The Moral Question
Why a “Hoax”? By Dr. Arthur R. Butz
At this point it is convenient to remark on the title I chose for my book. In the controversy, one of the things that jolted some, even some who were otherwise favorably impressed by the book, was my use of the term “Hoax” to describe the received legend [ie the holocaust narrative]. Some felt that, whatever the truth of the legend, the term was not adequate or appropriate to the situation. Such a trivializing concept, it was thought, should not be applied to a legend that lives on the vast scale of the “Holocaust”—it struck some as comparable to criticizing Handel’s Messiah as a “ditty.”
Let me assure you that the choice of “Hoax” was calculated, and that today I am even more convinced that it was a felicitous choice, for the reason that the thing really is trivial. The term “Hoax” suggests something cheap and crude, and that is precisely what I wish to suggest. A term such as “myth,” although correct and sometimes used by me, does not convey this important description of the nature of the evidence supporting the extermination claim.
The uncomfortable reaction to the term “Hoax” merely reflects the nature of the great popular delusion on this subject. At one time some of the people who are addressing you here, such as Dr. Faurisson and myself, shared not only the popular belief in the truth of the legend but also the popular impression that its truth was beyond question—“as established as the Great Pyramind,” as I wrote. However at some point we undertook an investigation and discovered, remarkably quickly, that beneath the legend’s face of granite there stood feet of clay.
It is this focus on the feet of clay, that Revisionists have seen in the historical record, that creates a great psychological distance between the Revisionists and even many intelligent people, and sometimes causes the Revisionists to appear to be crusaders of some sort. Those who have not seen the feet of clay cannot have the degree of certainty that seems to accompany the Revisionists. I believe that perhaps this contrast between the apparent dignity of the received legend and the reality of its crude and contemptible foundations is the key point that must be developed in the psychological reorientation of people whom you wish to inform. Once such a psychological reorientation is accomplished, the rest is routine. The jolt that the word “Hoax” causes is a calculated initial step in this reorientation.
Development of the Controversy
Before the early Seventies there was only a relatively minor amount of publicly expressed questioning of the Holocaust legend. The most significant literature was the work of the former Buchenwald inmate and French Resistance member Paul Rassinier, who died in 1967.
Around 1972 or 1973 […] a number of people in several countries, virtually simultaneously and completely independently of each other, resolved to question the received legend, in the manner that was appropriate to his own situation, and to publish his conclusions. Thies Christophersen‘s booklet Die Auschwitz Luege, based on his recollection of his own stay near Auschwitz during the war, and with an Introduction by Manfred Roeder, was published in Germany in 1973, and it was soon followed there by Dr. Wilhelm Staeglich‘s short article in the monthly Nation Europa, also based on his recollections of his wartime assignment near Auschwitz. The year 1973 also saw the appearance in the U.S. of Dr. Austin J. App‘s booklet The Six Million Swindle.
Richard Harwood‘s booklet Did Six Million Really Die? was published in Britain in the Spring of 1974, and later in the same year there was the uproar at the Sorbonne over a letter by Dr. Robert Faurisson, so both were at work on this subject in 1973 if not earlier. My work commenced in 1972 and my book [Hoax of the 20th Century] was published in Britain in the Spring of 1976 and in German translation a year later.
These developments of the early and mid-Seventies initiated reactions and a controversy that still shows no signs of subsiding, as I think you are aware. [And Butz continues on with this section, plus another short section “Negative Reactions in Academics”.]
You can see the gist of the conclusions I am going to draw from this account of the development of the controversy. What I have described to you has been a process whereby a thesis has emerged from the underground, to which it had been assigned both on account of political pressures and on account of its seeming implausibility (given the decades of propaganda), into the light of day where it is being discussed and argued in Establishment publications throughout the world. It is still a minority thesis, but the trend in favor of the Revisionists is obvious to anybody who is not willfully blind.
The Revisionists of the Final Solution, a handful of lone individuals of very meager resources, have been successful far beyond their expectations—at least I did not expect things to unfold so rapidly—and this cannot be explained entirely in terms of society’s being receptive to such views at this point in history. The development that I have outlined here has now gone so far and I now believe it is almost irrelevant what I and my present Revisionist colleagues do, or what happens to us.
To see the reason for this one need only return to one of my earliest points: this is a simple subject. The almost universal delusions have existed not because of the complexities of the subject but because of the political factors in Western society. A corollary of the simplicity of the Hoax is that it only need be questioned and discussed, in a context free of intimidation and hysteria, for the psychological reorientation spoken of earlier to be accomplished, the shattering of the delusions following in due course. That point has for all practical purposes been reached or soon will be reached.
Sometimes it is said that the Revisionist Holocaust thesis is comparable to claiming that the world is flat, but note that nobody bothers the flat earth people. It is not rough to go up against the whole world with no chance of winning, but it is very rough to go up against the whole world with some chance of winning. That is what the Revisionists of the Final Solution did, and that is the reason for the persecutions, but the persecutions are too late and in vain, for as I just noted it is almost irrelevant at this point what happens to today’s “Holocaust” Revisionists. The present inertia of the controversy has the weight to bring down the Hoax even without their personal participation, and deliver these mendacious and pernicious yarns into the trash can of shattered hoaxes.
Excerpts from a talk by Dr. Arthur R. Butz [author of The Hoax of the 20th Century] titled “The International “Holocaust” Controversy”, published in the Spring 1980 Journal of Historical Review.
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“I am not taking up the defense of Germany. I am taking up the defense of the truth.” Maurice Bardeche, Nuremburg or the Promised Land, 1949
I do not know if the truth exists, and many people have made arguments to prove to me that it does not. But I know that lies exist; I know that the systematic deformation of facts exists. We have lived for three years with a falsification of history. This falsification is skilful: it involves fantasies, it is even based on a conspiracy of imagined fantasies. One started by saying: here is all that you have suffered, then one says: remember what you have suffered. They have even invented a philosophy for this falsification. It consists of explaining to us that what we really were does not have any importance; that what matters is only the image which is made of us. It appears that this transposition is the only reality. The Rothschild group is thus promoted to a metaphysical existence.
Me, I believe stupidly in the truth. I even believe that it ends up triumphing over all and even over the image which one makes of us. The precarious destiny of the falsification invented by the [French] Resistance has already brought us proof of this.
Today the block is broken, its colors are peeling off: these billboards last only a few seasons. But then if the democracies’ propaganda has lied about us for three years [in 1948], if it has distorted what we did, why should we believe it when it talks to us about Germany? Did it not falsify the history of the occupation just as it mis-presented the actions of the French government? Public opinion is beginning to correct its judgment about the purification.
Should we not ask ourselves whether the same revision is not to be made about the condemnations brought by these same judges at Nuremberg? Is it not at least honest, indeed necessary, to raise this question? If the judicial action which struck thousands of French is a fraud, what proves to us that that which condemned thousands of Germans is not also a fraud? Do we have the right not even to be interested in this issue?
Will we allow thousands of men, at this very time, to suffer and to be outraged at our refusal to testify, at our cowardice, at our false commiseration? They push away this straight jacket in which we wish to put their voice and their past; they know that our newspapers lie, that our films lie, that our writers lie, they know it and will not forget it: will we endure these looks of disdain which they rightly shoot at us? The whole history of this war is to be redone, we know it. Will we refuse to open our door to the truth?
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I dreamed I was gassed at Auschwitz! A true story by Bradley R. Smith.
One night in late December I dream that I’ve been gassed at Auschwitz. In the dream, as I become aware of myself inside the gas chamber, the gassing itself is already over. I see myself sitting naked in the center of the floor; the room around me choked with naked cadavers heaped to the ceiling. The dead are filthy with feces, urine, vomit and menstrual blood. The scene is faintly illuminated in an ugly green light.
I’m not dead and I’m not suffering. Before I have time to evaluate my situation two large doors at the rear of the chamber are thrown open and there, revealed against a somber gray sky, is the gang of work-Jews, the sondercommandos as they are called in the literature. They are ready to begin their filthy labor of dragging out the dead, searching the mouths and rectums and even the vaginas of their murdered families and friends for diamonds and gold. Soon they will be using iron tools to pry open the mouths of their slaughtered children to search for contraband. It is these same work-Jews who will drag the violated cadavers to the crematory ovens. Then, as this sordid story has it, they will grind the very bones of their wives and children until their gravel can be disposed of in the Vistula. They will do this contemptible work to gain another week, another day, another hour of life for themselves.
There are about a dozen workers in the sondercommando. They’re on the short side, stocky in build, dressed in shabby clothes and billed caps. They looked like men you have seen in photographs of Jewish immigrants in the streets of the Lower East Side in New York City after the turn of the century. The workers appear to be posing there in the doorway, turning this way and that as if modeling themselves for me. They give off an air of self-satisfaction, of self-importance even. Some are smoking cigarettes and I notice that they are all barehanded. None is wearing a gas mask.
When I wake from the dream I feel stunned. I can still see the individual faces of the work gang as they pose before the open gas chamber doors. They have the faces of ordinary working class Jews. In my mind’s eye I can still see the piles of corpses heaped up in their own filth. I think about what it is the work-Jews are going to do next, according to the story. I don’t just think about it. I see it. And it’s at this moment of seeing when I know, once again, I am going to do something about the Holocaust story.
I’m lying on my pad on the floor in the front room of Mother’s apartment. The first light of day is edging the drawn window blinds. I go on seeing the faces of the work Jews posing in the open gas chamber doorway. I know in my heart, without reservation, that those men would not have done what it is claimed they did. I’ve worked and lived among such men and their children for twenty-five years. They would not have done it.
Once maybe. Twice. A handful of them. But not all of them. Not day after day, week after week, month after month. They would not have done it. The gas chamber story is a lie. For half a century I have observed historians all over the world work to help legitimate the injustice, repression and lies of the orthodoxies for which they toil. At the same time I have seen artists from every discipline protest all that and cry out for liberty, truth and generosity. How could it have come about that I would choose to join with the historians all those years in a silent pact to repeat and even to exploit the lies and platitudes used to institutionalize as truth the alleged genocide of the Jews? Human-skin lamp shades, hand soap made from cooked Jews, Jewish babies thrown alive into raging furnaces, millions of people exterminated like animals and all of it proven by State decree, State courts seething with corruption and the usual army of bought bureaucrats and corrupt intellectuals. I’d bought it all, and as an artist I’d used it all.
No more. Four months earlier, when I had read the Robert Faurisson article about the “problem” of the gas chambers at Auschwitz, I had felt in my bones that something was badly wrong. Faurisson claimed that the gas chamber stories and the genocide of the Jews are one and the same historic lie. I had felt an immediate and deep anxiety that he might be right. The news didn’t make me happy, it made me fearful. It made my hands sweat.
Faurisson’s paper turned on a statement made by Rudolf Hoess, the SS colonel who claimed to have dreamed up the Auschwitz gas chambers, overseen their construction and murdered millions of victims in them, mostly Jews. In his confession Hoess wrote that after the gassings took place the work-Jews would enter the gas chambers “immediately” to drag out the dead. They would do this while “eating and smoking.” If they were eating and smoking, Faurisson wrote, it was unlikely they were wearing gas masks. But if they were going to enter the gas chamber immediately after a mass gassing Faurisson believed they would have had to use gas masks with special filters or be “gassed” themselves. This alone suggested to Faurisson that Hoess didn’t know diddly about mass gassings with Zyklon B, his poison gas of choice, and that his famous gas-chamber confession was the invention of a tortured mind. We hadn’t yet learned that Hoess, after his capture by British military intelligence, had in fact been tortured to obtain his confession.
I remember how thought wouldn’t let go of Faurisson’s thesis. It was doing a wild dance inside my skull. Thought wouldn’t go along with it either. It wouldn’t make a decision. It was like having an insane bee in my bonnet. Endless movement but no destination. Then thought did what it sometimes does with me. One night while I was asleep, thought went underground as it were. Thought treated me the way it treats children and other primitives, putting its argument into pictures so that I would see clearly what I had been unable to assure myself rationally. The pictures convinced me that it was all right, that it was good to doubt what I had begun to doubt.
In that stupefying first moment of recognition, I knew in my heart that the faces in the dream would not do what the Nazi commandant of Auschwitz claimed they had done. They would not eat their sandwiches and smoke their cigarettes with hands slimy with the blood and shit of their murdered families and neighbors. They would not jam their filthy fingers into the vaginas and rectums of their dead little girls to search for jewels and coins for their German bosses while enjoying a fag and a snack. The story was a lie. It was a lie even if “eyewitnesses” themselves repeated it. It was a lie. My heart told me that it absolutely had to be a lie. The dream was a powerful aesthetic experience. It was the quality of the pictures that moved me to finally go to the library that week, the last afternoon in December 1979, and confirm some of Faurisson’s claims.
Argument alone had left me uneasy. There’s no end to argument. A new thought, new information is always turning argument back on itself. There’s no end to it. At the same time, you have to make decisions. Little leaps of faith. Faurisson’s argument had stirred things up for me but it was the direct experience of the dream that forced me to admit that I at least half-suspected it was possible that he was right and that Hoess had lied about himself, the Jews and the SS too. […]
So I became a Holocaust revisionist because of a dream. Without the dream, who knows? I might still be evading my responsibilities as an artist and as a man. I didn’t tell anybody about the dream, and after awhile I half-forgot about it. There are thousands of books and countless articles written by respected academics and survivors demonstrating that both Jews and Germans did what they are accused of doing in the camps. I suppose I wasn’t really very eager to challenge the history of the 20th century on the grounds that I had seen through it in a dream. […]
Where are the human-skin lampshades? You don’t have to be a historian to ask that question. You can ask it if you are only an artist. Where are the human skin riding breeches, the boots, the saddles, gloves and pornographic books made from human skin that are reported by “survivors” in documents signed, sealed and delivered to the Nuremberg court? Where are they?
We don’t have to be geniuses to ask these questions. We don’t have to be historians–or artists. We only have to be willing. Not asking the questions has been of small consequence to our historians, who routinely avoid doing such work as part of their perceived obligation to those who pay and oversee them. For we artists, however, our collaboration with the State in the promotion of the gas-chamber lie has been a catastrophe. It has coarsened our sensibilities and vulgarized our art. We have made ourselves invulnerable before those who played the role of our enemies in the past. We have encouraged neurosis and other sicknesses of character in those we have chosen to sympathize with, no matter what.
With the Holocaust story as with no other we have closed off our artist-minds and our artist-hearts to the accused. Even in law, that clumsy attempt to formalize the ideals of the good and the just in everyday life, the accused is innocent until proven guilty. Where are the human skin lampshades?
Where is the soap made of Jewish fat? Where is the documentation that proves the soap? Where is there a single scientific or scholarly paper that demonstrates that the pesticide Zyklon B did what is claimed for it in the manner that’s claimed for it? Who do we make our art for if it does not embrace the accused, the vanquished and the despised?
More subtly, more insidiously perhaps for the artist, we have closed our selves off from the accusers as well as the accused. Denying “survivors” the benefit of our rationality and the delicateness of our sensibilities, we have denied them our full humanity and the burden of it. We respond to survivors, to the “eyewitnesses” with- Yes! Yes! We believe you. Absolutely! Every word of it! Not one of you has ever exaggerated an important story, merely imagined an atrocity! Not one among you has ever lied or ever would! Not one of you has ever revenged yourself on a stranger for what was done to you by another or allegedly done to others! You are a survivor, perfect in the truth. In your virtue, you are like no other!
Can Jewish cadavers really spurt geysers of blood from their graves for months after they are buried? Of course they can! At Buchenwald did German SS really throw a Jew into a cage every morning where a bear would eat him and his bones would be picked clean by an eagle? Yes! Yes! At Auschwitz did Jewish fathers really take their sons by the hand and leap into flaming ditches to be burned alive? Did the work-Jews, to save their own miserable lives for another day, really attend to the cremation fires by basting their families and neighbors with ladles of Jewish fat? Yes, of course they did! Of course!
For half a century we have said Yes! to such stories and a thousand like them. For half a century we have camouflaged our baseness as artists in expressions of empathy for the tellers of these unspeakable lies. We know–it’s our business to know–that every misrepresentation of human life made by a so-called survivor, as by anyone else, becomes a moral burden on the falsifier himself. With our mindless acceptance of false accusation against Germans and our heartless sympathy for those Jews who repeat them, we have made of ourselves the thieves of their virtue. There must be a very special place in Artist Hell for a generation of men and women who have done what we have done.