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23 June 2009 10:14 AM

Denying the Holocaust -- An Investigation

Mark Oppenheimer writes:

In his long lifetime, James von Brunn--the 88-year-old who earlier this month allegedly shot and killed United States Holocaust Memorial Museum guard Stephen Johns--managed to embody every cliché about the Holocaust-denying anti-Semite: seething with hatred toward Jews, convinced that somehow they rig the money system, certain that there are multiple world-wide conspiracies afoot. And if we stopped to think harder about it, we might have to admit that there's something comforting about how perfectly von Brunn fulfills our preconception of the Holocaust denier. It is pleasantly convenient to imagine that all Holocaust deniers belong to one coherent movement--as if all of our enemies could be found, and could fit, in the same contained, albeit ghoulish, landscape.

In reality, however, that caricature grossly misunderstands this anti-Semitic Holocaust skepticism, which is not a unified movement but a loose confederation of people who often have very little in common.
As the piece proceeds, he introduces two leading Holocaust deniers who are feuding with one another.

...to meet these two men late in their careers in anti-Semitism, and to get to know them as they tangled with each other, helped illuminate what kind of man might choose to cross the borders of respectable opinion, and what inner needs might keep him exiled from his fellow man.
Read on here.

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