L 16: Holocaust Denial
by Professor H. Marcuse, UCSB, Nov. 18, 2003
Is history made of facts, or perceptions?
If the latter, are all perceptions equally valid?
- Discussion of survivor visit
- Social dynamics "see-saw" model
- Announcements: LA car license nos., Hist 133Q enrollment; final projects;
- Holocaust denial: example, reasons, effects
- journals back Thu, due again last class, 12/2
Morecki, b. 1920; Lili Schiff, b. 1932
(follow-up on their visit last Thursday)
- Can we imagine Nina in Janowska?
Lili in a Belgian convent?
(The body as time capsule: physical scars, Auschwitz number tatoos)
- The coincidence of survival
- What effects did the Holocaust have on the later lives of survivors? (role
- How does a survivor assess the way the Holocaust is taught and learned
Power/Action grid: Where do we situate these survivors and the people
in their stories?
- Pass around list:
* need car license nos. for LA trip
* Hist 133q: GOLD has been "tweaked" (10 names)
- Project drafts due Thu (11/20), schedule individual meetings for next week
- Thu lecture: Anne Frank AND Art
- Mus. Tol.: child porn IS illegal, even to have; computer generated porn
- Anne Frank
- 2001 ABC TV docudrama, 189 mins total (see 2 hours?)
- 1st hour: pre-hiding; 2nd: diary; 3rd: camps
[majority chose this one; shown from ca. min. 46 to end]
- Fighter (2000), 86 mins., feature by UCLA grad
- 2 Czech survivors go back
- Jacob the Liar (1974), 96 mins.
- novel by child survivor, about the power of lies for life and survival
(cf. Life is Beautiful)
- also 1999 English version w/ Robin Williams
- Korczak (1990) only available at Video Schmideo, I can't pick up
Holocaust Denial: History
- Tradition of historical revisionism (a good thing)
- Origins of the "Great War" (WWI)
- Groundwork laid by Nazi propaganda
- "Clean Camps" ("Work makes free")
- French academics, 1950s: "apologist"
Germans ca. 1960: exoneratory
US in 1970s (also earlier): antisemitic
- Evolving strategies: sow doubt where poss.
- no (intentional) genocide -> no gas chambers
- find small inconsistencies (e.g. # of murdered)
in action: My book quoted on alt.revisionism, May 2002
Note that he [Marcuse] says that the gas chamber at Dachau was used for "trial
gassings" although a sign in the gas chamber says it was never used for gassing.
The interesting thing, however, is that he thinks that the inmates were evacuated
from the camps as part of a cover-up. He mentions that the inmates at Natzweiler
were brought to Dachau as part of this "cover-up of the atrocities" but he doesn't
mention that the Nazis completely forgot to destroy the gas chamber there, which
is still being shown to tourists as a bona-fide gas chamber that was used to
He says that the mass graves were dug up in order to eliminate the evidence
of atrocities, but the mass graveyard at Dachau is still there. The Nazis forgot
to dig up the bodies there and burn them, and they also neglected to destroy
the evidence of the gas chamber at Dachau, although they had two years to accomplish
this before the Americans arrived.
Considering that the Nazis began a "campaign to eradicate the physical evidence
of its atrocities" in 1943, they didn't get much done before the Americans arrived.
They left gas chambers intact at Dachau, Natzweiler, and Mauthausen. They also
left gas chambers for the Russians to find at Sachsenhausen and Majdanek. In
fact, there was only one gas chamber that they managed to destroy in the Old
Reich - the one at Ravensbrück, the women's camp. Today, no one even knows
the exact location of the gas chamber that was destroyed there.
Quoting out of context:
From the scan of the pages in my book, Legacies of Dachau, from which
the quotation was taken: It begins at the end of chapter 1, and continues with
the beginning of chapter 2. It ends right before I address the (rhetorical)
questions the denier poses.
Main Reasons for Denial
- Ideological convictions
- Antisemitism: hatred / jealousy / fear of Jews
"Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion"
- Pro-Germanism: liking of Germans & Germany
- Fighting for "the truth"
- Psychological causes?
- Inferiority complex (see antisemitism; L. Schiff)
- Means for getting attention
- Think about E I E I O
Denial and EIEIO
- Economic motivations? -- Who stands to gain? (Jews get undeserved $)
- International benefits? Reputation? (unfair to Germans, hatred of Israel)
- Elite participation? (wealthy Jews, H. Ford) neo-Nazis vs. use of scholarly
- Information/ideology: publicity, ignorance, attention
- Opposition of individuals: Individual decision to be a denier
- Psychological explanation more cogent
prepared for web by H. Marcuse, Dec. 13, 2003, images added 12/14/03
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