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Politaca
Yesterday the worlds most notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving, was sentenced to three years imprisonment in Austria for denying the Holocaust. Irving had been banned from the country after he spoke out against the historical accounts of the Holocaust. Specifically, Irving denied that gas chambers were used to kill millions of Jews. The 1992 law under which he was convicted applies to anyone who "denies, grossly plays down, approves or tries to excuse the National Socialist genocide or other National Socialist crimes against humanity in a print publication, in broadcast or other media."

Questions for debate:

Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?
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Amlord
QUOTE(Politaca @ Feb 21 2006, 10:54 AM)
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?
*



I can't quite understand the reasoning behind the law here. I think the second question is the more important one: does a Holocaust denier pose a danger to society.

I don't see how. There are plenty of idiots in the world. There are people who question certain historical events and others that invent their own. None of these are crimes. Only this one specific incident is a crime.

The government should not have a policy outlawing belief (or disbelief) in an event or idea. Should the government make it illegal to consider abortion bad? Should it outlaw thinking that criminals can't be rehabilitated? Should it outlaw believing that the moon is made of green cheese? I don't see how banning any of these things would be useful.
carlitoswhey
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?
No. It's hard to argue on one hand for free speech to publish allegedly anti-Muslim cartoons, while your government is simultaneously trying someone for a crime of ideas. He should be free to question and deny anything – the Holocaust, the US moon landing, UFO sightings, whatever. Making so-called “hate speech” illegal or making specific laws about this one historical event undercuts free speech at its core.

Are people like Irving a danger to society?
Yes and no. Their thoughts are indeed dangerous, but I think it’s more useful to have them around than it is to attempt to criminalize thought. Let the marketplace of ideas decide who is to be believed.

edit - just remembered that an author in Italy, Oriana Fallaci, was recently tried for so-called "hate crimes" in her book the Force of Reason. A previous book in her trilogy got her tried in France for "racism" (as if Islam is a race). She is now in self-imposed exile here in the states, where today at least we still have free speech. Between the holocaust denial laws, and the anti - "islamophobic" laws, Europe seems to be handcuffing free speech at every turn.
London2LA
You have to consider the reason for these laws. First, the countries that have holocaust denial laws are the ones where it actually took place. While there are certainly still open wounds, living survivors, participants etc. these laws do not exist to protect the feelings of the people involved or the jewish community, they are law-enforcement tools to control the re-emergence of nazism. Holocaust-denial is a common rallying point for neo-nazi groups, so you can look at these laws in a similar light to anti cross-burning laws here in the south.
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(London2LA)
You have to consider the reason for these laws. First, the countries that have holocaust denial laws are the ones where it actually took place.
True enough - wikipedia tells me that holocaust denial is illegal in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Switzerland. With EU membership for 9 of these nations either current or pending, I wonder how the laws will be harmonized. Most likely holocaust denial will be illegal everywhere in the EU, given the non-representative, bureaucratic nature of the EU experiment. Brussels knows best how to prevent naziism, just like they know how best to regulate Italian cheeses out of existence. I find it amusing that the European Human Rights court doesn't offer Holocaust deniers protection under Article 10 of the Convention on Human Rights, which supposedly protects free speech.

This kind of pretzel logic could ultimately undermine everyone's free speech rights. First, you ban holocaust denial, then you ban "islamophobic" speech then you ban "homophobic" speech - how long before it's illegal to question your government I wonder ... hmmm.gif

QUOTE(London2LA)
While there are certainly still open wounds, living survivors, participants etc. these laws do not exist to protect the feelings of the people involved or the jewish community, they are law-enforcement tools to control the re-emergence of nazism.

Given that the Inquisition was carried out in the name of the pope, should Spain ban the Bible, catholicism or portions thereof to prevent its re-emergence?

QUOTE
Holocaust-denial is a common rallying point for neo-nazi groups, so you can look at these laws in a similar light to anti cross-burning laws here in the south.
I'm against those laws as well, but that is a separate debate. The point is that it is legal for me to deny that slavery ever happened. I could start a "slavery denial" movement, publish books about it and go on TV and deny it. Because we have freedom of speech.
Vermillion
I consider myself something of an expert in this field, at least from a historical point of view if not a legal one. Apart from my academic qualifications in this field, I also attended the Irving liebel trail held in London in 2000, and met and spoke to Irving at some length.

I personally am overjoyed at his conviction. I quite understand those who do not understand how thic can be reconciled with freedom of spech, and as has been pointed out, obviously laws such as that under which Irving was convicted could never exist in the US for example. But as London pointed out, these laws only exist in nations in which the Holocaust took place, and frankly I think it is fair to say that this deserves a special case.

The Holocaust has many aspects about it that render it unique in history. One of them is the vareful precision and specificity with which it was labelled and documented. In other mass murders in history, the murderers never felt the need to document each death, detail the weight of hair and fillings and value of personal posessions from each victim. Usually the offending party/government keeps as little recoed as possible, not caring how many are dead or how, just so long as they are dead.

The Holocaust remains one of the most uniquely fully documented atrocities in human history. I say all this so that we can be very clear, Holocaust denial is NOT a historical issue, it is NOT an issue of question or debate among historians.

Given that it is not a historical issue, it must be something else, and that is obviously a racial issue. It is an issue borne out of hatred and loathing of a group, usually for all non-white groups, hiding as history, pretending to have some legitimacy.

What made Irving such a dangerous man is that unlike most holocaust deniers, he was not a shaven-headed, jackboot wearing thug with a swastika tatoo on his shoulder, he was a perfectly genteel looking man with published books and an aura of legitimacy.


Many people say: "well denying slavery in the US is not illegal": True, it is not. But imagine a situation where a segment of the population actually started believing that slavery never happened? That a segment of the population actually started accusing blacks in the US of conspiracy, and that this movement threatened to break into the mainstream? Would the US enact laws at that point?

This is not such a threat now, but for a time in the 1970s it was. An ill-advised policy in Germany of NOT teaching the war years in school left a lot of people subceptible to such lies hiding as history. Laws against Nazism, against Nazi paraphenalia and against Holocaust denial were seen as the ultimate affirmation of the German government that this shall not ever happen again here.


Yes, anti-Holocaust denial laws conflict with the principle of freedom of speech, and yet to a lot of people that might seem wrong. But I was there at the Royal Courts of Justics when in 2000 Irving lost his liebel case (and lost badly) and heard the comments of some members from the gallery saying :"Its all true you know, it never happened, he only lost because the Judge is a filthy jew-lover..."


TruthMarch
QUOTE
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?

Sure, but only when the entire planet is smoking crack collectively. What on earth makes people think it's fine to jail someone who says something about history. The Holocaust. People make tons and tons of money from that industry, and I'll be labelled anti-Semetic for saying so. The fact that many people get rich from it isn't a reason to believe it's a profitable business, right folks? <sarcasm>
Why the Jewish holocaust anyways? They're not exclusively the 'victims' of unruly religious 'justice'. The reason this is all a bunch of international social garbage is actually very simple. And this is where my mind is a bit further ahead than most everyone else. I see things in a clear light, from all perspectives, not just the my-myself-and I perspective, which Americans usually do ("gee do you think the US torturing people will make other countries not like us" and the like). If you or anyone dare to say that denying wholesale slaughter is worthy of prison and persecution, then the only way to make yourselves not look like duplicit two-faced hypocrits would be to lobby the US government, or the UN, or create threads here in this forum and others, demanding the arrest and prosecution of the Japanese government over their refusal to admit to their massacre at Nanking in the 1930's. To be truthful and honest and serious, you have to take that route. There's no other way. Of course, if you're full of garbage then you'll ignore that fact and/or make up excuses why it's ok for one group to deny one group, but not ok from one group to deny one group.

QUOTE
Are people like Irving a danger to society?

Very naive. Yes they are a danger only to those who go to the courts to prevent people from discovering the truth. And if they do get the truth, those in danger create laws making it illegal to say it out loud. Gee. If I were hiding the truth from someone, I'd like laws which protect me from the truth.

FYI here's an awesome link people can flame. The factual appraisal of German "death camps" during the war. By the Red Cross no less.
http://thunderbay.indymedia.org/news/2005/01/18220.php


Bikerdad
w00t.gif w00t.gif

Alert the press, ring up Helen Thomas, send Bill O'Reilly an e-mail. Vermillion and I are pretty much in agreement.

Holocaust Denial laws are essentially super buff slander and libel laws. In the Anglophone free speech tradition, truth is an absolute defense for freedom of speech, but truth is not in play with Holocaust Denial. We could just as easily make it illegal for anyone with more than a 3rd grade education to claim that 2+2 = 5, but we don't because nobody is slandered by such an assertion, and there are no social consequences. Not so with Holocaust Denial.

Juber3
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account? No this is a persons indivual right to think what he wants. He dosent have to have the views that everyone has. And what charges did they arrain him on? His own personal philosophy?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?

Once again no. Every human on the face of the earth get to have their own opinion on something. How can he cause danger when someone vivdly believes that such an event happened.
carlitoswhey
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Feb 21 2006, 01:32 PM)
The Holocaust remains one of the most uniquely fully documented atrocities in human history. I say all this so that we can be very clear, Holocaust denial is NOT a historical issue, it is NOT an issue of question or debate among historians.

Given that it is not a historical issue, it must be something else, and that is obviously a racial issue. It is an issue borne out of hatred and loathing of a group, usually for all non-white groups, hiding as history, pretending to have some legitimacy.

What made Irving such a dangerous man is that unlike most holocaust deniers, he was not a shaven-headed, jackboot wearing thug with a swastika tatoo on his shoulder, he was a perfectly genteel looking man with published books and an aura of legitimacy.
I totally agree with you here, and yes he is a dangerous, despicable guy.

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Feb 21 2006, 01:32 PM)
Many people say: "well denying slavery in the US is not illegal": True, it is not. But imagine a situation where a segment of the population actually started believing that slavery never happened? That a segment of the population actually started accusing blacks in the US of conspiracy, and that this movement threatened to break into the mainstream? Would the US enact laws at that point?

This is not such a threat now, but for a time in the 1970s it was. An ill-advised policy in Germany of NOT teaching the war years in school left a lot of people subceptible to such lies hiding as history. Laws against Nazism, against Nazi paraphenalia and against Holocaust denial were seen as the ultimate affirmation of the German government that this shall not ever happen again here.
An interesting comparison, and one I'd almost be willing to concede for Germany and Austria. Holocaust denial laws could have been required as part of the Austrian State Treaty, and whichever sets of documents on Germany's status (finalized in 1990, if I recall correctly?) BUT...you are the second person to note this, and I'm not in 100% agreement:
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Feb 21 2006, 01:32 PM)
But as London pointed out, these laws only exist in nations in which the Holocaust took place, and frankly I think it is fair to say that this deserves a special case.

I'm snipping this not to take you out of context, but to note my objection to these laws outside Germany and Austria. Was it really necessary to outlaw this denial in Poland just because the Germans built their biggest death camp in Auschwitz? Or in Czech, because a camp was built near Prague? I don't think the Poles or Czechs would deny the holocaust ever happened, nor is there need to prevent Nazi reemergence there. The Poles and Czechs have not exactly been longing for the return of the Nazis, from what I have seen.

But your statement is a little broad saying that these laws *only* exist in nations where the Holocaust happened (plus Israel). A couple of things strike me as inconsistent:

- Why outlaw Holocaust denial in European nations which were invaded by the nazis, and forced at gunpoint to turn in Jews or be killed - Belgium, for instance. I note that neither Holland nor the Scandinavian countries have these laws.

- Why outlaw Holocaust denial in Switzerland, other than to assuage their collective guilt due to financial complicity with the Nazis?

- You stated that you're not a legal expert, so I'll throw this out to the group. In Romania, do the Holocaust denial laws include denial of the massacre of nomadic Roma tribes, or do they only apply to denial of the slaughter of Jews? If so, isn't this a double-standard? If they include the Porajmos, then you can make the same case in Hungary and Romania as you could for Germany / Austria. If not, I don't see how it makes sense.

- Your point on the UK courtroom is a good one, antisemitism is alive and well in the UK and other nations. Would laws against Holocaust denial in the UK affect this one way or the other? Ditto the other nations that have no such laws - Italy, Netherlands, Scandinavia...
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TruthMarch
The six million dead Jews has already been revised by Jewish groups themselves. Why is it a crime to repeat what the Jews themselves say? FYI: Th curator of the Auchwitz museum himself said, through his research, that only (if you can say only) 1.1 million Jews died at Auchwitz. The curator was a needed witness at a denial trial, but the judge refused to let Mr. Pieper testify. There's something wrong when laws are created to cram false history down people's throats. Thank the Lord we home-school our children. We avoid what I call "mind rape". I was brought up with pity in my hears for the Jews who died in the "holocaust". It made me emotional and full of pity. Then I learn things I never was told ever ever ever. Like the Auchwitz swimming pool located right beside the inmates' barracks. Complete with starting blocks and a diving board. And the Zuchwitz money the Germans created for the Jews. Canteens for smokes and foodstuffs. Money for the Jews in a death camp. Odd.
Vermillion
TruthMarch, I am not going to jump down your throat (yet) because a few of the things you said were a bit confusing, and I need some clarification...

QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 21 2006, 07:50 PM)
The Holocaust. People make tons and tons of money from that industry, and I'll be labelled anti-Semetic for saying so.


No (or at least, not yet) but you will be required to explain what you mean. Tons of money from what industry? Do you mean people writing books on the topic? Movies about it? You will need to explain and justify that comment for it to make any sense. For that matter, how exactly is the holocaust an 'industry'?


QUOTE
Why the Jewish holocaust anyways? They're not exclusively the 'victims' of unruly religious 'justice'. The reason this is all a bunch of international social garbage is actually very simple.


That one you are just going to have to clarify, as it makes no sense.

FYI, it is illegal to deny any aspects of the holocaust in these countries, including denying the slaughter of homosexuals, gypsies, anti-social elements, communists, Slavs, the handicapped and of course Jews, who composed the single largest victimised group.


QUOTE
Of course, if you're full of garbage then you'll ignore that fact and/or make up excuses why it's ok for one group to deny one group, but not ok from one group to deny one group.


Why is it illegal to kill somebody, but legal to kill them if they are a soldier in war, or if it is in self-defence? Is it because the situations are different?

Similarity does not equal universality, no law works that way.

QUOTE
QUOTE
Are people like Irving a danger to society?

Very naive. Yes they are a danger only to those who go to the courts to prevent people from discovering the truth. And if they do get the truth, those in danger create laws making it illegal to say it out loud. Gee. If I were hiding the truth from someone, I'd like laws which protect me from the truth.


Thats an interesting hypothetical, but utterly inapplicable here. As I said, the 'truth' is universally known and incredibly well documented. The truth is an undeniable reality to anyone without an ulterior motive. So since this is an established fact of reality, your hypothetical is irrelevant here.

QUOTE
FYI here's an awesome link people can  flame. The factual appraisal of German "death camps" during the war. By the Red Cross no less.


This is EXACTLY what I was talking about in my earlier post. Hate well sculpted to look like History.

There is NO truth in this little article, taken from the book "Did six million really die" written by notorious holocaust denier and racist Richard Verrall. Notably, he based a lot of his arguments about the war on his purported ‘red cross document’ which you Truthmarch, apparently not knowing any better, requoted here.

Sadly, once this book was published, it was taken to task by many historians and organisations, notably including the RED CROSS, which claimed the report ‘cited’ was deliberately and obviously misinterpreted, and that the Red Cross report had examined only Prisoner of War camps on the Western Front, no concentration camps and certainly none of the 6 death camps. Verrall was exposed as an utter liar and fraud.

Read this, you might find it interesting:
http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/60/052.html

Yet, because people try and masquerade these lies and hate as ‘History’ there are always the gullible people, who, knowing little to nothing about the actual history of the war, will buy into it as fact. I think we have seen something of a case study here today.

Can you think of any other historical case where this occurs? That is why the Holocaust deserves special protection, because it is under special attack.


That attack is usually borne out of hate and bigotry, but sometimes TruthMarch, it is borne out of pure ignorance.
smorpheus
QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 21 2006, 12:26 PM)
The six million dead Jews has already been revised by Jewish groups themselves. Why is it a crime to repeat what the Jews themselves say? FYI: Th curator of the Auchwitz museum himself said, through his research, that only (if you can say only) 1.1 million Jews died at Auchwitz. The curator was a needed witness at a denial trial, but the judge refused to let Mr. Pieper testify. There's something wrong when laws are created to cram false history down people's throats. Thank the Lord we home-school our children. We avoid what I call "mind rape". I was brought up with pity in my hears for the Jews who died in the "holocaust". It made me emotional and full of pity. Then I learn things I never was told ever ever ever. Like the Auchwitz swimming pool located right beside the inmates' barracks. Complete with starting blocks and a diving board. And the Zuchwitz money the Germans created for the Jews. Canteens for smokes and foodstuffs. Money for the Jews in a death camp. Odd.
*



And this is exactly why this kind of speech is as dangerous, it spreads mistruth as fact, with no reliable sources. Truthmarch, how about a source that isn't from a Holocaust Denial site? Your Red Cross article was written by a transparent Holocaust Denial "scholar." How about some actual sourced information?

QUOTE
Raul Hilberg, in the third edition of his ground-breaking three-volume work, The Destruction of the European Jews, estimates that 5.1 million Jews died during the Holocaust. This figure includes "over 800,000" who died from "Ghettoization and general privation;" 1,400,000 who were killed in "Open-air shootings;" and "up to 2,900,000" who perished in camps. Hilberg estimates the death toll in Poland at "up to 3,000,000."[18] } Hilberg's numbers are generally considered to be a conservative estimate, as they generally include only those deaths for which some records are available, avoiding statistical adjustment.[19] British historian Martin Gilbert used a similar approach in his Atlas of the Holocaust, but arrived at a number of 5.75 million Jewish victims, since he estimated higher numbers of Jews killed in Russia and other locations.[20]

Lucy Davidowicz used pre-war census figures to estimate that 5.934 million Jews died. Using official census counts may cause an underestimate since many births and deaths were not recorded in small towns and villages. Another reason some consider her estimate too low is that many records were destroyed during the war. Her listing of deaths by country is available in the article about her book, The War Against the Jews.[21]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocaust#Death_toll

I'm not really sure why I'm even wasting time with this as it's clear you believe what you want to believe, and no amount of evidence is going to persuade you differently (otherwise there's no way you could come down on the denial side of this argument.)

As Vermillion has outlined, I believe this issue is very complicated. Nazism and revivals of Nazism are directly tied to the worst work of the last century. This argument is clearly formed out of Neo-Nazi ideas, as no objective historian has ever fallen on the side of denial. So I can see where he and Bikerdad are coming from.

However, I believe very adamently in free speech, and when I parrell this to say the way communists were bullied for their beliefs in the 50s here in the USA, I have to come down on the side adamently against these laws. Burying these ideas with supression only makes them more appetizing to the likes of Truthmarch. It makes me sick to be forced to defend a denier, but I don't believe attempts to jail and supress the ideas of these people is an effective way to dissolve the power they have over their followers. That can only be done through social ostracization, and adament, public, and angry rejection of those ideals.

***Edited to Ad:

Here is a link to the full story.
http://www.wienerzeitung.at/DesktopDefault...=wzo&cob=220367
Vermillion
QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 21 2006, 08:26 PM)
The six million dead Jews has already been revised by Jewish groups themselves. Why is it a crime to repeat what the Jews themselves say? FYI: Th curator of the Auchwitz museum himself said, through his research, that only (if you can say only) 1.1 million Jews died at Auchwitz.


Actually because the accounting system broke down near the end of the war when the Germans accelerated the pace of killings because the Soviets were approaching, there is no way to know the EXACT number of people killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau, we know 1.2 million for certain, but the number is likely as high as 1.8 million.

Yes and? Auschwitz-Birkenau was one out of 6 death camps, which accounted for about 2/3rds of the holocaust deaths. The rest were conducted by Einsaztgruppen, mobile gas vans and the SS, in some cases (like Babi Yar) aided by the Wehrmacht.

The total deaths is about 9-10 million out of which 5.5 to 6.5 million were Jews. Your 'surprising fact' is not surprising, its well known. I am sad to say your own ignorance of the history is the issue, not the well known historical fact you 'discovered'.


QUOTE
Then I learn things I never was told ever ever ever. Like the Auchwitz swimming pool located right beside the inmates' barracks.


Again, misinterpretation masking itself as history. Yes there was a tiny swimming pool at Auswitz, which was empty for all but 9 months of the war. It was not for inmates, but for Overseers, usually non-Jewish inmates who were given privilidge because they did the dirty jobs of herding other inmates to punishment, work and death. None of this is hidden, just because you did not know about it.

Read this, you might find it illuminating:

http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/60/052.html
Lesly
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Feb 21 2006, 02:32 PM)
Many people say: "well denying slavery in the US is not illegal": True, it is not. But imagine a situation where a segment of the population actually started believing that slavery never happened? That a segment of the population actually started accusing blacks in the US of conspiracy, and that this movement threatened to break into the mainstream? Would the US enact laws at that point?
*

Heh. I feel that way when apologists/deniers trot out their version of events and the real intention of the racist Southern Strategy in the Race Debate forum. The Southern Strategy wasn’t as bad as slavery, for which we documented and institutionalized through legislation. Nevertheless it was a slide towards social regression by capitalizing on lingering racist attitudes.

Far be it from me to legislate historical truth and remove the Southern Strategy from the realm of debate. It is enough that slavery and civil rights are as much a part of our elementary and middle school curricula as the nation’s founding. So much so that it seems every year someone asks whether covering such a divisive period in our history does more to divide us instead of unite us.

Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?
Nope. Libel is usually used against a person or persons defaming another person or organization and not “an established record or pattern of behavior,” ergo history ergo the Holocaust. The plaintiff must show established proof of damage to his reputation. I find the argument that denying the Holocaust damages the livelihood of Jews one and all hard to process. Wouldn’t regular laws against libel address this potential injury to European Jews?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?
Irving is a potential danger inasmuch as Grand Dragons. Society can curb the dangers their speech presents by acknowledging events through holidays, memorials, and education, instead of selectively outlawing speech.
A left Handed person
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?

No. The freedom of speech of the private individual should not be abridged unless it reveals classified information, is libel, or directly encourages illegal actions. This is true in this case especially, as what message does it send to muslims when we prosecute holocaust deniers, but not the publishers of the mohammed cartoons?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?

Intrinsically in itself, holocaust denying is not something dangerous.
Vermillion
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 21 2006, 08:15 PM)
I'm snipping this not to take you out of context, but to note my objection to these laws outside Germany and Austria.  Was it really necessary to outlaw this denial in Poland just because the Germans built their biggest death camp in Auschwitz?  Or in Czech, because a camp was built near Prague?  I don't think the Poles or Czechs would deny the holocaust ever happened, nor is there need to prevent Nazi reemergence there.  The Poles and Czechs have not exactly been longing for the return of the Nazis, from what I have seen.

- Why outlaw Holocaust denial in European nations which were invaded by the nazis, and forced at gunpoint to turn in Jews or be killed - Belgium, for instance.  I note that neither Holland nor the Scandinavian countries have these laws. 

- Why outlaw Holocaust denial in Switzerland, other than to assuage their collective guilt due to financial complicity with the Nazis? 


First, let me just say, I have no idea why Holocaust denial is illegal in Switzerland. I cannot explain that one.

But when it comes to other countries, like the Czech Republic and in particular Poland, you need to take a close historical look at their role in the Holocaust. For a lot of countries it is not so simple as 'they were forced to hand over their jews at gunpoint'.

Poland is the easiest, there was a massive undercurrent of anti-semitism in Poland even before the war. All six of the actual death camps were in Poland, and there was a LOT of complicity with the german racial laws among large portions of the Polish population. And FYI, there IS a Holocaust Denial movement in Poland...

The Czech Republic was never pro-Nazi, and they were no more anti-Semitic than the rest of Europe (which is to say they were a little) but the Czech Republic has only NOT been Czechoslovakia for 12 years, and recall that Slovakia willingly joined the Nazis and was quite complicit in the shipping off of its Jews. I suspect this law is a legacy from pre-break-up.

France for example is on record as the only non Axis country to put anti-Jewish laws on their books willingly, BEFORE the Germans asked them to. The role of Vichy in the Holocaust is a dark one France still has to come to terms with, and has finally now been explored in a few recent books.

And so on. A lot of countries were not as resistant to the idea of shipping off their Jews as one might think.



In fact, here is a great Historical trivia question for you all. Which two European nations, while under German influence/control, managed to save the most Jews by their refusal to go along with the most extreme of German racialist policies?


EDIT to add
Can I just say, several people have come down hard on this argument on the side of 'Freedom of speech is universal', and so on. I respect that argument, but it has come from several Americans. I would ask them to take themselves OUT of the US framework for a moment, I agree this would never be made illegal in the US, and consider this from the framework of a nation which suffered through the Holocaust itself... It is a somewhat different perspective...
moif
QUOTE
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?
I've thought about this for the last two days and considered it in the light of the debate regarding the Mohammed cartoons as well as my own feelings regarding the Holocaust and the principle of freedom of expression.

I have to say no. A government should not have the right to punish an individual for questioning a widely accepted historical account. There can be no justification for this, regardless of the severity or seriousness of the historical account.


QUOTE
Are people like Irving a danger to society?
Yes.

BUT.

People like Irvin are dangerous because they try to drum up support for a violent political agenda, not because they express an opinion. An opinion is just a thought given voice and something we all do, all day long.

Irvin's real crime is that he deliberately lied in order to promote an agenda of hatred. As such he ought to be tried on charges relating to inciting racial hatred.

Not for denying the Holocaust.

Bikerdad
The slander/libel concept doesn't apply just to European Jews, it applies to all the Allied troops who discovered the camps, as well as others who have confirmed the Holocaust. Deniers are saying that the people who lived through it, who saw it, even those who committed it and fessed up, all are liars.

Normally, this level of generalize libel wouldn't present this much of a problem, but Holocaust Denial is ideologically driven. The Holocaust deniers peddle a conspiracy theory to explain the Holocaust "myth", a distinctly anti-Semitic theory. The Holocaust was motivated by exactly the same theories, so the Denial is simply an ideological continuation of the Holocaust.

What part of "never again" is unclear?

I personally see the merits of both sides of the argument, and agree with Vermillion. Freedom of Speech isn't an absolute universal, and given the history of anti-Semitism in Europe, Holocaust Denial laws in Europe make some sense, just as they wouldn't make any sense here. Hopefully, the time will come when they're no longer necessary.
bucket
QUOTE
First, let me just say, I have no idea why Holocaust denial is illegal in Switzerland. I cannot explain that one.


Because the laws are meant to serve or protect from another holocaust occurring, not to punish for the one that already had occurred. I think it is safe to say that German sympathizers were not rare in Switzerland at the time of WWII. Switzerland has many unanswered questions about their role in WWII, it really isn't clear, not to even the Swiss. There are many accusations that some of the actions of the Swiss army were in response to German sympathies. There are accusations that they willingly collaborated with the German authorities by handing over Jewish refugees. There is also this cute little town ..called Stein am Rhein which borders Germany which the US bombed during WWII. The locals claim is was poor marksmanship while most accounts from the US claim it was a smuggling site for Swiss who were DE sympathizers.

Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?
I would not support laws such as these here in the US, but I can understand their need elsewhere. We have many different laws as we are not the same societies. Many laws here in the US that most Americans take for granted as a means of protection from discrimination are not laws or legal protections in other countries..such as Switzerland. That is because we have different histories, faults to overcome and not the same ideals on life and society.

Are people like Irving a danger to society?

Yes. That is why a society has to decide how much of a danger. I doubt in the US he would pose that much of a political threat, but that would not be true elsewhere. Austria had the Freedom Party as part of it's coalition government and no I am not talking about the 1930s, but 1999!


Bikerdad
Uhh, too bad the original post did not contain the following information, which I believe is very relevant to this discussion.

Mr. Irving testified to a court of three judges and eight jurors that in fact he had revised his position on genocide. He had lately been convinced by the evidence, that he had been mistaken, that indeed, at Auschwitz and other camps, Jews had been slain by the millions. Before that, Mr. Irving, a historian who has published many books, contended that what had happened at Auschwitz was that a lot of prisoners had succumbed not to poison gas, but to diseases, like typhus.


Now things get complicated...
Vermillion
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Feb 21 2006, 10:30 PM)
Now things get complicated...


Not really. Call me skeptical of his 'jailhouse confession', but in the days leading up to the trial he certainly had no such a 'change of heart'. His personal webpage says nothing of his 'change of heart' and still goes on about the injustice of his being arrested, and links to holocaust denial sites and articles all over the web.

When he was labelled a blatant denier of historical truth and had proof of his errors laid down to him in immaculate detail by a Judge following his loss in his 2000 libel case he had no 'change of heart'.

This is aman who has been writing and preaching on a single note for 30 years, so forgive me if I am a bit skeptical when he repents sudenly on the day of his trial. lets see if he updates his webpage, and publishes repudiating his lifelong crusade...
Lesly
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Feb 21 2006, 05:20 PM)
The slander/libel concept doesn't apply just to European Jews, it applies to all the Allied troops who discovered the camps, as well as others who have confirmed the Holocaust.  Deniers are saying that the people who lived through it, who saw it, even those who committed it and fessed up, all are liars.

Normally, this level of generalize libel wouldn't present this much of a problem, but Holocaust Denial is ideologically driven.  The Holocaust deniers peddle a conspiracy theory to explain the Holocaust "myth", a distinctly anti-Semitic theory.  The Holocaust was motivated by exactly the same theories, so the Denial is simply an ideological continuation of the Holocaust.

What part of "never again" is unclear?
*

Support for the ethos would be just as internationally recognized without Irving. We don’t have Holocaust deniers to thank for Never Again memorials. We have cowardice to thank for that.

I appreciate why Europe feels it needs to outlaw an ideology or racism, but I think it is mostly a waste of time and fodder for conspiracy theorists. I’m not familiar with Europe’s penal code but I can’t see how you could enforce such a law without violating someone’s due process. In my uneducated, non-historian estimation, I’d hazard that although anti-Semitism has been around for ages, it managed to legislate itself in pre-WWII European countries precisely because Jews were thought of and treated differently before such attitudes were codified. A similar argument can be made for slavery in the U.S.

QUOTE(Vermillion @ Feb 21 2006, 05:45 PM)
When he was labeled a blatant denier of historical truth and had proof of his errors laid down to him in immaculate detail by a Judge following his loss in his 2000 libel case he had no 'change of heart'.

This is a man who has been writing and preaching on a single note for 30 years, so forgive me if I am a bit skeptical when he repents suddenly on the day of his trial. Let's see if he updates his webpage, and publishes repudiating his lifelong crusade...
*

No offense V, but I think some of this is more personal due to your profession than rational. You won’t do a second take on Irving yet you take up Hamas on its word that it dropped the call for the destruction of Israel from its 1988 manifesto when the U.S. started talking about removing aid to the PA, but Hamas has not done so.

How is a denier more dangerous than a militant group that has a history of backing up anti-Semitic language with violent action?
Bikerdad
QUOTE(Vermillion)
Not really. Call me skeptical of his 'jailhouse confession', but in the days leading up to the trial he certainly had no such a 'change of heart'.
Well, I'm skeptical as well, but in the spirit of rhetorical charity, I decided to withhold my expression of skepticism. I was wondering who else would be first to express their skepticism. whistling.gif

QUOTE(Lesly)
No offense V, but I think some of this is more personal due to your profession than rational. You won’t do a second take on Irving yet you take up Hamas on its word that it dropped the call for the destruction of Israel from its 1988 manifesto when the U.S. started talking about removing aid to the PA, but Hamas has not done so.

How is a denier more dangerous than a militant group that has a history of backing up anti-Semitic language with violent action?

ouch!! ohmy.gif
I think I can explain the different treatment:
Irving = White, male, and "conservative", i.e. not to be trusted.
Hamas = "of color", underdog and oppressed, and in opposition to most conservatives, i.e. always speaking truth, often "truth to power."

Dingo
There are definitely people here who have given more thought to this matter than I have, particularly Vermillion - very cogently and eloquently, but I still have to come down on the side of free speech.

I understand that right after WW 2 there may have been the need to take away a calling card for a possible resurgent fascism. However after this much time has past it seems kind of ridiculous to continue this prohibitive artifact of another era. Let the holocaust deniers reveal themselves for what they are; mainly rabid anti-Semites I would guess. Folks who want to get their fill of that stuff can find all they want on the internet. If the Austrians feel they still have a need to make a social-legal statement about the matter, stick them with a fine and/or perhaps some sort of community service at say an abuse center.

Suppressing speech generally gives it more power (Note how David Irving has already been turned into a martyr to censorship). Think of "banned in Boston." It furthermore appears hypocritical when, for instance, defending the free speech rights of newspapers to print cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, which is highly offensive to many. And yes, I get the difference between mocking a faith and denying a recent act of genocide. Still we don't want to go too far down the road of selective freedom of speech that apparently arbitrarily allows this expression but not that expression. As for the necessary exceptions, libel against an individual in all its legal niceties that can link specific damage with deliberate lies and yelling fire in a crowded theatre are the kind of obvious line drawings that don't unduly impinge on authentic freedom of expression. Begin stepping into the grey zone of ugly distortions of history and a lot of folks can have a field day on a lot of matters. It becomes slippery slope time.

If there is a political party organized for the purpose of "cleansing" or enslaving another racial, ethnic or religious group, there certainly is a difficult question about whether they should be able to run candidates or not. Although this definitely is a free speech issue there must also be factored in the minimal conditions for self-survival of a society that is defending that freedom. Probably this is an angle for another thread.
VDemosthenes
QUOTE(Politaca @ Feb 21 2006, 10:54 AM)
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?
*




1.) Government shouldn't exercise that amount of control into the private lives or opinions of its people. Ever.

2.) Danger? That is like somehow saying that all American's are a danger! My goodness, if we could all be imprisoned for expressing our personal beliefs, we'd all be sitting in jail right now! It is the right of any man or woman on this earth to enjoy the benefits of speaking their thoughts, beliefs and minds at any time or venue they choose in which to express themselves. It sickens me to see that government, a peaceful one at that, taking it upon itself to imprison a citizen for taking a direct interest into the past events of the world at large in order to simply think they are somehow protecting themselves.




Rancid Uncle
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account? I think people should be allowed to say basically anything they want unless by direct result of their speech it can be expected people will be harmed IE fire in a crowded theater. I think the freedom of speech should be valued, even if the speech is as idiotic as holocaust denial.

QUOTE(VDemosthenes @ Feb 21 2006, 06:19 PM)
2.) Danger? That is like somehow saying that all American's are a danger! My goodness, if we could all be imprisoned for expressing our personal beliefs, we'd all be sitting in jail right now! It is the right of any man or woman on this earth to enjoy the benefits of speaking their thoughts, beliefs and minds at any time or venue they choose in which to express themselves. It sickens me to see that government, a peaceful one at that, taking it upon itself to imprison a citizen for taking a direct interest into the past events of the world at large in order to simply think they are somehow protecting themselves. 
*
 

While I agree with you that the act of putting forth an idea isn't dangerous, I think an idea itself can be dangerous. The idea of Anti-semitism has caused millions of deaths and unimaginable torture. If anti-semitism or racism in general is allowed to spread and prosper, people will suffer. It has happened constantly through human history. Hating another person because of their religion, ethnicity or race causes genocides, slavery and war. Although the solution isn't to silence people by government action, the idealogy Irving exposes is dangerous. I think better solution is to show how holocaust deniers are frauds and cretins and to continue to have a robust discussion about that dark period in history. But surely, ideas can be very dangerous. Serial killers seem to have the idea that killing people is enjoyable. I would say the idea behind serial killing is a dangerous one just like the idea behind holocaust denial is a dangerous one.
Victoria Silverwolf
There have been many heartfelt ideas expressed here, and many strong arguments made on both sides. Certainly, as an American, I cannot even begin to imagine what the historical impact of the Holocaust was on Europe.

What helps me make up my mind on this issue is my belief, possibly naive, that the best way to weaken evil ideas is to allow them to be heard clearly. Therefore I must come down strongly on the side of allowing hate speech to exist freely.

Ringwraith
3 points here...

#1 The funny thing about "Free" speech is it may be free from government interference, but is not necessarily without consequences.

Anyone remember the big fuss the "Dixie Chicks" created a couple of years ago with anti-Bush rhetoric? I do. And I am willing to bet the Dixie Chicks do as well. They suffered repercussions (both financial and to their reputations) from their use of "free" speech. And the funny thing is, I haven't heard so much as a peep from them since on this topic.

#2 I wholeheartedly agree with Victoria Silverworth on this topic. I would rather have the deniers out in the open where we can see them and repudiate their outrageous statements than let them fester "under the radar". In secret they can still effectively spread their hateful message without the ability for someone to immediately discredit them with the truth. In public, their will always be the righteous with the truth on their side to discredit deniers.

#3 I believe that their is the potential to give Holocaust deniers some power by denying them the forum to speak their views. By squelching their wrongheaded views they can quite effectively argue that they are being silenced by the "Jewish oppressors" and build sympathy for their own views.
skeeterses
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?
Of course not. This would give the Government the power to write the history books and prevent individuals from doing any independent research. As others pointed out, the only type of speech that a Government should jail people for is the kind where someone shouts fire in a theater.

Are people like Irving a danger to society?
The Holocaust Deniers are going to be seen for who they are. Rather than jailing Irving, Someone should invite that historian to give a speech before a Jewish audience, and watch Irving get booed at by the Jews.
Vermillion
QUOTE(Lesly @ Feb 22 2006, 12:07 AM)
No offense V, but I think some of this is more personal due to your profession than rational. You won’t do a second take on Irving yet you take up Hamas on its word that it dropped the call for the destruction of Israel from its 1988 manifesto when the U.S. started talking about removing aid to the PA, but Hamas has not done so.


Firstly, let us realise that these cases have nothing whatsoever to do with each other of course, and this is entirely a false compaiason. Your arument is esentially:

"You don't trust one person, so by definistion you cannot ever trust anyone. Right?"

Firstly, my argument in that thread was that FATAH had changed its charter, not Hamas. I made the point that is is possible Hamas is taking the first steps towards moderation, we don't know yet. If you want to challenge that, why not bring it up there as opposed to throwing it out as an utter irrelevancy here?


On the actual topic, no its true, I don't trust Irving, and yes it is possible that some of that is personal.

But are you suggesting that you DO trust his sudden jailhouse confession on the eve of his one-day trial, not backed up by any of his public statements, webpage or followers, in total opposition to his lifetime crusade of the last 30 years?

If so, I salute your confidence in your fellow man, regardless of its wisdom.


QUOTE(skeeterses)
The Holocaust Deniers are going to be seen for who they are. Rather than jailing Irving, Someone should invite that historian to give a speech before a Jewish audience, and watch Irving get booed at by the Jews.


The problem is that this has not worked so far. The holocaust deniers don't preach in open forums, the keep themselves to rallys and organisations like the 'Institute for Historical Review', a US based holocaust denial organisation with annual public conferences and lots of members.


I applaud those who keep saying 'the truth will win out if evil if confronted openly', but is that not just a touch idealistic? We have people on this board buying into denial crap, not because they are evil, but because they are ignorant of the truth, and the tactic of hiding denial as legitimate history has worked.

I do my best to 'confront' denial on boards like this, but how many people have the education, the background knowledge, or more importantly, the time?

Open Google and look for holocaust denial. There are 50 pages denying the holocaust for every one page arguing for it. Extreme-right organisations all over the world repring articles like the fake 'red cross' article Truthmarch foolsihly quoted all over the web, and the ignorant buy it.


If a lie will fade if confronted by the truth, why is it not working?
Renger
QUOTE(carlitoswhey @ Feb 21 2006, 08:15 PM)
I'm snipping this not to take you out of context, but to note my objection to these laws outside Germany and Austria.  Was it really necessary to outlaw this denial in Poland just because the Germans built their biggest death camp in Auschwitz?  Or in Czech, because a camp was built near Prague?  I don't think the Poles or Czechs would deny the holocaust ever happened, nor is there need to prevent Nazi reemergence there.  The Poles and Czechs have not exactly been longing for the return of the Nazis, from what I have seen.

- Why outlaw Holocaust denial in European nations which were invaded by the nazis, and forced at gunpoint to turn in Jews or be killed - Belgium, for instance.  I note that neither Holland nor the Scandinavian countries have these laws. 

- Why outlaw Holocaust denial in Switzerland, other than to assuage their collective guilt due to financial complicity with the Nazis? 

Although Vermillion answered your questions in a good way, I would like like to add one extra remark about the Netherlands. Although there are no Holocaust laws in Holland, this period in our history has always been looked upon as one of the darkest in our history. Relatively the Dutch, as a nation, caught and transported more Jews than many other countries in Europe. People who try to deny the Holocaust in Holland are not per se violating the law, but they are monitored really closely by the government and various Jewish organizations. On step too far, will result in a law suit. Apart from that, children in Holland learn from an early time (grammar school, high school) the horrible acts of WWII and the Holocaust. Education and national remembrance has made sure that up to now Holocaust denial is luckily not a big issue here in Holland.
moif
QUOTE(Renger)
Although Vermillion answered your questions in a good way, I would like like to add one extra remark about the Netherlands.
Yeah, and lets not get too excited about Denmark either.

Although most Jews were gotten safely out of Denmark, others were handed over to the nazis by members of the Danish government. These constituted a very small minority, but coupled with the many Danish volunteers to the SS, they add an often over looked detail in how Denmark is portrayed.

I'm not putting down the Danish action to save its Jewish population, just adding context to my next paragraph...

Denmark, as most people are now painfully aware, has very liberal freedom of expression laws. These laws are so broad that they have for decades tolerated neo nazi groups peddling their racist literature, not least denying the Holocaust.

This freedom has not given rise to the nazi's. In fact they are probably the smallest and most insignificant group in Denmark and they meet with universal contempt and even anger when ever they make an appearance.

Recently a Danish radio station called Radio Holger was shut down and its owner jailed for making racist comments. The owner had called for the extermination of Muslims and here is the difference (in my opinion) Any one can have an opinion and voice it... but when they advocate violence then they are no longer just expressing an opinion.

Here is another perspective which I find I beleive in.

QUOTE(Daniel Finkelsteim )
The admirable author Deborah Lipstadt had it right when she destroyed Irving in the courts, challenging his methods as a historian, undermining his reputation, demonstrating his falsehoods and his distortions. It is always tempting to fear the liar and believe, as Mark Twain did that “A lie can make it half way around the world before the truth has time to put its boots on”. But I have more faith than that. I believe that by allowing free exchange, by allowing anyone to assert anything, the truth will triumph,provided that its friends are vigilant and relentless.

So, no, David Irving should not be in jail. We can do better than that. I wish I could tell you that the Irving trial is the only way in which my belief in the power of truth is being tested. But it isn’t. Across the Middle East now, Holocaust denial has become commonplace. It was not difficult last week to spot the banners reading “God Bless Hitler”. The President of the Palestinian Authority denied the full truth of the Holocaust in his PhD. I wish I could tell you that never again will anyone be able to kill millions of Jews, but as we speak Iran is well down the nuclear path and threatens to eradicate Israel.

David Irving is the least of our troubles. But through it all we must hold fast to this: that we must always be ready to meet force with force, but lies — lies we fight with truth.
Link.

Lesly
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Feb 22 2006, 05:50 AM)
QUOTE(Lesly @ Feb 22 2006, 12:07 AM)
No offense V, but I think some of this is more personal due to your profession than rational. You won’t do a second take on Irving yet you take up Hamas on its word that it dropped the call for the destruction of Israel from its 1988 manifesto when the U.S. started talking about removing aid to the PA, but Hamas has not done so.
Firstly, let us realize that these cases have nothing whatsoever to do with each other of course, and this is entirely a false comparison. Your argument is essentially:

"You don't trust one person, so by definition you cannot ever trust anyone. Right?"

Firstly, my argument in that thread was that FATAH had changed its charter, not Hamas. I made the point that is possible Hamas is taking the first steps towards moderation, we don't know yet. If you want to challenge that, why not bring it up there as opposed to throwing it out as an utter irrelevancy here?
*

My argument (really a question), which you conveniently failed to include quoting me, stands: “How is a denier more dangerous than a militant group that has a history of backing up anti-Semitic language with violent action.”

As for Hamas I haven’t stopped hoping, but saying they will amend their manifesto and failing to follow up on that promise doesn’t convey “the first steps towards moderation.” The comparison between Irving and Hamas is essentially about speech. While words and ideas have potential to harm society how can anyone, under any circumstance, flummox the harm Holocaust denying speech can cause with the harm violent militancy does cause. That type of “logic” doesn’t add up.
TruthMarch
http://batr.org/gulag/013006.html
Jaime
QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 22 2006, 09:56 AM)

Please be constructive. Merely posting links is not.

TOPICS:

Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?

Vermillion
QUOTE(Lesly @ Feb 22 2006, 02:53 PM)
My argument (really a question), which you conveniently failed to include quoting me, stands: “How is a denier more dangerous than a militant group that has a history of backing up anti-Semitic language with violent action.”


And my answer is that the question is asinine. I mean seriously, what are you expecting to hear by drawing compaiasins where none whatsoever exist?

If I think there should be compusory best before dates on cheese, but favour Diplomacy over force in dealing with Iran, are you going to jump up here and claim that:

"Vermillion thinks a small piece of cheese is MORE dangerous than a nuclear armed Iran!!!"

Your errors are manifold. There IS no compaiason here, I NEVER said or made any kind of claim that Irving was more angerous than Hamas, in fact I never mentioned Hamas. I even corrected you in pointing out that in the original comment, irrelevant to this debate you dragged in for some reason, I was not even talking about Hamas.


Feel free to debate the issue of Irving and Holocaust denial on topic, but dont bring in these absurd links from nowhere, because you know what? I can do it too. All I need to do is quote your post a few days ago in 'China and the Internet', and then draw from it the equally inane statement:

"Does Lesly think that the values of free market capitalism are LESS IMPORTANT TO HER than the rights of racists to persecute jews?"

Its as much of a stretch, it twists entirely your orininal intent in the other thread, it puts words in your mouth, it is utterly irrelevant to the issue at hand, and furthers neither debate at all.

Sound familiar?
Vermillion
QUOTE(Truthmarch)


Truthmarch, I was rather hoping to hear your comments on this issue. It was your, shall we say, controvercial posts which caused a lot of kafuffle regarding Irving and the 'truth' of the Holocaust, and quite a few people responded to them.

I admit I was a bit concerned to hear you repeat such fictions garnered from hate sites on the web and then follow them up with the comment :"Thank God I am home-schooling my kids".

Has your position on this issue changed, or do you intend to keep defending it?
Renger
QUOTE(Lesly @ Feb 22 2006, 03:53 PM)
My argument (really a question), which you conveniently failed to include quoting me, stands: “How is a denier more dangerous than a militant group that has a history of backing up anti-Semitic language with violent action.”

As for Hamas I haven’t stopped hoping, but saying they will amend their manifesto and failing to follow up on that promise doesn’t convey “the first steps towards moderation.” The comparison between Irving and Hamas is essentially about speech. While words and ideas have potential to harm society how can anyone, under any circumstance, flummox the harm Holocaust denying speech can cause with the harm violent militancy does cause. That type of “logic” doesn’t add up.
*



Lesly, I know your question was directed against Vermillion, maybe I can put in my two cents. money.gif money.gif

In theory you are right; it does seem strange that European countries, with their freedom of expression and freedom of speech, are so strict and uncompromising towards Holocaust denial, but you must not forget that this atrocity has left deep scars in a lot of European societies after the ending of WWII. Maybe it is more like an emotional reaction than a purely logical reaction. In my country there is still a strong sense of shame about what happened during 1940-1945. In no way the role the Dutch played during the razzias can be justified. We all know what happened, still feel shame and we cannot repay all those people who suffered or lost their lives and the lives of family members and friends in the death-camps. Because of this the Holocaust takes up a special place in our society and mentality. This whole issue is highly emotional and touchy, that's why it is somewhat placed outside the sphere of freedom of expression and speech. It is an attitude caused by our own shamefull history and it has been a part of our collective memory ever since.

bucket
Is anyone aware if the holocaust denial laws are equally enforced in each country? I am curious to know if 3 yrs in prison is harsh or lax? And what the punishments are or have been in other countries who also have these laws.





Politaca
QUOTE(Bikerdad @ Feb 21 2006, 05:30 PM)
Uhh, too bad the original post did not contain the following information, which I believe is very relevant to this discussion.

Mr. Irving testified to a court of three judges and eight jurors that in fact he had revised his position on genocide.  He had lately been convinced by the evidence, that he had been mistaken, that indeed, at Auschwitz and other camps, Jews had been slain by the millions. Before that, Mr. Irving, a historian who has published many books, contended that what had happened at Auschwitz was that a lot of prisoners had succumbed not to poison gas, but to diseases, like typhus.


Now things get complicated...
*




He brought the book to court with him and was, it seemed to me, trying to market the book and himself while at court. He claims to have had a change of heart and now believes that there were gas chambers that killed the jews Yet I can't understand how he wasn't exposed to the SAME information that convinced him to change his mind back in the 80's when he was making money off of his theories. What new findings were not there in the 80's concerning the holocaust and the role of the gas chambers?
Doclotus
Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?
Theoretically, no. As a liberal I find the idea repugnant. But, I will admit some empathy for Vermillion's points about context in the countries in which the laws exist. In spite of that, I think the dialogue is productive. As Victoria pointed out, the best way to expose a lie is to get it out in the open.

Are people like Irving a danger to society?
Because the man has some ethos, perhaps. That simply makes the liar a little more daring. Ideas always have some inherent danger, and there will always be those less intellectually inclined that embrace them. In the end, though, the value lies in the dialogue. Allowing "deniers" to spout their ideas keeps the holocaust alive in the hearts and minds of everyone. Otherwise the greatest fear regarding history can become manifest: we can repeat it.
TruthMarch
One thing I'd like to know: Why don't the Jewish groups, or anyone else for that matter, simply display the true evidence that people like Irving are lying? Why, if what Irving says is untrue, then wouldn't people love to humiliate and mock him by making him eat his own words? Why not refute his allegations with evidence rather than sending him to jail? Obviously the official story is a lie. When I'm telling the truth, I have no need to make laws to make sure what I'm saying remains true. If I lie, I'd like to have laws that make it illegal to question my lies. Wake up people. Truth needs to crutches. If Irving is lying, then refute him and leave him alone.
moif
QUOTE(Renger @ Feb 22 2006, 04:37 PM)
QUOTE(Lesly @ Feb 22 2006, 03:53 PM)
My argument (really a question), which you conveniently failed to include quoting me, stands: “How is a denier more dangerous than a militant group that has a history of backing up anti-Semitic language with violent action.”

As for Hamas I haven’t stopped hoping, but saying they will amend their manifesto and failing to follow up on that promise doesn’t convey “the first steps towards moderation.” The comparison between Irving and Hamas is essentially about speech. While words and ideas have potential to harm society how can anyone, under any circumstance, flummox the harm Holocaust denying speech can cause with the harm violent militancy does cause. That type of “logic” doesn’t add up.
*



Lesly, I know your question was directed against Vermillion, maybe I can put in my two cents. money.gif money.gif

In theory you are right; it does seem strange that European countries, with their freedom of expression and freedom of speech, are so strict and uncompromising towards Holocaust denial, but you must not forget that this atrocity has left deep scars in a lot of European societies after the ending of WWII. Maybe it is more like an emotional reaction than a purely logical reaction. In my country there is still a strong sense of shame about what happened during 1940-1945. In no way the role the Dutch played during the razzias can be justified. We all know what happened, still feel shame and we cannot repay all those people who suffered or lost their lives and the lives of family members and friends in the death-camps. Because of this the Holocaust takes up a special place in our society and mentality. This whole issue is highly emotional and touchy, that's why it is somewhat placed outside the sphere of freedom of expression and speech. It is an attitude caused by our own shamefull history and it has been a part of our collective memory ever since.
*



Okay... but then how do you justify your support for the freedom of expression that has produced the Muhammed drawings?

Do we only extend that freedom to subjects that touch our hearts... or do we extend it to all people?

I think this is a fair point... and its the only point raised by the Muslims that I happen to sympathise with. Why should the Holocaust be so completely forbidden that even to publically doubt it happened is a crime?

I can't see how some people's feelings need to be protected like this whilst other people's (and there's quite a lot of them) should be disregarded. Why?
These laws are not going to bring back those members of my family who disapeared in the 'Holocaust that never happened'. Nor do I feel any sort of satisfaction that Irvin has been punished for expressing an opinion. He ought to have been charged with inciting racial hatred.

Freedom of expression should be a fundamental right to all people, in all matters.

There should be no exceptions.


edited to add:

QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 22 2006, 05:04 PM)
One thing I'd like to know: Why don't the Jewish groups, or anyone else for that matter, simply display the true evidence that people like Irving are lying? Why, if what Irving says is untrue, then wouldn't people love to humiliate and mock him by making him eat his own words?
*



They have, Many times.
Carlsen
QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 22 2006, 05:04 PM)
One thing I'd like to know: Why don't the Jewish groups, or anyone else for that matter, simply display the true evidence that people like Irving are lying? Why, if what Irving says is untrue, then wouldn't people love to humiliate and mock him by making him eat his own words? Why not refute his allegations with evidence rather than sending him to jail? Obviously the official story is a lie. When I'm telling the truth, I have no need to make laws to make sure what I'm saying remains true. If I lie, I'd like to have laws that make it illegal to question my lies. Wake up people. Truth needs to crutches. If Irving is lying, then refute him and leave him alone.
*


I wasn't going to take part in this discussion, but I can't let remarks like this stand (although I am sure others also will respond appropiately).

The fact of the matter is, "TruthMarch", that there are abundant amounts of evidence out there that proves the holocaust did in fact happen, and that people like Irving are "wrong" (I, like most rationel people, know that people like Irving are intentionally lying to serve their own political purpose, but his motives are irrelevant). I don't support the jailing of people like him, that is simply indefensible, but that such laws exist doesn't mean the holocaust is a lie. In Denmark its perfectly legal to deny the holocaust ever took place, yet the "official" story doesn't seem to have any problems being accepted. I would venture that there are far fewer holocausts-deniers in Denmark per capita than there is in Germany or France, yet we don't have any laws to suppress dissenters.

Furthermore, I find the discussion about whether 1 million or 10 million people were gassed to death, that some holocaust apologizers like to engage in, unacceptable from a moral standpoint. Are killing 1 million people a lesser crime than killing 10 million or 20 million people? The only individuals that can have an in interest in constantly trying to question the number of casulties are neo-nazies and their ilk, because they try to use it to somehow make Hitler look better, and that is also a good description of Irving. I, and probably many other people I would hope, wouldn't think any better of the nazies, had nobody been killed in their camps - rounding up innocent people and using them as slave labour, because they happen to be jews, communists or just opposed to the nazi regime in some way, is enough to be worthy of my utter contempt and hatred - and my support of a violent response to rectify the situation.
TruthMarch
I've never said the holocaust didn't happen. I certainly never claimed that Jews weren't made to suffer in WW2. But there is no concrete evidence that there were systematic murders in any 'gas chambers'. None. The Russians made the holes in the ceiling. After the war. The Jewish people even say so themselves. Did Jews get murdered? Of course. Did they suffer? Uh yes. Did they lose everything in their world? Yes. Did they get systematically gassed with zyklon-b in a room which lacks any zyklon-b evidence/residue? No. Why do I say that? Because the delousing facility still has blue walls from repeated zyklon-b usage. Why this topic scares apparently sane people is beyond me. Jewish holocaust deniers deserve jail? Then lobby people to arrest the Japanese government for denying their atrocity at Nanking. If you're serious and not just a fool, you would all demand justice for the Chinese who were made to systematically suffer. Failing to do so places people into the international social garbage plateau, where selected similar atrocities are placed above others. It's the whole deal or it means nothing. How can someone say it's wrong to hit blacks but fine to hit whites? It's duplicit and we know it. No difference between the holocaust and nanking.
Jaime
TOPIC REMINDER:

Should a government have the right to punish an individual that questions a widely accepted historical account?

Are people like Irving a danger to society?


If you see off-topic or inflammatory comments, please report them and do not respond. Thanks.
smorpheus
QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 22 2006, 09:25 AM)

I've never said the holocaust didn't happen. I certainly never claimed that Jews weren't made to suffer in WW2. But there is no concrete evidence that there were systematic murders in any 'gas chambers'. None. The Russians made the holes in the ceiling. After the war. The Jewish people even say so themselves. Did Jews get murdered? Of course. Did they suffer? Uh yes. Did they lose everything in their world? Yes. Did they get systematically gassed with zyklon-b in a room which lacks any zyklon-b evidence/residue? No. Why do I say that? Because the delousing facility still has blue walls from repeated zyklon-b usage. 
*



Truthmarch, you continue to restate complete fiction with absolutely no facts or data to back you up. Please provide sources for these wild accusations which attempt to rewrite history written off of the tens of thousands of personal testimonials from Nazis, Allies, and Prisoners, here's an article that looks deeply into this assertation you are making:

http://www.nizkor.org/features/qar/qar01.html

Here's the quote you are paraphrasing:
QUOTE
1. What proof exists that the Nazis practiced genocide or deliberately killed six million Jews?

The IHR says (original, Samisdat, and revised versions combined):

    None. The only evidence is the postwar testimony of individual "survivors." This testimony is contradictory, and no "survivor" claims to have actually witnessed any gassing. There are no contemporaneous documents and no hard evidence whatsoever: no mounds of ashes, no crematoria capable of disposing of millions of corpses, no piles of clothes, no human soap, no lamp shades made of human skin, no records, no credible demographic statistics.


Here's just a small sampling of the complete and utter demolition of this absurd statement from that article:

QUOTE
# "No mounds of ashes" is an internal contradiction. In an article in the journal published by the same IHR that publishes these Q&A, the Journal's editor reported that a Polish commission in 1946 found human ash at the Treblinka death camp to a depth of over twenty feet. This article is available on The IHR's web site.

(Apparently some survivors claimed that the corpses were always thoroughly cremated. Because uncremated human remains were mixed with the ash, the editor suggested that the testimonies were false. Amazingly, he had no comment on how a twenty-foot layer of human ashes came to be there in the first place. Perhaps he felt that to be unworthy of mention.)

There are also piles of ashes at Maidanek. At Auschwitz-Birkenau, ashes from cremated corpses were dumped into the rivers and swamps surrounding the camp, and used as fertilizer for nearby farmers' fields.

# "No crematoria" capable of disposing of millions of corpses? Absolutely false, the crematoria were more than capable of the job, according to both the Nazis' own internal memos and the testimony of survivors. Holocaust-deniers deliberately confuse civilian, funeral-home crematoria with the huge industrial ovens of the death camps.


I think Vermillion, that perhaps you can see that if people like Irving are jailed, then that puts these ideas unneccesarily into the underground. The ideas are absurd, and easily disproved to anyone without any sort of alterior agenda.

I'll restate my earlier affirmation that I strongly believe that pushing these ideas into underground makes them more appealing to people like TruthMarch. We need to put them on a pedestal to ridicule.

Jailing Irving also has the alterior motive of giving the Deniers too much press and making him a martyr. It also rallies free speech advocates to the Denier's sides, putting them in a position they simply don't deserve(Do you know how much it kills me inside to be effectively arguing on the same side as Truthmarch?) I think that even accepting your arguments for the supression of this type of speech, there are too many drawbacks to doing so in the real world.
Vermillion
QUOTE(TruthMarch @ Feb 22 2006, 05:25 PM)
I've never said the holocaust didn't happen. I certainly never claimed that Jews weren't made to suffer in WW2. But there is no concrete evidence that there were systematic murders in any 'gas chambers'. None. The Russians made the holes in the ceiling. After the war. The Jewish people even say so themselves.


Well now.

I guess it falls to me to show you the error of your ways.


Let me start by saying, without exaggeration, that you are completely, utterly and staggeringly wrong. Wrong with a capital W, wrong in so enormous and vast a manner that I can only assume you have made literally no attempt to ever learn anything about the topic at hand.


You say there is no evidence that there was systematic murder in any gas chambers. Well, not only is there concrete evidence, there is VAST AMOUNTS of concrete evidence. Staggering, mutually supporting reams of proof from dozens of different sources using a dozen different methods.

Let us start with the most obvious:
-The Gas chambers themselves.

Yes they exist, though they were partially destroyed by the retreating germans in an attempt to hide their crime, they did a pretty poor job. You make the staggeringly wrong claim that 'the jews' admit the Russians made holes in the ceilings after the war. Firstly, please find me ANY source anywhere to back up that absurdly fasle statement. Secondly, if the holes in the ceilings were made after the war, then why do they appear in wartime pictures of the camp? Why do their appear in the original design blueprints of the chambers?

We have unimpeachable forensic proof from the gas chambers, Zyclon-b residue in the walls, we also have hundreds of the mobile gas vans used by the Nazis, purpose built with only one possible use. We have pictures taken from the day of liberation which include a vast pile of empty Zyklon-B canisters over 10 feet high.


-Next, we have the Nazis record keeping.

The Nazis were quite meticulous about the number of people they killed, we have exact death rated in the death camps for 1943 and early 1944. (By Mid 1944 things were starting to fall apart, and some of those record were destroyed) We know exactly how many were killed, we know excatly the weight of hair and gold fillings recovered. Personal items of value were removed and inventoried, and were distributed to the troops. We have the memorandum from Hitler statng that the Waffen SS should get priority for these items. We have train schedules and inventories of people arriving at the camps, how many alive, how many arrived dead. We have letters from the commanders of the Einsatzgruppen writing about numbers shot and killed. We have requests to increase crematoria capacity it Birkinau because people were being gassed faster than they could burned. This is all in chapter and verse, almost all of it came up at the Nuremburg trials, and (most importantly) all has been corroborated by Nazis who were present.

-Which brings us to the next bit of proof: Eyewitness testimony.

We don’t have a couple of shady Jews who are telling some things they saw. We have the corroborated testimony of tens of thousands of survivors, and not just Jews but Homosexuals and communists. We have testimony of survivors, but we also have testimony of Kapos and Senior prisoners, usually non-Jewish prisoners who did the dirty jobs like removing the bodies from the gas chambers after death. We have tens of thousand of people who survived the system, all saying the same thing about what they went through and what they saw and experienced, including Jews and non-Jews.

But if you are one of those nut-jobs who thinks the ‘testemony’ is all some massive Jewish conspiracy (and ignore the non-Jewish survivors) we also have the testimony of American, Soviet and British soldiers who discovered the camps. We have now-unsealed secret reports from Soviet Commissars to higher command and Stalin himself about what they saw, written at the time in the field.

But just in case you think the international Jewish conspiracy (whatever that is) got to all those people too, we have the testimony of the ONE group we can be sure the Jews did not influence, the Nazis themselves. Camp guards, members of SS Totemkopf, camp doctors and nurses, up to and including the Commandant of Auyswitz-Birkinau himself, Rudolf Hoess. What does this man, SS-Obersturmbannführer and personal friend of Eichmann have to say about Aushwitz?

“I have been constantly associated with the administration of concentration camps since 1934, serving at Dachau until 1938; then as Adjutant in Sachsenhausen from 1938 to 1 May 1940, when I was appointed Commandant of Auschwitz.. I commanded Auschwitz until 1 December 1943, and estimate that at least 2,500,000 victims were executed and exterminated there by gassing and burning, and at least another half million succumbed to starvation and disease making a total dead of about 3,000,000. This figure represents about 70 or 80 percent of all persons sent to Auschwitz as prisoners, the remainder having been selected and used for slave labor in the concentration camp industries; included among the executed and burned were approximately 20,000 Russian prisoners of war (previously screened out of prisoner-of-war cages by the Gestapo) who were delivered at Auschwitz in Wehrmacht transports operated by regular Wehrmacht officers and men.”


Hoess is not the only Nazi to confirm this of course, there have been hundreds, all telling the same thing, some speaking with a great deal of pride in their accomplishments. Among them is none other than the Reich Economics Minister, Albert Speer, who spoke following his trial about the Holocaust and its methodology.


-But wait, there’s more. We have the planning documents and origins of the Holocaust.

On January, 20, 1942, Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler's second in command of the SS organization, convened a conference in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee. At the meeting, 15 top Nazi bureaucrats and members of the SS met to coordinate the "Final Solution" in which the Nazis would attempt to exterminate the 11 million Jews of Europe and the Soviet Union. The exact minutes of the conference were kept, in which they discussed the means by which the Jews would be killed, in what order and within what limits if any.

They actually discussed other less extreme options first, like forced emigration and sterilisation, but these were dismissed as being impractical and insufficiently permanent. They discussed what would be done with half-Jews, and Jews married to Aryan Germans. They laid out in great detail their plans for the extermination of European Jewry. We have it all, confirmed by every single surviving member of the meeting at the end of the war.


-Oh but wait, I’m not done. We have the planning and experimentation for killing methodology.

Nobody knew how exactly to kill the Jews, shootings were expensive and caused mental collapse in some soldiers, and the Gas vans were not large enough in scale. So a series of well documented tests were doe on prisoners of war and the handicapped. Most of these experiments took place in Occupied Belarus in late 1941. Dynamite was tried, then various different kinds of chemicals, the requirements (which are all documented) were very specific, a repeatable method of killing large number of people at once, if necessary in a confined space. Zyklon B was one of the later gasses tried, and its success was referred to Heydrich, who then took it to the Wansee conference. We have the notes, expectations and orders as well as test results for all these trials, as well as the testimony of the surviving Germans who took part.


-Lastly, we have the intent and motive, provided by none other than Herr Hitler himself… These are direct quotes, taken from his speeches or from Mein Kampf itself:

"Once I really am in power, my first and foremost task will be the annihilation of the Jews. As soon as I have the power to do so, I will have gallows built in rows - at the Marienplatz in Munich, for example - as many as traffic allows.

Then the Jews will be hanged indiscriminately, and they will remain hanging until they stink; they will hang there as long as the principles of hygiene permit. As soon as they have been untied, the next batch will be strung up, and so on down the line, until the last Jew in Munich has been exterminated. Other cities will follow suit, precisely in this fashion, until all Germany has been completely cleansed of Jews."


Better still:

I came to the conclusion that a campaign against the Jews would be as popular as it would be successful. There are few Germans who have not been vexed with the behavior of Jews or else have not suffered losses through them in some way or other. Disproportionately to their small number they account for an immense share of the German national wealth, which can just as easily be put to profitable use for the state and the general public as could the holdings of the monasteries, bishops, and nobility.
"Once the hatred and the battle against the Jews have been really stirred up, their resistance will necessarily crumble in the shortest possible time. They are totally defenseless, and no one will stand up to protect them. I will be their destruction”



Or how about this one from Himmler himself:

It is a hard, tough task which demands the commitment of the whole person without regard to any difficulties that may arise. You will be given details by Sturmbannfuehrer Eichmann of the RSHA who will come to see you in the near future. The department taking part will be informed at the appropriate time. The Jews are the eternal enemies of the German people and must be exterminated. All Jews we can reach now, during the war, are to be exterminated without exception. If we do not succeed in destroying the biological basis of Jewry, some day the Jews will annihilate the German Volk.




So, rather than, what Truthmarch said, that there is NO evidence of gas chambers, there is in fact VOLUMINOUS proof of gas chambers, more proof than anyone with two brain cells to rub together could ever need. To even stand up in a public place and make such a comment shows off what can only be described as a staggering ignorance of the topic, one might even go so far as to presume a wilful and intentional ignorance.

There is not a reputable Historian on the planet who denies the holocaust either in substance, methodology or scale. That is because it is a matter of historical fact, proven over and over and over again in a dozen different ways.




SO, for those of you who have said in this thread that there is no need to protect the Holocaust through law, that the truth will always win out over lies, I give you Exhibit A: TruthMarch
Vibiana
QUOTE(Vermillion @ Feb 22 2006, 06:46 PM)
SO, for those of you who have said in this thread that there is no need to protect the Holocaust through law, that the truth will always win out over lies, I give you Exhibit A: TruthMarch
*



Thank you. I have not participated in this thread because I was not sure if I could do so without losing it completely, so I thank you for your meticulous and informative response.

TruthMarch ... three-fourths of Europe's Jewish population perished because of the Nazis. Quibbling over how they were killed seems not only pointless, but an out-and-out insult to their memories. They are dead, whether they were shot, gassed, starved or worked to death -- all four of which were manners of death in the camps.

How dare you spit on their graves. I pity you for your audacity.
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