Friday, September 6, 2013

Who were the first Holocaust Deniers?

An article from December 2006

Why there is so much excitement about Holocaust Denial and to whom the HD is dangerous? Who were the first Holocaust Deniers?

These questions are now more relevant considering the uproar around the recent Holocaust conference in Iran. Hardly so much attention would have been paid to deniers of the earth circulating the sun.

 The common explanation, if not to say excuse, is that the Holocaust deniers are Judeophobes, with the prime example of Iran, which desires to achieve a nuclear bomb in order to destroy Israel.

Without getting into a detailed discussion about the nuclear issue, it is important to remember a fact that is not widely known: Iran can already hit strategic targets in Israel that are located in densely populated areas today, and thus might create damage that is no smaller that an A-bomb. E.g., a study of the Israeli Institute of Technology, the Technion, stated that a direct hit at the huge ammoniac container near Haifa may cause the death of 100-200 thousands persons. The Israeli engineer, Shabtai Azriel, who has been warning for years against such a danger, drew attention to the fact that the A-bomb dropped over Nagasaki caused the death of "just" 70,000 people.

We can therefore argue that today a Balance of Terror or Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) already exists between Iran and Israel. In spite of the fiery declarations Iran does not attack Israel and thus proves that the possession of an A-bomb does not necessarily change the situation. Just like the situation during the "Cold War" there is an urgent need to build better mechanisms that will prevent a terrible "accident".

For the time being Holocaust denial is an act damaging mainly the persons committing something so despicable and those who profit most out of it are what might be called the priests and prophets of the Holocaust religion and Israel. They take advantage of every chance in order to recycle their merchandise, with the result of actually causing it to rot because of the overkill and abuse. It seems that the Holocaust religion and the Holocaust denial, like Siamese twins, need each other and both prevent a secular and factual historiography of the Nazi Judeocide and its implications.

The present conference in Teheran and especially the participation of Neturei Karta caused severe damage to the critical position towards the abuse of the Nazi Judeocide. This occurred because the participants helped to blur the borders between legitimate criticism against the Holocaust Religion and a racist stance.

The Holocaust Religion sanctifies and sustains various axioms unnecessarily, e.g. the figure of six millions which creates the false impression that an allegedly smaller number of victims would reduce the moral impact of this Judeocide.

There is no doubt that most if not all the present Holocaust deniers are Judeophobes. Still, without intending to justify their repulsive point of view, it is important to point out that among the first Holocaust deniers were leading currents among the Zionist Jewish community (Yishuv) in Palestine during the Nazi era. This means that the denial in real time was not just a denial in the framework of a theoretical historical debate but had direct and very significant implications upon rescue activities, or rather the lack of them. This kind of denial had fateful outcomes that found their results in the attitude towards the Nazi Judeocide victims.

For example, the daily Davar (of the leading Labor party MAPAI) on March 17, 1942 responded to reports about Hungarian soldiers returning from the front who had told about the massacre of 250,000 Jews in the Ukraine:
 "The irresponsible informers add themselves to the killing of Jews. They accept every rumor; they look persistently for every bad message, for every deadly number and represent them to the readers and newspapers in a blood- chilling form and content… We know how reliable the testimonies of certain soldiers returning from the front are and how they boast about their great deeds in killing people and especially Jews… Take it easy, informers and newspapers, in pouring Jewish blood into your lines."
The paper Hatzofe, from the Zionist religious movement on March 18, 1942, went even further:
"We have commented several times on the pathetic habit practiced by several papers of the country to inflate every bad rumor about pouring blood of Jews, to exaggerate the number of dead and to surround them with a black frame; this in order to blacken the blackness and increase the impression. What for? Don't we have enough problems in Israel? Is there not enough blood of Israel [of Jews] that has really been poured everywhere? Do we have to add to that exaggerations and embellishments? Will the informers and newspapers listen? Will they learn a lesson?"

Though these reports did not refer to extermination with gas and there are even many persons who try to find explanations and excuses for this cruel attitude, it was unacceptable even from a pure journalistic professional point and this was not an isolated incident of rejecting information about extermination of Jews and its denial. We are talking about a structural systematic failure and not just about a restricted singular flop.

Very symbolic is the slap that the head of the Jewish Agency's Immigration Department, Eliyahu Dobkin, got from a woman who returned in November 1942 with other Palestinian Jews from Poland and reported the Judeocide. Dobkin, as a representative of the whole Zionist community, truly earned that slap because he dared to claim that the woman was lying. Dobkin, an actual minister in the pre-state government, positioned himself thus in a place much worse than that of David Irving.

More than just a simple denial is embodied in the declaration of the most important Zionist leader David Ben-Gurion: "Of course we have information about those things [the Judeocide], but this issue is not a central factor of the Yishuv's reality."

Very indicative is the moving cry from Rabbi Michael Dov Weissmandel that remained without a serious answer. The original Weismmandel letter exists in the archive of Nathan Dror-Schwalb, who served as a Zionist representative in Geneva during WWII:
"Though we told you several times what is really happening, is it possible that you believe murderous criminals more than you believe us, the murdered persons – is it possible? The blessed G_d will open your eyes and will give you the right to save those still alive in the last hour."
In another letter Weissmandel wrote: "You are cruel, you are murderers because of your cruel silence and inactivity."

The low priority for rescue activities given by the Jewish Agency, the sabotage of serious rescue plans and the shameful treatment that the survivors received after WWII and until today, build the worst kind of denial. All those denying, blurring or justifying this serious crime negate their moral justification to condemn Ahmadinejad and his nasty friends. 

Shraga Elam

Shraga Elam is a journalist and the author of several critical publications about the role of Jewish organizations and Switzerland during the Nazi era.

This is a modified version of an article published originally in the Israeli website News First Class (NFC), December 17, 2006

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