|The story below is originally published on Mainichi Daily News by Mainichi Shinbun (http://mdn.mainichi.jp).|
|They admitted inventing its kinky features, or rather deliberately mistranslating them from the original gossip magazine.|
|In fact, this is far from the general Japanese' behavior or sense of worth.|
An article claiming the Holocaust was a fabrication causes an uproar abroad and leads to the shut down of Marco Polo.
Michael Hoffman reports.
"'The Holocaust' was a fabricated story.
The gas chambers and so on at Auschwitz and the other concentration camps didn't exist.
The 'gas chambers' currently open to the public at the remains of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland were built either by the postwar Polish Communist government, or else by its patron, the Soviet Union.
Neither at Auschwitz nor anywhere else in territory occupied by Germany during World War II, did even one 'mass extermination of Jews' occur in 'gas chambers.'" -- Masanori Nishioka, Marco Polo (February).
"Mr. Ambassador, this article is more than a cruel joke.
It is a monstrous attack on history and the innocent victims of Nazism that slanders an entire people.
It was timed to appear at the very moment that world leaders gather at Auschwitz (Jan 25 27 1995) to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the liberation of that death factory and the innocent who were systematically murdered there." -- Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, a holocaust research organization, in a letter to Takakazu Kuriyama, Japanese ambassador to the U.S.
"We have apologized to the Wisenthal Center for the article.
On reflection, we decided to discontinue the publication (of Marco Polo).
After rereading the article, we found it had a superficial understanding of Jewish issues and lacked fairness." -- Tadashi Saito of Bungei Shunju, which published Marco Polo.
Holocaust denial is as old as the Holocaust, and the first deniers were the Jews, Elie Wiesel, writer, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, survivor of Auschwitz and Buchenwald, told the story in Night, his camp memoir.
One day in 1943 all the foreign-born Jews of his hometown in Hungary were rounded up and "crammed into cattle trains."
They disappeared from view and vanished from memory.
Months later, one returned.
He had escaped.
He told how the Jews were taken into a forest and make to dig graves.
"And when they had finished their work," Wiesel writes, "the Gestapo began theirs.
Without passion, without haste, they slaughtered their prisoners."
The lone survivor went from house to house to sound a warning.
No one believed him.
They thought him mad.
Not long afterward, the cattle trains came for the native-born Jews.
More recent exercises in Holocaust denial, less respectable and far more sinister, are generally linked in the public mind to Nazi revival movements in Germany and elsewhere.
Nishioka, however, is at pains to dissociate himself and his ideas from the lunatic-fringe right.
"I have absolutely no intention of defending wartime German policy towards Jews," he writes in Marco Polo.
"Although the mass extermination of Jews in concentration camps never took place, it is a clear historical fact that innocent Jews were made to suffer by Germany."
He proceeds to name "Jewish scholars" and a French resistance fighter who, though far from being neo-Nazis, are confirmed Holocaust deniers.
Put aside your prejudices, he urges, as he himself did -- for, he says, he only arrived at his conclusions after years of research.
"Forget Schindler's List -- a movie is not history."
Nishioka himself is not a historian; he is a doctor.
Be that as it may, his reading led him to several conclusions, which he summarizes early in his article.
Certainly the Nazis were nati-Semitic -- but, he argues, they wanted the Jews alive and working as slaves for the Third Reich, not dead.
It was no part of Nazi policy to slaughter Jews en masse.
The much-touted Final Solution was not the extermination of the Jewish race, but the forced resettlement of Jews in the conquered territory of Eastern Europe.
The piles of corpses that so appalled the Allied liberators as they closed in on Hitler's "thousand-year Reich" were victims not of gas chambers but of typhus and other diseases which raged as the war turned against Germany and sanitation deteriorated.
"For example, there was a concentration camp in the suburbs of Munich called Dachau."
Here, writes Nishioka, the U. S. Army released photographic "proof" of the existence of a "gas chamber."
The photo shows a door, and above the door a white death's head and sign in German reading.
"Attention! Gas! Lethal! Don't Open!"
In fact, Nishioka argues, this was no gas chamber, it was a delousing chamber.
With typhus breaking out all over the place, disinfection was an urgent concern.
DDT was scarce, and so a disinfectant called Zyklon B was used as a substitute.
Readers steeped in standard Holocaust literature will recognize Zyklon B as the hydrogen cyanide gas which purportedly had a less innocent application -- but that's the "official explanation."
Nishioka quotes a scientist to the effect that Zyklon B was insufficiently lethal to kill large numbers of people, and in any case, he says, Zyklon B, being highly explosive, would have incinerated the incinerators that were supposedly located near the so-called gas chambers.
Here we must pause for a moment to introduce a measure of perspective.
There is certainly nothing wrong with a doctor talking up history as a hobby, questioning accepted dogma, and courting controversy.
But Nishioka's investigation is, to say the least, incomplete.
Nazism, apart from having wreaked its havoc within living memory, is one of the most thoroughly documented phenomena in history.
The Nazis were bureaucrats first, demons second -- they were compulsive record-keeners.
William L. Shirer, author of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, refers to "485 tons of records of the German Foreign Office, captured by the U.S. First Army in various castles and mines in the Harz Mountains just as they were about to be burned on orders from Berlin" -- to say nothing of "a vast bulk of (Nazi) secret papers (and) other priceless material such as private diaries, highly secret speeches, conference reports and correspondence, and even transcripts of telephone conversations..."
There is nothing in the Marco Polo article to suggest Nishioka ever tested his theories either on survivors or against this mountain of primary documents; instead he relies mainly on such tendentious sources as The Hoax of the Twentieth Century by Arthur Butz, whose title seems to promise precisely what Nishioka would want to hear.
The "Final Solution" didn't mean extermination?
An Auschwitz commander by the name of Rudolf hoess, whose testimony at the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal Shirer quotes, apparently thought otherwise, for he said baldly enough, "The 'Final Solution' of the Jewish question meant the complete extermination of all Jews in Europe."
No gas chambers?
This same Hoess tells of being "ordered to establish extermination facilities at Auschwitz in June 1941."
It was Hoess who claimed credit for discovering the lethal potentials of Zyklon B -- which had indeed been originally developed as a powerful disinfectant.
Again, as quoted by Shirer, he mentions another camp commandant who used monoxide gas, and continues, "I did not think that his methods were very efficient.
So when I set up the extermination building at Auschwitz, I used Zyklon B ... which we dropped into the death chamber from a small opening.
It took from three to 15 minutes to kill the people in the death chamber, depending upon climatic conditions ...
"Another improvement we made over Treblinka was that we built our gas chambers to accommodate 2,000 people at one time, whereas at Treblinka their 10 gas chambers only accommodated 200 people each ...
"We knew when the people were dead because their screaming stopped."