Holocaust (2413 words) Essay

HolocaustWhat is Holocaust Denial and Why Does it Exhist? What is Holocaust denial and
why does it exhist? This is far from being a simple question, as it
neccessitates a background knowledge of what the holocaust really was and why
there would be efforts to deny that it ever happened. In my paper, I hope to
explain some of the horrific aspects of the holocaust and provide ample facts
for proof that this terrible ordeal happened, then attempt to understand why
holocaust denial came about in the first place. Attempting to prove that the
holocaust never happened seems virtually impossible given the known exhistance
of concentration camps in Auschwitz, Belzec, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and
Westerbork, to name a few. In Martin Gilbert’s “Holocaust Journey”, a
professor and a group of students visit many of these former concentration
camps. In order to prove that the holocaust really did happen, first one must
understand why and how the holocaust came about. It is important to note that
the roots of the holocaust began years before the holocaust actually took place.

One possible theory as to why there was anti-semitism against the Jews is the
scapegoat theory of prejudice. Because of the social and economical depressions
facing Germany at the time, the people of the country were very susceptible to a
powerful leader who promised to make them the superior race and who provided
them with a scapegoat as to why there is situation was so dismal. By painting
the Jews as a penny-pinching, money-taking, elitist class that was causing all
of Germany’s problems of the day, the people were easily led to believe that
the Jews were the reason that they faced hunger, poverty and a poor economy. One
web site that I visited that had a chronological order of events that led to the
holocaust was “Holocaust and Genocide Studies” at http://www.webster.edu/~woolflm/chronology.html.

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Some of the events that led to the holocaust that can be related to the
scapegoat theory were the collapse of the Germany economy due to hyper-inflation
and Hitler’s drafting of his anti-semetic views in Mein Keimf while he was
imprisoned in 1923 and the collapse of the Great Coalition in German government
in 1929. The collapse of the economy and the government were linked to the Jews
because they were a convenient group to blame. The scapegoat theory fits
perfectly into the scenario of the holocaust and it is because of it that one
can understand why the common people supported the holocaust whether directly or
indirectly. The support of the common people is absolutely essential to cause
destrucution of this magnitude, and in order to obtain their support, a powerful
leader, such as Adolph Hitler must prove to them why the Jews are the cause of
all their problems. Through the use of propoganda and powerful speeches, Hitler
was able to prove his point to the masses. In a time of extreme weakness in
Germany, he was able to grab these helpless individuals and make them believe
that the Jews were and inferior race and that only through their destrcution
could the Germans once again become a powerful and great people. Now that we
have established a sound theory as to why the holocaust occured, it is now time
to provide evidence that it happened. For instance, there are a wealth of
pictures available that were taken at concentration camps that show the terrible
conditions in which the Jews were forced to live and the horrific images of dead
bodies piled up on top of one another like so many dead animals. There are
pictures of the gas chambers, the mass graves, the human ovens. I was able to
view a great many of these pictures at the web site “The Holocaust Project”
at http://www.holocaust-history.org/hungarian-photos/. Among these photos were
pictures of tight living areas, forced labor upon the prisoners, and multuple
pictures of Jewish victims of the holocaust whether in concentration camps or in
there place of living. Among the more chilling pictures from the holocaust were
the victims of scientific testing done on these poor individuals and the mass
graves that the Jews were dumped into following their deaths at the
concentration camps. Other pieces of evidenc that prove the holocaust’s
exhistance and severity are the first-hand accounts delivered by individuals who
survived the holocaust or people who witnessed it. One website that contains a
link to the stories of holocaust survivors is “About.com” which can be
reached at http://holocaust.about.com/education/holocaust/. Here is a breif
exert of one of the first-hand accounts taken from the site: “In March, or
April, 1944, we got the dreaded notice that we had been selected for
re-settlement further East. The train cars they took us in were actually cattle
cars…there was not much room between us and the roof…the SS troops were on
the roofs of the cattle cars shooting past the windows to discourage people from
sticking their heads out….” The story goes on to tell of how they were
stipped of all valuables and property by the Nazis and about the conditions in
which they were forced to live. This survivor also describes daily life at the
camps and portrays the grotesque images of the dead being piled up like
“…cordwood, naked, and without dignity.” He also speaks of the mass
gassings and mass graves that holocaust deniers attempt to prove did not exhist.

As it turns out, maybe because of mounting data and statistics to prove
otherwise, the goal of holocaust denial is not to deny the exhistance of mass
camps for the Jews, on the other hand, to belittle the horrible events that
occured and to deny that such staggering numbers of deaths could not be possible
by means of gas chanmbers and such. From simply reading books such as
“Holocaust Journey” written by Martin Gilbert, about the time he took his
class on a tour of concentration camps, one has ample proof that the holocaust
occured and the camps exhisted. “Holocaust Journey” is more of a journal
than a novel and contains a day by day, often minute by minute account of the
trip he took with his students on a tour of some of the concentration camps.

They also visited traditionally Jewish communities that dated back more than 500
years. “Each of them was uprooted and destroyed in the course of those two
years” (2). Gilbert provides some stories of people who perished among the 6
million who died in the holocaust, perhaps in an attempt to create a human face
in light of such staggering numbers that can often erase the human face of this
genocide. He also tells the class (and the readers of course) about the number
of people taken from specific places to camps as they pass by or stop in them.

Interestingly enough, we find out, on page 25, that roughly 70,000 Germans were
killed in an effort to weed out the weaklings and to make the Germans a superior
race. “An estimated 10,000 German children under the age of sixteen were
murdered by gas in this way” (25). On page 42, they visit a cemetary for
Berlin Jews who were murdered in the holocaust at the Heerstasse Jewish cemetary.

This and many other cemetaries can provide only small images of the vast number
of Jews killed in the holocaust. On the very next page, they visited one of the
places where the “final Solution” was discussed. Later on in the book, they
visit the site of the concentration camp at Belzic. On the gate are inscriptions
that contain statistics on the number of Jews from certain areas that were
killed there. The book also contains a picture taken in Belzic of where the mass
graves were before the bodies were dug up, burned and the ashes were spread out,
most likely in an effort to erase evidence of the magnitude of deaths that
occured. I believe that “Holocaust Journey” is a good example of a work
containing evidence that makes it impossible to altogether deny that the
holocaust happened, but I also belive it to be a terrific example of how the
Holocaust deniers are able to support their theories. For example, by calling
the genocide of millions of Jews “the final solution”, they do not directly
say that they are killing millions of Jews, so in effect, their language can
mask their exact intentions. Also, the burning of bodies and spreading of ashes
at Belzec is a great example of the Nazis erasing evidence to masks the horrific
magnitude of the holocaust. Because there is not a tremendous wealth of tangible
and direct evidence of the mass genocide as one might suspect, denying the
magnitude of the holocaust is not as trying a task as it might seem. What is
holocaust denial anyway? The Jewish Student Online Research Center at http://www.us-israel.org/jsource/Holocaust/denial.html
describes it as follows: “One of the most notable anti-semetic propoganda
movements to develop over the last two decades had been the organized effort to
deny or minimize the established history of Nazi genocide against the Jews.”
The goal of holocaust deniers is not to deny that anti-semitism exhisted, but to
deny that a mass organized killing program exhisted. Holocaust denial is also
known as holocaust “revisionism” and there are an abundance of sites on the
net that contain “revisionist” beliefs. Revisionism.Com at
www.revisionism.com is a web site that focuses on the belief that genocide did
not happen. It provides the site’s viewer with both audio and visual speeches
on revisionism from people who support this theory such as Ernst Zundel and
David Irving. Here is part of a speech by David Irving taken from the web site:
“…eye witness reports, the only evidence that can be used against us… the
dissident historians. I think they should be called “verbal testimony”
or “oral statements” that is all they are, There is a subtle
difference between “verbal statement” on one hand, and “eye
witness report” on the other. That’s how they do it.” In other words,
because of the lack of physical evidence of mass murders, holocaust deniers or
“Revisionsists” can claim that the Jews were in internment camps similar to
that of the ones the United States placed the Japanese in during World War II.

Here is a god example of the goal of holocaust deniers and what they believe in.

This qoute was taken from “The Student Revisionist Resource Site” at http://www.wsu.edu/~lpauling/”:
“Revisionists are, in fact, Holocaust DIMINISHERS, not deniers. They are
questioners about what they believe are significant exaggerations in the
Holocaust tale, and they are critics of the view that somehow this historical
event is beyond discussion on pain of being placed in the category of
child-molester or worse, shunned by society, even fined and imprisoned by some
so-called free countries in the western world.” It goes on to say that
Revisionists do not deny that there were wrongs done to the Jews such as the
wrongful stealing of property, brutality and many deaths due to disease in poor
conditions, yet they look to diminish the terrible things that happened to the
Jews by pointing to other horrible aspects of World War II. They believe that
what happened to the Jews was just ONE of the terrible things that happened in
the war, and far from the worst. Here is a paragraph taken from the page that
belittles what the Jews went through: “One needs merely mention Hiroshima,
Nagasaki, the deadly carpet bombing of German and Japanese working class living
areas, the Soviet of Germany in their 1945 advance, the treatment of German
civilians and German POW’s after the war. One could go on almost ad infinitum in
this recitation of atrocities. Fifty million – some say sixty million – died as
a result of the war. Was there more criminal behavior on one side than the
other?” By denying the mass killings of Jews and claiming they were victims of
poor conditions at the concentration camps which came from a lack of materials
due to the war costs, which in turn led to disease, holocaust deniers attempt to
belittle the terrible things that were done to the Jews by Nazi Germany before
and after the war. They do however, take blame for persecuting and robbing the
Jews of their possessions, and in addmitting so much, they may come off as being
a group that is speaking the truth. Now that we have established what holocaust
denial, or “revisionism” is, we may now examine why holocaust denial came
about in the first place. Well, one reason may be that due to the lack of
physical evidence, it is easy for them to flat out deny that it happened. But
what are the gains from denying the holocaust? Denying the holocaust ever
happened is a terrible injustice to the not only the millions who suffered and
perished in the concentration camps, but the people close to them who suffered
along with them. It is considered by many to be a new form of anti-semitism and
one can only imagine the pain it causes to the families of holocaust victims and
especially the survivors. Imagine surviving this terrible ordeal and then having
someone belittle what happened to you, the grotesque things you witnessed, the
grim conditions, the hunger, the forced labor, the imminent threat of being
killed alongside many others. This is why the force of holocaust denial is so
strong in terms of anti-semitism, and that is often the goal of hate-orientated
groups, to find the best way to hurt a group of people. There are also other
benefits of white supremacists in denying the holocaust. First and foremost, it
is easier to gain support for their cause if they dont come off as the animals
that they are made out to be. Being associated with what happened during the
holocaust can turn away many potential followers who hate, but do not
neccessarily condone violence and killings. Another paragraph taken from the
Student Revisionist Resource Site is yet another example of belittle the Nazi
treatment of the Jews. It is as follows: “Contrary to Holocaust Mythology
there was no attempt by Nazis, or anyone else, to exterminate the Jews. There
was an attempt, largely successful in the areas controlled by the Axis, to expel
the Jews from Europe. In the context of the 1990’s it was a terrible
undertaking. In adifferent context, the context of European history over the
last two millennia, the expulsion of the Jews from this region or that region
was not uncommon. Historically there seems to be something about the Jews that
brings forth a plenitude of animosity on the part of people amongst whom they
live.” By painting the Nazis as just another group trying to remove the Jews
from Europe, Revisionists can claim there is something about the Jews that makes
them undesirable and there is a reason that people dont want them around. This
has another along with diminishing the crimes the nazis committed, it feeds into
the hatered of Jews as well and makes it seem that this type of hatred has a
just cause. Its as if they are saying that “if everybody else hates the Jews,
what is so wrong with us hating them as well?”


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