MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No. 745
By: Y. Mansharof & A. Savyon*
Introduction: Iranian Regime's Policy of Promoting Holocaust Denial
For years, the Iranian regime has used Holocaust denial as a key means of challenging the establishment of the State of Israel, thereby denying its right to exist. The regime has promoted this policy in statements by its senior officials, by enlisting government media organs, and through a range of web-based activities. For example, at a 2009 conference in Tehran in support of the Palestinians, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei linked these two issues by saying that "the Zionists occupied Palestine under the pretext of the Holocaust," and complained that the Western governments and the Western and Zionist media tolerated no questions about the truth of the Holocaust: "The intolerance shown by the Western and Zionist media and pro-Zionist governments toward even the mere posing of any question concerning the Holocaust — which served as an excuse for the usurpation of Palestine — and research on the topic, is one of the signs of [the West's] nervousness and uncertainty."
At the forefront of Iranian and worldwide Holocaust denial as a means of delegitimizing Israel stands Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said in January 2009 that "breaking the padlock of the Holocaust and reexamining it will be tantamount to cutting the vital arteries of the Zionist regime." Similarly, in an August 26, 2011 speech in Tehran on the occasion of Qods Day, he declared that "the Holocaust is one of the greatest lies" ever told. In an interview with Portuguese RTP television in early September 2011, Ahmadinejad once again challenged the Holocaust, saying that "if the Holocaust happened at all, it happened in Europe; thus, for the Palestinians to pay the price for it is unjustified." He added that the Holocaust was used as a "political game by the imperialists to control the region."
Other prominent figures in the Iranian regime who have been party to this Holocaust denial policy include Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan and an associate of Khamenei, who said, "The Holocaust, or the slaughter of Jews during World War II by German Nazis, is a myth and a contrived story."
In an article published by the Iranian news agency Fars on October 1, 2011, Foreign Ministry official Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri Abyane, formerly Iran's ambassador to Austria and Mexico, said that a Red Cross official in Mexico had told him that "the total number of those killed in the Nazi detention camps... was 200,000, and most of them were not Jews.' Abyane added he had asked the Red Cross official to publish this information, but the latter had refused on the grounds that it was classified. Abyane urged Iran and other countries, as well as international organizations, to pressure the Red Cross to publish the names of those killed in the Nazi detention camps, in order to refute the Zionists' "false claims" about the killing of six million Jews.
The Iranian regime harnesses the country's media organs for propagating Holocaust denial, for example through the production of independent films on the topic, and provides a forum to Holocaust deniers from the Arab world and the West. In addition, the regime permits online activity aimed at disseminating Holocaust denial, for instance by the website Holocartoons.com and the website of the World War II Society (formerly known as The Adolf Hitler Society), which publish books on the topic.
E-Book Expresses Empathy for Hitler
The Iranian website Wwii.ir, owned by the World War II Society and one of a number of websites promoting Holocaust denial, operates with the permission of the Iranian regime. In advance of the U.N.-designated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, the website posted in 2011 an article claiming that the Jews and the West were spreading lies regarding the Nazi extermination of the Jews, providing as evidence various documents and photographs that it claimed had been doctored.
The website maintains a downloadable virtual library (Ns-library.com) which offers, among others, the book The Holocaust – The Jews' Greatest Lie. The 52-page book is a compilation of various claims and explanations advanced by Holocaust deniers regarding what happened, in their opinion, during World War II in Europe. The website describes the document as "a booklet that contains 63 questions and answers regarding the Holocaust, the greatest fraud in history... and presents interesting pictures all of which prove its falsity." It was published in June 2009 by Hamid Reza Nikbakhsh, a member of the World War II Society and a prominent activist in the country's neo-Nazi circles, and was uploaded to Wwii.ir on July 27, 2011.
In the introduction to the book, Nikbakhsh explains his motives for publishing it: "Considering that Persian speakers are subject to the deep influence of the Zionist propaganda [regarding the Holocaust] and that there is no free booklet in Persian on the topic, I decided to compile issues about Holocaust denial [the author used this term] in a concise and straightforward manner, in the form of 63 questions and answers, so that the dear people of the [Iranian] homeland can become acquainted with the fundamental issues and truth with regard to the Holocaust in a minimal amount of time and with ease."
The author expresses empathy for Adolf Hitler, denying that he persecuted Jews on racial grounds, claiming that "The Jews did not die because of their Jewish identity but due to chance circumstances." He calls the widely accepted six-million figure for the Jews killed in the Holocaust "completely imaginary." Nikbakhsh also rejects accusations that the Nazis were antisemites, pointing out that the Arabs are also Semites yet were not persecuted. Additionally, he opposes reserving the word Holocaust to describe the killing of Jews in World War II, claiming the word is better suited to the incineration of most of the citizens of Dresden during the Allied bombings of the German city in 1945. He praises the researchers who question the veracity of the Holocaust despite the personal and professional dangers they face as a result, and claims that the West forbids denying the Holocaust since the exposure of the truth runs counter to its interests.
Following is a summary of the claims put forth in Nikbakhsh's book:
The Wealthy Jews Harmed Germany
According to the book, Nazi Germany persecuted the Jews in retaliation for the war that the wealthy Communist Jews launched as early as 1933: "Prior to the outbreak of World War II in 1939, few Jews were arrested. They were arrested not because they were Jewish but because they were Communist terrorists... The first hostile move [between the sides] was by the Jews, and in 1933, when [Hitler] rose to power, the wealthy Jews worldwide imposed economic sanctions against Germany. Thus, it was the Jews who declared war on Germany and did everything [possible] to damage its economy, and the measures taken against them in Nazi Germany were mere retaliation."
In response to the question, "Were the Jews arrested and placed in concentration camps because of their racial or religious identity?" the author writes: "No. Communism was a Jewish philosophy, and the Soviet Union was seen as a country ruled by Jews. At the outset of the war between Germany and the Soviet Union, the Nazis considered the Jews actual enemies capable of sabotaging Germany's efforts, due to their partiality to the Soviet Union." The book stresses that concentration camps were not unique to Germany: "After the [outbreak of] war with Japan, the Americans likewise quickly gathered Americans of Japanese origin, holding them in concentration camps like those of Germany. The Americans, too, considered citizens of Japanese origin to be actual enemies, and quickly arrested them, while the Nazis' arrest of Jews was an extremely slow process."
The book also claims that the Jews were not forced to wear a yellow star prior to the outbreak of World War II: "Only after the German army's offensive on the Soviet Union in June 1941 [were Jews forced to wear the yellow star]. [The Germans] believed that Jews ruled the Soviet Union – [therefore] the Jews were identified as an actual enemy. Beginning on September 15, 1941, Jews throughout the [German] Reich were compelled to wear the Star of David. Prior to this date, only in part of Poland were Jews compelled to do so, from late 1939. Many of the prominent Jews at the time supported rather than opposed this move, believing that the Star of David is a symbol of the Jewish people just as the swastika is a symbol of the Nazis."
Hitler Recognized the Jews as Aryans
The book claims that on many occasions, Hitler himself declared certain Jews to be Aryans, and Jews even served in the Nazi army: "At least 2,269 people with Jewish blood served in Germany's army as officers (including senior officers). There were even two generals, Erhard Milch and Helmut Wilberg, who were half-Jewish. Hitler personally approved orders for recruiting Jews for Nazi Germany's military."
Antisemitism in Europe Is Age-Old and Not Connected To Hitler
The book states that antisemitism did not begin in Hitler's time, but had been widespread in Europe "for centuries before the Nazi party emerged, in many countries, including England, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, and more. A wave of antisemitism swept Europe in the 19th century, during the time of Russia's czarist empire – when the Russian people massacred the Jews due to their hatred for them, which emanated from the Jews' considering themselves the Chosen People, living separately from non-Jews, and attempting to infiltrate key regime positions."
The Jews Enjoyed Freedom of Worship and Movement under the Third Reich
The book claims that "in Nazi Germany, the Jews could worship freely" and were not forced into ghettoes. It also says that "many of the Jews lived freely in the territories of the Third Reich, and many of them, such as the Jewish war heroes, received documents [certifying] their German blood. Moreover, many Jews with German wives were released from imprisonment thanks to their wives' intervention."
Zionist-Nazi Collaboration to Establish a Jewish State
The book claims that there was cooperation between the Nazis and the Zionist movement: "In general, the Nazis opposed any Zionist philosophy, but because the Nazis' goal [of] ridding Germany of the Jews was in line with the Zionists' goal, there was slight cooperation between the Nazis and the Zionists, specifically in terms of [Nazi] helping the Zionists spur the Jews to emigrate from Germany."
According to the book, "the Nazis intended to gather the Jews on their own land, and to establish a Jewish state for them. In 1938, Hitler designated the island of Madagascar as a suitable place for this, but was not successful in implementing his plan... [because] the island was occupied by British forces."
The Jews in the Concentration Camps Were Not Starved
In an attempt to debunk claims that the Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazis, the book explains: "Because the Germans needed a labor force, it is impossible that they killed Jews, since they needed them to further the aims of their war. In this situation, [live] Jewish workers were preferable to dead Jews." Also denied is the claim that Jews were starved in the concentration camps: "As long as the Nazis did not face problems of food shortages, the Jewish workers received the food they needed. But when food shortages, and chaos, spread in Germany, some Jews (and gentile residents of the camps, and even German soldiers) suffered food shortages. Some Jews died, but only because of these food shortages, [they were] not [killed] deliberately."
The Gas Chambers – A Baseless Lie
The book also denies that there were any gas chambers, stating: "A Red Cross representative visited Auschwitz in September 1944 and noted that prisoners were released [after] receiving an aid package. He added that the rumors of gas chambers were not in accordance with reality." The book stated: "If the Nazis had intended to kill the Jews, they would not have allowed food and aid packages to be sent to them. Therefore, this report proves that the Nazis had no intention of slaughtering the Jews."
To support this claim, the book also notes that "aerial photographs of the Auschwitz-Birkenau area taken by the Allies on April 4, June 26, August 25, and September 13, 1944 show that contrary to the claims of the Zionists and the occupiers of Auschwitz [i.e. the Allies], these were not extermination camps. There is no smoke coming from the crematoria or anything of the sort. Had such photographs existed, they would have been proof of an extermination [camp], and then the Allied air forces could have bombed the train tracks leading to the camp."
The book explains that the crematoria were used by the Nazis "who were forced to incinerate the victims of contagious typhus" which was rampant among both Germans and Jews.
The Theory that the Nazis Tried to Exterminate the Jews – Groundless and Tendentious
In answer to the question, "Has any document in which Hitler ordered the destruction of the Jews been found?" the book says: "No document or order signed by Hitler ordering such a thing has ever been found. Had Hitler truly ordered the destruction of the Jewish race, as is claimed, and were the Jews [truly] slaughtered systematically by Nazi and S.S. soldiers, this would have necessitated an order with his signature. An instruction to massacre a race is not something that could be carried out without an order from Hitler."
The book explains that "the goal of the Zionists in propagating the theory of extermination was and still is to establish and preserve a Jewish state, while frightening the Jews in the rest of the countries of the world about future Holocausts... The supporters of this extermination theory have no valid document or order signed by Hitler regarding the extermination of the Jews. They point to the [January 1942] Wannsee Conference, at which they believe that the Nazi leaders advanced the notion of exterminating the Jewish race... [However,] there is great doubt regarding the veracity [of this claim]."
The book presents the fact that that the Wannsee Conference was attended by representatives from all the Nazi government ministries, but not by senior officials from the Nazi leadership in attendance, as evidence of the falsity of this claim: "Considering the great importance [attributed to the conference], i.e. the plan to slaughter the [Jewish] people, and considering that this plan is claimed to have been highly classified, it would seem that the Nazi elite should necessarily have taken part in it.
"It is interesting to note that at the Nuremberg Trials, Nazi leaders stated that they had no knowledge of the matter [of the decision to exterminate the Jews]. An even more interesting [question] is how it is possible that lower level members [of the Nazi regime] could implement such an important decision if the Nazi leaders had no knowledge of it. Additionally... the [Wannsee Protocol] document is unsigned and undated, and it is not clear to which [administrative] department it was submitted. Without question, this document can be called a forgery."
There Is No Valid Proof that the Holocaust Ever Happened
"Senior Nazi officials' admissions as to the systematic slaughter of the Jews are invalid. Every child knows that it is easy to extract testimony from a prisoner, or from many prisoners. Who can believe that the Allies did not torture their prisoners? The Allies, who carried out the worst crimes in history during World War II and afterward, surely could have tortured their prisoners...
"To lead eyewitnesses is a very simple matter for any government, and moreover, it has been proven that those who [supposedly] witnessed proof of the Nazis' crimes were not, in fact, eyewitnesses. Some of them were threatened by senior Allied officials and forced to tell lies about the Nazis' crimes; some were compensated; and some others were, in fact, Allied soldiers who presented themselves as eyewitnesses...
"Nor was Adolf Eichmann's trial legal. He was kidnapped by Israel in Argentina, in violation of international law. The crimes attributed to Eichmann, even if they happened, have to do with an era when Israel did not even exist. And in any case, the crimes attributed to him are not credible."
The Figure of Six Million – Completely Imaginary
According to the book, the figure of six million, the accepted estimate of Jews killed in the Holocaust, is "completely imaginary." Explaining that "under the Third Reich, the number of Jews in Hitler's reach was no more than 3.5-4.5 million, and according to some [estimates], under Hitler's rule, there were no more than 1.5 million Jews – therefore, the number of Jews murdered in the territories of the Third Reich could under no circumstances have been six million."
The book goes on to cite Arthur R. Butz, a man who conducted "extended studies on the extent of the killing of Jews in the death camps in Germany, according to which 'some 35,000 or perhaps even 300,000 prisoners died in Germany's camps during the war, and few of them were Jews.'"
"The Zionist propagandists," claims the book, refuse to accept any figure under six million, in order to cover for the graver crimes of the British, Soviets, and Americans. For instance, it reads: "The bombing of Dresden by the British and Americans alone, and the rape and violence perpetrated by the Soviet soldiers against German and Hungarian women, were more tragic than the Holocaust."
Photos Debunking Traditional Claims about the Holocaust
The author added a number of photos he said debunked traditional claims about the Holocaust. Following are examples:
“Figure 8: Children in a German camp. Amazing, because the Jews have always
said that the children were slaughtered immediately by the Nazis."
"Figure 10 [top right]: Inmates of Dachau being freed. If so many people were freed
at one camp, who was killed?"
"Figure 11 [bottom left]: Inmates of a camp being freed. The boy is wearing new shoes
in perfect condition and wearing a new,
clean jacket. It is also interesting to see
the type of women's shoe [in the right of
the photograph] in such a camp."
"Figure 15: This photo is used as proof
of Nazi crimes, but the two armed men are actually in Soviet uniforms, and the others appear to be Soviet NKVD."
"Figure 23 [top right] is a doctored photograph, and Figure 24 [on the bottom left is the original]. Figure 24 shows several thin people. It should be recalled that this thinness is the result of the outbreak of typhus that took the lives of the Germans too. An interesting point about the doctored Figure 23 is the addition of a mass of bodies to the photograph. If the Holocaust was a historical and incontestable truth, why are doctored photographs used to prove its veracity?"
"Figure 27: This photo of soap made from the fat of Jews was used at Nuremberg Trials as evidence that the Holocaust took place. Did the Nazis shower with this soap made from the fat of Jews? There are people who still believe this satire is truth. Not even historians who support [the veracity of] the Holocaust accept this."
"Figure 28: Many use this picture in order to prove that the Jews were victims of experiments by the Nazi forces. In fact, these are Nazi Luftwaffe soldiers who volunteered as guinea pigs."
"Figure 35: This picture is presented over and over as proof of the veracity of the Holocaust, accompanied by the claim that these are Jews being transferred to the gas chambers. In fact, this picture was taken a year after World War II [ended], and these are Germans who are being exiled from East [Europe] to the West by the Allies."
The author concludes the book with the following:
"If the Holocaust is true, why are doctored and false photographs used to prove it? Why is there such sensitivity about it, and why isn't anyone in Europe allowed to investigate it objectively?"
*A. Savyon is Director of the Iranian Media Project; Y. Mansharof is a Research Fellow at MEMRI.
 See MEMRI Inquiry & Analysis Series Report No.307, "The Role of Holocaust Denial in the Ideology and Strategy of the Iranian Regime," December 15, 2006, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/118/1800.htm.
 Leader.ir, March 3, 2009; see also MEMRI Special Dispatch No.2274, "Speeches by Iran Supreme Leader Khamenei and President Ahmadinejad at the International Conference in Tehran for Support of Palestine," March 6, 2009, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3182.htm.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.2221, "In Speeches This Week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Discusses Holocaust, Saying 'Reexamining [The Holocaust] is Tantamount To Cutting the Vital Arteries of the Zionist Regime'; Tells Obama Administration: Withdraw U.S. Forces, Reexamine 9/11 – Which is Sealed Like the Issue of the Holocaust – And Apologize To Iran," January 30, 2009, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/3060.htm; and MEMRI TV Clip #2003, "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Obama Administration: Withdraw Your Forces and Apologize," January 28, 2009, http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2003.htm.
 Qods (Jerusalem) Day is observed yearly in Iran on the last Friday of the month of Ramadan, in accordance with the orders of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. It marks Iran's aspiration for the liberation of all Palestine from Israeli occupation.
 Mehr (Iran), August 26, 2011.
 President.ir, September 8, 2011.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.1443, "Editor of Iranian Kayhan Daily Reacts to U.N. Resolution Against Holocaust Denial: ‘The Resolution Prepares the U.N.'s Corpse for Burial in the Graveyard of History,’" January 30, 2007, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/118/2028.htm.
 Fars (Iran), October 1, 2011.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.2321, "Op-Ed on Official Iranian News Website: 'You Could Never Find Even One Single Person Who Is an Auschwitz Survivor,'" April 21, 2009, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/118/3251.htm; MEMRI Special Dispatch No.1566, "Iranian Holocaust-Denial Documentary Series On Iranian TV: "Merchants of the Myth," May 2, 2007, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/118/2180.htm.
 See for instance MEMRI TV Clip #2474, "Holocaust Denial Discussed on Iranian TV: There Were No Gas Chambers; You Cannot Squeeze 2,000 Jews into 100 Square Meters," http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2474.htm; MEMRI TV Clip #2584, "British Holocaust Denier David Irving: The Zionists Have Overplayed the Holocaust, and This Has Tarnished the Zionist Cause," http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/0/0/2584.htm; MEMRI Lantos Antisemitism Blog, "Iranian News Agency: Prominent Holocaust Denier 'Praises Ahmadinejad For His Key Role In Breaking Taboo On Studying Reality Of Jewish Holocaust,'" April 6, 2011.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No.3538, "In Advance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Iranian 'Adolf Hitler Research Society' Website Shows How Holocaust Photos Were 'Doctored' By the Jews, and Iranian Website Publishes Series by French Holocaust Denier," January 26, 2011, http://www.memri.org/report/en/0/0/0/0/0/51/4948.htm.
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