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Bishop defends right to question Holocaust
Sun, 08 Feb 2009 09:05:38 GMT

British Bishop Richard Williamson says there is no historical evidence that proves the existence of Nazi gas chambers in which Jews were killed.

British Bishop Richard Williamson says his research compels him to avoid resorting to "emotions" on his questions regarding the Holocaust.

Williamson -- who raised hackles in the Jewish community after claiming that Nazis did not use gas chambers to murder Jews -- said Sunday that he would delve deeper into historical evidences surrounding the Nazi Jewish Holocaust in World War II.

"Since I see that there are many honest and intelligent people who think differently, I must look again at the historical evidence," Der Spiegel quoted him as saying in a Saturday email.

"It is about historical evidence, not about emotions. And if I find this evidence, I will correct myself. But that will take time," added the senior member of the Saint Pius X circle.

Williamson asserted that he is convinced of the accuracy of his previous comments, saying his arguments are squarely based on comprehensive studies he conducted in the 1980s.

In an interview with Swedish television in January, Williamson denied the existence of Nazi gas chambers, claiming that only 300,000 Jews perished in the Nazi concentration camps -- rather than the 6 million figure that is widely propagated.

His January remarks sparked an outcry in the Jewish community, prompting Pope Benedict XVI to urge the bishop to rectify his controversial views.

The Williamson response was to promise not to recant his statements until he fully "examines the evidence" of the Nazi Holocaust.

The Vatican's relations with the Jewish community turned bitter ever since the Pope's decision to lift the excommunications of four leaders of the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), of which Williamson is a leading member.

Israel's Minister of Religious Affairs threatened last week to suspend relations with the Vatican, saying it fosters "Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites".

Father Floriano Abrahamowicz -- a fellow member in the SSPX -- has added to the controversy and has sparked a recent media frenzy by claiming that Nazi 'gas chambers' in the Auschwitz camp in Poland existed only to "disinfect" and not to kill.

Press TV Sunday Feb 8, 2009