Holocaust What is Holocaust Denial and Why Does it Exhist? What is Holocaust denial and why does it exhist? This is far from being a simple question, as it neccessitates a background knowledge of what the holocaust really was and why there would be efforts to deny that it ever happened.
In my paper, I hope to explain some of the horrific aspects of the holocaust and provide ample facts for proof that this terrible ordeal happened, then attempt to understand why holocaust denial came about in the first place. Attempting to prove that the holocaust never happened seems virtually impossible given the known exhistance of concentration camps in Auschwitz, Belzec, Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and Westerbork, to name a few. In Martin Gilberts “Holocaust Journey”, a professor and a group of students visit many of these former concentration camps. In order to prove that the holocaust really did happen, first one must understand why and how the holocaust came about.It is important to note that the roots of the holocaust began years before the holocaust actually took place. One possible theory as to why there was anti-semitism against the Jews is the scapegoat theory of prejudice.
Because of the social and economical depressions facing Germany at the time, the people of the country were very susceptible to a powerful leader who promised to make them the superior race and who provided them with a scapegoat as to why there is situation was so dismal. By painting the Jews as a penny-pinching, money-taking, elitist class that was causing all of Germanys problems of the day, the people were easily led to believe that the Jews were the reason that they faced hunger, poverty and a poor economy. One web site that I visited that had a chronological order of events that led to the holocaust was “Holocaust and Genocide Studies” at http://www.webster.
edu/~woolflm/chronology.html. Some of the events that led to the holocaust that can be related to the scapegoat theory were the collapse of the Germany economy due to hyper-inflation and Hitlers drafting of his anti-semetic views in Mein Keimf while he was imprisoned in 1923 and the collapse of the Great Coalition in German government in 1929.The collapse of the economy and the government were linked to the Jews because they were a convenient group to blame. The scapegoat theory fits perfectly into the scenario of the holocaust and it is because of it that one can understand why the common people supported the holocaust whether directly or indirectly. The support of the common people is absolutely essential to cause destrucution of this magnitude, and in order to obtain their support, a powerful leader, such as Adolph Hitler must prove to them why the Jews are the cause of all their problems. Through the use of propoganda and powerful speeches, Hitler was able to prove his point to the masses. In a time of extreme weakness in Germany, he was able to grab these helpless individuals and make them believe that the Jews were and inferior race and that only through their destrcution could the Germans once again become a powerful and great people.
Now that we have established a sound theory as to why the holocaust occured, it is now time to provide evidence that it happened. For instance, there are a wealth of pictures available that were taken at concentration camps that show the terrible conditions in which the Jews were forced to live and the horrific images of dead bodies piled up on top of one another like so many dead animals. There are pictures of the gas chambers, the mass graves, the human ovens. I was able to view a great many of these pictures at the web site “The Holocaust Project” at http://www.holocaust-history.
org/hungarian-photos/ . Among these photos were pictures of tight living areas, forced labor upon the prisoners, and multuple pictures of Jewish victims of the holocaust whether in concentration camps or in there place of living.Among the more chilling pictures from the holocaust were the victims of scientific testing done on these poor individuals and the mass graves that the Jews were dumped into following their deaths at the concentration camps. Other pieces of evidenc that prove the holocausts exhistance and severity are the first-hand accounts delivered by individuals who survived the holocaust or people who witnessed it. One website that contains a link to the stories of holocaust survivors is “About.com” which can be reached at http://holocaust.about.com/education/holocaust/.
Here is a breif exert of one of the first-hand accounts taken from the site: “In March, or April, 1944, we got the dreaded notice that we had been selected for re-settlement further East. The train cars they took us in were actually cattle cars..
there was not much room between us and the roof..the SS troops were on the roofs of the cattle cars shooting past the windows to discourage people from sticking their heads out…” The story goes on to tell of how they were stipped of all valuables and property by the Nazis and about the conditions in which they were forced to live.
This survivor also describes daily life at the camps and portrays the grotesque images of the dead being piled up like “..cordwood, naked, and without dignity.” He also speaks of the mass gassings and mass graves that holocaust deniers attempt to prove did not exhist. As it turns out, maybe because of mounting data and statistics to prove otherwise, the goal of holocaust denial is not to deny the exhistance of mass camps for the Jews, on the other hand, to belittle the horrible events that occured and to deny that such staggering numbers of deaths could not be possible by means of gas chanmbers and such. From simply reading books such as “Holocaust Journey” written by Martin Gilbert, about the time he took his class on a tour of concentration camps, one has ample proof that the holocaust occured and the camps exhisted.
“Holocaust Journey” is more of a journal than a novel and contains a day by day, often minute by minute account of the trip he took with his students on a tour of some of the concentration camps. They also visited traditionally Jewish communities that dated back more than 500 years. “Each of them was uprooted and destroyed in the course of those two years” (2). Gilbert provides some stories of people who perished among the 6 million who died in the holocaust, perhaps in an attempt to create a human face in light of such staggering numbers that can often erase the human face of this genocide. He also tells the class (and the readers of course) about the number of people taken from specific places to camps as they pass by or stop in them.Interestingly enough, we find out, on page 25, that roughly 70,000 Germans were killed in an effort to weed out the weaklings and to make the Germans a superior race.
“An estimated 10,000 German children under the age of sixteen were murdered by gas in this way” (25). On page 42, they visit a cemetary for Berlin Jews who were murdered in the holocaust at the Heerstasse Jewish cemetary. This and many other cemetaries can provide only small images of the vast number of Jews killed in the holocaust. On the very next page, they visited one of the places where the “final Solution” was discussed.Later on in the book, they visit the site of the concentration camp at Belzic. On the gate are inscriptions that contain statistics on the number of Jews from certain areas …