Saturday, May 31, 2008

History News Network -- Day Three

On May 30, 2008, at 2:03 PM, Bradley Smith wrote:

Professor Shenkman: Well, you have changed your mind. Not a crime.

You write: “My assistant editor tells me we banned you because your posts indicated you [have] questioned the existence of the Holocaust. Sorry, but that's beyond the pale.”

And you write: “Our assistant editor notified me that you were bounced from HNN because you expressed doubts about the Holocaust.”

At the same time, in the Mission Statement of History News Network, HNN promises that: “Because we believe history is complicated our pages are open to people of all political persuasions. Left, right, center: all are welcome.” I too believe that history is complicated, and that it is a good to welcome people of all political persuasions.

It appears, however, that while contributors to HNN can be from any political persuasion whatever, they must not “express doubts” about the Holocaust or question “the existence” of the Holocaust. This implies that for HNN there are political persuasions that go beyond left, right and center. I would like to know what these political persuasions are and why HNN does not list them so that we can all be on the same page here. Can you do so now?

It is not clear to me what you mean when you write that I question the “existence” of the Holocaust, or what you mean when you write that I express “doubts” about the Holocaust. So far as I know, History News Network has not published a definition of what HNN holds the “Holocaust” to have been. If HNN has published such a definition, please point me to it. You don’t have to defend it. Just point me to it.

Without any knowledge of how HNN defines that event, or better that vast accumulation of events symbolized by the word Holocaust, I cannot be aware of what questions HNN permits to be asked about its own definition of the Holocaust, or what questions HNN prohibits being asked about its definition of the Holocaust. Without such a definition, how I can follow the HNN rules on such an exchange? I am left in the dark.

If the Holocaust can be said to include all the authentic misfortunes that the Jews of Europe suffered during the Hitlerian regime, neither you nor your assistant editor can demonstrate that I have ever questioned the totality of those misfortunes (“the” Holocaust), and you cannot demonstrate that I have ever expressed doubt about the totality of all those misfortunes (“the” Holocaust).

On the other hand, if HNN has published its own definition of the Holocaust (let’s agree that we both understand “which” Holocaust we are talking about here) I need to see it so that I can promise, if I believe the HNN definition of the event/s is reasonable (not perfect, only reasonable), that I can, in good faith, neither question it or express doubt about it.

At the same time, I admit that among the vast number of misfortunes suffered by the Jews of Europe during the Hitlerian regime, there are some claimed misfortunes that I do question because they appear to me to not yet have been demonstrated to be true, or appear to me to be demonstrably untrue, or simply unbelievable on their face. I do not think we would want to get into any of these materials here, as we are not discussing the accuracy of every element in the orthodox accounting of the Holocaust.

At bottom we are talking about the right, the necessity in a free society, of access to participation in a free exchange of ideas in an environment of openness and good will. Particularly in public forums such as History News Network.

In short then, I believe you are wrong to ban me from HNN discussions because neither you nor your assistant editor, or anyone else at HNN, can demonstrate that I ever questioned the Holocaust as such. I have no idea how HNN defines “the Holocaust.” Why would HNN not tell me what the rules are, specifically, yet ban me from its forum for “questioning” and “doubting” what is prohibited at HNN to question or doubt?


From: HNN Editor
To: Bradley Smith
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 2:12 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

We make clear that our pages are not open to Holocaust Deniers. I am told that you expressed doubts about Auschwitz. That's enough for me.
See: http://hnn.us/articles/982.html#roundup " ... we do not publish the views of Holocaust Deniers ..."


From: Bradley Smith
To: HNN Editor
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 4:45 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

Professor Shenkman: In the HNN FAQ you link to above I find this:

"WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE ROUNDUP DEPARTMENT? At the same time we do not publish the views of Holocaust Deniers in Roundup--or authors who take similarly extreme positions. Including them in Roundup would indirectly give them a credence they do not deserve. We do of course from time to time run articles, excerpts and news stories about people who hold obnoxious views like Holocaust Deniers."

OK. This addresses the HNN Roundup Department. Am I to assume that the same standards are held for the HNN Articles page? For every page on HNN?

And BTW: What doubts did I express about Auschwitz? Where did I express them?

And most importantly: is there not one detail in the orthodox history of Auschwitz that can be questioned? Not one detail about which one can express a reasonable doubt, if it can be demonstrated to be reasonable? What are you saying here? For close to half a century the professorial class, as a class, forwarded the charge that some four millions were killed at Auschwitz. In the early 90s the professors came around to the idea that [only] about one million were killed at Auschwitz. If HNN were active at that period, in the early 1990s, would it have banned all those professors who were "denying" the four-million claim? Is that the standard of historical debate among academics that HNN is forwarding?

Again: what doubts did I express about Auschwitz on the HNN board? My memory -- and I have to trust to memory because the texts themselves have been dumped down the HNN Memory Hole by -- I don't know who, but it does not sound that you did it yourself. It does not appear to me here that you were particularly interested, or are now particularly aware, of what I was posting about the "Holocaust" on HNN (very little in fact), that you really don't know what I posted about Auschwitz (if anything), that you cannot tell me what statements about Auschwitz that I did make that offend what is prohibited by HNN rules.

In short: what "doubts" about Auschwitz are you talking about? Are you really familiar with any of this at all, or are you relying entirely on the judgment, without accompanying proof, of an assistant, which appears to be the case? Why set yourself up like this? It can't possibly be good for you, it can't possibly be good for HNN, and it gives the wrong signal to assistants who might have their own special agendas, especially when they can work behind the scenes.

I am willing to be convinced that I am wrong about anything I have posted on HNN, and I am willing to be convinced that I have expressed myself badly here and there and there. But I think each of us is talking about something here for which neither of us has a text to document that what was said was right or wrong, or was in good taste or bad taste. Where are the texts? What doubts?

"I am told that you expressed doubts about Auschwitz." That's what you write.

"That's enough for me." That's what you write.

I suggest that it should not be enough, not near enough, for the editor of a Web site that is run by historians, for historians. I suggest that you are being used here. It is well-intentioned, someone there sincerely sees me as a threat to her inner life, but that is not how a historian should run a Web page for historians. I am making these remarks based on the brief texts that you have sent me. Not on what someone has "told" me you wrote. Not on texts that have been "disappeared."

I sincerely urge you to base your decisions re myself on the relevant texts, not on gossip, rumor, and what an "assistant" relays to you behind the scenes. Or, as it just occurs to me, this knowledgeable person can himself provide the relevant texts. Surely he is using real texts in advising you on this matter. --Bradley

From: HNN Editor
To: Bradley Smith
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 5:01 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

I am sorry but I am not spending any more time answering your emails.

From: Bradley Smith
To: HNN Editor
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 5:20 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

OK. I don't blame you. You're busy, and you have hold of something here that you either don't understand, or do not want to understand. We'll see how it goes. --B

History News Network -- Day Two

From: HNN Editor
To: Bradley Smith
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 10:42 AM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

Bradley: At this point I don't want to take the time frankly to dig through thousands of comments to find yours. I will let you sign up for a new account and we'll go from there. Clean out your browser's cookies to proceed.
Rick

On May 29, 2008, at 11:46 PM, Bradley Smith wrote:

OK. Thanks. I'll be as thoughtful as I can be. –Bradley

From: HNN Editor
To: Bradley Smith
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 11:54 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

You may have missed a subsequent email I sent. Our assistant editor notified me that you were bounced from HNN because you expressed doubts about the Holocaust. We draw the line at that. Sorry, but you will not be welcome to participate in our forums.

[BELOW IS THE MESSAGE THAT PROFESSOR SHENKMAN ALLUDES TO ABOVE. I DID, IN FACT, MISS IT.]

From: HNN Editor
To: bsmith@prodigy.net.mx
Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2008 12:06 PM
Subject: HNN

Bradley, My assistant editor tells me we banned you because your posts indicated you questioned the existence of the Holocaust. Sorry, but that's beyond the pale. You are NOT welcome to post at HNN.

======================================

Well, Professor Shenkman tells me that I am forbidden to post on HNN. He tells me I can post on HNN but advises me to clean up my (the computer’s) cookies. He tells me that I cannot post on HNN. Okay. I am not surprised. That’s how it usually is with professors who find themselves in any kind of close proximity to revisionists. It unsettles them considerably and clouds their minds, a condition, a mystery, they really should look into.

But then Professor Shenkman tells me something that does surprise me. My problem with HNN is not that I questioned the moral judgment of God over His behavior toward the Egyptian mothers at the time of the Jewish Exodus, or the moral judgment of the Rabbi Blechs for forwarding the idea that we should celebrate the mass-murder of children. My error is that I expressed “doubt” about the Holocaust, and that I questioned the “existence” of the Holocaust.

But did I?

The story evolves.

Friday, May 30, 2008

The History News Network -- Day One

Professor Rick Shenkman is editor of The History News Network, a Web site touted as being managed by historians, for historians. I have not posted there regularly, but when I have I have always found it interesting and agreeable. On 27 May I discovered that one thread dealing with an essay on the Exodus and The Miracle of Jewish History had been eviserated. Originally containing 76 posts, there were only 17 left. The missing posts were largely mine, and the rest were posts that pretended to deal seriously with what I had argued. My argument was to question the moral justification of God slaughtering the children of Egypt to benefit the children of the Hebrews. I argued that we really do not want to "celebrate" such obscenities. Of course, that's only my POV. Anyhow, here is what followed my discovery of institutional censorship on The History News Network, the web page by historians, for historians.]

DAY ONE

On May 28, 2008, at 2:44 PM, Bradley Smith wrote:

Dear Professor Shenkman: By an unexpected and fortuitous (maybe they are the same thing) coincidence I have discovered that Bradley Smith's contribution to the discussion of Rabbi Blech's article on The Miracle of Jewish History -- has been sent down the memory hole. Or maybe it hasn't. It looks like it has. Although I am referred to consistently throughout what remains of the thread, I myself am not there.

This surprises me, as I have never heard that HNN would do anything like that, and I also find it a little comic -- in an ironic way. I wrote you yesterday about this. I understand you have more important things to do with your life than to explain this Orwellian situation to someone like me -- or rather, to me. Nevertheless, the nature of the intellectual suppression that appears to be manifest here, the forthright institutional censorship, might be something you are not even aware of.

If there is someone "editing" HNN that you are not aware of, and would not approve of, you might find it worth about six minutes of your time to look at the Blech thread. I would expect that you would be able to discover for yourself what has been done under your editorship. Four and a half minutes might do it.

Unless I am wrong. I am known far and wide to be technologically challenged. I'll download the thread as it is now for reference after I hear from you. In any event, I look forward to you, or one of your many editorial assistants, to tell me that I am wrong about what I suspect here, or to tell me that I am right and to put the best face on it that is possible.
Thank you -- Bradley Smith


From: HNN Editor
To: Bradley Smith
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 4:53 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

Mr. Smith: Your comments were deleted and your account suspended because we found your posts to be in violation of our civility rules.
Rick Shenkman

On May 28, 2008, at 5:38 PM, Bradley Smith wrote:

Were all my posts on all the threads I participated in deleted, or only those re the Rabbi Blech article?


From: HNN Editor
To: Bradley Smith
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 7:50 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

Yes.

On May 28, 2008, at 7:59 PM, Bradley Smith wrote:

OK. My account is suspended. What does that mean? Suspended usually suggests something temporary. Suspended until when? Or in this case does suspended mean actually "cancelled"?


From: HNN Editor
To: Bradley Smith
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 9:27 PM
Subject: Re: RABBI BLECH AND THE MIRACLE OF JEWISH HISTORY

It means cancelled. If you want to return to HNN's boards you'd have to agree to abide by the civility rules--that means no ad hominem attacks, nothing even close to the line. We'd hold you to higher standards than others in light of your past record.
Rick


On May 28, 2008, at 10:35 PM, Bradley Smith wrote:

I'm willing, but I have not been told where I went wrong. I have been posting for maybe three years, never a complaint, never a word of warning, never a word of advice. I have thought I work the way you are telling me to work, but clearly there is something I don't understand. I never attack the other fellow. I always try to forward a point of view in the simplest way I can.

My posts being deleted appear to have followed my questioning of the moral issues involved with the Exodus story as suggested by Rabbi Blech's article. But I don't know. I have not been told. I can only think that I should not allow myself to question God's behavior toward the mothers of ancient Egypt. I don't know. But before that, there was never the hint, not a hint, of an issue from any quarter.

Was that it? The Egyptian mothers?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Holocaust Conference In Sachsenhausen

[This letter was sent to those individuals we understand are going to speak at the Sachsenhausen Conference, and copied to their colleagues.]

13 May 2008

I understand that you are going to speak at the Sachsenhausen Conference this week. The Conference announcement states:

“[One] central topic of the conference is the analysis of revisionist propaganda, which is increasingly turning its attention to the gas chambers in the concentration camps of the 'Deutsches Reich' and annexed Austria. For instance, the existence of the gas chamber in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp has been cast into doubt in various forms. [ … ] The conference aims to cast light on the intentions and structures of revisionist campaigns in an international comparison and to develop counter-strategies.”

These “counter strategies” are directed against revisionist scholars such as Carlo Mattogno, Juergen Graf, Arthur Butz or Robert Faurisson. However, these revisionists will not be allowed to participate in the conference to defend their views. In fact, these men risk arrest, trial, and imprisonment if they so much as enter Germany. Revisionist scholar Germar Rudolf is in a German prison today in Rottenburg for questioning received academic opinion on gas chambers and other elements of the Holocaust story.

Doesn’t this sound like a “strategy” that means to reinforce the suppression of legitimate questions, legitimate debate, about what happened during World War II?

Meanwhile, we have written to hundreds of academics at American universities asking them for the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. None has been able to provide such a name. Most recently we have written Dr. Paul Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, asking that he provide us with the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Dr. Shapiro appears unable to respond.

The purpose of this conference appears to be twofold. First, to question the motivation (“intentions”) of those scholars who question the prevailing academic history of the Holocaust. And secondly, to develop “strategies” to further the suppression of revisionist arguments by strengthening an academic climate in which open debate and a free exchange of ideas regarding the Holocaust story will continue to be a crime against the State.

As a historian, do you agree with Professor Hans-Ulrich Wehler, that imprisoning non-conformist historians is consistent with intellectual freedom?

As a specialist in the field of Holocaust studies, are you able to provide the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz – or at Sachsenhausen?

My best wishes,

Bradley R. Smith

Desk: 001 (209) 682-5327

Email: bradley1930@yahoo.com



Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

http://www.codoh.com/

Blog: http://bradleysmithsblog.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Controversial Holocaust Conference to be held in Sachsenhausen

[This letter was sent to the press in Germany on 09 May 2008.]
More than one million innocent, unarmed civilians were murdered in gas chambers at Auschwitz -- or were they? On 15 through 18 May a Holocaust conference is to be held in Sachsenhausen, north of Berlin. There is a real story here. A story that can only come to light by conscientious reporting by professional journalists.
===============

CONFERENCE ANNOUNCEMENT

EXTERMINATION IN GAS CHAMBERS IN NATIONAL SOCIALIST CONCENTRATION AND EXTERMINATION CAMPS:
Historical Significance - Technical Development - Revisionist Denial


"[One] central topic of the conference is the analysis of revisionist propaganda, which is increasingly turning its attention to the gas chambers in the concentration camps of the 'Deutsches Reich' and annexed Austria. For instance, the existence of the gas chamber in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp has been cast into doubt in various forms. [ ... ] The conference aims to cast light on the intentions and structures of revisionist campaigns in an international comparison and to develop counter-strategies."
===============

These "counter strategies" are directed against revisionist scholars such as Carlo Mattogno, Juergen Graf, Arthur Butz or Robert Faurisson. However, these revisionists will not be allowed to participate in the conference to defend their views. In fact, these men risk arrest, trial, and imprisonment if they so much as enter Germany. Revisionist scholar Germar Rudolf is in a German prison today in Rottenburg, near Stuttgart for questioning received academic opinion on gas chambers and other elements of the Holocaust story.

Doesn't this sound like a "strategy" that means to reinforce the suppression of legitimate questions, legitimate debate, about what happened during World War II?

Meanwhile, we have written to hundreds of academics at American universities asking them for the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. None has been able to provide such a name. Most recently we have written Dr. Paul Shapiro, Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, asking that he provide us with the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Dr. Shapiro appears unable to respond.

The purpose of this conference appears to be twofold. First, to question the motivation ("intentions") of those scholars who question the prevailing academic history of the Holocaust. And secondly, to develop "strategies" to further the suppression of revisionist arguments by strengthening an academic climate in which open debate and a free exchange of ideas regarding the Holocaust story will continue to be a crime against the State.

There is a real story here - a story that is being suppressed, censored, and driven underground throughout Western culture. You don't have to be a scholar to ask questions about the Holocaust. You don't have to be able to argue what is true and what is false about these gas chamber assertions.

As a journalist, do you agree with Germany's foremost historian, Professor Hans-Ulrich Wehler, that imprisoning non-conformist historians is consistent with intellectual freedom and a free press?

As a journalist, would you find it reasonable, or unreasonable, to ask historians at this conference for the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz - or at Sachsenhausen?

Bradley R. Smith

Desk: 001 (209) 682-5327
Email: bradley1930@yahoo.com

Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust www.codoh.com
Blog: http://bradleysmithsblog.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Howard University Professor Visits Dachau When it was "Still Mostly Intact"

Howard Professor Carolyn Byerly writes that since visiting Dachau as a young lady she has always understood that the atrocities she saw signs of there have left a deep scar on our humanity. I reply, in so many words, that the Dachau "atrocities" she saw signs of -- she does not tell us what these were -- were largely a snow-job perpetrated by the U.S. military.

Mr. Smith,

First, I am not a narrow feminist scholar -- I do international research on race and gender in media, as well as a number of other things; my focus for some time has been on media policy. My grasp of historical events is also broad.

Second, in my personal life, I am a Quaker, so I agree with you on many points about the wrongness of war and killing. I am a pacifist, and deeply opposed to many of the policies and practices of my own government.

Third, as a child who lived in occupied Germany for a number of years, I visited the Dachau camp when it was still mostly intact. As an eye-witness to that facility, I have always understood the Nazi atrocities as a deep scar on all of our humanity.

Fourth, please do pursue truth of this awful situation that you seem so ready to deny. The Germans under Hitler were meticulous record keepers, and there are voluminous records of who was killed at which camps, what kind of property was confiscated, and so forth. It's all available, and it's very chilling. The Holocaust Museums around the world (several of which I have visited) contain records of various kinds to answer your questions.

This will be my only response to you, and I ask that we end our dialogue, both having spoken.

Regards, Carolyn Byerly


*************************************************

Dear Professor Byerly:

Apologies for expressing myself so clumsily, apparently. I did not mean to imply that you are a “narrow” feminist scholar or suggest that your grasp of historical events is not “broad.”

You note that you visited the Dachau camp when it was still mostly intact, and as an “eye-witness” to that facility you have always understood the Nazi atrocities as a deep scar on all of our humanity. What atrocities? You do not say what you saw there.

It appears from these brief comments that you are not aware that the “atrocities” once claimed to have been routine at Dachau are now known to be largely false, and the killings-in-gas-chambers charge is now known to be a simple fraud. Not a complicated fraud, but a simple one. There is no proof that one person was killed in a gas chamber at Dachau, despite the claims of the U.S. military and others.

Example: in the January, 1947 issue of National Geographic Magazine, you can read: “At Dachau where the Nazis cremated more than a quarter of a million civilian victims (a false charge if not an outright lie) …. I met a colonel commanding the Air Forces reinforcement depot at Fuestenfeldbruck, not far away, who was transporting all recruits fresh from the States to this infamous place so that they might visualize what the Allied armies had fought.” National Geographic used the word “cremation.” What was understood by this is that the “cremated” were victims of “gassing” in a homicidal gas chamber which, in fact, did not exist.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies; Martin Broszat, director of the Institute for Contemporary History, Munich; Simon Wiesenthal;
Raul Hilberg in his The Destruction of the European Jews; and many other orthodox scholars are all agreed. There were no gas chambers at Dachau. I wrote about this years ago, when I was still a young man, in my Confessions.

Knowing this, it is an interesting experience to visualize hundreds of thousands of United States soldiers, as well as an endless stream of innocent civilian visitors, as it appears you were, being shown the Dachau “gas chamber” on orders of their superior officers year in and year out. Following that, it is also interesting to visualize those young men and women carrying the Dachau-lie all over the Western World, spreading it like a plague until ….”

Of course, you may have seen evidence of “other” atrocities at Dachau. I don’t know, as you do not say.

When you write “there are voluminous records of who were killed at which camps” I suppose you would include Auschwitz as one of those camps. If not, why not? Since this charge of mass murder in the German camps, using weapons of mass destruction (gas chambers) is made with such self assurance by so many, I believe it is only fair – and we can be “fair” to Germans, can we not? -- to ask that one American academic name one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz – or Dachau if you will.

I understand that you do not want to go on about this. I will honor your wish.

Bradley

Monday, May 5, 2008

Deborah Lipstadt's Participation in Forwarding the Myth of Simon Wiesenthal

Emory U. professor Deborah Lipstadt has been on a European tour with “40 exceptionally talented people, many of them real change agents, who have markedly different Jewish weltanschauung,” and is now flying back to Atlanta. On the plane she reflects on the fact that Simon Wiesenthal, the namesake of the world renowned Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, was a liar.

Lipstadt writes: (scroll down to "Budapest [2]")

“Throughout the trip I kept pushing the participants – sometimes relentlessly -- to stay true to the historical facts … history is not something to be played with. While we may all have different interpretations of history, certain facts are immutable and we cannot play with them to serve other purposes. … I gave them the example of how the late Simon Wiesenthal invented, without any basis in fact, the notion that the Holocaust constitutes the murder of 6 million Jews and 5 million non-Jews.”

That is, Simon Wiesenthal was a liar. When Lipstadt googles “11 million” + Holocaust she finds 479,000 references to this Germanophobic lie being exploited by Mr. Wiesenthal and, perforce, the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

“Wiesenthal may have meant well,” Lipstadt writes, “but he created a historical monster that now is rooted in what people think is fact.” Professor Lipstadt does not explain how Simon could have “meant well” by creating a “monstrous” lie about Germans. When Lipstadt accuses revisionists of “lying” about the Holocaust, an accusation that she is addicted to making, does she sometimes suggest that the revisionist “means well?”

Lipstadt writes that “In certain cases they (the 40 exceptionally talented people she was traveling with) would come close to asking “the difficult questions but pulled back ….” If it occurred to any of these exceptionally talented people to ask Professor Lipstadt for the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz, I would suppose they would have decided to “pull back” at the last moment. Way back.

Meanwhile, Simon Wiesenthal’s Germanophobic lie about the “11 million” is just the tip of the iceberg. Professor Lipstadt’s does not address the fact that Simon was a serial liar, like so many other Holocaust “survivors.” Simon has a well-documented but largely suppressed, record of deceit, mendacity and prevarication, as noted here.

“Wiesenthal repeatedly lied about his alleged role in locating Adolf Eichmann, was consistently wrong about Josef Mengele, and falsely accused Polish-American Frank Walus of having murdered Jews in Poland as a Gestapo official. Wiesenthal has absurdly charged that the Germans exterminated Jews in "electrocution chambers," and that they manufactured bars of soap from the bodies of murdered Jews. His deception about his own wartime activities prompted Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky (himself of Jewish ancestry) to accuse the ‘Nazi hunter’ of having collaborated with his wartime oppressors.

“Finally, Wiesenthal has even lied about his most widely-cited concession to truth. Concerned about the way that various Revisionists were quoting his 1975 Books and Bookmen letter, he simply denied ever having written it. In a letter dated May 12, 1986, to Professor John George of Central State University in Edmond, Oklahoma, Wiesenthal wrote: ‘I have never stated that 'there were no extermination camps on German soil.' This quote is false. I could never have said such a thing.’"

Maybe Professor Lipstadt would like to gather her “40 exceptionally talented people, many of them real change agents,” and fill them in a little more fully on Simon Wiesenthal – an iconic representative of the Holocaust survivor community.

But she will probably prefer to let it slide. He “meant well.” She most likely thinks he “meant well” when he talked about Germans cooking the corpses of murdered Jews to manufacture hand soap from their fat. Even Lipstadt doesn’t believe that one, but she doesn’t want the “myth” of Simon Wiesenthal to be damaged irreparably. She would prefer to participate in protecting, in forwarding this cracked affair as best she can.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Looking for a Jeremiah Wright at Howard University

Professor Carolyn M. Byerly is at Howard University in Communications and Journalism.
Mr. Smith: Your question probably isn't being answered by the Holocaust Museum desk because it appears to be asked in rejection of the holocaust rather than in a sincere effort to learn something. Your reasons for such provocation are not clear to me. Neither do I know why you have copied your query to Dr. Shapiro to many on our Howard University faculty.
Carolyn M. Byerly

I suggest that it would be "provocative" to find a Jeremiah Wright at Howard -- or any other campus.
Dear Professor Byerly: Thanks for writing. You are probably right to suggest that my question about having the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz will appear to be asked in rejection of -- something. The cultural environment in our universities does not allow for the possibility that such a question could be a "sincere" effort to learn something. As Professor Deborah Lipstadt of Emory U. has it, there simply is no "other side" to the "unique monstrosity" of the Germans. Your reasons to see this simple question as "provocative" are only natural in the American academic world.

On the other hand, should we not be willing to be "provocative" when we see that the "gas-chamber" story is one that is used to morally legitimate the intentional murder by Americans of hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians in all the major cities of Germany and Japan during WWII? As the Reverend Jeremiah Wright has it, the U.S. administration nuked Hiroshima and Americans "didn't blink an eye." I actually remember that day. I didn't blink an eye myself. I was only fifteen years old, but my mother and father did not blink an eye either. None of us blinked an eye. We felt morally justified in the mass murder of innocent, unarmed Japanese civilians. We believed that the Germans were monsters, the Japs were "monkeys" (I personally remember the language and the drawings). That is the language we use against the "other" to morally justify what we do to them.

You only have to review the language we used against Iraq to morally justify the invasion and conquest of that country, with the resultant millions of displaced, wounded, mangled and dead Iraqis. "Gas chambers" is not a holy word, or a holy concept. "Gas chamber" is an accusation of unique monstrosity against the other, which is exploited to morally justify much of U.S. foreign policy, including the "entangling" U.S. alliance with Israel, which could very well be argued is substantially the cause of the "blow-back" of 9/11. When we think of the catastrophic human losses in which the German WMD played the role of moral justification, it really does not appear to me to be excessive to ask for the name of one person, with proof, who was killed in one of those contraptions.

With regard to why I copied my query to Dr. Shapiro to faculty at Howard University, let me say first that I also copied it to faculty at Georgetown U., U. Maryland, and Johns Hopkins U. But back to Howard. I think I was hopeful that I might find a Jeremiah Wright at Howard, one academic with Wright's courage and his forthrightness, but at the same time, hopefully, without his silliness.

While your interest in communications and journalism at Howard focus on the role women do and do not play in such worlds, still, you are in journalism and communications. Surely there is a role for there for "women" to ask questions and to support others who ask questions, which address how American foreign policy is morally legitimated.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Barnard College and the Clinically Insane

Richard M. Pious, Adolf and Effie Ochs Professor at Barnard College, writes me a nice note:
Dear Mr. Smith: I write to you with some alarm and urgency. Someone who is clearly, from the content of the communication below [my letter to Dr. Paul Shapiro, Director for the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the USHMM], clinically insane, has sent me and many other individuals at Barnard and Columbia an e-mail, signing it with your name and organizational affiliation. Once you read this nonsense I'm sure you'll be as appalled as I was, but I do believe there is a way for you to proceed against this crank.

You can utilize the resources of various anti-spamming and anti-nuisance organizations to track this person down and obtain his assurance that he will avoid sending further idiotic e-mails to strangers using your name and affiliation. That should mitigate the damage this moron has caused you.

Don't you just hate it when someone uses these new technologies to borrow another person's identity, and then bother people with unsolicited communications?

Wishing you best of luck in tracking down this idiot, I am,

Sincerely yours,

Richard M. Pious
Adolph and Effie Ochs Professor
Barnard College

I thank Professor Pious for his concern:
Dear Professor Pious: Thank you for writing. I confess to an immediate attraction to a man with a sense of the comic, even when it is a little too obvious. Nevertheless, this is a serious business, and the question remains. If we are to continue to exploit for our own benefit the charge of “unique” monstrosity against the Germans, and if we are going to hook our charge on the Auschwitz gas-chamber story, we really should have the name of one person, with proof, who was murdered there in a gas chamber. One out of a million?

I want to assure you that I sympathize with your predicament at Barnard and in the academic world generally. It is always difficult, and even dangerous, to challenge a taboo. It’s difficult and dangerous for those who live in a cargo cult, and as Orwell pointed out, it is particularly difficult and dangerous in a “free” society for those who are well educated.

The name of one person, with proof, and we can have done with this little escapade.

My best wishes.

Bradley R. Smith