Anonymous asked in Society & CultureReligion & Spirituality · 1 decade ago

Should we be able to debate the historical accuracy of the Holocaust?

Im a criminology student and have come across the main legal cases (i.e. Keegstra) concerning Canadians who debated whether the holocaust occured or not. If I am not mistaken, it is not a crime to do so in the US (I could be wrong).

I am curious as to why debating either whether it actually happened or if all the numbers are accurate, isnt allowed or is frowned upon?

Everything else is up for debate; nothing else is treated as infallible and every current and historical event or matter is open for questioning especially in a setting of higher education. Why is it that the holocaust is seen almost as untouchable including on university campuses where debate and asking questions is key and freedom of speech and thought as well.

If it is about prevention of harm to others or sensitivity, then why is that exclusive only to the holocaust and not other wars, genocides, religious matters etc.?

Please try to refrain from rude replies.


By the way, before I am deemed anti-semetic etc. I do not question the occurence of the holocaust, but would like to be able to explore the full accuracy of the numbers, the sources etc.

Update 2:

If you are a bit clueless as to the matters of the world, yes there are those who believe that the holocaust is a big lie and that it never occured etc. They are accurately labeled: Holocaust Deniers/Holocaust Denial.

Update 3:

Of course there are survivours still around and harm to them is at issue, but there are survivours of other horrors as well (be it perhaps at a lesser scale). Those events though arent immune from question. How come?

Update 4:

And out of curiousity...why report me? For exercising free thought and speech?

26 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Of course. In the interests of freedom of expression,in the interests of history. I think it's disgraceful the way Ernst Zundel was deported from Canada for expressing his views. So they were a little weird - secret nazi UFO bases in Antartica,etc. - he was harmless. Then in Germany they 've put him in prison (at 67) for 7 years for being a Holocaust denier. Which he is,but so what? You want to see some "denying' of historical truth,try checking out jewish articles on the Holodomar. If fact they started up this whole "holocaust denier" media frenzy right around the same time we began to get solid information on the Holodomar,thanks to glasnost. 7 million Ukrainians starved to death in a program carried out by a jew,Lazar Kaganovich. Incredibly,this man was never indicted for the worst case of mass-murder in human history,even though this all came out in Congessional hearings in 1986 and Kaganonovich lived on until 1991 in quiet and comfortable retirement. Helps to have the right background, I guess. The man should have ended up like Eichmann. I say everything is open to discussion and debate - but even right now we've got a controversy going in R&S on this Jewish business of getting antizionist's accounts deleted. It makes me sick. How that Hate Crime Unit doing up in Canada? Wouldn't B'ni Brith/ADL love to have that here - an Orwellian thought-police scam-op if ever there was such a thing.

  • Elly
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Holocaust denial is banned in several countries because it does hurt people's feelings and because it is a form of inciting hatred. You might say that questioning numbers etc. is not necessarily a form of inciting hatred, but actually it implies that the Jews would have made it up for their own advantage, and making people believe this does incite hatred.

    You ask why this is exclusive for the Holocaust. Well it should not be that way. What I wrote above applies to every genocide. It is a shame how for example many Turks deny the Armenian genocide. France has passed a law that makes Armenian genocide denial illegal in France.

    Anyway the Holocaust deniers are the most aggressive kind of genocide deniers who call for political implications of their ideas. For example they usually try to refute the legitimacy of the State of Israel by denying the Holocaust. Many Holocaust deniers are neo-Nazis like Ernst Zündel who want to use Holocaust denial to strengthen "Aryan" supremacist ideas. It is dangerous.

    Another thing is that the evidence for the Holocaust is so clear that there is really no need to discuss the question of its historical accuracy at university. Historians don't debate the accuracy of the Holocaust just as biologists don't consider creationism an option, atronomers don't discuss the possibility that the earth might be the center of the universe and geologists don't discuss the idea that the earth might be flat.

    It is ridiculous to claim the actual number of the victims and sources etc. could not be explored. They are explored in great detail. The Holocaust is without doubt studied and documentated better than any other genocide in history. Holocaust deniers don't explore anything, they just make up lies, that is what's frowned upon.

  • 1 decade ago

    All matters of history are open to debate, but why would one even want to take the position that a true historical event,

    bolstered by tons of objective documentation, never occured? That's the real question and the one that raises anti-semetic red flags. Its as though someone wanted to debate whether Adolf Hitler ever engaged in an aggressive foreign policy and started WW2 with his land grabs in Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Why would you want to adopt an undefendable position with no valid historical evidence to call to your arguement?

    There may be some questions about exact numbers when dealing with the Holocaust, though, really, the numbers are fairly accurate, thanks to the meticulous record keeping of the Third Reich. But again, what's the point ? The scope of the atrocities is well documented and finding a few statistical errors wouldn't diminish the slaughter much. Any objective study of the Holocaust puts the victims in the millions. Concentration camp records detail the thousands of deaths per day, per camp. It was genocide on a vast scale even if you can find that somebody forget to carry the one in some camp ledger. The Nazis were, indeed, very efficient in their attempts to carry out their final solution to the Jewish question.

    Think about 50 years from now. A group of college kids want to debate whether the World Trade center attack really happened. Wouldn't that seem ludicrous? Wouldn't it also seem a disservice to those innocent people who lost their lives and to their families who were cheated out of carrying on full lives? And how about the survivors? Don't you think they'd be "hurt" by the debate, by people questioning the reality of the horror that took their parents away forever or killed their friends? It would have to. That's the evil in debating the undebatable, questioning the reality that ruined the lives of so many people by taking their loved ones. You have to question the motives of anyone who would do that. And, if enough people did that for long enough, we could forget what actually happened - the historical truth - and start to confuse casual debate with real history.

    Facts are facts, so nibble around the edges or play with the numbers, but look at the objective mountains of evidence that exist in so many quarters from so many different sources on both sides of the issue. The, look for the common truth, the central facts that run through all that evidence garnered from far flung sources. That's where the reality lies and reality, the core truth is just not debatable.

  • 1 decade ago

    You make a good point and like the saying goes ! Those who do not know history are deemed to repeat history.

    Another fact the Americans and British did really know about the extent of the holocaust until they entered Germany and saw the concentration camps first hand.

    I know a lot has been made about the 6,000,000 Jews who were slaughtered in the holocaust.

    True the Jewish people were the most prosecuted, but what about the Catholics, Muslims and other religions whose members were slaughtered during the holocaust. And what about the large numbers of Soviet Muslims who were slaughtered during the holocaust. I don't think there has ever been a study made as to the real extent of the holocaust.

    You know if the true extent of the holocaust was known the Muslims and Jews just might look at it and think to themselves, hell we're in the same boat so what are we fighting each other for?

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  • 1 decade ago

    If you've ever spoken to a survivor of the holocaust you would realize that it's a sensitive topic because there are loonies out there that are trying to prove that it never happened for their own evil purposes or bigotry.

    There are still survivors around. Maybe you could arrange a dialog with some of them. (they're getting pretty old so you'd better hurry) Listen to firsthand accounts of atrocious brutality, murder and the loss of family and friends.

    The Holocaust was mass genocide that is still lingering in the minds of many people. To debate whether or not it happened is ludicrous and extremely ignorant. As for the accuracy of the numbers, I would think that if the numbers are wrong, the fatalities would be even higher than the history books suggest.

  • 1 decade ago

    I think the reason people do not want to debate it is because it is such a sensitive topic. Ten to twenty years from now when there are fewer Holocaust survivors it may be a different story. I think anything should be open to debate that is the joy of the freedoms we have. Just know when you take the unpopular side of the argument there is going to much hatred spewed. I to have no doubts about the Holocaust by why should that deny others from discussing it's plausibility.

  • 1 decade ago

    I guess there is not going to be much discussion about whether it happened or not. Unless the winners of WW2 have been successful at making a really huge masquerade it seems quite safe to bet that a large number of people went up in ashes. Of course, there have been genocides of the same magnitude in our near past in Africa, but since the economical impact has been significantly lower(most Africans do not own more than the clothes they wear) it has not been a major interest to general public. Besides, selling these poor people guns to kill themselves and others is a nice little business. And it is also worth mentioning that J.Stalin put at least 20 million people under the ground before, during and after the WW2. Nobody really cares about peoples lives as such, our interest can be measured in money. I hope You do not consider this rude, absolutely not meant to be, but sometimes it wears me out to notice that unless there are no economical ties, nobody really cares.

  • 4 years ago

    It isn't OK because the vast majority of the people asking the question are doing so because they are a) anti-semites and/or b) neo-nazis. Serious historial research into the numbers has been going on for years and no one objects to it, so long as it is done from a proper examination of the historical documentation and evidence. However, the usual "questioning" is a series of half-baked quibbles which are passed around amongst deniers and which only they give any credence to because the serious researchers have dealt with them years ago. Researching into the figures with an open mind and an ability to produce your sources has never got anyone into trouble. Most people who have got into trouble have gone out of their way to find it.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I think it may be remnants of the time it occurred? Maybe when the laws were passed the Holocaust situation was trying to be covered up? It seems stupid to us now but back then maybe it needed to be preserved.

    Just a guess, I have no evidence to back this.

    I just thought of something I saw on the Daily Show. Didn't the leader of Iran and others get together for some Holocaust denial event? That could be why there are laws against it. They don't want groups popping up spreading lies that the Holocaust never happened.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is important to scrutinize the scope and impact of the Holocaust, and that goes on all the time, as far as I know. It seems that can be done without having obvious biases showing. What happens, for example, if someone says "Let's debate whether Americans landed on the moon." What's up with that?

    Generally in my experience, folk wanting to debate the existence of the holocaust have odd views of conspiracies, if you know what I mean.



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