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Quality Contributions Report for December 2022

This is the Quality Contributions Roundup. It showcases interesting and well-written comments and posts from the period covered. If you want to get an idea of what this community is about or how we want you to participate, look no further (except the rules maybe--those might be important too).

As a reminder, you can nominate Quality Contributions by hitting the report button and selecting the "Actually A Quality Contribution!" option. Additionally, links to all of the roundups can be found in the wiki of /r/theThread which can be found here. For a list of other great community content, see here.

A few comments from the editor: first, sorry this is a little late, but you know--holidays and all. Furthermore, the number of quality contribution nominations seems to have grown a fair bit since moving to the new site. In fact, as I write this on January 5, there are already 37 distinct nominations in the hopper for January 2023. While we do occasionally get obviously insincere or "super upvote" nominations, the clear majority of these are all plausible AAQCs, and often quite a lot of text to sift through.

Second, this month we have special AAQC recognition for @drmanhattan16. This readthrough of Paul Gottfried’s Fascism: Career of a Concept began in the Old Country, and has continued to garner AAQC nominations here. It is a great example of the kind of effort and thoughtfulness we like to see. Also judging by reports and upvotes, a great many of us are junkies for good book reviews. The final analysis was actually posted in January, but it contains links to all the previous entries as well, so that's what I'll put here:

Now: on with the show!


Quality Contributions Outside the CW Thread

@Tollund_Man4:

@naraburns:

@Bernd:

@FiveHourMarathon:

@RandomRanger:

@Iconochasm:

Contributions for the week of December 5, 2022

@zeke5123:

@ymeskhout:

@FiveHourMarathon:

@gattsuru:

@Southkraut:

@Bernd:

@problem_redditor:

@FCfromSSC:

@urquan:

@gemmaem:

Sexulation

@RococoBasilica:

@problem_redditor:

Holocaustianity

@johnfabian:

@DaseindustriesLtd:

@SecureSignals:

Coloniazism

@gaygroyper100pct:

@screye:

@urquan:

@georgioz:

Contributions for the week of December 12, 2022

@SecureSignals:

@Titus_1_16:

@Dean:

@cjet79:

@JarJarJedi:

@gattsuru:

@YE_GUILTY:

@aqouta:

@HlynkaCG:

Contributions for the week of December 19, 2022

@MathiasTRex:

@To_Mandalay:

Robophobia

@gattsuru:

@IGI-111:

@NexusGlow:

Contributions for the week of December 26, 2022

@FCfromSSC:

@gattsuru:

@LacklustreFriend:

@DaseindustriesLtd:

19
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The voting on the Holocaust threads has me substantially downgrade my opinion of the voting habits of the average mottizen, I have to say. The bizarre nitpicking arguments followed by the complete failure to answer the simple question of 'well, where did all the Jews go?' makes me suspect our 'simply upvote long tracts of text' culture would see us upvote creationism in fairly short order if faced down by Duane Gish.

What's wrong with upvoting creationists? Do you think upvotes represent some kind of community policy, and if everyone with "unacceptable" views isn't downvoted and hidden something must be done?

I'd be happy to upvote a creationist because I've literally never heard them talk before.

Please take five minutes out of your day and google "Duane Gish".

Commenter A: I think that you are far too skeptical of the Holocaust! audience cheers

Commenter B: I think you are not skeptical of the Holocaust enough! audience cheers

No one cares about your opinion of the community regardless of you being in group A or B, bring arguments not opinions.

Speak for yourself.

I care more about his opinion than your snarky consensus-building.

OP is consensus-building.

"My opinion of this community is lowered because the upvote downvote ratio skews in a direction I don't want it to". Who asked and why does it matter?

I wrote one paragraph, I genuinely didn't think reading the entire thing was that big an ask, especially in this community.

To be more succinct: Gish gallop bad, should be unconvincing. Central question powerful and important - but not answered! Why mottizens fall for gallop but ignore important central question in argument between two people? Not good!

Alternatively: Meta-argument commentary on argument is in fact a valid part of the community, as evidenced by what you are literally doing right now. This tiresome sort of hypocrisy really deserves 'no one cares about your opinion, bring arguments' as a snide response but instead I think I made my point fairly succinctly and reasonably to begin with in the context of the original argument.

Unless your argument is 'community norms are not worth consideration to begin with', talking about them has as much value as our recent debate on the Holocaust.

Moreover, I'm not just talking about skepticism or opinions, I'm talking about voting habits. The 'this is a big wall of text, reflective upvote' culture doesn't necessarily cause all the cream to reach the top to be skimmed off. It makes me wonder to what degree mottizens see argument as won by walls of text over actual correctness, for instance.

Saying that correctness should supersede effort as far as audience perception is concerned is good. By all means, correctness is more important than anything else.

But given that all things CW is highly contentious and there are conflict theorists all around; that exact claim can also be interpreted as "I just wish people agreed with what I agree with ("correct") and those who don't would just shut their traps (especially if they are writing a whole lot)".

I'm pushing back because it's a trite act. You are not the first to lower his opinion of the motte for various reasons. The subreddit would genuinely be better off if meta opinions that have been beaten to death did not suck the oxygen out of things.

One of the larger draws to a place like this is the ability to see otherwise unusual/out of the Overton window viewpoints debated well. It shouldn't really be surprising that people upvote examples of that happening.

\1.

The thing about Holocaust revisionist comments on places like this is that one side has an extreme information and argument advantage because they’re deeply enmeshed in revisionist circles and have spent in many cases thousands of hours thinking and reading about the topic. They’ve often debated it hundreds or thousands of times against ‘normies’ online, they know what sounds more persuasive, they pre-empt their critics’ responses, and they know that their interlocutors often don’t know enough to refute the points they make. Hardcore internet antisemites (who make up the vast majority of revisionists) are an extremely committed demographic and even though (and perhaps because) they are deeply ideologically driven, they know a PhD’s worth of obscure trivia. I’d be interested to listen to a good-faith debate between, say, @SecureSignals and an actually well-respected PhD Holocaust historian, but between me and him I’m at an insurmountable disadvantage because he’s spent a lot more time thinking about this than me.

\2.

All the above said, “where did the Jews go” is the most persuasive anti-revisionist argument. Revisionist explanations, which involve a balanced measure of “to Russia”, “to the West”, “some died but not at above-average rates”, “they stayed in place but secularized and assimilated unbelievably quickly under communism” and “they never existed in the first place” are deeply unpersuasive. Early 20th century Eastern Europe wasn’t a barbaric wilderness and there is extensive demographic data on the size of Jewish communities particularly in former Austria-Hungary, which had made some effort to build a modern administrative state before its collapse. There is also extensive demographic data on postwar emigration to Israel, Western Europe and Russia and on surviving Jewish communities in Poland etc that suggests a gap of many millions of people who disappeared.

A small story from my own family: My grandmother (the one who didn’t flee Germany as a child) had huge bundles of letters that her distant relatives in what is today Ukraine sent her grandfather, who emigrated in the 1890s, all the way up until the war. It wasn’t uncommon for people to move to the US and then move back, to send over different relatives etc. All of the letters stopped during the war and they never restarted. There was never any contact from any of my great-great grandfather (who died in ~1975)‘s many many relatives ever again. None ever moved to the US and made contact, or indeed made contact in any way, ever again. This despite the fact that my great great grandmother lived at the same address in Brooklyn from something like 1920 until the day she died. They were presumed dead. Perhaps their descendants are all out there cheering Zelensky on in Lviv or something, and their grandfathers just forgot to write in precisely 1940 and never did again, or perhaps it was that the communists immediately put a stop to every single piece of outbound mail as soon as they took over, but it seems suspiciously coincidental (in fact letters to family in the West were allowed from every soviet country at least some of the time, they just got opened and censored). If you read the biographies of a lot of prominent Holocaust survivors who escaped you hear repeatedly of huge numbers of brothers and sisters lost. Revisionists latch onto some lies told for attention but it seems unlikely that a huge number of only children would all make up vast numbers of imaginary siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts etc. A lot of the people alleged to have secretly assimilated or just moved to Russia or whatever had huge numbers of relatives around the world who they apparently never made any effort to contact ever again despite theoretically in this case living for decades after World War 2. It just doesn’t seem likely.

I think there are at least 4m Central/Eastern European Jews for which revisionists of the "only a few hundred thousand died" and "the Jewish death rate did not exceed the general civilian death rate in Nazi-occupied countries" school cannot account.

Re: (1), Jewish groups and historical societies have built a library of Q&A websites. These are usually the only thing you will ever come across from googling a denialist argument. It is unlikely that a denialist is spending thousands of hours arguing about it online, because there is literally no place to do that now on the mainstream internet. A holocaust historian will also probably not agree to argue against a denialist. This puts the denialist at a disadvantage.

It is unlikely that a denialist is spending thousands of hours arguing about it online, because there is literally no place to do that now on the mainstream internet.

No, can confirm this happens, I've seen it a lot in politics communities. Normal people have no idea what they're doing when arguing against holocaust denial, and make hilariously bad arguments. Most of the time they just go like 'yeah, but the holocaust clearly happened bigot' and move on, but the entire spectacle is convincing for many who could be convinced.

All the above said, “where did the Jews go” is the most persuasive anti-revisionist argument.

It's a good one for sure, but maybe an even better one is that "the Germans never claimed they didn't do it." Oh, plenty of German officers were to claim that it was all the SS, the Wehrmacht played no part, it was Hitler's idea, they were against it from the start, etc. etc. If you snagged yourself a diehard they'd say it was just retribution against international Jewry and the Judeo-Bolshevik system for starting the war in the first place, but no one claimed it didn't happen. Holocaust denialism was a thing of the future circa 1945-47.

There's arguments downthread over the interpretation of the Wannsee minutes. The man who prepared those minutes never claimed the things that denialists claim were implied! Oh, Eichmann argued he was just a tiny cog in a giant machine, that he was just following orders, that he felt no guilt for the deaths of millions because if it was not him in that position it would have been someone else. But at no point did he ever that the murder of millions of Jews didn't happen.

The steadfast refusal of denialists to deal with why Germans and their collaborators were apparently willing to concoct grand fantasies of millions of murdered Jews, is to my mind the most glaring gap. Instead they focus on picking apart sensationalist/fraudulent memoirs, for obvious reasons.

The steadfast refusal of denialists to deal with why Germans and their collaborators were apparently willing to concoct grand fantasies of millions of murdered Jews, is to my mind the most glaring gap. Instead they focus on picking apart sensationalist/fraudulent memoirs, for obvious reasons.

The response I've seen from our resident Holocaust denialists has been "These were forced confessions dictated to them by the Allied occupation, which for some reason was already doing the bidding of the Jews. Why did they lie about committing crimes against humanity for which they'd be sentenced to death? Because if they refused, they'd have been tortured or there would have been retaliation against their family. Why did the Allied occupation make up this fantasy of millions of murdered Jews and force the Nazis to go along with it?" Something something international Jewry.

To me, the most persuasive argument against the denialist position is the sheer number of people who would have to be in on it. All the Jews who remembered what happened to them? Lying. All the Germans who saw what happened to them? Lying. All the Nazis who participated in it? Lying. All the Allied soldiers who remembered what they saw in the camps they liberated? Lying. Everyone is either lying or somehow "misremembered" or just found a bunch of camps full of starving people who were the natural consequences of forced labor during a war, and the Allies and international Jewry constructed a narrative afterwards about death camps and extermination programs even though Nazi officials from Hitler on down were quite open about their extermination agenda.

As @2rafa says, arguing with denialists is difficult for the same reason that arguing with creationists is difficult: a really committed Young Earth creationist quite possibly knows more about tectonic plate theory and the details of evolutionary theory than I do. I could spend hours researching and prepping for a debate with a flat Earther or a creationist or a Holocaust denialist, because the refutations for all their arguments are easily found, but if you're just casually arguing with someone on the Internet, they are masters of the gish-gallop and rhetorical three-card-monte, and is it really worth your time to try to "convince" someone who's not actually motivated by a sincere search for truth anyway? The only point of these arguments is to sway uncommitted spectators. For that reason, it's not useful to just sneer and tell them to fuck off, because anyone ill-informed enough to be an uncommitted spectator will see that and think "Gosh, I guess there aren't any good counterarguments, all their opponents can do is namecall." But since I dislike arguing with intellectually dishonest people, I am happy when someone else is willing to pick up that sword.

is it really worth your time to try to "convince" someone who's not actually motivated by a sincere search for truth anyway? The only point of these arguments is to sway uncommitted spectators.

The traditional solution to this was to archive and organize and collate the arguments for the benefit of the uncommitted spectators. Worked great for evolution-vs-creationism in the 90s. I suspect you'd be accused of "platforming" and treated as a crypto-Nazi if you tried to do it for Holocaust-history-vs-denialists today, but I'd love to discover someone had proven me wrong.

Since "Holocaust Denier" is already a very small sub-group (certianly smaller than creationists now, let alone a few decades ago) "people who take huge chunks out of their lives to argue with Holocaust Deniers" is an even smaller one. The closest is probably the Holocaust Controversies blog which is not very well organized and nearly as active as it used to be but still updates occasionally, and has had a running debate with many of the more high profile denialists (Carlo Mattogno, Jurgen Graf, etc.) for many years. The Skeptics Society forum also has a subforum dedicated to Holocaust denial which is not very active but has a long backlog, which consists of more or less the same group of people arguing with HD for years. People talk about "the death of denial" because most of the big names have either died, dropped off the map, or are getting on in years, but there's probably a "death of anti-denial" too because on that side it's also mostly the same people that it's been since the early 2000s.

I’d be interested to listen to a good-faith debate between, say, @SecureSignals and an actually well-respected PhD Holocaust historian

You could ask David Cole on twitter. He's not a "well-respected PhD Holocaust historian" and he's usually actually a 'revisionist' who got famous in the 90s for his "David Cole inside Auschwitz" video. But he agrees that 1 million+ Jews were killed through gas chambers in Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka. At this point he doesn't even deny there were gassings at Auschwitz, though he says they were sporadic and done on the direct authority of Rudolf Hoess rather than ordered from Berlin (unlike, he says, Belzec, Treblinka, etc.). I think he puts the final death toll at around 4 million taking into account the General Government transit camps, shootings in the USSR, Auschwitz, etc. I'd say if Cole's version is correct most people, myself included, would agree "the Holocaust" happened.

He'd probably say no to a debate as well (and might insult you while he's at it) but probably your best bet.

The thing about Holocaust revisionist comments on places like this is that one side has an extreme information and argument advantage because they’re deeply enmeshed in revisionist circles and have spent in many cases thousands of hours thinking and reading about the topic. They’ve often debated it hundreds or thousands of times against ‘normies’ online, they know what sounds more persuasive, they pre-empt their critics’ responses, and they know that their interlocutors often don’t know enough to refute the points they make. Hardcore internet antisemites (who make up the vast majority of revisionists) are an extremely committed demographic and even though (and perhaps because) they are deeply ideologically driven, they know a PhD’s worth of obscure trivia. I’d be interested to listen to a good-faith debate between, say, @SecureSignals and an actually well-respected PhD Holocaust historian, but between me and him I’m at an insurmountable disadvantage because he’s spent a lot more time thinking about this than me.

I am not sure a historian wouldn't be at a similar disadvantage in the sense that I suspect they don't have a lot of experience debating revisionists either.

I am fairly unsympathetic to SecureSignal's position but as an anti-feminist, I am part of a different fringe group. I have read my fair share of scholarly "deconstructions" of "anti-feminist talking points" and they are ridiculously weak. Not that I would expect anti-anti-feminists to present their audience with a steelman of their enemies' position but it is pretty clear they don't even grasp the structure of their arguments. I am fairly confident that I would "win" most debates with any feminist scholar given a level playing field (anonymous, equal time on offense/defense, equal burden of proof, no moralistic bullying etc.).

I think a historian wouldn't be. Optimistically, this is explained by the truth value of respective positions (@2rafa's siblings argument alone is very hard to beat), but certainly there's a difference in the nature of these discourses. Holocaust historians are explicitly trained in mucking through a contested field. They are very aware of the existence of intelligent revisionists. Many are Jews and extremely personally invested in shooting down those criticisms; some have gone into history at all just because they were incensed by a particular line of skeptics. This is what they do.

Feminist scholars, in my observations, aren't aware of having any intelligent opposition. Same for anti-HBD people. Their academic culture is molded by wholly different pressures, they compete in activism among themselves and with adjacent fields, not really caring about people who challenge their field's premise. In general, the attitude of progressives towards traditionalists and other enemies on topics other than Holocaust is characterized by bemused condescension, as if they cannot be bothered to distinguish nuances of cranky flat-earth-tier beliefs and just chuckle at the arrogance of peasants who scratch at the door to the ivory tower. When they deign to reply, it's always very basic ignorant takes or attacks on strawmen. And they flat-out insist on not recognizing conflicting evidence, or stumble, flinch and block you when pushed harder. It's not annoyance, they straight up haven't got any more stuff.

Just easier access to tooling would help, without huge amounts of domain expertise.

I'm pretty skeptical of Mattogno's summary and quoting on Mandelbaum's post-2000 interviews from SecureSignal's last post, but that's from a handful of pictures from an eBay sale and trying to force Google Books to try to give me an adequate slice of the underlying text (in Polish, no less!). No libraries in the interlibrary loan system have copies of it, there's no eBook version, and afaict, there's only a handful of merchants with the book for sale, none of which will ship to my location even if I was willing to shell out 30 bucks to win an argument.

((which... well, I am pretty petty.))

And while Mattogno's willing to play fast and lose enough with even other denier revisionist works, and there's plausible alternative explanations for what SecureSignals considers damning separate to that (both exciting ones like 'the summary is of the ~two weeks Mandelbaum was stationed at a different crematoria which happened to overlap with unusual selection criteria or that crematoria was selected for adults for throughput reasons', and boring ones like '80-year-old done went senile'), I'm not making the argument sight-unseen.

Sorry, I seem to be lacking a lot of context here. Could you link to the post you are referring to and/or briefly explain who Mattogno and Mandelbaum are?

Also, have you checked if the book you are looking for is on lib gen?

Discussion here. Mattogno is a Holocaust denier Revisionist that SecureSignals has been referencing regularly, while Mandelbaum is a largely well-recognized and oft-cited Sonderkommando who was an eyewitness at Auschwitz and one of the early testimonies that had been translated into English. The book in question covers some interviews very late in the man's life.

Also, have you checked if the book you are looking for is on lib gen?

Yes. Doesn't seem to be. It's both fairly recent and not especially voluminous.

Not to mention that you'd expect these secret assimilated Jews to pop up during the period when the great majority of people in former Soviet Union with any potential connection to Judaism allowing them to use the Law of Return endeavored to make aliyah, or at least otherwise GTFO the rapidly redecaying ex-Soviet countries. Unless one expects that this assimilation was almost supernaturally complete, to the degree that none of the oldsters would go back to their old status and none of their kids would suddenly remember that there's a suspicious menorah in the attic or that their granddad used to speak a language that sounded like German spoken in a weird way, the assumption would just be that the Soviets indeed killed all the evacuated Jews, something - again - not shown to the required degree in any records or statistics.

Unless one expects that this assimilation was almost supernaturally complete, to the degree that none of the oldsters would go back to their old status and none of their kids would suddenly remember

One could point to Marranos and argue it can take a while for a spooked Jewish lineage to come out. 500 years. 600 years, even.

I'd say that Soviet Antisemitism is a bit exaggerated. Sure, getting Affirmative-Actioned at the entrance exam to Moscow Engineering Physics Institute and hearing racist anecdotes as you grow up might suck – but it's not literally as bad as the Spanish Inquisition.

Well, yes, that's one point of the argument that such assimilation would not have been necessary - there was no similar persecution to what drove the Marranos underground and there would in few decades be a powerful motivation to suddenly remember that you are Jewish or have at least some connection to Jewishness - the possibility of aliyah in the midst of Soviet collapse and the related uncertainties.

I’d be interested to listen to a good-faith debate between, say, @SecureSignals and an actually well-respected PhD Holocaust historian, but between me and him I’m at an insurmountable disadvantage because he’s spent a lot more time thinking about this than me.

I would agree to this.

I’d be interested to listen to a good-faith debate between, say, @SecureSignals and an actually well-respected PhD Holocaust historian

Agreed. But surely there should be something like this out there on internets? I would be very interested in a link.

I wonder if you could find material (transcript, judgement, etc.) from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_v_Penguin_Books_Ltd

All the above said, “where did the Jews go” is the most persuasive anti-revisionist argument. Revisionist explanations, which involve a balanced measure of “to Russia”, “to the West”, “they died but not deliberately”, “they stayed in place but secularized and assimilated unbelievably quickly under communism” and “they never existed in the first place” are deeply unpersuasive.

I don't think this entire debate is about the numbers though. It's misdirection to say that it is. It's about a) the methods used b) the political and cultural legacy of it all.

The numbers and their proportions are what determine whether racial violence counts as genocidal, so they're pretty central to the whole thing. A racially-motivated shooting of five people counts as racial violence, but not genocide (assuming there are more than five people in the targeted group).

That’d just lead you pointlessly down a rabbit hole in this context. First of all, you’re starting off from the assumption that genocide is defined by proportionate numbers of victims and not genocidal intent, which I’m sure many people will find objectionable, plus you’ll have to come up with accurate numbers of potential and actual victims, which again leave a lot of room for disagreement. If you want to argue with Holocaust revisionists, in most cases I’m sure it makes more sense to question their ideas about Holocaust remembrance being an industry, its memory being weaponized to further the goals of the Israel lobby and enforce ethnomasochism etc.

One thing that has impressed me in the Revisionist space, unlike a lot of heterodox spaces where everyone has their own cockamamie theory, is that there's 100% consensus on the core claims. The claims are:

  • There was no German plan for the physical extermination of world Jewry

  • There were no gas chambers disguised as shower rooms used to exterminate millions of Jews

  • The "six million" number is a propaganda/symbolic figure that has no relation to actual Jewish population losses

I would say the high-end of Jewish population losses among Revisionist estimates is 1.5-2 million, but most estimates are lower than that. The question of whether or not these events count as genocidal is a semantic question that I have not seen treated by Revisionists.

I don't have a problem with, even if you take those 3 claims away, still calling the real parts a "genocide." It really is all about the three claims above- no more and no less.

I really don't want to get into this, mainly because of the reasons described by 2rafa above, but:

There was no German plan for the physical extermination of world Jewry

Not for the world, but for Europe there definitely was. This is well-documented in the protocols of the Wannsee conference. It's full of euphemisms, but it clearly states:

  1. Expulsion efforts have been unsatisfactory

  2. We are now switching to an approach we'll call "evacuation to the east" where we will force the victims into hard labour

  3. A majority of people will not survive this

  4. The survivors will have to be "treated" as not to serve as a "gamete" for the reconstruction of European Judaism

  5. Mixed children will, with some exceptions, be expelled, forced into "evacuation", or sterilised.

It's full of euphemisms

This is what historians say to hand-wave the fact that the minutes of the Wannsee Conference, a direct reading, supports the Revisionist case for the "final solution." Revisionists claim the "final solution" was the expulsion of the Jews from the European sphere, and the minutes from the Wannsee Conference are evidence of that interpretation. The plan was to concentrate them in the East and then resettle them out of Europe, Madagascar was the most serious proposal as that territory would be negotiated from France, after the war. Although there is evidence that a reservation in (planned to be conquered) Russian territory was also considered.

It is historians who say that the minutes are full of "camouflage and euphemism" because a direct reading of the documents simply does not support their case.

No. The minutes are explicitly stating that the expulsion approach is lacking, expulsion has been banned, and that a different path is to be taken. This path means deportation to the east for forced labour, during the course of which a "majority" of victims is expected to die. This is explicitly in the minutes. It then states that the survivors have to be "treated" as not to serve as the "gamete of a new Jewish reconstruction". This is a euphemism but it will be very hard to argue that it doesn't mean killing, given that this plan is explicitly introduced as an alternative to expulsion.

The minutes are explicitly stating that the expulsion approach is lacking, expulsion has been banned, and that a different path is to be taken.

The different path was evacuation to the East. This is what is explicitly described in documents and this is what Revisionists claim the plan was. Historians say that "evacuation to the East" was coded language for gassed in gas chambers. But a direct reading of the document supports the Revisionist case for the German plan.

In the same way, Himmler will refer to a camp, like Sobibor, as a "Transit Camp", which is what Revisionists claim it was, while historians will say "Transit camp" was "coded language" for death camp. The historians rely on assumptions of euphemism and coded language while the documents supports the Revisionist case.

More comments

I think the main thing that people are actually interested in is an explicit accounting of what you think has happened with the rest of the Jews (ie 4 out of 6 million in the usual number). I haven’t seen you address this issue in the discussion.

Here and here. I linked to Sanning, who among other things, concludes an over-estimate of the 1939 Polish Jewish population due to fertility decline and emigration in the interwar period, an under-estimate of the post-war Jewish population in the Soviet Union. Mainstream studies have also neglected the large scale deportations of Polish Jews, and their subsequent mortality, into the Soviet interior and Siberia.

On the other side, the "six million" number was ordained when the official Soviet-reported death tolls at Auschwitz and Majdanek were 4 million and 1.5 million, respectively. Today those official numbers are 1.1 million and 68,000, but despite these mutli-million reductions in death tolls over the decades the sacred number remains unchanged. Demographic studies are not a substitute for the historical burden of proof to show where and how these six million died, so we have to rely on other evidence to investigate these claims.

Here and here. I linked to Sanning, who among other things, concludes an over-estimate of the 1939 Polish Jewish population due to fertility decline and emigration in the interwar period, an under-estimate of the post-war Jewish population in the Soviet Union. Mainstream studies have also neglected the large scale deportations of Polish Jews, and their subsequent mortality, into the Soviet interior and Siberia.

It would probably serve the reader well to also read @Stefferi's excellent reply here.

I have, actually, read the Sanning book, and found it, to put it mildly, underwhelming. It's essentially a series of it-just-so-happenses - it just so happens that the Polish demographical data on local Jewish population was vastly overcounted without either the Poles or the occupying Germans catching on to this, it just so happens that once this is established the same overcount can be expected to apply on other Eastern European nations as well, it just so happens that out of that population a larger-than-assumed share left for Soviet Union and the Soviets then deported/killed them (even though Soviet sources don't show such deportations and deaths - sure, such sources became available after the Sanning book was written, but that's no excuse for us to ignore them), it just so happens that there was a vast Jewish wave of emigration in the 30s to other countries not shown in official data etc.

And once you add all the it-just-so-happenses together, presto - the numbers advocated by the revisionists! Data massaging would be putting it lightly - and in many cases the data is essentially based on just the sort of testimonials, memoirs and what amounts to guesstimates by individual figures that revisionists don't generally consider to be valid (ie. the idea of Soviet deportations is justified by referring to several testimonies made in front of US House Select Committee on Communist Aggression) in establishing a Jewish genocide by Germans.

Beyond that, though, has there even been an attempt from the revisionist camp to make a similar demographic analysis post-Sanning, taking all the new data (methods of estimating populations in cases where demographic data is considered undertain, post-Soviet archives etc.) into account? If not, it speaks volumes that on this crucial field all that there seems to be is this one book from decades ago, while the general effort of the revisionist sphere seemingly concentrates on individual memoirs and technical camp details, and such.

Also, Karlin's predictive abilitites have not exactly shown their worth in 2022, regarding, well, most aspects of the Russian invasion and its presumed successes.

Like, even if you're going with "the Soviets lied about their numbers" narrative, why would NVKD lie about their internal numbers in their reports to the party? The NKVD's job, or one of them, was deporting people and putting them to camps. They're deliberately trying to diminish the job they're doing in internal party assessments?

If the refutation of the demographic question for revisionists continues to rely on one 50-year-old book relying largely on guesswork, anecdotes and guesses about information they didn't have access to (but later researchers do have access to), doesn't that at least somewhat indicate there's a problem here?

To which you respond by retreating to a position of "Well, it's complicated".

I think this is a bit dishonest. I read through all the discussion yesterday and it is quite clear that the revisionist poster is arguing their case much more successfully, while the other side is acting very offended, signaling disbelief and eventually flaming out. If this discussion was about any other topic, the balance of upvotes would be much much more skewed.

If where did all the Jews go is such a good refutation of their argument, you should go ahead and ask it, and then pursue them until either you get a straight answer or their evasion becomes obvious. Holocaust denial is clearly not a position held by vast majority of the users here so you would surely manage to change the voting balance in no time.

I think you're being somewhat deceitful, I'm sorry. It's quite clear the revisionist poster is arguing their case more successfully because of Motte norms, not because of some inherent virtue in their argument. The line in question was asked several times and notably never answered, and yes, the other side eventually acted offended and signalled disbelief - this is the point of a Gish Gallop, to induce a failure state on the other side. The goal is never to prove anything, merely to clog the argument with so many extraneous facts (or simply introducing doubt into facts somewhat removed from the central point) that they cannot be all effectively refuted, leaving you the 'winner' in the debate.

If the original poster asking the question ended up being downvoted, why do you think I would fare any better?

It's quite clear the revisionist poster is arguing their case more successfully because of Motte norms, not because of some inherent virtue in their argument

What are these norms that gives one side so much more argument power?

merely to clog the argument with so many extraneous facts

Most of those long-winded comments are simply replies to people asking about many specific details or very broad questions such as "what about the victim accounts?". It is also really not a good look that most of the "pro" arguments got defeated so easily in detail. This forum doesn't lack people who can write walls of text about the most mundane things. There should be someone around who can spend half the time they spend on complaining about nazis in this forum to put forward some irrefutable high quality arguments and then link that every time the revisionism rears its head.

that they cannot be all effectively refuted, leaving you the 'winner' in the debate.

This is not a good portrayal of the discussions in the link. I don't know if the revisionist dude is actually a Nazi in disguise but it is not difficult to see that they believe substantially less Jews than the official history numbers were murdered (or died due to poor treatment/conditions) and that this was done in ways and reasons largely aligned with why other tens of millions of people were getting murdered (or dying due to poor treatment/conditions) at the time. Hence the extreme attention on details such as gas chambers being a fabrication, high death tolls from typhus and allied bombing, lack of direct orders, unreliability of many accounts, reprisals being considered a legitimate instrument of war at the time etc etc. He is trying to make the point that the treatment of the Jews was largely in line with the other monstrosities of the period, many of them perpetrated or allowed by the Allies. It makes sense when you see it from the perspective of someone who thinks Holocaust shouldn't be the central event of the Western moral universe, or who is trying to genuinely subvert that moral universe. Maybe because of pathological contrarianism or maybe because they think this moral universe is inherently against people like themselves. Certainly wouldn't be the first person to realize the unique status of the Holocaust above any other 20th century atrocity puts right-wing movements at quite a bind in the West.

Perhaps it makes sense to me because I wasn't taught the Holocaust in school as a very significant event and it doesn't carry the same emotional load for me.

If the original poster asking the question ended up being downvoted, why do you think I would fare any better?

Why do you bother to comment on anything if you don't believe most people on Motte try to act somewhat fairly with their votes? You could also get dogpiled here.

What are these norms that gives one side so much more argument power?

The Motte is, broadly speaking, more or less, depending on the topic (and there are exceptions), anti-emotional. Or rather, anti-Reddit-standard-emotions.

If you can manage to carry any argument without appearing offended and flaming out, you'll have more "success" here. People that draw strict lines around certain topics and get emotional when those lines are crossed do not, and as you say, they get very offended and eventually flame out. This does disadvantage any position where one side has considerably higher emotional attachment or considers the other side unacceptable.

If there aren’t enough people who can’t discuss an event 80 years ago without flaming out, it doesn’t say good things about the degree of mythological significance that event has gained. Makes it a more interesting topic to argue about.

it doesn’t say good things about the degree of mythological significance that event has gained

Why? Societies need some things with mythological significance to be cohesive. Arguing against such a tendency is arguing against something at the very root of human nature. Arguing against this specific narrative.. Well, that just puts you in the same camp as all the other holocaust deniers.

Why?

Just because all societies have mythologies, it doesn't mean all mythologies are equally true or even good at sustaining cohesion at a given moment. The Holocaust mythology has become extremely intertwined with certain authoritarian tendencies of the neoliberal elite and it is in danger of signifying nothing else than a lesson of "this is why you ignore plebs in politics". Not being able to discuss it at such a basic level means a myth will lose its nuances and eventually adaptiveness to the changing of society.

Modifying your arguments to be in the "same camp" with the right people isn't exactly the sign of an intellectually honest thinker. It makes sense if one is earning a living or fame from their thinking, but this is a discussion forum of a couple hundred internet autists. Can we stop with acting as if anyone's "position" on anything here actually matters?

I'd really appreciate it if you wouldn't try to psychoanalyse and bulverise me. This:

Modifying your arguments to be in the "same camp" with the right people isn't exactly the sign of an intellectually honest thinker.

Ain't it. Anyway.

I can scarce think of a societal myth that'd lead to less ruin than the way we treat the holocaust. 'Hitler and co. tried eradicating a continent's innocent minorities, and this is bad' is an uncontroversially true statement. I'd much prefer it stay uncontroversial, because it's just as factually true. It is easy enough to look at nations that care less about the Holocaust, and more about other foundational myths. They look worse to me, and I'd much prefer we stick to the above 'Hitler and co. tried eradicating a continent's innocent minorities, and this is bad'. I'll take people wrangling that into authoritarianism over other ways to do so in a heartbeat.

He is trying to make the point that the treatment of the Jews was largely in line with the other monstrosities of the period, many of them perpetrated or allowed by the Allies.

The death rate of Jewish civilians was substantially above the death rate of gentile civilians in practically every Nazi-occupied country. It was also orders of magnitude higher than the death rate of eg. interned populations in Allied countries (eg. Japanese Americans).

Probably you are right. But it doesn’t change the fact that the seemingly extraneous bits of trivia that the octopus alludes to, have a coherent target.

Probably also a selection effect in play. I haven't seen any Holocaust revisionism that rose to the level of being actually interesting, so I just ignore the topic. People inclined to the position are presumably more willing to read a 50 comment chain arguing about it.

Quite likely. But then also vast majority of historical work and debate is extremely uninteresting.

It's pathetic, isn't it? More proof for the habitual contrarian theory of Mottizenship.

You are not stuck in traffic, you are traffic.

The comment you're responding to is not great, but to then just echo it with even less effort is no good. Don't do this please.

I see it as more that "Mottizens" have a tendency to approve of someone attempting to argue an unpopular or controversial topic, from an unpopular position, and find it laudable when someone (who has otherwise shown a tendency for quality contribution) fights for a belief that they sincerely hold or at least can sincerely defend against an onslaught of skeptics.

I'd say Mottizens want to read the unpopular or controversial topics, and hear the unpopular arguments in their strongest form.

Since that is almost definitionally what "The Motte" is supposed to represent. Mottizens are then expected to be able to judge the arguments and update (or not) beliefs responsibly rather than based on the social consensus revealed by the upvotes on a post.

Which could indeed read a LOT like kneejerk contrarianism, but you're missing the part where the contrarianism has some effort behind it and is hopefully based on good faith belief which is being defended with the strongest available evidence.

Surely, surely you trust the users on this site to assess arguments on their merits and not just adopt the position with the most upvotes?

If Mottizens would only accept and upvote the most innocuous takes and ignore/punish stuff that seemed screwball, esoteric, or facially incorrect then what the hell would be the point of this forum at all?


And my general take is that Holocaust denialism/revisionism isn't so much a problem in and of itself as long as the person arguing it isn't trying to extend the argument to say "and therefore the Nazis weren't so bad" or, worse "and therefore we shouldn't worry about/take efforts to prevent future genocide attempts."

I notice that there's a correlation between holocaust denialism and Nazi apologism, so it is forgivable to conflate the two.

I definitely have some level of respect for the people here who adopt fringe, unpopular opinions and attempt to argue them rigorously, even when I disagree with them. The sheer conviction required to spend so much time and energy researching the topic and arguing it, when their opinions are so widely detested and nothing good will come out of it for them except social exclusion and cancellation, is somewhat admirable. Also, it's often really fun to watch someone argue thoroughly screwball positions in thoroughly screwball fashion. I'd personally like to sit down and have a beer with these Mottizens and pick their brain, and even if I come away unconvinced of their positions it'll at least be an incredibly interesting experience. These people are what make TheMotte for me.

Honestly, the people who irk me are not typically the users who make the unpopular arguments, but the users who respond to these unpopular arguments with moral outrage and knee-jerk disgust and emotional appeal. These types of responses are usually frowned upon here since it is not what TheMotte is about, but you can often see them crop up nevertheless, and unsurprisingly the crowd here is more sympathetic to the "contrarian" position than they are to these methods of argumentation. The fact is that people come here for interesting discussion on controversial topics where even the most heterodox opinions are allowed to stand, not to listen to moral scolds.

I see it as more that "Mottizens" have a tendency to approve of someone attempting to argue an unpopular or controversial topic, from an unpopular position, and find it laudable when someone (who has otherwise shown a tendency for quality contribution) fights for a belief that they sincerely hold or at least can sincerely defend against an onslaught of skeptics.

I wish I believed that, but the upvotes for noxious opinions do not seem to correlate to the quality of the arguments for those opinions.

Surely, surely you trust the users on this site to assess arguments on their merits and not just adopt the position with the most upvotes?

The number of people who reflexively report arguments they disagree with would, I'm afraid, disabuse you of such trust.

I wish I believed that, but the upvotes for noxious opinions do not seem to correlate to the quality of the arguments for those opinions.

Do you have examples of very poor, low effort arguments for noxious opinions getting upvoted?

That'd be solid evidence that the votes were not selecting for quality and effort.

The number of people who reflexively report arguments they disagree with would, I'm afraid, disabuse you of such trust.

I have no insight into this number. Do tell.

I'll grant you the smart addendum, insofar most people here aren't dumb. Point granted. Smarts are no virtue, though, and the contrarianism reminds me of myself at age fifteen enough that I've seen what it's like, lived it, and want no more of it.

Surely, surely you trust the users on this site to assess arguments on their merits and not just adopt the position with the most upvotes?

The short answer is that I kinda don't. The slightly longer answer is that no, I don't think people judge things by their merits all that much. This place is one of proverbial Christians who lost their faith in God, and turned into satanists rather than atheists: that is, take the views of the NYT, the average Reddit moderator, the college professors you hate, and flip those views upside down. Scott's barber pole view of fashion would be the model here.

If Mottizens would only accept and upvote the most innocuous takes and ignore/punish stuff that seemed screwball, esoteric, or facially incorrect then what the hell would be the point of this forum at all?

It could be for any level of discussion that isn't finding a some retarded article written by a rando struggling to get by in NYC and getting wildly upset at its quality. Slavoj Žižek has made a bit of a name for himself arguing the most innocuous takes in thoroughly screwball fashion. We get none of that. We get all the SJW cringe compilations dressed up in more autistic language and robot-like tones, instead.

This place is one of proverbial Christians who lost their faith in God, and turned into satanists rather than atheists: that is, take the views of the NYT, the average Reddit moderator, the college professors you hate, and flip those views upside down.

The main reason that I don't find this position convincing is because the evidence, as I see it, is that the overculture has shifted in ways that ended up alienating anyone who isn't running as fast as they can to keep up with the new [current thing] and update their opinions accordingly.

It's been more like if the Catholic Church were to start openly questioning the infallibility of God, then later his divinity, eventually, over the course of years, reaching the conclusion that God doesn't exist and that people should just worship the Pope directly.

Any Catholics who attempted to hold onto the belief in God and his infallibility would be branded heretics, and yet, they're the ones who have 'kept the faith,' even if that required turning away from the church.

So is it that the people here have abandoned the church and started worshiping Satan, or did the church abandon them?

That is, in my own living memory I've watched the overculture shift heavily to "the left," whilst my own views have remained fundamentally the same and yet the claim is that somehow I am the one who has flipped my views?

Doesn't gel with my recollection.

I've become a contrarian simply by sticking with a set of beliefs that is 80% similar to what I believed about 10 years ago.

I suspect the same is true of a lot of posters here. And this is one of the few places where they can be told that no, they're not crazy, their beliefs were considered mainstream a mere decade or two ago, and there did used to be a time when it was acceptable to voice dissenting thoughts in public.

That is, it's a place where it is safe to say we have NOT always been at war with Eastasia!

It could be for any level of discussion that isn't finding a some retarded article written by a rando struggling to get by in NYC and getting wildly upset at its quality.

I guess I agree that a lot of frivolous issues are raised here alongside the meatier stuff.

But the quality of discussion for even the most frivolous matters is head and shoulders what you'd get discussing the same topic on reddit, facebook, youtube, Et al.

We get none of that. We get all the SJW cringe compilations dressed up in more autistic language and robot-like tones, instead.

I mean, even if I grant this, I don't see the problem with that as long as nobody pretends we're doing anything more meaningful to the world.

I never saw any part of The Motte's mission statement say we were trying to win or resolve culture war battles or achieve policy gains. At best, it's a lifeboat for people who remember the 'old internet' from before culture wars took it over, and from when the culture war wasn't such a one sided affair at the national level.

The post that sparked the discussion is about holocaust denial- or 'revision', ha ha. It could equally well be about the periodic discussions on HBD or women or some other choice topics that tend to come up here. If you had views out the mainstream where these are concerned ten years ago, that's fine, but these topics were no less volatile back then and talking about them was no more respectable than it is now. That they keep coming up and keep seeing scores of upvotes had better damn well be reflexive contrarianism, because the alternatives if anything are worse.

It's been more like if the Catholic Church were to start openly questioning the infallibility of God, then later his divinity, eventually, over the course of years, reaching the conclusion that God doesn't exist and that people should just worship the Pope directly.

Any Catholics who attempted to hold onto the belief in God and his infallibility would be branded heretics, and yet, they're the ones who have 'kept the faith,' even if that required turning away from the church.

This is apropos of nothing, but you've successfully described the worldview and situation of hard-right traditionalist Catholics -- who are branded as terrible, prideful, rigid heretics for holding views that every Catholic was supposed to hold less than a hundred years ago. This change has happened everywhere.

As I was typing out the hypothetical situation where the Catholic Church incrementally removes the divinity of God from their Credo I realized how 'frighteningly' plausible that actually sounded to me, under current circumstances.

With that said, I'd expect an institution that has managed to survive ~1600 years (not counting the rough early centuries) to hold out for a couple more centuries.

Maybe I'm just a weirdo but (speaking as a non-Catholic) I would prefer that the church just die out entirely but for some small group of fanatic believers than for it to just turn into something utterly different wearing the trappings of the Church.

Been a while since we saw "just some kids in college writing for New York media companies"

I would respect this more from someone who didn't have a history of arguing for the "sjw cringe compilations" when he wasn't insisting that nobody should talk about them.

And my general take is that Holocaust denialism/revisionism isn't so much a problem in and of itself as long as the person arguing it isn't trying to extend the argument to say "and therefore the Nazis weren't so bad" or, worse "and therefore we shouldn't worry about/take efforts to prevent future genocide attempts."

I admit that for me what triggers "go away, you nasty troll" is that their username shortens to SS.

Which takes turn to pissing on graves for me.

I am a bit confused by this. Is there any logical reason for a nazi symphatiser to claim the Holocaust wasn't as murderous as the official accounts? One thing is certain, the nazi ideology is/was quite clear about the need to get rid of the Jews.

It's reminiscent of Dreher's "Law of Merited Impossibility": "It's a complete absurdity to believe [they] will suffer ... and boy, do they deserve what they're going to get." And (as the cite's original context shows) it's not specifically a neo-Nazi-vs-Jews thing; if the same "law" works in the pro-gay-rights-vs-conservative-Christians context too, there's got to be some more general psychological phenomenon behind it.

I wonder if it's related to how "the enemies are at the same time too strong and too weak", another phenomenon which is associated with fascists but which IMO crops up in much broader contexts.

Is there any logical reason

Any logical support? Or any logical motivation?

It could be as simple as apologists' need to credibly claim "This Time Will Be Different!"

If you're a big fan of some ideology that has been associated with atrocities, and you want that ideology to have more power, you can either try to reassure people by coming up with a careful explanation for what mistake caused the past atrocities and what remedy will make that mistake impossible in the future, or you can try to reassure people by coming up with a theory that the past atrocities didn't really happen or they weren't really that bad or the perpetrators weren't really fellow ideologues or the atrocities weren't really your fellow-ideologues' fault anyway.

These debates occur with many different religions/organizations/governments/etc, so it's another very common phenomenon, although the difficulty of such apologetics obviously varies a lot. Case in point:

the nazi ideology is/was quite clear about the need to get rid of the Jews.

And that pretty strongly precludes the "it was a mistake we'll remedy" option, so all that's left is to try to pull off one or more of the others. (or "change ideology completely and reevaluate your life", but who's good at that?) Even if those apologetics aren't good strategies in an absolute sense, one has to seem the least-bad in a relative sense.

Is there any logical reason for a nazi symphatiser to claim the Holocaust wasn't as murderous as the official accounts?

No, but I would not expect much from nazi symphatisers. Extreme tankies that I encountered at least tend to be self consistent and more reality-adjacent with their "we murdered kulaks and that was a good thing" or more modern "we hope that Europeans, especially Ukrainians, will freeze to death during 2022/2023 winter"[1].

"Holocaust has not happened but should" is something that I often encountered among online nazis, especially 4chan adjacent.

BTW, I need to refind this Russian propaganda how European Union will freeze during winter, so far it is going even more hilariously than I expected.

[1]not an exact quote, I forgot the slur that was used here

REALLY high effort for a mere troll, I'd say.

However if nobody has asked him to articulate his sincere beliefs about whether genocides can be justified and under what conditions, might be worth trying.

If he dodges on that question it'd be pretty telling.

It seems likely that they sincerely believe it, but topic and style and tactics they use makes them functionally a troll.

How hard is it to kill masses of unarmed people? These are the Germans we're talking about. They know what they're doing. They could kill about 9 million armed Soviets, millions more from other countries. It's much easier to kill civilians than soldiers.

If the Ottomans could kill a million Armenians in two years while fighting in WW1, the Germans could surely kill many more over a longer time, even while they fought in WW2. The 20th century Ottomans were the sick man of Europe, the Germans were much more competent.

Where did all the Jews go? Well I imagine the Germans found ways to get rid of the bodies, probably in mass graves. I would've thought it's fairly easy to hide a mass grave, or have its location be lost in the tumult of global war. If we haven't found them, maybe the Germans just did a good job at hiding them, like they did a good job at fighting three global empires simultaneously.

I've read the discussions on the Holocaust. Maybe I didn't pay enough attention, but it seems nobody anywhere mentioned the various Holocaust memoirs and the role they play in the entire narrative. I find that odd.

Does anyone happen to have a list of the “letters to the editor”, letters to loved ones, journalized speeches, recordings and books published by American Jewish holocaust survivors within two years of resettling in America? There’s gotta be tens of thousands of these in local papers or archives. It would be all I would talk about if it happened to me. This would disprove denialism considerably, because there’s no way so many survivors, who migrated to many different parts of America, would have all their ducks in a row.

Holocaust deniers go the other way with this one. They find an account written by a purported Holocaust survivor with a clearly fictional detail and use it as evidence that the Holocaust was fake.

They found a few really silly lies about the Holocaust. /pol/ has a laugh about them every now and then. They of course ignore all the other written statements by Holocaust survivors that aren't made up.

One of the most memorable and influential works on the Soviet Gulag camp system is a literal "Gulag memoir" (well, partly, at least) - "The Gulag Archipelago" by Solzhenitzyn. While important as a literary work, it's not a scientific study, and the estimates within of total gulag deaths, for example, are generally considered by modern studies utilizing actual Soviet records to be vastly exagerrated. Solzhenitzyn's ex-wife said that "Solzhenitsyn’s descriptions of the camps that the information he received from prisoners and exiles “bore a folkloric and frequently a mythical character.”"

Nevertheless, people who refer to the unreliability of the Holocaust memoirs as an argument for Holocaust revisionism generally don't consider the claimed unreliability of undoubtedly the main Gulag camp narrative - still the main source of Gulag camps for many Westerners - to form a similar case for revisionism of Stalinist times. (Perhaps you might find people who are both Holocaust and Gulag revisionists in Russia?)

There are of course Gulag denialists in Russia, but they are not widely popular, for one crucial reason. Stalinists, who would be a natural audience for this, do not really think gulags were a bad thing. Surely, there were some excesses (перегибы), but in general it was a grandiose reform of the country, which always had and continues to have myriads of enemies, both outside and within - you can not do anything without somehow suppressing those enemies! Western inventions like freedom of speech, civil society with open political discussion, rule of law, etc. are not fit for Russia's special environment anyway, since Russia has its own destiny, and that destiny always included incarceration and/or otherwise removal of enemies of the people from the society. So there's nothing to deny really - except for rare instances of some particular person getting a bit over-zealous, but this is really small thing - there are criminals and bad cops everywhere, so are in Russia, nothing really to see there. It's not like USA doesn't have prisons - so Russia has prisons too, nothing special. So, nothing to deny.

I have not seen Revisionists beleaguer the conditions in the Gulags based on witness testimony. The Gulags are used by Revisionists as a counterpart, an attempt to draw an equivalency, to the German concentration camps. If you take away the 4 or 5 alleged "extermination camps" with homicidal gas chambers in Poland, and are the left with the German concentration camp system as described in documents, then there is an easy comparison with the Gulags of the Soviets (who were an ally), and the American concentration camps to a lesser extent.

Gulag revisionists tend to be sympathetic to the Soviet Union in a similar way that Revisionists also tend to be sympathetic to Germany. But any Russian or Soviet sympathizers are going to rightfully be proud of probably the greatest accomplishment of the Soviet Union which earns it universal praise among the criticism- defeating Nazi Germany.

The Holocaust narrative adds a lot of moral weight and credibility to that accomplishment, and if you take it away, the "victory" and costs of that devastating conflict become a lot more ambiguous- particularly for the Western Allies. I think that's why I am not aware of any dual-Gulag/Holocaust Revisionists, and the conditions of the gulags is not something I have looked into so I cannot say.

Insofar as I've understood, the Soviet narrative was always concentrated on the crimes of Nazis against the Soviet people generally (now metastatized into Nazi crimes against Russia in the modern Russian patriotic narrative, with the obvious connection to the idea of Ukrainian Nazis continuing the same), not on the specific crimes against the Jews (ie. the Holocaust, as commonly understood).

conditions of the gulags is not something I have looked into so I cannot say.

Why not? Why attempt to revise only one genocide?

The Holocaust is truly a mishmash of myth and reality divided between the East and the West. On the one hand you have @johnfabian mentioning that the experience of Western Jews colors public perception of the Holocaust in the West, whereas the greatest parts of the Holocaust and gas chamber extermination actually happened in areas which were conquered and fell behind the Iron Curtain- where Western investigators were denied access to key evidence. And after the Nuremberg Trials, in which the Soviets provided most of the evidence and interrogations of witnesses that have informed the academic "Holocaust" narrative, the Holocaust did not become a part of Soviet culture in the way the Holocaust has become central to Western culture.

So you have a weird scenario where the East had the custody of most of the key evidence, but the Holocaust did not become part of cultural consciousness (where it actually happened (!)), but in the West, which did not have custody of most of the key evidence, the Holocaust became central to the culture. This was accomplished with the memoirs and Hollywood productions that @johnfabian accuses Revisionists of opportunistically using for their agenda. Just pause to appreciate the inversion of reality he is trying to pull, by accusing Revisionists of exploiting memoirs and Hollywood blockbusters which have formulated mass public perception of the Holocaust in the West.

Holocaust awareness has become a bigger part of the political narrative in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union. It was the Great Patriotic War, and was therefore a Soviet accomplishment that could transition to being a Russian accomplishment. The Putin regime is leaning on the Holocaust narrative to justify aggression against Ukraine. Both Zelensky and Putin have used the Holocaust to frame the conflict and appeal to Israel. It would not be productive for Russian apologists or Soviet revisionists to entertain Holocaust denial.

Why not? Why attempt to revise only one genocide?

Revisionists place special important on the Holocaust due to its influence in our culture and our foreign policy. The Revisionist film I linked earlier includes a section on the alleged atrocities of the Iraqis and Sadam Hussein in Kuwait, and how atrocity tales like babies being removed from incubators and killed were fabricated to manipulate public opinion towards war with Iraq. Not just that, but they were fabricated specifically by Congressman Tom Lantos, who was a Holocaust survivor and one of the 5 witnesses featured in Spielberg's film.

They place specific importance on this genocide because our culture does so. That doesn't mean Revisionists buy whole-cloth into all the witness testimony of all Soviet atrocities as implied in a different comment.

So you have a weird scenario where the East had the custody of most of the key evidence, but the Holocaust did not become part of cultural consciousness (where it actually happened (!)), but in the West, which did not have custody of most of the key evidence, the Holocaust became central to the culture. This was accomplished with the memoirs and Hollywood productions that @johnfabian accuses Revisionists of opportunistically using for their agenda. Just pause to appreciate the inversion of reality he is trying to pull, by accusing Revisionists of exploiting memoirs and Hollywood blockbusters which have formulated mass public perception of the Holocaust in the West.

I don't think it requires some vast conspiracy to explain why communist eastern Europe did not place great cultural relevance upon the Holocaust, given that the Soviets very much wanted to downplay crimes specifically against Jews and place Russians and socialists as the chief victims of German aggression. Not to mention the rather... "awkward" issues that Ukrainian or Polish nationalists might run into when trying to shed more light on the Holocaust, these countries had more than their own fair share of murdered civilians to mourn and commemorate.

And public opinion is always formed more of pop culture than academic history. The popular image of the Eastern front in western popular culture was for decades based off the memoirs of German generals which, to put it very mildly, were very loose with the truth (especially with respect to their own culpability in committing war crimes). Some of the more famous "fighting soldier" memoirs are themselves either largely or fully inventions.

I don't think it requires some vast conspiracy to explain why communist eastern Europe did not place great cultural relevance upon the Holocaust, given that the Soviets very much wanted to downplay crimes specifically against Jews

You say it "doesn't require a conspiracy" right before you propose a conspiracy for why this major event was not talked about or even widely known among the people the event is supposed to have actually happened to. That is the opposite of the way major historical catastrophes impact public consciousness, where they are most talked about in the immediate aftermath and then the saliency of that event in the cultural consciousness fades over time.

"The Holocaust" was virtually unknown in the public, including in the West, until Holocaust remembrance took off in the 1960s and probably peaked in the public consciousness in the 1990s.

No matter how you spin this, it's a very strange course of events. You would expect 1. The event to be most salient in public consciousness in the immediate aftermath, which did not happen, 2. The event to be most salient in the consciousness the people closest to the events, which also did not happen.

And public opinion is always formed more of pop culture than academic history

Nobody understands this better than Jews, who have done more than anyone to blur the line between pop culture and academic history on this issue.

The chief historical consultant for Spielberg's award-winning documentary The Last Days was Dr. Michael Berenbaum. He was the Deputy Director of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, Project Director of the USHMM, Director of the USHMM's Holocaust Research Institute, President and CEO of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, and currently a Professor of Jewish studies. Here he is storyboarding The Last Days.

Berenbaum is also an ordained Orthodox Rabbi.

This is from an interview of Rabbi Berenbaum:

"I was ordained because of Vietnam, but it proved to be one of the most important things in my life. It imposed upon me a responsibility to the Jewish past -- and the Jewish future -- and to become a producer of Torah and not just a consumer."

The content designer for the Washington Holocaust Museum, and director of the Shoah Oral History project established by Stephen Spielberg, Dr. Berenbaum is a Holocaust scholar (and part-time professor at the University of Judaism).

This is the "conspiracy" that Revisionists accuse Jews like Berenbaum of admitting to here- producing Torah, creating a new chapter in the long history of Jewish religious myth. In the interpretation of Gentiles who lack the capacity to truly understand this impulse, if revealed, would just come across as shameless lying.

Berenbaum's role in The Last Days and as content designer for the US Holocaust Museum reveals the, frankly, dirty tricks that Revisionists have to contend with. The historical establishment colludes with Hollywood to produce utter tripe that manipulates the American public with shameless lies like The Last Days. Revisionists, often at great personal risk of political suppression and persecution, expose those lies.

After the Revisionists expose the pop culture manipulations as systematically featuring indefensible lies, people like you try to say "well The Last Days was just a pop culture sensation, its indefensible lies do not reflect on academic historians." I do not buy it.

The Last Days is absolutely a product of academic historians, and the quality of that work is undeniably a reflection of the quality and integrity of academic study of the Holocaust.

given that the Soviets very much wanted to downplay crimes specifically against Jews and place Russians and socialists as the chief victims of German aggression.

A Soviet anecdote:

June 22, 41. A Jew and an Ukrainian are fishing together on the bank of the Dnieper River. Suddenly the loudspeaker says: Today, June 22, at 4 a.m., without declaring war, Fascist Germany has attacked the Soviet Union.

The Jew says:

– My G-d, war! Now all these problems and worries will come up. So this means I have to send my wife to Tashkent [Uzbekistan, deep in Central Asia, where much of Soviet industry and civilians were evacuated] with the whole family, all the children! We will have to order a container to transfer furniture, all that we have. Then I'll have to find a way to get to that Tashkent myself, find a small vegetable warehouse – you've got to work somewhere, this is war after all. This is no joke, how can all this be...

The Ukrainian nods:

– Yeah, it's war, such problems...

– What problems do you have!? You get a rifle and – to the front.

Make of that what you will.

Ukrainians:

The real number of victims during WWII is still not fully known. Some relevant data is still held in Russian archives and is not available for non-Russian researchers. However, of the 41.7 million people living in Ukrainian Soviet Republic before the war, only 27.4 million were alive in Ukraine in 1945. Official data says that at least 8 million Ukrainians lost their lives: 5.5 - 6 million civilians, and more than 2.5 million natives of Ukraine were killed at the front. The data varies between 8 to 14 million killed, however, only 6 million have been identified.

Certainly in terms of raw numbers more Soviets than Jews perished, but there was a differing zeal to which the Germans pursued and killed Jews. Somewhat ironically they were aided in this by Soviet censorship of near-any information concerning their chief ideological enemies: most Soviet Jews were not aware the Nazis were anti-semitic. For example when the decision was made to liquidate all the Jews of Kiev, the German authorities were shocked at the turnout when they demanded Jews present themselves for "relocation"; ~33,000, more than double what they expected. It took 3 days to murder them all, with help for Ukrainian militias.

Ukrainians themselves were of course of various minds with respect to the Soviet authorities; especially many of the older generation were welcoming of the Germans, at least initially. Currently I'm reading Retribution: The Soviet Reconquest of Central Ukraine, 1943-44, and so far it has featured a lot of anecdotes from German soldiers about helpful Ukrainians. This was of course partly merely survival tactics. The German logic was brutal: the book quotes Erich Koch (Reichskommissar of Ukraine) as saying:

If these people [the Ukrainians] work for ten hours a day, eight of those must be for us. All sentimental considerations must be put aside. These people must be ruled with iron force as this will help us to win the war. We have not liberated the Ukraine for their pleasure, but to secure the essential Lebensraum and food supply for Germany.

and further:

We did not come here to dispense Manna from heaven, we came here to create the preconditions of victory … We are the master race and must bear in mind that the most insignificant German worker is racially and biologically a thousand times as valuable as the local population.

The Nazis were at least as willing as the Soviets, if not more, to work Ukrainians to death for their utopia; and that of course would only be the beginning.

Certainly in terms of raw numbers more Soviets than Jews perished, but there was a differing zeal to which the Germans pursued and killed Jews. Somewhat ironically they were aided in this by Soviet censorship of near-any information concerning their chief ideological enemies: most Soviet Jews were not aware the Nazis were anti-semitic.

Pro-Nazi propaganda lasted only two years before the war, propaganda line before was strongly anti fascist and anti-Nazi, and Nazi antisemitism was well publicized in Soviet Union. The problem was that all Soviet propaganda with its constant twists and turns was seen as not entirely reliable.

When you learn to disregard the boy who cries wolf all the time, you are out of luck when wolf really comes.

But at this very moment, whether Stalin's atrocities were real or exagerrated has a very high importance vis-a-vis Western foreign policy, and it indeed has had for years, considering that West has focused in very concrete ways in opposing Russia, with comparisons of current Russian Federation to Soviet Union and Putin personally to Stalin playing a very large role in the said narrative. The vast intensification of the Ukrainian war of course contributes to it greatly, since it has given new visibility to the Holodomor - a subject that has seen great historical controversy throughout the years, with an obvious connection to the accusation that the Russians are committing genocide in Ukraine, like (in the current Western narrative, at least) the Soviets did in the 30s.

Now, I personally think it's good that the West opposes Russia and think that Furr etc. are gravely wrong in their diminution of Stalin's atrocities, but I can't help but notice that (Holocaust) revisionists still continue to hyperfocus on Holocaust, not on this other subject where their methodologies, supposing they are valid and workable, might also be applied to. Of course it's not exactly hard to figure out why that might be (ie. the connection of Holocaust revisionism to antisemitism, and also because antisemites have also liked to counterpose the "Judeo-Bolshevik slaughter of Christians in Russia" to their own subject of revision.)

Of course it's not exactly hard to figure out why that might be

And if there were a lot of overlap, it would not be hard to figure out its because the revisionists are far-rightists and so obviously carry water for Putin.

That is a stretch, there is simply no comparison between the Soviet Atrocities and the Holocaust in the influence on American Culture and foreign policy. So far in this discussion I've touched on many bestselling and hugely influential Holocaust memoirs, academy-award winning films directed by Steven Spielberg, instances of Jews in our government invoking the Holocaust to manipulate the American public into supporting war in the Middle East with fabricated atrocity propaganda, Holocaust education in public schools, the Memorial Museums with hundreds of millions in funding, the weight of the "Nazi" epithet...

There simply is no similar cultural force that is based on the authenticity of Stalin's crimes or "Judeo-Bolshevism." I am not even aware of what the atrocity claims are beyond questions over the extent to which famine was planned versus unplanned. I don't think those questions have nearly the same saliency to Western culture and politics as questions surrounding the Holocaust.

Let's say the Holodomar was unplanned and not an intentional genocide. How much would that theoretical revelation impact the American public versus the revelation of the Holocaust- the extermination camps and gas chambers, not being real?

The former would somewhat weaken tired conservative talking points against socialism. I don't think it would at all change the American foreign policy apparatus posture against Russia. The latter would inspire a lot of controversy, introspection, and ideally scrutiny over our political, academic, and cultural institutions that aggressively perpetuated the falsehoods for so long.

That is a stretch, there is simply no comparison between the Soviet Atrocities and the Holocaust in the influence on American Culture and foreign policy.

This isn't just an American forum, though, and Holocaust revisionism is not just an American subject. I would argue Soviet atrocities loom larger than the Holocaust in Finnish consciousness, for instance. I am not quite sure whether the Holocaust has just the importance accorded to it by Holocaust revisionists in American consciousness, either, the explanations of American support for Israel that are just based on presumed Holocaust debt of guilt have always felt a little pat to me. Of course, not being an American, I can't feel this in my bones in the same way as an American presumably would.

Even beyond that, though, I'm not asking why Holocaust revisionists don't exert the exact same energy on Soviet crimes. I'm asking why they take it as given that (roughly) the mainstream narrative, or one more strident than the mainstream narrative, about the Soviet crimes is though even though they apply a vastly higher standard of skepticism on the mainstream narrative on the Holocaust, even though much of the popular understanding on Soviet crimes is similarly based on personal narratives and memoirs, Solzhenitzyn - still arguably one of the main sources on the Gulag camps, and Soviet crimes generally, on many - being an example of this.

(Perhaps you might find people who are both Holocaust and Gulag revisionists in Russia?)

Well, maybe. I won’t speak for Holocaust revisionists, but their main argument regarding survivor memoirs does not appear to be that they’re just all unreliable/false and that’s that, it’s that even memoirs that contain more than obvious falsehoods, exaggerations etc. are given legitimacy and even get used as source material for TV series etc., and that the mainstream media is very reluctant to call their authors out, or even to discuss them.

But, now that you mentioned it, I’m reminded that yes, Gulag revisionists do exist, as should be pointed out here, although (as far as I know) almost all of them work in Russia, and their works are only rarely translated or even publicized in any way outside Russia. I’ve seen examples of their research, and most if it seems to be much more mundane stuff, like the following: someone claims their grandpa was arrested and baselessly charged with political crimes, and sent to the GULAG -> researcher goes to the archives and looks at the documents; it actually turns out that grandpa was arrested for robbery/burglary/theft/embezzlement etc.

There are other crucial differences, I’d say. With respect to the GULAG, one cannot claim that there are no written explicit orders or no clear evidence of death tolls, because undoubtedly there is, and it has been accessible for decades. Also, this whole issue has become completely politicized and interpreted in terms of Moskal imperialism and criminality, which hasn’t happened to the Holocaust in the same way.

I think it merits separating "revisionists" from "denialists"; revisionism is a legitimate practice in history. For example the claims of tens of millions of GULAG victims were inevitably going to see a revisionist movement once the Soviet Union collapsed and historians had access to the Soviet archives. Or Holocaust revisionism (like the functionalism-intentionalism debate, for example) is an ongoing process like it is in every other historical subject that sees active scholarship.

"Denialism" on the other hand is an ideologically-driven act aimed at specific goals, working outside the historical method and essentially in bad faith. They're lying liars who lie, to put it more bluntly.

There are Western tankies who are generally revisionist about Stalin's era, like Grover Furr. Furr has concentrated more on issues like Trotsky and other purged Old Bolsheviks being actually guilty of the accused crimes or Katyn not being done by Soviets, but discusses the camps here.

With a lot of historical subjects, historians often have to deal with the problem of "surviving accounts"; i.e., they get the perspectives of one group of people, but not the other. A classic example: almost all the written sources with respect to the period of Byzantine iconoclasm were written by the ultimately victorious iconophiles. Or take the Greco-Persian wars, of which we only have the perspective of the Greeks. This obviously creates problems with writing narrative histories: to what extent does the modern historian trust what sources survived when there is nothing to cross-reference their believability?

With the Holocaust this form of "survivor's history" is very literal: Eastern European Jews were killed in vastly larger numbers than Western Jews, and even among those who survived for the most part now lived under communist regimes with strict censorship. Media perceptions of the Holocaust are coloured by the disproportionate number of memoirs that came from western Jews; i.e. Jews that were much more likely to survive, live in a country with a free press, and write in a language other than Yiddish. The most famous Holocaust victim is Anne Frank, a German Jew, and likewise education about the lead-up to the Holocaust focuses largely on German Jews. Yet if you were order Holocaust victims by their nationality, German/Austrian Jews were only the sixth-most numerous victims (after Polish, Soviet, Hungarian, Romanian, and Czechoslovak Jews). You've almost certainly heard of Auschwitz, which had tens of thousands of survivors (mainly western Jews) due to housing a concentration camp and labour camp as well as its extermination facilities. But Belzec and Chelmno combined saw about as many deaths as Auschwitz but less than 70 survivors; how many Americans could name them? And roughly as many Jews died via mass executions as by gassing - not many of those machine-gunned by the Einsatzgruppen or beaten by a Slavic nationalist militia survived to tell their tale (though given any substantially large mass execution, there were always a few).

Memoirs themselves are often of dubious historical value. They are consciously meant to be read in a way by the public that a diary or correspondence is not, and that colours their usefulness. Holocaust deniers use them as a source of arguments because, naturally, they are a wellspring for exaggerations, misrememberings, and far-fetched anecdotes, and not infrequently outright invention. That's not to say they're worthless, but in terms of academic work historians prefer to use them as a supplement to other sources rather than rest an argument/narrative on them.

There is an incredible amount of first-hand testimony about the Holocaust, but what we have in abundance (namely accounts of western Jews, Germans, and German collaborators) is less revealing than the perspectives we're missing: the thoughts of those who died, and those of the higher-ranking Nazis who facilitated their deaths.

Btw, why don't we have any records from the Persians? I thought they were a pretty sophisticated empire.

Just too many armies sweeping through burning all the libraries for the next two thousand years?

You‘d have to narrow your question down. AFAIK archaeology has found mundane bureaucratic records from the Achaemenids.

Are you asking for historiography in particular?

We have some records from the Persians, but they tend to be more archaeological rather than narrative histories (or plays, or essays, or other written works).

The long story short is that papyrus scrolls require careful handling, and even with that reproduction; i.e. the surviving Classical works from the Romans and Greeks were not the originals but copies of copies. Hellenistic scribes evidently were less interested in reproducing Persian texts than they were Greek ones. Presumably the Arab conquest and subsequent wars didn't help either, but even by the time of the Romans, written Persian sources were noticeably lacking.

Herodotus was evidently working with Persian sources when writing his histories, be they written or oral histories, as well as presumably interviewing Persians themselves. By contrast Plutarch's Parallel Lives (which is our first reasonably full accounting of the life of Alexander, despite being written about 400 years after Alexander), while drawing heavily from now-lost Greek sources that were written during or shortly after the time of Alexander, is near-completely silent about the Persian perspective.

Btw, why don't we have any records from the Persians?

Yes we do.

Persepolis Fortification Tablets

https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/projects/persepolis-fortification-archive

Just too many armies sweeping through burning all the libraries for the next two thousand years?

More like: too much new construction and excavation in the last 50 years, with all archaeological remains of the past bulldozed away and built over.

Holocaust memoirs are the ultimate double-edged sword in the Holocaust industry. They can become immensely popular, commercially succesful, have huge cultural influence, and greatly increase the public perception of the Holocaust, especially among children, but they are often riddled with historical inaccuracies, contradictions, exaggerations, and outright fabrications that can put historians in an uncomfortable position of contradicting the experiences of the survivors.

Many authors of Holocaust memoirs are those who remained silent for decades, but finally decided to come out and tell their story for the first time. An example is Irene Zisblatt, who decided to break her silence and tell her story in her memoir, The Fifth Diamond published in 2008. Among other things, Zisblatt claimed that she escaped from a gas chamber, had her Auschwitz prisoner tattoo surgically removed by Dr. Mengele, that Ilse Kolche had selected her to be turned into a lampshade, and that she constantly swallowed, defacated, and re-swallowed diamonds given to her by her mother during her internment in the camp.

This also just wasn't a one-off book, Irene Zisblatt is one of the most prominently-featured survivors in Steven Spielberg's film The Last Days, which won an Oscar. Revisionists had a field day with exposing the absurd lies that Hollywood honored as their best output. I was surprised to come across this recent Times of Israel article that, finally, indicates mainstream skepticism for her obvious lies and laments that the deniers are asking good questions.

There are many other instances of Holocaust memoirs, like The Painted Bird (1968) being exposed as literary fraud, and the author of that bestseller eventually committed suicide. There are a lot of exaggerated and false memoirs.

Elie Wiesel's Night (1958) is another example- he doesn't mention gas chambers in his famous memoirs but he describes truckloads of babies being burned alive, which is not claimed to have happened by mainstream historians today.

But Herman Rosenblat takes the cake for the most iconic memoir fraudster who, after a couple appearances on Oprah, a book deal, and movie deal, was exposed for being a fraud. In an interview he did with ABC News, he was asked why he lied to so many people, and his response was "it wasn't a lie, it was my imagination, and in my imagination it was true".

There's a lot of commercial incentive for survivors to "tell their stories", with all the problems that come with perverse incentives and "recovered memory" syndrome. This also presents a problem because "the case" for the Holocaust entirely relies on witness testimony, so embarassing displays of prominent witnesses lying weakens the most important body of evidence that historians rely upon in lieu of documentary and physical evidence. Holocaust historians almost never reference the authors of these memoirs.

With all that said, there is one memoir that is extremely important to Holocaust historigraphy, and that is Yankel Wiernik's A Year in Treblinka (1944). Wiernik's memoir was published by the Polish Underground in 1944, making it an extremely early purported eyewitness account to the alleged Treblinka atrocities. Owing to the lack of documentary and physical evidence, Wiernik's memoir is heavily relied on as a primary source by Holocaust historians. But I encourage anyone to read it and decide for themselves. It doesn't come across as very credible, which is why it hasn't become "required reading" so-to-speak.

The most famous "memoir" of sorts is Anne Frank's diary, which does not claim to witness gas chamber extermination. Anne was deported with her family to Auschwitz, but then transferred to Belsen where she died in a hospital of Typhus. So the diary, while famous, does not enter into discussions of the authenticity of gas chambers and extermination camps.

In short, for a memoir to enter into the discussion it has to: 1. be relevant to the extermination and gas chamber claims, and 2. be credible (i.e. early accounts). There are not very many memoirs that fit this criteria, Wiernik is really the best they can do on that front, and his credibility is seriously lacking.

This also presents a problem because "the case" for the Holocaust entirely relies on witness testimony

This is a blatant lie, dear SS. Unless you claim that for example demographic statistics before (or after) war were falsified and demographics of Polish Jews were falsified before war and so on. To say nothing about Gypsies demographics that somehow for some reason cratered during WW II.

Unless you claim that for example demographic statistics before (or after) war were falsified and demographics of Polish Jews were falsified before war and so on.

The post-war demographic data entirely comes from Soviet authorities, who had a track record of lying about census data and fudging the ethnic distribution their citizens before the war. They also had a motive to downplay the number of Jewish survivors under their control, particularly the large number of Jews who were deported deep into the Soviet interior and never came under German occupation. The work of Sanning in The Dissolution of Eastern European Jewry suggests that the pre-war population of Jewish Poles was over-estimated due to underestimates of interwar emigration and overestimations of fertility of the Jewish population, which had declined in the interwar years.

But in any case, the "Holocaust" narrative as such absolutely preceded any demographic study of Jewish post-war populations. The Six Million number, the gas chamber, the narrative surrounding the "final solution", these were all established in the historical record before any demographic study.

The "six million" number was not derived from any demographic sources, it first emerged from Zionist sources in January 1944, more than a year and a half before the end of the war.

“In early April 1943, on the clandestine radio, we heard about the outcry of Rabbi Stephen Wise [one of the leaders of U.S. Jewry] about 2 million Jews who were exterminated in Poland. We heard and were surprised: Didn’t the world know as yet that the number of the nation’s dead has already reached 6 million?” he said.

Several hours after his first speech, Unger also spoke at the convention of Hakibbutz Hameuhad kibbutz movement, which convened at Kibbutz Givat Brenner. There he cried out that “Six million martyrs are gone.” Two days later, his words made it to the front page of Haaretz...

About 15 years later, during Eichmann’s trial, chief prosecutor Gideon Hausner said that “In the consciousness of the nation the number 6 million has become sanctified.” But he added: “It’s not so simple to prove that. We did not use this number in any official document, but it became sanctified.” Now, thanks to Rappel, historical research had added another layer for understanding the context for the number.

It's also worth mentioning that the number six has special significance in the Jewish religion, i.e. six-pointed star. It is also said that there were 600,000 Israelite men in the Exodus according to Jewish myth.

Ultimately, historians are claiming that millions of people were killed in specific time and place, with a specific motive and murder weapon. The fact that there are constant appeals to demographic numbers that had nothing to do with the creation of this historical narrative in the first place only shows how little evidence there is. i.e., you cannot say "look at this unambiguous documentary and physical proof for a million people being gassed at Auschwitz," so you have to say "look at this Soviet census data."

Jewish identity was also suppressed in the post-war period in the Soviet Union. A drop in self-identification would likely follow from restrictions on other forms of identification like speaking Yiddish. In the last US census we saw a precipitous decline in the number of white people in the country, and the leading theory is that white Americans are increasingly identifying as mixed due to cultural pressures.

The post-war demographic data entirely comes from Soviet authorities

Not entirely. There were some many Jewish Poles that to detect that they almost entirely disappeared does not require reliable statistics. Entire communities disappeared, to the point that it was noticeable even in Poland where around 16% of population was murdered.

You are again being misleading. Populations of Jews in Poland (before they were murdered by Germans) was readily noticeable, it is not like COVID/vaccines where you need to rely on statistics to establish effects.

And for some weird reason they basically disappeared and by pure coincidence that happened during time when Germans invaded. And Germans had rabid hate toward Jews, even greater then toward Poles/Ukrainians which were supposed to be subjugated and enslaved.

Even if Germans imprisoned Jews in concentrations camps and starved there them to death, and gas chambers were entirely fake then it does not strongly change anything at all. OK, it reduces my opinion about historians. But surely it will not improve my opinion about Nazis.

Or are you denying that Germans were rapidly antisemitic? Are you denying deportation to ghettos? Are you denying deportation to concentration camps? Are you also denying murder of millions via shooting and starvation? (also Poles, Gypsies, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians and so on, Jews were less than half of victims of Holocaust). Are you denying that people in concentration camps were horrifyingly mistreated?

Where did they go?

It seems that some of them were able to escape the horror and end up

As I said elsewhere:

I have, actually, read the Sanning book, and found it, to put it mildly, underwhelming. It's essentially a series of it-just-so-happenses - it just so happens that the Polish demographical data on local Jewish population was vastly overcounted without either the Poles or the occupying Germans catching on to this, it just so happens that once this is established the same overcount can be expected to apply on other Eastern European nations as well, it just so happens that out of that population a larger-than-assumed share left for Soviet Union and the Soviets then deported/killed them (even though Soviet sources don't show such deportations and deaths - sure, such sources became available after the Sanning book was written, but that's no excuse for us to ignore them), it just so happens that there was a vast Jewish wave of emigration in the 30s to other countries not shown in official data etc.

And once you add all the it-just-so-happenses together, presto - the numbers advocated by the revisionists! Data massaging would be putting it lightly - and in many cases the data is essentially based on just the sort of testimonials, memoirs and what amounts to guesstimates by individual figures that revisionists don't generally consider to be valid (ie. the idea of Soviet deportations is justified by referring to several testimonies made in front of US House Select Committee on Communist Aggression) in establishing a Jewish genocide by Germans.

Beyond that, though, has there even been an attempt from the revisionist camp to make a similar demographic analysis post-Sanning, taking all the new data (methods of estimating populations in cases where demographic data is considered undertain, post-Soviet archives etc.) into account? If not, it speaks volumes that on this crucial field all that there seems to be is this one book from decades ago, while the general effort of the revisionist sphere seemingly concentrates on individual memoirs and technical camp details, and such.

Also, Karlin's predictive abilitites have not exactly shown their worth in 2022, regarding, well, most aspects of the Russian invasion and its presumed successes.

Like, even if you're going with "the Soviets lied about their numbers" narrative, why would NVKD lie about their internal numbers in their reports to the party? The NKVD's job, or one of them, was deporting people and putting them to camps. They're deliberately trying to diminish the job they're doing in internal party assessments?

If the refutation of the demographic question for revisionists continues to rely on one 50-year-old book relying largely on guesswork, anecdotes and guesses about information they didn't have access to (but later researchers do have access to), doesn't that at least somewhat indicate there's a problem here?

The main takeaway from Sanning is that it's an intractable problem. Demographic study is hard in the best of times, and the political circumstances combined with significant changes during the interwar period, massive population movements during the war (including the large scale deportation of Polish Jews to the Soviet interior), floods of refugees after the war, and the fact that the Soviet Union was waging a propaganda war about a German extermination policy, and so it had a motive to lie about these things- as it lied about many other things during its various investigations (i.e. the Katyn Massacre and a "factory of death" in Majdanek where the Germans murdered 2 million people), makes it an impossible problem to solve.

None of the "big-ticket" items of the Holocaust were based on demographic study. The earliest of such studies came well after the establishment of the main components of the narrative that Revisionists challenge. If historians are claiming that a million people were murdered and buried in a known location, then any reasonable person should scrutinize the evidence that was used to "prove" that claim.

Revisionists acknowledge the inherent interdependency of the evidence. By that I mean- the Soviets falsely claimed that the Germans murdered 2 million people at Majdanek, murdered 4 million people at Auschwitz, that Majdanek had 7 gas chambers and a special crematorium with a gas chamber... but none of this was true. Any reasonable person should update his priors on the reliability of Soviet investigation since it has been proven by hard evidence beyond doubt that their investigations have been systematically wrong in service to a campaign of propaganda warfare.

It demonstrates a weak case that you need to rely so heavily on the accuracy and integrity of the number of Jews the Soviet Union said it had after the war when there is an extremely long list of reasons for why these studies are confounded. It's ultimately an attempt to reverse the burden of proof. You want to claim that a million people were gassed and buried in a known location, but for some reason you cannot rely on the evidence for it, you have to demand that Revisionists solve the impossible problem of post-war demographic study behind the Iron Curtain.

Revisionists don't claim to be able to do that, they do claim to be able to show, with the evidence, that what is claimed did not happen.

Again, as I said, we're not talking about Soviet external claims. We're talking about Soviet internal numbers, ones that became available during the period of expectional openness that followed the fall of the Soviet Union. (Among other things, such numbers have been generally used to bring clarity to the extent of the Great Purge, the gulag system etc.) These numbers might, of course, contain mistakes, just like all demographic statistics, particularly in authoritarian countries. However, even in such cases, one would expect those numbers to rather exaggerate the effort of instances like NKVD to do whatever they've been tasked with doing, rather than diminishing them.

I've been interested in demographic numbers and questions for a long time, so it's natural to me to take this approach also to this issue. It speaks volumes to me if the crucial question of "well, what happened to the Jews then?" is treated by revisionists in such a cavalier manner.

It speaks volumes to me if the crucial question of "well, what happened to the Jews then?" is treated by revisionists in such a cavalier manner.

Imagine we are standing in a field in Poland. It has grass, trees, flowers- otherwise it just looks like any other field. Now imagine that you tell me - "900,000 people were gassed, cremated, and buried directly underneath where we are standing."

And then I ask, "really? That sounds extremely unusual and unlikely, what's the evidence for that?"

And then imagine after an exchange debating the evidence for the claim, you ultimately force a "stalemate" by saying "if they weren't murdered, cremated, and buried right here then where did they go?"

It's not treated by revisionists in a cavalier manner, it's just acknowledged as an extraordinary attempt to reverse the burden of proof for an extraordinary claim that lacks evidence. It's also acknowledged as a "reversal" that would not be necessary if you had sufficient evidence to establish what you are claiming in the first place.

Now imagine it's the Revisionist who says, "ok, well if you insist this is what happened, let's excavate the area so we can better understand what happened," and then you say "no, you have to tell me where these 900,000 Jews went if they weren't murdered right on this spot. We can't excavate this area because it would disturb the souls of the 900,000 people who were murdered here."

This is the "state of the debate", and Revisionists have the far better case.

You are correct that "then where did they go?" is the best retort against Revisionist critique of mainstream historiography... but it proves how weak the evidence is that the "best counter-argument" consists of a blatant reversal of the burden of proof. You are the one claiming they were murdered and buried in a precisely known location...

It's a bit hard for me to see it that way, since, as said, insofar as I've been interested in the whole debate, it's been through the demographic question, dovetailing with my interest in various other demographic questions. The whole debate about door hole placement in Auschwitz or the specific details of victim testimonies has never held my interest, and I have little to say about it.

However, howevermuch one would want to say "reversal of the burden of proof", the question is still there, isn't it? It doesn't just go way by such a reference. While the Holocaust has been, of course, related to many criminal cases, in the sense of this forum debate we're not talking about a formal criminal case debated by a court - it's a historiographical debate, one with many different varying facets, one of which seemingly is one that revisionists wish to avoid (apart from saying "Look, Sanning!")

Furthermore, Sanning's book is not just about debunking standard claims about the Holocaust - he makes some quite far-reaching claims himself, including one about there being a genocidal murder of the Polish Jews, just one done by Soviets instead of the Nazis. This highly unusual claim comes with precious little proof of this happening, especially considering - as linked previously - that we can now peruse Soviet files on this era, and they do not show a transport/labor camp operation of the claimed sort. If one uses Sanning as reference, shouldn't there be at least a bit more effort to offer proof for his particular claims?

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And then imagine after an exchange debating the evidence for the claim, you ultimately force a "stalemate" by saying "if they weren't murdered, cremated, and buried right here then where did they go?"

I would be happy to discuss facts even with neonazis, as long are they reality adjacent.

If it turns out that someone is full-bore genocide denialists (or praises Mao or claims that Pol Pot was a good leader or that there was no internal paedophilia conspiracy of any kind in Catholic Church or that there is no biological difference between males and females) then I will find better way to procrastinate.

Are you also denying that Germans were rapidly antisemitic? Are you denying deportation to ghettos? Are you denying deportation to concentration camps? Are you also denying murder of millions via shooting and starvation? (also Poles, Gypsies, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Russians and so on, Jews were less than half of victims of Holocaust). Are you denying that people in concentration camps were horrifyingly mistreated?

Also, are you a neonazi dear SS? Is your username shortening to SS coincidence or deliberate?

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