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Copyright (c) 1997 - Ingrid A. Rimland

November 26, 1997

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

I am still struggling with e-mail problems which seem to be of a technical nature in that our server has installed a special screening program against spamming, which seems to read my ZGrams as spams.

Yesterday I thought I had it fixed, but this morning I found a whole bushel of bounced ZGrams again. I am working on it with my server, and I ask you NOT to send letters to irimland@cts.com until this problem is fixed.

I haven't received any mail from that address for a week, and I shudder to think what is waiting for me. My guess is that thousands of letters are waiting.

Meanwhile, send your replies and comments to ezundel@cts.com since that address seems to be less vulnerable. (Don't ask me why - that's how it seems to work...)

Now to today's ZGram. The following was sent to me from a loyal ZGram reader:
"I enclose a reading from a German history list to which I subscribe.

Basically, the situation is this: a woman, Ruth Bettina Birn, has harshly criticized D J Goldhagen and his book "Hitler's Willing Executioners". As a result, it appears that Goldhagen will sue.

All of us are of course familiar with the idea that the treatment of revisionist themes by themselves can lead to suppression and legal action.

It would now appear the that there is movement afoot to suppress and use legal action even against criticism of allowable interpretations.

For myself, I am not surprised."

This letter included the following information, which may be a bit convoluted but which I want to freeze for posterity in this ZGram as an additional development in the ever-broadening intellectual war for Truth in History:
"Two days ago, H-German carried news of an article in the _Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung_, concerning possible legal action involving Ruth Bettina Birn's review of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's _Hitler's Willing Executioners_. As a follow-up, we are including information below about an interview Birn gave to _Der Spiegel_, which appears in its 10 November 1997 issue.

We would like to stress that we have no independent knowledge of the actions discussed in the interview and are only providing information about the contents of the _Spiegel_ article.

We feel that H-German's subscribers may wish to consider, and even discuss on our network, the implications for the scholarly community of the events described.

In particular, will the mere threat of lawsuits become a more common means of responding to heavy criticism? Will the "chilling effect" so often cited whenever speech is somehow to be limited become a reality in scholarly exchanges?

Even as I am typing these words, a cold wind is blowing, and I find myself questioning every possible malign misinterpretation of every word I have written. We're not sure the scholarly world can proceed under these circumstances, and we would be interested in your opinions.

We do remind you that the content of Goldhagen's book was discussed thoroughly over a year ago and is not really the issue now. The record of that discussion can be found on our Web site at www.h-net.msu.edu/~german

Goldhagen's responses to Birn's review can be found in "The Fictions of Ruth Bettina Birn," _German Politics and Society_ 15, 3 (Fall 1997):119-65. Birn's review of Goldhagen is to be found in the _Historical Journal_ 40, 1 (1997):195-215.

The following is a summary of remarks found in the 10 November 1997 issue of _Der Spiegel_ (a two-page article beginning on p. 266).

The interview does not appear to be available via the magazine's Web site at www.spiegel.de. Once again, we remind you that this is only information that has appeared already in the _Spiegel_, and we are not asserting that we have direct and independent knowledge of any of the events described.

1. The _Spiegel_ interview introduces Birn, 45, as a recognized expert on the Holocaust who works in Ottawa at the Canadian authority responsible for prosecuting war crimes.

2. When asked if she knows Goldhagen personally, Birn replies that she has indeed known him for 11 years. She states that she apparently was the first to make him aware of the existence of archives at the Zentrale Stelle der Landesjustizverwaltungen in Ludwigsburg. She asserts that she had since then had friendly contact with Goldhagen.

3. The interviewer for the _Spiegel_ states that Birn's review of Goldhagen's book had originally been commissioned for the journal "Holocaust and Genocide Studies," but that possible claims for civil damages prevented publication there. The _Spiegel_ interviewer also asserts that Birn's employer has informed her that someone has contacted the employer to try to prevent reprinting of her review.

4. The second half of the interview is largely speculative on the motivations for the strong response that Birn alleges has occurred. Included in this section is the news that, next March, Birn's and Norman Finkelstein's reviews are scheduled to be reprinted together, and Birn asserts that their publisher has indicated that pressure has been exerted to prevent the joint publication. (Finkelstein's review appeared in the _New Left Review_ 224 [July 1997]:39-88)

5. When asked directly if she will take back her criticism as Goldhagen's lawyer has allegedly demanded, Birn states as follows (in German):
"Man kann nicht die Wahrheit zuruecknehmen -- daran wird auch Druck auf meinen Arbeitgeber nichts aendern....Und wenn die politische und juristische Einflussnahme, die es hier gegeben hat, Schule macht, dann waere jede wissenschaftliche Kritik in Gefahr."

For your information, I translate this paragraph, which I call a courageous statement on the part of Bettina Birn:
"One cannot renounce the truth - no pressure exerted on my employer will change that. If the political and judicial influence exerted here is allowed to become the norm, then every scientific criticism is in danger."

Birn and Finkelstein would seem to be Jews, if we go by their names. The gist of this development is, of course, that two intellectually honest, brave scholars who happen to be Jews, if I am right in guessing, are analyzing and criticizing Goldhagen's methodology and prejudices in "Hitler's Willing Executioners" and, in the process, are speaking out against one of their own tribesmen and his vile anti-German hate campaign - at equally enormous risk to ***their*** careers and reputations, as Dr. Faurisson, Udo Walendy and David Irving did to theirs.

This means that Holocaust Promotion Lobby censorship terrorists are now so brutal, coarse and harsh - and clearly so desperate! - they try to intimidate, silence and even sacrifice people of their own tribe in their own ranks and midst.

I predict that the persecution of honest Jewish scholars and budding Revisionists like Birn, Arno Mayer, David Cole and others waiting in the wings will be even more vicious than the persecution suffered by gentile Revisionists like Dr. Robert Faurisson and Ernst Zundel.

A telling trend to watch.

Thought for the Day:

"Instead of wasting twenty-five dollars of your hard earned money on this vile piece of blasphemy, go to the Zundel site and read DID SIX MILLION REALLY DIE? instead. It's free."

(A ZGram reader commenting on "Hitler's Willing Executioners" by Jonah Goldhagen)

Comments? E-Mail: irimland@cts.com

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