Copyright (c) 1997 - Ingrid
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
Meanwhile, send your replies and comments to email@example.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
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
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
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
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,
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
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to Table of Contents of the Nov. 1997 ZGrams