Kevin Myers Holocaust denial article

As the Belfast Telegraph has now withdrawn Kevin Myers’ 2009 article in which he claimed to be a Holocaust denier, I have preserved it for posterity below so others can read, and perhaps judge whether he is actually denying the Holocaust.

For the record, it is clear to me he isn’t a Holocaust denier, but the points he makes are so banal and without merit that they just seem to add fuel to the fire, that came to a head this weekend.

He *appears* to be nitpicking over the convenience of the number 6,000,000. The number 6,000,000 is a round number. According to Myers, if we were to somehow know the exact number of Jewish Holocaust deaths, that number would almost certainly not be exactly 6,000,000… ergo, the Holocaust did not happen. Draw your own conclusions.

In his article, Myers is leaping to the defense of Bishop Richard Williamson, who made Holocaust denial statements and then sought to defend them in full view of a video camera to give his antisemitism and stupidity an air of immortality. Clip below. There can be no doubt that someone who believes there were no gas chambers and that only 200,000 Jews died in concentration camps is a Holocaust denier.

Why Myers is so keen to defend Williamson on these points is a question for his own conscience – though he defends him in abstract, ignoring Williamson’s preposterous “historical” statements and embracing only the gist that 6,000,000 is a big round number.

Asking these types of searching historical questions does not make someone an antisemite, but often is the case that someone who wishes to deny the Holocaust happened, or chip away with banal insignificant points, or defend Nazism, or desecrate the memory of Jewish deaths, or minimalise the enormity and singularity of the Holocaust, or belittle Jewish suffering; that these types of people are motivated by antisemitism.

For Myers to be making such a boring and inconsequential point that the number was not exactly 6,000,000 can make one wonder what stokes his fire. But there isn’t enough in this 2009 article to say he is either antisemitic or a Holocaust denier, despite his admission.

My verdict: It is a clumsy article. Myers is seeking to defend Williamson’s right to spout counter-factual, offensive and hateful nonsense under the banner of free speech (Holocaust denial is illegal within many EU countries).

In mounting this defense of Williamson’s right to free speech, Myers misses his target and inadvertently mounts a defense of Holocaust denial, an issue in which he clearly does not believe.

His original article is republished below.

[NOTE: The above article was amended after reflection and further investigation]

I’m a holocaust denier, but I also believe the Nazis planned the extermination of the Jewish people

Let me say from the outset; I’m with Bishop Richard Williamson on this. There was no holocaust, (or Holocaust, as my computer software insists) and six million Jews were not murdered by the Third Reich. These two statements of mine are irrefutable truths, yet their utterance could get me thrown in the slammer in half the countries of the EU.

Why, they could in the right circumstances even get me extradited for trial in Sweden, a country which heroically kept the Third Reich supplied with iron ore, even as the last victims of the Nazi genocide were being murdered.

What? I admit that there was murder and genocide (or Genocide, as my spell-check wants me to call it) but almost in the same breath, insist that there was no holocaust? How is this possible? Well, if you turn historical events into current political dogmas, (believed even by my computer) you are thereby creating a sort of secular, godless religion, which becomes mandatory for all who wish to participate in public life.

Yet dogmas, by definition, are so simplistic and crude that they are usually not merely wrong, but are also probably so. It is an offence in German law to say that six million Jews did not die in the holocaust. Very well then. I am a criminal in Germany. For efficient though the Nazis were, they were not so clinically precise as to kill six million Jews — not a Jew more, or not a Jew less.

As it happens, the figure ‘six million’ was originally a round-estimate of the total numbers of concentration camp victims of the Third Reich: this was then turned by popular perception, aided by activists such as the Simon Weisenthal Centre, into the Jewish death toll. However, there is not even a scientific or documentary basis for this number. Its enduring appeal — the digit six, with the six zeros which follow it — depends upon a fairly basic human predilection for numerological magic.

It is, very likely, a subconsciously appealing version of the diabolical, 666. Moreover, there certainly was no holocaust. For if the word is to have any literal validity at all, it must be related to its actual meaning, which comes from the Greek words holos, ‘whole’, and caust, ‘fire’. Most Jewish victims of the Third Reich were not burnt in the ovens in Auschwitz. They were shot by the hundreds of thousands in the Lebensraum of the east, or were worked or starved to death in a hundred other camps, across the Reich. This programme was begun informally by Nazi armies in 1941, and only took organised form after the Wannsee conference in January 1942.

Thus was born one of the most satanic operations in world history, in which millions of Jews were murdered. To be sure, you can use the term holocaust to describe these events, but only as a metaphor. However, to turn that metaphor into a political dogma, a denial of which can result in imprisonment, is to create a religio-penal code of which Torquemada would have approved.

Now, I’ve done an extensive internet search on Bishop Williamson, and I truly have no idea what he actually said about the Third Reich; though he is everywhere called a ‘holocaust denier’, as if this term has some universal meaning. It hasn’t. I’m a holocaust denier; but I also believe that the Nazis planned the extermination of the Jewish people, as far as their evil hands could reach. And because the Nazis lost, the free-speech party won. So, this means that the bishop can believe, and even publicly state, if he wants, that Auschwitz was an ice-cream parlour and the SS was a dance troupe.

That is the nature of free speech. Any one of us should be able to declare any old counter-factual and even offensive nonsense, without being sent to jail, provided we preach hatred for no one. It’s a free and equal world. Or is it? Across Europe, there are countless Islamic madrasahs, in which imams regularly preach hatred for Jews, and where the holocaust is routinely denied.

Which member-state of the EU will pursue such conveyors of hate, or seek the extradition of an imam who says that the holocaust was a Zionist hoax? None of them. We know this. For the EU has tolerated the creation of an informal historiographical apartheid. So, on the one hand, a single, eccentric (and possibly deranged) Christian bishop may be hounded for his demented historical beliefs: but on the other, there is a deafening silence over the widespread and virulent distortion of the ‘holocaust’ by Islamic preachers.

If Bishop Williamson has an agenda, it is so bonkers as to rank alongside that of The Lunar Cheese Society. Yet he, and other Christian cranks like him, could even be imprisoned for their stated beliefs, as other ‘men of God’, working to an infinitely more sinister and far more politically inspired agenda, are simultaneously ignored. This disparity is now effectively an EU policy.

You can reasonably call such double-standards many things, but the words ‘rational’, ‘wise’ or ‘consistent’ are not among them. ‘Suicidal’ and ‘insane’, however, certainly are.

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4 thoughts on “Kevin Myers Holocaust denial article

  1. mark taha

    Holocaust Deniers are a bunch of Nazis, anti-Semites, cranks and dupes. That is no reason to criminalise them. There is such a thing as free speech-and are they any worse who seek to deny or even defend Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot,among others?

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  2. Pingback: Kevin Myers’ eager critics should feel ashamed of themselves | Coffee House

  3. I think you are misunderstanding his argument, perhaps because he has presented it slightly ambiguously:

    His ‘nitpicking’ on the semantics of the word ‘holocaust’ and the 6,000,000 figure is to point out the absurdity of using these words imprecisely in law, that this makes the law an ass. That not only should free speech be universal (except, he concedes, hate speech) but that the basis for the laws themselves are flawed (to be honest, I’m not sure if this is true or not, I don’t know the precise wording of the law). If the law says you can not deny “the holocaust” or that “6,000,000” were killed when the literal definition of holocaust isn’t met nor the precise figure of 6,000,000 then the law is not reflecting fact but prescribing it – which it shouldn’t do. How can you have a law which is broken by the truth? How can you have discussion of a topic where the outcome is defined by the law?

    A historian could, by some incredible amount of work, come up with a precise figure of 5.956.332 killed – they would be in breach of the law to say so. Saying “Well technically it wasn’t a holocaust, rather a genocide” would be a breach too, therefore an account of precisely what happened could be illegal.

    Where his argument fails I think he touches on himself: perhaps the distinction between holocaust (lower case h, technical fire-based definition) and Holocaust (capital H, the genocide of the Jews in WW2) is understood, perhaps it is defined in law for all I know.

    I concede that I don’t know the precise wording of Holocaust-denial laws, and perhaps the problems involved with literalism are dealt with practically by prosecutors and judges, but these don’t seem unreasonable points to me.

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    1. Clare Quilty

      I agree insofar as that was the article Kevin Myers meant to write. Unfortunately my editorial relates to the article he did write

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