Less than two weeks after Holocaust denier James von Brunn was arrested and charged with killing a security guard at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., an online magazine has begun publishing a four-part story on two of the leading figures among Holocaust revisionists.
Mark Oppenheimer’s story based on his interviews with Holocaust revisionists Bradley R. Smith and Mark Weber began on Tuesday and will run through Friday in “Tablet Magazine,” a daily online magazine about Jewish life that debuted this month.
Smith, 79, founded an online magazine called Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, and he also blogs on the Holocaust and more mundane matters such as his medical travails. Weber, 57, is director of the Institute for Historical Review, which published the Holocaust-denying Journal of Historical Review until 2002. He incurred the wrath of fellow revisionists, including Smith, in January when he posted an article on his website arguing that Holocaust deniers have had little success in persuading people, and it was time to focus instead on the harmful impact of “Jewish-Zionist power” around the world.
Oppenheimer, who got a doctorate in religious studies at Yale, spoke several times in person and by telephone with Smith and Weber between February and May. He tracked down one man’s Jewish ex-lover and the other’s rumored Jewish sister. Both men “loved Jews,” Oppenheimer wrote. “They don’t love Jews generally, of course, but each man has a Jewish woman in his past with whom he had a close relationship.”
Weber “seems a good deal smarter than Smith but also a good deal less mirthful,” Oppenheimer concluded. In fact, Weber holds a master’s degree in European history from Indiana University. Oppenheimer marvels at Weber’s knowledge of the Hebrew Bible, Jewish holidays, the founding of the state of Israel and seemingly all things Jewish. “It became clear that he reads the Jewish press more closely than I do, and I write for the Jewish press,” Oppenheimer wrote in his story’s second installment.
Weber seemed especially dismayed that Smith and French Holocaust revisionist Robert Faurisson are interested in little more than questioning the existence of gas chambers in Nazi death camps. He says he’s interested in a wide array of questions regarding Jewish influence.
Smith rejects Weber’s assessment of him, telling Oppenheimer that he is a passionate libertarian concerned with protecting freedom of speech. Smith was jailed in Los Angeles in the early 1960s for selling Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer at the bookstore he owned at the time.
“Put simply, if we take these men at their words, Smith sees the gas chambers as a question of free speech; Faurisson as an underpinning of a fraudulent Jewish state; and Weber, as a distraction from the machinations of Jewish power in America,” Oppenheimer writes. “These distinctions may seem trivial to some, different facets of the same anti-Semitic menace; but for the men struggling for the soul of Holocaust revisionism, these differences are all that there is.”