TabletMag Investigates Holocaust Deniers

Mark Oppenheimer begins his 2009 four-part series: “In his long lifetime, James von Brunn—the 88-year-old who earlier this month allegedly shot and killed United States Holocaust Memorial Museum guard Stephen Johns—managed to embody every cliché about the Holocaust-denying anti-Semite: seething with hatred toward Jews, convinced that somehow they rig the money system, certain that there are multiple world-wide conspiracies afoot. And if we stopped to think harder about it, we might have to admit that there’s something comforting about how perfectly von Brunn fulfills our preconception of the Holocaust denier. It is pleasantly convenient to imagine that all Holocaust deniers belong to one coherent movement—as if all of our enemies could be found, and could fit, in the same contained, albeit ghoulish, landscape.”

Is this what it means to be a professional writer these days? To hurl slur after slur as an introduction to an argument about the need for greater understanding?

If these guys are so horrible, why not let their words and deeds speak for themselves?

Like Osama Bin Laden and various Indian chiefs, James von Brunn was a warrior for his people who went to war against his enemies.

Different groups have different interests. Every group in the world is competing with other groups for scarce resources. Every group in the world thinks it is special. Every group in the world has varying degrees of hatred, fear and distrust of outside groups. The more closely anyone identifies with his group, the more likely he is to fear and hate outside groups.

From a Jewish perspective, the Arab wave of stabbings in Israel is evil. From an Arab perspective, it is heroic (aka driving the Jewish state out of existence). From the perspective of those who are neither Arab nor Jewish, it is vicious tribal warfare that you don’t want to import into your own land.

We can never predict how other people will behave. All we can do to survive is to make ourselves as strong as possible. As we make ourselves strong, however, we inevitably step on the toes of others, producing conflict.

The rise of the Jews in the West, for instance, over the past 200 years, has at times and in varying ways challenged other groups, who reacted by fearing and hating Jews.

In the land that is now the state of Israel, Jewish strength rose at the cost of the non-Jews who lived there.

Every living organism has an instinctive feel for when something else is threatening its survival and it reacts. Hatred is normal when you are threatened. Many gentiles hate Jews and this is called anti-Semitism, but what do you call it when Jews hate gentiles? That doesn’t get a special name?

Mark Oppenheimer continues: “In reality, however, that caricature grossly misunderstands this anti-Semitic Holocaust skepticism, which is not a unified movement but a loose confederation of people who often have very little in common.”

Holocaust deniers rarely call themselves Holocaust deniers. They prefer the term “Holocaust revisionism.” Whatever you call it, it has nothing to do with WWII body counts and everything to do with whether or not the Holocaust denies us the right to ask important questions about group differences, immigration, diversity, and the like.

Holocaust revisionists are no more stupid, on average, than the average American. They present different messages for different IQ groups. For people with a 100 IQ and lower, they deny that there were gas chambers and they deny that there is anything special about Jewish suffering. They may use low-brow cartoons and the like to get across this message. For more sophisticated audiences, they might say there was a Holocaust and we need to do it again.

I wrote May 2, 2014:

Jews usually ask “how” instead of “why” about Holocaust deniers. We ask, how can they deny the Holocaust? The important question is why do they deny the Holocaust.

In my view, they deny the Holocaust to deny the narrative that Jews were 100% innocent (rather than comprising a group that has interests that clash with the interests of other groups) and to signal to each other that they want to commit another genocide against Jews.

Hating Jews is not socially acceptable in the West today so those who hate Jews usually speak in code.

Wikipedia says:

Holocaust denial is the act of and theory behind denying the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust during World War II.[1][2] The key claims of Holocaust denial are that the German Nazi government had no Final Solution policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas chambers to mass murder Jews, and the actual number of Jews killed was significantly (typically an order of magnitude) lower than the historically accepted figure of 5 to 6 million.[3][4][5]

Holocaust deniers generally do not accept the term denial as an appropriate description of their activities, and use the term revisionism instead.[6] Scholars use the term “denial” to differentiate Holocaust deniers from historical revisionists, who use established historical methodologies.[7] The methodologies of Holocaust deniers are criticized as based on a predetermined conclusion that ignores extensive historical evidence to the contrary.[8]

Most Holocaust denial claims imply, or openly state, that the Holocaust is a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples.[9] For this reason, Holocaust denial is generally considered to be an antisemitic[10] conspiracy theory,[11] and it frequently encounters criticism.

Jews have used the horror of the Holocaust to stigmatize any negative assessment of Jews as a group. Stephen Steinlight wrote in 2001: “For perhaps another generation, an optimistic forecast, the Jewish community is thus in a position where it will be able to divide and conquer and enter into selective coalitions that support our agendas.”

“That America has largely tolerated this dual loyalty — we get a free pass, I suspect, largely over Christian guilt about the Holocaust — makes it no less a reality.”

“How can they hate us?” is not the best question for Jews to ask right now. A better one is, “Why do they hate us?” And it’s not because we’re all so wonderful. Jewish leftists have worked to diminish traditional ties to race, religion and nation to try to make the world safer for Jews by denying that Jews constitute an alien tribe. These Jews who are largely cut off from the restrictions of Orthodox Judaism (though often still maintaining a strong Jewish identity) have tried to make the world similarly unmoored through things like multiculturalism, Boasian anthropology, Freudianism, MTV, Hollywood, etc. This is creating a whirlwind for all Jews, just like when in Weimar Germany, radical Jews excelled at poking fun of all things traditionally German.

All of the major Jewish organizations support immigration amnesty in the United States while fighting hard for Israel as a Jewish state. These are contradictory stands until you realize that in the minds of Jewish leaders, weakened gentile racial identity is good for the Jews. It makes America more “user-friendly” for Jews in the words of Abraham Foxman of the ADL.

The hardest thing for ordinary Jews to accept is that no people is entirely innocent, including Jews, and that the actions of a tiny number of elite Jews have fueled the whirlwind by supporting policies that diminish the goy and rob him of his traditional ties of race, religion and nation. Agudah Yisrael signed on to expanding the definition of hate crimes. The OU supports immigration amnesty. All significant American Jewish organizations support immigration amnesty, an idea that will destroy the United States. How can I stay silent? How can Jews stay silent when all of our major organizations are pushing the multicultural agenda on the goyim.

Adolf Hitler said in 1941: “I’m convinced that there are Jews in Germany who’ve behaved correctly — in the sense that they’ve invariably refrained from doing injury to the German idea. It’s a difficult to estimate how many there are, but what I also know is that none of them has entered into conflict with his co-racialists in order to defend the German idea against them… Probably many Jews are not aware of the destructive power they represent.” (December 1941, Pg. 494 of Esau’s Tears)

Oppenheimer writes: “Holocaust deniers are a touchy bunch, prone to infighting…”

As opposed to Jews? Which groups precisely are not touchy and are not prone to infighting?

Oppenheimer on Mark Weber: “That he continued to be obsessed with the alleged lies and machinations of Jews seemed proof of an objective disorder.”

Jews never lie and never machinate? When they do, is it good or bad for Jews when this is pointed out? In other words, do Jews, like all other peoples, benefit from accurate criticism and the accurate placing of stigma when they do things that hurt others?

Notice the use of the word “obsessed.” It is the cheap put down widely used to deride those who put in more effort on a subject than we would like. If someone were to list off embarrassing things I’ve done, I’d probably react by saying, “Why are you so obsessed with me?” But if dogged determination is socially acceptable, then such devotion is praised, and not called “obsessed.”

Oppenheimer writes: “But because I believe in redemption, and because Weber’s web site offered a curious mixture of anti-Semitic nonsense and mainstream news articles about Israel, and even articles from the Jewish press, I decided that it was worth trying to talk to Mark Weber. Maybe he was a new man. Or maybe he was trying to become one.”

For decades, Mark Weber labored on behalf of his people, and much of his energy was devoted to fighting those who were enemies of his people. What’s so weird, sick and dysfunctional about that?

I’m not here to argue Mark Weber is a great guy. I don’t know him. I’ve spent less than ten hours on his work. From what I read and heard, he struck me as a person dedicated to truth and to fighting on behalf of his people. Much of what he has to say makes me uncomfortable. Much of it seems unfriendly to organized Jewry. Nevertheless, I’ve always profited from reading him. He’s made my thinking sharper and clearer. Now he may have all sorts of vile essays out there that I would not want to defend. I’m not the Mark Weber expert, but from what I’ve read of him, and what I’ve read of Mark Oppenheimer, Mark Weber seems to me more honest, more honorable and more courageous. Weber is willing to give up all earthly glory to fight for his people while Oppenheimer traffics in the slurs and easy putdowns that are the stock in trade of the ruling morality.

A Jewish friend tells me:

Mark Weber poses some interesting questions about the nature of anti-semitism and whether it is ever rational. He uses prominent Jewish sources to bolster his argument that it is rational. You should ask him how he got interested in revisionist history, what his interest in it has cost him, how people who are willing to speak at his conferences have been harmed because of their association with him (including Joe Sobran), his opinion of other revisionist historians such as David Irving, and the sources of funding for IHR.

I do not personally know any persons who can participate in an even-handed discussion of the Nazis. It is a career killer for academics, journalists and public intellectuals. Very few can even discuss anti-semitism in an even handed basis. People who are not entirely critical of the Nazis, such as Pat Buchanan, who saw the Communists as at least as evil, are considered outside the bounds of rational discourse. You see what happened to Mark Weber of IHR.

You have to glean what you can from books and movies. If you read German, you might be able to look at archival magazines and newspapers that would give you a Nazi perspective.

During the war the Nazi’s published a picture magazine, not unlike Life or Look in the United States, called Signal. One of the areas occupied by the Germans for most of the war was the Channel Islands where the inhabitants spoke English. Signal was published in a variety of foreign languages and for the Channel Islands there was an English edition. S.L.A. Mayer, a military historian, put together three books out of the magazine. They include quite a bit of Nazi ideology. Interestingly, in the two volumes that I have read, there is nothing anti-semitic in them and much propaganda that is remarkably akin to what was used in the U.S. after 9/11.

Oppenheimer writes: “Each man, too, seems to want to be loved and, I thought, a bit puzzled that it has not worked out that way. Most surprising, both Weber and [Bradley R.] Smith loved Jews. They don’t love Jews generally, of course, but each man has a Jewish woman in his past with whom he has had a close relationship. Discovering these contradictions in the lives of Smith and Weber did not arouse in me any sympathy, and of course it doesn’t discredit their ideas, which are wrong on their own merits. But to meet these two men late in their careers in anti-Semitism, and to get to know them as they tangled with each other, helped illuminate what kind of man might choose to cross the borders of respectable opinion, and what inner needs might keep him exiled from his fellow man.”

Only psychopaths don’t want to be loved.

I love that phrase “careers in anti-Semitism.” Many Jews, such as the leaders at the ADL, the SPLC and the Simon Wiesenthal Center, have made lucrative careers in anti-Gentilism but nobody in polite society calls them on it because whites are not allowed to have group interests as whites. Jewish identity, black identity, Mexican identity are wonderful things while white identity is evil. Got it.

“For one airfare, I could meet two extremists.”

But the leaders of Jewish organizations are never extremists?

Oppenheimer claims Lucy Dawidowicz is a major Holocaust scholar. Ludicrous. From the Wikipedia entry on Lucy Dawidowicz: “Raul Hilberg criticized Dawidowicz for her work ‘The War Against The Jews’ stating that it builds “largely on secondary sources and conveying nothing whatever that could be called new,” and then going on to say in regards to Dawidowicz portrayal of Jewish resistance and resisters that she included “soup ladlers and all others in the ghettos who staved off starvation and despair.” Hilberg suggests that “nostalgic Jewish readers [would find here] vaguely consoling words, [which] could be easily clutched by all those who did not wish to look deeper.” He then goes on to list over twenty key authors on the subjects that Dawidowicz covers, that she did not use as reference in her own work. Hilberg ends on the subject of Dawidowicz stating “To be sure, Dawidowicz has not been taken all that seriously by historians”.”

Upon meeting Mark Weber, Oppenheimer is reminded of Howard Jacobson assessment about Holocaust deniers: “You will know them because they know more about the Jewish religion than you do. As soon as you meet one of those, and think, by God they’ve got a lot of quotations, by God they know everything about Jews—then that’s what they are. And what cheers me about all this, is that your true anti-Semite, like your true Holocaust denier, is doomed to a kind of Dante-esque hell of living among Jewish things, Jewish books, Jewish artifacts. You can see them in the library, they’ve got the Talmud up here, and they’re burrowing away to find more and more evidence against the Jews. Few Jews live a more perfect scholarly Jewish life.”

So it’s creepy when they know little about Jews and creepy when they know a great deal?

Oppenheimer writes:

This perfectly describes Mark Weber. During the course of our two conversations in person (I returned the next day for another three hours), and several more on the telephone, Weber spoke knowledgeably about the Hebrew Bible, Jewish holidays, the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC, the founding of the state of Israel, Theodor Herzl, David Ben-Gurion, and the work of Anti-Defamation League director Abraham Foxman. It became clear that he reads the Jewish press more closely than I do, and I write for the Jewish press. At one point, he and I got into an argument over the proper connotations of the Yiddish word macher—a fight that ended, I must sheepishly admit, when I realized he was right.

Yep. Nothing extraordinary here unless you have a cartoonish view of Holocaust denial.

For Weber, some of those consequences are how the United States exercises power in the Middle East: unconditional support for Israel, the invasion of Iraq, the death of young American soldiers in unnecessary foreign adventures—all brought about in large part by the unique power of American Jews, with their dual loyalties and preternatural skill for organization.

Of course, the very idea that Jews have too much influence presupposes that there’s an appropriate amount of influence any ethnic or religious group should have…

These ideas seem like valid subjects for public discussion.

“When I was in Europe,” Weber said, “I was very struck that there are all sorts of different groups: Flemish, Dutch, Bretons, French. I thought it’s a good thing all these groups exist and the world would be worse off if they disappeared.” I pointed out that even if that kind of homogeneity were desirable, the United States has never had it—we’ve always been a country of immigrants. Weber conceded the point, but said that up until the time of World War II we had a common narrative, that we were “this English people that brings other people in to assimilate.”

The loss of that unifying story is in good measure, Weber says, Jews’ fault. Weber believes that even Jews who embraced this mainstream, Christian America often undermined it. “The Jewish role in American culture has served immensely to de-Christianize Christmas, that’s just one example,” he said. “And one of the most popular Christmas songs is ‘White Christmas,’ by Irving Berlin. Jewish songs about Christmas strip it almost of any religious character.” Another time, on the phone, Weber put his concern even more starkly: “Jewish leaders in America push for, work for, an America—it’s a gross generalization, I know—an America with no racial or cultural identity. Not just in this country, but around the world, including in Europe. That’s almost a truism.”

This stuff seems worthy of debate. To argue against it that the United States has always been a nation of immigrants is weak. Until circa 1948, only white immigrants could become U.S. citizens. The United States was an 80-90% white country until after 1980 (that year it was 80% white but that rate was declining).

Weber keeps his head buried in books about European history and journals about Middle Eastern politics.

But as one professor of mine, who had worked as a public historian, once told me: “Beware the history buff.” The buff—as opposed to the scholar, or the curious peruser, or the dilettante—eats up all this knowledge but can’t properly digest it. He (most buffs seem to be male) cannot keep facts in perspective; he fails at precisely the task the scholar is good at, figuring out which facts matter most, which pieces of evidence to privilege, what to weigh more than what. So a particular truth—that there are a lot of Jewish executives in Hollywood, or that African Americans commit more crimes, per capita, than whites—assumes an outsized importance. With no ability to create proper contexts for facts, the buff is in danger of becoming either a conspiracy theorist or a bigot, or both. This is why there is so much crossover between the communities of, say, 9/11 skeptics and anti-Semites. Conspiracy theorists and bigots are people with faulty judgment casting about for answers; but whereas the conspiracy theorist needlessly increases the complexity of the world, the bigot needlessly simplifies.

Apparently, Oppenheimer can’t argue with Mark Weber’s facts and logic.

There were moments in my conversations with Mark Weber when I felt a keen despair, a sadness that actually began keeping me up at night. Partly, I was reacting to his cold and pessimistic analysis of “the Jewish problem”: Jews can be poisonous to the societies in which they live, but Zionism is “an aberration” and Israel is “a failure by its own standards.” So, I had asked him, “What’s the answer for the Jews?” And Weber replied, “It’s a huge problem. Nobody has an easy answer.”

As chilling as this was to hear, there was something clarifying, and tonic, about listening to the mind of Holocaust denier at work. As he spoke, it was patently obvious how his obsessive study, and the accumulation of facts—shorn of actual wisdom—led him to into the comfortable embrace of absurd conclusions.

Wisdom is an obvious cure, but it was by talking with Weber that I came to realize the importance of compassion, too. In college and graduate school, I studied history for many years, and never once did I think that it was important how I felt about my subjects; the proper goal was the ever-elusive objectivity. But talking with Weber made me realize something about objectivity: being objective about a particular set of facts cannot always save one from spending a lifetime railing against the Zionist menace (or the black menace, or the invasion of Latino immigrants). Some measure of interest in—compassion for, even love for—those people, those fellow human beings, is an incentive to look at the whole picture: why many Jews love Israel, why black crime rates are higher, why Latinos break the law to come to America.

Weber thus has two problems that prevent him from being a real historian. Not only can he not put facts in their proper context, he doesn’t really want to. He dislikes Jews, and even if his dislike weren’t further complicated by his deforming need for simple answers, it’s absurd for someone who dislikes Jews to be a historian of the Jews. It’s in the nature of humanity that only someone who likes another person or group of people—likes with skepticism, of course, but still likes—can have the sympathetic imagination to really understand that person or group. At the very least, a good scholar has to seek out the company of his subjects—something that would be easy for Weber, whose Orange County is hardly Judenrein. Weber has a deep admiration for Jews—us powerful, cohesive, brilliant Jews—but it’s an admiration that could never survive actually knowing us. “I’m not friends with many Jews,” Weber admitted to me. Hardly surprising, of course. But for his research he goes to AIPAC conventions, not Sabbath services, not classes at the local JCC. He doesn’t go to coffee shops in Jewish neighborhoods to eavesdrop. He does not, in short, do his research. Like sons of the Confederacy who seem to know everything about the glorious old South but don’t really understand anything, Weber has a lot of facts, and most of them are even right. But by the standards of the true historian, Weber is a lowly fraud.

Once, after hearing Weber lament that Jews would always be an insoluble problem, I said that if he were right, Jews would deserve his compassion. He did not quite see matters that way. “I don’t wish Jews badly,” he said, “but I am less concerned with the future of Jews than I am with humanity, the world.” That Jews are part of humanity, and that we live in his world, seemed an idle technicality at best.

One scholar of Holocaust denial told me, quoting a friend, that Holocaust deniers they “are like the shit you step on in the street—it has no relevance unless you fail to scrape it off before entering your home.” In part, I understand the sentiment: I often felt as if Weber, in particular, had come home with me, invaded my office, even my bedroom. But I don’t share the scatological disgust. Instead, I remember what the theologian Stanley Hauerwas once told me about premillennial dispensationalists, those fundamentalist Christians who extrapolate from the Bible extremely complicated, unbelievably detailed, scenarios about the end times, like those in the Left Behind novels. “They’re very smart,” Hauerwas said. “You can’t be stupid and come up with that. God gave them minds, and they need to use them.” In other words, forbidden by their religion from developing real intellectual curiosity, they turn their brainpower toward half-baked biblical exegesis that makes sense according to its own hermetic logic. Weber and Smith are trapped like that. Holocaust denial is, like more benign species of fundamentalism, a well-furnished playground for immature and sometimes deranged intellects. It isn’t necessarily about Jews, or even about the Holocaust; it’s about finding something to do with one’s mind. These people aren’t stupid or cynical: Smith does seem to have a noble libertarian streak, and Weber is smart and industrious. And if they could scale the walls that they’ve built for themselves, and look around at the world outside the playground, they might even do some good.

About Luke Ford

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