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History: Who Needs It? Part 1,
An Interview with Mark Weber

American Dissident Voices broadcast
October 5, 2002
by
by 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.

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KAS: Welcome to American Dissident Voices, Mark Weber.
 
MW: Hello, Kevin.
 
KAS: What is the Institute for Historical Review, of which you are the director?
 
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 us that.
 
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 attack.
 
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 political system.
 
KAS: Are there any falsehoods about the "holocaust" which stand out as particularly absurd or particularly worthy of correction for our audience today?
 
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 taxpayers.
 
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.

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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 thinking free.



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