Battling Holocaust Deniers one Day at a Time

Babi Yar

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I have a policy on Holocaust denial on my site. If someone denies the Holocaust or tries to minimize it I delete their post. That might sound somewhat restrictive, but I will not give them the space on my site to posit their race hatred and justification of genocide in any way shape or form. It used to be that I would spar with them, but I realized that by doing so I gave them a sense of acceptability, and when some proceeded to make physical threats against me for opposing their ideas I realized that I couldn’t go down that road anymore.

That being said, every so often I get comments from Holocaust deniers, as well as Japanese deniers of the Rape of Nanking and other Japanese atrocities in Asia during the 1930s and World War II. The Japanese Nanking deniers are almost always Right Wing revisionists and hyper-nationalists who subscribe to the racial theory that the Chinese and other non-Japanese are less than human. But I’ve never had an American take issue with Nanking while almost all of my holocaust deniers are Americans who not only deny the Holocaust, but who subscribe to the most base and repulsive theories of anti-Semitism, and White Supremacy.

I had yet another one of those last week who ripped into me on the Nazi massacre of Ukrainian Jews at Babi Yar, in which over 33,771 Jews were marched out of Kiev and shot on the 29th and 30th of September 1941. There were 29 survivors who managed to escape the death pits by feigning and climbing out after dark. Massacres of more than 100,000 other people, mostly non-Jews continued until November. The number of Jews killed was documented by the Commander of the Sonderkommando 4a of Einsatzgruppe C which conducted the massacre. The Einsatzgruppe men were assisted by troops from two Police Battalions and Waffen SS troops with support from the Wehrmacht.  Both the records of the Einsatzgruppe and the testimony of SS men who took part is damning enough, yet my denier critic had the nerve to say “There was no such massacre – it is just another example of war time atrocity propaganda.”

I since he decided to leave his email address and website I decided to do a little investigation and found that he is full of these zingers and an avid supporter of President Trump. He plays fast and loose with the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust and claims that “It is currently illegal in many European nations to question the official or generally accepted account of the holocaust of European Jewry during the Second World War.” Of course that is not true, in fact in most of Europe the archives are open, the documents assessable, and the evidence undeniable. The problem is that the evidence is so great that any to deny it or attempt to revise it deserves both public ridicule and academic scorn. There are laws against Holocaust denial in many European countries precisely because it was such a horrific chapter in human history that it cannot be minimized or defended.

James Morcan in his book Debunking Holocaust Denial Theories wrote something very true that I am all too aware of: “Unfortunately, the historicity of the Holocaust has been undermined and chipped away at by the exact same sinister forces that created the genocide in the first place: racists, religious bigots and the most paranoid type of conspiracy theorists who, together, are uniting – often unwittingly – to form a new wave of anti-Semitism that will not willingly accept the obvious facts of the past. This chipping away (at the truth) began slowly and insidiously – much like the Holocaust itself – but sadly, and worryingly, it is gathering pace.” 

It is interesting to read through the man’s blog and see that his issue is not about anti-Semitism, as he is exceptionally anti-Semitic, nor is it about the killing of the Jews, just the number. It seems that he, like the other deniers can lessen the number that somehow it becomes more acceptable and over time forgettable. I will not open this site up to Holocaust deniers, but to its affirmers either.

The sad thing for us as a nation is that quite a few Holocaust deniers and affirmers have the ear of the President and people in his administration. This makes the topic all too relevant. As Marc Bloch wrote “we can truly understand the past only if we read it in light of the present.”


Padre Steve+



Filed under History, holocaust, News and current events, philosophy, Political Commentary

6 responses to “Battling Holocaust Deniers one Day at a Time

  1. Ugh! Nutters like this plague me too. Not long ago I had some nut who denied the Nanking massacre trying to post comments almost daily on my blog. Ironically the first article on which he did so was only tangentially about Nanking–it was more focused on historical methods and how we know what we know about the past. His ideologically blinkered comments indicated what happens when those methods are ignored or misunderstood. I approved only one comment just to demonstrate how stupid this person was being, then I banned all other comments he attempted to make.

    Not long ago on Twitter a nest of Nanking truthers attacked me there. You’re right, they’re hyper-nationalist Japanese. It’s my understanding that there are several high officials in the Japanese government right now who are Nanking truthers, which mirrors the disturbing trend in our own government of Holocaust deniers close to the Trump administration.

    • padresteve

      Absolutely scary how similar they are and that some are in positions of power. I guess we are never too far away from racist genocide. When you become complacent and think it has disappeared into the sands of time it comes back. We must keep fighting the good fight.

  2. JoeKoffee

    The generational persistence of racism, or more largely, xenophobia, continues to gnaw at me. I suppose it is true that it is (mainly?) taught, and learned. But it is so very persistent and resilient that I wonder if it is an endemic human weakness – a programming flaw.
    Are we innately inclined to fear the different, and so we are particularly susceptible to racism? And how is the paranoia and the susceptibility to it that seems to always accompany xenophobia tied in?
    These are disturbing thoughts and propositions, for we must wonder if these shortcomings are innate, can they EVER be overcome, no matter how great our efforts at civilization or progress?

  3. One prominent Nanking denier is Japanese writer Naoki Hyakuta who wrote the 2006 novel ‘The Eternal Zero’ (a novel about Japanese pilots in WW2) which was a major bestseller in Japan and became a major film in 2013. Hyakuta is on record as stating that the Nanking Massacre was ‘fiction’.

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