Holocaust Denial and Distortion
The Holocaust has been taught in schools all over the world. I can distinctly remember learning about a horrible genocide that took place during World War II, and it immediately sparked my interest to dig deeper on the subject. There are groups of people out there who do not believe the Holocaust ever occurred, and they are known as Holocaust Deniers. I have read books and articles of those who have been through it all; the selection process, the starvation, the experiments, and for some, survival. I take this knowledge with me everywhere. What I learn from textbooks allows me to question those who doubt, those who are unsure, and those who have no clue about the topic. However, having book smarts isn’t the only thing that will help me in this world. Being faced with the idea that something so horrible, like the Holocaust, was made up is shocking. Sometimes textbooks can’t help me with that. Knowing what is the truth, and sticking to it is a form of street smarts that textbooks can’t really teach me to do. Yes I can have the knowledge from books, but if I don’t know how to apply that knowledge in the real world and stick to my beliefs, what is the point in creating an argument? Gerald Graff explained in his book Hidden Intellectualism that both ‘street smarts’ and ‘book smarts’ are both critical to being successful. Graff stated in my reading of sports books and magazines, that I began to learn the rudiments of the intellectual life: how to make an argument, weigh different kinds of evidence, move between particulars and generalizations, summarize the views of others, and enter a conversation about ideas. (372) here Graff is saying that even though it wasn’t through textbooks, he still learned how to display life skills. This goes along with how I explained that reading books or articles can give me clear information on my topic, even though I didn’t learn that information in the classroom.
Holocaust Denial has been around for quite a long time. Many believe that the Holocaust never happened and that it was made up by the Jews in order to advance the Jewish race. It is also believed that the gas chambers never existed, the amount killed was exaggerated, and that the German officers were tortured into making up accounts of what happened during this time.
It is hard to imagine why some would deny the Holocaust. Especially with it being such a big part of world history. Deborah Lipstadt from BBC News, author of Denying the Holocaust gave information on the many ways deniers gain their why on the whole idea of Holocaust Denial. With the amount of documents and data collected from this time in history, deniers still find a way around it and many believe these accounts were forged after World War II, by Jews all over the world. She explains it may be pure racism towards the Jewish population, but it also could be fear and disbelief on what happened to thousands of people across Europe. Lipstadt is against the whole idea of thinking that the Holocaust is completely made up. She gives information on why deniers have this thought and then prove their theories wrong with hard evidence. For example, Lipstadt explained that a man by the name of Arthur Butz believes that many Jews survived the war and fled to the Soviet Union or the United States. He also believes that the survivors did not establish contact with their pre-war relatives because they were in unhappy relationships and wanted to gain better, new relationships, and to start over. Lipstadt clearly shows that this accusation could be considered laughable: This improbable explanation of why these people deserted their families would be hilarious, were the topic not so serious. (Lipstadt) what she is saying here is that the idea of survivors completely avoiding contact with their family after being taken away from them is ridiculous. However, she doesn’t want to think of the accusation as something funny due to how serious of a topic the Holocaust is. As I read more of what Lipstadt had to say on the topic of Holocaust Denial, I could understand her frustration. The facts and examples of evidence she gives is straight to the point with all details of the Nazi’s heinous acts included. Lipstadt wants the reader to understand that what had happened to all of those people is real, and to even consider the idea that the whole genocide was a hoax is beyond belief.
What interests me the most about this topic is that Holocaust Denial offends more than just the Jewish population. Holocaust Denial offends people all over the world. The United States Holocaust Memorial Museums website also explains how Iran has made it clear to the nations that it opposes the idea of the Holocaust. Iran holds contests that give artists the chance to create cartoons that promote the practice of Holocaust Denial. The authors behind the memorial website state that These contests are insulting to the victims and memory of the Holocaust (U.S). The website continues on with the fact that the Iranian government makes an effort on preventing Iranians from learning about the Holocaust all together. What is shocking to me is that Iran played a role in the Holocaust. Nazi Germany sought out Iran not only for its resources, but for allied forces as well. Which invaded and occupied the country. Iran then accepted 116,000 polish refugees, 1,000 of them were Jewish children. Maybe Iran has some embarrassment behind their denial? Why else would this nation make such an effort to cover up the truth?
To see that this amount of hatred is still put out into the world is incredibly saddening. Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ray Takeyh authors from The Washington Post, reported on how the Islamic population view both the Holocaust, and the Jewish race. In 2016 the Islamic Republic of Iran hosted a holocaust cartoon festival, it was made clear that the people of Islam did not favor the Jewish race. It is explained throughout the article that Jews were always seen as untrustworthy in Islamic history, Anti-Semitism was part of Iran’s inception. The revolution’s father, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, spent much of his life indulging it. (Gerecht and Takeyh) This statement explains that Iran’s supreme ruler, Ruhollah Khomeini, made his hatred towards Israel and the Jews within it evident. Even after Khomeini’s death, his views live on through the muslim people. The unfortunate part about this is that this group of people are so blinded by hatred that they cannot see the truth in front of them. In the article it references a conversation between the President of Islam Hassan Rouhani and CNN reporter Christiane Amanpour. The topic was about if the Holocaust happened and the dimensions of the slaughter. Rouhani then states to Amanpour that it is a matter for historians and researchers to illuminate. Gerecht and Takeyh mention farther in the article that Islamic leftists believe that Zionism (protection for the Jewish nation) should not only be opposed by Muslims, but also by anyone who believes in human rights. The idea that this entire nation of people condemns the Jewish race is unbelievable to me.
In conclusion, I want it to be evident that Holocaust denial isn’t just street talk. It is practiced all over the world. The question now is how should we as a society respond? If I could tell you to do anything, it would be to become educated on the Holocaust. Know what the truth is and stick to it. Do not be afraid to question those who doubt or to inform those who do not know. We cannot let his part of history die out because some have a hatred towards it, or are scared of what a person is capable of. Hate and fear is what drives the Deniers. I don’t think there is much to get out of believing that the Holocaust is a hoax except somehow getting satisfaction from seeing others suffer. It can be hard to blame the Deniers who haven’t been taught about this part of history. However, that’s why we need to come together to educate and show support for the survivors and their family. I know I have gained new knowledge to put forth into the world. I am able to educate those around me to have a better understanding of what Holocaust Denial is, and how we as a society can end it all.