Holocaust Historians Quotes

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I had decided to study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I'd felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement--since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected--a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught.
Tara Westover (Educated)
[talking about the Holocaust] 'But to put something in context is a step towards saying it can be understood and that it can be explained. And if it can be explained that it can be explained away.' 'But this is History. Distance yourselves. Our perspective on the past alters. Looking back, immediately in front of us is dead ground. We don't see it, and because we don't see it this means that there is no period so remote as the recent past. And one of the historian's jobs is to anticipate what our perspective of that period will be... even on the Holocaust.
Alan Bennett (The History Boys)
The destruction of the Indians of the Americas was, far and away, the most massive act of genocide in the history of the world. That is why, as one historian aptly has said, far from the heroic and romantic heraldry that customarily is used to symbolize the European settlement of the Americas, the emblem most congruent with reality would be a pyramid of skulls.
David E. Stannard (American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World)
I think most historians would agree that the part played by impulses of selfish, individual aggression in the holocausts of history was small; first and foremost, the slaughter was meant as an offering to the gods, to king and country, or the future happiness of mankind. The crimes of a Caligula shrink to insignificance compared to the havoc wrought by Torquemada. The number of victims of robbers, highwaymen, rapists, gangsters and other criminals at any period of history is negligible compared to the massive numbers of those cheerfully slain in the name of the true religion, just policy or correct ideology. Heretics were tortured and burnt not in anger but in sorrow, for the good of their immortal souls. Tribal warfare was waged in the purported interest of the tribe, not of the individual. Wars of religion were fought to decide some fine point in theology or semantics. Wars of succession dynastic wars, national wars, civil wars, were fought to decide issues equally remote from the personal self-interest of the combatants. Let me repeat: the crimes of violence committed for selfish, personal motives are historically insignificant compared to those committed ad majorem gloriam Dei, out of a self-sacrificing devotion to a flag, a leader, a religious faith or a political conviction. Man has always been prepared not only to kill but also to die for good, bad or completely futile causes. And what can be a more valid proof of the reality of the self-transcending urge than this readiness to die for an ideal?
Arthur Koestler (The Ghost in the Machine)
I mumbled something about historiography. I had decided to study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I’d felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement—since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected—a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality.
Tara Westover (Educated)
History is a narrative enterprise, and the telling of stories that are true, that affirm and explain our existence, is the fundamental task of the historian. But truth is delicate, and it has many enemies. Perhaps that is why, although we academics are supposedly in the business of pursuing the truth, the word “truth” is rarely uttered without hedges, adornments, and qualifications. Every time we tell a story about a great atrocity, like the Holocaust or Pingfang, the forces of denial are always ready to pounce, to erase, to silence, to forget. History has always been difficult because of the delicacy of the truth, and denialists have always been able to resort to labeling the truth as fiction. One has to be careful, whenever one tells a story about a great injustice. We are a species that loves narrative, but we have also been taught not to trust an individual speaker. Yes, it is true that no nation, and no historian, can tell a story that completely encompasses every aspect of the truth. But it is not true that just because all narratives are constructed, that they are equally far from the truth. The Earth is neither a perfect sphere nor a flat disk, but the model of the sphere is much closer to the truth. Similarly, there are some narratives that are closer to the truth than others, and we must always try to tell a story that comes as close to the truth as is humanly possible. The fact that we can never have complete, perfect knowledge does not absolve us of the moral duty to judge and to take a stand against evil.
Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories)
In 1894, historian Theodor Mommsen wrote that the root cause of the anti-Semitic “affliction” was “envy and the basest instincts,… a barbaric hatred for education, freedom, and humanism.
Götz Aly (Why the Germans? Why the Jews?: Envy, Race Hatred, and the Prehistory of the Holocaust)
As other (previously lost) eyewitness accounts verifying Hitler’s and the Nazis’ detailed plans to annihilate the Jewish people are recovered by historians each passing decade, Holocaust deniers’ attempts to defend the Third Reich against accusations of genocide become more and more feeble. No, make that more and more laughable.
James Morcan (Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories)
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, historians have become both more accurate and more honest—fractionally more brave, one might say—about that 'other' cleansing of the regions and peoples that were ground to atoms between the upper and nether millstones of Hitlerism and Stalinism. One of the most objective chroniclers is Professor Timothy Snyder of Yale University. In his view, it is still 'Operation Reinhardt,' or the planned destruction of Polish Jewry, that is to be considered as the centerpiece of what we commonly call the Holocaust, in which of the estimated 5.7 million Jewish dead, 'roughly three million were prewar Polish citizens.' We should not at all allow ourselves to forget the millions of non-Jewish citizens of Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, and other Slav territories who were also massacred. But for me the salient fact remains that anti-Semitism was the regnant, essential, organizing principle of all the other National Socialist race theories. It is thus not to be thought of as just one prejudice among many.
Christopher Hitchens (Hitch 22: A Memoir)
Some critics argue about the exact number of millions of people murdered in the socialist Wholecaust (of which the Holocaust was a part) under Stalin, Mao, Hitler, and other socialists. I remember the retort of the historian Dr. Rex Curry: a million murdered here, a million murdered there, pretty soon you are talking a lot of people.
Lin Xun (God Hates Flags! Buy This Book or Go to Hell.: With an Introduction by God)
Remember, deniers claim 90 to 100% of all Holocaust deaths are some fantasy concocted years after the war. Rest assured the only books anywhere that talk about the tiny death toll numbers deniers believe in (i.e. tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands instead of millions) are Holocaust-denying books written by anti-Semitic “historians,” religious zealots or neo-Nazis. No mainstream history books ever published since 1945 mention a death toll that isn't in the millions for the Holocaust. Period.
James Morcan (Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories)
How historians explain time is one thing, but how we live time is quite another.
André Aciman
Struck by the complete lack of logic in any of their claims, I initially dismissed the Holocaust deniers and their theories out of hand. Then two respected historians suggested that I take a closer, more systematic look.
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Antisemitism: Here and Now)
In his study of Dr Leo Stanley, the historian Ethan Blue makes it clear that Stanley was no ordinary prison doctor. Dr Leo Stanley was a eugenicist who later became famous for a bizarre series of medical experiments conducted upon the prison population of San Quentin.
Catharine Arnold (Pandemic 1918: Eyewitness Accounts from the Greatest Medical Holocaust in Modern History)
Most people have no understanding of the psychological changes of captivity. Social judgment of chronically traumatized people therefore tends to be extremely harsh. The chronically abused person's apparent helplessness and passivity, her entrapment in the past, her intractable depression and somatic complaints, and her smoldering anger often frustrate the people closest to her. Moreover, if she has been coerced into betrayal of relationships, community loyalties, or moral values, she is frequently subjected to furious condemnation. Observers who have never experienced prolonged terror and who have no understanding of coercive methods of control presume that they would show greater courage and resistance than the victim in similar circumstances. Hence the common tendency to account for the victim's behavior by seeking flaws in her personality or moral character. ... The propensity to fault the character of the victim can be seen even in the case of politically organized mass murder. The aftermath of the Holocaust witnessed a protracted debate regarding the 'passivity' of the Jews and their 'complicity' in their fate. But the historian Lucy Dawidowicz points out that 'complicity' and 'cooperation' are terms that apply to situations of free choice. They do not have the same meaning in situations of captivity.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
One historian has estimated that if the dead from Nanking were to link hands, they would stretch from Nanking to the city of Hangchow, spanning a distance of some two hundred miles. Their blood would weigh twelve hundred tons, and their bodies would fill twenty-five hundred railroad cars. Stacked on top of each other, these bodies would reach the height of a seventy-four-story building.
Iris Chang (The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II)
To deny the reported six million (approximately) Jews who died, or the 11 million people in total, is to ignore all the eyewitness accounts from Holocaust survivors, the non-Jewish witnesses of the millions who died the open-air massacres around Europe, the concentration camp guards, Nazi officers who admitted to gassings and other related crimes immediately after WW2, and the universal agreement of all mainstream historians who have studied this historical event inside out – not to mention every single scientist who has ever analyzed forensic evidence retrieved from the Nazi genocide. Not even the most corrupt courtroom on Earth could ignore this much evidence – for collectively these confirmations of the Holocaust equate to irrefutable proof that the reported death toll is indeed correct. It is possibly the most well-documented crime of the 20th Century, but remember for religious extremists, Nazi apologists or other anti-Semites it would never matter how much evidence you put in front of them. They would always deny the Holocaust because to admit the event occurred would be to stop believing the Jews are inferior to them. It would also require such bigots to admit the very uncomfortable truth to themselves: that their ‘own kind’ did these despicable things to the Jewish people.
James Morcan (Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories)
Contrary to a notion that has become fashionable among American historians, the concept of race was not invented in the late eighteenth or nineteenth century. Indeed, systems of categorical generalization that separated groups of people according to social constructions of race (sometimes based on skin color, sometimes with reference to other attributes) and ranked them as to disposition and intelligence, were in use in Europe at least a thousand years before Columbus set off across the Atlantic.
David E. Stannard (American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World)
Past is Prologue This book was written observing the premise that the seeds of Holocaust denial take root and prosper with misinformation. Clarity and transparency are imperative, as they leave no room for denial theories that would deprive the victims justice, or rob the living of a future. Generations of historians have enthusiastically gone about their craft knowing full well that 'he who owns the past, owns the future'. Improperly documented history, or more precisely, fraudulent versions of history not only deprive the victims of pasts injustices due recognition of their suffering, but also rob the living of a fair chance at a future free from the dangers of repeating past injustices.
A.E. Samaan (From a "Race of Masters" to a "Master Race": 1948 to 1848)
And on April 30th, one month later, a royal decree was issued suspending all judicial proceedings against any criminals who would agree to ship out with Columbus, because, the document stated, “it is said that it is necessary to grant safe-conduct to the persons who might join him, since under no other conditions would they be willing to sail with him on the said voyage.”130 With the exception of four men wanted for murder, no known felons accepted the offer. From what historians have been able to tell, the great majority of the crews of the Niña, the Pinta, and the Santa María— together probably numbering a good deal fewer than a hundred—were not at that moment being pursued by the law, although, no doubt, they were a far from genteel lot.
David E. Stannard (American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World)
Two general questions are of vital importance here. They are inter-linked and to a large extent interdependent. The first is, what are the boundaries of legitimate disagreement among historians? The second is, how far do historians' interpretations depend on a selective reading of the evidence and where does selectivity end and bias begin? The answers to both are fundamental to the business of being a historian. Historians bring a whole variety of ideas, theories, even preconceptions to the evidence to help them frame the questions they want to ask of it and guide their selection of what they want to consult. But once they get to work on the documents, they have a duty to read the evidence as fully and fairly as they can. If it contradicts some of the assumptions they have brought to it, they have to jettison those assumptions...What a professional historian does is to take the whole of the source in question into account, and check it against other relevant sources to reach a reasoned conclusion that will withstand critical scrutiny by other historians who look at the same material... Reputable and professional historians do not suppress parts of quotations from documents that go against their own case, but take them into account and if necessary amend their own case accordingly. From _Lying About Hitler: History, Holocaust and the David Irving Trial_, 250-251
Richard J. Evans
This, then, was the Old World on the eve of Columbus’s departure in 1492. For almost half a millennium Christians had been launching hideously destructive holy wars and massive enslavement campaigns against external enemies they viewed as carnal demons and described as infidels—all in an effort to recapture the Holy Land, and all of which, it now seemed to many, effectively had come to naught. During those same long centuries they had further expressed their ruthless intolerance of all persons and things that were non-Christian by conducting pogroms against the Jews who lived among them and whom they regarded as the embodiment of Antichrist—imposing torture, exile, and mass destruction on those who refused to succumb to evangelical persuasion. These great efforts, too, appeared to have largely failed. Hundreds of thousands of openly practicing Jews remained in the Europeans’ midst, and even those who had converted were suspected of being the Devil’s agents and spies, treacherously boring from within. Dominated by a theocratic culture and world view that for a thousand years and more had been obsessed with things sensual and sexual, and had demonstrated its obsession in the only way its priesthood permitted—by intense and violent sensual and sexual repression and “purification”—the religious mood of Christendom’s people at this moment was near the boiling point. At its head the Church was mired in corruption, while the ranks below were dispirited and increasingly disillusioned. These are the sorts of conditions that, given the proper spark, lend themselves to what anthropologists and historians describe as “millenarian” rebellion and upheaval, or “revitalization movements.”125
David E. Stannard (American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World)
The Crusade Produced the first Holocaust: "The Jews of Mainz try to persuade the crusaders by casting coins and precious goods from their windows . The offering is not sufficient. The crusaders drag families from their dwellings and order them to submit to the christian baptism. The peasants with their scythes and sickles slice the throats of all those who refuse. over 900 suffer martyrdom. Out breaks of the program take place in other cities : Cologne , Trier, Prague and Ratisbon. The anti-jewish sentiment spreads throughout France and England. How many are slaughtered to provide provisions for the Peasant Crusade remains historians' guess. Some say 10,000.
Paul L. Williams
once spoke about the genetics of ancestry with a Holocaust historian who had hunted some of the last surviving Nazis in the 1990s. When I told him that little letters in our genetic code might testify to the ethnicity of our parents and grandparents, he said, “The Nazis would have loved this.” They would certainly have seized upon the idea, but in the end the full picture would have let them down just as badly as all the other dubious measures of race they tried to develop.
Christine Kenneally (The Invisible History of the Human Race: How DNA and History Shape Our Identities and Our Futures)
Pius XII was known for his outspoken warnings to the faithful against the "abuse of human rights,"19 yet he was silent about the Holocaust. He never spoke a public word against Hitler's systematic extermination of the Jews, because to do so would have condemned his own Church for its similar deeds. This silence, historians agree, encouraged Hitler and added to the unspeakable genocide.
Dave Hunt (A Woman Rides the Beast)
In fact, this figure [five million “murdered” Gentiles] is too high if one is counting victims who were targeted exclusively for racial reasons, but too low if one counts the total number of victims the Nazi regime killed outside military operations. (...) Wiesenthal’s aggrandizement of his role in the Eichmann capture is far less disturbing and historiographically significant than another of his inventions. In an attempt to elicit non-Jewish interest in the Holocaust, Wiesenthal decided to broaden the population of victims—even though it meant falsifying history. He began to speak of eleven million victims: six million Jews and five million non-Jews. Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer immediately recognized that this number made no historical sense. Who, Bauer wondered, constituted Wiesenthal’s five million. --The Eichmann Trial, page 8
Deborah E. Lipstadt (The Eichmann Trial (Jewish Encounters Series))
Wiesenthal’s aggrandizement of his role in the Eichmann capture is far less disturbing and historiographically significant than another of his inventions. In an attempt to elicit non-Jewish interest in the Holocaust, Wiesenthal decided to broaden the population of victims—even though it meant falsifying history. He began to speak of eleven million victims: six million Jews and five million non-Jews. Holocaust historian Yehuda Bauer immediately recognized that this number made no historical sense. Who, Bauer wondered, constituted Wiesenthal’s five million?" -- The Eichmann Trial, page 8
Deborah E. Lipstadt
Clearly anyone who wants to dismiss Eichmann’s testimonies on the grounds of their demonstrated unreliability and shameless self-serving lies can easily do so, and many of my colleagues have done precisely this. But what if our default position is not to dismiss everything Eichmann said and wrote just because he was lying most of the time, but rather to ask what among this mass of lies might nonetheless be of help to the historian, given his unique vantage point and the sheer volume of his testimony? -- Collected Memories: Holocaust and Postwar Testimony, page 11
Christopher R. Browning (Collected Memories: Holocaust History and Post-War Testimony (George L. Mosse Series in Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History) (George L. ... of European Culture, Sexuality, and Ideas))
Why does The Holocaust persist in haunting our conscience? Why does it dominate the introspection of philosophers and historians alike? By the numbers alone, the murders were not unprecedented. At that juncture of 20th Century history, Stalin and Lenin had already brutally murdered tens of millions. The Holocaust fascinates not because of its numbers, but because of the means employed. At no point in time had an entire society dedicated its full might to the perpetual elimination of those unwanted elements of the population. Every aspect of Hitler’s National Socialism was geared towards cleansing and improving the breeding stock of Germania. Hitler’s National Socialist government was focused on the breeding, education, and training of a “master race.” The social, cultural, legislative, and industrial mechanisms of Hitler’s National Socialism were designed to perpetually “select” its populace. The central planners of National Socialism would “select” those that would live, those that would die, and those that would be sterilized slave labor. National Socialism was intended to have the “total” control to decide who would be allowed to procreate, and as a result, those that would be allowed to contribute to Hitler’s ideal society.
A.E. Samaan (H.H. Laughlin: American Scientist, American Progressive, Nazi Collaborator (History of Eugenics, Vol. 2))
War is incidental to ideology, and this was certainly true for the war instigated by Adolf Hitler. Historians have aptly documented that Hitler knew he needed the fog of war and a radicalized population in order to enact the most extreme policies. This was equally true for both Germans and the people of their conquered territories. The war allowed Hitler the cover and justification to radicalize the T4 Euthanasia program against those lives deemed “not worth living” by pointing to the costs of maintaining those “useless eaters” during a time of war. It allowed license for Karl Brandt to “clear hospital beds” in the name of the war effort. The war’s conquered territory also brought conquered populations and increased the number of “unfit” and “undesired” population, including the Jewish population of Eastern Europe. The methods and technology of the T4 Euthanasia program were subsequently transferred from the German hospitals to the extermination camps, doctors, nurses, equipment, and all. This transference and repurposing of resources was all decided in the infamous Wannsee Conference, which we now know was the beginning of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question”:“The aim of all this was to cleanse German living space of Jews in a legal manner.” (From the text of the Wannsee Protocol)
A.E. Samaan
Publicly branded as ‘Holocaust deniers,’ dissident historians are thus relegated to the status of outcasts, “neo-Nazis,” outlaws and pariahs, exposed to public contempt by an unsympathetic media and “politically correct” politicians. The social stigmatization normally associated with ‘Holocaust denial’ has become so pervasive and all-encompassing that only the most committed advocates of free speech will publicly risk an unfettered defense of the right to unrestricted expression of opinion for revisionist historians and independent researchers. The courageous defense of such advocates and assorted literati is especially commendatory in view of the fact that their statements of conscience are sometimes published at considerable risk to themselves and their own reputations. One of the few organizations that actively campaigns in defense of free speech issues for revisionists is the Institute for Historical Review, in Costa Mesa, California, which closely monitors the carefully orchestrated, well-organized and highly-financed attempts by special interest groups to stifle free inquiry, research and open debate.
Joseph Bellinger
The advocates of censorship vigorously defend these and similar views, perceiving revisionist historians as a threat to public order, whose research and published statements constitute “incitement to hatred.” Rather paradoxically, it would seem that the “Holocaust deniers” have only succeeded in inciting hatred against themselves!
John Bellinger
Ergo, the “Holocaust” has been declared a closed subject brooking no clarification, qualification, contradiction or revision if it happens to come into conflict with the officially accepted, legally mandated version. Restrained, intimidated and hamstrung by means of legal tyranny, highly qualified historians may soon find themselves arraigned before the courts like common criminals, facing terms in excess of five years’ imprisonment in some instances, and having no other option open to them than to ‘recant’ and “confess” in macabre Kafkaesque scenes reminiscent of Stalin’s infamous show trials. Such proceedings constitute a mockery of justice, since neither truth nor documentary evidence may be used as a means of vindication on behalf of the accused. Attorneys for the accused or judges renowned for their probity who hand down lenient sentences also run the risk of being charged, disbarred or censured. In fact, such instances are a rather common occurrence in those polities that have already criminalized “Holocaust denial.
John Bellinger
On March 1, 1996, twenty-one scholars and historians from various universities throughout Italy published a statement in defense of free speech and historical research. The professors courageously criticized the enactment of “Holocaust-denial” laws in France, Germany and other countries, specifically citing a French government ban on a book authored by Jürgen Graf simply because it denied the “Holocaust.” The scholars pleaded for reason to prevail over repression: We are appealing …to the scholarly community to which we belong, and also to the political world and to the press, so that they react to this state of affairs, and put an end to a tendency that wherever it develops, may put freedom of speech, press and culture in European countries at risk.[47] Needless to say, the sensibly worded appeal fell upon deaf ears, for the milieu in which “Holocaust denial” laws were first devised was precisely in those areas alluded to by the Italian professors - the political arena and the world press. Thus, “Holocaust-denial” laws were purposely designed to curtail freedom of speech and subvert other fundamental human rights. Practically speaking, human rights in Europe were no longer ‘at risk’ – they were in fact in headlong flight under attack by tyrants posing as moderate liberals.
John Bellinger
In yet another bizarre example of German jurisprudence, Professor Robert Hepp, a University of Osnabrueck professor of sociology, was found guilty in 1998 of contravening the law by writing a sentence in Latin, appearing as footnote number 74 in a 544-page book lauding the career of German historian Hellmut Diwald. The book under investigation, Helmut Diwald: His Legacy for Germany, had been scoured by state prosecutors for passages that might constitute a violation of “Holocaust denial” laws. The offending footnote condemned by the court referred to claims of systematic extermination of Jews by means of cyanide gas at Auschwitz as a “fable” [fabula]. The court ruled that this sentence constituted ‘incitement’ and vilified the memory of the [Jewish] dead, thereby resulting in a breach of “trust in legal security of Jews living in the Federal Republic [of Germany], and considerably diminishing their mental-emotional ability to live in peace and freedom.
John Bellinger
With the false claim that the Germans murdered six million Jews, mostly in gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland during WWII, since the end of WWII, the world has been saturated with films, documentaries and books on the Holocaust. Anyone worldwide who dares to investigate the Jewish Holocaust claims, is branded an Anti-Semite and Holocaust Denier. In our democratic world, a person who is accused of a crime is deemed innocent until irrefutable evidence proves them guilty. What has happened to democracy in Germany, Poland, France and Switzerland where people accused of Holocaust Denial are not allowed to provide any evidence that would prove that they are not guilty? In the Middle Ages, people accused of being witches, were also allowed no defence and were burned at the stake. As burning at the stake and crucifiction is not allowed in today's world, the best that the Jewish leaders and holocaust promoters can achieve is incarceration where no one can hear claims backed by years of very thorough research. The Jewish success in blocking my book "The Answer Justice", their failed attempts to stop the book "Chutzpah" written by Norman Finkelstein whose mother and father were held in German concentration camps, the incarceration of revisionists Ernst Zundel and Germar Rudolf in Germany and David Irving in Austria: these are all desperate attempts to end what they call Holocaust Denial. The English historian David Irving was refused entry to Australia in 2003 at the behest of the Jewish community (representing only 0.4% of the Australian population) thus denying the right of the other 99.6% to hear what David Irving has to say. Proof of Jewish power was the blocking of the public viewing of David Irving's film. The Jewish owners of the building locked the film presentation out which resulted in the headline in the "Australian" newspaper of: " Outrage at Jewish bid to stop the film by David Irving called "The Search For Truth in History" . Sir Zelman Cowan who was Governor General of Australia and a man much reverred in the Jewish community, has stated in the Jewish Chronicle (London) that "The way to deal with people who claim the holocaust never happened, is to produce irrefutable evidence that it did happen". I agree 100% with Sir Zelman Cowan. I am quite certain that he and other Zionist Jewish (Ashkenazim) world leaders are aware that a United Nations or International forensic examination of the alleged gas chamber at No. 2 Crematorium at Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland, would irrefutably prove the truth to the world that xyclon B cyanide has never been used as alleged by world Jewry to kill Jews. In 1979 Professor W.D. Rubenstein stated: "If the Holocaust can be shown to be a Zionist myth, the strongest of all weapons in Israels's propaganda armory collapses. The Falsification of history by Zionist Jews in claiming the murder of six million Jews by Germany, constitutes the GREATEST ORGANISED CRIME that the world has known.
Alexander McClelland
In 2011 he published Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Metaxas’s version of Dietrich Bonhoeffer bore an uncanny resemblance to conservative American evangelicals, in that he battled not only Nazis but the liberal Christians purportedly behind the rise of Nazism. Once again, evangelicals emerged as heroes. Evangelicals loved the book. Meanwhile, historians panned it; the director of the U.S. Holocaust Museum’s Programs on Ethics, Religion, and the Holocaust described it as “a terrible oversimplification and at times misinterpretation of Bonhoeffer’s thought, the theological and ecclesial world of his times, and the history of Nazi Germany.” 19
Kristin Kobes Du Mez (Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation)
I am Professor Steinberg,” he said. “What would you like to read?” I mumbled something about historiography. I had decided to study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I’d felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement—since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected—a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught. Dad could be wrong, and the great historians Carlyle and Macaulay and Trevelyan could be wrong, but from the ashes of their dispute I could construct a world to live in. In knowing the ground was not ground at all, I hoped I could stand on it.
Tara Westover (Educated)
We cannot have another world war. War is the wrong word. We should ban the term “World War III” and say instead apocalypse or holocaust. —Golo Mann, popular German-born historian, essayist and writer
Thomas Horn (I Predict: What 12 Global Experts Believe You Will See Before 2025!)
Brothers, don’t forget. Recount what you hear and see! Brothers, make a record of it all! Reported last words of the 81-year-old historian, Simon Dubnow, on 7 December 1941 in Riga, Latvia, when he was dragged out of his home to the execution site.
Agnes Grunwald-Spier (Who Betrayed the Jews?: The Realities of Nazi Persecution in the Holocaust)
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the height of the British Empire, 30 million Indians perished needlessly of famine in what the historian Mike Davis has called the ‘Late Victorian Holocausts’. Needlessly, because even at the peak of the famine there was a net surplus of food. In fact, Indian grain exports more than tripled during this period, from 3 million tons in 1875 to 10 million tons in 1900.
Jason Hickel (Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World)
I mumbled something about historiography. I had decided to study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I’d felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement—since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected—a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught. Dad could be wrong, and the great historians Carlyle and Macaulay and Trevelyan could be wrong, but from the ashes of their dispute I could construct a world to live in. In knowing the ground was not ground at all, I hoped I could stand on it.
Tara Westover (Educated)
study not history, but historians. I suppose my interest came from the sense of groundlessness I’d felt since learning about the Holocaust and the civil rights movement—since realizing that what a person knows about the past is limited, and will always be limited, to what they are told by others. I knew what it was to have a misconception corrected—a misconception of such magnitude that shifting it shifted the world. Now I needed to understand how the great gatekeepers of history had come to terms with their own ignorance and partiality. I thought if I could accept that what they had written was not absolute but was the result of a biased process of conversation and revision, maybe I could reconcile myself with the fact that the history most people agreed upon was not the history I had been taught. Dad
Tara Westover (Educated)
The world is supposed to make sense. We want and need the things that happen to us and to those around us to adhere to laws of order and justice and reason. We want to believe that if we live wisely and follow the rules, things will work out, more or less, for us and for those we love. Psychologists refer to this as the Just World Hypothesis, a theory first developed by the social psychologist Melvin Lerner. Lerner postulated that people have a powerful intuition that individuals get what they deserve. This intuition influences how we judge those who suffer. When a person is harmed, we instinctually look for a reason or a justification. Unfortunately, this instinct leads to victim-blaming. As Oliver Burkeman writes in The Guardian, “Faced with evidence of injustice, we’ll certainly try to alleviate it if we can—but, if we feel powerless to make things right, we’ll do the next best thing, psychologically speaking: we’ll convince ourselves that the world isn’t so unjust after all.” Burkeman cites as evidence a 2009 study finding that Holocaust memorials can increase anti-Semitism: “Confronted with an atrocity they otherwise can’t explain, people become slightly more likely, on average, to believe that the victims must have brought it on themselves.” So what happens when the victim is a child, a little boy walking to school, a little girl riding her bike, a baby in a car, victims impossible to blame? Whom can we hold accountable when a child is killed or injured or abused or forgotten? How can one take in this information, the horror of it, and keep on believing the world is just? In his history of childhood in America, the historian Steven Mintz defines a “moral panic” as the term used by sociologists to describe “the highly exaggerated and misplaced public fears that periodically arise within a society.” Mintz suggests that “eras of ethical conflict and confusion are especially prone to outbreaks of moral panic as particular incidents crystallize generalized anxieties and provoke moral crusades.” The late 1970s through the early 1990s was a period in American history rife with sources of ethical conflict and confusion.
Kim Brooks (Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear)
Even at Yad Vashem, the country’s official Holocaust archive, museum and memorial in Jerusalem, the Auschwitz Report was filed away without the names of its authors. When historians referred to the report, they tended to speak of ‘two young escapees’ or ‘two Slovak escapees’ as if the identities of the men who had performed this remarkable deed were incidental. What might explain this relative lack of recognition? It certainly did not help Wetzler that he was out of sight of western writers and historians and, therefore, mostly out of mind. As for Rudi, while he was accessible, and a model interviewee, he was not an easy sell in Israel or in the mainstream Jewish diaspora. Those audiences would have thrilled to hear the story of his escape and his mission to tell the world of Auschwitz, but he never left it at that. He would not serve up a morally comfortable narrative in which the only villains were the Nazis. Instead he always insisted on hitting out at Kasztner and the Hungarian Jewish leadership, as well as the Jewish council in Slovakia. He faulted them for failing to pass on his report and, in the Slovak case, for compiling the lists that had put him on a deportation train in the first place.
Jonathan Freedland (The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn the World)
The news coverage, depending on who you believe, the last pope to take the name either did nothing about the Holocaust; said nothing about the Holocaust; or was actively responsible for the Holocaust.” Abasi said, “True. Before then, I did not know that every historian who specialized in Catholic history was a reject from the seminary, an ex-priest who married an ex-nun, or ‘Catholics’ who, mysteriously, support none of the teachings of the Catholic Church.” Wilhelmina
Declan Finn (A Pius Man)
There is yet another bit of illogic on which deniers depend. They demand to be shown the one specific piece of evidence that would prove to them there was a Holocaust: Hitler’s written order authorizing the murder of all of Europe’s Jews. In all likelihood, Hitler realized the folly of affixing his signature to such an order, which, had it become public, many might not have accepted. More important, historians are not troubled by the absence of such a document. They never rest their conclusions on one document, particularly in this instance, when the Third Reich left a vast cache of evidence attesting to a government-directed program whose goal was the annihilation of the Jewish people. Deniers, of course, will insist that “the Jews” have forged these documents. But if that were the case, why didn’t the Jews also forge the all-important document from Hitler himself?
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Antisemitism: Here and Now)
Even in countries where it was legally possible to pass laws outlawing Holocaust denial, I opposed such efforts. Those laws would render denial “forbidden fruit,” making it more—not less—alluring. In addition, I did not believe that courtrooms were the proper venue for historical inquiry. Deniers, I argued, should be stopped with reasoned inquiry, not with the blunt edge of the law. Courts, it seemed to me, dispensed justice by having parties present what they consider compelling evidence, such as physical proof and hard facts, to convince a jury or judge beyond a high standard of proof. Historians try to establish historical “truth” by objectively determining what happened.
Deborah E. Lipstadt (Denial: Holocaust History on Trial)
While the experience of the Second World War has to a large extent shaped the political makeup and destinies of all European societies in the second half of the twentieth century, Poland has been singularly affected. It was over the territory of the pre-1939 Polish state that Hitler and Stalin first joined in a common effort (their pact of nonaggression signed in August 1939 included a secret clause dividing the country in half) and then fought a bitter war until one of them was eventually destroyed. As a result, Poland suffered a demographic catastrophe without precedent; close to 20 percent of its population died of war-related causes. It lost its minorities - Jews in the Holocaust, and Ukrainians and Germans following border shifts and population movements after the war. Poland's elites in all walks of life were decimated. Over a third of its urban residents were missing at the conclusion of the war. Fifty-five percent of the country's lawyers were no more, along with 40 percent of its medical doctors and one-third of its university professors and Roman Catholic clergy. Poland was dubbed 'God's playground' by a sympathetic British historian, but during that time it must have felt more like a stomping ground of the devil.
Jan Tomasz Gross (Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland)
After an arrow from the walls of the besieged city of Nishapur killed his son-in-law, Genghis Khan allowed his widowed daughter to decide the fate of the city: “She reportedly decreed death for all. . . . According to widely circulated but unverified stories, she ordered soldiers to pile the heads . . . in three separate pyramids—one each for the men, the women, and the children. Then she supposedly ordered that the dogs, the cats . . . be put to death so that no living creature would survive the murder [sic] of her husband” (emphasis added).5 Personally, I find it unsettling to see the victims of Genghis Khan shrugged off as easily as Holocaust-deniers ignore the Jews, and then to realize that hundreds of years from now, some historians will be rehabilitating Hitler’s reputation.
Matthew White (Atrocities: The 100 Deadliest Episodes in Human History)
The poet Friedrich Schlegel once famously noted that “the historian is a prophet facing backwards.” In
Jeremy Eichler (Time's Echo: The Second World War, the Holocaust, and the Music of Remembrance)