Archive for the ‘Holocaust Denial’ Category

Vast German archive holds the secret to combating Holocaust denial – The Times of Israel

Israeli Holocaust survivor Moshe Bar-Yuda was a young boy in Czechoslovakia when World War II broke out. He managed to survive in Hungary by assuming false identities and made it to Palestine before the end of the war. Later, he reunited with his mother, who was released from her married status by the Tel Aviv rabbinical court in 1948, on the presumption that her husband Alfred Kastner had been murdered in the Holocaust. There were rumors that Kastner had been killed at Majdanek, or perhaps Auschwitz.

In 2008, Bar-Yuda wanted to see if he could finally get an answer as to where his father died, so he approached Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for help. A list of deportees to the Novaky camp in Slovakia from March 27, 1942 in the Holocaust remembrance centers archives confirmed Bar-Yudas childhood recollection that his father had been snatched from the street as they walked on the Sabbath before Passover.

But the answer to where Kastner was killed was not at Yad Vashem. It was in Bad Arolsen, Germany, buried somewhere in a complex of six buildings filled from floor to ceiling with 30 million original documents relating to the fates of 17.5 million victims of Nazi persecution. This massive archive, known at the International Tracing Service (ITS), contains a staggering amount of material, most of it collected by Allied forces as they liberated Europe, beginning in 1943.

Inside ITS in Bad Arolsen, Germany. (Richard Ehrlich/USHMM)

The ITS shelves are crammed with concentration camp documents, transport and deportation lists, Gestapo arrest and prison records, and forced and slave labor documentation. The archive also includes millions of displaced persons I.D. cards and files, as well as post-war resettlement and emigration records. There are cemetery records for deceased forced laborers and prisoners, and concentration camp survivor testimonies taken by liberating forces. Some 2.5 million files alone contain post-WWII correspondence from people inquiring about the fates and whereabouts of their loved ones.

The Majdanek crematoria list that confirmed the location and date of Moshe Bar-Yudas father Alfred Kastners murder. (Courtesy ITS via Yad Vashem)

Among these hundreds of millions of pages are two that solved the mystery of Alfred Kastners murder: a list of people burned in the crematoria at Majdanek on September 7, 1942, and a letter from Bar-Yudas mother to ITS dated from 1958 inquiring about information on Kastner. The birth date Bar-Yudas mother gave for his father in the letter matched the birth date listed for the Alfred Kastner on the crematoria list, which confirmed for Bar-Yuda that his father was indeed murdered in Majdanek.

Bar-Yuda now not only knows where his father was killed, but also the exact date.

After saying kaddish for my father for 60 years on the general day of mourning (10 Tevet), now I have a specific yahrtzeit. And while it doesnt comfort me, or make me happy, there is a kind of satisfaction here. I can now move forward, he said.

These and the other ITS records were for the most part inaccessible to the public until 2007. Even some Holocaust academics and educators were unaware of this enormous, invaluable archive and its holdings until it was opened up following 10 years of pressure that eventually led to the ratification of amendments to international agreements governing the ITS.

Much has changed in the decade since the ITS was more broadly opened, but much more could be done to make its contents accessible to all those interested worldwide. Approximately 200 million pages are digitized (80% of the collection) and shared with seven partner institutions, including Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. However, only 80,000 of the archives 30 million documents can be directly accessed online at the ITS website by a personal computer.

Moshe Bar-Yudas mothers 1958 letter to ITS asking for information on her husband Alfred Kastner, murdered in the Holocaust. (Courtesy ITS via Yad Vashem)

Many believe that developments with the ITS over the next decade will be crucial, as they watch the number of Holocaust survivors dwindle and Holocaust denial grow.

Holocaust denial today takes many forms some by selectively distorting the details, some by diminishing the specific targeting of Jews for annihilation, some by excusing the behavior of the perpetrators, and some by transforming their anti-Semitic intent into anti-Israel rhetoric. All of these forms of Holocaust denial trivialization, minimization, universalization or inversion are all forms of denial of central aspects of the Holocaust, wrote Dr. Elana Yael Heideman, executive director of the Israel Forever Foundation, which co-sponsored a February symposium in Jerusalem honoring the 10th anniversary of the opening of the ITS.

The impeccable records kept by the Nazis are crucial to countering these attempts, as they will enable new researchers to accurately and specifically address circumstances and details of the dehumanization and extermination processes for future generations to learn from, Heideman wrote in a Times of Israel blog post.

Ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Times of Israel spoke with a number of individuals closely associated with the ITS archive to learn more about the process of opening it more broadly, and how it is increasingly used by survivors, their families, and scholars to reveal evidence, answers and insights that have been hidden away since the war.

The Allied forces began collecting whatever Nazi documentation they came across as they liberated Europe as early as 1943.

In January 1946, responsibility for these records was transferred to the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) which was tasked with accommodating, reuniting, caring for, and repatriating millions of displaced persons. The collected documents were deposited at Bad Arolsen, Germany, which was located roughly in the center of the four occupation zones and had the rare advantage of an intact infrastructure.

On July 1, 1947, the mandate for dealing with the refugees and displaced persons, as well as the collected documents, was handed over to the IRO (International Refugee Organization). The name of the bureau was changed to International Tracing Service on January 1, 1948, reflecting its main postwar purpose locating survivors and reuniting them with family members.

The Central Name Index is the key to the archives of ITS and has been the most relevant working tool for the search for traces over many decades. (Cornelis Gollhardt/ITS)

The ITS has 50 million index cards in its Central Names Index (CNI). Each card lists references to documents the archive holds on a single individual. The index has 849 different spellings for Abramovich alone. Approximately one quarter of the material at ITS pertains to Jewish victims of National Socialism.

In 1955, an International Commission was established to govern the ITS and appoint its director. Nine European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK), plus Israel and the US are represented on the commission.

ITS director Floriane Azoulay Hohenberg (Cornelis Gollhardt/ITS)

From 1955 until December 2012, the ITS was managed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on behalf of the commission. Material continued to be collected up until 2007, but as no inventory was ever published of the archives holdings during the ICRC era, it was impossible to know the extent and full nature of the information housed at Bad Arolsen. ITS released an online searchable general inventory in English and Germany earlier this year.

In 2013 the International Commission appointed American historian Dr. Rebecca Boehling ITS director. Floriane Azoulay Hohenberg, a human rights expert and French-born Jew of North African heritage assumed the institutions leadership in January 2016.

The German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) is the institutional partner of the ITS, with the German Federal Government Commission for Culture and Media (BKM) funding the 14 million ITS annual budget in its entirety.

The main building of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany built in 1952. (Andreas Greiner-Napp/ITS)

Paul Shapiro, director of International Affairs, and director emeritus of the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at USHMM, faced many difficulties in his years-long, persistent efforts to open the ITS archives.

Dr. Paul Shapiro (Courtesy USHMM)

As Shapiro wrote in a 2009 article for Reform Judaism magazine, he felt a moral obligation to survivors and their families, and knew that it was a race against time to get it opened before the last survivors passed away.

The number of visitors to ITS over the years was extremely small because people didnt know what was there. Survivors were definitely not welcome, Shapiro told The Times of Israel.

According to Shapiro, inquiries and requests for information went unacknowledged and unanswered for years. He recounted that when he visited the archive in 2002, then-director Charles Biedermann coolly mentioned that there was a backlog of 450,000 requests for information.

Furthermore, there was no way to know if a response that was eventually issued was correct or complete, because it was ITS policy to never send a copy of the original documents.

And scholars would just get the run around among the ICRC, ITS management and the German government if they tried to access the archive. So they would just go to sources that were more open to them, Shapiro added.

Shapiro said he doesnt suspect the ICRC or the various governments represented on the International Commission of trying to hide anything that was in the archive.

Yad Vashem has had a microfilm copy of part of the ITS archives collection since the late 1950s. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI)

I think it was simply an issue of their not thinking that this information was important enough to share. In the aftermath of WWII, survivors were not seen as a potent group of people. There was no move made to help them understand their experience, Shapiro said.

Whereas Shapiros efforts have resulted in the provision of broader access to the information held at Bad Arolsen, parts of the archives holdings had already been shared since as early as the 1950s.

ITS has been more open at some times than at others, ITS director Hohenberg told The Times of Israel in an interview in Tel Aviv, where she was visiting over the recent Passover holiday.

Dr. Haim Gertner (Courtesy Yad Vashem)

There was definitely a big change in 2007, but prior to that ITS cooperated with memorial sites, provided material used in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, and also dealt with millions of inquiries from individuals seeking family members or information to support reparations claims, she said.

Dr. Haim Gertner, director of the archives division and the Fred Hillman chair for Holocaust documentation at Yad Vashem confirmed that in the late 1950s his institution obtained microfilm copies of all ITS holdings acquired to that point pertaining to Jewish victims.

Yad Vashem staff used the ITS material to help people find information. It was one of the many resources we used over the years, Gertner said.

However, Gertner acknowledged that the material available now through the digital version shared and regularly updated by ITS is much more extensive and comprehensive. For example, the crematoria list that confirmed where Alfred Kastner was murdered was deposited at ITS only in the 1960s, so it would not have been in the records originally shared with Yad Vashem.

The largest percentage of the 15,600 annual inquiries to the ITS continue to be from survivors and family members (14% and 66% respectively). Of the institutions 235 employees, 15 devote their time and energy solely to tracing activities. Staff at partner institutions also use the ITS resources to help people uncover either their or their familys history, or to search for relatives. In addition, genealogists and historical sleuths, both professional and amateur, now include ITS in their toolbox.

In some cases, there are unexpected, emotional reunions such as the one between a German woman named Ursula and an Israeli man named Eli, who discovered they were half-siblings. Ursula and her older brother Gerhard were conceived during a secret relationship between Nathan, a Romanian Jewish survivor, and Ruth, a non-Jewish German woman, in an American-organized DP camp in Heidenheimer Voith-Settlement. Nathan sailed to Palestine in 1948 while Ruth was pregnant with Ursula, who never met nor knew anything about her father other than that her mother said he was her one true love.

Anna Meier-Osinski, Head of Tracing Investigations into Nazi Victims Branch, among the 3 million correspondence files of the ITS. (Uwe Zucchi/ITS)

After her mother died in 2014, Ursula turned to the ITS for help in discovering her fathers identity. ITS, together with Magen David Adom in Israel, was able to not only provide Ursula with an answer, but also to connect her with her half brother Eli, who was born in 1956 (her father Nathan died in 1986). The siblings, who were thrilled to have found one another, met in person and continue to be in touch weekly.

In other cases, there are no such happy endings but there is a sense of closure. Shapiro spoke of his own first cousin who waved goodbye to his older brother and father as they were marched out of the Kovno Ghetto on a labor detachment.

He never saw them again. He didnt know where they went, or whether they were able to stay together. Hes now 80 years old, and he has agonized his whole life since then over not knowing, Shapiro said.

An ITS document indicated that the father and brother were both registered at the Stutthof labor camp near Danzig (Gdansk) some months later.

Their registration numbers were consecutive, which meant that they were still together at least at that point which gave my cousin comfort. It was only then that he was finally able to speak about his wartime experience. Until he got that information, he couldnt talk about it. It just shows you the power of a single document, Shapiro said.

USHMM researchers show documents they found in the ITS archive to requesters during a stop in Chicago on the museums 20th anniversary tour in the summer of 2013. (Courtesy USHMM)

Researchers and educators account for 15% of the inquiries that come in every year to ITS, but it is scholarship and education that is experiencing the greatest impact from the opening of the archive.

While Hohenberg and her team at the ITS work to put much more of the archives holdings online, along with necessary contextual information, scholars are already diving into the collection both at the now more welcoming Bad Arolsen facility, and at the sites of the digital copy holders. ITS, Yad Vashem, USHMM and other partners are working together to share best practices and devise new strategies for digging out the information buried in the archive.

Scholars use digitized ITS materials at USHMM. (Courtesy USHMM)

We are now working on using technology to better reorganize the information for scholars by creating more access points through more powerful search engine tools, Hohenberg said.

Hohenberg emphasized the potential of mining the archives holdings using big data methodologies. A current big data project underway maps the movement of people as they were persecuted during WWII.

Shapiro noted that scholars are discovering the unique ground level picture the ITS archive provides on events of the war. It reveals what happened from the perspective of millions of individuals, using documentary evidence which can be used to compliment diaries and memoirs of survivors. Importantly, it pieces together accurate biographies for those who did not survive to bear witness.

Dr. Elizabeth Anthony (Courtesy USHMM)

In her work directing USHMMs academic programs utilizing the ITS archives, Dr. Elizabeth Anthony leads seminars and workshops for scholars and university students on how to study the Holocaust through the ITS lens.

Anthony mentioned a particular Ben and Zelda Cohen fellow, Dr. Janine Holc of Loyola University, Maryland, who came to the museum in 2015-2016 to study a network of subcamps of Gross Rosen.

[ITS] resulted in benefits to her in ways we couldnt see at [first]. Once she got into the ITS collections she started to notice patterns among a specific group of Jewish female prisoners forced to labor in a particular camp they all came from the same small town in Poland, had all been arrested during the same short time period, and were all sent to this one subcamp, where the majority of them remained and were forced to labor throughout the war. Because of the way the ITS records are accessible en masse and digitally, she could analyze them in all new ways and come to new conclusions possibly first conclusions about this particular camp, Anthony said.

ITS has begun sharing early research results from it archival holdings, and Suzanne Brown-Fleming, director of the USHMM visiting scholars program, has published Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions: The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research.

In his introduction to Brown-Flemings book, Shapiro described a 2008 workshop in which 15 scholars dove into the then-newly opened archive to discover its contents and suggest research approaches. The ideas generated were many and varied.

And while it is true, as was often asserted as an argument against opening the records, that the ITS archive does not house records of grand strategy making or of the perpetrators planning and implementation of the Final Solution, on the basis of which so much history has been written, ITS powerfully documents the human factor the grinding routine of mans inhumanity to man, of prisoners efforts to survive one more day, of perpetrator calculations of how to reap the most benefit from disposable human assets consigned to their control, of occasional acts of courage and rescue, and of the herculean efforts of survivors to live after so much death, Shapiro wrote.

Prisoner identification cards were kept in the so-called registry offices of the concentration camps and showed a prisoners personal data, the reason for his/her incarceration and a physical description. (Andreas Greiner-Napp/ITS)

The opening of the ITS to research has been a boon to Holocaust scholars, but according to Yad Vashems Gertner, it will certainly not be the last collection of WWII material to come to light.

Only a portion of the Nazi material made it to the ITS. Some of it is in other archives around the world, and more stuff is being found all the time in Russia and the Eastern Bloc in the post-Soviet era, he said.

Still, the ITS will play a key role in combating Holocaust denial in the years ahead. All those familiar with it recognize the power of using this vast quantity of dehumanizing documentation to restore the humanity of the Nazis victims.

Whats in that archive is so detailed that no one could manufacture it, Shapiro said.

DP card. In a policy paper drafted on 18 November 1944, the Allies coined the term “Displaced Persons,” prescribed how the survivors of Nazi terror were to be treated, cared for, and returned to their countries of origin. (ITS)

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Vast German archive holds the secret to combating Holocaust denial – The Times of Israel

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Holocaust denial leaflets strewn at 2 Australian universities – The Times of Israel

SYDNEY Leaflets denying the Holocaust were placed on car windshields on two university campuses in Melbourne, Australia.

The leaflets began appearing in recent days at Monash University and the University of Melbourne at the same time of the opening in the city of Denial, a movie that portrays the court battle between Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust denier David Irving.

Containing slogans such as the greatest swindle of all time and the Holohoax, the leaflets say the official version of the Holocaust, which is also portrayed by Hollywood filmmakers, is demonstrably false.

These leaflets are the result of a nationally organized campaign to spread poisonous anti-Semitic conspiracies at our nations top universities, said the national chairwoman of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, Isabella Polger. They represent an atrocious assault on the dignity of Jewish students.

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has scheduled a meeting at Monash University, whose internal security department is investigating the incident.

Melbourne universities were the targets of anti-Semitic leaflets in 2016.

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London library makes denying the Holocaust a little harder – Christian Science Monitor

April 21, 2017 LondonHolocaust denial just got a little harder.

The Wiener Library for the Study of Holocaust & Genocide is making the United Nations’ files on World War II war crimes more accessible by allowing the general public to search an online catalog of the documents for the first time beginningFriday.

People will still have to visit the library in London or the US Holocaust Museum to read the actual files.The move is expected to increase interest in the archives of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, including the names of some 37,000 people identified as war criminals and security suspects. The commission operated in 1943-1949, but access to its records was restricted for political reasons in the early days of the Cold War.

“This is a whole hardware store of nails to hammer into the coffin of Holocaust denial,” said Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS University of London. “It’s the first time it is practically accessible to the general public as the commission initially intended.”

Plesch and other researchers campaigned for the UN to open access to the files, which he used to write the book “Human Rights After Hitler.”In 2014, the US Holocaust Museum made the archive freely available at its reading room in Washington. Prior to that, the records had been largely locked away at the United Nations, which granted only limited access.

“Nobody has paid any attention to it,” said Ben Barkow, director of the Wiener Library. “It has been hidden in plain sight.”

The documents detail Allied efforts to prosecute thousands of alleged Nazi and Japanese war criminals, from heads of state like Adolf Hitler to guards at the Auschwitz and Treblinka concentration camps.

The archive includes evidence gathered by local people who documented crimes long before the war ended and smuggled to Allied leaders in London.

“These people were meeting under aerial bombardment, dealing with affidavits smuggled out” of occupied countries, Plesch said. “Resistance movements were paying attention to the legal prosecution of oppressors.”

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Is Trump a Closet Holocaust Denier? What About His Followers? – Newsweek

This article first appeared on the London School of Economics site.

As the world deals with Syrias Bashar al-Assad, a murderous dictator who deploys chemical weapons against civilians, it would be hard to avoid references to Adolf Hitler.

No government in history deployed more chemical weapons against non-combatants than the Third Reich. Which, of course, was precisely the fact Sean Spicer, Donald Trumps press secretary, forgot in his April 11 press conference, where he argued that not even Hitler had stooped to using chemical weapons.

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The simplest explanation would be that Spicer is not especially competent, became flustered and fell into a category error; thinking only of the battlefield use of chemical weapons, he made a statement that was technically true in a very narrow sense (Nazi Germany did not deploy chemical weapons in regular combat operations).

Still, there remains something odd about this particular gaffe, because there remains something odd about making references to Hitlerespecially in the context of the use of gas warfarewithout having the Holocaust uppermost in ones mind.

Corpses lay strewn in one of three open burial pits at Bergen Belsen concentration camp, April 15-16 1945. Ben Margulies asks, Is Donald Trump a Holocaust denier? Probably not. He is, however, someone who needs the support of people who are. The true insult is not the denial of the Holocaust per se. It is the use of Holocaust victims as the Trump administration tries to manage its various coalitions and interests. Lieutenant Alan Moore/Public domain

Timothy Snyder, a leading historian of 20th-century Europe and the Holocaust, calls this a trivialization that is along a spectrum with denial at its endpoint, one seemingly designed to obscure and minimize what Nazi Germany did, and did specifically to Jewish people.

Nor does Spicers gaffe sit in squalid isolation. In its first days in office, the Trump White House infamously released a proclamation acknowledging Holocaust Memorial Day which failed to mention that the Holocausts largest category of victims was European Jews.

Deborah Lipstadt, one of the worlds best-known authorities on Holocaust denialism, called the administrations defense of this decisionthat it wanted to be inclusive of non-Jewish victimsa form of softcore Holocaust denial. The Trump presidential campaign was accused of referencing anti-Semitic tropes on multiple occasions.

For the sake of argument, let us assume that there is some wider pattern to this Trumpist tendency to indirectly allude to anti-Semitism. Let us suppose that the mentality of the Trump White House is such that it, in a sense, games Spicer towards patterns of thought that ignore the anti-Semitism that was so central to the Holocaust.

The question is, why? What could Trump possibly gain from fomenting anti-Semitic sentiment in the United States?

Related: How Sean Spicer Became a Poster Boy for Holocaust Deniers

The U.S. is hardly short of anti-Semitic sentiment, nor devoid of anti-Semitic histories (and this is true of the American right as well ). But it would also be easy to overstate hostility towards Jewish Americansa February 2017 poll found that, of all American religious groups, Americans felt warmest towards Jews.

There are at least two possibilities that stem from the Trumps ethno-nationalist, radical-right populist ideology. There is also a third which is actually separate from anti-Semitism, but speaks more to his populism.

It is no secret that Donald Trump has won vocal support from the alt-right, a shorthand term for a strand of right-wing thought which is heavily white-nationalist or ethno-nationalist, anti-elitist, anti-liberal and often misogynist alternative to either the neoliberal, small-government conservatism typified by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan or the religious/social conservatism associated with Vice President Mike Pence.

This portion of the right often embraces anti-Semitism, even if the Republican Party as a whole is disinclined to.

In her excellent The Politics of Fear, Ruth Wodak addressed the communications strategies of radical-right populist parties. These are coalitions of neo-fascists and open racists on the one hand, and a much wider constituency of populist voters, who, though more likely to embrace authoritarianism and oppose immigration, nevertheless embrace certain minimal principles of liberal democracy.

This latter constituency is not interested in reviving fascism and has largely internalized post-World War II taboos against anti-Semitism and straightforward biological racism.

Wodak shows how radical-right populist leaders use calculated ambivalence in the form of statements that signal sympathy to neo-fascist, racist or anti-Semitic components of their coalitions without doing so openly, so that the (relatively) more moderate majority of their electorate can pretend their leadersand they themselves by extensionare not racist.

Wodak cites the Austrian Freedom Partys use of the slogan, More Courage for Viennese Blood. When confronted with accusations of racism, the party claimed it was just citing a 19th-century operetta (written by a Jewish composer, no less), so it couldnt be racist. The moderates could believe the denial; the extremists could ignore it.

Jennifer Saul makes a similar observation about Trump, noting that he seeds his more openly racist statements with verbal exceptions, allowing his supporters a fig leaf that allows them to conceal and deny what is otherwise obvious racism.

In the Spicer case, the calculated ambivalence would work like this: the alt-right can pretend that the Trump administration has a more nuanced view of Hitler and his regime, and thus are not too troubled by the Holocaust.

Mainstream Republicans can dismiss Spicers gaffe as just thatan error. And, indeed, both interpretations may contain a grain of truth: Spicer misspoke, but perhaps because his employer is not too troubled by the Holocaust.

Related: Why Trump’s Holocaust Statement Was So Offensive

Showing a lack of concern about the Holocaust may also be a way of suggesting that the Trump White House will continue to enact anti-immigration policies.

The Holocaust Remembrance Day proclamation was issued the same day as the first travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. Spicers gaffe came just before Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to redouble deportations and declared, It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.

Tellingly, Spicers misstatement came following an eruption of alt-right anger against the Trump administration for intervening in Syria in the first place. The American alt-right tends to be isolationist and practice a rather defensive nationalism, much like its isolationist forebears at the eve of US entry into World War II.

In Wodaks telling, calculated ambivalence has an added advantage. It creates an attention-grabbing scandal, complete with predictable media outrage. The radical-right populists in turn use this to condemn the elitist media and claim to be the victims of the whole piece. The sequence of scandal-outrage-victimization creates a right-wing populist perpetuum mobile.

If there is one constant that binds Trump, his thinking and his voters, it is populism, in Cas Muddes sense of a a thin-centered ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, the pure people and the corrupt elite.

The media is patently part of that elite, and it, as well as intellectuals and the establishment more widely, reject anti-Semitism and fascism. So minimizing the Holocaust is a way to pick a fight with the elite which the whole radical-right populist coalition can take part in, whether they are mainstream Republican voters, working-class defectors from the Democrats or open racists. Look, its the media again, falsely accusing Trump [and by extension, his voters] of racism.

This sort of anti-elitism may be the most commonly held feature of radical-right populist politics internationally, above even xenophobia, nativism or any specific socio-economic program.

Importantly, the alt-right shares this anti-elitism. Even Milo Yiannopoulos, one of the alt-rights most visible public figures, acknowledged this in his guide to the alt-right, noting that one section of the movement (The Meme Team) was primarily interesting in a means to fluster their grandparents.

So, intentionally or not, Spicer may have integrated himself into a strategy of provoking perpetual tension with the media which in turn rallies supporters to a wider populist message.

This hypothesis, unlike the first two, accepts that Spicer simply erred. It is nevertheless rooted in the Trump administrations populism and anti-elitism.

A number of Trumps appointments to high office have been controversial because critics saw them as lacking appropriate experience and/or expressing an ideological hostility to the functions of their new offices.

Betsy DeVos, Trumps secretary of education, favors directing public funds to private schools and showed considerable ignorance of education policy during her confirmation hearings.

His administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency casts doubt about the role of carbon dioxide in global warming.

Trumps foreign-policy personnel tend to lack any diplomatic experience.

As someone born in Texas, youll forgive me if I dont spend too much time on Energy Secretary Rick Perry.

If anti-elitism unites radical-right populist voters generally, then hostility to government in general unites radical-right populists and other factions of the Republican Party.

For the populists, government is part of the elite; Steve Bannon, often associated with the alt-right, sees the administrative state as an ideological foe. For the mainstream Republican, government is an oppressive burden about the entrepreneur, the taxpayer, the free market and the godly.

Hiring people who hate government is one way to tame the beast; hiring incompetents is another, as it proves government is always the problem.

This sort of counter-intuitive staffing by Republicans long predates Trump. Reagan would appoint pro-business, anti-conservation figures to posts with environmental responsibilities, like Interior Secretary James Watt and EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch.

Paul Krugman described this practice in a 2005 article on the Bush Administration, detailing its cack-handed response to Hurricane Katrina. Spicer may simply be incompetent and even chosen on that basis. Given the populist contempt for the mainstream media, perhaps Trumps choice is itself a signal of disdain.

So, is Donald Trump a Holocaust denier? Probably not.

He is, however, someone who needs the support of people who are, and of people who are happy to mimic them if it gets a rise out of the libtards and the cosmopolitans. Like Viennas late 19th-century mayor, Karl Lueger, hes happy to both publicly condemn Jews and maintain intimate ties to Jewish people, like his close adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. (Lueger once said I determine who is a Jew).

Other right-populists relate to Jews and the Holocaust in a similarly Janus-faced way. He is also a person with a vested interest in sabotaging his own government.

The true insult is not the denial of the Holocaust. It is the instrumentalization of its victims as the Trump administration tries to manage its various coalitions and interests.

Ben Margulies is a postdoctoral gellow at the University of Warwick.

This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USApp American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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Is Trump a Closet Holocaust Denier? What About His Followers? – Newsweek

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Holocaust Denial Leaflets Distributed At Australian Universities … – Forward

SYDNEY (JTA) Leaflets denying the Holocaust were distributed on two university campuses in Melbourne, Australia.

The leaflets distributed in recent days began appearing at the same time of the opening in the city of the movie Denial, which portrays the court battle between Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust-denier David Irving.

The leaflets tell readers that that the official version of the Holocaust, which is also portrayed that way in Hollywood, is demonstrably false.

The National Chairpersonof The Australasian Union of Jewish Students Isabella Polger said: These leaflets are the result of a nationally organized campaign to spread poisonous anti-Semitic conspiracies at our nations top universities. They represent an atrocious assault on the dignity of Jewish students.

The leaflets distributed at Monash University and the University of Melbourne contained slogans such as the greatest swindle of all time and the Holohoax.

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has scheduled a meeting at Monash University whose internal security department is investigating the incident.

Melbourne universities were the targets of anti-Semitic leaflets in 2016

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Le Pen Beckons French JewsAnd Some Respond – Forward

Back in February, the right-wing Jewish website Dreuz reported on an unprecedented meeting: The Confederation of French Jews and Friends of Israel, it disclosed, had recently met with Louis Alliot, the vice president of Frances National Front party, a far right group long associated with Holocaust denial and historical sympathies for Frances wartime collaborationist regime with the Nazis.

Many in the media described this as a historic event for Frances Jewish community.

But while Frances influential former chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, has described the National Front as against our religion and not compatible with our values, a rather important proportion of the Jewish community was being drawn to the beckoning call of Marine Le Pen, the National Fronts leader, even before this years seminal election.

It is a secret vote, explained Raphael Marciano, coordinator for the interfaith NGO CoExist. In 2012, more than 13% of French Jews reported voting for the National Front, attracted, presumably, by the animus against Arabs and Islam that today stands at the forefront of the partys xenophobia.

Racial and ethnic polls are illegal in France prior to an election, so it is not possible to say how many will vote for Le Pen this year. But until April 14, most observers believed it was likely the percentage would increase.

That was the day that Le Penwhether by mistake, design or simple refusal to publicly disavow her deepest beliefsreminded voters of her party and her own familys enduring record of Holocaust denial.

Speaking more than two decades after French President Jacques Chirac broke through decades of denial and publicly apologized for Frances deportation of thousands of Jews into the hands of the Nazis during World War II, Le Pen told an interviewer for LCI television: I dont think France is responsible for the Vel dHiv.

It was the role French police played in the 1942 corralling of more than 13,000 Jews at the Vel dHiv cycling track that Chirac specifically referenced in his groundbreaking 1995 apology. But Le Pen told her interviewer, I think that, generally speaking, if there are people responsible, its those who were in power at the time. Its not France. She instead laid the blame on the countrys collaborationist Vichy regime. To many observers this was a turning point. Her statement has stirred so much tension in the community that she might lose the Jewish constituency, said Michael Emsellem, a French IT consultant.

More broadly, Le Pens statement and the public reaction to it could prove a huge setback to her decades-long project of convincing the French people that the National Front, founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972, has shed its ties to Holocaust denial and subtle sympathy for Nazi ideas and history.

Her father, who several times referred to the Holocaust as a detail of World War II, was convicted at least six times of Holocaust denial or of statements inciting racial hatredboth of which are subject to prosecution in France. But since assuming leadership of the National Front in 2011, his daughter has sought to gentrify the party. She has, among other things, fired her fathers entourage, who were close to the Third Reich during World War II. In a country that has been traumatized recently by multiple terrorist attacks, she has also stressed her concerns about immigration, safety and unemployment, and railed against the European Union, which she vows to take France out of, if elected.

Earlier this year, Nicolas Bay, the Fronts general secretary, travelled to Israel to meet with the youth director of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus ruling Likud party. The youth director later on denied being aware of who, exactly, Bay was.

For some, this repositioning toward Israel and Le Pens tough stance against Arabs and Muslims in the context of Muslim anti-Semitism in France is enough. William Golnadel, a French-Israeli lawyer and author who has close ties with the National Front and a widely followed Twitter account, advised his fellow Jews following Le Pens Vel dHiv remarks, Instead of dwelling on the Shoah we should focus on the jihadists.

His tweet was shared on Twitter by Europe Israel, a popular right-wing Jewish website. And La Ligue de Defense Juive, one of the most extreme right-wing groups in France, has been encouraging its members to vote for the Front.

The goal is quite simple, said E. Kamokha, a 25 year-old marketing specialist. They want Jews to vote for Le Pen as her policy is deeply rooted against Arabs. Once she will become President, the Ligue will push Jews to make their aliyah and leave France. The group she said, encourages a part of the Orthodox community to vote for Le Pen.

But for others, Le Pens Vel dHiv statement was a clarifying moment. Edmee, a 25 year-old French comedian who declined to give his last name, felt pretty happy about what she said. It was a good reminder for the people who were [thinking about] voting for her that Le Pen is only a copy of her father. She is as anti-Semitic and racist as her father.

Frances presidential election, which is seen as seminal thanks to the serious prospect that Le Pen might win it, will proceed in two stages: an initial round on April 23 featuring numerous candidates, and a run-off for the top two vote getters on May 7, with the winner emerging as president.

According to Kamokha, as French Jews head into this election there are two clear ly identifiable branches within the community: those who think Israel is the solution and those in deep denial about the extent of anti-Semitism in the country. I believe I stand in between, she said.

There is, to be sure, another extreme candidate on the far left who is given a chance to emerge as one of the top two winners on April 23, which would allow him to advance to the runoff: Jean-Luc Melenchon, a former Trotskyist, who is also running on an anti-EUalbeit also anti-racistplatform. Melenchon has publicly endorsed a pro-Palestinian policy.

I receive calls from Jews who are as worried by Melenchon as they are by Le Pen, reported Bernard Abouaf, director of Radio Shalom, a mainstream Jewish news outlet. They are both extreme.

In France, support for the pro-Palestinian movement is often seen as a slippery way to endorse pro-Hamas policy and to spread an anti-Israel feeling among the crowds.

That leaves two major centrist, broadly pro-business candidates who are seen as having a significant chance of making it into the run-off: Franois Fillon, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2012 under the center-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Emmanuel Macron, a former aide to Frances current, deeply unpopular president, Franois Hollande of the Socialist Party. Macron now describes himself as an Independent. Fillon, meanwhile, represents the Republicans, the countrys largest center-right party. But he has been damaged by the emergence of multiple financial scandals involving gifts to himself and alleged no-show government jobs for his wife.

Leonie, a 26 year-old young interior architect will vote for Fillon. I am completely aware that he is swamped in corruption scandals and is likely to be as hated as Sarkozy was, she said. But I think that because of his Catholic roots and his devotion to a religious community, [he] will know how to protect the Jewish community. He knows how to speak to people who are religious and conservative and Id rather vote for him than the other candidates who have very unpredictable programs.

Meanwhile, the media remain focused on Le Pen in a way that compares to the U.S media fascination for Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.

Le Pens speech on Sunday 16 April, one week before the first round, consisted of stigmatizing refugees, hitting hard at Islam and criticizing the EU. She vowed to reduce the number of asylum seekers given refugee status in France to 10,000 a year and said they would only be able to apply from abroad. She repeated that France needed to get out of the EU, of which it is an anchor.

Her support for withdrawing from the EU, which it is widely believed will hurt Frances already ailing economy, might be an additional strike against her with Frances Jews. But her secret admirers, who tend to lie on their voting intentions in the polls, added to an expected high abstention rate among voters discouraged by all the choices, might play in her favor.

Contact Annabelle Azade at feedback@forward.com

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Le Pen Beckons French JewsAnd Some Respond – Forward

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More left-wing abuse of the Holocaust – Jewish Journal

Last week, President Donald Trumps press secretary, Sean Spicer, was widely accused by Jews and non-Jews on the left of engaging in Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism when he drew a comparison between Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Adolf Hitler. The comparison involved Assads use of chemical weapons to kill and terrorize his own citizens. As there is no lie more heinous than Holocaust denial, this is quite a charge. If true, it would signal an unprecedented moral collapse at the highest levels of American government.

But Sean Spicer never denied the Holocaust.

As professor Alan Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat, Hillary Clinton supporter and liberal (though not leftist) activist wrote: It never occurred to me that Spicers misstatements were motivated by anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial or an intent to slur the Jewish people. Nor do I believe that those who have accused him of such evil motivations actually believe it. They deliberately attributed an evil motive to him in order to pander to Jewish listeners. That offends me more than anything Spicer did.

Dershowitz is right: the only thing worse than Holocaust denial is falsely accusing someone of engaging in it.

Yet, that is what many on the Jewish and non-Jewish left (but when it comes to the Holocaust, its the Jews who matter the most) are guilty of. Accusing a non-Jew of engaging in Holocaust denial is the moral equivalent of the medieval Blood Libel against Jews (the accusation that a Jew killed a Christian child to use the childs blood to bake matzo for Passover).

Most public figures know that it usually is a bad idea to invoke Nazism or Hitler to make a political point. But Spicer did invoke Hitler, and though he immediately explained himself, the left-wing media, also known as the mainstream media, unleashed a frenzy of irresponsible charges.

Most people knew what Spicer meant that Assad had done something that even Hitler didnt do: specifically, use warplanes to drop chemical weapons on his own people. However, given Hitlers use of gas to murder German Jews, mentally handicapped Germans and others he considered less than human, the statement was factually incorrect. Spicer should not have made the point. Assads evil is clear enough without invoking Hitler; and the point he made could be taken by some to lessen Hitlers evil.

Spicer realized this immediately and made a full apology shortly afterward.

Again, Dershowitz: There was no hint of anti-Semitism in his [Spicers] historical mistake and his apology should have ended the matter.

Nevertheless, the Democratic National Committee issued a statement under the headline We will not stand for anti-Semitism, that included the following: Denying the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime is a tried and true tactic used by Neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups that have become emboldened since Donald Trump first announced his campaign for president.

And Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, falsely accused Spicer of downplaying the horror of the Holocaust.

To which Dershowitz responded: By leveling that false accusation, Pelosi herself is exploiting the tragedy, he wrote.

Most people knew what Spicer meant that Assad had done something that even Hitler didnt do: specifically, use warplanes to drop chemical weapons on his own people.

Dershowitz also attacked two Jewish frauds, Steven Goldstein and the so-called Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. As I wrote in my last Jewish Journal column, Goldstein engages in chillul Anne Frank, a desecration of the name of Anne Frank.

Steven Goldstein, Dershowitz wrote, a hard-left radical who heads a phony organization that calls itself The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, accused Spicer of engage[ing] in Holocaust denial.

Goldstein, Dershowitz continued, repeatedly exploits the Holocaust in order to gain publicity for him and his tiny group of followers. Shame on them!

But many left-wing Jews repeatedly quoted Goldstein and his radical Anne Frank Center. Adam Peck, an editor at ThinkProgress; Antonia Blumberg, a reporter at Huffington Post; Noah Berlatsky, writing in the Los Angeles Times; Kenneth Stern, executive director of the Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation, which also purportedly exists to fight anti-Semitism; and other left-wing Jews cited Goldstein and his organization charging Spicer with Holocaust denial.

Another one of them, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a contributor to CNN Opinion and professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, also continued the lie of tying Trump to anti-Semites and to anti-Semitism, even after it became clear that threats to Jewish community centers had been made by either a Black radical or young American Jew in Israel.

Meanwhile, for the record, in 2013, Chris Matthews, host of MSNBCs Hardball, said that unlike Assad, Hitler never used chemical weapons. It is true that he was not the presidents press secretary. But no one on the left or the right said anything, let alone accused Matthews of Holocaust denial. But if a Fox News host had said it, left-wing Jews and non-Jews surely would have accused him or her of Holocaust denial.

No one, left or right, should invoke Hitler for political gain. But among Jews, the left has a near monopoly on misusing the Holocaust and anti-Semitism to attack its political foes. It only serves to lessen the unique evil that constitutes the Holocaust.

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Holocaust denial leaflets reappear at Melbourne universities – J-Wire Jewish Australian News Service

Browse > Home / News / Holocaust denial leaflets reappear at Melbourne universities

April 18, 2017 by J-Wire Staff

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Jewish students, many of whom are descendants of Holocaust survivors, are deeply disturbed to once again discover Holocaust denial leaflets on campus.

The Australian has reported that leaflets have also been distributed at the University of Melbourne University.

Flyer under car wiperblade at Monash

Last weekend, many leaflets were placed under windscreen wipers on car parks on the grounds of Monash University.

Last year, thousands of similar leaflets were left on campuses at Monash University, The University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, and the University of NSW. There were also unconfirmed reports that the leaflets were circulated at the University of Sydney.

The leaflets urge readers that the official version of the Holocaust is demonstrably false referring to the current film chronicling the bitter battle between Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust-denier David Irving.

The National Chairperson of The Australasian Union of Jewish Students Isabella Polger said: These leaflets are the result of a nationally organised campaign to spread poisonous antisemitic conspiracies at our nations top universities. They represent an atrocious assault on the dignity of Jewish students.

Universities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their students, and protect those vulnerable to racial discrimination.

Last week, AUJS was boycotted by the radical left, with the NSW Young Greens refusing to participate in a non-partisan cocktails function. This week, it is neo-Nazis calling for the students of Australian universities to question the veracity of the Holocaust, the systematic murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany. AUJS is profoundly concerned by what appears to be the increasing normalisation of antisemitism on Australian campuses with growing reports of Jewish students facing abuse simply because of their identity. We call on our universities to do more to combat antisemitism.

In a letter to Vice Chancellors of Victorian Universities AUJS wrote: We are writing to notify you of a series of disturbing anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred since the commencement of semester across Victorian university campuses. These instances seem to fall into the broader and recent trend of Jewish students feeling isolated and unwelcome on Victorian campuses. The Union is seeking your assistance to work together to prevent further instances of ethnic discrimination and vilification on campus. For context, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students is the peak representative body for thousands of Jewish students across more than 25 university campuses in Australia and New Zealand. The reported incidents are as follows:

These statements and actions are unacceptable from any student or group. They represent more than simply a callous disregard for the collective memory and trauma of the Jewish community. Additionally, the statements cross the line of legitimate criticism of the Israeli government in to the demonisation and vilification of Jews.

The perspectives of students are often formed and concretised on campus for life. If these attitudes were to prevail, it would signify our profound joint-failure to protect Jews and minorities on campus, and a failure on the University in its mission to educate and enlighten.

Everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome on campus. If we are to project that our university campuses are inclusive communities, then we must together act promptly and resolve the underlying problems of ethnic discrimination on campus. We call on all Victorian Universities to proactively ensure that this alarming trend does not further permeate the campus environment. It is paramount that offending students and individuals are held accountable. We must leverage this as an opportunity for education and awareness.

We look forward to continuing this conversation with you, and working towards making Melbournes universities safe and accepting environments for all students to learn and thrive in.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the ADC stated: This is virulent anti-Semitism, pure and simple, and I am shocked and disgusted that such revolting brochures have once again invaded university space, not only belittling the horrific murder of six millions Jews, but exploiting vulnerable students who may have limited knowledge about the Holocaust and sowing a message of hate and intolerance in the hearts of young people. This is part of a hate blitz that we have seen proliferating globally following the release of the film Denial, and which must be vigorously fought.

Universities are positive enclaves for critical thought and free expression, and the reprehensible attempt to deliberately deny the historical facts of the Holocaust must never find a fertile and welcoming haven. We must all stand as one against racist demagogues and white-Supremacists that share a loathing for the Jewish people as well as for the values of diversity and multiculturalism, and who are trying to expand their base and appeal by using the tools of prejudice. It is imperative that Jewish students on campus, who may have relatives who survived the Holocaust, are made to feel comfortable and that blatant anti-Semitism, harassment and hostile incitement are never tolerated.

AUJS will meet with Monash University on Friday. The universitys own security department is currently investigating the incident.

Visit J-Wire’s main page for all the latest breaking news, gossip and what’s on in your community.

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Editor’s Insight: Tackling Islam, Holocaust denial and The Max Harris … – The National Business Review

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Vast German archive holds the secret to combating Holocaust denial – The Times of Israel

Israeli Holocaust survivor Moshe Bar-Yuda was a young boy in Czechoslovakia when World War II broke out. He managed to survive in Hungary by assuming false identities and made it to Palestine before the end of the war. Later, he reunited with his mother, who was released from her married status by the Tel Aviv rabbinical court in 1948, on the presumption that her husband Alfred Kastner had been murdered in the Holocaust. There were rumors that Kastner had been killed at Majdanek, or perhaps Auschwitz. In 2008, Bar-Yuda wanted to see if he could finally get an answer as to where his father died, so he approached Yad Vashem in Jerusalem for help. A list of deportees to the Novaky camp in Slovakia from March 27, 1942 in the Holocaust remembrance centers archives confirmed Bar-Yudas childhood recollection that his father had been snatched from the street as they walked on the Sabbath before Passover. But the answer to where Kastner was killed was not at Yad Vashem. It was in Bad Arolsen, Germany, buried somewhere in a complex of six buildings filled from floor to ceiling with 30 million original documents relating to the fates of 17.5 million victims of Nazi persecution. This massive archive, known at the International Tracing Service (ITS), contains a staggering amount of material, most of it collected by Allied forces as they liberated Europe, beginning in 1943. Inside ITS in Bad Arolsen, Germany. (Richard Ehrlich/USHMM) The ITS shelves are crammed with concentration camp documents, transport and deportation lists, Gestapo arrest and prison records, and forced and slave labor documentation. The archive also includes millions of displaced persons I.D. cards and files, as well as post-war resettlement and emigration records. There are cemetery records for deceased forced laborers and prisoners, and concentration camp survivor testimonies taken by liberating forces. Some 2.5 million files alone contain post-WWII correspondence from people inquiring about the fates and whereabouts of their loved ones. The Majdanek crematoria list that confirmed the location and date of Moshe Bar-Yudas father Alfred Kastners murder. (Courtesy ITS via Yad Vashem) Among these hundreds of millions of pages are two that solved the mystery of Alfred Kastners murder: a list of people burned in the crematoria at Majdanek on September 7, 1942, and a letter from Bar-Yudas mother to ITS dated from 1958 inquiring about information on Kastner. The birth date Bar-Yudas mother gave for his father in the letter matched the birth date listed for the Alfred Kastner on the crematoria list, which confirmed for Bar-Yuda that his father was indeed murdered in Majdanek. Bar-Yuda now not only knows where his father was killed, but also the exact date. After saying kaddish for my father for 60 years on the general day of mourning (10 Tevet), now I have a specific yahrtzeit. And while it doesnt comfort me, or make me happy, there is a kind of satisfaction here. I can now move forward, he said. These and the other ITS records were for the most part inaccessible to the public until 2007. Even some Holocaust academics and educators were unaware of this enormous, invaluable archive and its holdings until it was opened up following 10 years of pressure that eventually led to the ratification of amendments to international agreements governing the ITS. Much has changed in the decade since the ITS was more broadly opened, but much more could be done to make its contents accessible to all those interested worldwide. Approximately 200 million pages are digitized (80% of the collection) and shared with seven partner institutions, including Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. However, only 80,000 of the archives 30 million documents can be directly accessed online at the ITS website by a personal computer. Moshe Bar-Yudas mothers 1958 letter to ITS asking for information on her husband Alfred Kastner, murdered in the Holocaust. (Courtesy ITS via Yad Vashem) Many believe that developments with the ITS over the next decade will be crucial, as they watch the number of Holocaust survivors dwindle and Holocaust denial grow. Holocaust denial today takes many forms some by selectively distorting the details, some by diminishing the specific targeting of Jews for annihilation, some by excusing the behavior of the perpetrators, and some by transforming their anti-Semitic intent into anti-Israel rhetoric. All of these forms of Holocaust denial trivialization, minimization, universalization or inversion are all forms of denial of central aspects of the Holocaust, wrote Dr. Elana Yael Heideman, executive director of the Israel Forever Foundation, which co-sponsored a February symposium in Jerusalem honoring the 10th anniversary of the opening of the ITS. The impeccable records kept by the Nazis are crucial to countering these attempts, as they will enable new researchers to accurately and specifically address circumstances and details of the dehumanization and extermination processes for future generations to learn from, Heideman wrote in a Times of Israel blog post. Ahead of Holocaust Remembrance Day, the Times of Israel spoke with a number of individuals closely associated with the ITS archive to learn more about the process of opening it more broadly, and how it is increasingly used by survivors, their families, and scholars to reveal evidence, answers and insights that have been hidden away since the war. The Allied forces began collecting whatever Nazi documentation they came across as they liberated Europe as early as 1943. In January 1946, responsibility for these records was transferred to the UNRRA (United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration) which was tasked with accommodating, reuniting, caring for, and repatriating millions of displaced persons. The collected documents were deposited at Bad Arolsen, Germany, which was located roughly in the center of the four occupation zones and had the rare advantage of an intact infrastructure. On July 1, 1947, the mandate for dealing with the refugees and displaced persons, as well as the collected documents, was handed over to the IRO (International Refugee Organization). The name of the bureau was changed to International Tracing Service on January 1, 1948, reflecting its main postwar purpose locating survivors and reuniting them with family members. The Central Name Index is the key to the archives of ITS and has been the most relevant working tool for the search for traces over many decades. (Cornelis Gollhardt/ITS) The ITS has 50 million index cards in its Central Names Index (CNI). Each card lists references to documents the archive holds on a single individual. The index has 849 different spellings for Abramovich alone. Approximately one quarter of the material at ITS pertains to Jewish victims of National Socialism. In 1955, an International Commission was established to govern the ITS and appoint its director. Nine European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, the UK), plus Israel and the US are represented on the commission. ITS director Floriane Azoulay Hohenberg (Cornelis Gollhardt/ITS) From 1955 until December 2012, the ITS was managed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on behalf of the commission. Material continued to be collected up until 2007, but as no inventory was ever published of the archives holdings during the ICRC era, it was impossible to know the extent and full nature of the information housed at Bad Arolsen. ITS released an online searchable general inventory in English and Germany earlier this year. In 2013 the International Commission appointed American historian Dr. Rebecca Boehling ITS director. Floriane Azoulay Hohenberg, a human rights expert and French-born Jew of North African heritage assumed the institutions leadership in January 2016. The German Federal Archives (Bundesarchiv) is the institutional partner of the ITS, with the German Federal Government Commission for Culture and Media (BKM) funding the 14 million ITS annual budget in its entirety. The main building of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany built in 1952. (Andreas Greiner-Napp/ITS) Paul Shapiro, director of International Affairs, and director emeritus of the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at USHMM, faced many difficulties in his years-long, persistent efforts to open the ITS archives. Dr. Paul Shapiro (Courtesy USHMM) As Shapiro wrote in a 2009 article for Reform Judaism magazine, he felt a moral obligation to survivors and their families, and knew that it was a race against time to get it opened before the last survivors passed away. The number of visitors to ITS over the years was extremely small because people didnt know what was there. Survivors were definitely not welcome, Shapiro told The Times of Israel. According to Shapiro, inquiries and requests for information went unacknowledged and unanswered for years. He recounted that when he visited the archive in 2002, then-director Charles Biedermann coolly mentioned that there was a backlog of 450,000 requests for information. Furthermore, there was no way to know if a response that was eventually issued was correct or complete, because it was ITS policy to never send a copy of the original documents. And scholars would just get the run around among the ICRC, ITS management and the German government if they tried to access the archive. So they would just go to sources that were more open to them, Shapiro added. Shapiro said he doesnt suspect the ICRC or the various governments represented on the International Commission of trying to hide anything that was in the archive. Yad Vashem has had a microfilm copy of part of the ITS archives collection since the late 1950s. (Renee Ghert-Zand/TOI) I think it was simply an issue of their not thinking that this information was important enough to share. In the aftermath of WWII, survivors were not seen as a potent group of people. There was no move made to help them understand their experience, Shapiro said. Whereas Shapiros efforts have resulted in the provision of broader access to the information held at Bad Arolsen, parts of the archives holdings had already been shared since as early as the 1950s. ITS has been more open at some times than at others, ITS director Hohenberg told The Times of Israel in an interview in Tel Aviv, where she was visiting over the recent Passover holiday. Dr. Haim Gertner (Courtesy Yad Vashem) There was definitely a big change in 2007, but prior to that ITS cooperated with memorial sites, provided material used in the prosecution of Nazi war criminals, and also dealt with millions of inquiries from individuals seeking family members or information to support reparations claims, she said. Dr. Haim Gertner, director of the archives division and the Fred Hillman chair for Holocaust documentation at Yad Vashem confirmed that in the late 1950s his institution obtained microfilm copies of all ITS holdings acquired to that point pertaining to Jewish victims. Yad Vashem staff used the ITS material to help people find information. It was one of the many resources we used over the years, Gertner said. However, Gertner acknowledged that the material available now through the digital version shared and regularly updated by ITS is much more extensive and comprehensive. For example, the crematoria list that confirmed where Alfred Kastner was murdered was deposited at ITS only in the 1960s, so it would not have been in the records originally shared with Yad Vashem. The largest percentage of the 15,600 annual inquiries to the ITS continue to be from survivors and family members (14% and 66% respectively). Of the institutions 235 employees, 15 devote their time and energy solely to tracing activities. Staff at partner institutions also use the ITS resources to help people uncover either their or their familys history, or to search for relatives. In addition, genealogists and historical sleuths, both professional and amateur, now include ITS in their toolbox. In some cases, there are unexpected, emotional reunions such as the one between a German woman named Ursula and an Israeli man named Eli, who discovered they were half-siblings. Ursula and her older brother Gerhard were conceived during a secret relationship between Nathan, a Romanian Jewish survivor, and Ruth, a non-Jewish German woman, in an American-organized DP camp in Heidenheimer Voith-Settlement. Nathan sailed to Palestine in 1948 while Ruth was pregnant with Ursula, who never met nor knew anything about her father other than that her mother said he was her one true love. Anna Meier-Osinski, Head of Tracing Investigations into Nazi Victims Branch, among the 3 million correspondence files of the ITS. (Uwe Zucchi/ITS) After her mother died in 2014, Ursula turned to the ITS for help in discovering her fathers identity. ITS, together with Magen David Adom in Israel, was able to not only provide Ursula with an answer, but also to connect her with her half brother Eli, who was born in 1956 (her father Nathan died in 1986). The siblings, who were thrilled to have found one another, met in person and continue to be in touch weekly. In other cases, there are no such happy endings but there is a sense of closure. Shapiro spoke of his own first cousin who waved goodbye to his older brother and father as they were marched out of the Kovno Ghetto on a labor detachment. He never saw them again. He didnt know where they went, or whether they were able to stay together. Hes now 80 years old, and he has agonized his whole life since then over not knowing, Shapiro said. An ITS document indicated that the father and brother were both registered at the Stutthof labor camp near Danzig (Gdansk) some months later. Their registration numbers were consecutive, which meant that they were still together at least at that point which gave my cousin comfort. It was only then that he was finally able to speak about his wartime experience. Until he got that information, he couldnt talk about it. It just shows you the power of a single document, Shapiro said. USHMM researchers show documents they found in the ITS archive to requesters during a stop in Chicago on the museums 20th anniversary tour in the summer of 2013. (Courtesy USHMM) Researchers and educators account for 15% of the inquiries that come in every year to ITS, but it is scholarship and education that is experiencing the greatest impact from the opening of the archive. While Hohenberg and her team at the ITS work to put much more of the archives holdings online, along with necessary contextual information, scholars are already diving into the collection both at the now more welcoming Bad Arolsen facility, and at the sites of the digital copy holders. ITS, Yad Vashem, USHMM and other partners are working together to share best practices and devise new strategies for digging out the information buried in the archive. Scholars use digitized ITS materials at USHMM. (Courtesy USHMM) We are now working on using technology to better reorganize the information for scholars by creating more access points through more powerful search engine tools, Hohenberg said. Hohenberg emphasized the potential of mining the archives holdings using big data methodologies. A current big data project underway maps the movement of people as they were persecuted during WWII. Shapiro noted that scholars are discovering the unique ground level picture the ITS archive provides on events of the war. It reveals what happened from the perspective of millions of individuals, using documentary evidence which can be used to compliment diaries and memoirs of survivors. Importantly, it pieces together accurate biographies for those who did not survive to bear witness. Dr. Elizabeth Anthony (Courtesy USHMM) In her work directing USHMMs academic programs utilizing the ITS archives, Dr. Elizabeth Anthony leads seminars and workshops for scholars and university students on how to study the Holocaust through the ITS lens. Anthony mentioned a particular Ben and Zelda Cohen fellow, Dr. Janine Holc of Loyola University, Maryland, who came to the museum in 2015-2016 to study a network of subcamps of Gross Rosen. [ITS] resulted in benefits to her in ways we couldnt see at [first]. Once she got into the ITS collections she started to notice patterns among a specific group of Jewish female prisoners forced to labor in a particular camp they all came from the same small town in Poland, had all been arrested during the same short time period, and were all sent to this one subcamp, where the majority of them remained and were forced to labor throughout the war. Because of the way the ITS records are accessible en masse and digitally, she could analyze them in all new ways and come to new conclusions possibly first conclusions about this particular camp, Anthony said. ITS has begun sharing early research results from it archival holdings, and Suzanne Brown-Fleming, director of the USHMM visiting scholars program, has published Nazi Persecution and Postwar Repercussions: The International Tracing Service Archive and Holocaust Research. In his introduction to Brown-Flemings book, Shapiro described a 2008 workshop in which 15 scholars dove into the then-newly opened archive to discover its contents and suggest research approaches. The ideas generated were many and varied. And while it is true, as was often asserted as an argument against opening the records, that the ITS archive does not house records of grand strategy making or of the perpetrators planning and implementation of the Final Solution, on the basis of which so much history has been written, ITS powerfully documents the human factor the grinding routine of mans inhumanity to man, of prisoners efforts to survive one more day, of perpetrator calculations of how to reap the most benefit from disposable human assets consigned to their control, of occasional acts of courage and rescue, and of the herculean efforts of survivors to live after so much death, Shapiro wrote. Prisoner identification cards were kept in the so-called registry offices of the concentration camps and showed a prisoners personal data, the reason for his/her incarceration and a physical description. (Andreas Greiner-Napp/ITS) The opening of the ITS to research has been a boon to Holocaust scholars, but according to Yad Vashems Gertner, it will certainly not be the last collection of WWII material to come to light. Only a portion of the Nazi material made it to the ITS. Some of it is in other archives around the world, and more stuff is being found all the time in Russia and the Eastern Bloc in the post-Soviet era, he said. Still, the ITS will play a key role in combating Holocaust denial in the years ahead. All those familiar with it recognize the power of using this vast quantity of dehumanizing documentation to restore the humanity of the Nazis victims. Whats in that archive is so detailed that no one could manufacture it, Shapiro said. DP card. In a policy paper drafted on 18 November 1944, the Allies coined the term “Displaced Persons,” prescribed how the survivors of Nazi terror were to be treated, cared for, and returned to their countries of origin. (ITS)

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April 23, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Denial  Comments Closed

Holocaust denial leaflets strewn at 2 Australian universities – The Times of Israel

SYDNEY Leaflets denying the Holocaust were placed on car windshields on two university campuses in Melbourne, Australia. The leaflets began appearing in recent days at Monash University and the University of Melbourne at the same time of the opening in the city of Denial, a movie that portrays the court battle between Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust denier David Irving. Containing slogans such as the greatest swindle of all time and the Holohoax, the leaflets say the official version of the Holocaust, which is also portrayed by Hollywood filmmakers, is demonstrably false. These leaflets are the result of a nationally organized campaign to spread poisonous anti-Semitic conspiracies at our nations top universities, said the national chairwoman of the Australasian Union of Jewish Students, Isabella Polger. They represent an atrocious assault on the dignity of Jewish students. The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has scheduled a meeting at Monash University, whose internal security department is investigating the incident. Melbourne universities were the targets of anti-Semitic leaflets in 2016.

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London library makes denying the Holocaust a little harder – Christian Science Monitor

April 21, 2017 LondonHolocaust denial just got a little harder. The Wiener Library for the Study of Holocaust & Genocide is making the United Nations’ files on World War II war crimes more accessible by allowing the general public to search an online catalog of the documents for the first time beginningFriday. People will still have to visit the library in London or the US Holocaust Museum to read the actual files.The move is expected to increase interest in the archives of the United Nations War Crimes Commission, including the names of some 37,000 people identified as war criminals and security suspects. The commission operated in 1943-1949, but access to its records was restricted for political reasons in the early days of the Cold War. “This is a whole hardware store of nails to hammer into the coffin of Holocaust denial,” said Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at SOAS University of London. “It’s the first time it is practically accessible to the general public as the commission initially intended.” Plesch and other researchers campaigned for the UN to open access to the files, which he used to write the book “Human Rights After Hitler.”In 2014, the US Holocaust Museum made the archive freely available at its reading room in Washington. Prior to that, the records had been largely locked away at the United Nations, which granted only limited access. “Nobody has paid any attention to it,” said Ben Barkow, director of the Wiener Library. “It has been hidden in plain sight.” The documents detail Allied efforts to prosecute thousands of alleged Nazi and Japanese war criminals, from heads of state like Adolf Hitler to guards at the Auschwitz and Treblinka concentration camps. The archive includes evidence gathered by local people who documented crimes long before the war ended and smuggled to Allied leaders in London. “These people were meeting under aerial bombardment, dealing with affidavits smuggled out” of occupied countries, Plesch said. “Resistance movements were paying attention to the legal prosecution of oppressors.”

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April 21, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Denial  Comments Closed

Is Trump a Closet Holocaust Denier? What About His Followers? – Newsweek

This article first appeared on the London School of Economics site. As the world deals with Syrias Bashar al-Assad, a murderous dictator who deploys chemical weapons against civilians, it would be hard to avoid references to Adolf Hitler. No government in history deployed more chemical weapons against non-combatants than the Third Reich. Which, of course, was precisely the fact Sean Spicer, Donald Trumps press secretary, forgot in his April 11 press conference, where he argued that not even Hitler had stooped to using chemical weapons. Try Newsweek from $3.25 per week The simplest explanation would be that Spicer is not especially competent, became flustered and fell into a category error; thinking only of the battlefield use of chemical weapons, he made a statement that was technically true in a very narrow sense (Nazi Germany did not deploy chemical weapons in regular combat operations). Still, there remains something odd about this particular gaffe, because there remains something odd about making references to Hitlerespecially in the context of the use of gas warfarewithout having the Holocaust uppermost in ones mind. Corpses lay strewn in one of three open burial pits at Bergen Belsen concentration camp, April 15-16 1945. Ben Margulies asks, Is Donald Trump a Holocaust denier? Probably not. He is, however, someone who needs the support of people who are. The true insult is not the denial of the Holocaust per se. It is the use of Holocaust victims as the Trump administration tries to manage its various coalitions and interests. Lieutenant Alan Moore/Public domain Timothy Snyder, a leading historian of 20th-century Europe and the Holocaust, calls this a trivialization that is along a spectrum with denial at its endpoint, one seemingly designed to obscure and minimize what Nazi Germany did, and did specifically to Jewish people. Nor does Spicers gaffe sit in squalid isolation. In its first days in office, the Trump White House infamously released a proclamation acknowledging Holocaust Memorial Day which failed to mention that the Holocausts largest category of victims was European Jews. Deborah Lipstadt, one of the worlds best-known authorities on Holocaust denialism, called the administrations defense of this decisionthat it wanted to be inclusive of non-Jewish victimsa form of softcore Holocaust denial. The Trump presidential campaign was accused of referencing anti-Semitic tropes on multiple occasions. For the sake of argument, let us assume that there is some wider pattern to this Trumpist tendency to indirectly allude to anti-Semitism. Let us suppose that the mentality of the Trump White House is such that it, in a sense, games Spicer towards patterns of thought that ignore the anti-Semitism that was so central to the Holocaust. The question is, why? What could Trump possibly gain from fomenting anti-Semitic sentiment in the United States? Related: How Sean Spicer Became a Poster Boy for Holocaust Deniers The U.S. is hardly short of anti-Semitic sentiment, nor devoid of anti-Semitic histories (and this is true of the American right as well ). But it would also be easy to overstate hostility towards Jewish Americansa February 2017 poll found that, of all American religious groups, Americans felt warmest towards Jews. There are at least two possibilities that stem from the Trumps ethno-nationalist, radical-right populist ideology. There is also a third which is actually separate from anti-Semitism, but speaks more to his populism. It is no secret that Donald Trump has won vocal support from the alt-right, a shorthand term for a strand of right-wing thought which is heavily white-nationalist or ethno-nationalist, anti-elitist, anti-liberal and often misogynist alternative to either the neoliberal, small-government conservatism typified by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan or the religious/social conservatism associated with Vice President Mike Pence. This portion of the right often embraces anti-Semitism, even if the Republican Party as a whole is disinclined to. In her excellent The Politics of Fear, Ruth Wodak addressed the communications strategies of radical-right populist parties. These are coalitions of neo-fascists and open racists on the one hand, and a much wider constituency of populist voters, who, though more likely to embrace authoritarianism and oppose immigration, nevertheless embrace certain minimal principles of liberal democracy. This latter constituency is not interested in reviving fascism and has largely internalized post-World War II taboos against anti-Semitism and straightforward biological racism. Wodak shows how radical-right populist leaders use calculated ambivalence in the form of statements that signal sympathy to neo-fascist, racist or anti-Semitic components of their coalitions without doing so openly, so that the (relatively) more moderate majority of their electorate can pretend their leadersand they themselves by extensionare not racist. Wodak cites the Austrian Freedom Partys use of the slogan, More Courage for Viennese Blood. When confronted with accusations of racism, the party claimed it was just citing a 19th-century operetta (written by a Jewish composer, no less), so it couldnt be racist. The moderates could believe the denial; the extremists could ignore it. Jennifer Saul makes a similar observation about Trump, noting that he seeds his more openly racist statements with verbal exceptions, allowing his supporters a fig leaf that allows them to conceal and deny what is otherwise obvious racism. In the Spicer case, the calculated ambivalence would work like this: the alt-right can pretend that the Trump administration has a more nuanced view of Hitler and his regime, and thus are not too troubled by the Holocaust. Mainstream Republicans can dismiss Spicers gaffe as just thatan error. And, indeed, both interpretations may contain a grain of truth: Spicer misspoke, but perhaps because his employer is not too troubled by the Holocaust. Related: Why Trump’s Holocaust Statement Was So Offensive Showing a lack of concern about the Holocaust may also be a way of suggesting that the Trump White House will continue to enact anti-immigration policies. The Holocaust Remembrance Day proclamation was issued the same day as the first travel ban on seven Muslim-majority countries. Spicers gaffe came just before Attorney General Jeff Sessions pledged to redouble deportations and declared, It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth. Tellingly, Spicers misstatement came following an eruption of alt-right anger against the Trump administration for intervening in Syria in the first place. The American alt-right tends to be isolationist and practice a rather defensive nationalism, much like its isolationist forebears at the eve of US entry into World War II. In Wodaks telling, calculated ambivalence has an added advantage. It creates an attention-grabbing scandal, complete with predictable media outrage. The radical-right populists in turn use this to condemn the elitist media and claim to be the victims of the whole piece. The sequence of scandal-outrage-victimization creates a right-wing populist perpetuum mobile. If there is one constant that binds Trump, his thinking and his voters, it is populism, in Cas Muddes sense of a a thin-centered ideology that considers society to be ultimately separated into two homogeneous and antagonistic groups, the pure people and the corrupt elite. The media is patently part of that elite, and it, as well as intellectuals and the establishment more widely, reject anti-Semitism and fascism. So minimizing the Holocaust is a way to pick a fight with the elite which the whole radical-right populist coalition can take part in, whether they are mainstream Republican voters, working-class defectors from the Democrats or open racists. Look, its the media again, falsely accusing Trump [and by extension, his voters] of racism. This sort of anti-elitism may be the most commonly held feature of radical-right populist politics internationally, above even xenophobia, nativism or any specific socio-economic program. Importantly, the alt-right shares this anti-elitism. Even Milo Yiannopoulos, one of the alt-rights most visible public figures, acknowledged this in his guide to the alt-right, noting that one section of the movement (The Meme Team) was primarily interesting in a means to fluster their grandparents. So, intentionally or not, Spicer may have integrated himself into a strategy of provoking perpetual tension with the media which in turn rallies supporters to a wider populist message. This hypothesis, unlike the first two, accepts that Spicer simply erred. It is nevertheless rooted in the Trump administrations populism and anti-elitism. A number of Trumps appointments to high office have been controversial because critics saw them as lacking appropriate experience and/or expressing an ideological hostility to the functions of their new offices. Betsy DeVos, Trumps secretary of education, favors directing public funds to private schools and showed considerable ignorance of education policy during her confirmation hearings. His administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency casts doubt about the role of carbon dioxide in global warming. Trumps foreign-policy personnel tend to lack any diplomatic experience. As someone born in Texas, youll forgive me if I dont spend too much time on Energy Secretary Rick Perry. If anti-elitism unites radical-right populist voters generally, then hostility to government in general unites radical-right populists and other factions of the Republican Party. For the populists, government is part of the elite; Steve Bannon, often associated with the alt-right, sees the administrative state as an ideological foe. For the mainstream Republican, government is an oppressive burden about the entrepreneur, the taxpayer, the free market and the godly. Hiring people who hate government is one way to tame the beast; hiring incompetents is another, as it proves government is always the problem. This sort of counter-intuitive staffing by Republicans long predates Trump. Reagan would appoint pro-business, anti-conservation figures to posts with environmental responsibilities, like Interior Secretary James Watt and EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch. Paul Krugman described this practice in a 2005 article on the Bush Administration, detailing its cack-handed response to Hurricane Katrina. Spicer may simply be incompetent and even chosen on that basis. Given the populist contempt for the mainstream media, perhaps Trumps choice is itself a signal of disdain. So, is Donald Trump a Holocaust denier? Probably not. He is, however, someone who needs the support of people who are, and of people who are happy to mimic them if it gets a rise out of the libtards and the cosmopolitans. Like Viennas late 19th-century mayor, Karl Lueger, hes happy to both publicly condemn Jews and maintain intimate ties to Jewish people, like his close adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner. (Lueger once said I determine who is a Jew). Other right-populists relate to Jews and the Holocaust in a similarly Janus-faced way. He is also a person with a vested interest in sabotaging his own government. The true insult is not the denial of the Holocaust. It is the instrumentalization of its victims as the Trump administration tries to manage its various coalitions and interests. Ben Margulies is a postdoctoral gellow at the University of Warwick. This article gives the views of the author, and not the position of USApp American Politics and Policy, nor of the London School of Economics.

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Holocaust Denial Leaflets Distributed At Australian Universities … – Forward

SYDNEY (JTA) Leaflets denying the Holocaust were distributed on two university campuses in Melbourne, Australia. The leaflets distributed in recent days began appearing at the same time of the opening in the city of the movie Denial, which portrays the court battle between Jewish historian Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust-denier David Irving. The leaflets tell readers that that the official version of the Holocaust, which is also portrayed that way in Hollywood, is demonstrably false. The National Chairpersonof The Australasian Union of Jewish Students Isabella Polger said: These leaflets are the result of a nationally organized campaign to spread poisonous anti-Semitic conspiracies at our nations top universities. They represent an atrocious assault on the dignity of Jewish students. The leaflets distributed at Monash University and the University of Melbourne contained slogans such as the greatest swindle of all time and the Holohoax. The Australasian Union of Jewish Students has scheduled a meeting at Monash University whose internal security department is investigating the incident. Melbourne universities were the targets of anti-Semitic leaflets in 2016

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Le Pen Beckons French JewsAnd Some Respond – Forward

Back in February, the right-wing Jewish website Dreuz reported on an unprecedented meeting: The Confederation of French Jews and Friends of Israel, it disclosed, had recently met with Louis Alliot, the vice president of Frances National Front party, a far right group long associated with Holocaust denial and historical sympathies for Frances wartime collaborationist regime with the Nazis. Many in the media described this as a historic event for Frances Jewish community. But while Frances influential former chief rabbi, Gilles Bernheim, has described the National Front as against our religion and not compatible with our values, a rather important proportion of the Jewish community was being drawn to the beckoning call of Marine Le Pen, the National Fronts leader, even before this years seminal election. It is a secret vote, explained Raphael Marciano, coordinator for the interfaith NGO CoExist. In 2012, more than 13% of French Jews reported voting for the National Front, attracted, presumably, by the animus against Arabs and Islam that today stands at the forefront of the partys xenophobia. Racial and ethnic polls are illegal in France prior to an election, so it is not possible to say how many will vote for Le Pen this year. But until April 14, most observers believed it was likely the percentage would increase. That was the day that Le Penwhether by mistake, design or simple refusal to publicly disavow her deepest beliefsreminded voters of her party and her own familys enduring record of Holocaust denial. Speaking more than two decades after French President Jacques Chirac broke through decades of denial and publicly apologized for Frances deportation of thousands of Jews into the hands of the Nazis during World War II, Le Pen told an interviewer for LCI television: I dont think France is responsible for the Vel dHiv. It was the role French police played in the 1942 corralling of more than 13,000 Jews at the Vel dHiv cycling track that Chirac specifically referenced in his groundbreaking 1995 apology. But Le Pen told her interviewer, I think that, generally speaking, if there are people responsible, its those who were in power at the time. Its not France. She instead laid the blame on the countrys collaborationist Vichy regime. To many observers this was a turning point. Her statement has stirred so much tension in the community that she might lose the Jewish constituency, said Michael Emsellem, a French IT consultant. More broadly, Le Pens statement and the public reaction to it could prove a huge setback to her decades-long project of convincing the French people that the National Front, founded by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1972, has shed its ties to Holocaust denial and subtle sympathy for Nazi ideas and history. Her father, who several times referred to the Holocaust as a detail of World War II, was convicted at least six times of Holocaust denial or of statements inciting racial hatredboth of which are subject to prosecution in France. But since assuming leadership of the National Front in 2011, his daughter has sought to gentrify the party. She has, among other things, fired her fathers entourage, who were close to the Third Reich during World War II. In a country that has been traumatized recently by multiple terrorist attacks, she has also stressed her concerns about immigration, safety and unemployment, and railed against the European Union, which she vows to take France out of, if elected. Earlier this year, Nicolas Bay, the Fronts general secretary, travelled to Israel to meet with the youth director of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus ruling Likud party. The youth director later on denied being aware of who, exactly, Bay was. For some, this repositioning toward Israel and Le Pens tough stance against Arabs and Muslims in the context of Muslim anti-Semitism in France is enough. William Golnadel, a French-Israeli lawyer and author who has close ties with the National Front and a widely followed Twitter account, advised his fellow Jews following Le Pens Vel dHiv remarks, Instead of dwelling on the Shoah we should focus on the jihadists. His tweet was shared on Twitter by Europe Israel, a popular right-wing Jewish website. And La Ligue de Defense Juive, one of the most extreme right-wing groups in France, has been encouraging its members to vote for the Front. The goal is quite simple, said E. Kamokha, a 25 year-old marketing specialist. They want Jews to vote for Le Pen as her policy is deeply rooted against Arabs. Once she will become President, the Ligue will push Jews to make their aliyah and leave France. The group she said, encourages a part of the Orthodox community to vote for Le Pen. But for others, Le Pens Vel dHiv statement was a clarifying moment. Edmee, a 25 year-old French comedian who declined to give his last name, felt pretty happy about what she said. It was a good reminder for the people who were [thinking about] voting for her that Le Pen is only a copy of her father. She is as anti-Semitic and racist as her father. Frances presidential election, which is seen as seminal thanks to the serious prospect that Le Pen might win it, will proceed in two stages: an initial round on April 23 featuring numerous candidates, and a run-off for the top two vote getters on May 7, with the winner emerging as president. According to Kamokha, as French Jews head into this election there are two clear ly identifiable branches within the community: those who think Israel is the solution and those in deep denial about the extent of anti-Semitism in the country. I believe I stand in between, she said. There is, to be sure, another extreme candidate on the far left who is given a chance to emerge as one of the top two winners on April 23, which would allow him to advance to the runoff: Jean-Luc Melenchon, a former Trotskyist, who is also running on an anti-EUalbeit also anti-racistplatform. Melenchon has publicly endorsed a pro-Palestinian policy. I receive calls from Jews who are as worried by Melenchon as they are by Le Pen, reported Bernard Abouaf, director of Radio Shalom, a mainstream Jewish news outlet. They are both extreme. In France, support for the pro-Palestinian movement is often seen as a slippery way to endorse pro-Hamas policy and to spread an anti-Israel feeling among the crowds. That leaves two major centrist, broadly pro-business candidates who are seen as having a significant chance of making it into the run-off: Franois Fillon, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2012 under the center-right president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and Emmanuel Macron, a former aide to Frances current, deeply unpopular president, Franois Hollande of the Socialist Party. Macron now describes himself as an Independent. Fillon, meanwhile, represents the Republicans, the countrys largest center-right party. But he has been damaged by the emergence of multiple financial scandals involving gifts to himself and alleged no-show government jobs for his wife. Leonie, a 26 year-old young interior architect will vote for Fillon. I am completely aware that he is swamped in corruption scandals and is likely to be as hated as Sarkozy was, she said. But I think that because of his Catholic roots and his devotion to a religious community, [he] will know how to protect the Jewish community. He knows how to speak to people who are religious and conservative and Id rather vote for him than the other candidates who have very unpredictable programs. Meanwhile, the media remain focused on Le Pen in a way that compares to the U.S media fascination for Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Le Pens speech on Sunday 16 April, one week before the first round, consisted of stigmatizing refugees, hitting hard at Islam and criticizing the EU. She vowed to reduce the number of asylum seekers given refugee status in France to 10,000 a year and said they would only be able to apply from abroad. She repeated that France needed to get out of the EU, of which it is an anchor. Her support for withdrawing from the EU, which it is widely believed will hurt Frances already ailing economy, might be an additional strike against her with Frances Jews. But her secret admirers, who tend to lie on their voting intentions in the polls, added to an expected high abstention rate among voters discouraged by all the choices, might play in her favor. Contact Annabelle Azade at feedback@forward.com

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April 19, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Denial  Comments Closed

More left-wing abuse of the Holocaust – Jewish Journal

Last week, President Donald Trumps press secretary, Sean Spicer, was widely accused by Jews and non-Jews on the left of engaging in Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism when he drew a comparison between Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and Adolf Hitler. The comparison involved Assads use of chemical weapons to kill and terrorize his own citizens. As there is no lie more heinous than Holocaust denial, this is quite a charge. If true, it would signal an unprecedented moral collapse at the highest levels of American government. But Sean Spicer never denied the Holocaust. As professor Alan Dershowitz, a lifelong Democrat, Hillary Clinton supporter and liberal (though not leftist) activist wrote: It never occurred to me that Spicers misstatements were motivated by anti-Semitism, Holocaust denial or an intent to slur the Jewish people. Nor do I believe that those who have accused him of such evil motivations actually believe it. They deliberately attributed an evil motive to him in order to pander to Jewish listeners. That offends me more than anything Spicer did. Dershowitz is right: the only thing worse than Holocaust denial is falsely accusing someone of engaging in it. Yet, that is what many on the Jewish and non-Jewish left (but when it comes to the Holocaust, its the Jews who matter the most) are guilty of. Accusing a non-Jew of engaging in Holocaust denial is the moral equivalent of the medieval Blood Libel against Jews (the accusation that a Jew killed a Christian child to use the childs blood to bake matzo for Passover). Most public figures know that it usually is a bad idea to invoke Nazism or Hitler to make a political point. But Spicer did invoke Hitler, and though he immediately explained himself, the left-wing media, also known as the mainstream media, unleashed a frenzy of irresponsible charges. Most people knew what Spicer meant that Assad had done something that even Hitler didnt do: specifically, use warplanes to drop chemical weapons on his own people. However, given Hitlers use of gas to murder German Jews, mentally handicapped Germans and others he considered less than human, the statement was factually incorrect. Spicer should not have made the point. Assads evil is clear enough without invoking Hitler; and the point he made could be taken by some to lessen Hitlers evil. Spicer realized this immediately and made a full apology shortly afterward. Again, Dershowitz: There was no hint of anti-Semitism in his [Spicers] historical mistake and his apology should have ended the matter. Nevertheless, the Democratic National Committee issued a statement under the headline We will not stand for anti-Semitism, that included the following: Denying the atrocities committed by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime is a tried and true tactic used by Neo-Nazis and white supremacist groups that have become emboldened since Donald Trump first announced his campaign for president. And Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, falsely accused Spicer of downplaying the horror of the Holocaust. To which Dershowitz responded: By leveling that false accusation, Pelosi herself is exploiting the tragedy, he wrote. Most people knew what Spicer meant that Assad had done something that even Hitler didnt do: specifically, use warplanes to drop chemical weapons on his own people. Dershowitz also attacked two Jewish frauds, Steven Goldstein and the so-called Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect. As I wrote in my last Jewish Journal column, Goldstein engages in chillul Anne Frank, a desecration of the name of Anne Frank. Steven Goldstein, Dershowitz wrote, a hard-left radical who heads a phony organization that calls itself The Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect, accused Spicer of engage[ing] in Holocaust denial. Goldstein, Dershowitz continued, repeatedly exploits the Holocaust in order to gain publicity for him and his tiny group of followers. Shame on them! But many left-wing Jews repeatedly quoted Goldstein and his radical Anne Frank Center. Adam Peck, an editor at ThinkProgress; Antonia Blumberg, a reporter at Huffington Post; Noah Berlatsky, writing in the Los Angeles Times; Kenneth Stern, executive director of the Justus & Karin Rosenberg Foundation, which also purportedly exists to fight anti-Semitism; and other left-wing Jews cited Goldstein and his organization charging Spicer with Holocaust denial. Another one of them, Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a contributor to CNN Opinion and professor of history and Italian studies at New York University, also continued the lie of tying Trump to anti-Semites and to anti-Semitism, even after it became clear that threats to Jewish community centers had been made by either a Black radical or young American Jew in Israel. Meanwhile, for the record, in 2013, Chris Matthews, host of MSNBCs Hardball, said that unlike Assad, Hitler never used chemical weapons. It is true that he was not the presidents press secretary. But no one on the left or the right said anything, let alone accused Matthews of Holocaust denial. But if a Fox News host had said it, left-wing Jews and non-Jews surely would have accused him or her of Holocaust denial. No one, left or right, should invoke Hitler for political gain. But among Jews, the left has a near monopoly on misusing the Holocaust and anti-Semitism to attack its political foes. It only serves to lessen the unique evil that constitutes the Holocaust.

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Holocaust denial leaflets reappear at Melbourne universities – J-Wire Jewish Australian News Service

Browse > Home / News / Holocaust denial leaflets reappear at Melbourne universities April 18, 2017 by J-Wire Staff Read on for article Jewish students, many of whom are descendants of Holocaust survivors, are deeply disturbed to once again discover Holocaust denial leaflets on campus. The Australian has reported that leaflets have also been distributed at the University of Melbourne University. Flyer under car wiperblade at Monash Last weekend, many leaflets were placed under windscreen wipers on car parks on the grounds of Monash University. Last year, thousands of similar leaflets were left on campuses at Monash University, The University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, and the University of NSW. There were also unconfirmed reports that the leaflets were circulated at the University of Sydney. The leaflets urge readers that the official version of the Holocaust is demonstrably false referring to the current film chronicling the bitter battle between Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust-denier David Irving. The National Chairperson of The Australasian Union of Jewish Students Isabella Polger said: These leaflets are the result of a nationally organised campaign to spread poisonous antisemitic conspiracies at our nations top universities. They represent an atrocious assault on the dignity of Jewish students. Universities have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their students, and protect those vulnerable to racial discrimination. Last week, AUJS was boycotted by the radical left, with the NSW Young Greens refusing to participate in a non-partisan cocktails function. This week, it is neo-Nazis calling for the students of Australian universities to question the veracity of the Holocaust, the systematic murder of six million Jews by Nazi Germany. AUJS is profoundly concerned by what appears to be the increasing normalisation of antisemitism on Australian campuses with growing reports of Jewish students facing abuse simply because of their identity. We call on our universities to do more to combat antisemitism. In a letter to Vice Chancellors of Victorian Universities AUJS wrote: We are writing to notify you of a series of disturbing anti-Semitic incidents that have occurred since the commencement of semester across Victorian university campuses. These instances seem to fall into the broader and recent trend of Jewish students feeling isolated and unwelcome on Victorian campuses. The Union is seeking your assistance to work together to prevent further instances of ethnic discrimination and vilification on campus. For context, the Australasian Union of Jewish Students is the peak representative body for thousands of Jewish students across more than 25 university campuses in Australia and New Zealand. The reported incidents are as follows: These statements and actions are unacceptable from any student or group. They represent more than simply a callous disregard for the collective memory and trauma of the Jewish community. Additionally, the statements cross the line of legitimate criticism of the Israeli government in to the demonisation and vilification of Jews. The perspectives of students are often formed and concretised on campus for life. If these attitudes were to prevail, it would signify our profound joint-failure to protect Jews and minorities on campus, and a failure on the University in its mission to educate and enlighten. Everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome on campus. If we are to project that our university campuses are inclusive communities, then we must together act promptly and resolve the underlying problems of ethnic discrimination on campus. We call on all Victorian Universities to proactively ensure that this alarming trend does not further permeate the campus environment. It is paramount that offending students and individuals are held accountable. We must leverage this as an opportunity for education and awareness. We look forward to continuing this conversation with you, and working towards making Melbournes universities safe and accepting environments for all students to learn and thrive in. Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the ADC stated: This is virulent anti-Semitism, pure and simple, and I am shocked and disgusted that such revolting brochures have once again invaded university space, not only belittling the horrific murder of six millions Jews, but exploiting vulnerable students who may have limited knowledge about the Holocaust and sowing a message of hate and intolerance in the hearts of young people. This is part of a hate blitz that we have seen proliferating globally following the release of the film Denial, and which must be vigorously fought. Universities are positive enclaves for critical thought and free expression, and the reprehensible attempt to deliberately deny the historical facts of the Holocaust must never find a fertile and welcoming haven. We must all stand as one against racist demagogues and white-Supremacists that share a loathing for the Jewish people as well as for the values of diversity and multiculturalism, and who are trying to expand their base and appeal by using the tools of prejudice. It is imperative that Jewish students on campus, who may have relatives who survived the Holocaust, are made to feel comfortable and that blatant anti-Semitism, harassment and hostile incitement are never tolerated. AUJS will meet with Monash University on Friday. The universitys own security department is currently investigating the incident. Visit J-Wire’s main page for all the latest breaking news, gossip and what’s on in your community.

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April 18, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Denial  Comments Closed

Editor’s Insight: Tackling Islam, Holocaust denial and The Max Harris … – The National Business Review

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April 12, 2017   Posted in: Holocaust Denial  Comments Closed


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