The Holocaust Denial did not happen!

When this blog was started, there was some discussion of an editorial policy. Several people were concerned that people denying the Holocaust (or other contraversial comments) could add comments, and what should we do about it. Others said that within the guidelines and the law, such debate should be allowed to see the light of day; it being wrong to deny such debate as it could gain legitimacy by being supressed.

Let’s put this in a context of the last few weeks:

Prince harry says sorry for wearing a Nazi uniform the week before the commemoration of 60 years since the camps at Auschwitz, etc were liberated.

A BBC poll identified 60% of under-35s had never heard of Auschwitz. This was conducted as part of the preparation for the recent TV series which is ironic as this is 1% for every year… Nearly two thirds of your young friends, or maybe even you reading this, do not know about the ‘Final Solution’. We don’t need people to deny the Holocaust ever happened when people don’t even know there is something to deny. Ignorance is not bliss.

Maybe, we should be grateful to Harry for raising the issue so publically. Maybe, we should be grateful to the person that saw fit to publish pictures from what critics point out was a ‘private’ party. If they hadn’t, maybe more people would not have realised that they did not know about Auschwitz, and been prompted to ask friends or relatives.

Ten years ago, I was at a conference in Krakaw, and visited Oshwiechim (the Polish name for Auschwitz) and Birkenau camps. Four of us, a Welsh pagan, a Scottish jew, a young German and someone serving in the British Army. The experience can not be put into words at present. Maybe I will follow this post up with a future comment.

Just wanted to say, we all have a duty to freedom of speech, but also the speech of freedom.



3 comments


    Mark Brake

    February 1, 2005

    For those of you perhaps perplexed as to what Mike’s comments
    have to do with a blog on the communnication of science, a
    couple of notes.

    My first point of reference is the website “Holocaust Denial on
    Trial”:http://www.hdot.org/nsindex.html

    For those of you unaware of the fact, David Irving, a prolific
    author from Britain, dabbled around the edge of Holocaust
    denial for many years. Writing from the 1960s on, he admitted
    that the Holocaust occurred, but whitewashed Hitler, suggesting
    the ridiculous notion that the mass murder of Jews was carried
    on by others, behind the German leader???s back.

    Happily he came a real cropper in 2000 in a London courtroom
    when Deborah Lipstadt, Emory University’s internationally
    distinguished scholar of the Holocaust, exposed him of
    deliberately manipulating historical evidence in order to refute
    that the Holocaust happened, and to advance his anti-Semitic
    and white supremacist ideology.

    Secondly, in his marvellous book “Why People Believe Weird
    Things”:http://skepdic.com/refuge/weird.html , Michael
    Shermer deals with issues of “pseudoscience, superstition, and
    other confusions of our time”. The entire tome is a debunking
    of the illogical and irrational in these rather troubled times.
    Chapter 14 is particularly interesting since Shermer exposes the
    tempting arguments of the pseudohistorians of Nazism.
    Pseudoscience, he suggests, could be considered the thin end of
    the wedge of such pseudohistory.

    JJ

    February 1, 2005

    This is highly inappropriate comment for a University’s Astronomy blog. The author clearly has very little understanding of the reasons for applying an editorial policy, and even less understanding of how to act in the absence of one. Please, never inflict anything like ‘…we all have a duty to freedom of speech, but also the speech of freedom’ on us again. For God’s sake.

    Do us all a favour and write to inform us about astronomy, not to stir up sixth form level debate on issues better handled by the experts.

    Mark Brake

    February 1, 2005

    Difference Engine is a group weblog exploring our cultured
    universe from Asimov to apocalypse, and everything between.

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