Holocaust Denial and Hate Speech

Robert A. Kahn

in Genocide Denials and the Law

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738922
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895199 | DOI:
Holocaust Denial and Hate Speech

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This chapter argues that “bare” Holocaust denial—the denial of the gas chambers, the six-million figure, and the Nazi policy of extermination—is, in those parts of Europe with direct experience with Nazi rule, a form of hate speech. It falls into this category for a number of reasons. First, there is a well-organized movement on the extreme Right that uses Holocaust denial to rehabilitate Hitler and the Nazis. Second, in countries where descendants of the victims and perpetrators live together, denial—and state toleration of it—suggests that the agreement to treat May 1945 as “Ground Zero” is open to revision. This helps explain how even an advocate of free speech such as Deborah Lipstadt can hesitate when it comes to Germany and Austria. Finally, by ignoring the deaths of thousands of people, deniers separate the survivors from the rest of society, a separation that imposes the type of “aloneness” that is characteristic of traditional hate speech.

Keywords: denial; Holocaust; hate speech; genocide denial; Deborah Lipstadt

Chapter.  13784 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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