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FREE SPEECH - replacing the concept of Holocaust Denial

The elements of Holocaust Denial are (the questioning and ultimately) rejection of any of the following:

a) that the Nazi government had a policy of deliberately targeting Jews and people of Jewish ancestry for extermination as a people;

b) that between five and seven million Jews were systematically killed by the Nazis and their allies;

c) and that genocide was carried out at extermination camps using tools of mass murder, such as gas chambers.

Note that is quite easy to be accused of Holocaust Denial should you point out that:

1) The Madagascar Plan (formulated in 1940) is evidence of an intention by the Nazis to expel rather than exterminate. The 'Wannsee Protocol', to a few, contains little that links the conference directly to the Holocaust. The statements in it are open to interpretation, especially the phrase 'final solution'. But very many believe that it was a very clear statement of intent and that the Holocaust followed on from this meeting and document. Hitler himself did not attend the Wannsee Conference of 1942.

2) The figures are in dispute and may be lower.

3) Bishop Richard Williamson and David Irving are convinced that, although there were gas chambers for de-lousing concentration camp inmates, to systematically exterminate Jews using cyanide gas would have required air-tight doors and be very dangerous for those who came to empty the chamber of corpses later. They have repeatedly stated that no such air-tight gas chambers have been found and doubt their existence.

4) No one is denying that many Jews died at the hands of Nazis. What is in dispute is whether they died of exhaustion, disease and the conditions of the camps, or whether they were systematically exterminated. If they were being systematically worked to death, then there is surely at least a slave-master's interest in keeping one's slaves alive so that they may continue working?

You may be very wrong if you think you can discuss these matters in mixed company and escape accusations of Holocaust Denial.

Those who question or deny all or any of the above elements would be Holocaust Deniers according to the following circular logic:

If you are a Revisionist (those who question the Intentionalist Official Version) you are by definition a Reductionist (ie those who would wish to reduce the culpability of Hitler and the Nazis).

If you are Reductionist, you are by definition a Holocaust Denier and therefore an Evil, Racist, Fascist Nazi Sympathiser and Unfit for Decent Society. You may be jailed, as David Irving was, if you live in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.


THE INTENTIONALIST SCHOOL adheres to the "purist teaching" that was produced at the Nuremberg trials, which - to summarize briefly - asserts that the extermination of the Jews originated exclusively from Hitler's initiative.

THE FUNCTIONALISTS, however, hold the position that the alleged exterminations had occurred and progressively increased, as it were by force of circumstance.

"HOLOCAUST" originally derived from the Greek word holókauston, meaning a "completely (holos) burnt (kaustos)" sacrificial offering to a god. Its Latin form (holocaustum) was first used with specific reference to a massacre of Jews by the chroniclers Roger of Howden and Richard of Devizes in the 1190s. Since the late 19th century, it has been used primarily to refer to disasters or catastrophes.

The biblical word SHOAH (also spelled Sho'ah and Shoa), meaning "calamity," became the standard Hebrew term for the Holocaust as early as the 1940s. Shoah is preferred by many Jews for a number of reasons, including the theologically offensive nature of the word holocaust, as a Greek pagan custom.

60 years on, isn't it about time we rationalised the terms of debate so that recent history may be discussed honestly and openly, without the cloud of Holocaust Denial hanging over anyone brave or naïve enough to attempt to do this?

For the Official Intentionalist Israeli version, visit


Their 66 Answers to Questions to Holocaust Deniers will be very useful to anyone writing a dissertation on the subject.

There is a broken link when you click on EXPANDING HOLOCAUST DENIAL AND THE LEGISLATION AGAINST IT. Very sinister indeed!
Vote: Should we replace the concept of Holocaust Denial with "the Functionalist v Intentionalist debate"?

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Members Comments

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dignitas 5-Feb-2009 21:50
i do apologize for not making my point more clearer regarding right and wrong, by that definition i am referring to 'right' as meaning what is acceptable or the accepted version with regards to any views held on the subject and 'wrong' being any other view point that veers outside of the accepted agreed upon norm.

requiring truth to decide what is right and wrong (i assume you are meaning morally) within what is currently a defined and penned argument means truth, right and wrong are perpetually chasing their own tail.

you cannot get to truth without the freedom to question. and you cannot question when you are afraid of reprisals.

you will always have reprisals no matter how you approach the subject until until you shatter the power the stigma has over it.

should any view even sightly fall out of the confines of the Functionalist v Intentionalist standard model then you will still fall foul of being labeled. the only way to break this cycle and fully get to the truth is to destroy the power the label holds over people.
Andromeda 5-Feb-2009 20:56
I am not quite sure about what Dignitas means about ridding ourselves of the boundaries of right and wrong.

If we are to decide what is right and wrong then we require the Truth to assist us in this enterprise.

The Functionalist v Intentionalist debate is intended to allow us to question the Official Intentionalist Version, without being accused of Holocaust Denial.

It is after all a form of thought-crime, in case you hadn't noticed, after six decades!

It stops us from asking questions so that we do not reach unwelcome conclusions that are regarded as subversive to the established orthodoxy.

Here is an extract from


Are there laws regulating Holocaust denial?

In Canada and Western Europe, Holocaust deniers have been successfully prosecuted under racial defamation or hate crimes laws.

In the United States, however, the First Amendment guarantees the right of free speech, regardless of political content. ************

It IS a free speech issue, and this is from the Horse's Mouth!
ChrisCooke 5-Feb-2009 20:28
The problem arises from the Jewish scriptures which predicted the sacrifice of 6 million before the Jews could come home to their promised land. It really would strike at the heart of that religion if it were found to be true that the Holocaust figure was not six million - or the deaths were not sacrifices. So I will say that it does seem that Jews - well, Zionists anyway - do have a vested interest in maintaining this holocaust story. And they do exert their not inconsiderable influence to stifle other views.

Whether or not you (or I) accept it is in the Jewish Scriptures is really irrelevant. The fact is that most of the world accepts that this is the prophesy interpreted from those scriptures - or accepts that others accept it - the Jews would not be able to return "home" until the 6 million had been "burned".

This site here will add further info and links to other information.

dignitas 5-Feb-2009 18:36
in response to andromeda's well put comment it seems i was wrong, obviously, it seems, re-phrasing any such engagement on the topic thus stops one from being labeled by anyone as in denial of the subject then? surprising, as from what i understand any stance on the subject that even slightly deviates from the narrow unilateral condemnation and the common agreement on the subject ensures that one is pretty much thrown into the pen of holocaust denial? i guess i learn something new everday!

however, maybe i'm wrong, but is it not the stigma attached to the label that is the problem? not the difference of opinion? it's the freedom to express that opinion without being thrown to the lions.

i am quite glad that i have managed to phrase more eloquently Andromeda's own point, as i feel her own seems to be quite lost on the subject.

Andromeda seems to loath the "thought constrictingly narrow" debate allowed on the subject however, quite perplexingly, wishes to confine the boundries of debate further by re-branding the topic in fear of being labeled in Holocaust denial.

My point is thus: the label 'holocaust denial' as was quite correctly pointed out is usually followed by the words Racist, Fascist, Evil and Nazi etc. and as such i fail to see how any constructive and full reasoned debate or discussion be allowed on the topic when the term Holocaust denial is still allowed to carry such a stigma?

Worrying what label someone is going to stick on you and so changing how the question should be phrased does not upon up discussion. removing the stigma attached to the label opens up discourse.

and so my question is this: on what approach does Andromeda feel that open reasonable debate would be more encouraged:

To change the nature of the question to widen the boundaries of right and wrong with regard to the standpoint on the subject?

Or to get rid of the boundaries of right and wrong in the first place?
jeffreymarshall 5-Feb-2009 13:32
The existence of Holocaust Denial laws in a number of European countries creates a huge legal barrier to the reshaping of debate on this subject - although such reshaping is indeed necessary and long overdue.

Even in the UK, the existence of these laws have an effect. In 1998, BNP Chairman Nick Griffin was found guilty of incitement for describing the Holocaust as ´a mixture of Allied wartime propaganda and latter witch hysteria.´

Strangely though, it does rather seem as if academic research on the subject is now pointing to roughly the same conclusion - although due to fear of the consequences such Revisionist views cannot be expressed in universities.

The suggestion here of replacing ´denial´ as a concept with two opposed academic debating positions instead is quite laudable. It would certainly remove unwanted heat from the subject.

I would suggest, however, the existence of Holocaust Denial Laws themselves are at the root of the problem. But where might the political will come from to challenge these laws.

It may be that Germany - today a confident, unified nation within the EU - might be persuaded to rehabilitate, to some extent, its wartime reputation.

A third, younger generation of Germans may begin to feel they have laboured under the burden of being considered the evil instigators of WWII - in addition to being the murderers of six million Jews - for long enough.

Patriotic Germans may wish to be in the forefront of ridding this debate, once and for all, of surviving wartime Allied propaganda. Let us encourage them.
ChrisCooke 5-Feb-2009 11:23
1. A receipt to the Americans for doors in a concentration camp to be made airtight. (otherwise no doors were airtight and this would have meant cyanide gas escaping and killing people outside).

2. No sign of the gas supposedly used for the exterminations in the fabric of the walls (it would have to be there - and for hundreds of years!).

3. Such poisons were indeed used in the much smaller clothes decontamination chambers. Used for delousing the clothes of internees. Lice, by the way, that carried the Typhus disease that is known in fact to have killed a great many of the detainees. Perhaps it is possible that a few of the detainees were killed in negligence whilst operating this de-lousing chambers? Perhaps the known presence of this poison - and the understandable fears of the internees was the source of the claim that it was used for exterminations of people? Or even some few were indeed pushed into these rooms to kill them by some sadistic camp guard or rival. That's just plain guessing on my part though.

4. The fact so many Jews "survived the gas chambers". Is that not evidence of something?

5. Lack of evidence is also a factor. (Otherwise how can you prove a negative?). Why have no concentration camp bodies ever been proven to have the poison gas in them? It would be possible to exhume bodies even today and find this evidence. I don't expect it will ever be done - because I'm sure they have a pretty good idea what the results might be.

6. Also clear evidence of false witness. People said they knew when the gas victims being burnt were Jew, Romany or whatever because of the colour of the smoke from the chimneys. Impossible!

7. Likewise if this cyanide gas was used (as is claimed) a number of factors.

i The chambers needed to be airtight or it would kill people outside.

ii The extraction would be laborious and would have to be done through a very high chimney to disperse the gas. This would rule out, first, the vast number of people claimed to be killed by such method. Second - there were no such very high chimneys.

iii The clean up would have to be meticulously careful. You couldn't use these facilities for wash room purposes anytime soon afterwards. And yet the detainees did have wash room facilities of course.

iv The methods of storage through to delivery and disposal would be fraught with dangers and problems for the camp guards.

8. No direct eyewitness evidence of gas chambers have ever been produced - this despite large numbers of witnesses (although I suppose you could say that any direct eyewitnesses would have perished in any case? Many witnesses claimed there were gas chambers (agreed) - but all of them from hearsay evidence. There are some who claim to have been there to remove the bodies - but that would have been impossible for them to survive unless the bodies had been thoroughly cleaned first.

9. Surviving letters from people in the concentration camps gave witness to appalling conditions - but not gas chambers.

10. It now seems to be mainstream accepted that no German concentration camps had gas chambers. These apparently now are to be limited to the Polish camps. Which makes the logistics of 6 million Jews gassed (anybody else apart from Jews??) ridiculously untenable (one estimate gives 37 years as needed to accomplish the task!). There were much easier and indeed much cheaper and cleaner methods of killing people if that's what the Germans were after.

There are perhaps similarities between studying this part of history and studying the bible - you have to have an appreciation of the context within which it was written in order to interpret and understand what may have been really going on.

The problem is that in giving this evidence and discussing it one is called a "holocaust denier" - a pariah to be shunned and never listened to. Well - if that be the price of the fight for freedom
Andromeda 5-Feb-2009 8:45
In response to Recyclotron's book recommendation, I intend to get round to it one day.

As I have said before, this question is NOT about historical knowledge, but about the terms of debate which are thought-constrictingly narrow, if one were to avoid the charge of Holocaust Denial.

In response to Dignitas's bright idea that I should have worded the poll thus:

'Should the topic of the jewish holocaust be open to rational discussion?',

does he not realise that a question thus worded would leave me vulnerable to accusations of Holocaust Denial?

In fact, even in the narrow terms that I have worded the poll question, there have already been suggestions that I may already be guilty, which is why I am confining myself to the terms of reference rather than historical fact!

But I must thank Dignitas for making my point more eloquently than I ever could myself - that any attempt to even discuss it leaves you open to such a charge!
dignitas 4-Feb-2009 23:59
Andromeda if you would like to make the point clearer why not just ask the question 'should the topic of the jewish holocaust be open to rational discussion?' because asking if 'Should we replace the concept of Holocaust Denial with "the Functionalist v Intentionalist debate"? is as i pointed just dealing with that area of semantics. and is pretty limited.

as i stated: to 'replace' the concept is ludicrous. however to ADD TO the concept and encourage intelligent debate whatever the stand point without fear of punishment or ridicule should be applauded.

i feel this seems to answer quite adequately the spirit of the question.

holocaust denial is holocaust denial and people are entitled to their opinion of events, trying to change or adapt your angle of attack on the subject is meaningless. if you want open and rational discussion then try to promote that. where people are FREE to deny it if they wish. Can we please at least understand what the comment is all about before jumping to conclusions?

Recyclotron 4-Feb-2009 16:36
If you doubt what happened then read the testimony of those who lived through the Holocaust. I commend Primo Levi's "Is This a Man" as the best account. Read this and you will understand.
Andromeda 4-Feb-2009 0:19
In response to "nearenough" and "dignitas" it dismays me that no matter how clearly and succinctly I try put it, people seem determined to misunderstand the point, which is that of being able to honestly discuss recent history without being accused of Holocaust Denial.

If you would but refer to the elements of Holocaust Denial, you will find that you are not allowed to deviate from the Official Intentionalist Version without finding yourself wandering into what might be called Denial.

Is this fair or sensible?

The proposed replacement seems to make more sense to me, because it is less emotive and more rational.

This is NOT a question about historical knowledge and fact, but about free speech and honest discussion.

If this still does not make sense, please re-read the preamble to the question again.

So "dignatas", it is not about it "either happening or not", but whether Hitler planned it all along, as far back as MEIN KAMPF.

Why else do you think Bishop Richard Williamson and David Irving keep going on about cyanide being used in air-tight gas chambers?

They think that such a find would demonstrate CONCLUSIVE evidence of systematic extermination.

No one is denying that many many Jews died or that they were killed by Nazis.

What is being disputed is the numbers, how much this was planned and prepared for all along and whether Hitler himself ordered it.

I repeat: No one is not saying Jews and others did not lose their lives at the hands of the Nazis, not even Irving or Bishop Williamson.

What is disputed is whether or not it was systematic and planned.

Can we please at least understand what the dispute is all about before jumping to conclusions?
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