A Critical analysis of the Holocaust Industry by a Jew

Barry Sommer, Pacifica Forum, February 19th 2010

History records the deeds of both man and culture, leader and society. It is said that history indeed is written by the victor. Yet in that recording of history there is always, either by victor or by vanquished a coloring of, or a distortion by omission or addition, unspoken mysteries and hidden agendas by which the true history can be discerned.

The Holocaust as told for the last 70+ years is one of those periods in history where myth, fact, truth and error easily mix, depending on whose eyes are doing the recalling. This presentation will attempt to bring to light some of the current accepted facts as well as try to show that there are questions, legitimate questions that should be... .no, must be asked and answered in order to understand the dynamics driving the Holocaust industry both pro and con.

Where we stand today

Here are the accepted facts about the Holocaust to which most people hold to be true.

The original word for Holocaust is "Holokauston" or holokaustos, from Greek it means "whole fire" or -complete destruction of people or animals by fire. An interesting use of the word as many people were burned by the Nazis.

- 6 Million Jews died directly at the hands of the Nazis - Gypsies, Gays, Jehovah Witness, Rumanians, Hungarians, Poles, Ethnic Germans - all total appx 11Million - 65% of all Jews in Europe were massacred - 1.1 Million children killed

The Concentration camps were the main source of the killings through gas chambers, ovens, firing squads, hangings, starvation and torture. Auschwitz is the historically accepted location as the largest concentration camp during the war, killing over 1Million.

What the revisionists/deniers claim as accepted facts

1. There was no specific order by Adolf Hitler or other top Nazi officials to exterminate the Jews, although their incarceration in concentration camps and use as slave labor in factories had that effect. 2. The Nazis did not use gas chambers to mass murder Jews. 3. The figure of six million Jewish deaths is an irresponsible exaggeration. 4. The film footage shown after the War was all specially manufactured as propaganda against the Nazis by the Allied forces; 5. That the claims of what the Nazis supposedly did to the Jews were all intended to facilitate the Allies in their intention to enable the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine; 6. That where crimes were committed, they were not centrally orchestrated and thus the Nazi leadership bore no responsibility for the implementation of such a policy. 7. The historical proof for the Holocaust is falsified or deliberately misinterpreted 8. There is an American, British or Jewish conspiracy to make Jews look like victims and to demonize Germans.

Lets explore one of the main bones of contention, numbers.

The 6M(appx) figure, historically accepted by most people is bolstered by scholars such as Raul Hilberg "The Destruction of the European Jews", 1985, Holme & Meier Pub, ppg 1201-1220 where he uses the figure of 5.1M.

Or Martin Gilbert "The Second World War: A Complete History", 1989, Henry Holt&Co Pub, ppg746 where the figure of 5.75M is used.

Gerald Reitlinger, in his book "The Final Solution: The Attempt to Exterminate the Jews of Europe", 1968, revised 1987, Jason Aronson, Inc Pub, ppg 951-959 estimates between 4.19M to 4.58M and he also quotes the Anglo-American Committees figures from April 1946 of 5.72M. He does qualify his statement by noting "Owing to the lack of reliable information at the time of writing, these figures must be regarded as conjectural"

Every mainstream source checked repeats the same information:

Jewish Virtual Library: 6M


World Jewish Congress: 6M

Simon Wiesenthal Center: 6M

There were other "Holocausts" perpetrated on anyone getting in the way of the Nazi boot:

- Poles - Approximately 5,384,000 about 50% of whom were Jews according to Lukas. 4 - Soviet citizens. - 7 million civilians died in the war according to Gilbert. 5 - At the siege of Leningrad approximately 1 million (source needed!) - 3.3 million POW's according to Streit. 6 - Romani and Sinti - 250,000-1,000,000 according to sources cited by Hancock 7 - Disabled - Over 200,000 were killed in the official euthanasia campaign, 1939-41. There is no way to know how many were killed outside the campaign. "No reliable figures exist for the spontaneous killings." 8 - British and American POW's - 8,348 according to Streit. 6 - Homosexuals - 3,000-9,000 German homosexuals according to Whitman. 9 5,000-15,000 according to Lautmann

So to concentrate the word "Holocaust" exclusively the domain of Jews is unfair and diminishes the others murdered in whatever name you care to call it.

Numbers from the deniers/revisionists.

The domain of the denier is to, obviously deny facts. Revisionists, on the other hand seem to want to find credible, factual and eventually historically accepted truths based not in histrionics or propaganda but on real, honest research.

All serious Holocaust revisionists, with the exception of white supremacists take two issues very seriously. Numbers and gas chambers. Regarding numbers, as far as current, accepted revisionist research goes, the foremost scholar 1983 that a book was published in the United States - The Dissolution of the Eastern European Jewry, by W. N. Sanning[18] - which attempted, by drawing on statistical material from mostly Jewish sources, to ascertain the number of Jewish Holocaust victims in the Third Reich's sphere of influence. Interestingly enough, his final analysis brings the number to less than 2M, significantly lower than 6M claimed today.

His analysis of the numbers is based, in part on population numbers from European countries between WWI and the end of WWII.

He is not the only one armed with statistical evidence. Now maybe I should remind everyone what Mark Twain once said "There are lies... .damned lies... .and then there are statistics!" I have never been a big fan of stats, but scholars and researchers use them all the time and present their findings in the form of stats so to bow to the gods of numbers I take stats at face value and always consider the source.

One of the most notable voices and a most respected scholar on the subject in the revisionist game is Robert Faurisson.

One of many who have been persecuted for speech, his research into the Holocaust brings a new light onto a subject that demands new, uncomfortable questions.

A recognized specialist in text and document analysis and author of 4 books, Professor Faurisson has assembled architural drawings of Auschwitz and closely examined the numbers of deaths attributed to Nazi actions during the war. His seminal work, "Ecrits Revisionnistes", a 4-volume collection of many of his findings were published in 1999.

Another of his important writings, "Impact and Future of Holocaust Revision" was published in "The Journal of Historical Review" in Jan-Feb of 2000.

His research into Auschwitz, the gas chambers and number killed at Auschwitz indicate very strongly that the numbers bandied about since 1945 is NOT the 6M claimed. He bases his conclusion on a number of factors: No actual proof of gas chambers at Auschwitz(no pix or drawings), the fact that Zyklon-B had been in use for decades as a dis-infestation product, especially in regards to the control of Typhus (Nuremberg document NI-9912) and that all investigations up to now have shown no gas chambers, therefore no 1.1M killed at Auschwitz. Here is what he says and his challenge

    "Okay! Let's begin at the beginning. We need an expert report about the weapon of the crime. If you think that Fred Leuchter is wrong in his forensic expert report -- as well as Germar Rudolf, Walter Luftl and the Institute of Forensic Research in Krakow (what about your silence on this?) -- there is an obvious solution: produce your own expert report, or commission an international committee to do so. In this way you will answer our challenge: you will show us or draw us a Nazi gas chamber."

This statement is in response to a book by French pharmacist Jean-Claude Pressac who, in 1989 claimed to have proof the gas chambers did in fact exist. Faurrison, in a rebuttal to Pressac also notes that yes, there are many details about Auschwitz but nothing, no reference at all to gas chambers either through reference, drawings or personal accounts.

Another major figure in the revisionist movement is Ernst Zundel who, in 1985 and 1988 went to trial for what is essentially a "thought crime" in claiming the gas chambers at Auschwitz never existed and that the numbers of Jews killed was far lower than accepted history. The best source on the trial and the information in question can be found in the book by Barbara Kulaszka titled : "Did Six Million Really Die?; Report of the Evidence in the Canadian ‘False News' Trial of Ernst Zundel."

Back to Mr Zundel in a moment. Faurisson, in his defense of Zundel at the trial was instrumental in bringing in Fred Leuchter, an American gas chamber specialist. The company he ran, Fred Leuchter Associates in Boston, Massachusetts, a firm specializing in gas chambers and executions, as well as "the design and fabrication of execution hardware used in prisons throughout the United States." His findings, made public after the trial clearly bolster the claims by Faurisson and Zundel that indeed there were no gas chambers operating as killing chambers at Auschwitz as claimed by historians. Now it must be understood that Mr Leuchter is NOT an engineer, as a matter of fact he was prosecuted for practicing engineering without a license in 1991. He was also required to sign an agreement that he had misrepresented himself as an engineer, both in letters and proposals to correction facilities and in his "report" on the gas chambers. Even if his findings are correct, his lies and about being an engineer have tainted him and his research. The conclusion given at the end of Mt Leuchters testimony shows that, from a forensic standpoint there are serious questions about the existence of "killing gas chambers" at Auschwitz/Birkenau and Majdanek. With all this evidence presented at the trial of Ernst Zundel as well as other evidence compiled by Faurisson a guilty verdict was passed and another victim of "thought police" was effectively silenced. Now understand any claim that the Holocaust happened in any other manner than that described in official history books is punishable with prison in European countries, it is strange that an American expert would be ignored. Is this heavy silencing a symptom of denial, or merely an honest mistake?

The 6M number, for a long time was the domain of two German prisoners, Wilhelm Hottl and Dieter Wisliceny. These men claimed to have heard the 6M figure from Eichmann who, at a later date disputed this statement. True? Or not?

David Irving has said that as early as June 1945, immediately after the wars end some Zionist leaders were able to claim the precise number of Jews killed by National Socialism at 6M, even though the chaos in Europe at the time precluded any demographic studies impossible. Moreover German Historian Joachim Hoffmann points out that the chief Soviet propagandist Ilya Ehrenburg had claimed the 6M figure FOUR MONTHS before the end of the war, in Jan 1945. Also Wilhelm Hottl found, in the Readers Digest from Feb 1943 a report that over half (3M) Jews already murdered by the NSDAP. How is this possible? How does the 6M pop up BEFORE the end of the war? Well, maybe Chaim Weizmann has the answer, in his report to the Peel Commission ... "It is no exaggeration to say that six million Jews are sentenced to be imprisoned in this part of the world, where they are unwanted, and for whom the countries are divided into those, where they are unwanted, and those, where they are not admitted." This statement is from 1936, years before any Jews were sent to the "gas chambers". How did he come up with this figure?

Whatever the actual number it was a Holocaust, a genocide, a massacre of biblical proportions leveled against one ethnic people. Right now, today, after the research I have done I no longer believe in the 6M figure as carved in stone.

Gas chambers. I touched a bit on them previously and want to reiterate that there are enough questions, for me to now doubt the accuracy of the reports not only of the numbers, but of the existence of actual, functioning gas chambers used exclusively to murder Jews. In the late 40s the number of Jews killed by the gas chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek stood at about 1.1M. Taking into account Pressac, Faurisson, Leuchter and others, as well as claimed official figures I believe the total number of Jews murdered at Auschwitz was closer to 700,000, and most of them dying not in gas chambers but by bullet, rope, starvation and disease. Again I want to state that in no way do these numbers of claimed facts change anything about the definition of a Holocaust or genocide or ethnic cleansing, to use a modern phrase. This is quite clear. Yet where accepted fact clashes with theory and conjecture, there must be serious inquiry and tough questions asked... and answered. I leave your thoughts on the gas chambers with this Comment

William Landsford

By 1944, most of Germany was already at or near starvation, and disease among the civilian population was a severe problem. Transportation and the food supply were in tatters from the unceasing bombing of the US and UK on German civilian targets and infrastructure. Read some biographies of Germans who survived the war. Many Germans died of disease...typhus was very common. One account of a young boy about age 12 at the time described how he was so malnourished he became sickly and then infected with typhus. He was put in a hospital ward with dozens of other typhus victims. Incredibly, he described how a cart with a gas bottle was wheeled into the ward and zyklon gas was actually turned released in an effort to kill all lice, etc, while all the patients were in their beds. A remarkable story of survival. It can be heard in the Rense Archives...the program date is August 1, 2005.

Was there an official party line in regards to the Jews? Holocaust deniers and revisionists claim that there was no concerted effort by Hitler or any other high-ranking Nazi officers to specifically kill all the Jews in Europe. David Irving, recognized scholar on WWII and a guest speaker here a few years ago has said, "There is no explicit reference ... to liquidation of Jews." This quote, from April 22, 1988 was originally posted at Ernst Zundels website. Now as much as I respect Mr Irving for his research into WWII and his study of the Holocaust I have to question this statement. New information, in the form of newly-released diary entries from Joseph Goebbels which seem to show, quite clearly that indeed there was a meeting of the minds about the fate of the Jews in Europe. The new diary entries are between Jan 21 and May 23, 1942.

February 5 The Jewish question is again giving us a headache; this time, however, not because we have gone too far, but because we are not going far enough. February 14 The Jews have deserved the catastrophe that has now overtaken them. Their destruction will go hand in hand with the destruction of our enemies. We must hasten this process with cold ruthlessness. March 6 ...I am of the opinion that the greater the number of Jews liquidated, the more consolidated will the situation in Europe be after this war. March 20 ...the Fuehrer is as uncompromising as ever. The Jews must be got out of Europe, if necessary by applying most brutal methods. From Dec 7 to Dec 20, 1942 December 13 At bottom, however, I believe both the English and the Americans are happy that we are exterminating the Jewish riff-raff. December 14 Jewry must pay for its crime just as our Fuehrer prophesied in his speech in the Reichstag; namely, by the wiping out of the Jewish race in Europe and possibly in the entire world. From Mar 1 to Mar 20, 1943 March 9 ...[Hitler] approved of my measures and specifically ordered me to make Berlin entirely free of Jews. March 15 ...[Hitler] ordered me not to cease or pause until no Jew is left anywhere in Germany.

It is apparent that the Jews were the most pressing problem the Reich had to deal with, and that the solution, the final solution was to kill every Jew they could round up. This concerted effort to eliminate the Jews in the 40s is completely different from the 30s where the German gvmnt, with the help of Zionists created an emigration plan to get the Jews out of Germany and into Palestine. What? The Nazis were helping the Jews to leave? Yes they were, and I will go into that in a moment.

Goebbels diary contains many references to the disposition of the Jews, as well as many direct references to Hitler and what he wanted done to the Jews. Here are a few more... . March 20, 1942 (p. 138) Finally we talked about the Jewish question. Here the Fuehrer is as uncompromising as ever. The Jews must be got out of Europe, if necessary by applying most brutal methods. March 27, 1942 (pp. 147-148) Beginning with Lublin, the Jews in the General Government are now being evacuated eastward. The procedure is a pretty barbaric one and not to be described here more definitely. Not much will remain of the Jews. On the whole it can be said that about 60 per cent of them will have to be liquidated whereas only about 40 per cent can be used for forced labor. April 27, 1942 (pp. 190-191) I talked to the Fuehrer once more in detail about the Jewish question. His attitude is unrelenting. He wants, under all circumstances, to push the Jews out of Europe. That is right. The Jews have brought so much misery to our continent that the severest punishment meted out to them is still too mild.... March 9, 1943 (p. 290) With regard to the Jewish question he [Hitler] approved of my measures and specifically ordered me to make Berlin entirely free of Jews. I shall see to it that there is no concubinage between Berlin Jews and foreign workers.... March 15, 1943 (p. 300) You just can't trust the Jews across the street. I therefore told the Fuehrer emphatically once more that I deemed it essential to force the Jews out of the entire Reich as fast as possible. He approved, and ordered me not to cease or pause until no Jew is left anywhere in Germany.

These diary passages show clearly that there was a concerted effort on the part of the German high command, with Hitler to eliminate the Jews from Europe as soon as possible. I encourage everyone here to read these entries as they come from the mouth of one of the Nazis most trusted commanders.

Now lets go back a bit to the early 30s and see how different the German view was regarding the Jews in Germany. In Early 1935 a passenger ship left the German port city of Bremerhaven, bound for Haifa. On its stern were the Hebrew letters for its name "Tel Aviv" and flying from its mast was a swastika flag. The ship was owned by the Zionists and captained by a member of the NSDAP. It was many years later that a passenger aboard the ship referred to this clash of symbolism as a "metaphysical absurdity". It may have been, but up to 1937 the German gvmnt did what it could to expidite the emigration of Jews from Germany to the soon-to-be homeland of Israel. Strange bedfellows? You bet. It is a chapter in the history of WWII, Jews and Germany which is rarely talked about.

Theodore Hertzl (1860-1904), founder of modern Zionism claimed that anti-semitism is no aberration but a natural and understandable response by non-Jews to alien Jewish behavior. He then argued that the only solution was to have the Jews live in a state separate from everyone else. Shades of "separate but equal" here in the US during the 50s and 60s.

6 months after Hitler came to power, the Zionist Federation of Germany, the largest Zionist group in the Rhineland submitted a detailed memo to the new gvmnt which reviewed the current relations between regarding German-Jewish interaction, and formally offered to the NSDAP support in "solving the vexing Jewish question". The first step, they suggested must be a frank recognition of the fundamental differences between Jews and Germany.

The most interesting aspect of this memo, to me is this phrase, "Our acknowledgment of Jewish nationality provides for a clear and sincere relationship to the German people and its national and racial realities. Precisely because we do not wish to falsify these fundamentals, because we, too, are Against mixed marriage and are for maintaining the purity of the Jewish group and reject any trespasses in the cultural domain, we -- having been brought up in the German language and German culture -- can show an interest in the works and values of German culture with admiration and internal sympathy ... "

Well, I never thought I would see a Jewish group calling for, what amounts to National Socialism dogma. On this basis of their similar ideologies about ethnicity and nationhood, National Socialists and Zionists worked together for what each group believed was in its Own national interest. As a result, the Hitler government vigorously supported Zionism and Jewish emigration to Palestine from 1933 until1940-1941, when the Second World War prevented extensive collaboration in this effort.

The SS was particularly enthusiastic in its support for Zionism. An internal June 1934 SS position paper urged active and wide-ranging support for Zionism by The government and the Party as the best way to encourage emigration of Germany's Jews to Palestine.

SS officer Leopold von Mildenstein and Zionist Federation official Kurt Tuchler Toured Palestine together for six months to assess Zionist development there. Based on his firsthand observations, von Mildenstein wrote a series of twelve illustrated articles for the important Berlin daily Der Angriff that appeared in late 1934 under the heading "A Nazi Travels to Palestine." The series expressed great admiration for the pioneering spirit and achievements of the Jewish settlers. Zionist self-development, von Mildenstein wrote, had produced a new kind of Jew. He praised Zionism as a great benefit for both the Jewish people and the entire world. A Jewish homeland in Palestine, he wrote in his concluding article, "pointed the way to curing a centuries-long wound on the body of the world: the Jewish question."

There was even a medal commerating the co-operation between the SS and the Zionists with a swastika on one side and the star of david on the reverse. A few months after articles appeared in the publication "Der Angriff" von Mildenstein was promoted to head the Jewish Affairs Dept of the SS in order to support Jewish migration out of Germany.

American historian Francis Nicosia, in his 1985 survey titled "The Third Reich and the Palestinian question" says "Zionists were encouraged to take their message to the Jewish community, to collect money, to show films on Palestine and generally to educate German Jews about Palestine. There was considerable pressure to teach Jews in Germany to cease Identifying themselves as Germans and to awaken a new Jewish national identity In them."

Until the beginning of the war, Jews were not seen as the enemy per se, but as an identifiable ethnic group who needed to create their own homeland away from Germany and its people. It would appear that the NSDAP wanted to rid itself of Jews, but in a way which would show that they cared. Maybe true, maybe not. The fact is, Germany helped create the atmosphere which led to tens of thousands of Jews leaving Germany and settling in the soon to be state of Israel.

By 1940 this plan was all but abandoned. There were a few attempts at keeping the co-operation going for emigration but soon it was obvious that the Jews left would not be able to take advantage of emigrating, they were, however transferred to the now burgeoning concentration camps.

Lets talk a bit about the crime of asking questions about the Holocaust.

Now as a Jew I had always believed in the Holocaust stories I had been told over the years, and had no reason to ask questions.

Those who claimed the Holocaust happened differently than history presented it were slapped with all sorts of criminal charges, most notably the crime of "denying history". Through the years I was aware of these people but thought nothing of them, as long as they "denied" the Holocaust I had no reason to explore their claims or even care about who they were. I figured that if they were that stupid to claim that history was wrong, I had no use for them. Boy was I wrong!

Those who speak out and ask uncomfortable questions have been targeted, harassed, libeled, slandered, arrested, prosecuted and jailed for mentioning their Holocaust questions.

- Fred E. Leuchter - Ernst Zundel - David Irving - Errol Morris - Günter Deckert - Robert Faurisson - Otto Ernst Remer

This is, plain and simple the prosecution of thought. It is the censorship of offensive and insulting speech. It is nothing more than the taking away of the right to free speech solely because someone is offended that their history is being questioned. It is incumbent upon society as a whole to demand truth, to expect facts and not to be led down a primrose path. I may disagree with many facets of the claimed research but I do not demand that if it doesn't fit into my paradigm they must be punished. This is ridiculous! What would happen if this was tried here in the US? Actually it is, in the form of hate crime laws. Now so far no one has been punished for speaking about the Holocaust under hate crime statutes but it would not surprise me to find this happening in the near future.

Geert wilders, Dutch politician and producer of the 15 minute film "Fitna" released about 2 years ago is currently being prosecuted for the charge of "insulting Islam". The movie "Fitna", which is a collection of speeches and quotes from recognized Islamic scholars is claimed to be a hateful, insulting and derogatory movie which shows Islam and Muslims in a bad light. OK then, if Wilders can be prosecuted for questioning Islam by using their own words, it is not strange at all that questioning the Holocaust would garner the same attention. Free speech is not free, some pay with their livelihood, their freedom, their ability to speak freely and yes, their reputations.

Most of us know that the concentration camps during the war were just that, camps which murdered the prisoners. In fact there were different types of camps: labor, relocation, prisoner of war, concentration, death, or extermination. Not all were killing fields, many were set up for the holding of Jews and others until they could be relocated and others were indeed camps where many thousands of people were systematically killed.

Up to 15,000 camps and sub-camps were running during the war, although some were only in existence for a few months. They were scattered across Europe, some no more than small compounds holding no more than maybe a hundred prisoners. Virtually every country Germany had a boot in hosted some form of a camp, with Poland being the country with the largest collection of camps of all kinds. Over 430 camps were established in Poland with most being concentration or labor camps. The most famous, or infamous is, of course Auschwitz. My father visited there a few years ago and brought me back pictures. Very haunting images, and as he related, very emotional. At age 90 he believes in the history he was taught, yet at Auschwitz the numbers murdered keep changing. As of today the latest figures displayed at Auschwitz come in at around 1M total, not just for the camp itself.

Why would the one place where all this history is centered keep lowering the totals? I do not know, but I can wager to guess that someone, somewhere is taking the research into the numbers very seriously.

The Red Cross, bastion of impartiality knew what the horrors were yet stayed silent during the war. Acknowledging their absence of protest, the Red Cross, in 1996 said this about the Holocaust,

    "WASHINGTON, Dec. 18 -- The International Committee of the Red Cross today released copies of its World War II files, some of which provided verification that it knew of the persecution of Jews in Nazi concentration camps but felt powerless to speak out. The files, 25,000 microfilmed pages, were turned over to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. The Red Cross said its knowledge about the treatment of Jews during World War II had been written about by Jean-Claude Favez in his book ''Une Mission Impossible.'' The book was published in France in 1988. Some American scholars and Holocaust survivors in the United States were also aware of the Red Cross's knowledge, but generally it was not known more widely.

    The Red Cross has long acknowledged its awareness of the treatment of Jews during World War II, maintaining that if it had disclosed what it knew, it would have lost its ability to inspect prisoner of war camps on both sides of the front."

Yeah, and it sure did a lot of good, those inspections. Yes the Nazis covered their tracks whenever the RC was around, but it should have been more than obvious, as stated above that there were problems and they were not going away.

Whatever the disagreement over accepted facts is, one thing is certain. The term Holocaust is the correct term, no matter WHO are murdered.

Doubts about the accepted facts, questions raised sometimes are based in lies perpetrated as fact. Take for example how, just in the last few years, an icon of TV daytime, Oprah Winfrey was taken in, as well as millions of her viewers by a claimed Holocaust survivor. Misha Levy DeFonseca, age 67 penned her memories of those dark times in a book titled "Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years", published in 1997 by Mt Ivy Press. Endorsed by the ADL and Eli Wiesel, among others the book attracted attention from Hollywood (Walt Disney -- see anti-semite) and the Oprah Winfrey Show.

Holocaust scholars such as Lawrence Langer of Newton, Mass, author of numerous books on the Holocaust and considered one of the pre-eminent authority on survivor narratives says a woman, he doesn't know who called him one day and asked about "Misha" and what he thought of the story line. After sketching the story, Langer said "Don't do it" and when asked why not he replied "Because it isn't true. He continued "Ask her how she crossed the Rhine, in the middle of the war, when the SS is guarding the bridges at both ends. Find the Elbe on a map and ask how a little girl goes across that river. She speaks no German, she's Jewish, poorly dressed, and no one says, 'Who are you, little girl?' I said it's a bad idea, don't do it, it will prove an embarrassment.'' (Langer is a Holocaust supporter not a revisionist)

Langer says he also discussed the story with Vermont-based historian Raul Hilberg, author of ''The Destruction of the European Jews,'' and Hilberg (left) also thought it impossible. Consulted by phone for this story, Hilberg reiterated his disbelief.

The publisher herself, Jane Daniel herself became nervous in 1999, when ''Fragments,'' a prize-winning Holocaust memoir by Swiss musician Binjamin Wilkomirski, was proved to be a fake. ''It sent a shudder through the industry,'' Daniel says. ''Up until then, publishers had never been called upon to vet their stories'' to ensure their accuracy. Well then, I guess vetting is now the rage among publishers. I feel so much better now.

Mishas co-writer, Vera Lee, long-time friend of Jane Daniel was recruited as co-writer due to her status as a former professor of romance languages at Boston College and director of Bostons French Library. Mishas primary language is French. Makes sense.

Vera Lee herself was uneasy from the start, especially about Defonseca's way of remembering -- later -- solutions to inconsistencies the interviewer would point out. ''There were doubts,'' she says, ''but so much seemed credible that I couldn't just throw doubt on the whole thing.''

Still, she was worried enough to call an official (she can't remember his name) of Facing History and Ourselves, the national organization that teaches the Holocaust and its lessons in schools. She recalls the official told her that if he were her, '''I would not write that, because it's impossible,' and I went back to the publisher and said, 'Do you see a problem?' And she said, 'Don't worry. These are the memoirs of a child.'''

Ms Daniel ends with "Is Misha's story fact or invention? Without hard evidence one way or the other, questions will always remain. I have no idea whether it is true or not. My experience is that all Holocaust stories are far-fetched. All survivor stories are miracles.''


Another example comes from Spain in 2005. The former head of a Spanish association of Nazi concentration camp victims said on Wednesday he was never actually a prisoner in any camp and had lied for almost 30 years about his past. He then promptly resigned as the head of Spain's Amical de Mauthausen association. Enric Marco confessed in a statement he had invented his story of fleeing Spain as a leftist exile in the wake of the country's bloody 1936-1939 civil war. Nor did he join the French resistance during World War Two, as he had claimed.

Instead, he left Spain for Germany as a migrant worker in 1941 and was deported by the German government two years later. "I was detained by the Germans, by the Gestapo. I was in a prison, tried by a war court. All this is true," he said.

His motivation? "Why? It was a way of getting as close as possible to say what I needed to say, I took on the part of other companions who because of age or other reasons could not play this role."

Another recollection of the Holocaust: "Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood", Binjamin Wilkomirski describes his ordeal as an infant in the Jewish ghetto of Riga (Latvia), where his earliest memory is of seeing his father being killed. Wilkomirski also tells how he survived the terrible rigors of wartime internment, at the age of three or four, in the German-run concentration camps of Majdanek and Auschwitz.

The US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC -- a federal government agency -- was so impressed that it sent Wilkomirski on a six-city United States fund-raising tour last fall.

This past summer, though, compelling evidence came to light exposing Wilkomirski's memoir as an literary hoax.

Although he claims to have been born in Latvia in 1939, and to have arrived in Switzerland in 1947 or 1948, Swiss legal records show that he was actually born in Switzerland in February 1941, the son of an unwed woman, Yvette Grosjean. The infant was then adopted and raised by the Doessekkers, a middle-class Zurich couple. Jewish author Daniel Ganzfried, writing in the Swiss weekly Weltwoche, also reports that he has found a 1946 photo of the young Bruno Doessekker (Wilkomirski) in the garden of his adoptive parents.

Comparisons have been drawn between Wilkomirski's Fragments and The Painted Bird, the supposedly autobiographical "Holocaust memoir" by prominent literary figure Jerzy Kosinksi that turned out to be fraudulent.

Lastly, author Jean Goodwin Messinger discovered recently that the subject of her popular nonfiction novel "Hannah: From Dachau to the Olympics and Beyond" is not the woman she claimed to be.

In fact, the subject of the book, also known as Rose-Marie Pence, is a fraud. Published in 2005, "Hannah" is the story is of a young girl who was imprisoned at a Nazi concentration camp during World War II, was rescued by American forces, and later became an Olympic skier. Messinger is an accomplished author who has written other books about WWII, including "Same War Different Battlefields."

"I've always found history more exciting than fiction, and I regret that Hannah's re-markable journey is not what it claimed to be in fact," Messinger said. "There must be stories out there from WWII that would match it."

I guess truth is stranger than fiction, and a lot less factual.

It is a valid point to make that if there are those who are making up tales about the Holocaust, how then do we know which stories are true and which are not? What criteria do we use to separate the wheat from the chaff? Keep asking questions and demanding answers.

A final thought from Harris Salomon, the president of Atlantic Overseas Pictures, the company producing the movie based on the Berkley Books title: "Angel at the Fence: The True Story of a Love That Survived." by Herman Rosenblat, a retired television repairman now living in Miami. The story recounts his experience as a teenage boy during the Holocaust at Schlieben, a sub-division of the infamous Buchenwald concentration camp.

"If anybody writes a memoir, there's no way to know whether these things happened the way the individual wrote. You either believe, or don't believe."


Believe or don't believe. Leave it up to the viewer to decide. Cannon fodder for the denial/revisionist industry, and well received. It is no wonder that many are asking questions and demanding answers. The Holocaust happened, I have no doubt. The fact that millions were killed, millions displaced, millions suffered at the hands of the National Socialists. No doubt at all. By asking questions which are seen as uncomfortable or insulting or demeaning or mean does not make them less valid, just more prone to irrational or misleading answers driven by an ulterior motive.

I have no use for those who, with no qualms deny that there was a Holocaust in all aspects. Those who refuse to accept even the basic facts of WWII are of no value to me. Those who are doing actual research using accepted methodology I respect and give much more credence to in their analysis. No, I do not accept "carte blanch" what is postulated, nor do I dismiss everything out of hand. The weighing carefully of all the information examined is paramount to the understanding of and the forming an opinion on any subject. My research leads me to conclude that there are serious questions about the accepted facts surrounding the war years which need truthful answers.

Critical thinking begets free speech. Free speech begets critical thinking.

Practice both well and learn everything you can.

Thank you.

God bless.

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