Thursday, June 14, 2007
A weak reason to "believe" in the Holocaust: Thoughts on the statement by the Indonesian former President
In a previous post I quoted the statement made at the Bali conference on the Holocaust by Abdurrahman Wahid, the former president of Indonesia. In it he said he saw the shoes at Auschwitz and that convinced him.
Maybe he is using shoes as a metaphor for the factory of death which is Auschwitz-Birkenau. In any case, the shoes could be a ploy brought there after the war. As compelling as they are, they are certainly not the most convincing bit of evidence.
The Holocaust has the dubious distinction of being the best documented genocide in the world. There is a mound of evidence [mound may not be the right word to use in this context.... then again it might be the perfect word...] from perpetrators, victims, and bystanders. There is material evidence. There is documentary evidence. There is testimony. And there is the fact that approximately 6 million Jews went missing.
I welcome Abdurrahman Wahid's statement. I just thought it important to make this observation.
Posted by Deborah Lipstadt at 6:24 AM
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your point about the evidence is well put. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that as much as one can deny most forms of evidence, one simply cannot escape from the fact that 6 million people 'disappeared'. If the holocaust never happened then where are those people? The question demands that the evidence be considered in the context of 6 million disappearances. As such the testimony of survivors, perpetrators and liberators carries a huge weight of truth.
As terrible as the Holocaust has been, claims of being the "best documented genocide" is at best dubious. As recently as 1994, a million Rwandese people were killed in less than four months. This genocide has been well documented where specific evidence of a big percentage of all of the killings exist.
While there is tremendous evidence of the Rwandese genocide [I have seen much of it], I do not know if there exists the traditional documentation [i.e. pieces of paper]that exists in connection to the Holocaust. That's what I meant by that statement.
In both cases those who would try to deny or rewrite history [as is happening to a certain degree in relation to Rwanda] face the obstacle of this mountain of evidence. They will, of course, try to surmount it...
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