The Holocaust Historiography Project

A Holocaust Debate

Only rarely do those who detest Doug Collins' audacious skepticism about the Holocaust story ever bother to respond to the substance of his arguments. Normally his detractors react with blind invective. In a rare exception, two University of British Columbia historians replied to Collins' August 18 column — reprinted in the Nov.-Dec. 1993 Journal (pp. 10-11) — with a more or less thoughtful letter. That letter is reprinted here, along with follow-up letters by Collins and Robert Faurisson (and with the original headlines), from the North Shore News of Nov. 7, Dec. 3, and Nov. 19.

Holocaust Scrutiny To Refute Falsifiers

Dear Editor:

In his column of Aug. 18 Doug Collins doubted that five or six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust by citing the names of a number of utterly discredited supporters of his position.

The claims of David Irving, Paul Rassinier, Robert Faurisson, Fred Leuchter, and Arthur Butz collapsed during cross-examination at Zündel’s trials or under the scrutiny of historians outside the courtroom. The answer to Collins' own question why they continue their campaign can be found in Deborah Lipstadt’s book, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (1993).

Short work can be made of Collins' other citations. That Churchill hardly mentioned the Holocaust only demonstrates a deficiency as an historian. Scholars have proven that the Red Cross never provided a figure of 300,000 [deaths] after the war.

Yehuda Bauer and Raul Hilberg, who were selectively quoted or slandered by Collins in his column, as well as other admirable writers on the subject such as Martin Gilbert, Leni Yahil, Lucy Dawidowicz, Michael Marrus and Christopher Browning, are agreed on a number higher than five million even if less than six.

The German historian H. Krausnick overwhelmingly documented the murder of approximately 2.2 million Jews by the Einsatzgruppen, referred to obliquely by Collins, and the figures for the extermination camps are 3,550,000, even allowing a low number for Auschwitz (Chelmno, 150,000; Belzec, 600,000; Sobibor, 200,000; Majdanek, 200,000; Treblinka, 900,000; Auschwitz, 1,500,000). By this widely accepted reckoning the total is 5,750,000.

Any doubter of mass gassings at Auschwitz should examine the extraordinary documentary assembled by Jean-Claude Pressac, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers (1989).

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russia released a vast number of captured German documents from Auschwitz and scholars have microfilmed the archives of German and collaborationist governments in eastern Europe.

We will soon have more precise (probably also higher) numbers, and many gaps in the history will be filled, but certainly not in support of the falsifiers cited in obstinate ignorance by Collins.

Leonidas E. Hill
John S. Conway
Dept. of History,
University of British Columbia

The Story Keeps Changing

Dear Editor:

Leonidas E. Hill of UBC accuses me of “selectivity” and “slandering” Professor Yehuda Bauer and others in my column of Aug. 18 on the “Holocaust” ("The story keeps changing").

Bauer is director of Holocaust studies at Hebrew University in Israel, and was reported in the New York Times of Nov. 12, 1989, as saying that the four million figure for all deaths at Auschwitz was “patently false,” and that the true figure as far as Jews were concerned was 1.35 million.

“The larger figures have been dismissed for years,” he continued, “except that it hasn’t reached the public and I think it’s about time it did.” The Polish communists and nationalists [Bauer added] “promoted the larger figures to serve a political purpose.”

According to Hill, “scholars have proven that the Red Cross never provided a figure of 300,000 (who died in the camps).” But a Red Cross report dated May 11, 1979, states that the total was 271,304, plus a further 90,069 who died elsewhere. The numbers do indeed keep changing.

Hill’s snooty remark on Winston Churchill demands comment. That Churchill made no reference to the holocaust in his six-volume war history he puts down to Churchill’s “inadequacy” as a historian. Really? Churchill may not have had a degree in history from UBC, but the author of The World Crisis, A History of the English Speaking Peoples, The Life of Marlborough, The Second World War and many other works, is not to be sneezed at. What has Hill done?

Hill needs a lesson in English, too. One can libel a person in print, but not slander him.

Doug Collins
West Vancouver

Faurisson Still Waiting For 'Exterminationists'

Dear Editor:

In his letter of Nov. 7, Mr. Leonidas Hill of UBC took issue with a column on the Holocaust written by Doug Collins.

In doing so, he claimed that evidence given by me and other defence witnesses at the second Zündel trial “collapsed under the scrutiny of historians.” That is nonsense, and so is his further claim that 5,750,000 Jews were exterminated.

A reading of the transcript of the trial suffices to show that there was no order to exterminate the Jews, no plan (not even at Wannsee), no budget, no expert report stating “this was a homicidal gas chamber” and no autopsy report stating “this was the body of an inmate killed by poison gas.”

On the contrary, proof was delivered that the alleged homicidal Nazi gas chambers, could not have existed. After the trial, Arno Mayer, history professor at Princeton and of Jewish origin, wrote:

Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable .. Besides, certainly at Auschwitz but probably overall, more Jews were killed by “natural causes” than “unnatural” ones. (See the book Why Did The Heavens Not Darken?, Pantheon, 1988.)

Hill mentioned Jean-Claude Pressac’s 1989 book Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers. That title is misleading. According to the author himself, the book contains no “proofs” of the crime, but what he calls “criminal traces.”

Recently, Pressac published a second book, Les Crématoires d'Auschwitz. There is nothing new in it except that he no longer puts the number of deaths at four million (Nuremberg trial) or 1,500,000 (L. E. Hill), but 775,000 rounded up to 800,000. The real Auschwitz figure might be about 150,000 deaths, due especially to typhus and typhoid.

I am still waiting for the “exterminationists” to respond to my challenge: “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber.”

Prof. Robert Faurisson
Vichy, France

From The Journal of Historical Review, May/June 1994 (Vol. 14, No. 3), page 40-41.