The Holocaust Historiography Project

Book review

The Holocaust

  • The Holocaust, by Martin Gilbert, Hill & Wang,19 Union Square West, New York, NY 10003, 59 pp, paperback, $3.45, ISBN: 0-8090-1389-4.

According to its endorser, Rabbi Marc Tannenbaum, this book is a perfect and convincing rejoinder to the current perverse efforts on the part of certain hostile groups and individuals to deny the reality of the massive human tragedy inflicted with particular de monism against the Jewish people by the Nazis.

Just as Rabbi Tannenbaum would not win any prizes for precis work in an English usage class, neither would this book win any awards for accuracy. The author Martin Gilbert holds the prestigious position in England as of ficial biographer of Sir Winston Churchill. Perhaps that is why the modern public holds an extremely distorted picture of this drunken chameleon who is usually regarded as a genial, avuncular, Santa Claus?

Gilbert’s Holocaust is riddled with errors and misrepresentations. On page 47 he shows a picture of American troops liberating Belsen. If he knew anything at all about the subject he purports to be an expert in, he would know that Belsen was liberated by the British. The photo he shows is of Dachau.

On page 17, he gives the figure of “more than 40,000 dead at Dachau.” Yet, a Jewish survivor of Dachau wrote in the Los Angeles Times (6 January 1980) that only 31,951 perished during its entire 12 years of existence. At least we should he thankful for small mercies in that Gilbert does not attempt to resurrect the long-discredited canard that inmates were gassed at Dachau.

Although the book contains many meticulously drawn maps and diagrams (which are an extremely useful tool for any Revisionist scholar) nowhere in the book can we find any actual proof of gassings. We see people lined up, we are told, “for gassing.” We see skulls and corpses, we are again told of the “gassed.” But nowhere is there a photo of people being herded into, or standing in, a “gas chamber.” We don’t even get a picture of the alleged “gas chamber” which is today shown to visitors at the Auschwitz museum. Ironically, it falls to a fellow Exterminationist to have the final word in reviewing Mr. Gilbert’s historical abilities. In a startling four-page article in the London New Statesman (2 November 1979) Ms. Gitta Sereny ("mother-confessor” of Franz Stangl) pans the otherwise “reputable historian.” She tells how Gilbert has been taken in by survivor testimonies and films (!) which “were only partly true, or even were partly faked.” She goes on to show how Gilbert was duped into making all kinds of incorrect assertions about Treblinka, because he believed the word of notorious hoaxters such as Jean Francois Steiner and Martin Gray. Ms. Sereny even indicates that she herself was approached to help ghost write the Treblinka experiences of Gray, who “had manifestly never been” there.

Martin Gilbert was a graduate of, and is now a professor of history at, Oxford University. This book certainly says a lot about the standards of excellence throughout the British “Ivy League.”

From The Journal of Historical Review, Summer 1980 (Vol. 1, No. 2), page 182.