Kuniko Katz's essays,
articles and letters to the editors
Shameful story that denies the Holocaust
kills magazine, "Marco Polo." Scarsdale
Inquirer, March 3, 1995
To the Editor:
I wish to commend the Simon Wiesenthal Center for its swift reaction to an
article in the February issue of Marco Polo, a monthly publication of Bungei
Shunju Company, one of Japan's leading publishers. The Wiesenthal Center not
only furiously protested the article through the Japanese Embassy in the U.S.
and the Israel Embassy in Japan as soon as it appeared, but also requested
Volkswagen and other international companies to cancel their advertisements in
all Bungei Shunju publications.
Volkswagen and Cartier accepted the center's request immediately and two large
Japanese corporations, Mitsubishi Motors and Mitsubishi Electric, quickly
followed suit. As a result, the publishers, who had previously rejected a
proposal from the Israeli Embassy to publish a counter article because they did
not want to entertain any disputes over the article's content", apologized to
the Wiesenthal Center. They also announced that they would discontinue the
publication of Marco Polo and recall all copies of its February issue. The
magazine's editor‑in‑chief’s' was force to leave his position the same day, and
two weeks later the president of the Bungei Shunju resigned. l cheered when I
read about these developments, because I had been extremely dismayed by this
article and was also planning to protest.
The article in question, titled “The Biggest Taboo in the Post World War Two
Era; there were no Nazi‑run gas chambers," was written by a physician named
Masanori Nishioka. In it, Nishioka denies the existence of gas chambers and
alleges that the Nazis planned not to exterminate the Jews, but merely to
forcefully resettle them in the East. He says that since he first read that the
Holocaust was nothing but a hoax in an English article six years ago, he has
been busily studying related documents and corresponding with professions at
European and U.S. universities.
In the wake of this research, he has concluded that it is time for Japanese
readers to be liberated from the Holocaust myth for the sake of learning the
truth. TO do this, he suggests that the readers forget all they have read or
heard about Holocaust, including movies such as "Schindler's List, because they
are just a series of made up stories, not historical documents.
When I first went to the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., about
a year ago, I bought a book titled "Denying the Holocaust," by Deborah Lipstadt.
According to her book, despite tens of thousands of living witnesses (some of
whom I have met) and vast amounts of documentary evidence such as that shown in
the museum, publications that promote a "revisionist" view of recent history
have continued to gain adherents in Europe and the U.S.
I was so sad and depressed to find these facts that I remember crying on the
train coming home from Washington. Nishioka's article is a more copy of the
revisionist's ideas that I read in Lipstadt's book. He cites revisionists such
as Paul Rassinier and Martin Broszat as credible historians and tells the
readers that their opinions are known secrets in the Western world. Nishioka
goes on to say, as if to authenticate his point, that an unnamed 1986 Noble
Peace Prize winner, a survivor of Auschwitz, wrote that he saw children and
babies being thrown into the flames, yet never once mentioned gas chambers in
his books! Nishioka even claims those victims' belongings, such as the shoes and
hair one sees in the Auschwitz museum, could have easily been fabricated.
I do not wish to continue listing his ridiculous lies because the more I write
about it, the sicker I feel. It is terribly frightening to think though, that
Bungei Shunju Company, one of the most prestigious publishers in Japan, did not
see anything wrong in this article and probably would have not realized the
significance of their error had the large corporations not withdrawn their
advertisements from their publications. I am glad that the Simon Wiesenthal
Center moved so quickly. I sincerely hope that Bungei Shunju Company learned the
important lessons that Japanese is no longer a language only understood by
Japanese people, that they are living in an international community and that as
such they must be sensitive to the truth of history.