'Respectable' revisionists

December 11, 2014 14:13

The Holocaust is slipping beyond memory. Antisemites who deny the greatest crime of the age are preparing for when the victims are no longer around to answer them. Holocaust deniers call themselves "historical revisionists", as if their work had anything to do with scholarship. Their cause was notoriously adopted by President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Yet the writings on which this fraud is founded are Western. British Jewry should be aware of them.

A tiny imprint called Castle Hill, based in Sussex, published a book this week called Breaking The Spell by Nicholas Kollerstrom. The book argues that the Holocaust is a lie and that "the British-American war-myths from Nuremberg are toxic to the soul".

Kollerstrom's name was briefly in the news in 2008. He was sacked by University College, London, from an honorary fellowship in astronomy after he wrote an article for Press TV, the Iranian channel, claiming that the Holocaust was a myth. Kollerstrom also maintains the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 7/7 were mounted by the US and UK governments. Conspiracy theorists almost invariably get round to the Jews. So it is with the 9/11 Truth movement. Kollerstrom's book carries a foreword by Jim Fetzer, founder of Scholars for 9/11 Truth. Fetzer claimed in 2012 that the murder of 20 children at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut was committed by Mossad agents.

Castle Hill Publishers was (according to Stephen Atkins in Holocaust Denial as an International Movement, 2009) founded in 1997 by Germar Rudolf, who had fled Germany after being convicted for inciting racial hatred. From Britain, Rudolf went to Chicago. He was eventually arrested, deported, and sentenced by a German court to 30 months in jail for "systematically" denying the Holocaust.

A whiff of respectability can be garnered by the authors of such bilge from the most surprising sources. NM Gwynne, a septuagenarian pedant, had an unlikely bestseller last year with Gwynne's Grammar, published by Ebury. Unnoticed by admirers of that book, who include Michael Gove and Prince Charles, Gwynne has a history of self-published crankery. In a three-part essay (undated, but apparently from the 1980s), Gwynne purports to disprove Galileo, Newton and Einstein. He maintains that the Sun orbits the Earth, which is the fixed and non-rotating centre of the Universe.

British Jews need to be aware who these writers really are

On his website, Gwynne has an essay dated 2004 about debating. Warning against the technique of ad hominem argument, he says: "I may as well quote a learned professor on this rather than speak in my own name, because he says it about as well as it can be said." Who is this scholar? It is, says Gwynne, "Dr Robert Faurisson, in an article "Against the Revisionists, Argumentation ad hominem" (The Revisionist, Castle Hill Publishers, PO Box 257768, Chicago, Illinois 60605)…".

Faurisson has for decades claimed that the gas chambers at Auschwitz are a hoax. The Revisionist was a publication founded in the US in 1999 by another Holocaust denier, Bradley Smith, to spread that message. Germar Rudolf's Castle Hill Publishers took over The Revisionist in 2003.

The article admiringly cited by Gwynne (published in August 2003) is not about rhetoric, but about Faurisson and his fellow deniers. Faurisson condemns "those who, unable to refute the demonstrations of historical revisionism, verbally set about the person of the revisionists themselves". The victims include, says Faurisson, himself and another denier called Ernst Zündel - who was then facing charges in Germany for inciting hatred and was later jailed.

Gwynne has some explaining to do. Through the JC, I invite him to do it.

December 11, 2014 14:13

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