History: Who Needs It?
An Interview with Mark Weber
American Dissident Voices broadcast
October 5, 2002
Kevin Alfred Strom
Welcome to American Dissident Voices. I'm Kevin Alfred Strom.
History informs us of our place in the universe, of the challenges our
people have met in the past and the adversaries we face in the present.
Without such knowledge, the new generation is unaware of even its own
identity and is easy prey for those who would destroy us.
In that context, one of the most important men alive today is historian
Mark Weber of the Institute for Historical Review, and he is my guest
today on this program.
* * *
KAS: Welcome to American Dissident Voices, Mark Weber.
MW: Hello, Kevin.
KAS: What is the Institute for Historical Review, of which you are the
MW: The Institute for Historical Review is more than twenty years old,
and what we try to do is, as we say, to "bring history into accord with
the facts." That's quoting Harry Elmer Barnes, who is a kind of ideal,
or mentor, for the IHR. The IHR is most famous -- or, in some eyes,
infamous -- for what we've done with regard to the so-called "holocaust"
-- the Jewish "holocaust" during World War II.
Over the years, the IHR has published quite a lot in its Journal, and in
books, and at conferences to show that much of what the public has been
led to believe about the fate of Europe's Jews during World War II is
wrong or exaggerated or distorted. And that has just enraged groups like
the ADL [the Jewish "Anti-Defamation League" of B'nai Brith -- Ed.], and
the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and so forth.
But that's not all the IHR does. We try to deal with a number of other
issues as well.
KAS: You call yourselves revisionists? Is that correct?
MW: That's right.
KAS: The word sounds odd to many listeners, I'm sure. It sounds like
you're trying to revise history. Don't we already know what happened
in history? Why should it be revised?
MW: Right. It's a sorry thing that the word "revisionism" has taken on
the connotation it has. "Revisionism" just comes from the Latin "to look
again at things"; and all good history is revisionist in the sense that
always an effort is made -- and should be made -- to examine the past in
the light of new information, of new research, and new insights. And
that's what the IHR does.
But the main point of revisionism is that it's skeptical history. It's
unofficial history. What people call, oftentimes, "standard" history is
really just official history. And what revisionism tries to do -- and,
again, it is a term that many people, as you point out, have trouble
understanding -- revisionism means to take a skeptical new look at the
past based on what we know. But many people who are fearful of the term
"revisionism" don't realize the extent to which they themselves are
victims of a kind of "official" history, that history can actually
change in our encyclopedias and our standard books and so forth. And
people think that whatever the "official" version is, is the "correct"
one. Hardly anyone who's studied history can fail to be surprised at the
extent to which Americans are taught today a version of our own history,
as Americans, that's very different from the version of history that was
taught to our grandparents and great-grandparents fifty, sixty, or
seventy years ago, for example.
KAS: So you're saying that, over time, the "official" version changes.
And does it also change geographically, depending on where you are, what
the "official" version actually is?
MW: Of course, yes. Just about everyone would be in favor, for example,
of the kind of revisionism that took place in Eastern Europe and the
Soviet Union after the fall of Communism. The official history presented
the Communist past in a way, of course, that was in keeping with the
Communist regime, and after the fall of the Communist regimes in Eastern
Europe and the Soviet Union there was an enormous process of revisionism
-- that is, of re-examining history on the basis of information that had
been suppressed for many years. By the same token, in American history
for example, during World War II the Soviet Union was an ally of the
United States. And so the Soviet leader Stalin and the Soviet Union were
presented in a positive way, in keeping with the wartime alliance. After
the Cold War began and during the 1950s, the portrayal of the Soviet
Union and Stalin was a very different one. There are many, many examples
of that. And revisionism is simply part and parcel of the natural and
important process of constantly re-examining our past based on new
insights and information.
KAS: If you're questioning the "official" version, doesn't that put you
at odds with certain very powerful interests? Have these interests tried
to retaliate in any way against you?
MW: The most obvious is that by calling into question this almost-icon,
this mantra about the "holocaust," this endless emphasis about the
suffering or fate of Europe's Jews during World War II, the IHR has
enraged the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Anti-Defamation League, the
World Jewish Congress, and other powerful Jewish organizations -- and
the state of Israel -- and their helpers. But the IHR really doesn't
care very much what they think. We just assume that's the attitude
they'll take. At the same time, we try to do our work in a way that is
responsible and sober. The IHR has succeeded, for example, in getting
what's called 501c3 status with the federal government; that is, it's
recognized by the federal government as a legitimate public-interest
educational enterprise, and people can donate money to the IHR and
deduct the amount for income tax purposes. Now, when the IHR got that
status, Tom Lantos, a very prominent Jewish Zionist member of Congress,
screamed and yelled about it. The ADL issued a news release denouncing
it. And, on the basis of that, they sent another IRS agent out here to
go through our books, but they were unable to find any pretext to deny
But the most dramatic opposition to our work has come from Jewish
terrorists. In the late 70s and early 80s, there was a whole series of
drive-by shootings, bomb attacks, harassment, and violence against
employees that culminated on July 4th, 1984 in an arson attack on the
IHR offices that destroyed the IHR office and warehouse and resulted in
immense damage. But since that time, it's been relatively peaceful. It's
been rather peaceful.
KAS: That did not stop you, did it?
MW: No, it didn't. And it was very gratifying to see the tremendous
rallying that took place by people in the aftermath of that 1984 arson
KAS: We've gotten a sketch of what you do, and the fact that you have
some powerful enemies who don't want the facts of history to be looked
into. Who are you? Who are the leading personalities of the Institute?
MW: I'm the director; I've been employed full time since 1991. The IHR
Journal has an Editorial Advisory Board that is made up of scholars from
many different countries who are distinguished in one way or the other.
But probably most high-profile has been the support which the IHR has
received at its conferences. Two years ago, one of the speakers was
former Congressman Pete McCloskey, who was noted, during the time he was
in Congress, as quite a liberal. He was the first Republican Congressman
to call for the impeachment, years ago, of Richard Nixon. But we've had
other prominent supporters who have been, as it were, conservative. At
the recent IHR conference we held in June, Joe Sobran was the banquet
speaker, and he's noted for his conservative views. For years, he was a
senior editor at National Review. Also Professor Tony Martin of
Wellesley College in Massachusetts, who was actually born in the West
Indies -- and he's Black, spoke at the same conference. So the IHR has
support from people who are recognized, sometimes prominent: writers,
scholars, and thinkers of different political backgrounds. And one of
the points of the IHR is to get support for the work that we do,
regardless of people's political, racial, and other background.
KAS: What are your qualifications for the work that you're doing, for
directing an institute such as the IHR?
MW: Well [amused], I don't know about my qualifications… I was born and
raised in Portland, Oregon; I went to school at Portland State
University; I have a Bachelor's degree from Portland State, but I
studied at the University of Munich in Germany; I studied at the
University of Illinois in Chicago; and I went to graduate school at
Indiana University in Bloomington where I got a Master's degree. That's
sort of my qualifications, but in one sense the qualifications are not
one's degrees. It's one's commitment to what I regard as this enormous
struggle for truth in history, because much of what we are told in our
society is a version of history that is not only wrong and skewed and
distorted, but dangerously so.
KAS: What do you mean? Why is it dangerous, and who's doing the skewing?
MW: The most obvious expression of this, and one that the IHR and I have
spoken about and we've written about quite a lot -- especially in the
last several years -- is Jewish, Zionist power. In the United States,
Jews wield immense, tremendous power and influence, way out of
proportion to the tiny percentage of the population that they make up.
And this affects not only our policy, especially in the Middle East, but
how we look at history. And this is manifest, perhaps most obviously, in
the enormous way that the so-called "holocaust" is presented and
emphasized in our schoolbooks, in our schools, in our television, in our
motion pictures, and so forth. And this presents just a very skewed
version of history in which Jews are presented as innocent victims,
people who deserve and should be given great support and help, and that
the "lesson," so-called, of the "holocaust" is never do anything that
Jewish groups object to.
KAS: I've often noted that Americans in general, and American students
in particular, can always give you the "six million" figure for Jewish
losses in World War II. But if you ask them how many Russians died, or
how many Americans died, or how many British people died, they just give
you a blank stare.
MW: Yes, it's a point I've made many times: the "six million" figure is
repeated incessantly. It's an inaccurate and it's a mythical figure. But
it's repeated constantly. Americans have no corresponding understanding,
or almost no Americans have any corresponding knowledge of the suffering
of other people. It's all part and parcel of what I call a kind of
"victimization hierarchy" in America, in which Jews are sort of number
one, and then other groups, depending on their status in society, are
further down the list. It's a dangerous and skewed version of history
that clouds everything that we do.
KAS: So you would definitely state that Jewish groups have distorted
and/or exaggerated their losses during World War II?
MW: No question. At the conference, for example, two years ago, former
Congressman McCloskey went into great detail about how the
Anti-Defamation League in particular does everything that it can to
suppress, silence, and shut up anyone who speaks about history in a way
that Jewish groups regard as contrary to their interests, particularly
on the Middle East. It's more and more obvious, I think, to people
around the world just how skewed America's policy -- but not only
policy, but its perception of the world -- is because of Jewish Zionist
influence in our mass media, in our educational system, and in our
KAS: Are there any falsehoods about the "holocaust" which stand out as
particularly absurd or particularly worthy of correction for our
MW: Well, it's almost like shooting fish in a barrel. One story that is
still told sometimes is this fable that the Germans made bars of soap
from the corpses of murdered Jews during World War II. And this story
has been given tremendous life over the years. It's appeared in
textbooks; it's appeared in important speeches. It's given great
prominence. It's utterly untrue. It's very lurid, it's ghastly -- but
completely untrue. And it's admitted to be untrue now, even by Jewish
groups -- if you press them on the matter. But the fact that it took on
this tremendous life for so long is just typical of the way in which the
most defamatory, horrible stories can be told about Germans or about any
other non-Jewish group that's in disfavor at the moment -- without
correction, without fear of contradiction.
In the years right after World War II, and at the Nuremburg Trials,
it was claimed that people were killed in gas chambers in camps all over
Europe, including Buchenwald, Dachau, Auschwitz, and so forth. Many of
these claims have just been quietly abandoned over the years: No one
seriously claims anymore that anyone was gassed at Dachau or Buchenwald
or at camps in Germany proper. One of the interesting aspects of this is
that the so-called "eyewitnesses" and testimony and evidence for these
claims is therefore obviously not true.
KAS: And yet people were punished for those alleged crimes.
MW: Right. People were punished for those alleged crimes. This is just
part and parcel of this distortion; there are numerous examples. For
years, at Auschwitz, it was officially claimed that four million people
were killed there, and that was supposedly proven at the Nuremberg
Trials in 1945-1946. In recent years, the numbers have been drastically
reduced. They're still dropping down. Oftentimes the response to that is
to say "So what if it's one million or four million or 100,000 or even
two?" There's an argument to be made for that, but the essential point
isn't over quibbling about numbers or anything like that, although
that's what historians are supposed to do. The essential point really, I
think, is the way in which there's this tremendous political capital
made out of one chapter of history, designed to gain sympathy and
support. And the result has been a massive shakedown, kind of a
blackmail that's resulted in billions of dollars extracted from
Switzerland, from Germany, from European corporations, and from American
KAS: It's a kind of moral blackmail, I think.
MW: And some Jewish writers have even used those very terms. One of the
striking things -- and Americans, I think need to understand this -- is
that the views of history that we are very used to, and comfortable
with, are not universal. The view of Middle East history that comes from
the movie Exodus or the insights on European history that come from the
movie The Sound of Music are gross distortions. They're just perversions
of the truth. They may be very comfortable for many Americans to
believe, but they're not only perversions of the truth: Around the
world, there's an increasing awareness that how America looks at the
world and the Middle East is just out of line. Unfortunately, many
Americans still haven't "gotten it." Fortunately, millions more
Americans, I think, are "getting it." It's obvious, I think, to anyone
who has spent much time living overseas, that how the Middle East
situation is presented in the daily press is very different than it is
here in the American press.
KAS: In a moment, I'd like to talk about the linkage between Holocaust
Revisionism and the present situation in the Middle East, but first I'd
just like to say that when you talk about "the 'holocaust'" it seems to
me that the objection that should be raised is not so much to the word
"holocaust" but to the word "the" -- the article that precedes it. As if
it's the only suffering of any national group in history!
MW: Yes, that's right. You know, the word 'holocaust' when used to apply
collectively to what happened to Europe's Jews in World War II, didn't
come into popular usage until the 1970s. Normally, with the passage of
time, particularly horrible or gruesome or dark chapters of history tend
to recede into the past and recede in importance. But just the opposite
has happened with regard to what's called "the holocaust." You're right,
even the very use of this term in this way is to give a kind of label to
what was really a lot of individual things that happened rather than
some overarching phenomenon.
KAS: It seems to me that the suffering of the Germans after World War II
certainly exceeded in scope anything that happened to the Jews. And also
what happened to the Ukrainians in the pre-war period was horrific.
MW: I think the evidence is clear that more Germans than Jews were
killed during World War II. One of the things that was an important
beginning experience in my life was, when I was living in Europe, to
learn for the first time about the tremendous suffering, killings, and
expulsions that took place -- the victimization of Germans and other
Eastern Europeans in what is now Poland, in Czechoslovakia, and so forth
in 1945 to 1948. We hear almost nothing about that in America. And
again, that's just part of the tremendous distortion, perversion, and
skewing of history that we see.
KAS: Isn't it true that in some parts of the world -- many parts of the
world, perhaps -- it's actually a crime now to question the Jewish view
of events during World War II?
MW: This is a point that the IHR has publicized a lot. In some countries
-- Germany, France, Holland -- it's a crime to, as they say, "deny the
holocaust." The amazing thing is that it's only one chapter of history:
For the sake of argument, suppose for a moment that the so-called
"holocaust deniers," the revisionists, are wrong. Justice is not justice
unless it's applied equally. To criminalize dissident views about just
one chapter of history, and not others, is a form of injustice. People
today in Europe have been, and are, fined, exiled, imprisoned, for
expressing skepticism or dissident views on this chapter of history.
It's an outrage. The very fact that it's hardly known in America is in
itself an expression of the tremendous power that put those laws into
effect in the first place.
KAS: It's a strange kind of "truth" that has to be protected by laws and
guns and prisons.
MW: Indeed, yes.
KAS: There is something going on in Australia now. The Adelaide
Institute Web site is being forced off…
MW: Just the other day, the Federal Court in Australia ordered Frederick
Töben, who runs something called the Adelaide Institute -- it's a
Holocaust Revisionist Web site -- to shut down the site and to eliminate
everything on his site and on any other site that questions whether
people were killed in gas chambers at Auschwitz, that questions whether
the "holocaust" occurred -- I think I'm quoting from the language of the
court ruling. It's outrageous. This was considered a violation of the
so-called "Racial Discrimination Act" in Australia. Töben tried to argue
that the Act shouldn't apply because Jews constitute a religious group.
But the Jewish organizations insisted that Jews should be regarded as a
racial group. That alone is rather interesting because, when it is to
the advantage of Jewish groups, they will insist just the opposite.
And the law in Australia is similar to the laws in other countries: It
merely requires that one or two Jews claim to feel offended, and the law
goes into effect. Well, a lot of things on the Internet are offensive to
a lot of people. The fact that it's applied in this way, and that Jewish
groups take advantage of it in this way, and that the courts uphold
their protests, is again an expression of the kind of special treatment,
the privileged treatment, that Jewish groups receive in Australia and
everywhere in the Western world.
* * *
On our next program, we will continue our conversation with Mr. Weber
with a discussion of the impact of Jewish power -- and Jewish history
distortion -- on American Middle Eastern policy and on the looming war
in that region. Be sure to be listening one week from today.
If you'd like more information on the Institute for Historical Review,
you may write to IHR, PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659, or visit the
Institute's Web site at www.ihr.org.
Until next week, this is Kevin Alfred Strom reminding you to keep on