What deniers claim:
- Hitler never gave orders to wipe out the Jews.
- Jews were transported to labour camps and died of disease and lack of food due to supply lines cut by the Allied bombing.
- The gas chambers at the camps were only used to rid clothing and blankets of lice. The crematoria only burned the bodies of those already dead.
- Only 300,000 to 2 million Jews died in the war, none from genocide.
What scholars know:
- Hitler and other top leaders talked about wiping out the Jews.
- There were large orders of poison gas which arrived at the camps.
- There are eyewitness accounts, pictures, written orders, contractor notes, blueprints, reports, letters and diaries all pointing to the fact that Jews were being wiped out on purpose, men, women and children. Many were gassed. This comes not just from Jews but from Germans too, both military and civilian.
- By the end of the war 5.1 to 6.3 million Jews were missing.
The reasonable conclusion is that Hitler had up to six million Jews killed. This is what nearly all historical scholars who have studied the matter say. There are debates about how the Holocaust unfolded, but not about the fact of the Holocaust itself. The figure of 5 to 6 million is pretty solid too since it can be arrived at several ways.
The big hole in Holocaust denial is that it cannot account for the millions of missing Jews. Over half the Jews of Europe had disappeared in the space of four years. They did not appear later in Russia or America or Israel or anywhere else.
This is not to say that everything the general public believes about the Holocaust is true. There is no proof, for example, that 4 million were killed at Auschwitz – as far as we can tell only a million were. Nor has it ever been proved that Jews were made into soap. And Dachau, it turns out, was not a death camp.
Holocaust deniers use the same old tricks as scientific racists and genocidal governments:
- Leading experts are from the wrong fields: none are historical scholars. Not even David Irving or Mark Weber.
- Conspiracy theory: The universities and the press are against them because they are controlled by Jews.
- They reason backwards from conclusions to facts and not, like historical scholars, from facts to conclusions.
- Serious errors in reasoning: They often use the lack of facts to prove a negative.
- They blame bad luck: Jews died because the war cut off the camps from food supplies.
- They blame out-of-control forces: Some blame the high number of Jewish dead on Hitler’s commanders or the chaos of war, but never on Hitler himself.
- Moral equivalence: The Holocaust was no worse than the Allied bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima or the American prison camps for Japanese Americans.