Thursday, September 27, 2007

Germar Rudolf on Nazi Crimes

In his Introduction to Dissecting the Holocaust, Germar Rudolf claims that "It must be said here and now that none of the authors contributing to the present work considers himself ideologically anywhere in the vicinity of National Socialism." The evidence presented below suggests that Rudolf’s statement is insincere. His published work, which is easily accessible on-line, is a systematic attempt to whitewash the Nazi regime using a range of techniques that alternate between denial, obfuscation, minimization and false moral equivalence. It is inconceivable that such a project could have been undertaken by someone who did not have some sympathy for that regime.

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The repertoire of rhetorical devices and language games used by Rudolf is not limited to Holocaust denial; it also taps into a wider literature of justification for Nazi domestic and foreign policy. For example, Rudolf leans heavily on the work of Ernst Nolte, which argues that Nazi genocidal policy was an überschießende Reaktion (overshooting reaction) to the rise of Soviet Bolshevism. Thomas Sheehan has accurately summarized Nolte’s position:
Mr. Nolte does in fact intimate that "the so-called annihilation of the Jews" (as he termed the Holocaust) could be justified in Hitler's eyes as a "preventative war." For one thing, Nolte claims that "the slide from 'Communists threaten us' to 'Jews threaten us' that occurred in Hitler's mind and some of his entourage is not entirely irrational." For another, he thinks Chaim Weizmann's 1939 declaration that Palestinian Jews would support Britain gave Hitler "good reasons to be convinced of the determination of his enemies [world Jewry as well as the Bolsheviks] to annihilate him".
Rudolf endorses Nolte’s claim that Nazi antisemitism arose from “the Jews' intimate entanglement in Communism”. He then quotes a passage in which Nolte cites (out of context) a remark by Jerry Z. Muller that "The Trotskies make the revolutions [i.e., the GULag] and the Bronsteins pay the bills [in the Holocaust]." He concludes that:
Thus it seems understandable that National Socialism, and the eastern peoples fighting alongside for their freedom, equated the Jews in general with the Bolshevist terror and the activities of the commissars-though such an identification, being sweeping and collective, was unjust. Nevertheless, it is therefore more than plausible that it was Jews, first and foremost, who were made to pay for the partisan warfare and other war crimes of the Soviets. Anyone who (rightly) criticizes this, however, should also not omit to consider where the blame for this kind of escalation of the war in the East was to be found. And clearly it was to be found with Stalin who, as an aside, had treated the Jews in his sphere of influence at least as mercilessly ever since the war had begun, as Hitler had.
Rudolf also cites Nolte in this nauseating attempt to create a moral equivalence between T4 and abortion:
Like Nolte,[90] however, I cannot help but remark in amazement that people today are morally outraged by the killing of 100,000 generally severely disabled persons for perhaps dubious reasons of 'genetic public welfare' during the 12 years of National Socialist dictatorship, whereas those same people are not shocked in the slightest by the willful murder of unborn, but healthy persons numbering some four million in the last 12 years in Germany alone - murders motivated solely by materialistic and egoistical considerations. Clearly the moral categories by which we judge today are completely different than those of 55 years ago. I doubt that they are better
This false moral equivalence is built on a lie. Contrary to Rudolf’s false claim, the T4 program did not only kill children who were “generally severely disabled.” Moreover, Rudolf cannot even bring himself to condemn the killings outright: he merely states that they were “perhaps dubious.”

It is therefore obvious that Rudolf is seeking to minimize the moral repugnance of T4. Furthermore, it is probable that Rudolf only admits that T4 took place at all because there is a written Hitler order that he cannot paint as a forgery. This is apparent from the fact that he is willing to lie about the documentation supporting other Nazi atrocities. For example, Rudolf claims that:
…it has been irrefutably proven by now that the alleged massacre of Babi Yar is an atrocity lie of no substance,[57] this admittedly throws the authenticity or at least the reliability of the entire IMT document series "USSR Event Reports" and all other documents into doubt, and hence the entire Special Units mass murder per se. [...] Even today, when the mass graves of hundreds of thousands of Stalin’s victims are being discovered, often by accident and 50 or even 60 years after the fact, there are still no traces of any German mass graves or burning sites, and in fact any public speculation whether modern methods might not help to locate some is studiously avoided - after all, any such sites have vanished without a trace, thanks to the wondrous methods only the Germans knew about
When Rudolf does admit to mass killing by the Nazis, he resorts to two fraudulent defenses. Firstly, as stated above, he uses Nolte’s fatuous argument that the killings were acts of preventive warfare against Bolshevism. Secondly, Rudolf presents a false picture of partisan warfare, and lies about the legality of Nazi anti-partisan actions. Whilst it is true that international law in the 1939-1945 period did not outlaw reprisals against partisans, it placed clear limitations on those reprisals. Rudolf knows these limitations but deliberately chooses not to cite them. He therefore gives the misleading impression that the Nazis acted within the laws rather than flouting them. In particular, Rudolf lies about the principle of proportionality in this discussion:
…we can sum up by saying that there was no set common law with respect to proportionality, much less with regard to a ratio of 1:1. And thus we must agree with Laternser,[111] that in the Italian case of the Fosse Ardeatine on March 24, 1944, given the particular circumstances in Rome (only 20 km behind the Nettuno front), the execution of 330 Italians ordered in reprisal for the death of 33 German policemen[112] did not exceed the degree warranted by military necessity.
In reality, The British Manual of Military Law, an authority which Rudolf himself cites in his own link, had made it clear that proportionality did apply at the time. Para. 459 states:
Acts done by way of reprisals must not, however, be excessive, and must not exceed the degree of violation committed by the enemy.
Moreover, Rudolf’s discussion of the Kommissar Order shows that his discussion of international law was a deliberate obfuscation. He recognizes that the Kommissar Order was “judicially untenable” but still asserts that it was “morally appropriate.” He also claims that the Order was not really put into effect and was eventually revoked:
Seidler[11] recently published a balanced up-to-date study about the Wehrmacht's struggle in the partisan warfare, showing not only the disastrous and probably decisive effects of the partisan's attacks against German units and especially their supplies, but he proves also that most of the German reactions were totally covered by international law-although not always most far-sighted. Furthermore, he shows that those orders from higher up which broke international laws (e.g., the infamous "Kommissar order", which might be considered morally appropriate, but politically stupid and judicially untenable) were in most cases sabotaged by the front units, and that these orders, after long-lasting and massive protest, were eventually revoked
In conclusion, therefore, there is no Nazi atrocity that Rudolf condemns unequivocally. Reprisals against civilians, T4 euthanasia killings and the murders of Soviet Communist Party members are all defended in Rudolf’s writing. His denial of being a Nazi sympathizer can therefore be dismissed as a transparent attempt to conceal the pro-Nazi content of his own writing from the authorities.

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