in Hitler for the transfer of European Jews to Palestine in preparation for the creation of the state of Israel. Each followed a similar religious belief. While the history of WWII can be approached from many angles, in the end WWII was a religious war fought between different denominations of the same religion of the Nation State. And in yet another parallel to medieval Christianity, the prevailing denomination used fabulous stories of the unmitigated evil of its opponents both to create the appearance of righteousness for itself, and to create the appearance of justification — even necessity — of its own authoritarian power and egregious violation of human rights.
This article does not seek to vindicate Hitler or the tenets of Nazism. It seeks to promote rational discussion of that period of history — discussion that is free of the demonizing propaganda that was launched by the Allies well before the war had ended, and was brought to fruition with the burlesque of the Nuremberg Tribunal. Without that discussion, there is no hope for avoiding the kind of conflict and massive human suffering of the World Wars again, and there is diminishing hope of salvaging our humanity.
The blessing which Jesus Christ promised to the peacemakers may finally come to them, but in the meantime they are likely to get damned in a war-maker civilization like our own, where hating and fearing the correct enemy is a primary requirement of being a good citizen. That demonizing process is essential, in order that a politician standing up on his hind legs can bray about the “enemy”and thereby call for more military expenditure, a new war, more trashing of our democratic liberties etc. –as Adam Curtis described in that BBC classic trilogy “The Power of Nightmares.” But this rhetoric does a lot more than start new wars: it closes down your frontal-lobe capacity for higher reflective thought and erases what possibility we might have had, collectively, to ponder what it means to be human.Nicholas Kollerstrom -- Breaking the Spell: The Holocaust, Myth & Reality
The article that prompted this missive can be found here: http://www.sott.net/article/291591-Holocaust-2-0-Coming-soon. It is fairly typical of the kinds of stories that thoughtlessly invoke the holocaust as an emotional lever into your mind.
The article begins with a sort of dedication:
Sott.net is beginning a commemorative series of articles in view of the fact that people on this planet don’t really seem to be remembering what they swore they would ‘never forget’. History is repeating, it is happening NOW, and the beginnings are before our very eyes. Consider these articles our warning to humanity. We hope it doesn’t fall on deaf ears.
Well, I’m all for that in principle…but exactly what is it that we are never to forget? Based on the article, my guess would be a History Channel version of Nazi Germany and WWII. To be fair, the article does point out that there were plenty of others who suffered in German concentration camps aside from Jews – something the History Channel seems to consistently leave out. And, to point out right up front so that this point doesn’t get lost, the article is warning against the rise of Islamaophobia in Europe, using the rise of antisemitism in Europe as an example of what it all can end in: genocide. In other words, it is not about the holocaust per se, but only using the holocaust as an emotionally charged example of what can happen when popular opinion embraces the idea that an entire group of people is worthy of contempts. So what problem could I find with that? Like the author, I am not an Islamophobe, and I would also warn against the dangers of going down the racists road of demonizing an entire people for the actions of a few.
My problem with the argument is this: by pointing people to Nazi Germany you are pointing people to the wrong place to find answers. Yes, the NSDAP were fierce nationalists, and yes they wanted the Jews out of Germany, and yes, they did use violent and abusive tactics to achieve that end. There’s no question about that. But if we are to understand that period of history — a period that includes both WWI and WWII — painting the Nazis as homicidal maniacs who just wanted to kill all of the Jews does a terrible disservice to seeking truth. Even if they were complete and utter monsters (they weren’t, though there were certainly monsters amongst them) what happened in Germany did not happen in a vacuum. Placing the blame solely on the NSDAP will not provide answers to the question of how to avoid a repeat of the events of WWII. If anything, it will baffle anyone looking for answers. There is no period of history more mired in disinformation, obfuscation, and outright BS than WWII. As a simple example, the Scholastic website page on Anne Frank claims, “More than six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis during this brief period in history, including Anne Frank.” Actually, Anne Frank died of typhus. Such is the nature of this period in history. The truth doesn’t matter. Only the propaganda matters, as we will see.
While the popular conception of Nazi Germany would hold that Hitler had a singular hatred of Jews that lead him to seek power in order to rid the world of their race, the Jewish Question was not a product of Hitler, Germany, or even exclusively non-Jews. That was a question being asked across Europe, even by some Jews themselves. While some Jewish people simply assimilated into the countries in which they lived, there was a large portion of the Jewish population who refused to do so. Those Jews — which included (but were not limited to) the Zionists, of which Theodor Herzl was the leader — also asked the Jewish question. Herzl’s answer to the question was a homeland for the Jews. He no more wanted Jews to integrate into German (or Polish, or Russian) culture than Hitler did.
Hatred of the Jewish people has a very long history. Herzl himself said,
“The Jewish question exists wherever Jews live in noticeable numbers. Where it does not exist, it is brought in by arriving Jews … I believe I understand anti-Semitism, which is a very complex phenomenon. I consider this development as a Jew, without hate or fear.”Theodor Herzl
In the 16th century, the founder of the Protestant Reformation (and, some would say, the spiritual father of Nazism), Martin Luther wrote of Jews:
“They have been bloodthirsty bloodhounds and murderers of all Christendom for more than fourteen hundred years in their intentions … Thus they have been accused of poisoning water and wells, of kidnapping children, of piercing them through with an awl, of hacking them in pieces, and in that way secretly cooling their wrath with the blood of Christians … The sun has never shone on a more bloodthirsty and vengeful people.”Martin Luther
In fact, virtually every country in Europe that has had a large Jewish population has also expelled them at one time or another.
Theordor Herzl and the Rise of Zionism
“It would be an excellent idea to call in respectable, accredited anti-Semites as liquidators of property. To the people they would vouch for the fact that we do not wish to bring about the impoverishment of the countries that we leave. At first they must not be given large fees for this; otherwise we shall spoil our instruments and make them despicable as ‘stooges of the Jews.’ Later their fees will increase, and in the end we shall have only Gentile officials in the countries from which we have emigrated. The anti-Semites will become our most dependable friends, the anti-Semitic countries our allies.”The Complete Diaries of Theodor Herzl. Vol. 1, edited by Raphael Patai, translated by Harry Zohn, page 83-84Theodor Herzl was born in 1860 in Budapest, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire — part of an assimilated household that didn’t really take part in Jewish life. As an adult, he moved to Vienna, earned a Doctor of Law degree, married the daughter of a wealthy Jewish businessman (earning him a large dowry), and eventually became a somewhat successful comedic playwright and producer, then a featured columnist for the most influential newspaper in Austria, Neue Freie Presse.
Eugenics & Antisemitism
So-called Antisemitism was already common around the world at this point in the late 19th century, and eugenics theory was becoming more popular. The idea of eugenics is to improve the quality of the human race through selective breeding. Eugenicists argued that people of “inferior” genetics should be sterilized to keep them from propagating those genetics.
The father of modern eugenics theory was Charles Darwin’s half-cousin, Francis Galton. Galton observed that plants and animals naturally selected the most fit members of the species for reproduction, and wanted to re-apply that concept to human reproduction. I say re-apply because it was, one could argue, the modernization of something practiced naturally by all human populations throughout time. Unhealthy children would be unlikely to reach breeding age, and even if they did they would not be considered attractive mates. Also, many tribal cultures would banish those who had what were considered defects, such as the genetic defect we would call psychopathy today, that kept them from acting in a socially responsible way within the tribe.
From it’s beginnings in England, eugenics spread throughout the West, even becoming an official discipline in some universities. In the early 20th century, eugenics policies were officially implemented in the U.S. and some European countries. Among the proponents and financial sponsors of the policy were the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and John Harvey Kellogg, a proponent of vegetarianism and the inventor of Corn Flakes. Eugenics gave rise to ideas of “racial purity”, which fed bigotry and misguided ideas of racial superiority in some people. It was within this milieu that Herzl began to face the Jewish question.
Herzl had been sent to Paris as the Neue Freie Presse’s correspondent for the Dreyfus trial. Captain Alfred Dreyfus was a French artillery officer of Jewish heritage who was accused (and eventually convicted) of treason for communicating French military secrets to the German embassy in Paris. Later evidence showed that Dreyfus was innocent, yet the evidence was covered up by French authorities in what is considered a blatant act of both antisemitism and hatred of the German Empire for its annexation of Alsace and part of Lorraine in 1871. It was during this visit to Paris — what he considered to be the liberal center of Europe — that Herzl would be shocked by statements like death to the Jews, then later further shocked by the suicide note left by his son, Hans, which read: A Jew, is a Jew, is a Jew.
Over months after this visit to Paris, Herzl formed the ideas that would lead to modern Zionism. Zionism itself was not new. What was new was the idea of creating a Jewish State, which Herzl outlined in his 1896 pamphlet, The Jewish State.
Within a short time after publishing his pamphlet, the first meeting of the Zionist Congress was held in London. The London Times had this to say in the preceding week.
The meaning of Zionism hardly needs explanation. Up till recently Zionism as it is known, had only a religious and philanthropic tendency, and found many adherents also among believing Christians in England. But since the persecution of the Jews began in Russia and Romania some ten years ago and since anti-Semitism in Austria and Germany made the social position of the Jews more intolerable than it was before, the thought of establishing a Jewish state, if possible in old Judea, has gained ground, not only among the Jews of those countries mentioned but also among the Jews in the rest of the world. Many of them thought that a purely philanthropic movement would always be but a palliative, and would never lead to a solution of the Jewish Question.
The many millions spent by Baron Hirsch and Rothschild on colonizing have produced only very slight results. And so arose the idea of political independence. The once philanthropic Jewish party of Zionists adopted a wider program, so that now Zionism actually connotes the revival of the Jewish nationality by the establishment of a Jewish state. In short, Zionism has become a political and social movement. The idea had its origin among the Jews of Eastern Europe where they are more or less persecuted or oppressed, as in Russia and Romania, and even too, in Austria: but curiously enough the movement has been eagerly fostered by many Jews in American and England, where Jewish citizens enjoy full and equal liberty with their Gentile fellow citizens. The consolidation of nationalities is a characteristic feature of our century. Italy, Greece Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria owe their existence to the principle of nationality, a principle no less powerful and perhaps no less erroneous than was that of the Crusades, but one that urges on the people of this century with an irresistible force. National integration is carried so far in Europe that petty peoples, whose very names have hardly reached your shores, peoples so insignificant that they have neither la literary nor a spiritual past which have possessed a grammar and dictionary of their own languages only for the last ten to twenty years are struggling for their national individuality with greater zeal and passion than those displayed in their pursuit of all other worldly goods, important as the latter may be. Jewish students hold aloof.
Considering this tendency, it is no wonder that the idea of political resurrection has taken possession of that race which produced monotheism, and which during 2,000 years of oppression has given numerous proofs of intellectual vigor and vitality. Only a few years ago no educated Jew in England, Germany or Russian would have dreamed of calling himself anything but an Englishman, a German or a Russian. Today many are heard to say that they are only Jews.
Herzl’s Final Solution
Virtually everyone in the Western world attributes the phrase the final solution to the Jewish question to Hitler and the NSDAP. The words are inexorably associated with evil and homicide on an unimaginable scale. The term itself, however, is a Zionist term.
Following the publication of The Jewish State, Herzl began a campaign of approaching heads of state to present the idea of creating a Jewish homeland. His first choice was the German Kaiser, but the Kaiser wouldn’t hear him. He also approached the Russian Czar in 1899, writing,
Sire: It is to the graciousness of His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Baden, who has Grand Duke of Baden, who has consented to become the exalted sponsor of my humble request for an audience with Your Imperial Majesty, that I owe my permission to submit the Zionist plan for the final solution of the Jewish Question.”
Following Herzl’s lead, the term final solution of the Jewish question became a common phrase in Zionist writings of the time. The Jewish Criterion reported on August 4, 1899 on an address Herzl gave, quoting him as saying,
“What is our aim? We desire to create in the ancient fatherland, Palestine, a legally assured home for the Jewish people. This we consider the complete and final solution of the Jewish question.”
Note, also, the use of the term fatherland in the above quote — another term that has become synonymous with Nazi Germany.
The Jewish Yearbook of 1916 contained the following under the heading Jewish Communal Life:
“United Synagog adopts resolution that the final solution of the Jewish question will be facilitated by the formation of a Jewish political and spiritual center, preferably in Palestine, under the protection of the British flag.”
These are only two of hundreds of examples of the common use of the term final solution to the Jewish question by Zionists well before the advent of the NSDAP. The point being, of course, that the term and the plan to relocate Jewish people from Europe were both Zionist.
Within months of Hitler taking power, Herzl’s final solution to the Jewish question was proposed to the Nazi government. This proposal that had fallen on deaf ears in the past was now taken seriously. Hitler was in favor of the idea, and from 1933 to 1940 aided thousands of German Jews to immigrate to Palestine via the Haavara Agreement. England declared war on Germany in 1939. Not long after, the transfer of Jews to Palestine was blocked by British forces. In the linked article on the agreement from the Jewish Virtual Library, the claim is made that “Haavara continued to function until World War II, in spite of vigorous attempts by the Nazi Party to stop or curtail its activities.”. The claim is untrue. While there were those in the Nazi party who opposed the agreement, Hitler himself defended the agreement throughout its years of operation. As the former head of the Zionist Federation of Germany, Dr. Hans Friedenthal, stated in an interview following WWII,
“The Gestapo did everything in those days to promote emigration, particularly to Palestine. We often received their help when we required anything from other authorities regarding preparations for emigration.”Dr. Hans Friedenthal, Zionist Federation of Germany
The support for this relocation of Jews is also evidenced in this July, 1935 notice in the official paper of the SS, Das Schwarze Korps:
The recognition of Jewry as a racial community based on blood and not on religion leads the German government to guarantee without reservation the racial separateness of this community. The government finds itself in complete agreement with the great spiritual movement within Jewry, the so-called Zionism, with its recognition of the solidarity of Jewry around the world and its rejection of all assimilationist notions. On this basis, Germany undertakes measures that will surely play a significant role in the future in the handling of the Jewish problem around the world.
Strange actions and writings for a government allegedly hellbent on destroying the entire Jewish race, no?
The Rise of Nazism
This is, in many ways, the crux of the matter, and the point at which the propaganda of articles like the one mentioned above do the most damage to the seeking of truth. The simplistic and juvenile notion that Hitler and everyone close to him were simply psychopaths who managed to trick and bully the German people into giving them power is not even in the truth ballpark. Or perhaps, given that all governments engage in subterfuge and trickery, we should say that it is sitting in the bleachers of the ballpark at best. It is certainly not the great lesson of the rise of Nazism.
On page 92 of his book Defying Hitler, Sebastian Haffner wrote about the rise to power of the Nazi party in Germany:
The Nazis constantly gained ground. What was no longer to be found was pleasure in life, amiability, fun, understanding, goodwill, generosity, and a sense of humor.
This description of Germany under Hitler, and the implication that before Hilter Germany was a place of “pleasure in life, amiability, fun, understanding, goodwill, generosity, and a sense of humor” is complete nonsense. I can’t think of any way to describe it other than shear propaganda born of a burning hatred. If one really wants to understand the rise of Hitler, one needs to take an honest and full look at the situation in German that lead to his rise, and his ability to address the issues of the time.
Germany before Hitler
Half a century later, few people understand the crisis Germany faced at that time. Today, it’s easy to assume that Germans have always been well-fed and even plump. But the Germans Hitler inherited were virtual skeletons.During the preceding years, a score of “democratic” governments had come and gone, often in utter confusion. Instead of alleviating the people’s misery, they had increased it, due to their own instability: it was impossible for them to pursue any given plan for more than a year or two. Germany had arrived at a dead end. In just a few years there had been 224,000 suicides – a horrifying figure, bespeaking a state of misery even more horrifying.
By the beginning of 1933, the misery of the German people was virtually universal. At least six million unemployed and hungry workers roamed aimlessly through the streets, receiving a pitiful unemployment benefit of less than 42 marks per month. Many of those out of work had families to feed, so that altogether some 20 million Germans, a third of the country’s population, were reduced to trying to survive on about 40 pfennigs per person per day.Unemployment benefits, moreover, were limited to a period of six months. After that came only the meager misery allowance dispensed by the welfare offices. Notwithstanding the gross inadequacy of this assistance, by trying to save the six million unemployed from total destruction, even for just six months, both the state and local branches of the German government saw themselves brought to ruin: in 1932 alone such aid had swallowed up four billion marks, 57 percent of the total tax revenues of the federal government and the regional states. A good many German municipalities were bankrupt.
Those still lucky enough to have some kind of job were not much better off. Workers and employees had taken a cut of 25 percent in their wages and salaries. Twenty-one percent of them were earning between 100 and 250 marks per month; 69.2 percent of them, in January of 1933, were being paid less than 1,200 marks annually. No more than about 100,000 Germans, it was estimated, were able to live without financial worries.During the three years before Hitler came to power, total earnings had fallen by more than half, from 23 billion marks to 11 billion. The average per capita income had dropped from 1,187 marks in 1929 to 627 marks, a scarcely tolerable level, in 1932. By January 1933, when Hitler took office, 90 percent of the German people were destitute.
In short, the vast majority of people in Germany were desperate. Politically the country was a shambles, and the Treaty of Versailles had left the German people broken, and broke; the country that was once Germany shattered into many pieces.
Berlin had become a virtual drug and sexual circus. Women, along with young girls and boys, turned to prostitution to make money. Virtually any sexual fantasy could be fulfilled on the streets of Berlin for anyone who could pay. There were districts that specialized in pregnant women, and other districts that specialized in disfigured women. Whatever your tastes, from pedophilia to a cocaine fueled romp with an animal, you could find satisfaction in Berlin. Despite the unfortunate title, this video will give you a good feel for the Berlin of those days.
This is the Germany that gave rise to National Socialism — the Germany that Hitler sought to return to its former glory.
The Reformation of Germany
“The people, were not put here on earth for the sake of the economy, and the economy doesn’t exist for the sake of capital. On the contrary, capital is meant to serve the economy, and the economy in turn to serve the people.”Adolf Hitler
Let’s not be shy about telling the truth, even if it does paint Hitler in something of a less-than-pure-evil light. We all know the old joke: “How do you know when a politician is lying? His lips are moving.” That is what we’ve come to expect in the politics of today. Hitler had made grand promises of bringing Germany back from the brink. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that he succeeded in doing exactly what he promised.
Upon becoming the Chancellor of Germany Hitler said,
“It will be the pride of my life, if I can say at the end of my days that I won back the German worker and restored him to his rightful place in the Reich.”
He did, in fact, do just that. He brought Germany out of the Great Depression, virtually eliminated unemployment, commissioned a car that would be cheap to build, buy, and maintain — the iconic Volkswagen Beetle, and had the best roads in the world built — the Autobahn. He instituted the 40-hour work week, with minimum amounts of yearly vacation — more for younger workers who needed the time off for their developing bodies and minds — along with mandatory overtime pay and universal healthcare. It should be noted that most of these civilized policies were being enacted in Germany by Hitler well before they would be enacted in the US. Some, like universal healthcare, aren’t even on the horizon in the US at this point. Within a very short time, Germany had gone from a destitute country to a prosperous and happy country under Hitler. Stating this fact might be considered socially unacceptable today, but it is the truth.
It was this nearly miraculous success that lead John F. Kennedy to write in his journal, prior to WWII:
“Fascism? The right thing for Germany.”
“The Germans really are too good – therefore people have ganged up on them to protect themselves.”
The Nordic races certainly seem to be superior to the Romans.
Even after the war — when stories of the alleged atrocities of the Nazi gas chambers had already been spread — after a visit to Hitler’s Hitler’s tea house and holiday home in Berchtesgaden, Kennedy wrote,
Who has visited these two places can easily imagine how Hitler will emerge from the hatred currently surrounding him to emerge in a few years as one of the most important personalities that ever lived.John F. Kennedy
There are, of course, those laws that were enacted by the Nazi government almost immediately to strike against the Jews. Well, at least that is how you will read it on virtually any website that is pushing the official story of the holocaust. What is telling is that literally none of them will print the text of the laws themselves. For example, virtually every such site will reference the April 7, 1933 Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service as being an anti-Semitic law rather than a law intended to curb the rampant corruption of the Weimar Republic. According to the Holocaust Encyclopedia, this law was, “The first major law to curtail the rights of Jewish citizens…according to which Jewish and ‘politically unreliable’ civil servants and employees were to be excluded from state service.” A nice touch to put ‘politically unreliable’ there in quotes. It really leaves the entire affair to the imagination of the reader who has, no doubt, been saturated with propaganda that makes the intended meaning abundantly clear: something nefarious involving not having blonde hair! Here is the actual text of the law. I invite you to find any reference to Jews.
Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (April 7, 1933)
The Reich government has enacted the following law, which is hereby promulgated:
1. For the restoration of a national professional civil service and for the simplification of administration, civil servants may be discharged from office in accordance with the following regulations, even when there are no grounds for such action under existing law.
2. For the purposes of this law, the term “civil servant” means immediate [unmittelbare] and mediate [mittelbare] officials of the Reich, immediate and mediate officials of the federal states [Länder], officials of local governments [Gemeinde] and local government associations, officials of public corporations and of institutions and enterprises with the same status. The stipulations apply also to social insurance agency employees who have the rights and duties of civil servants.
3. “Civil servants,” for the purposes of this law, also includes officials in temporary retirement.
4. The Reichsbank and the German State Railway Co. are empowered to make corresponding regulations.
1. Civil servants who attained their status after November 9, 1918, without possessing the required or customary training or other qualifications are to be dismissed from service. Their former salaries will be accorded to them for a period of 3 months after their dismissal.
2. They possess no right to allowances, pensions, or survivors’ pensions, nor to continued use of the official designation, the title, the official uniform, and the official insignia.
3. In cases of need, a pension, revocable at any time, equivalent to a third of the normal base pay for the last position held by them may be granted to them, especially when they are caring for dependent relatives; reinsurance according to the provisions of the Reich’s social insurance law will not occur.
4. The stipulations of Section 2 and 3 will be applied in the case of persons who come under the provisions of Section 1 and who had already been retired before this law became effective.
1. Civil servants of non-Aryan descent are to be retired; honorary officials are to be removed from official status.
2. Section 1 does not apply to civil servants who were already employed on August 1, 1914, or who fought during the World War at the front for the German Reich or who fought for its allies or whose fathers or sons were killed in the World War. With the agreement of the appropriate special minister or of the highest authorities of the federal states, the Reich Minister of the Interior can permit further exceptions in the case of officials who are abroad.
Civil servants whose former political activity affords no guarantee that they will act in the interest of the national state at all times and without reservation can be dismissed from service. They are to be accorded their former salary for a period of 3 months after their dismissal. Thereafter, they will receive ¾ of their pension and corresponding survivor’s benefits.
1. Every civil servant must acquiesce to being transferred to another office in the same or equivalent sector, even into one carrying a lesser rank or regular salary – reimbursement of the approved relocation expenses will occur if the transfer is made on account of service-related needs. If a civil servant is transferred to an office carrying a lesser rank and regular salary, he retains his previous official title and the official income of his former position.
2. In place of a transfer to an office of lesser rank and regular income (Section 11), the civil servant can demand to be retired.
For the purpose of simplifying the administration, civil servants can be retired, even if they are not yet unfit for service. If civil servants are retired for this reason, their places may not be filled again.
1. Dismissal from office, transfer to another office, and retirement will be ordered by the highest Reich or federal state agency, which will render a decision that is final and not subject to appeal.
2. The dispositions according to Articles 2-6 must be made known to those affected by September 30, 1933 at the latest. [ . . . ]
A pension will not be granted to the civil servants dismissed or retired in accordance with Articles 3 and 4 if they have not completed a term of service of at least 10 years. [ . . . ]
Berlin, April 7, 1933
The Reichsminister of the Interior
The Reichsminister of Finance
Count Schwerin von Krosigk
Notice that the Holocaust Encyclopedia does not give the actual text of the law, and very deliberately misrepresents the law by stating, “according to which Jewish and ‘politically unreliable’ civil servants and employees were to be excluded from state service.” This is simply a lie. The reference is to Section 4 of the law. Read it again:
Civil servants whose former political activity affords no guarantee that they will act in the interest of the national state at all times and without reservation can be dismissed from service. They are to be accorded their former salary for a period of 3 months after their dismissal. Thereafter, they will receive ¾ of their pension and corresponding survivor’s benefits.
Not only is there no mention of Jews, but there is a provision that those falling under the law would get 3 months severance (try to get that from any employer today) and 3/4 pension and survivor benefits! This is just one example of what cannot be described as merely a misrepresentation of the facts. It is a complete and utter fabrication. Sadly, this is typical. If you take the time to read the source documents you will find that the claims of the promoters of the holocaust story very rarely match reality. Then again, given that the majority of those who promote this story are a subclass of the Jewish people who also vehemently support the claim that Israel is only “defending itself” when it rains virtual hell fire down on the defenseless people of Gaza, this kind of twisting of reality shouldn’t come as a surprise.
Hitler and the Jews
The image to the right was used in Nazi propaganda as the Ideal German Soldier. He had blonde hair, blue eyes…and his name was Werner Goldberg. He was half Jewish.
Horst Geitner, left, was awarded both the Iron Cross Second Class, and the Silver Wound Badge. He was also half Jewish.
There were also Jewish officers in the Nazi army such as Colonel Walter H. Hollaender, Luftwaffe General Helmut Wilberg, and field-marshal Erhard Milch.
Yes, there was an idea in Hitler’s Germany of an Aryan ideal, and yes Hitler did limit civil service positions to those of Aryan blood — in other words, only Germanic people were allowed to work in government. Much has been made of the seeming paradox that Hitler’s so-called master race was to be all blond-haired and blue-eyed Nordic types — a type that neither Hitler himself nor virtually any of his top staff exemplified! Paradoxes like this typically arise when some aspect of the apparent paradox is misunderstood or misinterpreted. In this case, it isn’t possible that Hitler would be attempting to create some sort of master race that he would not be a part of. In fact, the Aryan ideal was not merely one of genetics, it was one of character. It entailed characteristics of honesty, bravery, and hard work. Hitler did apparently see these characteristics as a natural part of the German people, but would confer the title of Ehrenarier (honorary Aryan) on non-Germanic people who displayed these characteristics.
Thousands of men of Jewish descent, including hundreds who were officially designated as Juden by the Nazi government, served in the German army during WWII with Hitler’s full knowledge and consent. More than 1,200 cases of Jews being given the right to remain in the German army despite the German laws against non-Germans in public service are known — exemptions personally signed by Hitler. Hitler also personally made exemptions for 77 top military officers of Jewish heritage, and decorated around twenty Jewish soldiers with the Ritterkreuz, one of the highest medals awarded in the German army.
But what will really burn your biscuits is that Hitler even went so far as to award medals to Jewish soldiers who had fled Germany for Palestine for their bravery during the first world war!
From the Ha’aretz article on that:
“Many of the association’s members are descendants of soldiers who fought heroically and tenaciously as part of the German army in World War I,” Devorah Haberfeld, the AICEO’s director, told me recently. “The fact that Nazi Germany awarded Jewish fighters medals in the name of the Fuehrer and the Reich, shortly before the Jews were stripped of their civil rights and were incarcerated, deported and finally annihilated, is an almost incomprehensible absurdity.”
This is only an absurdity if one forgets, or doesn’t know, that Hitler’s plan was to rid Germany of Jews through immigration to Palestine. As the SS clearly stated, they had great respect for the spiritual movement known as Zionism…a movement that was well aligned to Hitler’s own views! There is simply no compelling evidence that Hitler wanted to create a world of all Aryans, only that he wanted segregation of what he perceived as various races. This same view was common throughout the Western world.
There is no doubt, however, that the Nazis did round up Jews and place them into concentration camps. While I can’t condone the action, it was not without reason — and the reason was actually better than the one that led the US to round up Japanese citizens into concentration camps after the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the case of the US concentration camps, there was only a fear that some Japanese citizens would act against the US out of loyalty to Japan. In the case of Germany, world Jewry — which does not mean all Jews in the world, but men who claimed to represent Jews around the world — had actually declared war on Germany. While holocaust proponents would have you believe that this was in response to anti-Semitic legislation being passed by Germany, that is not the case. As I showed above, laws such as the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service that has been claimed to be anti-Semitic, actually were not. German laws that specifically began to target Jews did not come to pass until after “world Jewry” declared war on Germany. This inconvenient aspect of the story is typically left out of the popular WWII documentaries.
Additionally, Germany was faced with guerrilla warfare conducted by Jewish Partisans who fought in plain clothes and utilized what today would be referred to as “terrorist” tactics. In short, whatever you think of the Nazi method of dealing with the perceived threat from the Jews of Europe, the perception of this threat was born neither from paranoia nor Hitler’s alleged hatred of Jews. The threat was real.
Anti-German propaganda started well before the war had come to an end. According to Nuremberg document NI-11696. NMT “green series,” Vol. 8, p. 606, Allied planes dropped leaflets onto the Auschwitz concentration camps, and the surrounding area, claiming that the Nazi government was gassing prisoners in the camp. Naturally, this caused rumors of gassing to spread. But before there was any talk of gassings and other atrocities being committed by the Germans, the psychological war against the Germans was already underway in the press of the Allies. This is to be expected, of course. No country can wage war without demonizing its enemy — making the enemy deserving the the horrors of war for their unmitigated evil, and creating a heroic myth around its own war efforts to maintain public opinion in favor of the war. However, in the case of WWII the Allied propaganda rose to new levels — or should I say sank to new depths?
From the start, in 1933, the war against Germany had begun. It was a war waged by international Jewry. Let me be clear; that reference is no more meant to be imply that every Jewish person in the world was involved any more than referring to the policies of any country would imply that every citizen was behind them. We are speaking of political people identifying themselves with and using Judaism as a political tool.
On March 24, 1933, this headline (image above) blazed across the Daily Express: Judea Declares War on Germany! In the text of the article we find,
The Israeli people around the world declare economic and financial war against Germany. Fourteen million Jews stand together as one man, to declare war against Germany. The Jewish wholesaler will forsake his firm, the banker his stock exchange, the merchant his commerce and the pauper his pitiful shed in order to join together in a holy war against Hitler’s people.
One might notice the term Israeli people in that article. Remember that the state of Israel did not yet exist. Comments that followed are extremely interesting, to say the least.
“Hitler will have no war (does not want war), but we will force it on him, not this year, but soon.”Emil Ludwig Cohn in Les Annales, June, 1934
“We Jews are going to bring a war on Germany.”David A. Brown, National Chairman, United Jewish Campaign, 1934
“We want to bring about a deep hatred for the Germans, for German soldiers, sailors, and airmen. We must hate until we win.”Lord Beaverbrook, quoted in Niemals! by Heinrich Goitsch
“There is only one power which really counts. The power of political pressure. We Jews are the most powerful people on earth, because we have this power, and we know how to apply it.”Vladimir Jabotinsky, Jewish Daily Bulletin, July 27, 1935
Going back to the quote from Sebastian Haffner’s Defying Hitler:
The Nazis constantly gained ground. What was no longer to be found was pleasure in life, amiability, fun, understanding, goodwill, generosity, and a sense of humor.
That kind of nonsense is typical of Haffner, who described Hitler coming to power as “[a]n earthquake shatters 66 million lives.” But it is also mild compared to the sorts of things he wrote after moving to England in 1939. In the August 1942 issue of the London monthly World Review, Haffner proposed the mass murder of all members of the SS, writing,
“Now this is a stark and gruesome matter. In all probability it amounts to the killing of, upwards of 500,000 young men, whether by summary court-martial (no such mass-justice can be other than summary) or without even that ceremony. Even if one wants to avoid the actual killing and instead to convert the SS into a number of life-serving mobile forced-labor divisions for international use, it would mean not much more than a living death.”
Such a charming man. Just how much should we trust an assessment of Germany at the time written by a man of such blind hatred that he could casually suggest the murder of half a million people without trial? A man who considers such murderous actions as, according to his article, “a resounding act of international justice,” and “criminal sentimentality to leave the terrorists alive and abroad when dearly-bought victory at last makes it possible to dispose of them.” We certainly can’t accept his assessment as anything approaching objectivity. And Haffner wasn’t the only one writing this kind of murderous nonsense.
In 1941, Theodore Newman Kaufman published a small pamphlet titled Germany Must Perish. Kaufman’s little pamphlet might have remained an obscure racist diatribe if it weren’t for the fact that none other than Time Magazine reviewed it, saying,
“Since Germans are the perennial disturbers of the world’s peace, … they must be dealt with like any homicidal criminals. But it is unnecessary to put the whole German nation to the sword. It is more humane to sterilize them.”
I’m sure I don’t have to point out how similar this quote is to what has been claimed to be the German plan for the Jews and others they allegedly considered sub-human. But it gets even better. In a later interview, Kaufman went on to say,
“I believe, that the Jews have a mission in life. They must see to it that the nations of the world get together in one vast federation. “Union Now” is the beginning of this. Slowly but surely the world will develop into a paradise. We will have perpetual peace. And the Jews will do the most to bring about this confederation, because they have the most to gain. But how can you get peace if Germany exists? The only way to win an eternal peace is to make the punishment of waging war more horrible than war itself. Human beings are penalized for murder, aren’t they? Well, Germany starts all the wars of magnitude. Let us sterilize all Germans and wars of world domination will come to an end!”
Again, aside from the fact that Kaufman’s assurance that the world under the Jewish mission would become a paradise — a statement that would be hysterical if we didn’t have the contrary evidence of countless dead and displaced Palestinians at the hands of Irael — if one merely replaces the word German with Jews one has a statement that is indistinguishable from what has been claimed to be the Nazi program. If he were only a lone nut calling for genocide of Germans this would be one thing, but Time Magazine was promoting his ideas!
You can’t read so-called history of Nazi Germany without finding references to Hitler’s alleged hatred of anyone non-Aryan — the so-called sub-humans. Virtually everyone “knows” this and accepts it as truth. One story that was used to propagate the idea, and is still popular today, is the story of Hitler walking out on the Berlin Olympics.
As the story goes, Hitler had hoped to use the Olympics to prove to the world the superiority of the “Aryan race”. Those hopes were dashed, however, by an African American runner named Jesse Owens. Allegedly, Hitler was told that he must shake hands with all medal winners, and so rather than be forced into shaking hands with “inferior blacks”, just left the stadium. This was used as evidence of Hitler’s boundless racism.
Jesse Owens had something else to say about the matter at the time. According to Owens,
“Hitler had a certain time to come to the stadium and a certain time to leave. It happened he had to leave before the victory ceremony after the 100 meters. But before he left I was on my way to a broadcast and passed near his box. He waved at me and I waved back. I think it was bad taste to criticize the ‘man of the hour’ in another country.”
As reported in the Daily Mail, in 1960 Owens attempted to set the record straight on the events of that day. Sports writer Siegfried Mischner says that he spoke to Owens, and that not only did Hitler shake Owens’ hand, but Owens carried a picture of that moment with him in his wallet.
But now a veteran sports reporter in Germany has come forward to claim that, though Hitler did indeed leave the stadium after the race, it was not before shaking Owens’ hand.
Siegfried Mischner, 83, claims that Owens carried around a photograph in his wallet of the Fuehrer doing just that. Owens, who felt the newspapers of the day reported ‘unfairly’ on Hitler’s attitude towards him, tried to get Mischner and his journalist colleagues to change the accepted version of history in the 1960s. Mischner claimed Owens showed him the photograph and told him: ‘That was one of my most beautiful moments.’
Mischner said: ‘It was taken behind the honour stand and so not captured by the world’s press. But I saw it, I saw him shaking Hitler’s hand. ‘The predominating opinion in post-war Germany was that Hitler had ignored Owens.
‘We therefore decided not to report on the photo. The consensus was that Hitler had to continue to be painted in a bad light in relation to Owens.’
Even what Albert Speer, the Third Reich Minister of Armaments and War Production, and master architect of the Third Reich, wrote about Hitler’s feelings on the Olympics in his memoir Inside the Third Reich casts serious doubt about Hitler believing that so-called Aryans were a “master race”. Despite Speer adding the racist overtones, he would have Hitler admitting that Africans were physically superior. According to Speer,
“[Hitler] was highly annoyed by the series of triumphs by the marvelous colored American runner, Jesse Owens. People whose antecedents came from the jungle were primitive, Hitler said with a shrug; their physiques were stronger than those of civilized whites and hence should be excluded from future games.“
Of course, maybe Hitler said that, and maybe he didn’t. The testimony of Albert Speer has not fared well when scrutinized by historians. In his book Albert Speer: The End of a Myth, Matthias Schmidt uses a combination of documentary evidence and interviews with people who worked with Speer to show that Speer’s memoir was not an accurate picture, and that Speer’s memoir and testimony has dangerously polluted history with lies. One thing we can say about Speer’s testimony with certainty, however: it kept him from the gallows.
There is, of course, nothing that sells as well as a Nazi quote that shows what evil monsters they were. This one, for example, is a very popular quote attributed to Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels:
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”Falsely attributed to Joseph Goebbels
What Goebbels actually felt and stated about propaganda was something quite different. Here is an actual quote from Goebbels on the subject, given at an address in September 1943 at Nuremberg:
“Good propaganda does not need to lie, indeed it may not lie. It has no reason to fear the truth. It is a mistake to believe that people cannot take the truth. They can. It is only a matter of presenting the truth to people in a way that they will be able to understand. A propaganda that lies proves that it has a bad cause. It cannot be successful in the long run.”Joseph Goebbels
There is also this Internet favorite, attributed to Hitler:
s“The best way to take control over a people and control them utterly is to take a little of their freedom at a time, to erode rights by a thousand tiny and almost imperceptible reductions. In this way, the people will not see those rights and freedoms being removed until past the point at which these changes cannot be reversed.”Falsely attributed to Adolf Hitler
What Hitler did talk about was how these techniques had been used by other nations to promote war. Listen to (or read the translation of) Hitler’s speech on the declaration of war against the US. Whatever you feel about Hitler, you might be surprised how accurate his picture of the US looks today.
Lampshades and Soap
Following the war, the Allied propaganda machine really shifted into high gear. Claims were made about the atrocities committed by the Nazis in the concentration camps, such as the use of Jewish body fat to make soap, and the use of the skin from Jewish bodies to make lampshades. Documentary evidence of these atrocities was gathered quickly in the form of film footage showing actual lampshades. That footage was included in a documentary that was begun by Alfred Hitchcock (who left the project after one month), and finished by Billy Wilder.
The project was not an actual Hitchcock project. He had made two propaganda films in French already (making propaganda films was common for directors of the era as they helped finance other projects), and was asked to work as an adviser on this film. He worked for about one month on the project, after which it was picked up by Billy Wilder. Wilder was an Austrian Jew who began his film career in Berlin. He fled Germany for France following Hitler’s rise to power, eventually ending up in the US making comedies like, Some Like it Hot. Wilder clearly had an ax to grind, and so was not shy in the least about putting unproven — and eventually proved false — claims about Nazi atrocities into his film. The introduction to this video states that it was made as a document to “serve our collective memory.” Given the blatant (and false) propaganda in the film, a more accurate description would be “a document to service our collective memory.”
Let me draw your attention to 41 minute mark of the film. It is here that we learn that, “If a prisoner had a curiously tattooed skin, it was taken from him. We can only hope he was dead when it was done.” Ooo, nice touch. Almost sounds like it could come from the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock! We are then shown actual footage of actual human skin lampshades. I guess that should seal the deal, eh?
Except that, as the Israeli filmmaker Eyal Ballas has shown in his documentary, Soaps, the whole lampshade and soap story just wasn’t true. That, of course, has not stopped the story from being used to this day to strike fear and horror into the hearts of men. There are various theories about how the soap story began. The lampshade story, however, seems to have come from rumors about one woman, Ilse Koch, wife of camp commandant Karl Koch, and so-called “Bitch of Buchenwald”.This picture of Ilse Koch in prison was posted with the title, “Ilse Koch, Imprisoned for Making Lampshades Out of Skin from Men.” Like so many holocaust stories, that sort of title is just accepted. We’ve all been told the stories throughout our lives. Now, we simply believe them without question.
But, like so many of the holocaust stories, this one is just not true. According to Gen. Lucius D. Clay, the United States Military Commander in Germany,
Among the 1672 trials was that of Ilse Koch, the branded “Bitch of Buchenwald,” but as I examined the record I could not find her a major participant in the crimes of Buchenwald. A sordid, disreputable character, she had delighted in flaunting her sex, emphasized by tight sweaters and short skirts, before the long-confined male prisoners, and had developed their bitter hatred.Nevertheless these were not the offenses for which she was being tried and so I reduced her sentence, expecting the reaction which came. Perhaps I erred in judgment but no one can share the responsibility of a reviewing officer. Later the Senate committee which unanimously criticized this action heard witnesses who gave testimony not contained in the record before me. I could take action only on that record.
As we will see soon, Ilse Koch and her human lampshades became such a popular part of the holocaust mythology that some survivors even claimed to have been terrorized by her after she was in prison. But the whole story of Ilse Koch was just a rumor — the sort of scary story that one would expect to crop up in the environment of the war. While she was imprisoned, she was not imprisoned for making lampshades from human skin. Rather, both she and her husband, Karl Otto Koch, were investigated and imprisoned by the SS for embezzlement and incitement to commit murder. And here again is one of those true war stories that you won’t hear about on the History Channel.
The investigation was carried out by SS judge Konrad Morgen. His job was to investigate corruption. It was Morgen who investigated Karl and Ilse Koch. He found Ilse innocent, but Karl guilty of the murder of two (or three, by some accounts) prisoners at Buchenwald. Karl’s punishment: he was executed.
According to Morgen’s own testimony,
“I investigated about 800 cases, that is, about 800 documents, and one document would affect several cases. About 200 were tried during my activity. Five concentration camp commanders were arrested by me personally. Two were shot after being tried.”
Again one must ask how this squares with the picture of Nazi prison camps presented in movies like Sophie’s Choice or Schindler’s List. The answer is, it doesn’t. No matter what happened during the war, movies like these are nothing but war propaganda used to make one side seem completely justified for its killing by demonizing the other. This is nothing new. All war is waged this way, and all history of war is told this way. Any military victory is hollow if it is not followed by the destruction of your enemy in the minds of the people. As Winston Churchill said,
The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.Winston Churchill
On the other side of the coin there is also the use of stories and movies to bolster the idea of the righteous victors. John Wayne provided the stereotypical face of the brave American soldier for the generation that lived through the war. He was replaced with the face of Tom Hanks for the baby boomer generation, thanks to Steven Spielberg’s epic mini-series Band of Brothers. War propaganda started to take a turn for the truly bizarre with the movie Black Hawk Down, in which one of the “heroes”, Ranger John “Stebby” Stebbins, was given a name change at the insistence of the Pentagon to Ranger John Grimes in order to hide the fact he was a convicted rapist and pedophile. Perhaps choice of the name Grimes had something to do with the fact that a John Grimes was made Assistant Secretary of Defense in 2005 by George Bush. War propaganda stories have now completed that turn toward the bizarre and have gone completely around the bend with the glorification of Chris Kyle in the movie American Sniper. Even in this article that defends Kyle, the author states,
In our interviews, Chris certainly conveyed that he hated the insurgents, the Islamic fundamentalist militants against whom they were fighting, and that he was proud of killing many of them. There was no secret about that. He called them “savages” and spoke of them with unmistakable disdain. “They were complete dumbasses,” he said to me. “Just idiots with guns.”
In other words, even those who defend this man portrayed as an American hero admit that his view of people from the Middle East was virtually identical to the views they claim were espoused by Hitler. Yet this man, solely due to his being on “our side” is painted as righteous and good. He is described as being selfless when it comes to protecting American lives. The same could be said of many German soldiers in terms of saving German lives, and yet the only thing we are allowed to say of the enemy is that he was ruthless and racists.
Concentration Camp Survivors
Watching holocaust documentaries one would get the idea that everyone who lived through the Nazi prison camps has a story of torture and abuse to tell the world. That, however, is just not the case. There are those who were interred at the camps who have testified that they saw no evidence of mass executions. Maria Vanherwaarden, for instance, had heard the stories of the gassings at Auschwitz, and so was ready for an end to her life when she arrived there. What actually happened was something else entirely. To quote the Institute for Historical Review:
An Austrian woman, Maria Vanherwaarden, testified about her camp experiences in a Toronto District Court in March 1988. She was interned in Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942 for having sexual relations with a Polish forced laborer. On the train journey to the camp, a Gypsy woman told her and the others that they would all be gassed at Auschwitz. Upon arrival, Maria and the other women were ordered to undress and go into a large concrete room without windows to take a shower. The terrified women were sure that they were about to die. But then, instead of gas, water came out of the shower heads. Auschwitz was no vacation resort, Maria confirmed. She witnessed the deaths of many fellow inmates by disease, particularly typhus. She saw some take their own lives. But she saw no evidence at all of mass killings, gassings, or of any extermination program. A Jewish woman named Marika Frank arrived at Auschwitz-Birkenau from Hungary in July 1944, when 25,000 Jews were supposedly gassed and cremated daily. She likewise testified after the war that she heard and saw nothing of gas chambers during the time she was interned there. She heard the gassing stories only later.
Others told even stranger stories of their time in the camps. Strange, that is, if you accept the idea that the Nazis were simply murderous psychopaths intent on ridding the world of the Jewish race. How does the fact that camp prisoners formed soccer leagues, and even played with camp guards, square with the stories of the camps being nothing but extermination centers?
Or that prisoners at Buchenwald were provided with a library and a movie theater?
Or that Auschwitz had a prisoner orchestra?
Or that the Auschwitz prisoners put on plays that even SS soldiers would attend?
And, given the stories that the Nazis immediately killed children at the camps, why exactly did they have a daycare?
These kinds of activities were not limited to the prisoners at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Beginning in April of 1943, the SS soldiers at Dachau allowed the formation of prisoner soccer teams.
Dachau also had cultural events. These are prisoner drawn costume designs for a Polish cultural event put on by the prisoners at Dachau on April 29, 1943.
I certainly don’t present these as evidence that the Nazi concentration camps were really like an extended summer camp. But this is a side of the camps that you won’t see in the typical holocaust documentary. There you will only hear the most brutal tales in an effort to paint the Nazis specifically, and the German people in general as unimaginable monsters. The evidence simply does not support that claim.
Tales of Horror
But what of the number of witnesses that recounted their firsthand accounts of the gassings? Let’s consider SS Rottenführer (essentially a corporal) Richard Bock’s testimony of his watching a gassing at Auschwitz as a good example. Bock said,
There were enormous piles of clothing in there, and there was a board running around so that the piles did not collapse. And the new arrivals, the Dutch people, had to stand on top of this great heap of clothes to get undressed. Lots of them hid their children under the clothes and covered them up, then they shouted, “Get ready,” and they all went out, they had to run naked approximately twenty yards from the hall across to Bunker One. There were two doors standing open and they went in there and when a certain number had gone inside they shut the doors. That happened about three times and every time Holblinger had to go out to his ambulance and they took out a sort of tin- he and one of his block-chiefs – and then he climbed up the ladder and at the top there was a round hole and he opened a little round door and held the tin there and shook it and then he shut the little door again. Then a fearful screaming started up and approximately after about ten minutes it slowly went quiet.They opened the door – it was a prisoners’ Sonderkommando who did that – then a blue haze came out. I looked in and I saw a pyramid. They had all climbed up on top of the other and then the prisoners had to go in and tear it apart. They were all tangled, one had his arm down by another’s foot and then round it and back up again and his fingers were sticking in someone else’s eye, so deep. They were all tangled, they had to tug and pull very hard to disentangle all these people. Then we went back to the hall and now it was the turn of the last lot to get undressed, the ones who had managed to hang back a bit all the time.
Sounds horrible, doesn’t it? How could human beings act in such a depraved manner? But there is a problem. Bock’s testimony is clearly nonsense. I’ve highlighted the parts that prove this fact. Let’s begin with the claim that the “took out a sort of tin”. Bock only mentions one can of what we are to assume is Zyklon B. A single can of Zyklon B is not enough to kill a large number of people inside the room — certainly not within minutes. Even if enough hydrogen cyanide was released from that amount of Zyklon B, a single can poured into a single hole in the roof would not be able to dissipate inside a crowded room fast enough to kill everyone inside in about 10 minutes.
If you visit Auschwitz today, you will see multiple holes that were allegedly used to pour in several cans of Zyklon B at the same time. The holes in the roof are actually reconstructions of what are claimed to be the original holes. Actually, the entire thing is a Soviet construction, a fact they will only tell you on the tour if you specifically ask…and then only hesitantly. But these present yet another problem with the Bock testimony. He very clearly states that there was a round hole with a little round door. All of the reconstructed holes in the roof at Auschwitz are square, not the round holes that Bock describes.
The crowning glory of Bock’s testimony is his description of the bodies being removed after the alleged gassing. He claimed that the bodies were somehow in a pyramid that prisoners had to go in and tear apart with great difficulty. The obvious problem with that part of Bock’s description is, even if there were only a few hundred dead at a time the time to untangle the bodies and carry them to a transport to the cremation ovens would have slowed the entire process down to the point that it would be completely impossible to have killed the number that have been claimed to be killed per day in Auschwitz. But what really gives away the lie of Bock’s testimony is his description of the blue haze.
In Germany, hydrogen cyanide is called Blausäure — blue acid. It is so named because it was derived from the pigment called prussian blue, which also accounts for the name cyanide, after the color cyan. However, the gas hydrogen cyanide which is released from Zyklon B is colorless. In other words, Bock was only describing what he thought hydrogen cyanide gas was supposed to look like based on it’s German name. Clearly he had never actually witnessed a gassing.
The testimony of Rudolf Höss at Nuremberg doesn’t fare any better. He was an Auschwitz commandant who gave seemingly damning testimony concerning the alleged gassings there, as well as the staggering estimate of 3,000,000 dead there, 2,500,000 of which were by gassing. If you can’t believe a Nazi “death camp” commandant, who can you believe? Unfortunately, not even the mainstream historians and keepers of the Auschwitz Museum actually believe his testimony today. The current number of dead at Auschwitz is officially listed as only 1,000,000. This should come as no surprise. Rudolf Höss was tortured before giving his testimony. This was common practice at the Nuremberg Tribunal. Nazis who weren’t tortured into confessions were threatened with being turned over to the Soviets if they didn’t “confess” to the gassings.
As we stated at the beginning, there is no doubt that the Jewish people, and others, suffered greatly under the Nazis. They were taken from their homes and livelihoods, and forced into overcrowded, disease-ridden labor camps. But the testimony we hear from some who survived the camps goes much further than this.
Irene Zisblatt claimed that throughout her time as a young girl in the Nazi prison camp system she continually swallowed the diamonds her mother gave her, dug them out of her own excrement, washed them, then repeated the process to keep them away from the Nazis. Not the greatest in terms of Nazi horror, but as a tale of the bravery and quick thinking of a young girl, it isn’t bad.
She goes on to describe how she actually escaped from the inside of a gas chamber, and how she was selected to have her skin removed to make lampshades and gloves for Ilse Koch, the woman the US press nicknamed The Bitch of Buchenwald. Fortunately for Irene, Ilse didn’t show up. Once again, she had escaped what seemed like certain death. She then goes on to describe how a compassionate Nazi camp guard saved her life by wrapping her up in a blanket, and throwing her over a barbed-wire fence onto a passing train.
According to her story, she was only 13 years old at the time, weighing only about 60 lbs. Still, if a soldier could throw 60 lbs of weight unevenly distributed across about five feet of human body over a barbed-wire fence, which we can presume was at least six feet high, and onto a passing train, which we can presume was at least several feet away from the fence, then there just might be something to the whole “master race” schtick. But the fact is, it wasn’t possible. Virtually none of Irene’s story is possible. For instance, Irene’s claim that she had been selected for Ilse Koch’s gruesome fascination with objects made of human skin is, to put it bluntly, a lie. Even if Ilse Koch did have this fascination, she could not have been asking for young girls to be taken from prison camps to fulfill her lust at the time Irene Zisblatt claims, because at that point Ilse Koch was in a German prison! If you are interested, you can read a thorough deconstruction of Irene Zisblatt’s story here.
Looking for the bits of truth in Irene’s story is like digging through her proverbial pile of excrement, though she piles on so many Nazi stereotypes that her spiel has become a microcosmic version of the entire holocaust mythos — like an iceberg of spiel threatening to sink anyone who gets too close. A veritable Spielberg.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that while she had allegedly made a piece of jewelry to pass on to her children from the diamonds she claimed to have kept safe from Nazis by continually recycling them through her bowels, she never mentioned a word to her family about where they came from, or what she claims she suffered in the camps. Until, that is, she saw Steven Spielberg’s movie Schindler’s List. Suddenly she had a spiel of heroism, blind luck, and sentimental schlock that put even the schlockmeister himself, Steven Spielberg to shame. Perhaps shame is the wrong word. Never one to pass up an over-the-top story, Spielberg included her in his Oscar(tm) winning holocaust documentary, The Last Days.
The Holocaust at the Oscars
One might think that Irene Zisblatt’s story of escaping from inside a Nazi gas chamber was a singular event…and one would be wrong. Apparently these sorts of escapes were not that uncommon, as Spielberg featured yet another gas chamber Houdini in The Last Days; a woman by the name of Alice Lok Cahana. However, in the companion book to The Last Days, Zisblatt’s story was downgraded to a hallucination she had when visiting Auschwitz in 1994.
But Spielberg didn’t only feature survivors in that documentary. He also featured three soldiers who were, allegedly, members of the Army division that liberated Dachau. And in a move that underscores his cinematic brilliance and sense of racial inclusiveness, one of those soldiers was Caucasian, one Japanese, and one African American. The African American soldier, Paul Parks, provides another stunning example of the absurdities the holocaust story has devolved into.
Paul Parks and the Liberation of Dachau
The Dachau prison camp was liberated by the Third Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division of the US Seventh Army on April 29th, 1945. Attached to that division was the 191st Tank Battalion, Battery C of the 158th Field Artillery, and supporting engineers from the 120th Engineering Battalion.
In The Last Days, Parks tells a detailed story of his experience during the liberation. He talks about seeing the naked bodies piled along the fence, and of the conversation he had with one of the prisoners upon his arrival — the conversation in which he first learned of mass exterminations being carried out at the camp. According to his story, he was completely flabbergasted by what he was being told. He had never heard of a concentration camp, let alone being given any preparation for the horrors he would be shown there. The prisoner filled him in on the details, showing him the gas chambers and cremation ovens, and leaving Parks to wonder how human beings could possibly vest such atrocities on other humans.
If you’ve made it this far still wide awake, you might have already noticed one problem with Parks’ story that, while not a deal breaker, certainly should have raised a red flag. What are the chances that he would find a Jewish prisoner in a German concentration camp who spoke English so well? Perhaps it could happen, but it should cause an eyebrow to raise.
That isn’t the biggest problem with his story, however. The big problem starts with the paragraph at the beginning of this section — the battalions involved in the liberation of Dachau. The battalion Parks was a member of was the all African American 365th Combat Engineers, which were nowhere near Dachau at the time of its liberation. The Japanese American soldier in the film who is also claimed to have been a liberator of Dachau was attached to the 442nd RCT, an all Japanese unit. The 442nd RCT wasn’t near Dachau, either.
Parks’ description of being told about the gassing at Dachau, and being shown the gas chambers themselves, proves problematic also. The problem is, the accepted history of Dachau is that while it is claimed gas chambers were under construction there, they were never finished. Hence, there were no mass execution of prisoners by gassing at Dachau. In fact, even the great Nazi hunter himself, Simon Wiesenthal, made very clear in a statement printed in Stars and Stripes that there were no gassing at Dachau or any other concentration camps on German soil.
Parks came under a considerable amount of fire for his claim that he was at the liberation of Dachau. In order to cover his tracks, he attempted to give an explanation of why he was included when his regiment was far away.
“About our role near the end of the war, though I have no proof of this, a Bostonian who was on General Eisenhower’s staff told me that the decision was taken that, wherever possible, the liberators of the camps would be black soldiers – United States soldiers. He said that they had come to the conclusion that if the people who were in the camps saw black soldiers they would feel more at ease with them. It wasn’t some sort of weird cruel trick – people who saw us come into the camps, some of them my friends now, have told me, ‘We knew when we saw you that you weren’t Germans….we knew you had to be Americans’ – so it did work.”
This sounds impressive, especially if one believes that Nazi soldiers were all blonde and blue-eyed, and that the integrationist policies of the US were well-known thought the world. Neither of these is true, however. Dachau was liberated at a time when segregation was still the law in the US, and lynching were still an all too common occurrence for which the law looked the other way. But surely the German army had no black soldiers! How could such a thing have squared with Hitler’s famous Aryan race building policies?
In fact, there were black soldiers in the Nazi army, and Jews, and others of non Aryan heritage. There was the Free Indian Legion, and the Free Arab Legion of the Nazi army. The Free Arab Legion was made up of Palestinians, Iraqis and Tunisians.
Anyway, back to Parks’ story. What clearly shows the lie that Parks is telling is the simple fact that there would be no reason for the US to include black soldiers for the purpose of letting prison camp inmates know that these were American soldiers due to the mixed racial profile. The simple fact that the troops wore American uniforms, flew an American flag, and spoke English would do the job nicely.
He was not completely wrong about gas chambers at Dachau, though. They did exist — and they were used for delousing to stem the tide of typhus which was causing a massive number of prisoners to die in the camps. Here is a picture of a US soldier standing at the entrance door. If, as has been claimed, the Nazis were trying to fool the prisoners into believing they were actually going to take a shower, they did a piss poor job. The stenciling on the door reads: Caution! Gas! Life danger! Do not open!
The skull and crossbones above the lettering should need no translation.
And if we are to believe Parks’ story, and the common stories of the liberation of Dachau, US soldiers were greeted by nothing but a mass of starving, nearly dead people. There certainly were starving people at Dachau, but here are actual pictures taken at the liberation of the camp. You decide if the stories are strictly accurate.
One might notice several inconsistency between these photos and the stories that have been told. Hardly anyone looks like they are on the verge of death, many prisoners are wearing regular street clothes…and there are children!
OK, if you watched the videos I posted above, the children should not be a big surprise. Children in the camps were actually putting on plays. But if you believe the standard story — the sort of story told by the likes of Steven Spielberg, in History Channel documentaries, or in movies like Sophie’s Choice — you might be surprised since you’ve been told that children were immediately exterminated upon entering the camp. Perhaps you are thinking that these children were old enough to work, and so were kept alive. But the babies! What about the poor, hopeless babies?! No doubt those Nazi bastards used them for target practice, or even worse.
Well, here are some more pictures taken of the liberation of Dachau — some of the babies born there. If you watched the early propaganda film above, started by Hitchcock and finished by Billy Wilder, you will see actual footage of some of these babies. In fact, according to the documentary, there were over 200 children under 12 years old found still alive at the Belsen camp. Well, so much for the idea that the Nazis immediately killed the children. The narrator of the documentary still manages to turn this into something ominous, stating, “To these children, clean, dry clothes and kind words from a stranger were strange, undreamed of, mysterious things.” Really? The narration then goes on with, “Some had been born behind the barbed wire. In what circumstances one dare not try to imagine.” Hmmm…perhaps one shouldn’t dare try to imagine. One might realize that the circumstances were quite what we have been told.
OK, I don’t want to paint a picture of Dachau as a place where all of the prisoners were well fed, happy, and healthy. They weren’t. In fact, the reason the women look so healthy is because the SS gave extra food rations to pregnant women. There were certainly gruesome scenes aplenty there. There were, in fact, gruesome scenes to be found all over Europe at the time. It was war. And yes, there were corpses stacked at Dachau. The Allies proceeded to do what the Nazis were doing with them — cremate them to prevent the spread of disease. The cremation of bodies has been made into some special kind of final humiliation of the dead, but cremation is exactly the correct response when prisoners are dying due to typhus and other diseases.
The picture of the body being placed into a cremation oven was taken following the liberation of Dachau. There are two things one might notice about the picture. The first is that the cremation ovens are the standard sort that would have been used at the time, big enough for only one body. That would mean they would never have been appropriate for use in mass exterminations. The other thing one might notice is that camp prisoners were put to work doing the actual cremation. If these prisoners had been subjected to the horrors that have been claimed, what kind of monsters would then put them to work carrying on the horrors they had finally been liberated from? Another question one might ask is, what kind of prisoners, if they had just been liberated from the horrors we’ve been told about, would pose for a picture like this?
These are the kinds of incongruities that one finds everywhere in the holocaust story. At the very least, they should give us pause to wonder whether the stories we have been told might have been blown just a little out of proportion.
Perhaps this heading should have gone above since the last few hundred words have been dedicated to his bloated berg of spiel. If you’ve happened upon this heading without reading the preceding text, please see above. But there is one other point I’d like to make concerning Spielberg’s choice of including Paul Parks in The Last Days. Spielberg already knew that Parks’ story wasn’t true before he made the film. While I’m willing to give Parks the benefit of the doubt in terms of his character (for reasons I’ll give shortly), I have to say that Steven Spielberg is a cold, calculated liar.
I don’t know Steven Spielberg, so a fair question to ask would be how I could possibly know that he knew that Parks was not telling the truth. The answer is simple. This was not the first holocaust documentary Parks had appeared in.
On November 11, 1992 PBS aired a documentary based on a book of the same name, called Liberators: Fighting On Two Fronts In WWII. The documentary claimed that the all African American battalion, the 761st Tank Battalion, liberated both Buchenwald and Dachau. The Army says this isn’t the case. According to the book and documentary, the 761st was attached to the 71st division, yet the Army only acknowledges the 71st division as being liberators. Alright, I can hear you saying that the Army was just being prejudiced against these brave African American soldiers, denying them their rightful place in history. The problem is, there are many pictures of the liberation of these camps, yet in every single picture there are two things missing: tanks and African American soldiers. Kind of a problem. Even more of a problem is that even Jewish writers slammed the film as being a fraud.
When the movie was nominated for an Academy Award ™ Col. James S. Moncrief, the Sixth Armored’s assistant chief of staff for personnel sent a letter of protest. The film was not removed from contention for an Oscar ™, but the outcry did keep it from winning. The scandal, however, was well-known in Hollywood circles, which means that Steven Spielberg was well aware that the claim that Paul Parks’ tank battalion (and Paul Parks himself) was known to be false. And yet the Man of Spiel still used Parks in his own documentary! To quote the Times of Israel article on the debacle:
Six months later, the New York Times published an article about a just-released independent report by WNET conceding that African-American GIs played no role in the liberation of either Buchenwald or Dachau. In contrast to the Motion Picture Academy, PBS’s flagship station instituted a “new policy of requiring producers [of documentaries] to demonstrate proof of their claims before financing is provided.”
A mind-boggling postscript to the scandal occurred in February 1999, when a film from Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, “The Last Days,” was nominated for an Oscar for superbly documenting the genocide against Hungarian Jewry in 1944.
In an op-ed published that month in the New York Post, I pointed out that while “The Last Days” portrayed Paul Parks, Jesse Jackson’s 1988 hero, as a Dachau liberator, he had zero credibility. WNET’s investigation six years earlier had underlined that Parks, identified in “Liberators” as serving in the 183rd Combat Engineers Battalion, had actually served in the 365th Engineers.
Of course, there will be those who think I’m being too hard on Paul Parks. As a matter of fact, Elliot Perlman put that thought quite eloquently in the LA Times when he wrote,
“One wonders whether there are still some people for whom the eyewitness testimonies of an African American veteran and a Polish Jew are not enough proof.”
Yeah, Elliot, apparently there are still a few of us out there who hold to a slightly higher standard of proof. But I have to hand it to him — I don’t think anyone else has so eloquently, and in so few words, stated the fundamental sales pitch of the holocaust industry.
For more on the liberation of Dachau, and commentary on the subjects we’ve just touched on, read this page of history written by men of the 157th Infantry who were provably there.
The Veracity of Eyewitnesses
The earliest “official” witness testimony has come to us via the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. We’ve all heard of the “trial” there, and many of us have seen the somber documentaries of the unfolding story of Nazi horrors that was revealed there. As with everything else in the holocaust story, one comes away with the impression that all of the judges there were thoroughly convinced that they were witness to the most horrendous act ever perpetrated in the history of mankind, and couldn’t wait to get a rope around a Nazi neck. In the end, everyone agreed that the Nazis were evil and needed to die, then everyone lived happily ever after.
But as with everything else in the holocaust story, that’s not quite how it went. As Sir Norman Birkett, British alternate judge at the Nuremberg Tribunal, put it, “the trial is only in form a judicial process and its main importance is political.” And Robert Jackson, the chief US prosecutor and a former US Attorney General, declared that the Nuremberg Tribunal “is a continuation of the war effort of the Allied nations.” But it was Judge Iola T. Nikitchenko who really got to the heart of the matter when, at a press conference before the start of the tribunal, said,
We are dealing here with the chief war criminals who have already been convicted and whose conviction has been already announced by both the Moscow and Crimea [Yalta] declarations by the heads of the [Allied] governments... The whole idea is to secure quick and just punishment for the crime... The fact that the Nazi leaders are criminals has already been established. The task of the Tribunal is only to determine the measure of guilt of each particular person and mete out the necessary punishment -- the sentences.
US Senator Robert A. Taft denounced Nuremberg, saying,
About this whole judgment there is the spirit of vengeance, and vengeance is seldom justice. The hanging of the eleven men convicted will be a blot on the American record which we will long regret. In these trials we have accepted the Russian idea of the purpose of trials -- government policy and not justice -- with little relation to Anglo-Saxon heritage. By clothing policy in the forms of legal procedure, we many discredit the whole idea of justice in Europe for years to come.
US Representative Lawrence H. Smith of Wisconsin had this to say,
"The Nuremberg trials are so repugnant to the Anglo-Saxon principles of justice that we must forever be ashamed of that page in our history ... The Nuremberg farce represents a revenge policy at its worst."
And Milton R. Konvitz, a Jewish specialist of law and public administration who taught at New York University, denounced the trials with,
"Our policy with respect to the Nazis is consistent with neither international law nor our own State Department's policy... The Nuremberg trial constitutes a real threat to the basic conceptions of justice which it has taken mankind thousands of years to establish."
Well alright, so the trial wasn’t on the up-and-up strictly speaking. Still, we must believe the witnesses. They were there. And unlike Irene and Paul, above, the memories were still fresh in their minds. What they told must have been the truth.
Or maybe not.
The problem is, it is not terribly difficult to get people to remember things that never happened. Sure, you’ll want to argue that while you might be able to get people to remember a day at the circus that never happened, or implant a memory of getting stuck in a tree as a child, no one could get someone to remember something like that. It’s an understandable argument…but it’s wrong.
Julia Shaw and Stephen Porter conducted a study in which they successfully implanted detailed memories of events that never happened into 70% of the study participants. These were not simple memories of a childhood event that might have happened. They convinced the participants that they had committed a crime in adolescence that resulted in police contact! The abstract of the study states:
Memory researchers long have speculated that certain tactics may lead people to recall crimes that never occurred, and thus could potentially lead to false confessions. This is the first study to provide evidence suggesting that full episodic false memories of committing crime can be generated in a controlled experimental setting. With suggestive memory-retrieval techniques, participants were induced to generate criminal and noncriminal emotional false memories, and we compared these false memories with true memories of emotional events. After three interviews, 70% of participants were classified as having false memories of committing a crime (theft, assault, or assault with a weapon) that led to police contact in early adolescence and volunteered a detailed false account. These reported false memories of crime were similar to false memories of noncriminal events and to true memory accounts, having the same kinds of complex descriptive and multisensory components. It appears that in the context of a highly suggestive interview, people can quite readily generate rich false memories of committing crime.
This is one of the reasons that psychologists, hypnotists, cops, and attorneys are all trained on how to ask questions without leading the witness. What begins as only questioning can become the foundation of memories that simply aren’t accurate. And, given the atmosphere of revenge of the Nuremberg tribunal — one that lead the tribunal to torture Nazi officers to gain confessions, to the point that some begged to be put to death — one has to wonder how many witnesses were allowed to exact their own revenge through the telling of completely fabricated stories.
But even without the desire for revenge by the witnesses, and without the torture, eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. And yet, it is interesting to note that virtually always when the US wants to engage in military intervention in a foreign country, the evidence that is used is either eyewitness testimony of atrocities or secret documents that can’t be shared. Such has been the case with the current conflict in Ukraine, such was the case with the invasion of Iraq (where Saddam Hussein was actually called a “new Hitler”), and such was the case in the Gulf War.
The Nayirah Testimony
In the lead up to the Gulf War, we heard about the atrocities being committed by Iraqi forces. While Saddam Hussein was not yet called the new Hilter, the atrocity stories were clearly meant to evoke that image. They could easily have come from the Nuremberg tribunal. The most impressive testimony came from a woman who identified herself as simply Nayirah.
The story she told was heartbreaking. In telling the story, she broke into tears several times. In case you don’t remember, here is a video of the testimony she gave. Just listen, and try to imagine the brutality she describes.
Dammit!! Now that I’ve heard her testimony again, I can feel the patriotic, freedom-protecting need to kill me some A-rabs rising up. Saddam Hussein must die!!
Oh, wait…he’s already dead.
Oh yeah…and there’s that part about how everything she said was actually a lie.
Of course, it isn’t easy to catch someone lying when they are talking about something that emotionally moving. She’s talking about babies being killed, for cryin’ out loud. How could anyone be expected to listen critically to what she is saying? Just do something. You know, kind of like when you hear a holocaust witness tearfully recount the horrors they experienced. Don’t think, just feel the emotions and tell the politicians to do whatever they have to.
If you were heartless enough to be listening critically, though, you might have noticed where she slipped in her story around 3:25. She begins her story clearly indicating that neither she nor her mother live in Kuwait. They were there on a “peaceful summer holiday” so that they could spend time with her sister who had recently had a baby. Notice that in the first sentence she has managed to set up the peacefulness of Kuwait before the Iraqis, and the babies she will later use as the emotional lever. But where she screws up is when she says that she and her mother were hassled by the Iraqi soldiers as they tried to leave Kuwait, which they were only doing because Kuwait had become intolerable. I suppose she forgot that she didn’t actually live there, was only on summer break, and would have to return to school. Alright, fine. The girl is shaken up. Give her a break!
But did I mention that she was lying? As it turned out, Nayirah was not exactly who she claimed to be. She wasn’t simply an impartial and deeply affected witness to an atrocity. Wait, did I say she wasn’t simply that? She wasn’t that at all. In fact, she was actually the daughter of the the Kuwaiti ambassador to the US, being used by the Hill & Knowlton PR firm, which had been retained by the Kuwaiti government to drive world opinion against Iraq. The nonprofit group Citizens for a Free Kuwait was not, as was claimed, a group working to expose these alleged atrocities being committed. It was part of the PR campaign, and was run from the offices of Hill & Knowlton. Her testimony was a complete fake.
Now, if her testimony was the only testimony given, or if all of the testimony was given by those under the control of Hill & Knowlton, all we would have is run of the mill political shenanigans that were eventually found out — though only found out after the US joined the Gulf War. But that isn’t what happened. Her testimony was corroborated by Amnesty International, and by multiple eyewitnesses who had fled Kuwait. Yet, despite all of this corroboration from both a respected international human rights group and actual eyewitnesses who were there, the story was not true. In other words, despite their credentials as eyewitnesses, their testimony was completely unreliable.
Well, not completely. There were some awful incidents that happened with babies in the hospital. You see, as fighting started (this was during a war in Kuwait, remember) apparently some people tried to get out, and incubators for premature babies were indeed knocked over. No doubt some of the eyewitnesses who corroborated the Nayirah story had seen those knocked over incubators, but didn’t actually know what had happened. Given that they were running from Iraqi soldiers, and had already heard the tearful and compelling testimony of Nayirah, they simply filled in the blanks in their memories with the soldiers.
This is not an uncommon occurrence. The curious reader might want to take a look at the book You Are Not So Smart to learn a bit more about the subject. In that book you will learn just how easy it is to delude ourselves, and just how much of our own memories are actually fiction. This is part and parcel of being human, and there is absolutely no reason to assume that the witnesses at Nuremberg were any different. Even if we assume the gas chambers were real, all conventional history of the time has the Nazis doing everything they can to hide the gas chambers from the inmates. They are allegedly disguised as showers, diesel trucks are allegedly run to mask the sound of the screams, and everything was placed out of view of the barracks so that no one would witness the carnage. In other words, prisoners did witness people dying and disappearing (they died regularly of disease, and prisoners were often transferred to other camps) and they did hear rumors (spread by the Allies themselves in the form of propaganda leaflets dropped in and around Auschwitz) but they would not have witnessed the gassing itself. Just like the “witnesses” to the killing of babies by Iraqi soldiers, the camp “witnesses” would naturally fill in the blanks in their memories with the prevailing, tearfully delivered story of holocaust.
Before we wrap up, just one more video on yet another holocaust survivor, Herman Rosenblat, who gained notoriety for his story, then infamy when it was found to be a complete lie. This one is special.
What makes this story special is that it combines elements of both Irene Zisblatt/Paul Parks and Nayirah. Not only did this fantasy of Rosenblat’s become a reality in his own mind, the fantasy also infected his wife. He admits that the story wasn’t true (though not a lie, just a fantasy), yet his wife tells the same story. She knows the story is fake, but she repeats it anyway. And even when Herman admits that he knows it is fake, he would still tell it.
And that, dear friends, is how it goes far more often than we’d like to think.
The Big Number
Since we are already in the pool, we might as well at least dip our toe into the deep end. While various holocaust myths come and go, and various fabulous (even outrageous) stories are debunked, the one sacrosanct and untouchable aspect of the story is the Big Number: six million. One can question or deny virtually any aspect of the holocaust story without legal ramifications (though the social ramifications are nothing to sneeze at) as long as the questioning/denial does not cast doubt on this one aspect: six million Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazi government in prison camps during WWII. For example, the website rationalwiki.com (an ironic name if ever there was one) has this to say about those who dare question this number:
Holocaust denial is a form of anti-Semitism often embraced by bigots who are too cowardly to admit that they wished that Hitler had finished the job.
Sigh. Sorry if I fail to find the rationality in that, guys. Sounds more like the Catholic Church decrying claims that the Earth is not the center of the universe. Ah well. Actually, let me quote a bit more from that “rational” entry on their site. It’s very telling.
Holocaust denial is assertion that the Holocaust perpetrated by Nazi Germany, other Axis powers, and their collaborators in occupied Europe during the Second World War never happened or – in true conspiracy theory fashion – the denial that it happened according to the “official” story. Like most conspiracy theories, it takes many forms, from the fairly light claims of “exaggeration” to the extreme views of outright fraud, fakery and Zionist conspiracy.
So yeah, step out of line by doubting the “official” story and you are an anti-Semite, bigot, and conspiracy theorist all rolled into one! So goes the world, I suppose.
I imagine that already many readers are feeling uncomfortable. If you didn’t already feel uncomfortable from the above discussion, the very idea that the six million number might be denied quite possibly has you thinking about closing the browser window now before you read something that could get you in trouble. And, quite possibly, the words holocaust denier have already run through your mind.
Just the word denier has been given a negative connotation, but the epithet holocaust denier has become one of the worst names one can be called — perhaps worse than Anti-Semite. It evokes such a strong reaction in all of us. It just isn’t acceptable. It’s evil, or it’s evidence of mental instability. Right? That’s what you are thinking, isn’t it? In fact, I bet that the very reading of the words even produces certain physiological reactions: a slight acceleration of the heartbeat, and perhaps a quick glance around to make sure that no one was watching while you simply read the words silently. Why should these words evoke such an instantaneous emotional reaction, such a strong “recoil?” After all, they are only words.
But of course, we know that there is never only words. Before we begin, perhaps we should take a moment to consider the revolution speech from the movie V for Vendetta. As you watch it, keep in mind the ravings and namecalling on rationalwiki.com…
I’d like to draw your attention specifically to this part of the speech:
There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth. And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission. How did this happen? Who’s to blame?
While the movie used symbology that was meant to evoke the symbols of Nazi Germany, the fact is that the movie was undeniably criticizing the modern Western world. We have become precisely what we claimed we were fighting against in WWII. There are countries in the world in which I could find myself in prison for the critique I am about to present. I would ask that you pause for a moment to reflect on that fact, and ask yourself these questions: What have we become? How did this happen? Who’s to blame?
Evidence for the Six Million
A brief search on the Internet will reveal a surprising history of the six million number. Let me point out a few highlights.
In the the 10th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica (1902), on page 482 of the article on ‘Antisemitism’ we find,
“While there are in Russia and Rumania six millions of Jews who are being systematically degraded…”
In the October 31, 1919 issue of American Hebrew Magazine, in an article entitle The Crucifixion of Jews Must Stop! we find,
There are 166 mentions of the specific number prior to WWII that I know of, including one alleged scriptural reference concerning the return of the Jews to Israel. My only comment about that one is that I find it dubious, but don’t have the scholarly background to say one way or the other. What is clear is that the number had been in use in Jewish literature prior to WWII as a symbolic number, similar but not identical to the Chinese number 10,000 that appears in Buddhist literature.
If you search for specific documentation on the Internet for the number of Jews killed in the holocaust, you will find that it is claimed that while the Nazis were fastidious record keepers, they did not keep records on the exterminations because they were aware that those could be used against them. Similarly, there are no documented orders for the exterminations, only orders that are claimed to be euphemistic — a sort of code that other Nazis would understand to mean something other than what was written. The word that is commonly cited as being the euphemism is the word transfer. The problem with interpreting the word this way should be obvious. The Nazis provably engaged in the transfer of Jews from Germany to Palestine from the years 1933 to 1940. The only reason for assuming that the word had become a euphemism for extermination is the presupposed belief that the exterminations were happening, and they must have left some sort of documentation.
That problem has not been lost on those who study and promote the holocaust. Rather than relying on that, the most common argument for the veracity of the six million number is statistical, as stated in this article on the Haaretz website. It says,
Such estimates are arrived at by comparing pre-war census data with population estimates made after World War II. The Germans, though they treated their plan for annihilation of the Jews as a state secret of the highest order, also kept scrupulous records of deportations and gassings, which also serve as a vital source of data.
Notice that the statement is actually self contradictory. If the Nazis kept scrupulous records of the gassings there would be no need to rely on the census. We could simply refer to the Nazi records for an accurate count. So we are stuck with the census data. Let’s take a look at that.
Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
“Figures often beguile me, particularly when I have the arranging of them myself; in which case the remark attributed to Disraeli would often apply with justice and force: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”Mark Twain
As a brief aside, since the man to whom Twain was attributing that saying, Benjamin Disraeli, is likely unknown to most readers, here is a brief quote about him from the New World Encylopedia:
Disraeli was proud of his Jewish heritage and of the Jewish peoples’ contribution to culture and civilization. He advocated a new type of Jew, replacing the Jews as ‘victim’ image with the Jew as hero image. He did much in Britain to promote equal rights for Jews. He was a friend of the first Jewish member if the House of Lords, Baron Rothschild (1840-1915) who financed the Suez Canal project. His son, the 2nd Baron (1868-1937) influenced Lord Balfour, author of the Balfour Declaration towards a sympathetic appreciation of Jewish concerns. The Rothschild family was a pioneer of Jewish settlement in Israel. In two of his novels, Disraeli’s heroes worked for and achieve the return of Jews to Israel, a notion that Disraeli supported. His own interest in the region contributed to British desire to promote the colonization or settlement of Jews in Israel, which eventually resulted in the British mandate of Palestine. New World Encylopedia
I would guess, though I’m not sure, that most people consider a census to be an actual physical count of all of the people in a region. It isn’t. That sort of count is not actually possible. There is no way to ensure that everyone will respond to a census, or will respond truthfully. In addition, there are always people traveling during a census, as well as simply not available when the census taker arrives. Final census numbers are a (probably very close) estimation based on collected census data along with various types of registration roles, immigration records, birth records, death records, etc. In other words, a census is always a statistical estimate of population.
The census data is the most common argument for the veracity of the six million number, as shown in the Ha’aretz article quoted above. The question we have to ask ourselves about any census data is, how accurate are the numbers? Under normal, peaceful conditions, we can assume that the numbers are reasonably accurate. But under conditions in which people have either been scattered or do not wish to be identified, getting accurate numbers for a census becomes problematic. For example, a census today would have no problem getting an accurate count of the the citizens who are either gainfully employed or looking for work. There are records for all of them. On the other hand, it would have a difficult time getting an accurate count of illegal aliens since they, by the nature of their legal status, tend to hide from the government.
Given that, we’ll assume that the pre-WWII census was reasonably accurate. But what do we make of any census following the war? Naturally, following a time of being rounded up and shoved into concentration camps, many Jews would be hesitant to identify themselves within Europe. Also, European Jews had been scattered. While we have estimated census numbers from the Allied countries following the war, and from the estimates the Nazis themselves made in the lands they controlled, the census numbers from the Soviet Union are not verifiable, and are not always used. For instance, the figure of 2,100,000 post-war Jews given by the World Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation at Paris does not include the whole of Russia, only the part of Russia that was controlled by Germany. How many Jews simply disappeared into Soviet controlled Russia? We don’t know. Four censuses were held in East Germany during its existence. The only census that was published in full was the census of 1964, far too late to use in the counting of Jews who survived WWII. And as late as the 1980s, attempts to perform a census in West Germany sparked public outrage due to the questions being perceived as too personal.
There is simply no way to tell with any accuracy the difference in the number of Jews in the world between the beginning and end of WWII. Even worse, we simply don’t know how many Jews died trying to flee Germany and Eastern Europe following the war. Estimates range from 473,000 to 2.2 million. Virtually every attempt at proving the loss of six million Jews in concentration camps during WWII has used an assumed rate of population growth among Jews that is higher than any other rate of population growth in the world — a rate for which there is absolutely no scientific basis.
And, of course, there is the one problem with the use of census data for arriving at the number of Jews who died in the concentration camps that is so glaringly obvious I find it difficult to imagine that it hasn’t been pointed out clearly before. The problem is illustrated on this page of the ironically named Rationalwiki:
According to censuses, there were about six million more Jews in Europe in early 1942 (as the Holocaust began) than there were at the German surrender in 1945. The Wannsee Protocol from 1942 said that there were 11 million Jews in Europe, of which roughly 6 million were living in German-controlled territories (as the Third Reich was at its peak by 1942). Where did they go?
Aside from the problems we have already covered concerning census data, including the fact that there was no census data for 1945 with which to compare, consider the implied math here. An estimated 45 million civilians died in WWII. If the holocaust claim of six million Jews killed in concentration camps was true, and census data actually shows that only six million Jews were missing following WWII, that would mean that virtually no Jews died of other causes during WWII, despite the fact that masses of other groups of people did die during that war without being killed in Nazi in concentration camps. This is simply a ludicrous statement that shows the truly religious nature of the six million number.
There is also another disturbing fact about this alleged intentional mass murder of Jews in Nazi Germany. It isn’t what has been said, but what wasn’t said. The Allied leaders all wrote memoirs on WWII — Churchill, De Gaulle, Eisenhower, and Stalin. Not one of these memoirs mentions mass exterminations of Jews in Germany or gas chambers. How is this possible? If anyone had the inside scoop it was these men. Stalin would have had the best information since every single concentration camp that is still held to have been a mass extermination camp was liberated by the Red Army. That’s right — despite the claims of American and British filmmakers for decades, not a single concentration camp liberated by any non-Soviet forces had an alleged gas chamber in it. Perhaps that has something to do with why Russia has recently joined the dishonorable ranks of countries suppressing questioning of aspects of WWII history with prison time and fines. In their case, the laws specifically forbid questioning the role of the Red Army in liberating the concentration camps. And here I was under the impression that Putin might actually be moving Russia toward a more open and democratic society, yet here he is protecting the image of Stalin’s Soviet Union.
OK, I understand the difficulty of undertaking such a massive writing project. Sometimes there are things that you really meant to include that just get left out. So sure, let’s just say that all of these WWII leaders just happened to miss that little detail…I guess. I mean, we all “know” that the holocaust happened, so how else are we to explain the omission? Must have been just an unfortunate oversight. These things happen.
But there there are all of those German messages that were decrypted by the good folks of Staion X at Bletchley Park. You know, the place where Alan Turing worked — the subject of the recent movie The Imitation Game. They broke the German’s codes and were reading their messages with impunity. Included in those messages, which have now been declassified and made available to the public, were daily encrypted reports on the flow of people through the various Nazi prison camps, including exact death tolls. In a truly bizarre coincidence, even the Germans seemed to have forgotten to include reports of the alleged deaths of the holocaust when they believed they were securely transmitting encrypted messages. The reports were very precise, breaking the deaths out by national origin — yet even if we accept the mental gymnastics of believing that they were using euphemisms for those who were gassed, the death toll still isn’t nearly high enough to account for the six million number.
But How Could the Holocaust Not Be True?
So the obvious question that should arise in your mind is this: why does virtually everyone today believe the holocaust story as proven? A complete answer to that would require volumes. For a shorter answer, let me refer to a blog entry by Jewish write Paul Eisen entitled But how could the Holocaust not be true? The article is not terribly long, unlike this one. I’d encourage you to read it for yourself. I’ll include a few highlights here.
He points out how the first uncorroborated reports of mass murder in Germany were immediately seized upon for propaganda purposes by the Allies. Notice the various means of murder that were being claimed at the time, nearly all of which eventually fell by the wayside following the war.
The first reports of the mass slaughter of Jews by the Germans were propagated in the spring of 1942 by Jewish and Zionist agencies and published in the Jewish press. These entirely uncorroborated reports received immediate and unmatched credibility by being broadcast (on one occasion in Yiddish) back into Poland by the BBC, and by repetition in the American press, particularly the New York Times. They spoke for the first time of extermination, but not only by gas. According to these reports Jews were being steamed to death, suffocated to death, pressed to death and electrocuted as well as being gassed. It is only later in reports compiled by the Soviet authorities, when they liberated the camps of Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944 and 1945, that gassing emerges as the main method of slaughter and even later, as just one element in the shower-gas-cremation sequence which now lies at the heart of the Holocaust narrative.
He then goes on to examine the effect of such propaganda on European Jews who were being displaced during the war. Already terrified as they were caught between both Nazi and Soviet forces, neither of which were expected to treat them well to say the least, they also have heard the propaganda from the Allies. When you are on the run in the middle of the most brutal and barbaric war in human history, it isn’t difficult to believe stories of mass murder. You’ve already seen death on an unimaginable scale. At this point, anything would seem possible. On top of that, you would see things at the camps that would seem to be evidence that the propaganda was true. There were, indeed, mass showers, gas chambers, and prisoners getting their heads shaved. But, as the following testimony from a Jewish woman (a young girl at the time of the incident described) shows, the showers were indeed being used for showering, the gas chambers for delousing, and the heads being shaved all for the purpose of avoiding the spread of typhus, which is spread by lice.
“I remember fairly clearly one such “experience” sometime in 1944. This was during the Wehrmacht retreat from the Eastern front, when huge refugee treks of ethnic Germans traveled westward with horse-drawn wagons under German Army protection, experiencing horrendous hardships from hunger and cold, the advancing Red Army ever in our backs.
My family belonged to German-descent Mennonites, a fundamentalist Christian community who had come to theUkrainein 1789, but we still considered ourselves to be Germans and still spoke the German language. Ever since the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution – which happened when my grandmother was still a young woman and my mother was only four years old – my people had been savagely persecuted by the Communists. Many of my cousins, aunts, uncles, more distant relatives perished in waves of ethnic cleansings. This persecution started before I was born and became deadly in 1938, affecting practically every male age 14 and over. My own father was exiled to Siberia when I was only five years old in 1941, and our entire family escaped exiling only at the last moment, literally hours before the German Army overran the Ukraine in September of that year – only weeks after my father was taken from us forever
When the (for us) voluntary retreat to Germany began two years later, in the fall of 1943, there were four of us left – my grandmother, my mother, my baby sister and I. The rest of our family had either been exiled to Siberia, been killed, or simply disappeared in the havoc of those horror years since 1917. Now we were running for our lives from the Red Army – almost all of us women and children.
We entered Nazi-occupied Poland sometime in 1944 and were invited to be officially naturalized as Germans. I remember the city as Litzmannstadt (Lodz) but I cannot be sure.
But first we had to be deloused. Naturally! As far as I know, this was routine for everybody entering German-occupied territory and certainly Germany proper, an obligatory health measure to control epidemics such as typhus, a disease that was carried by lice. Everybody who was coming from the East was infested with lice in those days – Russians, Poles, Germans, Jews – soldiers and civilians. There was no way not to have lice, unless you underwent delousing. We were made to enter a long train. Whether that train took us to a building, or if it ended in a building, I don’t remember any more. Somehow the rumor sprang up that we were going to be gassed. I have no idea who started it. As a seven-year old, I do remember how terrified I was.
We were all stripped naked, had our hair shorn, and then, while we were all sitting, old and young, in long rows of benches, water and soap, probably mixed with insecticide, rained down on us from shower heads above.
I don’t remember the relief, only the fear. Similarly, the rumor sprang up on that train that the Germans were looking for “yellow blood”, presumably Jewish, by clipping our ear lobe. I was just as terrified of that one. “
Every interested party on the winning side of the war had a reason for propagating the idea of mass exterminations. The Allies were guilty of plenty of atrocities themselves, and they no doubt understood that the piles of bodies at the camps was a result of their carpet bombing of German cities and rail infrastructure. And the Zionists desperately needed something horrific that was directed specifically at them to build sympathy for the idea of a Jewish state. As Eisen points out in the article, taking poetic license with claims of mass slaughter was not exactly something new in Jewish history.
Nor would it be the first time that Jews have accepted and propagated stories, true, false or a mixture of both, of their suffering. The Holocaust is only the latest, albeit the worst of a series of tragic calamities to have befallen the Jewish people, and Hitler sits well with Pharaoh, Amalek, Haman, Tomas de Torquemada and Bogdan Chmielnitski – all enduring hate-figures in the Jewish martyrology. Nor would this be the first time that Jewish chroniclers (or any other chroniclers for that matter) have used some poetic license in describing their suffering. The Talmud tells that at the time of the destruction of the second temple – held in Jewish history to be the one historical precedent for the Holocaust – the Romans slew ‘four billions,” the blood of the Jewish victims was so great that it became a ‘tidal wave carrying boulders out to sea’, and staining the water for four miles out. The bodies of the Jews were used as ‘fence posts’ and Jewish children were “wrapped up in their Torah scrolls – and burned alive all 65 million of them.” In a context like this, the utterances of Elie Wiesel, become a little more understandable.
” Not far from us blazed flames from a pit, gigantic flames. They were burning something. A lorry drove up to the pit and dumped its load into the pit. They were small children. Babies! Yes, I had seen it, with my own eyes”
The Other Atrocities
“If the Germans had won, I would have been on trial at Nuremberg instead of them.”Major-General Raymond Hufft (U.S. Army)
Again, none of this implies that there were not atrocities committed during WWII, by Nazis and by the Allies. Please remember who was on the Allied side. At that time, England could still claim that the sun never set on the British Empire, the French had a smaller empire that kept a tight grip on countries like Vietnam and Algeria, and the US — a nation built on the backs of African and Asian slaves and the dead bodies of Native Americans — was still a virtual civil war away (the Civil Rights Movement) from treating its own minority populations with anything remotely like equal rights. So sure, those were definitely folks with the moral authority to be complaining about Germany’s alleged expansionist and racists goals, all of which involved only the taking back of territory that was lost in the aftermath of WWI.
Also on the Allied side was Stalin’s Soviet Union. Let’s examine the the actions of these countries before, during, and after the war. This isn’t meant to give the Nazis a pass. We simply want to put things into perspective, and to correct the popular version of history that the Allies were fighting a “good war” only to save the world from a so-called menace. This perspective might help in answering a question that is often asked: why did the world seem to get worse, and war escalate, after a war to rid the world of an allegedly warmongering Nazi scourge, which followed a previous word war that was billed as the war to end all wars?
I think the answer can be found in understanding the true nature of the side that won that war. Here is a sampling acts committed by the “winners”, some taking place during WWII, others before and after, to help get a more accurate picture of these defenders of democracy and human rights.
The British were proud of proclaiming that the sun never set on the British Empire. That was a true statement, unless you were one of the foreign subjects of the British Empire. In that case, metaphorically speaking the sun never rose. There is an interesting Top 10 list on the website listverse.com entitled 10 Evil Crimes Of The British Empire. You can read the list yourself. For our purposes, let’s just touch on a few “highlights” that echo what the British were allegedly fighting against in WWII.
The Boer Wars
It was here that the British invented a means of controlling a population through something they called a concentration camp. The Boer War was essentially fought between two white populations in South Africa. However, many black men were also pressed to service as soldiers and in non-combatant roles. Other blacks, like those found working on farms in rural areas, were put into labor camps after the farms were destroyed as a part of the British scorched earth policy.
These camps were not only for the black population. The British maintained camps for white men, women, and children who were deemed unfit for service. The average official death rate, caused by medical neglect, exposure, infectious diseases and malnutrition inside the camps was 350 per thousand per year, peaking at 436 per thousand per year. Eighty-one percent of the fatalities were children. To put a more specific number to that, between June 1901 and May 1902, nearly 28,000 died, about 22,000 of them children. The death toll represented about 10 per cent of the Boer population.
The Malay Emergency
In the 1950s, British forces in Malay were faced with the problem of armed Communist insurgents that were supported by the villagers. As part of a group of strategies called the Briggs Plan, 500,000 mostly ethnic Chinese villagers – approximately 10 per cent of the population – were cordoned in what the British euphemistically referred to as “New Villages”. Veterans of the Malaysian conflict had another name for them: concentration camps. All in all, this blatantly racist British policy harmed nearly one million people.
The Cyprus Internment
Between 1955 and 1959 the British imprisoned and tortured 3,000 Cypriots who, they claimed, were “terrorists”. Even children were subjected to tortures like having hot peppers rubbed in their eyes, and being flogged by whips with pieces of iron embedded in them.
The Kenyan Camps
To squash rebellion of the people of Kenya who no longer wanted to live under British rule, approximately 1.5 million of them were placed in forced labor camps. According to an article on the atrocities that appeared in The Guardian,
The inmates were used as slave labour. Above the gates were edifying slogans, such as “Labour and freedom” and “He who helps himself will also be helped”. Loudspeakers broadcast the national anthem and patriotic exhortations. People deemed to have disobeyed the rules were killed in front of the others. The survivors were forced to dig mass graves, which were quickly filled. Unless you have a strong stomach I advise you to skip the next paragraph.
Interrogation under torture was widespread. Many of the men were anally raped, using knives, broken bottles, rifle barrels, snakes and scorpions. A favourite technique was to hold a man upside down, his head in a bucket of water, while sand was rammed into his rectum with a stick. Women were gang-raped by the guards. People were mauled by dogs and electrocuted. The British devised a special tool which they used for first crushing and then ripping off testicles. They used pliers to mutilate women’s breasts. They cut off inmates’ ears and fingers and gouged out their eyes. They dragged people behind Land Rovers until their bodies disintegrated. Men were rolled up in barbed wire and kicked around the compound.
Once again we are faced with a sort of sardonic irony. The very things the Allies accused the Nazis of, and even some more horrible than they dared accuse the Nazis of, were being perpetrated by the British themselves. Even the slogan Labour and Freedom is an echo of the Nazi slogan Arbeit macht frei — Work makes you free.
1804 Haiti Massacre
From early February until 22 April 1804, French soldiers went from house to house killing entire families of Haitians in a deliberate act of genocide. By the end, some 5,000 Haitians and whites who were sympathetic to the Haitian cause were dead. A second wave of killings targeted specifically women and children.
Torture in Algeria
The French invaded Algeria in 1830, employing a scorched earth policy similar to what the British employed in the Boer Wars, including massacres and mass rapes. The French regime in Algeria was know for its atrocities and torture, the mastermind of which was Paul Aussaresses — a name which should be as well-known and vilified as any Nazi. According to his 2001 memoirs,
“Only rarely were the prisoners we questioned during the night still alive the next morning,”
Aussaresses went on to acknowledged that torture was “widely used” in Algeria, and that it was “tolerated, if not recommended” at the highest levels of the French government, including by then-justice minister and future Socialist president François Mitterrand. Perhaps most telling about this monster is his statement on the use of torture against the Algerians:
“My wife wants me to say that I feel remorse, but I don’t.”
While there is probably no one alive today (aside from infants and toddlers) who is not aware of the Vietnam War, there seem to be surprisingly few who are aware that the war was, initially, a war of Vietnamese independence from the French. As some veterans of that war have put it, the entire war was one long atrocity. We’ll save specifics for the next section, however.
The atrocities committed by the US around the world, often directed by the CIA, could fill an entire book. Actually, many of those atrocities already have been.
The Native American Holocaust
Sure, we all know that the US fought the “Indians” during the westward exapansion — an expansion fueled by the belief of the superiority of Europeans, and the subhuman barbarity of the natives. What few seem to get today is the sheer scale of that genocide.
WWII is considered the most brutal war in history, exacting an unimaginable toll of human lives in the neighborhood of 60 million. It would actually rank a distant second if it weren’t for the fact that the worst — the genocide of Native Americans — was not technically a war. The Native death toll due to the European settlers was as many as 114,000,000, nearly twice the estimated death toll of WWII. Of course, even given that staggering statistic WWII would still be number one in terms of the number of people killed over such a short period of time. The genocidal Europeans committing genocide of Native Americans just didn’t have the technological marvels of weapons of mass destruction that were available in WWII.
And while we are on the subject, an act that is not technically a US act of genocide, but is still celebrated in the US with an official government holiday: Columbus Day. Reading the journals of Columbus is something akin to reading a “worst parts” version of the combined journals of the most vicious serial killers in history. They involve rape, pedophilia, torture, and the systematic removal of an entire genetic group of human beings. It is believed that Columbus is the man in history who has “successfully” committed complete genocide by removing all traces of a unique genetic group from the human genome. Given that so-called success is a fundamental tenet of the US national religion, I suppose celebrating such a successful man with his own national holiday makes sense. Not one to simply give orders, Columbus reportedly killed as many as half a million natives personally.
Slavery and The Civil War
While the horrors of slavery have been well documented, and is certainly not something unique to the US, the story of The Civil War and the emancipation of slaves is yet another story that has been mythologized to the point of having little to do with what actually happened. Just as school children today are taught that WWII was all about stopping Hitler who only wanted to rid the world of Jews, they are taught that the Civil War (more commonly called the War of Northern Aggression in Southern states) was all about freeing slaves. The war was, in fact, about the rights of states and the power of the federal government, with the issue of slavery being a political tool used by President Lincoln to weaken the Southern states. Before the war, Lincoln was as racists as was typical for the era. During the war, he apparently realized (or was advised) that the issue of emancipation could be a powerful political weapon. A quick reading of the much talked about but rarely read (much like the aforementioned Nazi laws) Emancipation Proclamation proves the point. It begins like this:
That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom.
In other words, Lincoln was giving an ultimatum to Southern states that if, on January 1st, they were still in rebellion against the US then their slaves would be considered free. This was not a blanket ending of slavery, it was economic warfare. But even less known are the repercussions of emancipation. You see, while freeing the slaves seems like a grand idea (it was), the manner in which slaves were freed was a different matter. Historian Jim Downs of Connecticut College has discovered that the emancipation of slaves following the Civil War actually lead to the death of thousands of former slaves due to starvation and disease.
During the Vietnam war, the US, Australia, and the South Vietnamese government ran an program called Operation Phoenix, intended to identify and neutralize the infrastructure of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam, or Viet Cong. Methods used were described by military personnel during inquiries before the end of the war. There was, for instance, this description:
Rape, gang rape, rape using eels, snakes, or hard objects, and rape followed by murder; electric shock (‘the Bell Telephone Hour’) rendered by attaching wires to the genitals or other sensitive parts of the body, like the tongue; the ‘water treatment’; the ‘airplane’ in which the prisoner’s arms were tied behind the back, and the rope looped over a hook on the ceiling, suspending the prisoner in midair, after which he or she was beaten; beatings with rubber hoses and whips; the use of police dogs to maul prisoners.
The use of the insertion of the 6-inch dowel into the canal of one of my detainee’s ears, and the tapping through the brain until dead. The starvation to death (in a cage), of a Vietnamese woman who was suspected of being part of the local political education cadre in one of the local villages … The use of electronic gear such as sealed telephones attached to … both the women’s vaginas and men’s testicles [to] shock them into submission.
According to University of Washington professor of Law Roy L. Prosterman, Operation Phoenix was not limited to Vietnam, but was also used in the Philippines and El Salvador. In each place the program was accompanied by a rural terror. In Vietnam the Phoenix Program killed 40,000 civilian between August 68 and mid-71.
Rape in WWII
Here are just a couple of examples taken from wikipedia. In the second, we once again run into the same strange correlation between the actions of the Allies and the claims against the Nazis.
A study by Robert J. Lilly estimates that a total of 14,000 civilian women in England, France and Germany were raped by American GIs during World War II. It is estimated that there were around 3,500 rapes by American servicemen in France between June 1944 and the end of the war and one historian has claimed that sexual violence against women in liberated France was common.
U.S. historian James J. Weingartner attributes the very low number of Japanese in U.S. POW compounds to two important factors, a Japanese reluctance to surrender and a widespread American “conviction that the Japanese were “animals” or “subhuman'” and unworthy of the normal treatment accorded to POWs. The latter reason is supported by Ferguson, who says that “Allied troops often saw the Japanese in the same way that Germans regarded Russians—as Untermenschen.”
Eisenhower’s Death Camps
As in any war, camps are set up for prisoners of war. The Geneva Convention set up rules for those camps to guarantee the humane treatment of these prisoners. However, when it came to Germans who were captured during WWII, the rules of humane treatment were ignored. As described by Martin Brech, a guard at one such POW camp near Andernach along the Rhine,
In Andernach about 50,000 prisoners of all ages were held in an open field surrounded by barbed wire. The women were kept in a separate enclosure that I did not see until later. The men I guarded had no shelter and no blankets. Many had no coats. They slept in the mud, wet and cold, with inadequate slit trenches for excrement. It was a cold, wet spring, and their misery from exposure alone was evident.
Even more shocking was to see the prisoners throwing grass and weeds into a tin can containing a thin soup. They told me they did this to help ease their hunger pains. Quickly they grew emaciated. Dysentery raged, and soon they were sleeping in their own excrement, too weak and crowded to reach the slit trenches. Many were begging for food, sickening and dying before our eyes. We had ample food and supplies, but did nothing to help them, including no medical assistance.
Note that even with the literally millions of prisoners kept by the Germans during WWII, these kinds of inhumane conditions were never reported. Also please note that these prisoners of war were not necessarily captures German soldiers. These were German farmers and general workers — men, women, and children.
Brech’s complaints about the treatment of the prisoners to his superiors was met with either indifference or outright hostility. He was eventually reprimanded for attempting to ease the suffering of some of the prisoners. In Brech’s own words [emphasis mine],
This is when I realized I was dealing with cold-blooded killers filled with moralistic hatred. They considered the Germans subhuman and worthy of extermination; another expression of the downward spiral of racism. Articles in the G.I. newspaper, Stars and Stripes, played up the German concentration camps, complete with photos of emaciated bodies. This amplified our self-righteous cruelty, and made it easier to imitate behavior we were supposed to oppose. Also, I think, soldiers not exposed to combat were trying to prove how tough they were by taking it out on the prisoners and civilians.
So yet again we see the attitudes attributed to Nazis being displayed by the Allies themselves.
In the end, an estimated 1,000,000 Germans died in these camps of starvation, exposure, and willful neglect. I would highly recommend watching the following video which includes witness testimony from the camps.
All of those ridiculous History Channel WWII documentaries that breathlessly suck viewers in with their recital of the horrors of the Holocaust never seem to mention the Holodomor. Never heard of it? Not surprising. That would have been Stalin’s killing of as many as 7.5 million Ukrainians by starvation. And that was just the beginning of Stalin’s reign of terror. To quote The Business Times:
“In February 1989, two years before the fall of the Soviet Union, a research paper by Georgian historian Roy Aleksandrovich Medvedev published in the weekly tabloid Argumenti i Fakti estimated that the death toll directly attributable to Stalin’s rule amounted to some 20 million lives (on top of the estimated 20 million Soviet troops and civilians who perished in the Second World War), for a total tally of 40 million.”
The number of women raped by Soviet forces during WWII has been estimated as high as 2 million. According to some historians like William Hitchcock, women would be raped as many as 60 to 70 times. In Berlin alone, it is believed that as many as 100,000 women were raped with an estimated 10,000 dying in the aftermath. The total death toll from rapes of German women during the war has been estimated at nearly 1/4 million. The age range of the raped has been described, in numbers that are more rhetorical than statistical, as between 8 and 80 years-old.
When asked about these atrocities being committed by Soviet soldiers, Stalin famously responded,
“…understand it if a soldier who has crossed thousands of kilometres through blood and fire and death has fun with a woman or takes some trifle.”
Not only has Putin’s Russia been unwilling to face these atrocities, there has been movement in Russia to make speaking about them a punishable crime. In an interview of historian Antony Beevor we read,
So the fact that the Russians today are in complete denial about that because it undermines the sacred element of the victory, is actually deeply disturbing. One can come up with a number of reasons why Russia has more problems dealing with its past than, say, Germany had in facing up to its own past. And I think its alarming that there’s even talk now of a law against anybody who criticises the Red Army in the period of victory. So this state of denial that Russia is in about this aspect is largely because, as the Russian Ambassador here said, the victory is sacred, and that is because so many generations of Russians suffered not just death in famines or death in the Gulag or executions, but their whole families suffered. Their lives were wrecked in every direction, not just over 12 years like in Nazi Germany, but over 70 years. It’s almost inevitable that a society has to find something to hang onto, and for them 1945 is what they hang onto, and why the victory in Berlin over Nazi Germany is sacred and therefore cannot be touched.
According to The Moscow News,
Russia’s lower house of parliament will consider a bill which would outlaw criticism of the Red Army’s actions during World War II and attempts to “rehabilitate” Nazism, a Russian lawmaker said on Monday.
The proposed bill envisages fines of up to $15,000 and a prison term of up to five years for denying the Red Army’s role in “maintaining international peace” and “dissemination of deliberately false information” about the Red Army.Also covered by the bill are attempts to criticise the outcomes of the 1946 Nuremberg Trials which sentenced the key leaders of the Third Reich to death or jail, or criticism of the Allied forces actions during the war.Irina Yarovaya, a member of the Kremlin’s United Russia party, submitted the new bill, which aims to prevent attempts to re-assess the Red Army’s role in fighting Nazi Germany and its allies.She reportedly said such attempts “contradict historically objective information” such as the United Nations Charter which bans justification of Nazism.“In World War II, the Soviet Union acted as a protector, and all actions by our troops were aimed at liberation,” she was quoted by Russian media as saying. “We carried out a peacemaking mission.”
Were the Germans Really Monsters?
So yeah, the Allies were a really swell bunch. And, not surprisingly, as more and more people around the world have been lead to question the official version of the history of WWII, we have seen a corresponding upswing of unbelievable holocaust stories, and more laws going in place to dissuade anyone from actually looking for the truth themselves.
How about on the German side? Were they complete and utter monsters who just wanted to see every Jew, Gypsy, et al dead?
As I stated in at the beginning of this article, this has been a difficult question to address due to the stunning level of propaganda that has driven into every mind in the Western world the idea that Hilter and everyone close to him were nothing but homicidal maniacs. As I’ve tried to show, that picture is naive and detrimental to finding the truth. Atrocities were committed on all sides of the war. Of that there is no doubt. There is also no doubt that the atrocities committed by Germany were grossly exaggerated by the victors in WWII.
Is the fact that Allied soldiers found piles of dead bodies and starving prisoners at German concentration camps really that surprising? The Allies dropped 2 1/2 million tons of bombs onto Central Europe, destroying much of the rail system that moved food to those camps. Of course there would be starving prisoners! The German transportation infrastructure had been destroyed. There was simply no way to get food or medicine to those prisoners. The holocaust promoters would have you believe that starving prisoners were the result of Nazi cruelty. This, however presents yet another logical problem with the holocaust story. According to the official story, the reason for there being absolutely no documentary or physical evidence of the gas chambers (remember that the gas chambers at camps like Auschwitz today are alleged recreations, not original buildings as admitted by the director of the museum on camera) is that the Nazis destroyed all evidence before abandoning the camps. So here is the problem — and for the life of me, there is no solution within the standard holocaust story. If the Germans were such efficient murderers, and were so concerned with covering up the holocaust, why in hell would they leave so many witnesses behind? These were witnesses who were, according to the conventional story, so close to death that they could practically be killed with a child’s slingshot. This makes absolutely no sense! If there were mass gassings going on that they didn’t want the world to know about, they would not merely take the time to destroy the evidence, they would also destroy the witnesses. If the Nazis were the monsters they have been proclaimed to be, they would have had no problem at all corralling all of these sick and starving prisoners into the wooden barracks and set them on fire. But they didn’t. Instead, they left the prisoners — alleged witnesses to alleged war crimes — to be cared for by the Allies.
Does any of that vindicate Hitler and his nationalistic ideals? Absolutely not. But focusing on Hitler and the NSDAP as evil incarnate who only wanted to kill Jews certainly hurts seeking for truth. The simple fact is, Hitler did implement a humane solution to the Jewish Question, while the Allies were acting as murderous psychopaths. Yes, the NSDAP treated Jews and other in horrific ways. The Allies were doing at least as much and often times worse, and they continued doing it after the war ended. In other words, I believe there is strong evidence that the specific accusations of war crimes leveled against Germany and Germany military personnel were lies being used for multiple political purposes: to justify the war in the minds of the people, to turn attention away from the atrocities committed by the victors, and to create sympathy for the creation of the state of Israel.
Propagating the WWII Myths
The article mentioned at the beginning points out certain cognitive biases and logical fallacies that are explicated in David McRaney’s book, You Are Not So Smart, apparently to illustrate the means by which Hitler rose to power. I’ve given evidence that the means of Hilter’s rise was based on his ability to deal with the vast problems that faced Germany at the time. Whether you agree with his solutions, there is no doubt that his solutions did bring certain positive results. However, I think these cognitive biases and logical fallacies are critical to understand for anyone who is attempting to move beyond the knee-jerk reactions that are typical of a lot of human thought, and the childishly simplistic history of Nazi Germany and WWII that has become the official history.
The author seems to have stopped investigating these biases and fallacies with his reading of You Are Not So Smart, which has lead him to give incorrect definitions for them, however. I’d like to correct a few of these.
A typical example would be his explanation of normalcy bias, which is completely wrong. The article defines normalcy bias as this:
Normalcy bias: When the spaghetti hits the fan, people don’t just spring into action. They tend to freeze and carry on as if nothing out of the ordinary happened, even if flames are flaring, body parts flying, and people are dying all around them.
It goes further, so read the article to see the full definition according to the author. This is the part we’d like to focus on.
The actual definition of normalcy bias is the assumption that since things have always been one way they will continue to be that way. In other words, the normalcy bias causes people to not prepare for emergencies, disasters, and the like. If they’ve never been in a disaster, they assume they never will be, or that it won’t really be that bad. However, when the “spaghetti hits the fan,” especially if body parts are flying, and people are dying all around them, any tendency to act as if everything is normal is not normalcy bias. It is either a mental illness, or psychological shock that has caused them to freeze up.
There is a relationship between normalcy bias and the difficulty in questioning the history of WWII. Such questioning disrupts the normalcy of a world view built on the accepted story of who was good and who was evil. While this doesn’t match perfectly with the definition of normalcy bias it does bear a strong relationship to the a fundamental aspect of human psychology that leads to this bias: we want the security of things remaining as they were. Both with preparing for a potential disaster in the future or facing the possibility that the history that is part of the fabric of our world view has been falsified, we can tend to find comfort in simply pretending the disaster won’t happen and the historical stories are fine just the way they are.
Another example would be the definition of priming. The article describes it like this:
Priming: Your behavior is constantly being nudged in certain directions by ideas suggested to your adaptive unconscious. Simply reading certain words can affect your behavior (e.g., ‘business’-oriented words cause people to be more selfish when prompted to split money between themselves and another), but it could be anything: images, sounds, smells, facial expressions. Just think of the constant media bombardment you receive on a daily basis from the news, the TV, movies, radio. Think of the words, and the way they’re presented: terrorism, evil, jihad, al-Qaeda, ISIS, Islamic, Muslim. These words have all acquired an emotional content that is designed to affect you on the emotional level.
The actual definition of priming is the effect of more quickly recognizing certain words, ideas, or object when they are in conjunction with something else. For instance, if a person has just seen the word yellow they will be recognize the word banana more quickly. Priming is not the act of creating the associations with words, as the author describes it in the article. It is the use of those associations that already exist to drive behavior. For instance, the website neurosciencemarketing.com gives the following experiment as an example.
One of the more interesting phenomena described by Gladwell is “priming”, in which subtle suggestions to the subconscious mind can influence subsequent behavior. The book describes an experiment in which some subjects read a list of words that included some words related to old age and infirmity (think “gray”, “wrinkled”, “Florida”, for example); these subjects were found to walk more slowly to the building’s elevator after the apparent conclusion of the experiment than a control group who did not read the age-related terms.
The same article then goes on to say:
The marketing implications of priming aren’t clear, but one can speculate that one application might be to prime the viewer of an ad or sales pitch in such a way as to make him most receptive to the message.
The distinction is important. First, the creation of the associations — which we would more correctly call programming — is emotionally driven for the most part. That isn’t true for associations like yellow and banana, but it is true for the examples given in the article, like terrorism, Islam, and jihad. In other words, the negative connotation of those words is programmed into you, after which they can be used for priming. One can find endless examples of priming throughout the literature on WWII. The key to priming is the use of words in a text, speech, etc. that evoke an emotional response to prime the reader’s/listener’s emotions to interpret what is being said in a particular way. It is most effective (in terms of not being detected) if the primed words are not used directly adjacent to the phrases being primed.
This one, however, the author got kind of right:
Confabulation: You tend to totally bullshit yourself and others about why you do the things you do. When presented with 4 identical sets of stockings and asked to rate them according to quality, you’ll come up with something – this one just feels nicer! look at the weave on this pair! – and you’ll believe it. So, let’s say you’re taking to the streets, chanting “je suis Charlie” and calling for someone to take care of this Muslim problem. Do you know why? Probably not. You’ll probably give a reason, though: immigration, terrorism, freedom of speech. But the truth is, you don’t really know; those are simply the options made available to you and endlessly reinforced by media and social pressures. You’re being manipulated and you don’t even know it.
The problem is that confabulation isn’t so much about taking to the streets chanting je suis Charlie as it is about the human tendency to want to have a complete narrative. Chanting je suis Charlie may well be the result of programming, or feeling swept up in the emotions of the moment — and you may well confabulate about why you are there on the streets chanting — but it is a poor example of confabulation. The stocking example is good, though. Another good example would be the confabulation people engage in when asked about why they feel the way they do about WWII and Nazi Germany. Just do some searches on the Internet for opinions on the subject. You’ll find all kinds of demonstrably false statements that people just make up in their minds to justify opinions that are really nothing more than having accepted a never-ending flow of propaganda.
One can see these cognitive biases and logical fallacies at work in the comments on the article itself. Let’s start with a comment by the authors.
“Hitler, Goering, Bormann, etc. were psychopaths, plain and simple, as were many of the camp guards, SS officers, etc.”
I’d put this one up as a good example of confabulation. The author is not qualified to make this determination, but his position would not permit him to allow any level of humanity to Hitler, so he just makes up a diagnosis that fits his view. In fact, the determination of psychopathy is a delicate matter, requiring both training and access to sufficient data. Robert Hare, one of the preeminent researchers on the topic of psychopathy, developed what he called the Psychopathy Checklist. Admittedly I am no expert so take what I have to say here with a generous helping of salt, but comparing the available data on Hitler with the Psychopathy Checklist I don’t think he would score particularly high. I’m not saying that this shows Hitler was not a psychopath. The problem is, we really don’t have enough reliable data on Hitler to make a determination. That determination has been attempted, but as the New York Times review of the book Hitler: Diagnosis of a Destructive Prophet points out:
One of the most puzzling aspects of Hitler’s childhood is that investigators have been able to find little there to foreshadow the adult he would become. He did not torture animals (though there is a single, often repeated, story about a billy goat), and from the little that is known, he seemed a fairly normal child, though sexually shy in adolescence. ”Psychohistorians assume that the child had troublesome, deep conflicts (including ambivalent feelings about his mother and father),” Dr. Redlich writes. ”I am more impressed with the fact that useful data about eating habits, sleep disorders and toilet training are lacking.”
Indicators of Hitler’s peculiarities in later adulthood, of course, are abundant, from his sexual inhibition (he may never have had sexual intercourse with Eva Braun, Dr. Redlich writes) to his phobias of disease, his explosive rages, his delusions and his conviction that he would die at an early age (he died at 56). In his book, Dr. Redlich runs through a list of psychiatric symptoms — paranoia, narcissism, anxiety, depression, hypochondria, to name a few — and finds some evidence for every one. Proof that Hitler was overtly self-destructive or sexually perverse is sparser and less compelling, the author says.
Yet Dr. Redlich concludes that attaching a formal psychiatric diagnosis to the Nazi leader is not very useful. When applying such diagnoses, he writes, he often feels ”as if I were in a cheap clothing store: Nothing fits, and everything fits.” Ultimately, the psychiatrist portrays Hitler as a man who was more than the sum of his pathology, entirely responsible for his actions.
In short, dismissing Hitler as a psychopath is flat out irresponsible. There is no way to know that, and the diagnosis/statement ends any useful discussion on the topic. Painting him like this is a tacit suggestion to NOT explore the political milieu in which the Nazi phenomenon arose. Not exactly the sort of thing you’d expect from a group that positions itself as a source of objective truth, especially considering that nearly everything playing out on the political stage today (something they write about and analyze quite a lot) can be traced back to WWI and WWII. I can’t imagine useful answers about our current situation coming from simplistic generalizations about the period of time in which they were set up.
Later, the author offers this comment:
“You can debate numbers and details all you want, but none of that will change the FACT that Nazi Germany was a pathocracy.”
Leaving aside the fact that writing the word FACT in all caps does not actually constitute a valid argument, I have to wonder what evidence that author could provide that Nazi Germany was any more of a pathocracy than the Allied governments that painted Nazi Germany as a pathocracy. Again, this is not to say that the Nazis were just great guys, but this singling out of Nazi Germany invokes the idea propagated by the History Channel and others that the Allies actually were great folks who were only trying to make the world safe for democracy and human rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Another commenter claimed,
“…we have taken an objective look at history, and suggesting that Hitler wasn’t so bad has no bearing on the fact that the same kind of totalitarianism is rising again.”
Aside from the fact that not one single person, as far as I could see, suggested that “Hitler wasn’t so bad” in any of the preceding comments, the idea that the actual nature of Hitler and National Socialism doesn’t matter is ridiculous. The question of the nature of Hitler and the National Socialism is crucial to understanding what actually happened and how it can be avoided in the future. But what the commenter misses entirely, due to his insistence that his view of history is “objective” — a claim that comes across like a narcissistic child stomping his feet — is that the evil of WWII has never left us.
We demonized the Nazis, putting everything we were doing or wanting to do onto them. Rather than facing our shadow we projected it onto a vanquished enemy and told ourselves it was now gone. But looking at the world around us it’s clear that it is not only still here, it is more powerful than ever. This is what needs to end. Why is that important? Because if a Holocaust 2.0 is really in our future, we need to know how Holocaust 1.0 happened (if it did as reported). But understanding the details are specifically dismissed by this source of “objective history” with yet another comment:
“Millions were killed[…]that’s all you need to know, and that it may well happen again.”
I’m sorry, but that isn’t all I need to know. Millions were killed, without a doubt. In the end, they were killed by the monsters who committed the people of this world to war. They were killed to further empire, and to expand fortunes. And how many millions? According to The National WWII Museum the estimates are this:
|Battle Deaths||15 Million|
|Battle Wounded||25 Million|
|Civilian Deaths||45 Million|
And then there is this little footnote: *World-wide casualty estimates vary widely in several sources. The number of civilian deaths in China alone might well be more than 50,000,000.
Let those numbers sink in for a moment. Think about the ongoing atrocities by the same powers that won WWII, how virtually the entire political stage of today was set in the aftermath of that war, and how the same techniques of demonization are being used now to justify a so-called war on terror that can never end. The real enemy has always been right with us claiming to be our protectors and guardians of human rights and democracy, all the while making a world that is not fit for human life. Until we can stop projecting our shadow onto the Nazi boogeyman and face the reality of the situation we have today, we have no chance of changing the course of a world gone mad with lust for power and war.
Those who sell the standard history of WWII, and those who use that history unquestioningly as a weapon of fear would ask us to believe, much in the way religions ask us to believe, in one fantastic and unimaginable event, singular in all of human history: that the victors have accurately portrayed history. Despite the fact that every other period of history in the history of history can be shown to have been told in favor of the victors at the expense of accuracy, somehow this particular bit of history has been told truthfully and accurately. And perhaps they would also claim that the reason it cannot be questioned is because it is such a singular event that it mustn’t be spoiled. But that isn’t the truth. The only thing that was unique about this period of history was in the number of people dead at the end of it. Beyond that, the history of WWII is the same ol’ same ol’ — the empire builders creating an historical fiction that allows them to continue the building of their empires with relative impunity.
What happened in Nazi Germany, whatever the truth of that is, was not an aberration. There were egregious acts committed on all sides of the war. By demonizing the Germans we lose sight of the fact this is the result of the religion of Nation States, not merely Nazi Germany. The very idea of anyone claiming authority over other people can only lead to this. This is what we vote for. This is what we support. The moment you abdicate responsibility for you own life to someone else, elected or not, this is what you deserve. That is not retribution, that is simple physics. If you jump from the roof of a building, you deserve the splat at the end of the fall. If you insist on childishly abdicating responsibility for your own life to authority figures or governments, you deserve the consequences that come with that.
It isn’t another Nazi Germany that we need to avoid, or another Hitler. The enemy has always been with us — at the polling booth, at the political rally, at the protest to tell the government what we want them to do. What childish behavior! If you want something done, do it. Telling the government that they need to do something for the poor, or they need to do something to fix the economy, or they need to provide for your health is the sign of someone who has not yet reached human maturity. Yes, I understand that as long as we live as subjects of a large, powerful government and pay an obscene percentage of our hard-earned money in taxes, the least we can expect is to get something for it. Hitler’s Germany succeeded in bringing the people the benefits so many petition their government for today: universal healthcare, a vibrant and bustling economy, and a transportation infrastructure that was second to none. But even after taking away all of the propaganda about Nazi Germany and the holocaust, I still don’t want to live there. It’s time that humanity leaves the nest of their virtual mommy and daddy in government. It’s time for us to grow up and create the world we want with real communities and real relationships. As long as we insist on someone else doing the creation of society for us, we deserve the society we get.
Please do not take my word for anything presented in this article. The only way to find truth is to search for it yourself. Acceptance of what someone else has told you is truth is only a path to deception. What I have presented is simply another side to a very complex story. It should not be considered the Truth, but rather a light on the path to truth. Explore, learn, and discover for yourself. In addition to the many links within the article, here are a few links you might find interesting.
Institute of Historical Review — The Institute for Historical Review is an independent educational research and publishing center that works to promote peace, understanding and justice through greater public awareness of the past, and especially socially-politically relevant aspects of twentieth-century history. We strive in particular to increase understanding of the causes, nature and consequences of war and conflict. We vigorously defend freedom of speech and freedom of historical inquiry.
Committee for Open Debate On the Holocaust — The aim of this site is to promote intellectual freedom with regard to this one historical event called “Holocaust,” which in turn will help advance the concept of intellectual freedom with regard to all historical events. We find it vulgar beyond belief that Americans would spend more than half a century condemning the “unique monstrosity” of the Germans when we have not yet learned to condemn our own, or to even recognize it.
What Really Happened — This site exists to promote an open scientific, evidenced-based approach to historical enquiry. We do not believe or reject anything, though naturally we do form opinions. However, they are just that: opinions based on our current understanding of the facts. We are not emotionally attached to them and we would have no problem with changing our current positions on any subject if the evidence suggested we should.
The Greatest Story Never Told — Learn the untold story about the most reviled man in history. Adolf Hitler, The Greatest Story Never Told is a 6-hour Documentary by TruthWillOut Films.
Auschwitz: The True Story — David Cole’s groundbreaking documentary on the true story of the Auschwitz prison camp.
Holocaust Liars: Were the Germans so Stupid? — A short documentary that provides a brilliant overview of the problems with the Holocaust story.