The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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The Canadian Human Rights Commission has provided me with an
extensive set of passages taken from the "Zundelsite". My
major, but not exclusive, attention is directed to the
highlighted portions of those passages. In addition I have
examined the three documents entitled "Did Six Million
Really Die?", "66 Questions about the Holocaust", and
"Jewish Soap".

I have employed basic analytic methods, including those
mentioned above to construct interpretations of those
passages. Those methods include analyses of the ways Gricean
maxims, rhetorical strategies, lexical selection and
collocations, syntactic structures, information
distribution, topic continuity, and other discourse-founded
principles have been used in the messages to advance
particular claims and arguments.

                                                    [Page 5]
           Discourse Analysis of Selected Passages


In the following analyses, I have treated three specific
documents, `Jewish Soap,' `66 Questions and Answers on the
Holocaust,' and `Did Six Million Really Die: Truth at Last -
Exposed,' as providing a context and frame of reference for
the other documents. These three documents establish a set
of assertions, assumptions, presuppositions, and a general
ontological framework in terms of which the other documents
take much of their meaning, since the latter assume the same
presuppositions, etc. As those in the three framing
documents. For this reason, it is useful to note a few of
the explicit and implicit assumptions and presuppositions of
these documents and to offer some comments on their
discourse structure and argumentation styles before moving
on to detailed analyses of the other documents.

Tab 3. `Jewish Soap'

This document is written in a style which is at one and the
same time both pseudo-scholarly and unabashedly polemical.
It is pseudo-scholarly in the sense that while it quotes
numerous individuals, documents, and even some books, it
fails to provide specific citations and references to any
sources, an absolute necessity in real scholarly research.
The document is unabashedly polemical in a highly negative
sense, using terms like `lurid,' `vile,' etc. Again, such
negative inflammatory terms have no place in true scholarly
writing, although they can serve an obvious function in
polemical texts. For example, the quote:

     "More recently, Jewish historian Walter Laquer "denied
     established history" by acknowledging in his 1980 book,
     `The Terrible Secret,' that the human soap story has no
     basis in reality." (P.5)
asserts through the use of scare quotes that Laquer has
somehow "denied established history", where the important
term is `established.' The writer implies that (a) the
`human soap story' is a part of `established' history, (b)
that a Jewish historian has refuted the truth of the story,
and (c) that the writer also ascribes to the claim that the
story is false. In order for the argument to go through, it
is crucial to accept (a), when in fact the story may well
not be a part of history, in spite of the various claims and
rumours about it. If (a) is false, then there is no
substance to its denial by either Laqueur or anyone else,
since it is not informative to assert that an acknowledged
piece of fiction is a piece of fiction (i.e., to assert a

The gist of this piece is to establish that the "soap story"
was (1) widely believed and cited by Jewish and non-Jewish
sources, (2) later proved to be false, (3) fabricated by the
Jews. However, the real message of the entire piece lies in
its final sentence:

                                                    [Page 6]
     "That so many intelligent and otherwise thoughtful
     people could ever have seriously believed that the
     Germans distributed bars of soap brazenly labelled with
     letters indicating that they were manufactured from
     Jewish corpses shows how readily even the most absurd
     HoIocaust fables can be -- and are -- accepted as

The thrust of this final sentence is (1) the Jewish soap
story is untrue, thus (2) other claims about the Holocaust
are also false (by arguing from metonymy). Thus, all that
leads up to the final sentence is an attempt to establish
the soap story as a typical, representative Holocaust story
and by denying it to deny other Holocaust stories.

Tab 2. 66 Questions and Answers on the Holocaust

This document is presented in style which invites the
interpretation of factual questions and specific answers,
again with a pseudo-scholarly tone Like all information
seeking questions, each of the questions presented here
carries with it one or more presuppositions. If such
presuppositions are not accepted by the reader, the sense
(i.e., meaning) of the question and its answer are lost.
Consider a few examples.

     41. Can bodies be burned in pits?
     No. It is impossible for human bodies to be totally
     consumed by flames in this manner because of lack of

This question contains two crucial presuppositions: (1)
someone claims that bodies can be burned in pits, and (2)
such burning would result in total consumption. Note that no
reference is given for who makes such claims and no
justification is given for the claim, if it exists, that
such burning results in total consumption. The answer
provided to the question is only sensible if the reader
accepts these two presuppositions.

     47. If six million people had been incinerated by the
     Nazis, what happened to the ashes?
     That remains to be "explained". Six million bodies
     would have produced many tons of ashes, yet there is no
     evidence of any large ash depositories.

This question presupposes that the Nazis did incinerate six
million people. However, it is logically possible, for
example, that Nazis could have killed the six million but
not incinerated them all (some could have been buried,
etc.). However, for the question to be sensible, for it to
be placed in a context observing the Gricean principles, the
reader must accept the  presupposition. Moreover, as every
serious scientist and historian must logically recognize,
the `absence of evidence for some X does not imply evidence
of absence of that X.'

                                                    [Page 7]

Finally, the pseudo-scholarly tone of this document is
revealed by the absence of serious scholarly form, but more
importantly by a remarkable and insulting cynicism.
Consider, for example, the crass trivialization [sic] human
life in the answer to question 39:

     39). What is the difference if six million or 300,000
     Jews died during the Second World War?

The response attempts to make a sick play on the ambiguity
of the phrase "What is the difference....?" The author
chooses to represent his dismissive attitude toward the
value of Jewish lives by exploiting the mathematical sense
of difference rather than its ethical or moral sense. It is
hard to imagine a more powerful means of showing disdain and
utter contempt for a group of persons.

Tab 1. Did Six Million Really Die

This document is simply the articulation of a Holocaust-
denial position. It contains many familiar assertions found
in Holocaust denial literature and serves to establish a
well-defined position dealing with a view of the Holocaust
which places blame on the victims of the Holocaust, while at
the same time portraying the aggressors (the Nazis,
sometimes equated with all Germans) as the real victims.

With these few comments on the three documents as
background, I turn now to specific discourse analyses of
particular passages. In each of the analyses, I cite the
passage under consideration and then provide analysis. Each
passage is identified by both title and tab reference in the
book of documents provided to me by the Canadian Human
Rights Commission.

                      Specific Analysis
Tab 5.  Mission Statement (p. 1)

     "To claim that World War II was fought by the Germans,
     as the Holocaust Lobby incessantly claims, to kill off
     the Jews as a group, is a deliberately planned,
     systematic deception amounting to financial, political,
     emotional and spiritual extortion. The "Holocaust, "
     first sold as a tragedy, has over time deteriorated
     into a racket cloaked in the tenets of a new State
     religion. "

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