Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Ward Churchill and David Irving: Full of Hubris and Hoisted on their own Petard

Churchill was fired from the University of Colorado for fabricating and plagiarizing in his published writings, sued the university, claiming he was "unfairly targeted for controversial remarks he made post-9/11. CU found him to be a plagiarist with poor academic integrity." (Daily Camera, March 3).

The author argues that

both Churchill and Irving exhibit the same kind of hubris: both felt, and feel, that nothing they could state, no matter how outrageous, could hurt them. Both of these two self-defined geniuses forgot the basic principle of being a successful prevaricator and that is: do not bring attention to yourself when you know perfectly well you have things that you wish to hide or at least not have generally discussed. Both of these two men used either bogus "historical research" works or, when unable to find data for their ideology, created the data out of whole cloth.

Regarding Churchill's court case, the author observes that

Churchill and his attorneys don't even bother to defend their case by solid evidence against the accusations of plagiarism, subterfuge and scholastic inappropriateness made by CU. Instead, their thrust seems to be to try to disregard such charges and claim that Churchill is being persecuted because of his merely unpopular (but very shrill!) article in which he claimed that the victims of the Twin Tower attack of 9/11 were nothing other but "little Eichmanns."

Both Irving and Churchill could have gone along spreading their nefarious lies and fabrications and, in Churchill's case, plagiarism [not one of Irving's "sins" as far as I know] had they not both been blinded by their hubris,

Had Irving not sued me, we would never have exposed the extent of his lies and distortions. Had Churchill not reveled in saying the outrageous there would not have been the in depth investigation of his plagiarism and his lies about his academic record.

[once again thanks to Sara Salzman for bringing this to my attention]

Sunday, March 29, 2009

More Soft Core Denial

In another indication that "soft-core" Holocaust denial is on the rise there is a story coming out of Brazil in which an Archbishop Dadeus Grings, from Porto Alegre in southern Brazil, told advertising magazine "Press & Advertising" on Friday:
"The Jews talk about six million people killed. But how many Catholics were victims of the Holocaust? They were 22 million in all."

According to the news reports the archbishop also said that while "Jews say they were the main victims of the Holocaust, the biggest victims were the gypsies, because they were exterminated."

This is pure historical gobbledygook. It is simply wrong. Many Christians were murdered but there was no plan to wipe out all Christians, particularly since it was Christians who were running the operation.

And gypsies were murdered. That is correct. But there was not a universal decision on the part of the German Third Reich to kill all gypsies [had the German won the war gypsies might well have been killed in their entirety and/or sterilized].

The difference between gypsies and Jews was that antisemitism -- hatred of Jews -- was the driving force of Nazi ideology.

In any case this Archbishop is one step away from Williamson, except that he is part of the mainstream Church. It will be interesting and telling to watch how the Vatican handles this.

Interestingly the Archbishop is from a German emigre family and is 72 years old.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fanny Winkler z"l, Cremated in Terezin March 17 1944 [22 Adar]

22 Adar 5769

I am currently in residence at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. A friend of mine, Monica Katz, gave me the names of her grandparents and great grandparents to see if there were any records on them. Since they were from Austria the documentation is pretty complete. [It's much harder -- though not impossible -- to find information on family members from Poland or Russia.]

Yesterday I went into the Survivors Registry division of the Museum to find out if they had found anything. Megan, the researcher working on this project, showed me what she had, which includes deportation lists, emigration files, and a cremation card from Terezin for Monica's great grandmother, Fanny Winkler.

She printed out a copy of the card for me and, as I was walking back to my office, I noticed that the cremation date was March 17, 1944. Yesterday.

I looked up the equivalent date on the Hebrew calendar and it was the 22 of Adar, which began last night and continues through today until night. And, it turns out, her great great granddaughter Caroline's birthday is Adar 22.

So last night and today Fanny Winkler's great grandchildren in Atlanta and Montreal and great great grandchildren in New York, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Montreal and many other places were able to mark her death. This morning her great great granddaughter, Meira, was in synagogue saying kaddish for her.

All for the first time in 65 years.

May her memory be for a blessing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Pope Benidict Aplogizes for Bishop Williamson Matter

In what has been described as an unusally personal statement, the Pope has apologized for the Vatican's handling of the Williamson matter.

And for those who need a reminder of both the lies Williamson has spread and of the fact of just how much information about him was available, see all these collections of videos.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Holocaust Equivalency [Israel = Nazis] as a Form of Holocaust Denial

I shall have much more to say about this in the near future but for the moment let me note that I am increasingly concerned about the soft-core forms of Holocaust denial one sees particularly in Europe.

Calling Israelis Nazis, comparing Israel's actions to genocide, and other such comments, show an ignorance of both contemporary and WWII history.

Whatever you may think about Israel's policies vis a vis the Palestinians, to compare it to the Holocaust is to distort what is going on today as well as what went on during WWII.

This picture, taken in Malmoe, the third largest city in Sweden, says it all. It reads
1941 Zyklon B 1945 Nuclear bomb
1965 Naplam 1983 Mustard gas [Iran/Iraq war?]
2009 White Phosphorous
[Thanks to Stéphane Bruchfeld for bringing this to my attention. He adds that the demonstration was by youth who clearly did not make the banner. Adults did.]

For Sale Hitler's Hair and Bones: No Comment Necessary

This article from yesterday's Daily Telegraph speaks for itself:

Holocaust Denier David Irving Sets Up Nazi Memorabilia Website

The right-wing author, who was jailed in Austria for denying the Holocaust, says that the online store is the only way he can make money after being declared bankrupt in 2002.

Items up for sale on the site include Hitler's walking stick, available for £7,000, and a goblet and spoon given as a christening present by Heinrich Himmler to Hermann Goering's daughter, which can be bought for £4,000.

Irving authenticates the goods, which are offered by other sellers, and takes a 15 per cent cut commission.

The 70-year-old says he is currently trying to confirm the authenticity of bones said to be from Hitler and his girlfriend Eva Braun. Strands of the Fuhrer's hair are also expected to go on sale for £130,000.


Irving was unapologetic about his activities and said there was demand for "authenticated" Nazi memorabilia.

"I have a living to make and this is how I make my money...."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Letter in NY Times on Irving "the historian"

I have a letter in today's New York Times. I was not surprised when I learned that so-called Bishop Williamson's first stop in the UK was to consult with David Irving. Birds of a feather flock together...

I was surprised that the Times chose to describe Irving as an historian.

To the Editor:

“Vatican Calls the Apology of a Bishop Insufficient” (news article, Feb. 28) reports that the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson has consulted with David Irving. Mr. Irving is a fitting partner for him.

Strangely, Mr. Irving is described in the article as a “historian.” When he sued me for libel for calling him a Holocaust denier, the court ruled that his “falsification of the historical record was deliberate” and motivated by “ideological beliefs,” including anti-Semitism and racism.

The judge called Mr. Irving’s writings on the Holocaust “misleading,” “unjustified,” a “travesty” and “unreal.” He “perverts” and “distorts.” This is not the description of a historian. It is the description of a denier.

Deborah E. Lipstadt
Washington, Feb. 28, 2009

The writer is a professor of modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University.

LA Cardinal Mahoney Bars Williamson... for the Wrong Reasons

Bishop Mahoney of the LA archdiocese has barred Williamson from from any Roman Catholic church, school or other facility in LA. Apparently this was Cardinal Mahoney's idea.

It is, of course, largely symbolic in that Williamson has not given any sign that LA was on his travel itinerary.

What I found jarring was the statement by the spokesman for the archdiocese. "The cardinal wishes to send a clear signal to the Jewish community that Williamson is not a member or even welcome in the Catholic Church until he renounces his views"

This should not be a message to the Jewish community but to all people who think truth is important -- irrespective of their faith,

It should be a message that people who lie about history, distort the truth, express antisemitic and racist views, and pervert facts in order to defend one of the most diabolical regimes in history are not welcome in the LA archdiocese.

Racists, for example, should be shunned not to send a message to minority communities but because racists spread hatred, instill contempt, and work against communal tranquility.

I don't mean to quibble over this strong statement on Cardinal Mahoney's part. But to do this and define it as a message to the "victims" is to miss the point.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Herman Rosenblat has Company in the World of Baseball: Another Fraudster

Seems that a memoir by a former minor league baseball recruit -- who is now a doctor -- is quite fabricated. Attempts to fact check the stories have come up with all sorts of contradictions and falsifications.

The New York Times notes that the author is a graduate of Yale and of Harvard Medical School now working as an intern in the residency program at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia hospital in New York. This is a pretty serious pedigree.

statistics from that season, transaction listings and interviews with his former teammates indicate that many portions of the book are incorrect, embellished or impossible.

Matt McCarthy, the author -- how would you like to have this guy for your doctor -- insists that the book, Odd Man Out, which is full of salacious stories about various baseball players, is true because it is how he remembers it and it is his reality....

Sound familiar? He could be reading from the Rosenblat/Salomon playbook.

Moreover, the paper notes
this scandal comes during a difficult period for the publishing industry, which has recently had three major memoirs — James Frey’s infamous “A Million Little Pieces” and the recollections of a Holocaust survivor and of an inner-city foster child — exposed as mostly fabricated. The authors of those books have acknowledged their fraud.
Please note the use of the words "fabricated" and the authors have "acknowledged their fraud."

I wonder if Harris Salomon is going to go after the Times and threaten a libel suit unless they print a retraction.


Monday, March 2, 2009

Delegation from Hollywood Goes to Iran: Did They Ask the Crucial Question?

Seems that a group of Hollywood folks have gone off to Iran to make nice with fellow filmmakers. Iranian filmmakers are hoping to use this opportunity to expose them to Iranian films.

The Hollywood folks probably expected to sit and sing a round of Kumbaya. Instead they Iranian government demanded an apology for films that insulted Iran. Among those films was one about an American woman married to an Iranian man. The mother had to smuggle her daughter out of Iran when the Iranians would not let her leave with her. It's a true story... but I won't be surprised if the Hollywood delegation apologizes for it.

The attack on American films did not seem to phase some of the filmmakers. Phil Alden Robinson, director and writer of Field of Dreams, who rather dreamily declared that "today is my birthday and I cannot think of any other place I wanted to be other than here."

The NYTimes placed the story of the Hollywood folks' visit next to an article about an NPR reporter who has been arrested and detained by the Iranians. As of this morning nothing has been heard from her.

Did/ will the filmmakers ask about her?

Did/ will they make it clear that everything about their profession calls for freedom of creativity and freedom of the press?

Did/ will they even mention her?

Did/ will they say that nothing will change as long as Iran is one of the most dangerous places in the world for journalists?

I predict that they will return full of rapture for Iran and the wonderful country that it is. They will probably suggest we should ignore the Holocaust denial and threats against Israel and antisemitism that spews forth from that country. [And the open attacks on homosexuals.]

Ken Waltzer's Essay is Back on HNN Despite Harris Salomon's Best Efforts

History News Network has posted Ken Waltzer's essay on Herman Rosenblat despite Harris Salomon's efforts to keep it off HNN. HNN's editors have also posted a response to Harris Salomon's complaints.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Revelations About the Toll Raoul Wallenberg's Disappearance Took on His Family and Sweden's Failure to Pursue It's Most Honored Citizen

The Wall Street Journal has a lengthy article exposing the terrible toll the attempt to find out what happened to Raoul Wallenberg took on his family. It is a horrifying tale and reminiscent of the brutality of the Soviet regime [and post-Soviet as well... after all Putin could clear up the mystery in a nano-second].

In addition to the Soviets, who were the main culprits, Sweden failed to do much to pursue Wallenberg's fate. This constitutes an enduring blot on Sweden's reputation.

Wallenberg demonstrated how different the story of the Holocaust would have been had there been more people such as him.