The Holocaust Historiography Project

Arthur R. Butz archive

Faith in ‘Holocaust’ Required

by Arthur R. Butz

A passage in The New York Times Book Review of 19 October 1997 (p. 19) is too easily passed over. David Greenberg was reviewing the memoirs of John Toland, historian best known for a Hitler biography and the book Infamy, on the Pearl Harbor attack. Greenberg is a Richard Hofstadter Fellow in American History at Columbia University.

Greenberg considers Toland’s conclusions on Pearl Harbor ill-considered. Greenberg continues:

More disturbingly, he writes: One of the most difficult problems I faced early in 1971 was how to get at the truth about the Final Solution. A number of high-ranking Germans were convinced either that the stories of the killings were gross exaggerations or that Hitler was not personally responsible for the killings. Although Toland decisively rejects both claims, the very fact that he considers this a historical problem — a matter of weighing two potentially bona fide points of view — betrays a naïveté especially dangerous in a historian.

Greenberg chastises Toland for suggesting that the legend may be examined in fundamental respects. This is another incident showing that influential members of our intellectual classes demand an obstinate faith in the Holocaust similar to religious faith. Perhaps the best example is provided by the infamous letter signed by 34 historians that appeared in Le Monde of 21 February 1979. It declared, in attempting to refute the claims of Robert Faurisson:

It is not necessary to wonder how, technically, such mass murder was possible. It was technically possible because it took place. That is the compulsory point of departure for all historical inquiry on this subject. It is fitting for us to simply repeat this truth: there is not and cannot be any debate on the existence of the gas chambers.

Observe that Greenberg considers Toland’s routine use of his critical faculties dangerous. Indeed it is. Thinking has always been dangerous, and in manifold respects.

28 October 1997.

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