My answers to Shawn Johnson and her classmates
QUESTION 1: While writing, do you think of the reader’s opinions?
ANSWER: I try my best not to think of the reader’s opinions on the matter which I am addressing. I try to avoid frivolity, negligence, deliberate ignorance, and lies. I try to be exact. I try not to lay accusations against anyone unless I have hard facts and real evidence. If someone accuses, on the one hand, Nazi Germany of having built and used mass-execution gas chambers and, on the other hand, Great Britain, the United States, Soviet Russia, the Vatican, and the International Committee of the Red Cross of having turned a blind eye to such a gigantic crime perpetrated over such a length of time, he must be able to bring proof, or at least such things as he considers to be proof and which I should have the right to look at and discuss. Otherwise, it is a defamation, a slander, a calumny.
QUESTION 2: What inspired you to start your revisionist work?
ANSWER: One day I read a book by Paul Rassinier, Le Mensonge d’Ulysse (“The Lie of Ulysses”) published in 1950. P. Rassinier had been a leftist, a Résistant, then an inmate at the Buchenwald and Dora camps in Germany. When he returned home from those concentration camps, he was surprised to read “testimonies” about execution gas chambers in Buchenwald. He began an investigation. He discovered that those “testimonies” were nothing but the fruit of gossip. Later on, he found that such was also the case as concerned Dachau and many other camps including Auschwitz. The meaning behind the title of his first book is this: many people tend to behave like Homer’s hero in that, having endured a hundred ordeals, they are inclined to talk of their thousand ordeals, and, with the passing of time, may actually come to believe the stories that they repeat year after year.
On 19 August 1960, in the German weekly Die Zeit, there appeared a letter from a Dr Martin Broszat, member of the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich and believer in the German mass-execution gas chambers. In his letter he finally admitted that there had been no such gas chambers either in Buchenwald, Dachau, or Bergen-Belsen. I was very surprised, since I remembered that, in a film projected at the Nuremberg trial on November 29, 1945, the whole world had been shown something that was presented as such a gas chamber in Dachau, and had been told of its functioning as such.
QUESTION 3: If the Holocaust had happened to Christians instead of to Jews, would you feel the same way about it?
ANSWER: If by the word “Holocaust” you mean that Nazi Germany (1) had a policy of physically exterminating the Jews, (2) used execution gas chambers to that purpose, and (3) that the overall result of this policy, taking in deaths by natural causes within or without concentration camps, was a total of 6,000,000 dead, I say that there was no “Holocaust”. If by the word “Holocaust” you mean that the Jewish communities of Europe suffered considerable hardship and loss of life during the second world war, I lament such sufferings (though they did not – and by far – amount to 6,000,000 dead) just as I lament those endured throughout that horrible conflict by Christians, atheists, Buddhists, Shintoists, and all others: perhaps as many as 40,000,000 people were killed. The allied bombing raids on Dresden (February 1945) amounted to a real “Holocaust” (the incineration of an entire city would seem to bear a closer correspondence to the traditional, liturgical sense of the word that we are discussing here), as did the atomic attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The most dreadful deportations were those of the 12-15 million German civilians, chased from their homes in Central and Eastern Europe in 1945-1946.
Just or unjust, every war is a butchery, despite the heroism of countless soldiers and ordinary citizens; at the end of it, the victor turns out simply to have been the better, the more efficient of two butchers. It is thus that, when hostilities have ceased, the victor should perhaps be entitled to give the vanquished a lesson in butchery but certainly not in Right and Justice, as happened in the Nuremberg trial, the Tokyo trial, and still today, 54 years after the war, in so-called “war criminals” cases.
In September 1983, at the end of my visit to the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, I met Rabbi Marvin Hier; in the guest book I wrote something like: “I feel a deep respect for the TRUE sufferings of ALL the victims of World War II”.
QUESTION 4: If there were no gassings, how can one account for the residue of gas found at the camps?
ANSWER: Zyklon-B (hydrocyanic acid) had been used since 1922, and is in fact still in use today (although under a different name), for purposes of fumigation, disinfestation, and delousing. In a chamber specially equipped for disinfestation one will normally note blue residues (hydrocyanic acid is also known as “blue acid”, and the chambers to which you allude were sometimes called “blue chambers”). Precisely what is so interesting is that at Auschwitz-Birkenau, for example, in the rooms used for disinfestation, you will still note today such blue residues, whereas in the spaces purportedly used day in and day out for mass-gassings, for the gassing to death of so many thousands of Jews, you will note no such residues. In 1988 an American called Fred Leuchter, specialist in the field of judicial executions in the US (notably in the use of gas chambers employing hydrocyanic acid), visited Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek (Poland), accompanied by several assistants. He inspected, on the one hand, the disinfestation gas chambers and, on the other hand, the places which are presented as execution gas chambers. He took samples which he got analysed by a laboratory upon returning to the US. The conclusion of his report was that there had been no execution gas chambers in those camps. In 1991 the German chemist Germar Rudolf (from the Max-Planck Institut), after visiting Auschwitz and Birkenau, in his own report came to the same conclusion. As for me, I was the first (in the 70s) to state that the “Nazi gas chambers” were impossible for chemical reasons. If you are interested, I can expand a bit on this point which, after all, concerns an essential subject and is assuredly not a “point of detail” of second world war history. Have you ever asked yourself what such a gas chamber – a building in which whole crowds of people were put to death – can have been? Or how one could operate it without gassing oneself in the process? While entering an ocean of hydrocyanic acid after the gassing, in order to remove the corpses, how would one avoid being overcome? And, since hydrocyanic acid can poison through the skin on simple contact, would it not be impossible to handle the poisoned corpses without poisoning oneself? Have you any idea what an American penitentiary gas chamber, used for killing just a single individual, is like? Also, are you sure that you have made the necessary distinction between the crematoria (especially good and useful devices to have at a time of terrible typhus epidemics, as at Auschwitz), the disinfestation gas chambers (indispensable in the face of such epidemics), and the purported mass-execution gas chambers which, needless to say, would have been abominable? When presented with images of dreadfully emaciated bodies, have you ever thought that they may have been the remains of victims of such epidemics? Beware not to take the crematoria for execution gas chambers, and the dead for murdered!
I appreciate the open-mindedness of Americans. In France, once I had expressed my observations on what you term the “Holocaust”, I soon was no longer able to teach at my University. I used especially to lecture in “Analysis of Texts and Documents (Literature, History, Media)” but one day my tenure was revoked without any justification being given. Between 1978 and 1993 I was physically attacked ten times and on at least one occasion was nearly killed. Since 1981 I have been prosecuted and convicted at least 12 times, having enormous fines to pay as a result.
In France and in many other countries there are special laws – like the 1981 Israeli law – which forbid challenges to the “Holocaust” story. Quite a few Revisionists have been, or are now, in jail, particularly in Germany where, incidentally, three US citizens have at one time or another been locked up for revisionism: one is currently serving a five-year prison sentence there, partly for revisionism and partly for his political beliefs, which happen to be National-Socialist. How would you explain that we should need special laws defining a kind of historical truth and thereby restricting drastically historical researches?
Did you know that after the war the first historian to have the intuition that the “Nazi gas chambers” had perhaps not existed was the American James Morgan Read? If you wish I can send you a copy of an article which he had published in the May 30, 1945 issue (p. 651-653) of the Chicago weekly The Christian Century, under the title “Trials for War Criminals”?
Also, did you know that in their respective war memoirs which, taken together, amount to over 7,000 printed pages, general-presidents Dwight Eisenhower and Charles de Gaulle and prime minister Winston Churchill, despite plainly showing their hostility towards the Germans, never once mentioned either a physical extermination of the Jews or the “Nazi gas chambers”? Why, would you reckon, is this so?
N.B.: Perhaps you would be interested in reading two short articles that I have published in The Journal of Historical Review (JHR):
– “The Mechanics of Gassing” (JHR, Spring 1980, p. 23-30);
– “The Gas Chambers of Auschwitz Appear to be Physically Inconceivable” (JHR, Winter 1981, p. 311-317).
If you are interested I can also explain my challenge: “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber”, and the aphorism “No holes, no ‘Holocaust’ “.
March 3, 1999