We have all heard about the Holocaust at some point in our lives. The well known statistic states that over six million Jews died in concentration camps throughout World War II. Not only Jews were sent to the camps though. There were also political prisoners, Gypsies, and other undesirables. Anyone who was not a member of the Aryan race was to be eliminated. The Aryan race was the successors of the “true” Europeans. It comes from the idea the Indo-European descendants are a distinct race and should be held above all other races. The Nazi Regime believed that they were the one true race and the Jews were the enemy of the German people.
There is a group that claims that the Holocaust never happened. The Institute for Historical Review, IHR, has published many revisions of “66 Questions & Answers about the Holocaust.” The entire goal behind this pamphlet is to convince people that the holocaust never happened. The IHR claims that it is impossible that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. They also refute the fact gas chambers were used to exterminate the Jews. The gas used in the gas chambers was Zyklon-B, a commercial pesticide. The IHR claims the SS used the gas, not in the gas chambers, that they also claim never existed, but to delouse clothes and living quarters to prevent the spread of Typhus. Nikzor points out that the gas has the side effect of being able to kill humans which was why the SS used it for this purpose.
The IHR believes that the whole idea of the Holocaust was a Jewish Conspiracy. The object, according to the IHR, was to make the world’s population feel bad for the Jews so they would get aid from other countries. They also say that there is no proof that Hitler was even aware of the genocide. High Ranking SS officers gave testimony that the order came directly from Hitler.
Unfortunately the IHR apparently has quite a bit of influence. In 1993 a poll was taken which had astonishing results, 22% of Americans believe it is possible that the Holocaust never happened and was just propaganda; 12% more are unsure if the mass extermination of the Jews was even possible in the first place. Polls in May of 1945 showed that most of the American people did believe what they were shown on video, in pictures, and were told about the death camps. When all the Holocaust survivors are no longer here to refute the IHR’s claims will revisionism take over? Will SS beliefs rear up again in the world? The following facts come from a few first hand accounts, but hopefully the information in them will shed some light of the magnitude of what happened in the death camps to disbelievers and take away from the “credibility” of the IHR.
The following comes from a speech made by Joseph Goebbels in 1941. Goebbels was appointed Minister of Enlightenment and Propaganda in 1933 and served until 1945; he was one of the most influential people in the Nazi party. Goebbels stated that the Jews wanted the war. He went on to say that the Jews started the war and were now being exterminated just as they would have done to the Germans had they been given the chance. Goebbels say that anyone who maintains relations with a Jew is just as bad as a Jew and should be treated the same. He believed that the Jews were the enemy and they deserved the war and everything that was being done to them. This speech came from one of the most influential Nazi leaders. The Nazis blamed the Jews for everything. What makes anyone believe they would not have tried to eliminate them completely?
A man named Hermann Grabe chronicled the things he saw in Dubno. He states that on October 5, 1942 he saw that the Jews from Dubno had been shot and thrown into three mass graves. Grabe said that when he looked into one of these graves it was only two-thirds full and already had about 1000 people in it, not all of the ones who had been shot were dead. 5000 Jews had still been living there and the SS’ orders were that all of them were to be “liquidated.”
The following comes from the account of Auschwitz from Rudolf Hoess that was written in 1946. Hoess was the SS Kommandant of Auschwitz. He writes that in the summer of 1941 Heinrich Himmler, the leader of the SS, told him that he would be put in charge of a new death camp, Auschwitz. Auschwitz was chosen because its location was good for communications and easy camouflage. Himmler told Hoess to await instructions from Eichmann. Eichmann’s instructions were as follows: “The Jews are the sworn enemy of the German people and must be eradicated. Every Jew that we can lay our hands on is to be destroyed now during the war, without exception. If we cannot now obliterate the biological basis of Jewry, the Jews will one day destroy the German people.”
Eichmann and Hoess decided that the only way to kill the Jews in mass without placing a heavy burden on the men who had to carry it out was to gas them. It had previously been tried using exhaust fumes, but this was not always effective. Using Carbon Monoxide also wasn’t feasible due to lack of supply of the gas and space. The possibility of using Zyklon-B was not thought of until one of Hoess’ men, Fritsh, experimented with it while Hoess was away from the camp. Fritsh used Zyklon-B to kill some Russian POWs in 1941. Zyklon-B was originally used in Auschwitz as a pesticide, its intended use, but it now had a new purpose. Rooms were remodeled for the purpose with gas proof doors and vents in the ceilings.
At first all Jews were to be exterminated. The order came later on that if they were able to work they were to be kept alive until they were not. Gold was taken from the fillings of teeth and women’s hair was to be cut off after the Jews were dead.
It was not until 1942 that the SS began to cremate the bodies. Department “1005” was to cremate all the bodies that were in the mass graves. The ashes and bones were then ground to a fine powder and scattered over the countryside. From that point on all the bodies were cremated after gassing. This is the reason the exact number killed was never able to be exactly counted.
Crematoriums I and II were built in the spring of 1943. Each could cremate approximately 2000 bodies within 24 hours. The gas chambers, which could hold 3000 at a time, were downstairs from the ovens; the bodies were transported up by elevator. If none of this were true why would Hoess admit to all of it?
Zygfryd Baginski, a political prisoner who was held in the camps, gave a statement to an interviewer he talks about his experience in the camp. He was held prisoner for 10 months. Baginski weighed 220lbs. when he was taken, when he was release he weighed 72lbs. On the train ride to the camp the men were crammed in 40 per car. They traveled for three days. The prisoners were given no food or water. Upon arrival the men were stripped searched and shaved, heads and pubic region. They were given striped clothes and wooden shoes as well as patches to identify them by number and country. Baginiski speaks of all the people that he saw taken away and they never were to return, and all the beatings he saw.
Baginski tells us how on Sundays they were all to take a bath. The barracks leader would go first followed by his team. Everyone had to take a bath in that same water, all 300 prisoners on that block.
His diet at the camp consisted of undrinkable coffee, watery soup, and a small piece of bread. The soup they were given after working had been left outdoors all day and was sometimes frozen.
Baginski was saved when the American soldiers came. He was in the hospital with a swollen gland. When the Nazis evacuated they left anyone who was not able to walk. Baginski took the train to the American Zone when he was better so he would be free.
In Isabella Leitner’s book, Fragments of Isabella, she talks about being deported from the ghetto to the camp on her birthday. When her mothers name was called the SS guard lashed his whip at her for no reason. Her brother tried to stop the SS solider, but they have to hold him back; all their mother wants is for all of them to live.
On the train on the way to the camp there are 75 people per car. There are no toilets and no room. Her mother knows that she is dying, but tells them that they must live to see that there is still goodness in the world. She died soon after at the camp. The ones who lost someone at the camp never had a grave to go grieve at and Isabella put this sentiment into words, “a testimony that I too had a mother, that this planet is mine too, so the salt of my tears on that little mound might make me part of the whole scheme of things.”
Elie Wiesel recounted her experience on the death train. When the car was loaded there were 120 passengers. They were given no blankets, food, or water. The snow was falling throughout the entire journey. The snow was their water source. The train would make stops to strip the dead and throw the bodies out of the car. This is what they had to look forward to. When the train arrived at the camp only 12 passengers got out of their car.
There are many more accounts just like these. This is only a small sampling. With true stories such as these how can anyone deny the truth of the Holocaust? The Holocaust did happen and it should not be forgotten. These atrocities did happen, and as a society we must remember this so history will not repeat itself. This did happen and we cannot allow anything like it, or even remotely similar, to happen again.
Baginski, Zygfryd. “Interview.”
Briggs, David. “Holocaust Denial is alive and well.” The Sun, Westerly, RI, May 14,
Grabe, Hermann. “The Pit” In The Jewish Holocaust, edited by Perry Rogers, 414-415.
Joseph Goebbels, “The Jews Are to Blame! (1941) in The Jewish Holocaust, ed. Perry
History Learning Site, “Joesph Goebbels,” History Learning Site,
Hoess, Rudolph, “A Description of Auschwitz” In The Holocaust, 233-242.
Leitner, Isabella. Fragments of Isabella.
The Nikzor Project, “The IHR’s Questions & Answers, and Nikzor’s Responses: A
Reply to the IHR/Zundel’s “66 Q & A,””
“What did American’s believe?”
Wiesel, Elie. “Arrival: The Death Train” In The Jewish Holocaust, edited by Perry
 The Nikzor Project, “The IHR’s Questions & Answers, and Nikzor’s Responses: A Reply to the IHR/Zundel’s “66 Q&A.”
 The Nikzor Project.
 The Nikzor Project.
 The Nikzor Project.
 David Briggs, “Holocaust Denial is alive and well,” The Sun, Westerly, RI, May 14, 1993.
 “What did Americans believe?”
 “Joseph Goebbels,” History Learning Site.
 Joseph Goebbels, “The Jews Are to Blame! (1941) in The Jewish Holocaust, ed. Perry Rogers, 405-406.
 Hermann Grabe, “The Pit” in The Jewish Holocaust, ed. Perry Rogers, 414-415.
 Rudolf Hoess, “A Description of Auschwitz” in The Holocaust, 233.
 Hoess, 233.
 Hoess, 234.
 Hoess, 235.
 Hoess, 236.
 Hoess, 238.
 Hoess. 238.
 Zygfryd Baginski, “Interview”, 2-3.
 Baginski, 4.
 Baginski, 4-5.
 Baginski, 7.
 Isabella Leitner, Fragments of Isabella, 5-7.
 Leitner, 16-17.
 Leitner, 23.
 Elie Wiesel, “Arrival: The Death Train” in The Jewish Holocaust, ed. Perry Rogers, 409-412.