01 May 2014

Denial of Death

Denial of Death
            For twelve years during the Holocaust, Europe rang with the cries of dying Jews.  Now, almost 70 years later, there are those who believe this dreadful time in history never occurred.  Yet despite the denier’s “evidence” the horrific memories, documents, pictures, and videos are more than proof that the Holocaust is a part of world history.
            These conspirators, who call themselves Revisionists, hold fast to many different points against the reality of the Holocaust which can be easily refuted.  One of their main arguments is that 6 million Jews could not have been killed in the gas chambers in a matter of twelve years.  However, their logic at this point is flawed.  The 6 million Jews that were killed were not all gassed.  Many died from mass shooting, disease, and starvation, all of which ran rampant in the thousands of concentration camps and made the death toll soar high.
Even though 6 million may seem like too large of a number, Jews in Germany were not the only ones being murdered.  There were thousands being brought in from Hungary, Poland, France, and the Netherlands as well.  The Revisionists have also tried to distort these numbers by stating that only around 1.5 million were killed.  Some even claim to account for the large disappearance of Jews by saying that they lost their families in the war time confusion, remarried, and moved to different countries.  I think it is highly unlikely that large of an amount of Jews would go through with such a plan.
One website, which holds most of the Revisionists’ opinions states that the Jews (and non-Jews for that matter) who were held at the many concentration camps were not starved or dejected.  The article titled Is the Holocaust a Hoax? shows pictures of smiling children, a couple being married, as well as a group of prisoners of war playing football.  Still, there are gigantic flaws in all of their photographic evidence.  The two camps they showed pictures of were not even extermination camps.  In fact, Theresiendstadt (which was one of the camps shown in the pictures) was one of the most used German camps for propaganda.  In their article Therensiendstadt, The Holocaust Memorial Museum states, [The Germans’] publicly stated purpose for the deportation of the Jews from Germany was their ‘resettlement to the east’, where they would be compelled to perform forced labor.”  This shows the deceit and lies entwined through the reputation of the Nazi’s prison and concentration camps.  They were not places of relaxation and rest during the war, but instead, were places of hard work and horror.
Westerbork was the second camp with pictures as an “example” of the laid-back lives at the camps, yet these illustrations were totally inaccurate.  For one, there are no dates under the pictures of the wedding at Westerbork.  Although at a glance this may not seem like a significant incident, with a closer look, it leads to an enormous problem.  Before the war, the Netherlands had created government camps to house Jews who were immigrating to their country.  Westerbork was one of these camps, and if the pictures shown in the Revisionist’s website were taking before the war, they would be totally invalid.  Also, it would make total sense if a couple was being married in an immigration camp opposed to a concentration camp.
            This leads to my example concerning the smiling children of Bergen-Belsen.  The childrens’ picture was given as an illustration of how they were treated well, and likewise, were contented with their conditions.  When I first saw this picture, I was led to question whether it was authentic or just more wartime propaganda.  However, General Eisenhower himself stated in his letter to General George C. Marshall that, “[he] made the visit[s to the camps] deliberately in order to be in position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develop[ed] a tendency to charge these allegations merely to ‘propaganda’.” Nevertheless, once I read the date of the picture, my doubts were set aside.  It was indeed a 1945 picture showing the liberation of Bergen-Belsen. (Is the Holocaust a Hoax?)
            Lastly I would like to show once more how these three examples would even be wrong if my findings had been wrong.  As I stated earlier, some German camps were used widely as propaganda.  This shows that even if the abovementioned pictures were of concentration camps during the war, they would have been pictures used for propaganda.  I do not only say this because Theresiendstadt was a German propaganda camp, but also from an actual example in Corrie ten Boom’s book, The Hiding Place.  At the ending when she was being inspected for release from Ravensbruck she was rejected.  This confused Corrie so she asked,
            “‘Then—we’re not—aren’t we to be released?’  [The trusty answered her saying], 
‘I imagine you will be, as soon as the swelling in your legs goes down… They only release you if you’re in good condition.’”  The guard not only admitted the fact to Corrie, but also to the world.  They wanted the camps to look clean and friendly.  They wanted the camps to be accepted.  They wanted the camps to be thought of as wonderful in later years.  Sadly they accomplished their wish and have found their outlet in the Holocaust Revisionists.
Despite all this evidence there are individuals who are closed minded to the horrific acts during the Second World War.  They do not want to believe the truth.  They do not want to realize the facts.  They do not want to acknowledge that mankind is sinful and is indeed capable of doing unimaginable crime.  Still, the Holocaust is a part of our history as much as the Jews, and no matter what deniers say, it will stay a part of the history of the world.

Works Cited
Eisenhower, Dwight D. Letter to George C. Marshall. 15 Apr. 1945. Eisenhower Archives. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Apr. 2014.
"Is the Holocaust a Hoax?" Is the Holocaust a Hoax? Ed. Mark Weber. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014.
Ten Boom, Corrie, John Sherrill, and Elizabeth Sherrill. The Hiding Place. Toronto: Bantam, 1971. Print.
"Theresienstadt." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 10 June 2013. Web. 08 Apr. 2014.

"Westerbork." United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. United States Holocaust Memorial Council, 10 June 2013. Web. 07 Apr. 2014.

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