There's been mention in the news this week of a holocaust denier.. Unfortunately one who is usually based here in Australia. I won't give that person the publicity he seeks, but I will bring to your attention a few of pieces of evidence that people of his ilk avoid mentioning.
One allegation they make is that there was no mass murder of Jews by the Nazi regime in Germany during world War Two.
Well, what do the archives say?
From the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library comes this letter dated 15 April 1945 from General George S. Patton to General Eisenhower about a camp four miles north of Weimar. Reference is also made to the camp at Ohrdruf which patton and Eisenhower had visited together upon liberation. Which is just one of many documents held at the Eisenhower Presidential Library (part of the National Archives and Records Administration of the USA government) relating the Holocaust. There are other letters written by Eisenhower attesting to his eyewitness acount of the "sickening" atrocities he witnessed in concentration camps. There are also a variety of US Government and military reports surveying the vast scope of the Nazi genocidal machine. Many are digitised for on line perusal. Read them here.
What of accounts by Australians? There are many by survivors who came to Australia after World War II bringing with them their accounts of the Nazi regime's destruction of the Jews. I myself touched history when I heard from Jimmy Darnell his first-person account of his time in Auschwitz.
And by non-Jewish Australians who were there?
There is the very important book by Donald Watt, STOKER - The Story of An Australian Soldier Who Survivied Auschwitz-Birkenau. Don Watt was an Australian Army soldier who saw action in OPalestine, North Africa, Greece and Crete. Captured by the Germans in Crete, he was imprisoned in Stalag 357 near Torun in Poland. After escaping he was recaptured and sent to Auschwitz as punishment.
His job there was to incinerate the bodies of the dead in the crematorium. He was the stoker.
The book was published by Simon & Schuster Australia in 1995 and here are some exceprts from pages 91 - 96.
"It worked like this. Cattle trains with trucks loaded with people marked for death pulled up right inside the camp. The doors were opened and the people ordered to get dwon and line up. Some were selected for work camps or medical experiements, while the rest, the vast majority, were marched over to the gas chambers, hundreds at a time. They were told they were about to be deloused and given a shower, and had to strip. After the shower, they were told, they woould be given camp clothing and assigned to work parties.
As the world now knows, this was nothing but lies, lies, lies. There was no shower, there was no food, there was no special clothing. Instead, they were locked in the gas chamber and gas pellets thrown in. After 20 minutes, they were dead. The doors were then eopened and the bodies pulled out. Their hair was cut off, their mouths inspected for gold teeth, which were ripped out with pincers, and their fingers checked for rings. Their bodies were then trundled over to the creatoriam, where they were thrown into the furnace. Gangs of men, just like me, kept the fires burning brightly.
Gas was one thing they had in plenty - that, and people to use it on. The deadly Zyklon B gas, with its cyandide base, was made by the Degesch company, and vast quantities were delivered at the height of the gassings. I know, because I saw the drums....
The four gas chambers and four crematoria at Birkenau were kept busy right around the clock. Holidays and Sundays didn't exist in those death fatories. Every day, trainloads of Jewish men, women and childen, gypsies, communists and other 'undersireables' arrived at the camp, sometimes at 90-minute intervals. By counting the bodies as they trundled over to the furnaces, I estimated that from May 1944 until the end of November 1944, Crematorium 2 and Crematorium 3 each disposed of 5000 corpses every 24 hours, seven days a week. ..."
Don Watt's book, Stoker, is not particularly well written, nor is it an enjoyable piece of reading. However it is a very important historical document, by an Australian, who was there and saw it with his own eyes.
You can get it from these libraries.
There is an important set of photographs at the Australian War Memorial taken by war artist Alan Moore
(WARNING: These photographs are not suitable for viewing by children, and even many adults may find them deeply disturbing)
To view the photographs, go to collections search here and in the "enter search terms" field type "Alan Moore", in the "Conflict" field choose "Second World War"
Then click the search button. You'll see plenty of photographs taken by Alan Moore upon the libertion of Belsen.
As I said, the Holocaust deniers won't tell you about this.