We’ve just published on Holocaust denial on Instagram and while Instagram is well behind other platforms in responding to this problem, it isn’t the only place where Holocaust denial and distortion, not to mention glorification of Nazism, is currently occurring online. In this briefing we look at an example of Holocaust distortion on Facebook.
As IHRA explains, “Holocaust distortion is rhetoric, written work, or other media that excuse, minimize, or misrepresent the known historical record of the Holocaust.” The is also an IHRA Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion.
In this example we see how facts surrounding World War II and its aftermath are distorted in an effort to undermine understanding of the Holocaust and the actions of the Nazis. The approach here is to try and make the Allies, and the Americans in particular, look even worse than the Nazis. For those taken in with these lies, the crimes of the Nazis then become comparatively insignificant. It is a small step from this to outright Holocaust denial, or claiming the Jews are responsible for the Holocaust – more direct forms of Holocaust denial which then appear in the sources this page links to. The lies it tells are the gateway to that more direct form of antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
An example of distortion
Our first example on Facebook is a page that seeks to distort the Holocaust. The page is called “Eisenhower’s Death Camps”. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War II and went on to become America’s 34th president. The page is an attack on Eisenhower and the US role in World War II, but also an attempt to normalise what the Nazis did by (falsely) claiming others were doing it as well.
The claim the Americans had death camps and that Eisenhower was responsible for them comes from the book “Other Losses” by James Bacque, published in 1989. The focus of the book can be seen in its subtitle “An Investigation into the Mass Deaths of German Prisoners at the Hands of the French and Americans after World War II”. The research in the book highlighted poor condition of German prisoners after the war, but then goes on to outline a conspiracy theory alleging that Eisenhower has “quietly engineered the deaths of upwards of one million German prisoners taken in the last weeks and aftermath of the war”. The claim was based on a rejection of the accepted fact that there were food shortages in Europe (in part because of an influx of German prisoners seeking to surrender to the Americans rather than the Russians at the end of the war), the compilation of exceedingly poor quality data on German numbers, and an interpretation of the category of “other losses” in reports on German prisoners which suggested they were all deaths, when in fact many were simply released to go home.  A conference looking into the claims in the book was organised by Prof. Stephen Ambrose at the University of New Orleans in December 1990.  The conclusion of the conference was that Other Losses was “seriously – nay, spectacularly – flawed in its most fundamental aspects” and the maximum possible number of German deaths in American captivity was put at 96,000 (about 1%).  The actual figure is reported by others to have been around 0.15%, compared to 57% of Russian Prisoners of War held by the Germans who were dead by the end of the war.
The name “Eisenhower’s Death Camps” come from a caption that appeared below a picture of Eisenhower on the cover of the monthly magazine Saturday Night when it published an abridged version of the book.
 S. P. MacKenzie, “Essay and Reflection: On the Other Losses Debate“, The International History Review, Vol. 14, No. 4 (Nov., 1992).
 “Nazi Persecution of Soviet Prisoners of War“, Holocaust Encyclopedia at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum
This page’s content includes a post linking to an article claiming 9 million Germans were murdered after World War II. A steep rise from the 1 million originally claimed in “other losses”. The article is on the “Renegade Tribe” a white supremacist website which promotes Holocaust denial.
Here’s a what the Renegade Tribune looks like, note the Holohoax reference.
Another post links to a blog claiming the real Holocaust is a genocide of 15 million Germans.
The Linked article introduction states:
“It is the ghastly truth of the jewish-orchestrated plundering, mass rape, mass murder, and subjugation of the German people in the latter days and aftermath of World War Two, which continues to this day. Estimated 14 million ethnic Germans murdered after the war. Around 10-15+ million German women mass raped.”
Later in the article is says:
“Under the direction of jewish General Dwight Eisenhower, many of these German POWs were herded into fields and given no access to food, water, or shelter — and simply left to die. These were the real death camps of World War Two, not the slave labor and internment camps run by the Germans in the alleged jewish “holocaust”, which is a jewish fraud and lie”
The page (ID 917013221749498) was created on May 13, 2016. It’s last post was on September 8, 2019. It is not very active, but clearly here as an online resource. It has 1278 people following.
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