Monday, 11 February 2013

REWRITING HISTORY: Holocaust Revisionism Today: Book review

REWRITING HISTORY: Holocaust Revisionism Today is an ebook from the civil rights campaign group, HOPE NOT HATE. 

The Holocaust was the state sponsored-mass murder during World War II of six million European Jews by Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist German Workers' Party. (Nazi Party)  Approximately two-thirds of the Jews who then resided in Europe were confined in overcrowded ghettos before being transported by freight train to extermination camps and systematically killed in gas chambers. Other racial and political opponents were also amongst those killed. Disabled people also suffered heavy losses.  

The original Holocaust deniers were the Nazis themselves who employed innocuous language referring to ‘evacuation’ and ‘special treatment.’ Desperate efforts were made by the Nazis to cover up their crimes in the last few months of the war, gas chambers being hurriedly dynamited, camps abandoned and records burnt. 

Unable however to destroy all the evidence - and leaving behind some survivors of the camps - meant that post-war attempts to whitewash the monstrous crimes of the Nazi regime inevitably came up against historical reality. This has necessitated a shift in emphasis, especially after David Irving, Britain’s foremost Holocaust denier, lost his libel action against an American academic, Professor Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, in 2000. In parts of Europe, denial of the Holocaust is a crime and prosecutions have  reduced the capacity of many leading activists to function.

This has seen Holocaust deniers shift their attention to the Middle East, mounting attempts to utilise the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict to reach out to some Muslim countries on the basis of “my enemy’s enemy is my friend.” Palestinians it is argued are the real victims of the Nazi Party, as without the Holocaust there would be no be state of Israel and no conflict in the Middle East. 

The book provides many examples of leading figures in Middle Eastern politics providing support for Holocaust Revisionists, including Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who in 2005 said: “They have fabricated a legend, under the name Massacre of the Jews.” In December 2006 Iran sponsored a ‘Review of the Holocaust’ conference that attracted anti semites from across the globe. Those present heard David Duke, the former Ku Klux Khan leader, give a keynote speech. A contingent from Britain attended, including Lady Michele Renouf, who in the past has shared a platform with BNP leader Nick Griffin.

Griffin, who was elected in 2009 as a Euro MP for North West England, is one of 40  people - including six from Britain - profiled in REWRITING HISTORY. In 1998 Griffin was prosecuted for inciting racial hatred after his remarks included him saying: “the extermination tale that six million Jews were gassed is a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda.” 

Others associated with the BNP have also denied the Holocaust. Simon Sheppard was a former organiser for the fascists in Hull and in 2008 he mailed Tales of the Holohoax to the Blackpool Reform Synagogue. Sheppard was the front man for a range of extremist groups and had hosted websites such as Redwatch, which targets political opponents for attacks by posting their postal details on-line. 

In 2009, Sheppard was jailed for three years and ten months for inciting racial hatred via a foreign website.

REWRITING HISTORY: Holocaust revisionism today can be downloaded free in PDF and EPUB format

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