My Comment on Michael Shermer’s open letter to Holocaust revisionists

On March 14, 1995, Michael Shermer, director of the Skeptics Society and Skeptic Magazine, published “An Open Letter to Holocaust Revisionists” in which he devoted a more than 300-word section to a conversation we had together in Los Angeles in September 1994, on my invitation. He did not send me a copy of that open letter. Today, March 31, I received a copy from Dr Toben (Australia). I thank him for publishing my comment.

I drew Mr Shermer’s attention to the fact that, in accusing the Germans of

1) having decided the construction of chemical slaughterhouses to kill the Jews systematically and in great quantities,

2) of having built this “crime weapon”, and

3) of having used it for years with a special technique and a specific operation,

the onus of proof was now on him.

I personally asked him for material or physical proof as is usual in any criminal matter. To begin with, I wish he had answered my simple challenge: “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber!”

The words “Show me” mean that, if he believes that the Nazi gas chambers shown at Auschwitz or elsewhere were actually real Nazi gas chambers, then he only had to take a little responsibility and say: “This was a Nazi gas chamber”. We would then have had a discussion.

The words “or draw me” mean that, if he considered that “the Germans had destroyed all their execution gas chambers” or that “the Nazi gas chambers shown to tourists are incomplete, rebuilt or non-genuine”, he only had to show me, by a drawing, what a real Nazi gas chamber actually was, along, of course, with its technique and operation. We would then have had a discussion.

In his article, Mr Shermer has not shown or drawn anything of that kind. In our conversation he did not address the issue. He asked me what was a proof for me. But I had already answered his question – it was, as in a criminal case, a physical or material representation of the crime weapon. If he did not agree, he would have to tell me why and he would have to bring me what he called a proof, not in theory but in practice.

I kept repeating that he had to give just one proof of his own: after all, it was he who had made an accusation; he had to prove; it was up to him to decide what kind of proof he would bring. We would then discuss that proof. Unfortunately he never brought anything for us to consider.

He now says that he “thought that perhaps [my] mind might take a philosophical turn”. It is precisely because I am used to hearing so many “intellectual” or “philosophical” considerations (the French love them) that I am very suspicious of them when the discussion is about a crime or the weapon of a crime, and I then insist on the importance of the material or physical evidence. Here I prefer Sherlock Holmes or Scotland Yard to Socrates or Pyrrhon (the skeptic).

Mr Andrew Allen attended our conversation. I admit that I jabbed my finger towards Mr Shermer’s face. It was not a tactic. It was because I kept repeating: “You are the accuser. You and nobody else here. So, bring one proof, only one proof of your terrible accusation”.

What I am saying here to Mr Shermer is: “Don’t try to escape your responsibility!”

To sum up, we are still waiting today for Mr Shermer to show us what a Nazi gas chamber (the weapon of the crime) would look like, along, of course, with its technique and operation.

I recall that my challenge to Michael Berenbaum, Research Director of the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, stated on August 30, 1994 in the presence of four witnesses, led him to answer: “The decision had been made not to give any physical representation of the Nazi gas chamber”. For this as well as for the preposterous model of Krematorium II and for my argument “No holes, no ‘Holocaust'”, see Adelaide Institute Newsletter, November 10, 1994, p. 4-5

P.S. Mr Shermer mocks my “inimitable French accent”. I am afraid he is right on that very point.