In response to two letters of mine, addressed to Dr Fredrick Toben in Australia, Mr. Jürgen Graf (JG) published, on 22 July 2011, a "letter of contempt" entitled "The moral and intellectual bankruptcy of a scholar: Dr. Christian Lindtner and Holocaust Revisionism". JG takes up ten points that I have for the most part already dealt with here.
Reading his open letter, I understand that my "moral and intellectual bankruptcy" has to do with the fact that most of my research depends on the scientific work produced by German scholars such as Wolfgang Curilla, Krausnick & Wilhelm (1981), and many others (see my Bibliography for details).
It is quite true that I "stand on the shoulders of German scholarship" - in this field as in other fields of research. All Danish scholars of "the old school" would agree that when it comes to the study of ancient religions, languages, philology, theology, history etc., Danish scholars do, indeed, stand on the shoulders of their German colleagues. This does not mean that Danish scholars consider themselves unable to come up with their own independent contributions to scientific progress; many Danish scholars (Rask, N.L. Westergaard, Madvig, J.L.Heiberg, Vilh. Thomsen, Frederik Poulsen et al.) have done so, and thus won the respect of their German colleagues. For that reason, they may also feel obliged to defend German colleagues when these are unfairly attacked and, perhaps, not in a position freely to defend themselves - for various historical reasons.
JG admits that he has not read some of these books. Nevertheless, JG does not hesitate to condemn them as the "works of dogmatic and bigoted court historians", who violate "every principle of scientific historiography", etc.
This is totally unfair. Curilla and others base their research on contemporary German police reports, contemporary diaries etc., and on an enormous amount of German witnesses, who were present and who took part in the crimes etc. They deal with these documents in a critical fashion, as one should. In the opinion of JG, however, all this "evidence for the Holocaust was fabricated by West German justice."
All the reports are "suspect from the beginning" etc., according to JG. JG bases his denial on the fact that there are - true - a few cases of false documents and witnesses. He then jumps to the general conclusion that all, or nearly all documents and witnesses are false. Jumping like a ball to general conclusions is not what we expect from a serious scholar.
Faced with German documents that seem to be authentic, JG typically avoids the issue. For instance, when Himmler said to the generals in Sonthofen in June 1944: "Es ist gut, dass wir die Härte hatten, die Juden in unserem Bereich auszurotten", one expects a fair comment from JG.
Instead, JG reminds us of the fact that not all Jews had been exterminated. Many survived, even the war. This is quite true. But Himmler was speaking of those that had already been exterminated! Did Himmler not know what he was talking about? And what about many other statements from Himmler to the very same effect: The Jews had to be exterminated, and they were exterminated.
Coming to the problem of the Vergasungskeller, or Gaskeller, JG suggest, with Mattogno, that this cellar was to be used for delousing, but the Germans later dropped that project. Here, a normal historian would ask, WHY and WHEN the Germans dropped that project? But most of all, one wants to know what kind of delousing the Germans had in mind before they dropped this project. Did they intend to delouse clothing? Or did they intend to delouse cadavers (dead Jews, as suggested by David Irving)? In any case, the answer is absurd.
By bringing up Babi Yar and Katyn, JG reveals his lack of historical sense. Paul Blobel was the first (in Nuremberg) to question the figure of 33.711 victims, finding it too high; but Blobel never denied the event as such. Present were also, as has recently become known, members of the Polizeibataillon 303, from Bremen. And the mass murder at Babi Yar near Kiev in September 1941 must be seen in the historical context of numerous similar events in the second half of 1941: the murder of the Jews of Lubny in October, the children of Bjelaja-Zerkow in August, the naked women of Libau in December etc. etc. The work of an Italian scholar enables us to follow in the bloody tracks of the German police, day by day, from one place to another, with the purpose of making the land "free from Jews". The proof is largely provided by their own reports (http://www.ordnungspolizei.org/), occasionally confirmed by the independent evidence of local witnesses, in rare cases even photographs.
Katyn is important, not only because it shows, as is well-known by now, that the Soviets were ready to prepare false "scientific reports" of the actual events, but also - and that is to be kept in mind - because the efforts of the Germans demonstrate how sensitive they were to the incriminating evidence provided by mass graves. For that very reason, they gave highest priority to the removal of the traces of their own mass graves. Again, the responsibility for their removal was assigned to Paul Blobel: "Sein Auftrag erhielt absoluten Vorrang vor anderen Aufgaben" (Curilla, 2006, p. 746).
JG also contends that "Kommando 1005" could not have removed the physical remains of all those bodies, and that "court historians" have failed to account for this. But Curilla (2006, pp. 745-769) has provided careful documentation of the activities, the problems etc. that "Sonderkommando 1005" faced. JG starts counting Jewish teeth, but would it not have been better taste to quote Curilla:
"Die nicht völlig verbrannten Knochenreste wurden mit Stampfern zerkleinert und zusammen mit der Asche im Gelände verstreut." (op. cit., p. 753).
For the same reason it is difficult to satisfy the absurd demands of those who insist on seeing all the dead Jews on the table before they will believe that Hitler and Himmler et al. were speaking the truth.
With some of their own crimes in mind, Generalkommissar Kube, in an 18 June 1943 letter from Riga to Berlin is quoted for asking: "Was ist dagegen Katyn?" Since this letter has been easily available to scholars at least since 1955 (Léon Poliakov & Joseph Wulf, Das Dritte Reich und die Juden. Berlin 1955, p. 192), one wonders why JG ignores it now that he himself has chosen to take up this issue. And Wilhelm Kube, a brutal old National socialist, is also an excellent contemporary witness to numerous other cases of mass murder in Belorussia. These documents cannot possibly have been fabricated by German justice after the war, as JG may wish to insinuate.
JG mentions Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski, but his case is by no means as simple as here presented by JG; see the references in Krausnick & Wilhelm, 1981, p. 671; and ibid., p. 639: "1962 in einem von mehreren gegen ihn angestrengten Verfahren zu lebenslänglichem Zuchthaus verurteilt."- In Nuremberg, on 7 January 1946, v.d. Bach-Zelewski was asked about the murder of 90000 men, as Ohlendorf, commander of Einsatzgruppe D, had freely admitted a few days earlier. He replied:
"Wenn man jahrelang predigt, jahrzehntelang predigt, dass die slawische Rasse eine Unterrasse ist, dass die Juden überhaupt keine Menschen sind, dann muss es zu einer solchen Explosion kommen."
This argument makes good sense, and it reflects the views of Hitler and Himmler. It reflects what actually happened. For Hitler, even the most severe punishment of the Jews was too mild. Goebbels in his diary, 27 April 1942:
"Die Juden haben unserem Erdteil soviel Leid zugefügt, dass die härteste Strafe, die man über sie verhängen kann, immer noch zu milde ist..."
On 27 March 1942, Goebbels had noted what happened to the Jews in the East:
"Es wird hier hier ein ziemlich barbarisches und nicht näher zu beschreibendes Verfahren angewandt, und von den Juden selbst bleibt nicht mehr viel übrig. Im grossen kann man wohl feststellen, dass 60% davon liquidiert werden müssen, während nur noch 40% in die Arbeit eingesetzt werden können."... "Gott sei Dank haben wir jetzt während des Krieges eine ganze Reihe von Möglichkeiten, die uns im Frieden verwehrt wären. Die müssen wir ausnützen."
Shooting was merely one of the several possible ways of getting rid of the Jews. Goebbels, 16 March 1942:
"Es erweist sich deshalb als notwendig in vermehrten Umfange wieder Juden zu erschiessen."
Hans Frank and many, many others also refer to the shooting of Jews in this period (see e.g. Dieter Schenk, Der Lemberger Professorenmord und der Holocaust in Ostgalizien, passim).
In spite of all this, JG claims that there is no German documentation for the murder of Jewish women and children. But, in truth, there are hundreds of documents. Within easy reach is the report of Karl Jäger, 1 December 1941. See the recent book by Wolfram Wette: Karl Jäger. Mörder der litauischen Juden, Frankfurt a. M. 2011. The systematic murder of Jewish men, women and children in Lithuania started already in July 1941. By 1 December the toll of victims had reached 137.346. Jäger, commander of Einsatzkommando 3 (EG A) wrote:
"Ich kann heute feststellen, dass das Ziel, das Judenproblem für Litauen zu lösen, von EK. 3 erreicht worden ist. In Litauen gibt es keine Juden mehr, ausser den Arbeitsjuden incl. ihrer Familien,...". (Wette, op. cit. p. 243).
Jäger committed suicide in his cell in 1959. He did not deny the crimes in Lithuania, only his own personal responsibility. He put the blame on one of his subordinates, Joachim Hamann, whose name has now become insolubly associated with the notoriously efficient "Rollkommando Hamann". Hamann, an ardent antisemite, took his own life in July 1945. In 1990, to be sure, Professor Robert Faurisson, made a feeble attempt to question Jäger´s report (Ecrits revisionnistes, III, p. 1028): According to Faurisson, it reported the execution of "plusieurs centaines de milliers de juifs " - which is not the case - and "les sources dont il s´inspire sont inconnues" - which is also not the case (see Wette, op. cit., passim). Faurisson moreover refers to the standard work on the Einsatzgruppen of Krausnick and Wilhelm from 1981. He tells us that it contains 688 pages, which is true (and irrelevant here), but that "les auteurs ne produisent un ordre ou un plan d´extermination des juifs soviétiques" - which is a gross distortion (op. cit., p. 1028). Typically, on the basis of a few insignificant errors, the value of the work of these two eminent German scholars as a whole is flatly rejected (op. cit.,p. 1029).
The easiest way to "understand" Faurisson´s "method", however, is to revise the list of names given in the fourth volume of his Ecrits revisionnistes, pp. 1955- 1991. If one takes the trouble to compare this index with the long lists of names given in the works of Krausnick & Wilhelm, Curilla and many other German scholars, one will see that Faurisson simply ignores scores of important German witnesses to the Endlösung. Instead, he wastes a lot of paper on entirely insignificant or false witnesses,often repeating himself by giving names that no normal historian or court would take very serious. And what about Himmler´s order from July 1941:
"Sämtliche Juden müssen erschossen werden. Judenweiber in die Sümpfe treiben." (Christopher Browning, Die Entfesslung der "Endlösung". Berlin 2006, p. 410).
JG just ignores these contemporary sources. Or Hitler´s own words, 30 January 1942, about the Vernichtung des Judentums:
"Zum erstenmal wird diesmal das echt altjüdische Gesetz anwendet: "Aug´ um Aug´, Zahn um Zahn!""
Again, JG ignores contemporary evidence.
And as for the gas vans, that the Danish Sanskritist had the "audacity" to mention: Good German evidence of gassing Jews and others in vans and in chambers, in camps and elsewhere, right from 1939, is found in the recent book edited by Günter Morsch & Bertrand Perz, Neue Studien zu Nationalsozialistischen Massentötungen durch Giftgas. Berlin 2011. Here, the various false claims to be found in the reports of Leuchter and Rudolf are also debunked. Any serious debate about gassings should, of course, not start with Auschwitz, but with the beginning: the euthanasia program, then Chelmno/Kulmhof etc. - Why in the world would there be gassings of Jews and others in so many other places - but not in Auschwitz-Birkenau?
To sum up: Jürgen Graf´s "letter of contempt" confirms what I have already concluded above about the method of deniers: The trick is simply to ignore or distort the evidence available. You slander scholars who stick to the available evidence and to the historical context. Compared to a giant like Hilberg, who, like all scholars, made errors, JG turns out to be a dwarf. So it seems fair to conclude, as I did, that "Denial is Chutzpah".
What about Mr Graf himself? Graf has a rare command of many languages, to my ear he even speaks Danish admirably well. He is a prolific writer and translator. He fights for his beliefs. As such, he probably deserves credit for having removed many popular misconceptions about the Holocaust. It is a sad truth that competent scholars, fearing public exposure, perhaps, often fail to take steps to correct popular misconceptions that flourish in the media. . With all his abilities, it is a great pity that Graf has little or no training as a scholar. For serious scholarship he only has contempt, as a dilettant often has.
Most of all, however, JG reminds us of a Christian fundamentalist. No rational argument will persuade such Biblical fundamentalists to admit that the earth is not in the center of the universe, or that Jesus is not sitting up there on a cloud just waiting for the right moment to fly down followed by his apostles to take revenge. It is, perhaps, for that reason, that JG concludes his letter of contempt by confessing to the world that he does not endorse my humble views about the Buddhist and Hellenistic origins of early Christianity.
Gott sei Dank!
Dr. Christian Lindtner
24 July 2011