Western and Soviet versions of the Holocaust?

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TimeTraveler
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Western and Soviet versions of the Holocaust?

Postby TimeTraveler » 3 years 5 months ago (Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:11 am)

Recently I've been thinking about when I heard somewhere that there was actually two different versions of the Holocaust. I think I heard it in "Holocaust Revisited" by David McCalden I can't remember. But it was that the Western Countries believe that six million Jews were killed and in the East (Soviet Union) they believed that it was just average Russians and Polish aka Eastern Europeans killed in these alleged death camps. But then after the Soviet Union collapsed Eastern Europe accepted the Western Jewish extermination version.

So what I wanna know is if anyone has any information on this or did I just misheard something.

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Re: Western and Soviet versions of the Holocaust?

Postby Kingfisher » 3 years 5 months ago (Wed Nov 01, 2017 7:40 am)

As far as I am aware the Soviets never mentioned Jews, only "peaceful Soviet citizens".

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Re: Western and Soviet versions of the Holocaust?

Postby Sannhet » 3 years 5 months ago (Wed Nov 01, 2017 4:17 pm)

I will offer some general comments. What we now know as "the Holocaust" (or what you call here the 'Western version of the Holocaust') didn't firmly coalesce/solidify until the late 1970s, and it didn't stamp out opposition until into the 1980s, arguably the late 1980s. Before that, from the 1940s through the 1970s, there were multiple, competing proto-Holocaust narratives, from many sides and angles (some not focusing on Jews so much), representing varying 'agendas,' but also some apolitical alternative understandings of the chaotic period that ended in spring 1945 in Europe.

These competing narratives included various allegations of genocidal or quasi-genocidal programs by the NS regime, or by the SS within the regime (perhaps without the rest of the regime's consent at times), or by the regime and the SS, in close collusion, with the former puppetizing the Wehrmacht to also take a large role in the campaign of atrocities. (This was a narrative the Allies tried to prop up in the immediate postwar period, for the urgent political task of de-Nazification; note that in the political trials at Nuremberg, much of the senior Wehrmacht leadership was targeted, and executions for most surviving field marshals followed).

There were also non-Holocaust narratives. There was a strong attempt in the 1950s, especially from the mid-1950s, in West Germany and further afield, to revive/rehabilitate the reputation of the Wehrmacht (though not the SS or the Waffen-SS). This "non-Holocaust narrative" is that the Germans fought nobly/honorably, and committed no more atrocities than is normal in war, were far less brutal than the Red Army, and even Western actions [Dresden] could at times be worse than what the NS regime did. I would say this is the forerunner to most of what revisionism is today though not identical to it. A key difference is that Revisionism, as it has existed since the late 1970s, has been an insurgent, dissident intellectual movement fighting a hegemonic discourse. The "non-Holocaust narrative(s)" of, say, the 1950s and 1960s, were simply promoting an alternative view, one among many.

What I mean to say with all this is that perpetrators, victim groups, and methods, not to mention specifics of who did what where and how, were all subject to substantial change in this period, beginning in the war itself and continuing through the 1970s and trickling into the 1980s (again my impression is that total hegemony of the Holocaust as we now know it was established only by the 1980s). I know for sure that one early narrative was an allegation, presumably promoted by Moscow, of a systematic extermination program of Soviet prisoners in German POW camps.

This claimed genocide of Soviet POWs is something I essentially never hear in the orthodox Holocaust narratives that I have been exposed to. Occasionally one can still see it mentioned very briefly in deep WWII literature, but even there I don't think it is very prominent. It is a military-centric quasi-Holocaust narrative, with gentile/Russian/Soviet victims (!), and reflects the militarized Stalin era. Obviously it would not have been considered politically useful by Western Jews in the late Cold War (1970s-1980s era of Jewish Holocaust Promotion) or the present day.


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