13th IHR Conference: A Resounding Success
Optimism, Confidence Mark International Revisionist Meeting
A landmark meeting, characterized by confidence and optimism, brought together scholars, activists and friends of the Institute for Historical Review over the weekend of May 27-29, 2000. Some 150 men and women — some flying in from as far away as Australia, Argentina, Chile, Switzerland and Finland, as well as from across the United States — met in a spirit of continuity and renewal at a pleasant hotel in Irvine, southern California.
This 13th IHR Conference, by all accounts a resounding success, and perhaps the most spirited and successful ever, featured leading figures in the international revisionist movement. The forthright banquet talk by former Congressman Pete McCloskey and the rousing address by British historian David Irving were probably the most memorable high points of the three-day meeting. Four of the featured speakers — Robert Faurisson, Arthur Butz, John Bennett and Ernst Zündel — had addressed the very first IHR Conference in 1979, and one attendee — Harvey Taylor — had been at all 13 IHR conferences.
This Conference not only had more featured speakers than any previous IHR meeting — 17 in all — it also had more students and younger people in attendance. Also, more students than ever were given financial assistance to attend. An unusually high portion of attendees, perhaps 30 to 40 percent, had never before been to an IHR conference. Appropriately for a meeting held over Memorial Day weekend, quite a few of those attending were US armed forces veterans.
Bringing together attendees and speakers from a wide range of political leanings and varied ethnic and religious backgrounds was a common passion for intellectual freedom and truthful history, scorn for the enemies of free thought and expression, and a healthy skepticism of dogmatic or “official” history.
As usual, this was an ideal opportunity for like-minded men and women from near and far to compare experiences and exchange views. Some remained engrossed in conversations until well into the early morning hours. This year’s Conference was unmarred by disruption or incident. Given the attacks by Jewish activists against past IHR meetings, the precise location of this Conference was not made public. (In 1989, for example, the Jewish Defense League used threats, intimidation and harassment to force the IHR from two hotels.)
Live Internet Broadcast
This was the best publicized IHR gathering ever. For the first time, lectures were broadcast live over the Internet through the www.Revisionism.com web site. (Links to the recordings can be found at the IHR’s web site, www.ihr.org.) While some 400 people listened in on the first evening, this number grew rapidly over the next few days. Altogether some 4,445 people tuned in to live or recorded lectures between May 27 and June 2. So many were listening at one point that the main server carrying the broadcast crashed on the third day. However, people were still able to listen through an alternate server.
Unprecedented Media Coverage
For the first time ever, a major daily paper closely covered an IHR meeting. Veteran Los Angeles Times journalist Kim Murphy attended nearly every lecture, producing a rather detailed report, 40 column inches in length, that included apt quotes from addresses by Irving and McCloskey, and four paragraphs of excerpts from IHR Director Mark Weber’s keynote address. Murphy’s report was read not only by hundreds of thousands of Times readers when it appeared on May 30, but many others learned about the IHR and its conference when a lengthy portion of her article appeared in other daily papers.
A leading Israeli daily, The Jerusalem Post (June 1), also reported on the IHR Conference in an item based largely on the Los Angeles Times piece. In the meeting’s aftermath, Weber conducted interviews with the leftist Los Angeles radio station KPFK and the Los Angeles bureau of the Reuters news agency.
Because it was unusually informative and generally objective, Murphy’s Times report predictably enraged Jewish community figures. “Once again,” complained Michael Berenbaum, a prominent Jewish activist and a former US Holocaust Memorial Council official, “the Los Angeles Times has allowed itself to be used as a propaganda instrument for Holocaust denial [sic] …” The Times story, Berenbaum went on, “portrays the deniers [sic] as persecuted lambs who are harassed because of their ideas … It can’t seem to get the story right …”
Two southern California Jewish community weekly papers — the Los Angeles Jewish Journal and Heritage/ Southwest Jewish Press — responded to the Times report with fury bordering on hysteria. Heritage called the IHR Conference a meeting of “cuckoos,” “Nazis” and “narcissistic psychopaths” who gathered to “exchange fulminations, conspiracies, delusions and lies.” The Jewish weekly blasted the IHR as a “Nazi front,” and lashed out at the Los Angeles Times as a “towering monument to journalistic arrogance, incompetence, bias and stonewalling.”
Murphy, a seasoned Times journalist with an impressive record covering the Middle East and the Bosnia war, had also written a generally fair front-page piece (January 7) on the Irving trial that, for the first time ever, informed readers of a major American daily paper of the routine legal persecution in Europe of revisionists. She cited specific cases of dissidents in Germany, France and other countries who have been imprisoned, fined or driven into exile merely for challenging official historiography.
Michael Shermer, editor-publisher of the anti-revisionist Skeptic magazine, attended a few of the Conference lectures. He is the co-author, along with veteran Jewish-Zionist activist Alex Grobman, of a just-published anti-revisionist polemic, Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It? (University of California Press).
Greg Raven, Journal associate editor, opened the Conference on Saturday evening with a formal welcome to attendees and speakers. Then, as MC, he capably kept the proceedings on track during the next two days with succinct, informative and witty introductions.
“I came because I respect the thesis of this organization,” said former Congressman Paul (Pete) McCloskey, Jr., “that thesis being that there should be a reexamination of whatever governments say or politicians say or political entities say.” In his Sunday evening banquet address, the one-time federal lawmaker from northern California spoke bluntly about the corrupting role of Jewish-Zionist special interest groups, especially the powerful Anti-Defamation League.
Jewish leaders promptly denounced McCloskey’s participation in the Conference. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, for example, said that his “appearance under the same tent as someone who has just been crowned the leading intellectual Jew-hater in the world [Irving], I guess speaks volumes.”
McCloskey spoke in some detail about the ADL’s record of illicit spying activities against groups deemed harmful to Israeli interests. The ADL, he noted, secretly arranged with officials of major metropolitan police departments to exchange unlawfully obtained information about groups and individuals. This information was sometimes also passed on to Israeli government agencies. ADL agent Roy Bullock, McCloskey went on, would write down the license plate numbers of people attending meetings of “anti-Israel” groups, whose identities would then be established with help from corrupt police officials.
During the 15 years he served as a US Congressman (1967 to 1983), McCloskey was regarded as a liberal. He was an early opponent of the Vietnam war, but as a decorated Korean War veteran (Silver Star, Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts), he could not be dismissed as a coward or pacifist. He was also the first Republican in Congress to call for the resignation of President Nixon. As McCloskey noted, he was at first regarded favorably by the Jewish community. But that changed when he spoke out against Israel’s illegal use in Lebanon of US-supplied cluster bombs. From that moment on, he said, he was a “marked man.”
The Jewish community, said McCloskey, has the power to suppress information embarrassing or damaging to Israel. The ADL routinely refuses to debate its adversaries, he stressed, preferring instead to use its clout to suppress facts about Israel.
Organized Jewry played a key role in defeating US Senator Charles Percy in Illinois, and California state political figure Ed Zschau, McCloskey said. Along with another former US Congressman, Paul Findley, who had likewise been targeted by Jewish-Zionist organizations, McCloskey founded the Council for the National Interest (CNI) to promote a Middle East policy that reflects the interests of the American people.
The ADL and the Jewish campus organization Hillel, McCloskey recalled, tried to bar him from teaching at Stanford University. Also at Stanford, he went on, Jewish groups targeted Norman Davies, a world-class British-born historian, and author such acclaimed works as God’s Playground: A History of Poland, and Europe: A History. Although Davies could not, by any rational measure, be considered anti-Jewish, the ADL was enraged by his balanced treatment of historical relations between Jews and Poles. It was enough that he had failed to portray Jews as innocent victims, and historical conflicts between Jews and Poles as entirely the fault of Poles. Even though Davies was considered an outstanding scholar of European history, and especially Polish history, Jewish pressure barred a seemingly certain professorship for him at Stanford.
Stressing the importance of historical revisionism, McCloskey cited, for example, the 1857 massacre near Cedar City, Utah, by Mormons of 120 men, women and children traveling westward in a wagon train. For 93 years, he said, the facts of this atrocity were suppressed by the Mormon Church, becoming known to the general public only in 1950 with the publication of The Mountain Meadows Massacre, a book by Juanita Brooks. McCloskey also mentioned his interest in the current investigation of alleged Korean War atrocities by US troops against civilians.
“A historian should be dispassionate,” McCloskey admonished, adding that it’s important to avoid emotion-laden language. It’s “unseemly,” he went on, to dismiss an opposing point of view as “propaganda.”
McCloskey spoke of the “courage” of revisionists in France, Germany and other countries, who are legally persecuted for their dissident scholarship. “I don’t know if you are right or wrong about the Holocaust,” he said, but “I hope you'll keep examining history.” He praised the Institute for Historical Review as the “striking edge” of the revisionist movement, and concluded by wishing the IHR “good luck.”
In his first address to a meeting since the severe April 11 judgment against him in the London libel case, David Irving spoke to Conference attendees with remarkable confidence about the future. In a riveting and entertaining talk, delivered with his usual verve and passion, the best-selling British historian laid out reasons for optimism in his forthcoming appeal of Judge Gray’s verdict in his much-publicized libel suit against Deborah Lipstadt and her British publisher, Penguin Books.
“There’s been something akin to a grave injustice done,” said Irving. “It’s sad to say that in the battle between David and Goliath, David doesn’t always win. But I think I can say in this particular battle, David is going to win, and the victory is going to be sweet when it comes.” (An analysis of the dramatic London trial, and Irving’s Closing Statement in the case, are in the March-April 2000 Journal. Additional details can be found on his web site: www.fpp.co.uk.)
Judge Gray’s seemingly fair treatment of Irving during the court proceedings, the British historian suggested, actually masked an inner hostility. He noted that Judge Gray is a close friend of Richard Rampton, the attorney who spoke on behalf of the defendants throughout the proceedings. And according to one newspaper report, Irving said, Gray had begun writing his judgment long before the conclusion of the proceedings.
Millions of dollars were provided to the defendants, Irving said, by Steven Spielberg, the famous movie maker and Jewish activist, by Edgar Bronfman, Jr., chief of the giant Seagram’s corporation, and by the American Jewish Committee.
During the trial Irving was able to establish that star defense witness Robert Jan Van Pelt, is not — contrary to the image he cultivates of himself — an architect. The payment of some $200,000 to Van Pelt for his services as a defense witness amounts to “corruption,” Irving said.
Quite lot of the nine-week London trial, Irving noted, had dealt with the question of whether any holes existed in the roof of the alleged “gas chamber” at morgue cellar 1 of Krema building 2 at Auschwitz-Birkenau, through which deadly Zyklon was supposedly poured in. In response to his arguments during the trial, Irving said, Auschwitz Museum authorities are carrying out an investigation of this matter, but the results are not known. This secretive investigation, said Irving, has been publicly mentioned only briefly in an on-line London Times report.
During the trial, Irving revealed, some 20 lawyers and some 20 historical specialists around the world assisted him in preparing his arguments and questions for witnesses before each day’s session.
As part of the defendants' demand for their “pound of flesh,” Irving said, by June 16, 2000, he must pay 150,000 pounds ($223,000) “on account,” as a kind of down payment toward the total (estimated at some $3 million). Raising this large sum will be difficult, Irving acknowledged.
Irving reported that US Congressman Tom Lantos (Dem.-Calif.), a prominent Jewish-Zionist activist, has been trying to ban him from entering the United States, and the US immigration and border control agency, the INS, had consulted with the Simon Wiesenthal Center about him.
This gathering, said IHR Director Mark Weber in the keynote address, could well be called “the conference of the persecuted,” with several of the speakers having been imprisoned, fined, beaten, dismissed, and banned for expressing dissident views on 20th century history. He went on to highlight the powerful Jewish-Zionist forces behind the worldwide campaign of intimidation, persecution and censorship to enforce what amounts to a Jewish view of history. “We are expected to look at US and world history from what, in truth, is a Jewish perspective,” said Weber.
“How a society views history both reflects and greatly helps to determine its essential values and priorities,” he said. “How we view the past is crucially important in determining how we view ourselves, our place in the world, and, more important, our future as a people or society.” Citing specific, telling examples, he explained how our view of history has been drastically skewed over the past century.
Speaking of the devastating six-year-old legal dispute caused by the embezzlement of millions of dollars from the IHR and its parent corporation, Weber said that “the Institute has weathered the storm.” He spoke of the future with confidence. After six belt-tightening years, he said, the IHR is now rebuilding. This Conference, he added, is an expression of that renewal.
Weber concluded by stressing the Institute’s determination to carry on, “with greater clarity and sense of purpose than ever… our educational work of truth in history, for the sake not only of our own nation and heritage, but for all humanity.”
In a dramatically delivered and information-packed lecture, John Sack traced the origins and impact of An Eye for an Eye, his headline-making exposé of the brutal mistreatment of ethnic Germans by Jewish Communist authorities in postwar Poland. The book — now available from the IHR in an expanded and thoroughly referenced new edition — explains that 60,000 to 80,000 Germans perished in the 1,255 concentration camps operated in Communist-ruled Poland by the notorious “Office of State Security,” and that three-fourths of its officers were Jews.
The veteran journalist and author related his adventures in censorship at the hands of the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and other enemies of open discourse. He said that the World Jewish Congress called him, and his US publisher, “anti-Semites” (even though he is Jewish himself). During an interview on the nationally-broadcast “Charlie Rose” television show, Sack said, Deborah Lipstadt called him an “anti-Semite” and a “neo-Nazi.” And during a one-on-one telephone conversation, he related, Lipstadt told him that he is “worse than a Holocaust denier.”
During a question and answer period, Sack was asked when Jewish groups such as the ADL might permit a Holocaust revisionist to address their meetings. To everyone’s delight, he responded: “They won’t even let me speak!”
Sack affirmed that he accepts that Jews were killed in gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau and other wartime German camps. His participation at this IHR conference thus discredits the often-made charge that the Institute for Historical Review is ideologically dogmatic, sectarian or anti-Jewish.
“Revisionism is not an ideology, it is a method,” stressed Robert Faurisson, the French professor who for decades has been Europe’s foremost revisionist scholar. In his well-received address, Dr. Faurisson called for a revisionism that is bold, daring and severe, a “nuts and bolts revisionism” that “goes to the center of the question.” Revisionist scholarship, he went on, should be free of pedantry.
Faurisson brought to the podium the insight, wit and savvy of a scholar who was educated at the Paris Sorbonne, and who served for years as a professor at the University of Lyon II. His ground-breaking writings and courageous advocacy of Holocaust revisionism have resulted in academic sanctions, endless trials and murderous assaults.
Faurisson also spoke about the Anne Frank diary, relating his first-person interview with Otto Frank, Anne’s father, at his home in Switzerland in 1977, and responded to the “definitive” version of the diary published in 1989 by the Netherlands State Institute for War Documentation.
Speaking with authority based on bitter personal experience, Germar Rudolf reported on the growing legal repression of dissidents in Germany. Between 1994 and 1999, he related, 58,000 persons were prosecuted in Germany for “thought crimes.” In 1999 there were 11,248 such prosecutions, of which 8,698 were “right wing” violations, 1,015 were “leftist,” and 1,525 involved foreigners or non-German issues.
Among recent German efforts to curtail human and civil rights, Rudolf cited attempts to curb access to supposedly subversive Internet materials. He also spoke of the country’s insidious “youth protection” measures. While ostensibly designed to “protect youth,” they are largely a pretext for ideologically-driven censorship. “Germany today is a totalitarian police state,” said Rudolf, adding that freedom is similarly restricted in Austria.
The 35-year-old German-born chemist, a leading representative of a younger generation of revisionist scholars and activists, was forced into exile in 1996 after being sentenced to 14 months imprisonment for his critical on-site forensic examination of the Auschwitz and Birkenau “gas chambers” (the “Rudolf Report"). Since 1997 he has been editor of the German-language revisionist journal, Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung.
Rudolf spoke of the strong (Jewish) religious-ethnic or ideological prejudices of Robert Jan Van Pelt, a prominent defense witness in the Irving-Lipstadt London trial who is now widely regarded as a world-class expert on German wartime “gas chambers.” In “Mr. Death,” the recent documentary (by Jewish film maker Errol Morris), Van Pelt spoke of Auschwitz-Birkenau as the “holy of holies,” and of World War II as a “moral war … a war between good and evil,” and that “the core of this war… is Auschwitz.” ("Mr. Death” is reviewed in the Sept.-Dec. 1999 Journal, pp. 62-69.) Rudolf also mentioned important new documents about Auschwitz-Birkenau found by Italian researcher and author Carlo Mattogno.
Of his own decision to carry out a forensic investigation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, an undertaking that he knew might well upset his life, Rudolf said that he first hesitated, asking himself “Why me?” But he then asked himself “Why not me?,” and resolved to go ahead.
In a lecture entitled “How Psychology Lost Darwin,” Glayde Whitney, a professor of Psychology at Florida State University, Tallahassee, explained how the prevailing view of race and race relations has changed radically over the past 70 years.
No one played a more important role in this process, he explained, than Franz Boas (1858-1942), a German-born Jewish scholar who taught for years at Columbia University. An ideologically driven man with Marxist-Leninist sympathies, Boas promoted racial equality and Jewish group interests. Magnifying Boas' impact were his sometimes illustrious graduate students, of whom perhaps the most important was Margaret Mead (1901-1978), author of the highly influential but dishonest work Coming of Age in Samoa (1928).
During the question and answer period, the quick-witted Whitney made a number of striking points. Whereas Darwinian evolution was widely accepted at the beginning of the 20th century, he said, this is no longer true. Egalitarianism, “multi-culturalism,” and modern liberalism are now entrenched in psychology (as well as in the other social sciences), and Darwinism is now attacked as racist and “Nazi.” This drastic, ideologically-driven transformation has taken place in spite of empirical evidence to the contrary. Indeed, added Whitney, “psychological traits are every bit as inheritable as physical traits.” In the worldwide struggle in psychology, he concluded bleakly, “international Socialists are winning,”
In his closely-reasoned lecture, Arthur Butz — Northwestern University professor and author of the path-breaking revisionist study, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century (first published in 1976) — commented on three broad aspects of the ongoing “Holocaust” discussion. He discussed, for example, implications of the fraudulent “testimonies” of such “Holocaust survivor” fakes as Binjamin Wilkomirski and Laura Grabowski, and made some detailed criticisms of some of Michael Shermer’s anti-revisionist arguments. In trying to understand “our adversaries,” said Butz, a “complication is that we think of religion as universal and other worldly.” But “Judaism, by contrast, is a tribal religion of this world, in which contention with gentiles is a major ingredient, both in practice and in myth.”
IHR book editor Theodore O’Keefe took a close, critical look at the wartime activities of Oskar Schindler, the legendary hero of Schindler’s List, the best-selling novel and well-known Steven Spielberg film. Separating fact from myth, O’Keefe showed, for example, that the story of the miraculous rescue of “Schindler's” women from Auschwitz is a historical lie, and that there is no evidence that the Bruennlitz sanctuary depicted in the Spielberg film (where the “Schindler Jews” waited out the war’s final months) was substantially different from many similar subcamps of the Gross Rosen concentration camp network. This was the sixth time O’Keefe had addressed an IHR conference. After having worked for the IHR from 1986 until 1994, his return in September 1999 is a mark of the Institute’s revival.
In his wide-ranging address, the director of the revisionist Adelaide Institute in Australia provided a first-person account of his trial and seven months' imprisonment in Germany for “Holocaust denial,” with pointed remarks about the hypocrisy of the Federal Republic’s “justice” system as it operates in practice. (See “German Court Sentences Australian Holocaust Skeptic,” July-August 1999 Journal, pp. 2-5.)
Dr. Fredrick Töben offered a range of comments and observations that reflected his training and bent as a philosopher. “Every thinking human being is a revisionist,” he noted, for example. He spoke of several recent headline-making cases of fraudulent “Holocaust survivors,” and drew encouragement for the future from two recent books: Peter Novick’s The Holocaust in American Life, and Jacques Barzun’s From Dawn to Decadence. Töben and the Adelaide Institute continue routinely to make headlines in the Australian press, and the Adelaide Institute has a growing impact far beyond the country’s shores through its newsletter and web site www.adelaideinstitute.org.
Citing suppressed or generally ignored wartime documents, and other historical evidence, Jürgen Graf took aim at the often-made claim that Jews who were deported to Auschwitz and not registered there were immediately put to death. The Swiss educator, author and researcher explained how the clear historical evidence simply cannot be reconciled with the standard Holocaust extermination story. He also spoke in some detail about the fate of the hundreds of thousands of Jews deported from Hungary to the Reich, May-July 1944. Along with Italian researcher and author Carlo Mattogno, Graf has unearthed many revealing wartime documents that have lain unnoticed for decades in eastern European and Russian archives.
In Russia, Graf reported, people are eagerly open to Holocaust revisionism. He spoke with enthusiasm of his productive meetings with like-minded colleagues in Russia, and noted that more than 100,000 copies of the Russian edition of one of his books have been distributed.
In October Graf will begin serving the 15-month prison sentence that was handed down in July 1998 for his “thought crime” violations of Switzerland’s recent “anti-racism” law. (See “Swiss Court Punishes Two Revisionists,” July-August 1998 Journal, pp. 2-13.)
He prefers to serve the outrageous sentence rather than go into political exile and lead the life of a fugitive (as Germar Rudolf has done).
Since the late 1970s, John Bennett has been a leading voice for revisionism in Australia, where he is also well known as a staunch defender of civil liberties. Copies were made available to attendees of the most recent edition of his widely-distributed handbook, Your Rights, which often contains revisionist material. Bennett made comments and offered suggestions based on his years of experience. For one thing, he said, he would welcome more humorous treatment of Holocaust claims, especially the obviously ludicrous ones.
Bradley Smith, veteran of hundreds of radio and television appearances, brought attendees up-to-date on his work in bringing revisionism to America’s colleges and universities. In his usual genial manner, Smith told how his ad campaign and new magazine, The Revisionist, have shaken up one campus after another across the country, enraging the traditional self-appointed censors.
Robert Countess, scholar and revisionist ambassador, provided an enthusiastic and anecdote-filled report about his globe-trotting activism, including insights from his role in the recent international Holocaust conference in Stockholm. He also spoke about his role in helping to produce the forthcoming English-language anthology of revisionist writings, Dissecting the Holocaust, compiled and edited by Germar Rudolf. During the Conference, he promoted new “No holes, No Holocaust” T-shirts.
Canada’s leading revisionist activist spoke with his usual verve and passion about his seemingly unending struggle for freedom of expression and truth in history in his adopted homeland. Twice Zündel was brought to trial in two history-making “Holocaust trials,” but was ultimately vindicated only when the country’s Supreme Court threw out as unconstitutional the archaic “false news” law under which he had been prosecuted.
Holding forth in his typically upbeat and irrepressible style, Ernst Zündel delighted attendees with a vivid report on the latest political and judicial efforts to silence him and the California-based “Zündelsite” web site operated by Ingrid Rimland. Speaking optimistically about the future, the prominent German-Canadian civil rights figure provided apt observations on the recent Irving-Lipstadt trial in London, and on the much-publicized 1999 documentary film “Mr. Death” (about Fred Leuchter, whose forensic examination of Auschwitz he commissioned for his 1988 trial in Toronto).
“Our job now is to ring the bell for freedom for as long as we can,” Zündel said. “The ghetto will not win!,” he concluded defiantly.
Charles Provan, independent researcher and author, presented a lively dissection of the “testimony” of Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, a physician at Auschwitz-Birkenau whose memoir has been widely cited for decades as proof of mass killings in gas chambers. The US edition of his “memoir,” Doctor at Auschwitz, has remained in print for many years, and continues to sell well. In debunking Nyiszli’s “eyewitness testimony,” Proven cited numerous documents and other historical evidence unearthed in years of patient research.
Among his most flagrant false claims, Nyiszli declared that four million Jews were killed at Birkenau Krema II alone. He also claimed that the Germans used “Zyklon A” to kill pests, and “Zyklon B” to kill Jews. This is nonsense, Provan pointed out, noting that Zyklon B was simply the trade name for a commercially produced pesticide that was widely used throughout Europe before, during and after World War II. As Provan pointed out, there are major differences in the various language editions of Nyiszli’s “memoir.” He also noted that Nyiszli was a member of the Communist Party of Romania until his death there in 1956.
From The Journal of Historical Review, May-June 2000 (Vol. 19, No. 3), pages 2-11.