In a comment on this post on my blog, a reader used the expression “the Holocaust never happened.” But what does this mean? Does anyone ever seriously say “The Holocaust never happened”?
Before the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe was built in Berlin, the billboard shown in the photo above was put up at the future site of the memorial. The message on this billboard was intended to be facetious, but some people took it literally, and the sign had to be taken down. (The English translation is “the Holocaust never happened.”)
The expression “the Holocaust never happened” is used by Holocaust believers, followed by “of course, it happened.” This is not an expression used by Holocaust revisionists.
There were a lot of lies told about World War I, including “The Big Lie.” Does anyone ever say that World War I never happened? (“The Big Lie” was the claim that Germany lost the war on the battlefield.)
After World War II, millions of ethnic Germans were expelled from Poland, Czechoslovakia and other countries and forced to go to Germany, which was a pile of rubble at that time. Thousands of the expellees lived at the former Dachau concentration camp for 17 years before they were thrown out so that the camp could be made into a Memorial site. This piece of history is very controversial, but does anyone ever say that it never happened?
The question is “How much of history are people required by law to believe in order to stay out of prison?” Do we have to believe every survivor story, no matter how ridiculous it is? Do we have to believe Elie Wiesel’s story, even though he has no tattoo from Auschwitz and no ID number from Buchenwald?