Scarsdale station area

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about Holocaust, including movies such as "Schindler's List, because they are just a series of made up stories, not historical documents.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.

Letters from Scarsdale