Finkelstein and the "Holocaust Industry"

by Germar Rudolf

Norman G. Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry. Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering, Verso, London/New York 2000, 150 pp, $23,-

Anyone who offers to sell a skinny little book which normally would go for 7 to 10 Dollars, for the grand sum of 23 Dollars, either does not want his book to circulate widely, or else is maximizing his profits by gouging.

Like the "Holocaust Industry" he is out to make a killing. We can discount the first possibility since Finkelstein’s book represents a massive assault on the "Holocaust" Establishment and so could never become a bestseller anyway. (On the other hand, the book will be well received by many readers whom Finkelstein would not choose as friends.) It could be that the real reason for the drastic overpricing of this book, which does not even claim to be a scientific investigation, is to extract compensation from those whom the author finds guilty of cheering for the wrong side. Every purchaser of this important work should be aware that he is paying Mr. Finkelstein hefty reparations for the privilege of "misusing" his book! Please keep in mind that Finkelstein, an American Jew, is criticizing the reparations industry in this book!

But one after the other. Finkelstein is anything but an unknown writer. He first made a name for himself with his opposition to Daniel J. Goldhagen (See the article in Vierteljahresheft für freie Geschichtsforschung, 4/1998, pp. 311-320.)

He stumbled over the topic "political use and misuse of the Holocaust" while reading Peter Novick’s book "The Holocaust in American Life" (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1999). Both Novick and Finkelstein consider the year 1967 as the year in which the "Holocaust" was discovered for political purposes. Novick contends that the Jews were shocked by the vulnerability of Israel and consequently developed the "Superweapon" of Auschwitz. Finkelstein sees the matter a bit differently, however. Previous to 1967 the US had largely ignored Israel, but, following the overwhelming victory of the new country in 1967, they realized that it could be a useful ally. In his view, that is the reason why Washington adopted an official policy of supporting and aggrandizing the Jewish state and thereby the Jewish lobby in the US.

In my opinion both Novick and Finkelstein are mistaken. 1967 does not mark the year that the "Holocaust" was "discovered", but rather, with increasing distance from the actual event, the "Holocaust" has been ceaselessly and increasingly aggrandized, exaggerated, distorted, even almost "invented". Several distinct events accompanied this evolutionary process of the ever expanding "Holocaust."

In his book Finkelstein describes how, in the immediate postwar era, the majority of American Jewish organizations attacked the Jewish organizations which were spreading "Holocaust" propaganda as Communists and Stalinists. He does not discuss the obvious possibility that the major organizations rejected "Holocaust" lore because it was known to be wartime hate propaganda. (This possibility is well worth investigating.)

Instead, he accuses them of joining in the postwar Communist witch-hunts led by Senator Joe McCarthy. There is no doubt that McCarthy committed excesses; nevertheless, in view of the real threat presented by the Soviet Union and Communist penetration of the US ruling elite, which was encouraged by Roosevelt, a protective reaction was necessary and justified.

We get a glimpse into Finkelstein’s political bias when he describes Soviet-friendly and other socialist politicians as "progressive," and we get another glimpse when he complains that the majority of Jewish organizations did not join in the witch-hunt for Wehrmacht veterans who immigrated to the US. As we might expect, he refers to these veterans as "Nazis." Here, one notices his proximity to the "Nazi Hunter" Ruth Bettina Birn. Simply stated, he believes it was proper to conduct witch-hunts against former German soldiers, even though the Germans were no longer a threat and in their vast majority were innocent of wrongdoing, but not against active Soviet spies, who were preparing the "world revolution".

Finkelstein’s book has the disadvantage of dealing only with the "Holocaust" in the US, and this causes his analysis to be rather limited. It so happened that "Holocaust" entered the consciousness of the Jews and the Western nations step by step. In Germany of the 1950s, following the Nuremberg tribunals, the "Holocaust" played a role in the trials of the Einsatzgruppen and against Ilse Koch as well as in the trials of the guards at the Buchenwald and Sachsenhausen concentration camps. Even then, the immense influence of the Communist nations was very striking. It took the form of orchestrating and introducing witnesses, selective introduction of "prosecutorial documents," and backing the charges with their own co-plaintiffs. The greatest boost for the "Holocaust Industry" was of course the show trial of Adolf Eichmann, which was broadcasted live in Israel and thus played an omnipresent role there. It was followed three years later by the Frankfurt Auschwitz trial, whose international resonance can hardly be overstated. In 1967 the new superweapon "Holocaust," sharpened in 1961 and 1964-66, was successfully employed in Israel’s third war of conquest.

In his book, Finkelstein admits what everyone knows: that the Jews are the wealthiest, most powerful and influential group in America and therefore the world. To be sure they have not always been so, and they did not become this in 1967 almost overnight. Moreover, it is not true that they discovered "The Holocaust" as a weapon only as late as 1967. In his article in the "Vierteljahresschrift für freie Geschichtsforschung," Vol. 2, 1999, pp. 153 – 158, Don Heddesheimer shows that at least as early as World War I, Jewish organizations were using "Holocaust" propaganda to assume the image of victim. In an expanded study which is expected to appear in 2001, he shows that the tradition of "Holocaust" lies and exaggerations -- calculated to gain financial and political advantage -- is much older. It can be traced at least as far back as the 19th Century, and it would be interesting to determine whether such machinations have existed throughout Jewish history. Judaism has traditionally had a tendency to depict its adherents as innocent victims and non Jews as mass-murdering monsters. It is quite possible that the "Holocaust Industry" is nothing less than just a historical constant in Jewish culture.

For good reasons, the United States were not initially happy about the conflict which created Israel, and they hesitated to take Israel’s part. This changed with time however. According to Finkelstein the change came about with Israel’s overwhelming victory in 1967 and US recognition that Israel was strategically significant. But this is clearly nonsense. It was clear that unconditional solidarity with Israel could bring only disadvantage to the US. It was clear that such solidarity would drive the Arabs into the arms of the Soviet Union, where they could be used to extort economic concessions. Even now, ten years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US are still unable to make friends among the Arabs on account of their blindly pro-Zionist policy. Thus the question arises: why pursue such an irrational policy?

The answer is simple: by the 1960s, the influence of the Zionist Lobby had become so strong that resistance was impossible. It is unlikely that Finkelstein believes the Zionist propaganda line which he parrots, according to which Israel is "protecting Western civilization against the retrograde Arab hordes." Such a slogan could be used to justify all violent colonizing and ethnic cleansing all over the Third World.

Therefore, Finkelstein’s attempted explanation of why the "Holocaust Industry" grew so fast after 1967 is chronologically false. The industry began many decades, if not centuries (or even millenia) earlier. It developed not as a reaction to a single event, but rather as the logical consequence of steadily increasing Jewish dominance in the West. It developed step by step, as Finkelstein indicates in his short reference to the Eichmann trial, although he is probably unaware of its early beginnings.

On Page 32, he briefly discusses Jewish dominance, beginning with the description of the Jews as the most successful minority in the US. Thanks to the "Holocaust", they have succeeded in assuming the identity of victims, even though they are in every way the opposite of a victimized group He describes very well how the Jews came to see themselves as a chosen people, superior to other groups, in fact the master race. Here Finkelstein’s book becomes especially interesting: It is the first time that a Jewish author has openly admitted that Jews are misusing the "Holocaust" as a propaganda weapon in order to deflect criticism and brand their critics as "anti-Semitic."

On page 27 Finkelstein demonstrates how the "Holocaust" is used as an irresistible battering ram to push through Jewish interests in every imaginable situation. And on page 48 he shows how "Holocaust" is used as ultimate proof of irrational, eternal hatred of Jews by non Jews. It follows that Jews are allowed to use any and all means to protect themselves. In fact they may use any means in their dealings with non Jews (page 51). This includes lies, deceit, robbery, murder, war, expulsion, extermination, genocide -- absolutely everything. The object is to avoid another "Holocaust" which implies an attempt to exterminate them, which must of course be avoided by whatever means necessary. Here the eternally innocent Jewish victim, there the eternally villainous non-Jewish culprit. According to Finkelstein, this cliché is transparent and infantile, but it has proven itself very valuable to the Jewish elite (and which Jew does not belong to this elite), which, as a result, has become intoxicated by its successful power game.

But let us return to our business at hand. In his critique of Goldhagen, Finkelstein had distinguished between scientific and unscientific "Holocaust" literature. In the present work he develops alternate orthographic terms for depicting events he considers to really have occurred to the Jews during the Second World War on the one hand, and on the other hand for that which had been turned into distorting, exaggerated and fabricated propaganda by the "Holocaust Industry". He writes the "real holocaust" with a small "h" whereas he capitalizes the phony "Holocaust." I am very curious to see how this will translate into German, were all nouns are always capitalized anyway.

In documenting lies and exaggerations connected with the "Holocaust" Industry, Finkelstein refers to the well known case of Binjamin Wilkomirski alias Bruno Doessekker, among others (See the article by Prof. Butz in VffG 1/1999, page 88.) The Wilkomirski case embodies all the caprices of the "Holocaust" industry.

It is significant that Finkelstein acknowledges the problems associated with eyewitness testimony (p. 82):

"Indeed, many scholars have cast doubt on the reliability of survivor testimony. ‘A great percentage of the mistakes I discovered in my own work,’ Hilberg recalls, ‘could be attributed to testimonies.’"

In an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, Hilberg added another important flaw of ever proliferating "Holocaust" research: the absence of quality control. Part of the interview went as follows:

Interviewer: "You once remarked that there is no quality control in the Holocaust debate."

Hilberg: "That is true, especially at several of the elite US universities. This is the only explanation for how Goldhagen could get a PhD degree at Harvard when there was no one in the department to judge his work."

In view of the corruption of the "Holocaust/holocaust" with lies and exaggerations, as verified by Finkelstein, it should be clear that only critical and skeptical scientific investigators are in a position to carry out effective quality control. But what role does he think the revisionists play in countering these lies and distortions? He answers this question on page 68, and his answer is rather surprising: The role of the Revisionist is that of bugbear.

"All the hype notwithstanding, there is no evidence that Holocaust deniers exert any more influence in the United States than the Flat Earth Society does. Given the nonsense churned out daily by the Holocaust industry, the wonder is that there are so few skeptics. The motive behind the claim of widespread Holocaust denial is not hard to find. In a society saturated with The Holocaust, how else to justify yet more museums, books, curricula, films and programs than to conjure up the bogy of Holocaust denial?"

I found this assertion of Finkelstein’s very interesting indeed. It prompted me to search the Internet, the only uncensored medium, for information concerning the Flat Earth Society. Alta Vista, which is probably the best search engine available, came up with around 4,500 pages on the subject. I did not find a single domain devoted to the topic. It seemed that all the web pages dealt with this esoteric subject in a humorous manner. Apparently there is a rock group calling itself by that name, which has a considerable following. On the other hand, when I called up "Revisionism" I found around 20,000 pages, including large domains visited by thousands of people every day. These domains discuss nothing except the pros and cons of "Holocaust" revision.

Finkelstein is doubtlessly correct when he says that the revisionists are furnishing the "Holocausters" with a cheap pretext for intensifying their propaganda. However, we are dealing with a reciprocal effect rather than a cause. Revisionism is nothing more than a reaction to the exaggerations and prevarications of the "Holocaust" industry. The more the "industry" expands, the greater the revisionist movement grows. Does Finkelstein not realize this? Or is he simply playing down the problem? The answer to the question of why Finkelstein belittles revisionist research probably lies in the section of his book quoted above. Why, in the middle of his attempt to ridicule the accomplishments of revisionism, does he assert that there are not enough skeptics hammering the fingers of the "Holocaust Industry?" After all, "Skeptic" is just another word for "Revisionist." First he states that the revisionists have ridiculously small influence, then he bemoans the fact that they are few in number – that their influence is not greater. I would be willing to bet that he is unaware of this.

I must admit that I quickly skimmed through his section on Jewish extortions of entire nations, which became commonplace in the 1990s. There are two reasons for this. In the first place, I as a European have been following these scandals for so many years that I am no longer interested in them, although I realize they may be news to the Americans. Furthermore I have been personally affected by the aggressions of the "Holocaust" industry. I will just mention that, according to Finkelstein, certain Jews are attempting to claim around half of all art objects in the US for themselves, as booty from the Second World War. He correctly points out that an attempt by Jews to claim restitution in poverty stricken Eastern Europe would result in massive anti-Semitic activity there.

In conclusion, I would like to comment on Finkelstein’s remarks concerning the credibility of eyewitness accounts to atrocities. He heaps massive ridicule upon those who profess to be "Holocaust" survivors since there are obviously far too many of them. He writes that around a million "Holocaust" survivors were still alive at the end of the 20th Century, according to various Jewish organizations (Refer also to my article in VffG 3/1998, pp 223f.)

On this subject he very effectively quotes his mother, who was interned by the Germans during World War II:

"If everyone who claims to be a survivor really is one, […] who did Hitler kill?"

He estimates that there can hardly be more than 24,000 survivors today. Let us make our own simple scientific estimate:

  1. If Jewish population statistics are correct, there are today around 13.5 million Jews in the world.

  2. Assuming a normal age distribution, around 15% of all Jews born before 1945 (55 years and older) are still alive.
  3. 15% of 13.5 million is around 2 million.
  4. It is generally assumed that not more than half of the 18 million Jews who were alive before World War II lived in areas which subsequently came under German control.
  5. Of the maximum number of 2 million Jews who today are 55 or over, one million claim that they were living in German controlled areas of Europe and survived – that is 50%.
  6. If we assume that Hitler really killed the majority of Jews who came under his influence, in particular children and others who were unable to work, then two million of these Jews cannot be alive today. At most there can be a little over one million, and these must be mostly Jews who did not come under German influence.

Possible Conclusions

The logical conclusions which can drawn from this are:

  1. In case the "Holocaust" actually took place: There would be around a million Jews alive today in the age group 55 or over, the majority of which would never have lived in the area of Hitler’s influence. However, if a million Jews over the age of 55 maintain that they are "Holocaust" survivors, then the vast majority are deliberately lying in order to achieve political and financial advantages. As a matter of fact, nearly all the Jews in the age group 55 or over must be lying, i.e., they all are "Hoaxers" as Finkelstein names one chapter of his book.
  2. If there really are a million Jews aged 55 and older, who survived in the areas occupied by Hitler, then we must conclude that nearly all Jews who came under Hitler’s influence survived the war. To paraphrase Mrs. Finkelstein: If all that is true, "who did Hitler kill?" If nearly all the Jews under Hitler’s control survived, then there obviously could have been no "Holocaust." In that case, the "Holocaust" is indeed a hoax. Everyone who claims that there was such a thing, and that he or she survived (half of all those over 55) would be lying for political or financial reasons. Hence, they all would have to be classified as "Hoaxers", as Finkelstein entitles one of his chapters.

Regardless of how one "spins" it: If the assertion is true that a million Jews claim to be survivors, then this would prove only that those Jews older than 55 are in their majority (or almost all of them) professional liars, that is to say, they lie in order to gain political and financial advantage. Hence, for the first time, the cliché of the Jew as a liar and cheater would thereby be proven scientifically.

Of course, there is another option: The assertion by leading Jewish lobby groups that almost one million Jews aged 55 and older claim to be "Holocaust survivors", is wrong. Than it would not be the Jews who lie, but only the Jewish Lobby Groups, i.e., the Holocaust Industry. The truth lies perhaps, as always, somewhere in between.

Finkelstein’s book can be condensed into a single short sentence anyhow:

"Jews lie and exaggerate about the Holocaust in order to gain political and financial advantage."

In Germany, an assertion such as this would fetch any non-Jew a hefty prison sentence. However, Mr. Finkelstein need have no fear. Jews are the new master race and are allowed to do whatever they please in dealing with non-Jews, particularly the German pariahs. Finkelstein however does not assert that the "Holocaust" is an invention. In his view, it has just been exaggerated and distorted by lies.

However, he has overlooked something which is very important: How does one distinguish between true and false passages in eyewitness statements? Like Hilberg, Finkelstein is correct when he states that eyewitness accounts are unreliable.

The question remains: How does one determine what part of an eyewitness account is reliable and what is unreliable? It is logically impossible to determine this on the basis of other eyewitness statements. The unreliability of one eyewitness can not be detected, much less corrected, by another eyewitness, since the unreliability of eyewitness testimony remains a constant. The value of eyewitness accounts can be determined only by evidence with superior evidentiary value, meaning documents and material evidence.

To his credit Finkelstein acknowledges that eyewitness accounts are extremely unreliable, particularly where the "Holocaust" is concerned. However, he does not acknowledge that the story of industrial extermination of the Jews depends entirely on eyewitness accounts. He does not draw the conclusion that one must give preference to documentary and material evidence in "Holocaust" research. Eyewitness accounts must be rigorously subjected to such evidence. Finkelstein did neither attempt to establish the extent of deceit, distortion and exaggeration connected with "Holocaust" research, nor would his methods be suited to do so.

The differences between Finkelstein’s evaluations of "Holocaust" accounts and those of the Revisionists can be considered as significant, or simply as differences of degree. The important point is that the Revisionists approach the problem scientifically and Finkelstein does not. Revisionists attempt to evaluate eyewitness accounts logically and factually, using material evidence and procedures of forensic research, whereas Finkelstein does not even recognize that there is a problem. He reacts to Revisionists with ridicule, polemics and threats. In 1998 he threatened me with legal measures in case I dared to translate his reply to Goldhagen’s attacks into German and post them on the internet. At that time, Finkelstein accused Goldhagen of using unscientific methods because he refused to debate him and because he threatened him with legal measures. Finkelstein has no moral justification for attacking Goldhagen. He behaves the same way toward his own critics.

Source: Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung 4(3&4) (2000), pp. 435-438.