In order to evaluate Irving’s work, Evans undertakes a study of the phenomenon of Holocaust denial and of Irving’s books. He also reviewed a trove of Irving’s speeches and other incidental materials obtained in discovery from Irving prior to the trial.
Evans usefully summarizes the phenomenon of Holocaust denial as comprising four elements that constitute the creed of its proponents: 1) the Nazis murdered far fewer than six million Jews; the number was a few hundred thousand, comparable to the number of German civilians killed in Allied bombing raids; 2) the Nazis never used gas chambers to kill large numbers of Jews at any time (the concentration camps were not death factories) and the supposed evidence of such instrumentalities after the war was fabricated; 3) Hitler and the Nazi leadership undertook no extermination program against the Jews, they only wanted to deport them to Eastern Europe; 4) the “Holocaust” was invented by Allied propaganda during the war and carried on afterwards by self-interested Jews. In the United States, the principal organ of Holocaust denial is the Institute for Historical Review, an organization that seems to be experiencing something of a revival in connection with the war against terrorism.
How does Irving’s work stack up against the tenets of Holocaust denial identified by Evans and Lipstadt? I will to summarize Evans’s findings in my next blog.
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