By Richard A. Widmann-
Widmann: For readers who may not know you, could you explain how you first became involved in historical revisionism?
Heink: I was born in 1937, in Germany, a long story and not the issue here. In 1959 my wife and I, along with our 1-year-old son, moved to Canada. At first, World War II was still being fought when talking to Canadians, with “The Holocaust” creeping in only later. I was young and busy trying to make a living, and really had no reason to doubt the official version – what is presented as history. But this constant “Germany responsible for all the ills” started to grate on me, and having opted to get out of the rat race, I moved to a small village where I decided to take a closer look. That was in 1982. By then, the letters to the editor of a German newspaper published in Canada made me think doubts as to the veracity of the official version had crept in, The communist empire collapsed; it had failed to bring about the “One World Government” and had therefore become useless. Shortly thereafter I read in that German paper that the Auschwitz death toll, mostly Jews we were told, had been reduced from 4 million to 1.5 million, at first; it now stands at 1.1 million. I still remember when I read this and where I was, for I was sure that now investigations will be undertaken, for if 2.5 million people, mostly Jews, can be misplaced, where else have mistakes been made?
Nothing of that sort happened, for obvious reasons, “The Holocaust” is now perhaps the foundation of our new society, but I decided to see if I could find out what really happened. I decided early on to focus on early European history, whatever little I could find. I did this in order to find out why Germany is blamed for everything bad that happened at least from 1914 on, why there is a “German problem” as George F. Kennan puts it in his Russia and the West. And, even with the few resources at hand, no big library close by, I soon discovered that what we are told is not based on fact; it is indeed the victor’s version of history.
Widmann: What books or authors would you credit as the most significant influence on your awakening from the “victor’s version of history”?
Heink: All of it happened many moons ago, and the subject being what it is, huge and multi-faceted, it is hard to say. As for the Bismarck era, the book by Emil Ludwig, Bismarck: The Story of a Fighter (Little, Brown and Company, Boston, 1927) was immensely helpful. I consider Bismarck’s re-unification of Germany in 1871 as the beginning of Germany’s downfall (the “Holy Roman Empire, German Nation” was the forerunner) ; Ludwig provided valuable insight and inspired me to look further.
For the lead-up to World War I, some time later, Mitteleuropa, by Renate Riemeck (Engel & Co., Stuttgart, 1997). Riemeck shows that others worked behind the scenes to bring about World War I, with the Kaiser if not innocent still not solely responsible. I was able to obtain some of the books she refers to as sources, to round out the picture.
The Kings Depart. The Tragedy of Germany: Versailles and the German Revolution, by Richard M. Watt (Simon and Schuster, New York, 1968) provided me with some insight in regard to World War I and Versailles, a start. The next early book I found was The Nuremberg Trials, by August von Knieriem (Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, Illinois, 1959). Dr. von Knieriem, a lawyer and member of the board of IG Farben, was a co- defendant at the trials. He does not try to make excuses, but looks at the trials from a legal point of view and finds them wanting, big time. Then the books by Heinrich Härtle, published in the 60s and dealing with the Third Reich also helped; they encouraged me to look further.
Was it a single book or author? No. I consider all of them to be a starting point. As you can see, they are all early publications when it was still possible, in Germany, to voice objections. Later editions are almost useless, but some have now appeared questioning the ‘lone guilt’ of Germany regarding World War I. Perhaps there is hope?
Widmann: What do you consider your greatest contribution to historical revisionism and specifically the effort to bring Germany’s history into accord with the facts?
Heink: Oh, nothing of note, Richard. I’ve translated some books for a lady, as best I could, posted a few articles on our [Inconvenient History] Blog, discussed issues on various Forums. I’ve also been on the Radio a few times. Did anyone read what I wrote, or listen? I have no idea, but I do hope that I made a small bit of difference.
My ambition is to put something together, starting with Bismarck and ending with the Nuremberg trials. But, this old age thing is getting in the way; I am going nowhere fast.
Widmann: It was back in 1958 that Harry Elmer Barnes wrote that, “in the minds of anti-Revisionists, the term [Revisionism] savors of malice, vindictiveness, and an unholy desire to smear the saviors of mankind.” Today it is common to have the charges of racism, anti-Semitism, and fascism used to counter revisionists. How would you respond to such attacks?
Heink: I am appalled and find it hard to believe that we, as an ‘enlightened’ society, still practice witch-hunting. Historiography should be void of emotions, based on facts, on material available and must always be open to revision should new data become available.
Ernst Nolte, a German historian, who initiated the Historikerstreit (historians dispute) of the late 80s, devotes a whole chapter “On Revisionism”(Chapter 6) in his debate with Francois Furet, a French historian, published as Fascism & Communism. It is available at Amazon.
“But doesn’t it follow that a historian whose research is focused on anti-Semitism is no more anti-Semitic than a historian who focuses on the American, English or French Revolutions is a revolutionary? One, like the other, is under the same obligation – to approach his subject with detachment, motivated by a desire for objectivity, in no instance content to express hostile remarks, however clear his own conclusions might be.”
Every historian researching German history should have this book on his desk. Looking at German history as presented, detachment or objectivity do not come to mind; it appears to be a collection of consensuses and personal interpretations, emotional nonsense, rather than facts. A little more from Nolte:
“What is at stake here is neither more nor less than the fundamental quality of the historian. He knows that “revisions” are the daily bread of scientific work and that in the history of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, “revisionisms” haven’t stopped springing up even in the victor’s camp, when their ideas enjoyed an apparently unassailable privilege during or following major events.”
Revisionism must be ‘the daily bread’ of historians, under all circumstances and concerning any event. Heavens, new information is still found in regard to the Egyptians, the Gilgamesh saga, etc.; why is contemporary German history, especially that of the Third Reich, a taboo subject? Nolte is not finished, however:
“However, even if these two claims were definitively refuted [Nolte talks about the gas chambers], it would not suffice to dispense with the question of whether a revisionism that distances itself from provocative agitation and that proceeds by argumentation is not, in fact, an extreme example of revisions that are legitimate in principle and should be accepted as phenomena internal to scientific development. If this were the case, obviously strong criticism of the revisionism in question would be pursued, not excluded. I’m inclined to answer this question in the affirmative because what would science be if it were not always constantly required to carry out its critique of grave scientific errors through extensive work and to discover other cores of truth in the errors themselves!”
“If I could make a wish, it would be that one of the well-known experts and archive analysts of the “established school” write a book in which he records without anger or obvious Indignation the arguments of the revisionists and analyzes them in detail so that we would finally arrive at a result comparable to earlier examinations of revisionist arguments, and in this form: “It must be acknowledged that. . . but in no way does this call the essence of the matter into doubt.”
But I consider the claim fundamentally false that if the essential is irrefutable, no particular claim need be further examined, and that all the doubts can only come from bad intentions. I think that the core of the matter is threatened when the shell of the discussion is removed; certainly not the factual character of the core, but the rank and importance accorded it.
If the matter had to follow another course, if we insist on the conviction that the smallest fragment torn from the edifice makes the collapse of the whole inevitable and that we must therefore defend all testimony, however debatable, by an appeal to the courts and the police, I am convinced that we would be taking a fatal path.”
No need to add anything. And of course the Third Reich is not the only issue; this year is the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I – as such the German “war guilt,” as set down in the Versailles Treaty has come under some discussion. But here also there is a reluctance to have a real debate; sadly, historians seem to be comfortable with what they have agreed on.
Widmann: While revisionists have made major arguments based on the documentary and forensic records, it is rather the battle for freedom of speech that seems to be their greatest struggle. We see nation after nation in Europe outlawing Holocaust revisionism and even the expression of doubt on the verdicts of the Nuremberg Trials. One can only surmise how the historical record would be corrected if the threat of persecution and imprisonment were removed. Historians may not only “be comfortable with what they have agreed on,” they may also wish to avoid going to jail. How should those interested in setting history into accord with the facts deal with the current limits on intellectual freedom?
Heink: Just briefly to the issues Revisionists have addressed. In May 2008 some 200 historians and scientists met in Berlin to address “Holocaust Denial,” i.e., Revisionism. From an article in taz.de of May 15, 2008, titled (my translation): “The Paradox of the Neo-Nazis”:
“Glorify the Holocaust, but deny it so it can be repeated: This international conference takes issue with this absurd logic of the right wing extremists… The courts have been able to curb the activity of Holocaust deniers, but they are still here”, states H. Funke, an expert on right wing extremism and anti-Semitism who will talk about the tactics of Revisionists at the conference. “Some deny the Holocaust absolutely, other just deny the mass murder with gas.” They ask for instance: “Is it possible to prove that traces of cyanide exist in Auschwitz? With this pedantic detailed research Revisionists try to sidestep the important issues.”
Research has to be “pedantic,” detailed, if it is to be accurate. And, why not invite Revisionists to those gatherings, have them present their material and prove to them that they are wrong, publicly? This would be the only convincing method to combat “Holocaust denial,” as it is termed. If solid counter-arguments are presented, Holocaust Revisionists would have to fold their tents, and they would.
Freedom of speech is the issue, and no doubt some historians are intimidated by the prospect of losing their livelihood should their treatments not confirm the official version. That is the sad part, but it also strengthens the Revisionists’ case, for it shows that open research must be prevented from happening at all costs, the official version being unable to pass muster.
What can be done? A tough question and I don’t have the answer. I believe it was Ernst Zündel, imprisoned for seven years for doubting the official version, who said that we do not need more people in jail. I agree. We need to play by whatever rules are enforced upon us. There are, however, issues that can be addressed, so far without fear of persecution. One of them is World War I, i.e., who was responsible for it and what was the reason for starting it. This then would lead to World War II, because we cannot understand one without taking the other into account. If it can be demonstrated that we have been led down the primrose path right from the beginning, that is from the lead-up to World War I, we should be able to place doubt into the minds of those interested as to the veracity of the rest of the official version.
Aside from the restrictions on research, we also have this ‘those interested’ issue. Is anyone, other than a handful of us, really interested in setting the record straight, as it were? I doubt it; the people I talk to are comfortable with the victor’s version; not only that, they believe it is fact-based. Every year we have the Veterans Day parade on November 11, at first called Armistice Day. Banners are carried, reading: “If you like your Freedoms, thank a veteran.” I asked one of them what exactly this refers to, knowing full well what the answer would be. And sure enough, he told me that he and his buddies saved the world, the Germans tried twice to conquer it all. They fought “The good war”, or so they were/are told, and nobody will convince them otherwise, and that goes for their families as well. Will we, a small handful, be able to make a difference, win them over, prove to them that they were lied to and used? I doubt it, but I for one will trudge on.
Widmann: For the younger generation who has taken an interest in revisionism, what do you recommend? Are there any areas that need particular attention?
Heink: I am not really qualified to give advice. Looking back, however, it appears that I approached the subject – “The German Problem” as it is seen – incorrectly when I focused on the Third Reich. Hitler was only a means to an end, it did not matter who was in charge, but a strong man was needed by those who plotted the destruction of Germany. The two wars, World War I and World War II were fought against the German people, Lord Vansittart, Permanent Under-Secretary at the Foreign Office, made that quite clear:
“The battle still rages round the question: are we fighting the Germans or the Nazis? One day historians will rub their eyes, and wonder how such silly questions could be discussed at the end of 1941. No one was fool enough to pretend that we were fighting anything but the Germans in 1914. Indeed, all these fallacies about “Hitlerite Germany” calmly overlook the last war altogether. The story of German aggression is a perfectly simple and consecutive one. If the world chooses to close its eyes again both to story and warning, Germany will succeed in reducing the world to slavery at her third attempt.”(Lord Vansittart, Black Record: Germans Past and Present, Hamish Hamilton, London, 1941, p. ix)
And in a letter of September 6, 1940 to Lord Hamilton, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Vansittart wrote:
“I hope that you will instruct Mr. Mallet that he is on no account to meet Dr. Weissauer. The future of civilisation is at stake. It is a question of we or they now, and either the German Reich or this country has got to go under, and not only under, but right under. I believe it will be the German Reich. This is a very different thing from saying that Germany has got to go under; but the German Reich and the Reich idea have been the curse of the world for 75 years, and if we do not stop it this time, we never shall, and they will stop us. The enemy is the German Reich and not merely Nazism, and those who have not yet learned this lesson have learned nothing whatever, and would let us in for a sixth war even if we survive the fifth.”
This in regard to a peace offer by Hitler submitted to the British Ambassador in Stockholm by Ludwig Weissauer. Vansittart makes it clear that the work of Bismarck, the re-unified Germany, the “Reich”, has to be destroyed, and it was, Germany now a mere shadow of its former self and still without a valid peace Treaty. It is my firm belief that World War I was instigated by the British to destroy Germany as a European power, as the authors of Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War make that quite clear. Other books have been published on this subject, for instance Die Diplomatie des Vatikan(The Diplomacy of the Vatican), by Prof. E. Adamov, which deals with the efforts by the Vatican to help encircle Germany, with the help of influential Russians. This book was published in 1932 to embarrass the Vatican, Pope Leo XIII engaging in rather worldly conspiracies. Then we have Mitteleuropa, by Renate Riemeck, who confirms much of what is written by others.
And this is where it has to start; we must show that both wars, World War I and World War II were instigated by others and that they have to be considered as one, the second Thirty-Year War against Germany. We also have the atrocity stories told during World War I, exposed as lies and defamation of Germans after the war. Following the unconditional surrender of the German forces in 1945, [Karl] Dönitz, who had been acknowledged by the Allies as German head of state, formed a provisional government with the intent to reinstate the Weimar constitution. On May 7th Admiral von Friedeburg, a member of this cabinet, presented a copy of Stars and Stripes, showing pictures of Buchenwald. Dönitz, who no doubt remembered the horror lies told during World War I, sent a request to Eisenhower, asking for permission to start an investigation. Admiral Dönitz considered this to be a German matter, but since the Germans were dependent on the Allies’ good will for everything, whatever investigation would be undertaken would of course be under Allied supervision. No reply was received from Eisenhower; the Dönitz government instead was arrested on May 23rd. There would be no investigation—this time the stories told would become fact.
There are too many pitfalls regarding the Hitler subject; what we need to do is show that lies have been told about Bismarck’s reunited Germany ambitions from Day One, and maybe, just maybe, people will start to reconsider, ask questions about the official version of history.