Denying History: Who Says the Holocaust Never Happened and Why Do They Say It?

Here are some highlights from this 2009 edition:

* We noted earlier that in sociology there is a problem known as the “co-option” of scholars, particularly by cults and New Age religions, in which a scholar, after entering a group and spending considerable time with its members, publishes a paper or book that is not as objective it might be. It is something like the Stockholm Syndrome, where one begins to sympathize with one captors, albeit it in this case it is voluntary. Reinforced by the members of the group one is studying feels good and one wants to reciprocate. Since Irving was getting no positive reinforcement from academic circles and scholarly historians, he naturally began to identify with those who were providing him with primary source documents—old Nazis and Hitler insiders. Irving allowed himself to be used, and he, in turn, used his subjects. It was a win-win arrangement that resulted in a serious loss for David Irving in the form of his reputation as a reliable historian. Recall Irving’s comments on Hitler and his Nazi followers: “I carried out major interviews with all these people on tape. And what struck me very early on … is that you’re dealing with people who are educated people.” Hitler, Irving continued with admiration in his voice, “had attracted a garniture of high-level educated people around him. The secretaries were top-flight secretaries. The adjutants were people who had gone through university or through staff college and had risen through their own abilities to the upper levels of the military service.” These Hitler confidants were well educated and they spoke highly of their führer. Who was Irving to argue? “Coming as I did with an as-yet-unpainted canvas, this was really the seminal point, the seminal experience—to find twenty-five people of education, all of whom privately spoke well of him. Once they’d won your confidence and they knew that you weren’t going to go and report them to the state prosecutor, they trusted you. And they thought, well, now at last they were doing their chief a service.” Here was the shift from deception to self-deception, the co-option of David Irving by Hitler’s Magic Circle. Hitler’s war became Irving’s war. The Faustian bargain was made, and David Irving shall forever pay the price. Yet, with his background and temperament, it is a pact he could not help but form and a cost he is only too willing to incur.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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