Elie Wiesel, the world's first revisionist

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Hotzenplotz
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Elie Wiesel, the world's first revisionist

Postby Hotzenplotz » 1 decade 4 years ago (Tue Jun 14, 2005 7:55 pm)

I mean it. Elie Wiesel's The Night is evidence against mass exterminations one cannot easily disregard. He has sometimes been derided by revisionists as a liar, but the The Night has some naive, meta-level honesty. The part about his stay in Auschwitz is astonishingly close to the judicial-inc.biz presentation. Wiesel talks about gassings, but you can read between the lines that it probably was just a rumour.

But see for yourself. I translated directly from the German edition because I was too lazy to type everything twice - shame on me. So the below excerpts are not really quotable. The page numbers (in brackets) are also from the German edition, but they may give you at least an indication where to find the quotation if you're using the English edition.

(0) The roughest parts are the arrival at Birkenau, the death march and the stay in Buchenwald. Arriving in Birkenau, Elie sees how a lorry dumps babies in a pit where they are burnt. When they enter the undressing barack, they are beaten by other inmates, and later by Kapos. "The Kapos beat us again, but I didn't feel the strokes anymore." (43) The death march from Auschwitz to Gleiwitz is pretty tough and several people die (I've read only a couple of lines of that part because it's not that important from a revisionist perspective). Arriving in Buchenwald everyone gets a hot shower. His father is about to die due to dysentery and the hardships of the march and cannot be saved anymore. Still, he gets food which is sometimes stolen by other inmates (111-112). The physician is a cold-blooded asshole. (111) When Elie's father shouts for his son and doesn't stop when an SS-officers tells him so, the officer hits him with a club on the head, almost killing him. (113) Elie has to leave him for the night, and when he returns the next morning his father is gone. Elie then assumes he has been brought to the gas chamber (for no rational reason because his father was already dying; and we know there was no gas chamber in Buchenwald). (114) He stays for some more months in Buchenwald. During the very last days, there is a rumour that the SS wants to kill all the Jews, but this remains unconfirmed. Instead, the SS start to evacuate the prisoners (Wiesel doesn't know or tell whereto) and, strangely, when most are gone the prisoners finally start an insurgency (victorious); it seems they thought they'd get killed. (114) That's where the book ends. Generally, the part in Buchenwald is more like the orthodox picture, with nasty SS and physicians, but no obvious lies, because little Elie no doubt believed they had a gas chamber (thus, "meta-level" honesty). The Auschwitz part is quite different, whereupon I will focus in the following sections.

(1) Most strikingly, Wiesel does not mention any arbitrary act of violence commited by an SS-man during his stay in Auschwitz/Birkenau/Buna. There are a couple of hangings, but there is always a logical reason for it. In one case three prisoners had been planning an uprisal and hoarding weapons ("A significant amount of weapons was discovered" (69)). In another case, Wiesel even states "I didn't feel compassion for him at all. I even rejoiced at his fate: Thus I saved my gold crown." (58) On the other hand, Wiesel's father is slapped once by a gypsy, and Idek, an obviously non-German Kapo, beats up Elie (59). Later, he also whips Elie because he had surprised Idek trying to get laid.

(2) Nowhere does one get the impression that the conditions in the camp are exceptionally bad. Buna (it seems they had a kind of sub-camp at the Buna industrial complex) is discribed thus: " 'Buna is a very good camp. Here one can stay. The only important thing is not to get assigned to the building team...' " (54) "Juliek explained: 'We work in a storehouse for electric products, not far from here. The work is neither difficult nor dangerous.' " Only the Kapo is known to be an unpleasant guy - he's the one who later beats up little Elie. Another co-worker: " ' You are lucky, little one', Hans said and smiled. "You ended up in a good draft." Later, Elie affirms: "Our comrades were right: The work wasn't difficult." (56) And Elie is allowed to work next to his father. Earlier, upon entering Auschwitz, Wiesel notes: "The first impression: Better than Birkenau. Instead of wooden barracks concrete buildings. Here and there small gardens." (47) In the morning, inmates get coffee (yes, even Jews). "Around 10 a.m. we left the block so that it could be cleaned. Outside the sun was warming us. Our spirits had risen. We felt the effect of the invigorating night's rest. Friends met and chattet. People spoke of everything except of those who had disappeared." (49) "We stayed for three weeks in Auschwitz without doing anything. We slept a lot, not only at night, but also at noon." (51) Now, prepare for the best (sit down and try to breathe sloowwwly before going on lest we lose you to a fit of laughter): "The SS-officer of the dirty barrack had lied. Auschwitz really was a holiday camp [Erholungsheim]" (49). Well for the sake of honesty I should note that later their "too human chief" is replaced, but even then it still seems ok-ish.

(3) Several times Wiesel stresses the high disinfection and hygiene standards. "In front of the door there was a barrel with petroleum. Disinfection. Everybody is immersed. Afterwards a hot shower." (43) "In front of the door again we were told to wait. We were squatting on the soil. Every now and then somebody was lead inside. It was the shower, the compulsory procedure upon entering any camp. Even if one went several times from one camp to the other, one had to pass through the showers each time." (47) When Elie enters Buna: "Of course, we had to go to the showers first." (53) The newcomers have to stay three days in quarantine and are inspected by a physician. (54)

(4) Health care is also acceptable. "The treatment in the hospital wasn't all that bad: One was entitled to white bread and a more substantial soup... From time to time I could smuggle a piece of bread to my father." (82) Elie gets an operation of one hour for his leg. " ' It'll hurt a bit', said [the physician], 'but it will pass. ...' " (83) After the operation the physician reassures Elie that everything was well and that he should stay 2 weeks in the hospital relaxing and recovering." The physician is depicted as a really nice, fatherly person. (84) Elie doesn't stay the whole two weeks because the Russians approach. That is, even during the very last days inmates received rather good medical treatment.

(5) Let's not forget: Gassings. Wiesel mentions gassings several times and although he doesn't say that it was only rumour, this is the impression an open-minded reader gets. His fear of gassings remains abstract. Upon arrival in Birkenau, an inmate tells Elie and his father harshly: "Do you see the chimney there? Do you see it? And the flames, do you see them? [...] Havn't you understood? [...] You will be burned. [...]" (37-38) They are selected by Dr. Mengele and apparently get the bad side, because another inmate asks: "'Content?' 'Yes', somebody answered. 'You poor ones, you are going to the gas chamber' " And although Elie believes him, of course they don't. (39) Very interesting is the warning that an SS-officer gives to the newcomers of Auschwitz: " 'Always keep in mind', he continued. 'Always remember and stick it in your mind. You are in Auschwitz. And Auschwitz is not a holiday camp, but a concentration camp. Here, you will work. If not, you'll go to the chimney. In the gas chamber. Working or gas chamber - that's your choice." (45) Policy of Secrecy? Refuted by E.W.!! Perhaps this is even true. Perhaps the officer really tried to scare the inmates with the gas chamber horror story in order to improve their working-attitude. If so, then it worked: The other inmates advice Elie to try to be useful because otherwise he would be gassed. Wouldn't it be an ironic twist if the SS themselves had invented the gas chamber myth? Doesn't seem improbable to me; Crowell in his The Gas Chamber of Sherlock Holmes gives a quite convincing comparative analysis of how gas attacks and gas chambers were in everyone's mind during that time. Only once during about one year are prisoners selected for gassings (not counting the the initial selection which doesn't seem to have been one). Then, not more than 10 persons of his block are chosen in a pre-selection which is carried through by having all inmates run past Dr. Mengele (I don't know how many persons a block will have held, but each barrack was for about 500). Not all of those 10 actually have to go because they are inspected another time more thoroughly (among them Elies father). Again, Elie never says that it was maybe only a rumour, but every line he writes shouts it in your face; or it's more like a deportation train rolling over you. That's what I meant above with naive honesty. The senior inmate of his block [Blockältester] after the selection says: "All went well. Don't worry. Nothing is going to happen to anyone. Not to anyone." And when a boy who has been selected fearfully doubts him, the senior inmate bursts out: "What do you mean? Am I lying maybe? [...] You are just indulging in your desperation, you morons!" (77) Wiesel simply recounts this, he never makes a statement about the validity of the senior's assessment. Earlier, Elie had been warned by some veterans of the selections: "You are lucky in that you've been brought here so late. Today, it's paradise compared to what it was two years ago. [...] At night we slept almost naked, and that at up to minus 30 degrees [Celsius]. Every week they selected. A cruel selection... Yes, God knows, you are lucky." When Elie begs them not to continue, the veterans burst into laughter. "Are you afraid? We, too, were afraid at that time. We had every reason to be afraid - then." Maybe they are just making fun of little Elie? Wiesel never tells us.

(6) Misc.
(a) When the Buna factory is damaged by bombs, the inmates watch gleefully, altough they should be afraid that if there is no more work to be done, they will be gassed. So perhaps they don't really believe the horror stories, although little Elie maybe does.
(b) There is an orchestra. Elie talks to the musicians who "were almost all Jews". (55) Yes, Jews.
(c) Jews are allowed to celebrate their new year holiday and attend service. (71)
(d) There's a guy mentioned who supposedly worked in a Sonderkommando and of course had to push into the gas chamber his own father, but he lives to tell Wiesel that this was the case. (42)

(7) Leaving. This part you have heard of of course. Elie and his father decide to leave with the SS, but not because they are even more afraid of the Red Army, but because they can't imagine the SS would allow them to be liberated by the Russians. "'All the deseased will be liquidated mercilessly and be delivered with the last load to the gas chamber,' said the faceless one. 'Certainly the camp is mined', said another one. 'Immediately after the evacuation everything will be blown up.' " (86) Therefore, the usual revisionist conclusion that it can't have been that bad doesn't work. But it's still interesting because: "After the war I was told about the fate of those who stayed in the hospital. Two days after the evacuation, they were, plain and simple, freed by the Russians." (87) This bears witness to the exaggerated fear of Auschwitz' inmates. They thought everyone staying behind would be killed, but of course it didn't happen.

----

If I hadn't known anything about the holocaust before, reading this book I definitely would have concluded that the gas chamber horror story was, well, a horror story. The Night can easily be read as a realistic account of what little Elie experienced, while the reader has to figure out for himself what is truth and what is rumour.

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Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 1 decade 4 years ago (Tue Jun 14, 2005 10:18 pm)

Hi Hotzenplotz,

I'm going to read your post later because I don't have time at the moment, but I think I went down the same route some months ago. Check this out:

http://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?t= ... lie+wiesel

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Postby Richard Perle » 1 decade 4 years ago (Wed Jun 15, 2005 5:33 am)

Good post. Note though that the German edition contained the term 'gas chamber' where it didn't appear in the original version. 'Crematorium' was systematically changed to 'gas chamber' for the german translation. Although some of what you said gives the impression that he did mention gassing at Buchenwald. (which we know couldn't have been true)

It's hard to imagine Eli's tales of Jews being marched into burning pits fitting in with the above summary of events.

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Postby Hotzenplotz » 1 decade 4 years ago (Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:28 am)

Richard Perle wrote:Good post. Note though that the German edition contained the term 'gas chamber' where it didn't appear in the original version. 'Crematorium' was systematically changed to 'gas chamber' for the german translation.


I have heard this before but had forgotten it. The last occurrence concerning Buchenwald probably was "Crematorium". As I noted above, Elie's assumption his already dying father was brought to the gas chamber seems irrational - Crematorium makes sense.

Does anyone have the English edition at hand? I'd like to know whether the SS-officer's warning (page 45/100 German edition) was about the "gas chamber" or "crematorium". Also, did that guy of the Sonderkommando push his father into the gas chamber or into the crematorium's muffle? (42) Now that I think of it, I believe the verb "to gas" is used nowhere, but only "to burn". Does anyone know if there are any occurences of "gas chamber" in the English edition? If not, then this book is more than just evidence...

But I guess some occurrences must have been "gas chamber" in the original also. In relation to the selections "crematorium" doesn't seem to make much sense.

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Postby Richard Perle » 1 decade 4 years ago (Wed Jun 15, 2005 8:14 am)

I have not read the book, but the as-far-as-I-know unchallenged revisionist count has it that not one mention of a gas chamber is made in the entire book.

This article has a useful table at the bottom showing the translations made and the page you can find them on.

http://www.vho.org/GB/Books/dth/fndwitness.html

The point would seem to be irrelevant now, but I can imagine an SS guard using the rumours and propaganda (which the camp administration and staff would surely be aware of) to frighten inmates. It would be a useful way of keeping order.

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Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 1 decade 4 years ago (Wed Jun 15, 2005 10:23 am)

Night is an amazing document for revisionists.

I believe gassing is mentioned in one sentence in the book. I haven't read it, but remember reading that in Robert Faurisson's critique of the book at ihr under "leaflets."

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Postby steve » 1 decade 4 years ago (Wed Jun 15, 2005 6:44 pm)

I read Night a couple of moths ago. I deliberately looked for mentionings of Gas Chambers. While it is possible I overlooked it, I did not see any. He does mention the Crematory however.

I do remember something about a son doing something horrible to his father, but I can't recall the details right now. I think it had to do with the father moaning loudly and so the son beat the hell out of him for it.

Some amusing stuff regarding Wiesel: http://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?t=2049

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Postby Hotzenplotz » 1 decade 4 years ago (Wed Jun 15, 2005 7:47 pm)

Faurisson also says there is no mention of gas chamber.
http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/wiesel.shtml
I havn't read Wiesel's other writings, but after checking the threads you, Carto & Steve, have linked above, my naive-honesty-thesis admittedly seems a little shaky. I don't agree with Steve's assessment in the other thread that The Night contains lies on almost every page. BTW, Elie's not beaten up by a guard but by a Capo. I don't see why this, for instance, couldn't have happend. People get beaten up all the time, why not in a concentration camp?
The main part about Auschwitz seems mostly credible to me, even more now that I know that he doesn't even mention gas chambers in the original edition. I think revisionism has more to win by stressing the authentic character of the book, because then it is an authentic refutation of mass gassings.
Isn't The Night his first book? Maybe this was an mostly accurate account, and Wiesel turned to propaganda only later, perhaps as a reaction to revisionsm.
For example, according The Night the 10,000 per day are evacuated from Buchenwald, and while it is implicated they are probably killed, this is not said explicitly and thus honest insofar Elie probably really had this fear. Later, according to the linked Faurisson-article Wiesel claims they were killed, and also that he was "always" among the last 100. This doesn't make sense at all, perhaps his English sucks and he meant something else? Anyway, it seems that with the years his claims got more absurd; I propose that The Night is to be read as an agnostic descriptive account (+ some licence) leaving open what happened behind the scenes, and that Wiesel's attitude changed only afterwards.
Strangely, in the German edition Wiesel does not say that the babies or adults who were burning in the pits were still alive. I wonder what else the translator changed. If he unambiguously says in the original edition they were burnt alive, then of course my thesis is shattered.
In either case, though, this book is strong evidence against mass gassings.

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Postby Carto's Cutlass Supreme » 1 decade 4 years ago (Wed Jun 15, 2005 11:33 pm)

Confessedly, I haven't read Night, but I think it was written in French, which is Faurisson's native language. (Faurisson's mom was Scottish I believe.)

But the year it came out was an interesting time. 1958. No Hilberg yet. No academy award winning movie Judgment at Nuremberg (winner of best script), no Eichmann trial. All that was in 1961, and from the movie Judgment at Nuremberg, you can see how screwy the holocaust story was at that time.

What you did have in 1958 was the Nuremberg trials 14 years earlier.

Auschwitz, at that time wasn't the main gassing camp. People believed that gassings had happened at lots of camps inside Germany, until Martin Broszat and Hilberg changed that. Because lots of camps claimed gassings, and no one had challenged that, maybe Wiesel didn't feel pressured to stress that part of the myth. So he wrote it as Hotzenplotz says, with some honest parts, and for his atrocity additions, added the burning alive parts. Kind of amazing, since it points to us revisionists being right.


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