Thursday, August 5, 2010

Holocaust-Denial: Why So Concerned?

Aren’t Holocaust-deniers just a small fringe group and harmless? Therefore, by answering their claims, you are validating them!?

Yes, that is a risk. But to let the arguments of deniers go unanswered presents a greater danger. Joseph Gobbles observed that, if you repeat a lie enough times, people will believe it.

The most prominent Holocaust deniers are very knowledgeable about the Holocaust (Shermer & Grobman, 2009). This means that anyone not versed in the specifics cannot properly question and answer their claims. For many people, the Holocaust is incomprehensible, unintelligible and untenable, and an explanation claiming that it did not happen may therefore be accepted with relief.

We can no longer ignore the deniers, calling them names and hoping they will go away. They are not going to go away. They are highly motivated, reasonably well financed, and often well versed in Holocaust studies. Like most fringe groups, denies may seem relatively small and harmless, but remember the adage: For evil to triumph it only requires that the good do nothing. We cannot remain silent anymore. It is time to respond (Shermer & Grobman, 2009, p. 17).

Holocaust historian Robert Jan van Pelt observed: "Academics who choose to ignore Holocaust deniers are like the crew of the Titanic straightening the deck chairs while the ship is going down" (van Pelt, 1996; Shermer & Grobman, 2009). I believe that the truth will prevail in the open marketplace of ideas.

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