The news that Iran is to go ahead with a conference that will supposedly investigate whether the Holocaust actually happened (Britons to attend Iran's Holocaust conference, December 6) is deeply shocking. Thirty years ago when I was working on the Holocaust episode of the ITV series The World At War, my colleagues and I deliberately decided not to stop when we had gathered the first-hand witness evidence we needed for making the programme, but to gather more and put it together to be kept for posterity for use against the day when people or states claiming intellectual respectability might try to claim that the Holocaust did not happen. Sadly, it seems that day may now have arrived. We did not only collect the evidence of those who were victims in Hitler's Final Solution, but from people who held senior positions in its planning, administration and execution. All this material is stored in the Imperial War Museum, is available and will, I hope, now be used to show that those who would now deny the Holocaust happened are wrong.And irrelevant too.
No one denies that the Jews were not the only victims of the Holocaust or that hundreds of thousands of Gypsies, slavs, homosexuals and others who the Nazis deemed unworthy also perished. To quibble about the precise number of Jews who died is idle and often, as we have seen in the past, the opening gambit of those who would seek to go on to deny that the Holocaust happened at all. No one knows the precise number who died. Whether it was exactly six million, somewhat more, or rather less is irrelevant to the moral enormity of what happened. One of our witnesses recalls that at the end of the war, when Himmler was told that six million Jews had been killed, his only comment was "Is that all?".
To accept the truth of the Holocaust is not to deny the appalling injustice of what has been done to the Palestinians, nor to support the policies of modern Israel, right or wrong. But to deny or minimise the truth of the Holocaust as a means of attacking or undermining Israel is both immoral and dishonest.
December 07, 2006
The holocaust and Israel's criminality
Here's a letter from today's Guardian condemning holocaust denial but going to say that to condemn holocaust denial does not mean accepting Israel's crimes: