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The interview   The Holocaust Industry: the book
by Giovanni De Martis

From the book to the interview
by Giovanni De Martis

The interview



 
De Martis: Professor Finkelstein, your book "The Holocaust Industry" was not yet been translated into Italian, and yet volumes have already been published, written by revisionists who comment on its content. A number of negationist websites refer to your work, and use it in their campaign to deny the Shoah. What do you think of this use of your book on the part of negationists? Does this exploitation of your words make you uncomfortable?
 
     
Finkelstein: The main reason Holocaust revisionists embraced my book is that the Holocaust industry immediately pigeon-holed it as Holocaust denial to deflect unanswereable criticism. Had it not been labeled Holocaust denial by the Holocaust industry, I doubt Holocaust revisionists would have supported it. There's not a single word in the book that can be interpreted as Holocaust denial. Rather the contrary, I insist throughout the book that the conventional view of the Nazi holocaust - i.e, an assembly-line, industrialized killing of the Jews - is correct, and that the conventional figures on those killed are (more or less) correct. One main point of the book is that it is the Holocaust industry that has become the main purveyor of Holocaust denial in the world. If there were a single word in the book that in any way supported Holocaust denial, why would the world's leading
authority on the Nazi holocaust, Raul Hilberg, repeatedly endorse the book? Of course I would have preferred if Holocaust revisionists didn't support me - just as I'm sure that many critics of the former Soviet Union would have preferred if right-wing fanatics hadn't supported them.
 
     
You maintain that there exists a lobby which, in actual fact, has made the Shoah into a business. What is, in your view, the most appropriate way to approach the subject of the Shoah?    
     
I see no reason to invent new approaches to the Nazi holocaust. The conventional tools of historians seem to me adequate. Perhaps these tools are not adequate to fully apprehend what happened, but there's no reason to suppose that these tools are any more adequate for apprehending other historical events. The Nazi holocaust raises some new questions, but it
doesn't call into question conventional approaches for answering those questions. The best historiography on the subject - e.g., Raul Hilberg's The Destruction of the European Jews - utilizes the most conventional approaches.
   
     
What is your opinion on the phenomenon of negationism, and what are, in your view, the reasons for its growth?
   
     
In general, negationism is a marginal phenomenon wildly inflated by the Holocaust industry to justify its existence. However, the danger does exist that it will grow due to all the falsifications of the Holocaust industry. Were it not for the fact that my late parents passed through the Nazi holocaust, I myself would probably would be a skeptic by now. Who can any
longer believe a single word coming out of the Holocaust industry? To cite just one example, according to the Holocaust industry, "tens of thousands" of Holocaust survivors will still be alive in 2035. It's become a bad joke.
   
     
Pehr Ahlmark, the Swedish ex Prime Minister, recently wrote: "Traditional antisemitism wanted a "Judenrein" world; modern antisemitism aims at a "Judenstaatrein" world.
Do you agree with this statement?
   
     
Many anti-Semites support Israel; many orthodox Jews are fanatic anti-Zionists. The real purpose of Ahlmark's unclever epigram is to dismiss all criticism of Israel as anti-Semitic. I just came back yesterday from spending several horrible weeks in the West Bank and Gaza. Is it really anti-Semitic to deplore Israel's murderous repression of the Palestinians? I don't think so.