I mentioned this in some recent comments here and it reminded me of things I wrote about years ago. So for those who are curious, here is what the reasoning of a Holocaust denier looks like.
I will have to edit down my replies some for length but here is what the reasoning and arguments of a Holocaust denier look like, I will quote them in full first and then reply:
Now it's your turn. Show us one, just one, written order or directive by Hitler relating to the murder of Jews.Here is some of my old reply, there was no further debate after it:
Let's make it easier for you. Just show us one, just one, order signed by anyone, of any rank, in any position of authority, whether military or civilian, ordering the gassing of Jews at any time, at any place, at any concentration camp, in any country.
That should be pretty easy if indeed there was a Holocaust--if indeed the Germans really did kill Jews by the hundreds of thousands. Such a monstrous and wide-reaching program of mass murder simply could not have been carried out without some written directions, without some official orders passed down through the ranks, with multiple copies to headquarters, without some reports passed back up the ranks that the terrible orders had been successfully carried out. That's the way military and civilian bureaucracies work--paper, paper, paper--and the Germans were known to be meticulous record keepers. So where, oh where, are all those documents on the ghastly gassings at Auschwitz, Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec, Mauthausen, and other fabled "death camps?"
The real reason there are no records of an extermination plan is because there was no extermination plan. The Germans planned to deport the Jews out of Germany. The records show that they planned to move them to Madagascar. "On July 19, 1942, Himmler issued a directive setting a timetable for the expulsion (got that? "expulsion") of Jews from the Government-General. The Jews were not to be killed, they were to be resettled. The order stated: (Begin quote)
"I herewith order that the resettlement of the entire Jewish population of the Government-General be carried out and completed by December 31, 1942."
That order was followed up by a similar order by Himmler in a letter to Frank, the governor of Poland, on May 26, 1943. Jews were to be evacuated, not gassed.
"The evacuation of the last 250,000 Jews, which will undoubtedly cause unrest for some weeks, must despite all the difficulties be completed as quickly as possible." (End quote)
They said: Now it's your turn. Show us one, just one, written order or directive by Hitler relating to the murder of Jews.
Goebbels’s notes on this meeting of the Reichsleiter and Gauleiter, Hitler spoke as follows:(The Wannsee Conference, the Fate of German Jews,Regarding the Jewish question, the Führer is determined to clear the table. He warned the Jews that if they were to cause another world war, it would lead to their own destruction. Those were not empty words. Now the world war has come. The destruction of the Jews must be its necessary consequence. We cannot be sentimental about it. It is not for us to feel sympathy for the Jews. We should have sympathy rather with our own German people. If the German people have to sacrifice 160,000 victims in yet another campaign in the east, then those responsible for this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their lives.There were other occasions, too, both before and after December
1941, when Hitler made reference to his infamous “prophecy.” But he never before did so as clearly, as unambiguously, or in such a matter-of-fact way as recorded here by Goebbels.
and Hitler's Decision in Principle to Exterminate All European Jews
by Christian Gerlach
The Journal of Modern History,
Vol. 70, No. 4. (Dec., 1998), pp. 771)
It doesn't have to be detailed, just clear and unambiguous.
In the course of the final solution, the Jews should be brought in an appropriate manner and under appropriate direction to work in the east. In large detachments, with the sexes separated, the Jews who are able to work will construct roads in these regions. It is to be expected that a sizable number will disappear due to natural causes. The Jews who survive, however many there may be, will no doubt be the hardiest. They will have to be treated accordingly. Otherwise these select few, should they escape, could form the basis for a new Jewish line of descent. (See the experience of history.)--Heydrich (Ib.)
Let's make it easier for you. Just show us one, just one, order signed by anyone, of any rank, in any position of authority, whether military or civilian...
...Otto Hofmann. In late September 1942 he revealed his ideas on future generations to a meeting of SS Officers, noting that “They will no longer recognize any Jewish danger. In twenty years there may not be a single Jew left. In the European part of Russia there are a total of some 11 million Jews. So there is still plenty of work to do. I cannot believe that we have exterminated more than one million of them thus far. It will take some time until we have freed Europe from this pestilence." Hofmann was clearly referring to his recollection, even then somewhat dim, of the Wannsee Conference. The pace of liquidation had actually been faster than he thought. For he had not been kept informed about current developments and had just met with Himmler for the first time since February 1942.(Ib. :800)
...ordering the gassing of Jews at any time...
Heydrich’s satisfaction with the outcome of the Wannsee Conference arose for another reason. No one had voiced opposition to the extermination of the Jews, including those in the German Reich and in western Europe. In official terminology: no reservations were expressed. The minutes support this conclusion indirectly. They record no objections, though differences and disagreements on other topics are noted. ... Heydrich could write, on February 26, that Wannsee, “happily, has settled the basic outlines for the practical implementation of the final solution of the Jewish question.’ He admitted that not all the details had yet been settled...(Ib. :797)
For Heydrich, January 20, 1942, was a day to celebrate, a day when he had also signed a list of nominees for the War Service Cross Second Class. At the top of the list was Paul Blobel, up until now the head of the Sonderkommando a and the man responsible for the slaughter of Jews at Babi Yar. Third on the list was Dr. Albert Widmann, who had carried out extermination experiments using poison gas in Mogilev in White Russia. Also on the list were Widmann’s assistant, Schmidt, three other RSHA officials from Referat II D 3 a, the office responsible for the development of the gassing vans, and various members of the Einsatzkommandos.
...at any place, at any concentration camp, in any country.
On one of Höss’s trips away from Auschwitz in August 1941, his deputy, SS Captain Karl Fritzch, “on his own initiative” conducted successful experiments with Zyklon-B (the German trade name for hydrogen cyanide or prussic acid) on Russian prisoners of war on Block II, the punishment block. Zyklon-B “was constantly used in Auschwitz for the destruction of vermin, and there was consequently always a supply of these tins of gas on hand.” Höss joined in on repetitions of the experiment on his return, observing the killing while wearing a gas mask, and noting that death came very quickly; although he later claimed, “During this first experience of gassing people, I did not fully realize what was happening, perhaps because I was too impressed by the whole procedure.”
During Eichmann’s next visit to Auschwitz, he and Höss decided on the gas “for the mass extermination operation.” After two provisional sites, operations shifted in the spring of 1942 to bunkers I and II in the area initially chosen by Eichmann and Höss. The victims included Jews from Upper Silesia (territory lost to Poland at Versailles) as well as Russian POWs. Now Höss began to take pride in the new method. Visiting the
extermination camps at Chelmnot and Treblinka, he observed that their use of carbon monoxide was inferior: the exhaust gas produced by truck engines was not always sufficient, so that a number of victims “were only rendered unconscious and had to be finished off by shooting.” Even after the war, while in Polish incarceration Höss remained proud of the efficiency of “his” gas: "Experience had shown that the preparation of prussic acid called Cyclon B caused death with far greater speed and certainty, especially if the rooms were kept dry and gastight and closely packed with
people, and provided they were fitted with as large a number of intake as possible."
(The Nazi Doctors; Medical Killing and the Psychology
by Robert Lifton :160-161)
That should be pretty easy if indeed there was a Holocaust--if indeed the Germans really did kill Jews by the hundreds of thousands. Such a monstrous and wide-reaching program of mass murder simply could not have been carried out without some written directions... That's the way military and civilian bureaucracies work--paper, paper, paper--and the Germans were known to be meticulous record keepers. So where, oh where, are all those documents on the ghastly gassings at Auschwitz...
Auschwitz marked a radical escalation in both the vision and the technology of mass murder. The biological image was intricately involved in the Auschwitz vision as revealed by Höss’s recollection of Himmier’s description of the purpose of the camp:(Ib. :157)
'Jews are the eternal enemies the German people and must be exterminated. All Jews within our grasp are to be destroyed without exception, now, during the war. If we do not succeed in destroying the biological substance of the Jews, the Jews will some day destroy the German people.'
As Höss recalled, he had been “suddenly summoned” by Himmler in the summer of 1941 and told, “The Führer has ordered that the Jewish question be solved once and for all and that we, the SS, are to implement that order.” Himmler explained that existing extermination centers in the East could not carry out “the large actions which are anticipated.”
Eberl was appointed commandant of Treblinka at the camp’s opening in July 1942. An engineer from T4 had helped construct the gassing apparatus; and the personnel, as in the other death camps in Poland, came heavily from SS men earlier involved with “euthanasia.” .... The fact that Eberl was the only physician known to have headed a death camp suggests that the Nazis had good reason to feel that he was indistinguishable from a nonphysician in his attitude toward killing Jews. It could also mean that the Nazis were the time considering wider use of doctors as commandants of death camps, thereby extending the principle of medicalized killing.(Ib. :124)
If Eberl was a test case, he failed. An SS inspection visit to Treblinka a few weeks after the arrival of the first transport exposed a chaotic situation. Decaying corpses were piled up as new trains arrived, giving incoming Jews an all too clear idea of what awaited them, and making them difficult to handle; trains could not keep their schedule as one was held up behind another. Eberl was dismissed in short order. He had not been able to cope with the new dimension of murder, although his inefficiency in no way slowed down the process. At the peak in late August, trains were bringing in 10,000 to 12,000 Jews a day; by the end of that month, some 215,000 had been killed. (In comparison, as a T4 doctor, Eberl had killed “only” 8,ooo patients in a little over a year and a half.)
...Chelmno, Sobibor, Belzec, Mauthausen, and other fabled "death camps?"
All the thirty odd principal Nazi concentration camps were death camps and millions of tortured, starved inmates perished in them. Though the authorities kept records—each camp had its official Totenbuch (death book)—they were incomplete and in many cases were destroyed as the victorious Allies closed in. Part of one Totenbuch that survived at Mauthausen listed 35,318 deaths from January 1939 to April 1945. At the end of 1942 when the need of slave labor began to be acute, Himmler ordered that the death rate in the concentration camps “must be reduced.” Because of the labor shortage he had been displeased at a report received his office that of the 136,700 commitments to concentration camps be tween June and November 1942, some 70,610 had died and that in addition 9,267 had been executed and 27,846 “transferred.” To the gas chamber, that is. This did not leave very many for labor duties.
But it was in the extermination camps, the Vernichtungslager, where most progress was made toward the “final solution.” The greatest and most renowned of these was Auschwitz, whose four huge gas chambers and adjoining crematoria gave it a capacity for death and burial far beyond that of the others—Treblinka, Belsec, Sibibor and Chelmno, all in Poland. There were other minor extermination camps near Riga, Vilna, Minsk, Kaunas and Lwów, but they were distinguished from the main ones in that they killed by shooting rather than by gas. For a time there was quite a bit of rivalry among the S.S. leaders as to which was the most efficient gas to speed the Jews to
their death. Speed was important factor, especially at Auschwitz, where toward the end the camp was setting new records by gassing 6,000 victims a day.
(The Rise and Fall of the Third
Reich: A History of Nazi Germany
by William L. Shirer. (Simon and Schuster) 1990 :967)
Through heavy-glass portholes the executioners could watch what happened. The naked prisoners below would be looking up at the showers from which no water spouted or perhaps at the floor wondering why there were no drains. It took some moments for the gas to have much effect. But soon the inmates became aware that it was issuing from the perforations in the vents. It was then that they usually panicked, crowding away from the pipes and finally stampeding toward the huge metal door where, as Reitlinger puts it, “they piled up in one blue clammy blood-spattered pyramid, clawing and mauling each other even in death.” Twenty or thirty minutes later when the huge mass of naked flesh had ceased to writhe, pumps drew out the poisonous air, the large door was opened and the men of the Sonderkommando took over. These were Jewish male inmates who were promised their lives and adequate food in return for performing the most ghastly job of all. Protected with gas masks and rubber boots and wielding hoses they went to work. Reitlinger has described it.
'Their first task was to remove the blood and defecations before dragging the clawing dead apart with nooses and hooks, the prelude to the ghastly search for gold and the removal of teeth and hair which were regarded by the Germans as strategic materials. Then the journey by lift or rail-wagon to the furnaces, the mill that ground the clinker to fine ash, and the truck that scattered the ashes in the stream of the Sola.'
There had been, the records show, some lively competition among German businessmen to procure orders for building these death and disposal contraptions and for furnishing the lethal blue crystals. The firm of A. Topf and Sons of Erfurt, manufacturers of heating equipment, won out in its bid for the crematoria at Auschwitz. The story of its business enterprise was revealed in a voluminous correspondence found in the records of the camp. A letter from the firm dated February 12, 1943, gives the tenor.
To THE CENTRAL CONSTRUCTION OFFICE
OF THE S.S. AND POLICE, AUSCHWITz:
SUBJECT: Crematoria 2 and 3 for the camp.
'We acknowledge receipt of your order for five triple furnaces, including two electric elevators for raising the corpses and one emergency elevator. A practical installation for stoking coal was also ordered and one for transporting ashes.'
The correspondence of two other firms engaged in the crematorium business popped up at the Nuremberg trials. The disposal of the corpses a number of Nazi camps had attracted commercial competition. One of the oldest German companies in the field offered its drawings for crematoria to be built at a large S.S. camp in Belgrade.
'For putting the bodies into the furnace, we suggest simply a metal fork moving on cylinders. Each furnace will have an oven measuring only 24 by 18 inches, as coffins will not be used. For transporting the corpses from the storage points to the furnaces we suggest using light carts on wheels, and we enclose diagrams of these drawn to scale.'
Another firm, C. H. Kori, also sought the Belgrade business, emphasizing its great experience in this field since it had already constructed four furnaces for Dachau and five for Lublin, which, it said, had given “full satisfaction in practice.”
The real reason there are no records of an extermination plan is because there was no extermination plan. The Germans planned to deport the Jews out of Germany. The records show that they planned to move them to Madagascar.
Despite earlier remarks by Hitler regarding annihilation of Jews, the Nazis considered a variety of plans for expulsion, voluntary immigration, resettlement in Madagascar, etc. Only after these plans had been abandoned—found unfeasible for various reasons, including the reluctance of other nations to accept large numbers of Jews—was the definite decision made to implement the “Final Solution.” In 1938, there were still 350,000 or so Jews in Germany (reduced from 515,000), and the Nazis’ invasions and annexations kept acquiring more Jews. In March 1941, Keitel signed an order for the operation of Himmler’s killing units in Russia, once that invasion took place. Then, on 31 July, after the invasion, Goring signed an order for Heydrich authorizing him to make “all neces sary preparation” in respect to organizational and financial matters for the “complete solution of the Jewish question in the German sphere of influence in Europe.” Other agencies had been ordered to cooperate as needed.
(The Nazi Doctors; Medical Killing and the Psychology
by Robert Lifton :158)
That order was followed up by a similar order by Himmler in a letter to Frank, the governor of Poland, on May 26, 1943. Jews were to be evacuated, not gassed.
....the Jews of Europe were first to be transported to the conquered East, then worked to death, and the few tough ones who survived simply put to death. And the Jews—the millions of them—who resided in the East and were already on hand? State Secretary Dr. Josef Buehler, representing the Governor General of Poland, had a ready suggestion for them. There were nearly two and a half million Jews in Poland, he said, who “constituted a great danger.” They were, he explained, “bearers of disease, black-market operators and furthermore unfit for work.” There was no transportation problem with these two and a half million souls. They were already there.
'I have only one request [Buehler concluded], that the Jewish problem in my territory be solved as quickly as possible.'
The good State Secretary betrayed an impatience which was shared in high Nazi circles right up to Hitler. None of them understood at this time— not, in fact, until toward
the end of 1942, when it was too late—how valuable the millions of Jews might be to the Reich as slave labor. At this point they only understood that working millions of Jews to death on the roads of Russia might take some time. Consequently long before these unfortunate people could be worked to death—in most cases the attempt was not even begun—Hitler and Himmler decided to dispatch them by quicker means.
There were two principally. One of them, as we have seen, had begun shortly after the invasion of Russia in the summer of 1941. This was the method of mass slaughter of the Polish and Russian Jews by the flying firing squads of the Einsatzgruppen, which accounted for some three quarters of a million. It was this method of achieving the “final solution” that Himmier had in mind when he addressed the S.S. generals at Posen on October 4, 1943.
'I also want to talk to you quite frankly on a very grave matter. Among ourselves it should be mentioned quite frankly, and yet we will never speak of it publicly I mean . . . the extermination of the Jewish race . . . Most of you must know what it means when 100 corpses are lying side by side, or 500, or 1,000. To have stuck it out and at the same time—apart from exceptions caused by human weakness—to have remained decent fellows, that is what has made us hard. This is a page of glory in our history which has never been written and is never to be written...'
(Shirer :966) (Emphasis added)
Well, if you stuck with it this far then I may as well get polemical and metaphorical.
But it was written down, so a form of evil which usually perverts language/civilization can be caught in its own words. Not all books can be burned by it, nor all languages split apart. There is a Word that may let itself be broken apart only to be born again in a new form. Some scholars and historians come to sense that the Holocaust is representative of utter Evil, a sort of Cosmic sort that is somehow worse than all the rest, yet there are genocides and people being murdered even now. It seems to me that the Holocaust just made evil easier to see as it really is. Evil does not like to be seen and there are many deniers. Those who let something slither about in words trying to set the truth/reality and what is really real: Did God "really" say? Did it "really" happen? Etc.
The truth in this case is simple: Yes, it really did happen.
[Sorry for the length, congratulations if you read it. I think it is important even if Holocaust deniers are marginalized in our culture for now. Among many Muslims it is not something that is marginalized.]