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nedelja, 7 marca, 2021

Me, the denier

By: Jože Biščak

The story goes something like this. Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there lived a prince. He was as beautiful as a tractor, as tall as a street lamp, he considered himself enlightened. So they built a statue of him. The prince asked the sculptor how tall it was. He told him that according to his calculations exactly six meters. And it was ruled that the statue of the prince adorning the entrance to the city was six metres high.

As time went on, doubts arose among the people as to whether the statue was really that high. Some claimed it was lower, others, to please the ruler, swore it was higher. Wanting to put an end to the guesswork, the prince called all the scholars in the country. Philosophers swore with raised hands that the statue was six metres high. These were endorsed by sociologists, theologians, writers, historians. Only metrologists across the country could not find a measuring device to confirm that the statue of the prince was six meters high.

Since the prince was also convinced that his statue was exactly six meters high, he was afraid that the inhabitants would start to doubt his other decisions as well. He gathered the ministers, consulted with them, then announced: “The statue is six feet high. Anyone who doubts this also denies the existence of the statue. All deniers will be persecuted.”

The story could be fictional, it could be a goodnight fairy tale, but it is very real. I am experiencing it myself. For several months now, records have been appearing on social networks (among them Blaž Zgaga and Luka Lisjak in the forefront) that I am a Holocaust denier. Namely, in one of my answers in a discussion on Twitter, I wrote: “The prophecy says that the Jews will return to the Promised Land when 6 million of them disappear in the fire. This is how the myth of 6 million people killed in German furnaces came about.” In this record, progressive courtiers recognised Holocaust denial, although I only doubted the accuracy of the 6 million figure. I was last accused of being a Holocaust denier due to the recent letters we sent to Europe together with my colleague Vinko Vaslet regarding the record in Politico.

The Holocaust, as the mid-20th century pogrom against Jews is called, undoubtedly happened. Much like the post-war genocide against ideological opponents of communism, or the Armenian genocide that Turkey denies. However, no one knows how many people were actually killed in the Holocaust. Despite counting with first and last names, no one came close to 6 million. This is an indisputable fact, which is also confirmed by the oldest Israeli newspaper Haaretz, known for its progressive and leftist views. This is what they wrote in August 2013 (it was reprinted in January 2020) when they researched whether the figure of six million Jewish Nazi victims holds true.

“One of the most well-known, if not iconic, facts about the Holocaust is the number of Jewish victims killed by Nazi Germany up through the end of World War II,” writes Haaretz and adds that the number was first mentioned by dr. Wilhelm Hoettl, an Austrian official of the Third Reich and a historian who served in many high positions in the SS. In November 1945, Hoettl testified for the prosecution at the Nuremberg trials. He described a conversation he had with Eichmann, an SS official who was in charge of the logistics of the Jewish genocide. According to him, four million Jews died in the camps, “and the remaining two million died by shooting or other causes and circumstances, such as illness.”

The main research center for the study of the Holocaust, Yad Vashem, quotes Eichmann on its website, but then says that the first estimates of Holocaust victims have decreased according to the latest studies. The center has just over four million names in its database.

Raul Hilberg, one of the first researchers, listed 5.1 million victims in his book (1961) “The Destruction of the European Jews.” Lucy Dawidowicz listed 5.93 million of them in the book “The War against the Jews” (1975), and Wolfgang Benz, probably the greatest authority on the Holocaust, did not write down the exact number, but believes that the number of victims ranges from 5.3 to 6. 2 million. Each one of these used their own method to come up with a number.

The Holocaust undoubtedly happened, and on the figure of six million, Haaretz concludes that it is not accurate and was never intended for it. It remained in the consciousness of Europe. But if you doubt the accuracy of the number, you are a Holocaust denier. And if you are a Holocaust denier, you are an anti-Semite. This tactic of stigmatising deniers has been successfully transferred to other areas by the soldiers of progressivism. The doubt that, in addition to the female and male (biological) sexes, there is an opaque multitude of other sexes means transphobia; love of homeland, national culture, and tradition is nationalism at its worst; emphasising freedom of speech is far-right; protecting private property is a vicious neoliberal tendency; opposition to the construction of mosques in a Christian environment is Islamophobia; doubt in the meaning of uncontrolled illegal migration is xenophobia. In short, the ancient foundations are fascist and Nazi.

Serious scientists agree that even the most well-known genocides cannot determine the exact number of victims. Each number is sooner or later a myth that comes into the subconscious and is therefore valid. Or as they wrote on the most famous global data portal Our world in data: “One major obstacle in quantifying atrocities of this nature is that many perpetrators work hard to conceal the true number of victims (…). For this reason, the estimated death tolls are imprecise (…). Scholars still debate the number of victims of The Holocaust, the largest and most well documented case of genocide in human history.”

I leave the judgment of whether doubting the number six million means Holocaust denial to readers. The statue of the prince in the story is still considered to be six meters high.

Jože Biščak, editor-in-chief of Democracija magazine and president of the Slovenian Association of Patriotic Journalists. He is the author of three books: Stories from the Hayek Cafe, Notes from a Conservative Liberal and Journey with Orwell.

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