Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What Does Holocaust Denial Really Mean?

By Daniel McGowan

Daniel McGowan, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Economics at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) in Geneva, New York. Below you will find a story that began almost two years ago with an opinion piece by Professor McGowan that appeared in The Finger Lakes Times on 27 September 2009.

Chapter two of the story consists of a Statement signed by six Hobart and William Smith faculty urging the president of the college to deny Professor McGowan the right to call himself “Professor Emeritus.”

Chapter three took place on 22 May 2011 when Professor McGowan, having gained access to the Statement by the Contemptible Six, replied to it directly and publicly.

What Does Holocaust Denial Really Mean?

By Daniel McGowan

The Finger Lakes Times,

September 27, 2009

In April 2007 the European Union agreed to set jail sentences up to three years for those who deny or trivialize the Holocaust. More recently, in response to the remarks of Bishop Richard Williamson, the Pope has proclaimed that Holocaust denial is “intolerable and altogether unacceptable.”

But what does Holocaust denial really mean? Begin with the word Holocaust. The Holocaust (spelled with a capital H) refers to the killing of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II. It is supposed to be the Germans’ "Final Solution" to the Jewish problem. Much of the systematic extermination was to have taken place in concentration camps by shooting, gassing, and burning alive innocent Jewish victims of the Third Reich.

People like Germar Rudolf, Ernst Zundel, and Bishop Williamson who do not believe this account and who dare to say so in public are reviled as bigots, anti-Semites, racists, and worse. Their alternate historical scenarios are not termed simply revisionist, but are demeaned as Holocaust denial. Rudolf and Zundel were shipped to Germanywhere they were tried, convicted, and sentenced to three and five years, respectively.

Politicians deride Holocaust revisionist papers and conferences as "beyond the pale of international discourse and acceptable behavior." Non-Zionist Jews who participate in such revisionism, like Rabbi David Weiss of the Neturei Karta, are denounced as "self-haters" and are shunned and spat upon. Even Professor Norman Finkelstein, whose parents were both Holocaust survivors and who wrote the book, The Holocaust Industry, has been branded a ....

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