Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory

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Free Press, 1993 - History - 278 pages
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The denial of the Holocaust has no more credibility than the assertion that the earth is flat. Yet there are those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy. Forty years ago, such notions were the province of pseudohistorians who argued that Hitler never meant to kill the Jews, and that only a few hundred thousand died in the camps from disease; they also argued that the Allied bombings of Dresden and other cities were worse than any Nazi offense, and that the Germans were the "true victims" of World War II. For years, those who made such claims were dismissed as harmless cranks operating on the lunatic fringe. But over the past decade they have begun to gain a hearing in respectable arenas, and now, in the first full-scale history of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt shows how - despite tens of thousands of living witnesses and vast amounts of documentary evidence - this irrational idea not only has continued to gain adherents but has become an international movement, with organized chapters, "independent" research centers, and official publications that promote a "revisionist" view of recent history. One sign of the movement's disturbing resonance is the rise of such figures as the Holocaust denier David Duke to national prominence. Holocaust deniers have also begun to make common cause with radical Afrocentrists such as Leonard Jeffries of New York's City University, who retails racist myths about the Jews; and a recent campaign of ads in college newspapers calling for "open debate" on "so-called facts" about the Holocaust suggests a bold new bid for mainstream intellectual legitimacy.Lipstadt shows how Holocaust denial thrives in the current atmosphere of value relativism, and argues that this chilling attack on the factual record not only threatens Jews but undermines the very tenets of objective scholarship that support our faith in historical knowledge. Thus the movement has an unsuspected power to dramatically alter the way that truth and meaning are transmitted from one generation to another.

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Contents

History Conspiracy and Fantasy
31
Denials Initial Steps
49
The First Stirrings of Denial in America
65
Copyright

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