The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: camps/stutthof//soap.02

From oneb!!destroyer!gatech!!!uunet!world!wmcguire Wed Aug 18 13:58:28 PDT 1993
Article: 3353 of alt.revisionism
Xref: oneb soc.history:14873 alt.censorship:12161 alt.activism:26109 alt.revisionism:3353 alt.discrimination:7995 alt.conspiracy:18329 talk.politics.misc:90187 talk.politics.mideast:32418
Newsgroups: soc.history,alt.censorship,alt.activism,alt.revisionism,alt.discrimination,alt.conspiracy,soc.ethics,talk.politics.misc,talk.politics.mideast
Path: oneb!!destroyer!gatech!!!uunet!world!wmcguire
From: (Wayne McGuire)
Organization: The World Public Access UNIX, Brookline, MA
References: <>  <>
Date: Wed, 18 Aug 1993 16:51:34 GMT
Lines: 129

To: Phill Hallam-Baker

|>This is how the wacko revisionists get their foot in the door: by
|>revealing that they are gullible enough to believe the original
|>documentary, and implicitly defending it, the critics of the
|>wackos begin to raise questions about whether any of the
|>so-called facts they are defending are credible. This is the
|>problem with widely circulated (and passionately defended)
|>canards like the fairy tale that Nazis made soap from Jews. Big
|>mistake. Once you allow too many cracks in your credibility,
|>you're left vulnerable to be steamrolled.

 PHB> Yes, quite so. That is why you should have got your facts
 PHB> straight.

 PHB> The NAZIs attempted to make soap from corpses but found it
 PHB> to be unecconomic. That much is well documented.

 PHB> Thus Wayne's polemic falls rather flat. It is entirely true
 PHB> to claim that the NAZIs made soap from Jews. They didn't do
 PHB> it on a large scale, nor for very long. However the
 PHB> description of these facts as "fairy stories" is itself a
 PHB> canard.

You claim this fact is well-documented, but you provide no
documentation. Following are the facts. Segev's book has received
high praise all around the Western world:

     The charge that Nazis made human soap from Jews is a myth
     rejected even by the Jerusalem Holocaust memorial, Yad
     Vashem. The term "sabon" (soap) expresses the contempt that
     native-born Israelis felt towards Holocaust survivors.
     (Segev The Seventh Million 1993 p183-4)

Segev, Tom
The Seventh Million: The Israelis and the Holocaust
<city>New York
<publisher>Hill and Wang


     A few days after he came home from his mission to Hungary,
     paratrooper Yoel Palgi went to a veterans' club in Tel Aviv.
     It was June 1945. Everyone received him warmly and with
     admiration, he later wrote. They all wanted to hear what had
     happened over there. But no one was interested in accounts
     of Jewish suffering. They wanted a different story, about
     the few who had fought like lions. "Everywhere I turned,"
     Palgi wrote, "the question was fired at me: why did the Jews
     not rebel? Why did they go like lambs to the slaughter?
     Suddenly I realized that we were ashamed of those who were
     tortured, shot, burned. There is a kind of general agreement
     that the Holocaust dead were worthless people.
     Unconsciously, we have accepted the Nazi view that Jews were
     subhuman.... History is playing a bitter joke on us: have we
     not ourselves put the six million on trial?"

     The bluntest expression of this was in yishuv slang. At some
     point the word <it>sabon</it>, "soap," came to be used to
     refer to Holocaust survivors. There is some dispute as to
     when it first appeared, but there is no denying that it was
     widespread. It reflected the general belief that the Nazis
     used the bodies of murdered Jews to produce soap, a charge
     that was constantly repeated and became an accepted truth
     that also found its way into Knesset speeches, textbooks,
     and Israeli literature ("On the shelf in the store, wrapped
     in yellow paper with olive trees drawn on it, lies the
     Rabinowitz family," wrote Yoram Kaniuk in <it>Man, Son of
     Dog</it>). It seems unlikely that anything could better
     express the contempt that native-born Israelis felt toward
     the survivors.

     The Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, has
     received many letters from people asking about bars of soap
     left over from the war years. Some offered to contribute the
     soap to the museum, while others asked whether the soap
     ought to be buried. Yad Vashem always officially replies
     that the Nazis did not make soap out of Jews. During the
     war, Germany suffered a shortage of fats, and soap
     production came under government supervision. Bars of soap
     were imprinted with the initials RIF, a German acronym for
     "pure industrial fat." Some mistakenly read the letters as
     RJF, or "pure Jewish fat." The rumor spread quickly,
     particularly in the ghettos. There is evidence that senior
     officials in the Nazi regime, among them the governor of
     Poland, Hans Frank, also believed that the soap was indeed
     produced from human fats.

     A few months before the end of the war, a laboratory in
     Danzig began conducting experiments to find out whether
     human fats could be used in food production. Yad Vashem has
     concluded that Jews were not murdered with this purpose.
     Here, then, is the history of a myth.


Thus, Mr. Hallam-Baker, do you prove yourself to be as gullible
as those who wanted to know where to bury the soap, and thus do
you nicely demonstrate the dangers of promoting easily debunkable
fairy tales. Trying to conceal your ignorance on this point with
wild charges of anti-Semitism is also quite typical of the way in
defenders of the truth about the Holocaust are being seriously
damaged and undermined by people who can't get their facts
straight. Even Yad Vashem, perhaps the world's foremost authority
on the Holocaust, has rejected the human soap fairy tale. The
soap story is a classic example of how a big lie can come to be
accepted as fact.

The real significance of the soap story, which you miss entirely,
is the attitude it reflects towards European Jews and Holocaust
victims by Israelis. There are many dramatic revelations in The
Seventh Million, but perhaps the most significant are that the
yishuv (pre-state Israel) barely lifted a finger to help Jewry
under the Nazi gun, and in fact held bigoted attitudes towards
Diaspora Jews that were barely less anti-Semitic than those held
by many non-Jewish Europeans. Jewish anti-Semitism was rife among
the Zionist pioneers who built Israel. The yishuv frequently used
the term "human material" to describe and judge many Disapora
Jews, including Holocaust victims, and often found this this
"human material" to be severely wanting.

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