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Bishop Williamson and Auschwitz 1.0

Arbeit Macht Frei
I am curious as to why a Roman Catholic bishop would risk a second excommunication over the historic particulars of the Holocaust. Bishop Richard Williamson is being labeled a “Holocaust Denier” because he questions the extent, and mechanism, of the official version of the Holocaust. Because Williamson is also criticized for his skepticism about the official 9/11 narrative, and for his praise for the Unabomber’s manifesto, I want to take a closer look, and wonder what is he reading?

Bishop Richard WilliamsonHere’s what the outspoken Williamson told Swedish SVT in a November 2008 interview, as transcribed by the BBC:

“I believe that the historical evidence is strongly against, is hugely against, six million Jews having been deliberately gassed in gas chambers as a deliberate policy of Adolf Hitler… I believe there were no gas chambers [during World War II]”

First, I’m compelled to pose a naive question: If we can all agree that Jews died in huge numbers by incomparable horrors at the hands of the Nazis, would it matter what the exact death toll was, or which killing method predominated? Why? What is the need for laws to restrict historians who are trying to reconstruct the record from emerging facts? Must preemptive “anti-defamation” laws mandate that historians stick to the official “untold” number and “indescribable” evil?

Even if we postulate, albeit cynically, that Holocaust reverence is critical to upholding American public support for Israel‘s “right to exist” in the Middle East, how could a revision of the casualties, in any case a horrific magnitude, make an difference?

Millions of Jews fell victim to the Third Reich. No one is denying it, and historical revision is not trying to bring the Holocaust victims back to life. Holocaust Remembrance of the Jewish victims has remained a political priority around the world, advocating commemoration in education, literature, civic life, and pop culture. Why then, an aversion to scrutiny?

Last week a fellow Society of St. Pius X member, Rev. Floriano Abrahamowicz was ejected from SSPX for coming to Williamson’s and the Pope’s defense.

While the usual politicians and Jewish community leaders are voicing their indignation, can we ask, are the Bishop’s beliefs really at odds with accepted orthodoxy? The media will reiterate that the Six Million figure has always been beyond dispute. All the while, official scholarship has been recording otherwise. In Germany, revisionist historians are jailed for Holocaust Denial. Yet bit by bit, mainstream historians have been able to publish divergent theses which withstand legal refutation.

For the sake of argument, let’s dismiss all the “deniers” as kooks, and look only at the traditionally vetted voices.

On the subject of Auschwitz, where four million of the total six million Jews were believed to have perished, Der Spiegel managing editor Fritjof Meyer a continued critic of revisionism, summarized in Osteuropa 52, 5/2002, p. 631:

“In 1945, the Soviet Investigatory Commission numbered four million victims in the National Socialist work and extermination camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau, a product of war propaganda. Under coercion, camp Commandant Höß named three million and recanted. Up until now, how many people actually fell victim to this singular mass murder could only be estimated. The first Holocaust historian, Gerald Reitlinger, assumed one million, while the latest state of research estimated it to be several hundred thousand fewer.”

Naturally even Meyer touched off a firestorm by integrating the sum of official scholarship into the big picture. The difficulties which historians face in reaching variant findings are explained by another mainstream scholar, noted Hitler historian Dr. Werner Maser, Professor for History and International Law, Munich University, Falsification, Legend, and Truth about Hitler and Stalin, Olzog, Munich 2004, on p.332

“To be sure, […] the extermination of the Jews is considered to be one of the best researched aspects of contemporary history […], but that is not the case. […] Indeed, whole regions remain as much terra incognita as ever, […] German historians exhibit timidity about taking on the horrible issue and possibly bringing to light details that do not agree with the accounts which have multiplied for a very long time.”

And about the deterrence of the Holocaust Denial laws:

“The sword of Damocles hovers over historians (not only in Germany) who portray the controversial phases of history as they ‘actually were’ – and identify the frequently even officially codified ideological specifications as falsifications of history.”

The question of the gas chambers is raised by the absence of evidence. According to major Holocaust authority Dr. Arno J. Mayer, Professor of Modern Jewish History at Princeton University, in Why Did the Heavens Not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History, Pantheon, New York 1990, p. 362:

“Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable. Even though Hitler and the Nazis made no secret of their war on the Jews, the SS operatives dutifully eliminated all traces of their murderous activities and instruments. No written orders for gassing have turned up thus far. The SS not only destroyed most camp records, which were in any case incomplete, but also razed nearly all killing and crematory installations well before the arrival of Soviet troops. Likewise, care was taken to dispose of the bones and ashes of the victims.”

Justifiably, scholars are skeptical that the complete absence of evidence should be taken as proof of its existence and total suppression. Some camps were overrun before the Germans could destroy any part of them. Mayer continues, p. 163:

“In the meantime, there is no denying the many contradictions, ambiguities, and errors in the existing sources. […] Much the same is true of for the conflicting estimates and extrapolations of the number of victims, since there are no reliable statistics to work with. […] Both radical skepticism and rigid dogmatism about the exact processes of extermination and the exact number of victims are the bane of sound historical interpretation”

In light of the before-sited Wannsee Conference documents now being considered post-war forgeries, Mayer explains, p 163:

“To date there is no certainty about who gave the order, and when, to install the gas chambers used for the murder of Jews at Auschwitz. As no written command has been located, there is a strong presumption that the order was issued and received orally”

With no written record of a “Final Solution,” and the implausibility of a completely vaporized paper trail, mainstream scholars have had to improvise an explanation for how an extermination directive was disseminated. University of Vermont Professor Raul Hilberg, member of US Holocaust Memorial Council, author of The Destruction of the European Jews, (Holmes & Meyer, New York 1985), was quoted in Newsday, Feb. 23, 1983:

“But what began in 1941 was a process of destruction [of the Jews] not planned in advance, not organized centrally by any agency. There was no blueprint and there was no budget for destructive measures. They [these measures] were taken step by step, one step at a time. Thus came about not so much a plan being carried out, but an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus mind reading by a far-flung [German] bureaucracy.”

Hilberg himself ran into trouble with the authorized version, because he refused to corroborate tales of Jewish rebellion against their Nazi jailers. His group-think theory extended to the Jews themselves, putting emphasis on their acceptance of being exploited as war industry slave labor.

“I had to examine the Jewish tradition of trusting God, princes, laws and contracts […] Ultimately I had to ponder the Jewish calculation that the persecutor would not destroy what he could economically exploit. It was precisely this Jewish strategy that dictated accommodation and precluded resistance.”

That’s where the extermination camp thesis becomes less probable than the work camp. Perhaps the Jews didn’t resist because they were being worked, not gassed. Worked to death, of course, but dying as more a consequence of wartime Germany’s depleting resources, than from a deliberate eradication effort. Evidence is plentiful of the work camps and dead bodies.

And isn’t that the answer to my innocent question? To doubt whether the murder weapon was a pistol or a knife, means calling into question the crime entirely. That’s why revisionists are decried for being “deniers.” While we presume the distinction makes little difference, because clearly a murder was committed regardless, the prosecutor constructing the accusations wants to prove his motive and not another.

There are many details about which historians have begun to disagree. Many of the witness accounts have been proven to be unreliable. Even Elie Wiesel was compelled to reclassified his memoir as a novel. The Holocaust as later generations have come to know it was not as the WWII generation saw it. Even those soldiers who encountered the atrocities themselves.

Professor Hilberg recounts studying at Brooklyn College under Hans Rosenberg, a fellow Jew. Even in the wake of the haunting newsreels of the concentration camps, Hilberg records that Rosenberg remarked in a 1948 lecture:

“The most wicked atrocities perpetrated on a civilian population in modern times occurred during the Napoleonic occupation of Spain.”

I don’t really subscribe to the idea that the Holocaust is diminished by learning that the WWII concentration camp victims died from systemic and despotic abuse, starvation and exhaustion. But those holding the secrets believe that the concept of the Holocaust being the greatest evil perpetrated upon mankind falls apart if cracks are allowed to form in the accepted narrative.

Perhaps the German population, and for that matter, the Catholic Church, did not intercede more vigorously because there was no premeditated extermination program. We can say now that German reinforcements being sent to the Russian Front knew they were being sent to their deaths, but this is only with hindsight.

Is this Bishop Williamson’s interest in revisiting the Holocaust, to rehabilitate the church’s role? I doubt it. The Catholic church cannot escape culpability for its instrumental role in support of the Nazis, guilty of ware crimes and crimes against humanity, initiating a war of aggression being the chief charge at the Nuremberg Trials for example, before even taking into account the concentration camps.

Perhaps the American industrialists and bankers who knew about the camps did not interfere because they understood the camps were for the supply of slave labor. Isn’t this a key enigma of the Holocaust, as we grapple with it? How could we have not known? How could this have been allowed to happen?

Perhaps the signs above the camp gates which read ARBEIT MACHT FREI, work earns freedom, meant what they said. They might have been inescapable ironies, but not the cruel mockery of which we accuse the Germans.

Why would factories like IG Farben and Krupp want to liquidate their valuable cheap workforce? Why would camps meant to exterminate have infirmaries? Why would the wardens treat inmates for illness while simultaneously sending incoming transports to directly to ovens?

Today the popular conscience has been saturated with the ghostly images of the concentration camp victims. How to explain the emaciated inmates discovered by the liberating troops, many of whom could not be saved from dying, even under the administration of the liberators? Dr. Arno J. Mayer concedes this explanation, p. 365

“[…] the whole of Auschwitz was intermittently in the grip of a devastating typhus epidemic. The result was an unspeakable death rate. […] There is a distinction between dying from ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ causes and being killed by shooting, hanging, phenol injection, or gassing. […] from 1942 to 1945, certainly at Auschwitz, but probably overall, more Jews were killed by so-called ‘natural’ causes than by ‘unnatural’ ones.”

This is not to diminish the crime of the Holocaust one iota. The German people, the industrialists, the church, the anti-Semites, are far more guilty because the crime against the Jews was banal and common. It was not devised by agents of unspeakable evil.

Other aspiring genocidal nations and peoples cannot excuse their acts because their methods fall demonstrably below the mythic proportions of the Holocaust.

ig-farben-auschwitz

12 thoughts on “Bishop Williamson and Auschwitz 1.0

  1. So the following is Eric Verlo’s Holocaust denial theory in summation-

    It was all a big mistake? It did happen, but it was all a miscalculation? It did happen, but not for the same reasons, the same motives, nor with the same exaggerated figures of the numbers regarding those murdered?

    And I guess, Eric, you want us all to be quiet respectful and polite because you have begun your deep introspection regarding your deep personal examination of the historical narrative?

    The Eric Verlo Theory…

    ‘That’s where the extermination camp thesis becomes less probable than the work camp. Perhaps the Jews didn’t resist because they were being worked, not gassed. Worked to death, of course, but dying as more a consequence of wartime Germany’s depleting resources, than from a deliberate eradication effort. Evidence is plentiful of the work camps and dead bodies.

    And isn’t that the answer to my innocent question? To doubt whether the murder weapon was a pistol or a knife, means calling into question the crime entirely. That’s why revisionists are decried for being “deniers.” While we presume the distinction makes little difference, because clearly a murder was committed regardless, the prosecutor constructing the accusations wants to prove his motive and not another.’

    And by this logic, the American Holocaust committed against the American continent’s indigenous community was something a bit less because extermination was never completely the plan, it just happened? Brilliant! Eric, if Pope Fascist Rat can’t continue alongside with Bishop Williamson, then I suggest that you apply to Vatican City and see if they will allow you to take his place as Catholic high priest under Pope Rat’s command?

  2. Tony, you’re the one saying it’s “something a bit less.” I’m not. By whatever fashion this was systemic genocide. But I appreciate you pointing out my lack of clarity.

    Actually I think I am expressing a lower threshold for injustice than you. It’s the banality of the deaths in the camps which draws us all into culpability.

    I’d like to see media pundits hung for their role in the Iraq War, for example. And I submit myself for condemnation for not getting in its way.

  3. ‘The German people, the industrialists, the church, the anti-Semites, are far more guilty because the crime against the Jews was banal and common. It was not devised by agents of unspeakable evil.’

    The ordinary people of a society can become agents of unspeakable evil’, Eric. Is that not what we confront in the US with our own common people brand of Holocaust Denialism? Americans are conveyors of unspeakable evil throughout the world today and have been for quite some time, and it is an entire people’s effort that makes that happen.

    You claim to be open to re-examination of the data, but your commentary actually does none of that, so I’ll send you some basic data from the much maligned and bad-mouthed wikipedia.

    World War 2 Casualties http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties

    Look over this material, Eric. Where do you see the civilian deaths taking place mainly and who were the responsables?

  4. ‘Perhaps the German population, and for that matter, the Catholic Church, did not intercede more vigorously because there was no premeditated extermination program.’

    You even forgot to put the question mark in here because you, too, simply seem to believe some, if not most, of this denialist nonsense, Eric. These Catholics of that time did not intercede because they simply bought the Nazi program, and most of them quite fully.

    Sure there are other evil elements of this WW2 slaughter, one being the Japanese, who slaughtered 4 times as many Chinese civilians and other SE Asian people as the Nazis did the European Jews. There is also the slaughter of the Roma people and many Slavs by the Nazis. And there is the US dropping of 2 atomic bombs and subsequent Holocausts against Asians post WW2, in both Korea and SE Asia.

    ‘Why would factories like IG Farben and Krupp want to liquidate their valuable cheap workforce? Why would camps meant to exterminate have infirmaries? Why would the wardens treat inmates for illness while simultaneously sending incoming transports to directly to ovens?’

    And why would the US government pretend to befriend Muslims even as they launch a racist and culturally supremacist worldwide campaign against them? Does that mean that somehow the US government really is not intentionally doing what it is, Eric, going all out to try to murder hundreds of thousands to millions of innocent Muslims who simply got in the US army’s way? The US is pushing the FEAR, Eric, even as they pretend to be a protector of Muslims.

    Look what Clinton’s sanctions did to Iraq’s children? If we applied the type of denialist logic you are using about the Holocaust against Jews here in looking at the US government and the American people (as many Americans actually do) we are left with a pile of total bullshit, Eric. We are left with a jaundiced and apologist, Holocaust denying outlook towards our own US government.

    You have added nothing to us taking somehow a better look at Zionist beliefs that they, the Jews, have been victimized. They were, and people behaving as you do, Eric, just reinforce that reality 1000%. The Palestinians people certainly would not thank you in the least for doing this sort of round and round denialism that you seem addicted to engaging in. You are their enemy as much as the Zionist State is with this propaganda of denialism you engage in.

    You don’t like being ‘censored’ (as you put it) when issue is taken with this sort of commentary by you, but you deserve it. It is just a shame that the only people pointing what trash you talk is me and the ‘Internet Megaphone’ types who are pushing their own line of denialist propaganda. I will not remain silent when you post this pretense about supposedly somehow being open to re-examining the basic known facts about the Holocaust against the Jewish people. You should be ashamed at yourself, Eric. But apparently you have little sense of shame on this issue? That’s pretty sad news to those of us who have worked with you on other issues.

  5. Eric,

    I had not planned to comment any further, but this repugnant rationalization of Holocaust denial deserves condemnation. While I strongly disagree with his commentary regarding Israel and Zionism, Tony deserves credit for rebuking your revisionist commentary.

    For those who want to learn more, the transcripts for Irving v. Lipstadt offer a starting point about the kind of historical fraud on which Holocaust denial rests.

  6. Yes, one cannot write ‘Perhaps the signs above the camp gates which read ARBEIT MACHT FREI, work earns freedom, meant what they said. They might have been inescapable ironies, but not the cruel mockery of which we accuse the Germans.’

    and in the breath before write ‘Millions of Jews fell victim to the Third Reich. No one is denying it, and historical revision is not trying to bring the Holocaust victims back to life.’

    without people questioning where you are coming from, Eric?

    This is very confused writing, very confused thinking, and I hope that you begin to self examine yourself for why you are expressing such contradictory opinions on these issues? This is the one issue that one in the modern world does need to be most clearest about since anti-Jewish hatred has had a nasty legacy of receding and then popping its ugly head up again and again.

    There is hatred of Jews in the Muslim and Arab worlds, but it has a completely different base and set of components to it than the antiJewish hatred that was set lose in Europe by the Nazis and other fascist groupings. The Jews had been persecuted as a minority in Christian societies for centuries, and the hatred that came forth under Hitler’s direction had that as cause for why he did what he did, and got away with what he did get away with.

    The hatred by some Muslims against the ‘Jewish State’ comes about much in the same way as many American Blacks hate White society. That in no way is similar to Nazi hatred that was set lose in the lead up to the Jewish Holocaust. Enough said. Arab hatred of the ‘Jewish State could equally be neutralized by simply promoting a just compensation and move away from privileging Jewish people at the expense of Palestinians. Does the Jewish population in Israel have it in their hearts though (especially when being egged on by Christian imperialist USA) to renounce the continued use of violence that has created the concept of a ‘Jewish State’ at the expense of others?

  7. This is embarrassing. Does every view on NMT have to pass YOUR muster Tony?
    I don’t care how married you are to your biases as long as you don’t enforce them on everyone.

    You make admirable points, but in the end this is a difference of opinion: You think people can’t be trusted to question manipulative dictum, lest they be unleashed to repeat horrors. I suggest that sanctifying the Holocaust indemnifies believers because it trivializes their own-sized trespasses. (No one can be compared to the Nazis for example? Ergo, Fallujah, Gaza, are not as bad, even tolerable.)

    Also, I believe that the historical resentment of Jews, both in Europe and in the Middle East, comes from their choosing not to assimilate.

    Otherwise, I don’t know how to rebut arguments which dismiss intellectual curiosity as “repugnant”, “trash talk”, “pretense” or “denialism.” SAYS WHO?
    I’ll just reiterate: uh, why?

    Since I’m neither a white supremacist, Nazi wannabe, nor anti-Semite, what’s with the stiff censure? Isn’t it better to be distrustful of dogma, regardless whose agenda it serves? A pit in my stomach tells me self-censorship is so dishonest, it’s unhealthy. Just saying.

    When you can make your counter-arguments without invoking a taboo forbidding earnest skepticism, I’ll give your condescension more credence.

  8. Eric,

    Intellectual curiosity is virtue when it is based on a sincere effort to learn or discover something new. In the case of the Holocaust, when the facts have been established and the evidence is overwhelming, the pursuit of what amounts to revisionism in the name of “intellectual curiosity” is little more than a charade. It amounts to an effort to escape a reality one does not want to deal with or acknowledge.

    Unfortunately, your charge that Tony seeks to ‘sanctify the Holocaust’ from his simply insisting that one stay true to the facts and your description of the facts concerning the Holocaust as “dogma” when those facts are well-documented are troubling. They suggest perhaps a motivation other than a genuine expression of intellectual curiosity. Hopefully, that’s not the case, but that most definitely is the perception your piece and responses afterward create.

  9. Don is actually being a lot kinder than your comments merit, Eric. And it is not censorship to disagree with comments like these.

    ‘Also, I believe that the historical resentment of Jews, both in Europe and in the Middle East, comes from their choosing not to assimilate.’

    Here, in a typical racist antiJewish manner, you blame the Jews for their own persecution by others.

    Don is correct in sensing a personality defect here in you, in that you are not truly a hateful person on a personal level, but that somehow you have embedded a stubborn political racism against Jews that masquerades as intellectual curiosity.

  10. I don’t think most Jews are going to let the truth stand in the way of hitting the rest of the world over the head with their story but here goes; by the Jews own records of 1938, there was only 6 million Jews in all of Europe. @ that time, did the Germans kill them all? I don’t think so, from all the people I see on tv & other news claiming to be a Holocaust survior.

    Just in case anyone out there wants to see the real truth, you should see David Cole’s video of Auschwitz, OH by the way, he’s a Jew!

    By the way, all those great shots of piles of bodies in ditches, did anyone ever wonder where all those Rus soliders went? There were trains full of German people who pulled into stations all dead no heat no food no meds no nothing & as far as bankers go, think ROTHSCHILD he might be a JEW!

  11. “In the case of the Holocaust, when the facts have been established and the evidence is overwhelming, the pursuit of what amounts to revisionism in the name of “intellectual curiosity” is little more than a charade. ”

    Wow, I just love this. The facts are in move on. Sorry, history, any history is anything but this straight forward. Even US history. The List Is Very Long for those that have the curiosity and ability to read/think.

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