Target: Promoting anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial

Facebook, Twitter and other social-media platforms have made moves towards clamping down on Holocaust denial. Isn’t it about time Target did so, too?

A Target store in Ventura, Calif. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
A Target store in Ventura, Calif. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Ricki Hollander (Credit: CAMERA)
Ricki Hollander
Ricki Hollander is a senior analyst at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

The Nazi-planned and perpetrated genocide of Jews—its so-called “Final Solution”—began 80 years ago. Most of the survivors and witnesses have since passed away. A recent (September 2021) report/alert by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) focuses on the increasing distortion and disregard of the Holocaust’s historical record in Europe, after decades of progress in meticulously documenting the Holocaust and memorializing its victims.

In fact, the repugnant assaults on Holocaust memory and the concomitant rise in anti-Semitism are not limited to Europe but are being mainstreamed in the United States as well, including by one of America’s largest retail corporations, that is part of the S&P 500 index: Target.

Target, more than any other online vendor, is—whether through choice, negligence or ignorance—facilitating the dissemination of Holocaust denial material and thus mainstreaming its industry of lies by offering books—in a variety of languages—on its website with such titles as “The Hoax of the Twentieth Century”; “Auschwitz Lies”; “Dissecting the Holocaust”; “Curated Lies,” and other, less conspicuous titles by a fringe band of international Holocaust deniers. No label or description is appended to warn readers of what these books represent: The marketing material includes only the deniers’ own self-promoting blurbs and reviews.

Holocaust denial, in and of itself, is a manifestation of anti-Semitism, according to the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism, which has been adopted by the U.S. State Department and Commission on Civil Rights, the E.U. Parliament, the Global Imams Council, Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, Cyprus, Canada, England, Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Greece and almost two-dozen other European countries.

In addition to peddling anti-Semitism in the form of Holocaust denial, Target also markets French translations of the 1905 Russian-language, fraudulent The Protocols of the Elders of Zion by Roger Lamberlin, a contemporaneous French writer of anti-Semitic texts who promoted the hoax as truth; and William Luther Pierce’s The Turner Diaries, which the New York Times called an “explicitly racist and anti-Semitic” novel, the FBI has described as “the bible of the racist right” and which has incited multiple, violent and deadly hate crimes.

Who are the Holocaust deniers and what is the propaganda Target is marketing without warnings, comments, or labels?

Paul Rassinier (1906-1967): Known as the “father of Holocaust denial,” Rassinier was a French communist and bitter anti-Semite who, at one time, was a political prisoner in Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora concentration camps. He used his own experience at these camps to deny the Nazi genocide of Jews and the existence of gas chambers, which he contended were an invention of the “Zionist establishment.”

Although Rassinier’s claims were completely debunked by scholars, with extensive documentation, his claims are repeated by fringe elements of Jew-haters and anti-Zionists. Target markets a German-language book by Rassinier, titled, Was Ist Wahrheit? (“What is Truth?”), published by Castle Hill, part of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), a marginal Holocaust-denial outfit.

The blurb and book synopsis on Target’s website refer to “Rassinier’s groundbreaking revisionist pioneering work” that “exposes” the Nuremberg military tribunals as a “lynch-like show trial” and condemns the Eichmann trial as “scandalous.”

Wilhelm Stäglich (1916-2006): An officer in the German army during the Second World War who later joined a neo-Nazi party and became a notorious Holocaust denier, Stäglich wrote a book claiming the documents relating to the Holocaust were forgeries and that no gas chambers had existed. His book, Der Auschwitz-Mythos–Legende oder Wirklichkeit  (“The Auschwitz Myth–Legend or Reality”) was published by a far-right German publishing house, Grabert Verlag, in 1979 but subsequently banned in Germany. Target, however, currently markets and promotes it in its original German.

Arthur R. Butz: An associate professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, Butz is best known for his 1976 Holocaust-denial book, The Hoax of the 20th Century,  and his tenure on the editorial board of the now-defunct, racist Journal of Historical Review, a periodical dedicated to Holocaust denial, put out by the pseudo-academic, anti-Semitic Institute of Historical Review founded by neo-Nazi Willis Carto. (Stäglich also served on the Holocaust-denial institute’s advisory board.)

The marketing material on Target’s website refers to Butz’ “precise and scientific manner,” and calls the book a “penetrating study and lucid commentary” that “separates the cold facts from the sheer tonnage of disinformation that has served as a formidable barrier to the truth since the end of World War II.” Hoax is a “book you must read if you want a clear picture of the scope and magnitude of the historical cover-up of our age, who is behind it, and what can be done to put an end to it” urges the blurb.

Carlo Mattogno: An Italian writer who formerly served on the advisory council of the aforementioned Institute of Historical Review and as editor of its journalMattogno devotes his career to promoting vicious anti-Jewish propaganda and Holocaust denial. He is currently involved with CODOH and its Holocaust Handbook series of denial books, the majority of which he authored or co-authored. Target markets his books, along with others from the abhorrent series, including:

Bungled–‘The Destruction of the European Jews,’  which takes aim at the carefully evidenced studies of the late Raul Hilberg, a world-renowned scholar and founder of the academic field of Holocaust studies, who based his research and writings on millions of pages of Nazi documentation seized by the U.S. Army. The marketing material on Target’s website repeats Mattogno’s crude attacks on the scholar, asking potential readers, “Why did anyone ever take this imbecilic imposter [Hilberg] seriously?”

Curated Lies, which targets the Holocaust evidence gathered at the Auschwitz Museum in Poland, by claiming it is “manipulated” and “misrepresented.” Target’s website features the author’s claim that the book “proves the Auschwitz Museum is lying about the Auschwitz camp to millions of tourists … and to scholars by obfuscating the nature and meaning of documents in its archives.”

Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhardt Camps, which denies the reality of the Nazi killing camps, in which 1.7 million Jews were murdered. The promotional material on Target’s website consists of the author’s claim that the book “demonstrates how the myth of the ‘extermination camps’ was created.”

The Einsatzgruppen in the Occupied Eastern Territories, which refutes the role of the special units of the Nazi security police and SS intelligence known as the “mobile killing squads” that were responsible for the mass shooting murders of Jews on Soviet territory. The marketing blurb on Target’s website consists of the author’s claim that “there is not a shred of evidence” to prove this happened and that “witness testimonies and forensic expert reports … reek of atrocity propaganda marked by absurdly impossible and often contradictory claims.”

Other books by Mattogno that can be found on Target’s online market include The Real Case for Auschwitz, which takes aim at Holocaust scholar Robert van Pelt, a world authority on Auschwitz, who testified for Deborah Lipstadt in the 1996 civil libel lawsuit against her by Holocaust-denier David Irving.

Germar Rudolf: A German chemist who, in the mid-1990s, was convicted and sentenced to prison for inciting racial hatred through Holocaust denial (a criminal offense in Germany), Rudolf was dismissed from Germany’s prestigious Max Planck Institute and his books were banned in Germany. Rudolf escaped to England where he founded the above-mentioned Castle Hill Publishers to disseminate Holocaust denial literature in English and German. He later settled in the United States before being extradited to Germany, where he served prison time.

Following his prison sentence, Rudolf returned to the United States, where he was more recently convicted of indecent exposure and public lewdness near his Pennsylvania home. Rudolf affiliates himself with Mattogno and others in the small, Holocaust-denying CODOH community. Among his books featured on Target are:

The Chemistry of Auschwitz, previously known as The Rudolf Report and banned in Germany. It was the “report” for which Rudolf was dismissed from the Max Planck Institute and sentenced to 14 months in prison. The book denies the existence of Nazi gas chambers and crematoria. Target’s website includes several laudatory statements for the book from fellow Holocaust deniers, identified as “historians.”

Lectures on the Holocaust, which was similarly banned and confiscated in Germany. After his extradition to Germany in 2005, Rudolf was convicted of sedition and anti-Jewish incitement for writing and publishing this fraudulent, pseudo-scientific book that attempts to depict the Holocaust as a Jewish fabrication. Not only is it readily available on Target’s website, but it is billed as “the most comprehensive and up-to-date overview of the critical research into the Holocaust,” which puts lie to witness testimony and “the mainstream Holocaust narrative.”

Air Photo Evidence, which shows aerial photos of Nazi killing camps and sites that allegedly refutes witnesses’ testimony about Nazi atrocities and murder. Rudolf’s self-described “analysis” claims the photos of Auschwitz were “tampered with” in order to show things that never happened.

Other books that Rudolf co-authored, annotated or edited that are marketed through Target include Dissecting the Holocaust, a collection of essays by the familiar coterie of Holocaust deniers, and Auschwitz Lies, co-authored with the aforementioned Carlo Mattogno, which lashes out at Holocaust scholars who have debunked the deniers’ lies.

Target also sells Eine Zensur findet statt! It’s Rudolf’s German-language, self-justifying attack on the German authorities who banned his anti-Semitic incitement and Holocaust denial.

Fred A. Leuchter: An American manufacturer of execution equipment for capital punishment, Leuchter, with no qualifications, falsely misrepresented himself as an engineer and testified in defense of neo-Nazi Ernst Zündel at a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in which the latter was charged with publishing false, anti-Semitic propaganda denying the reality of the Holocaust.

Leuchter’s testimony, the basis of which was published as The Leuchter Report, was dismissed by scholars, discredited on both scientific and historical grounds. It is marketed on Target’s site as a “devastating report which concluded that there were no gas execution chambers” in Auschwitz, Birkenau, Majdanek, Dachau, Mauthausen, Hartheim—i.e., Nazi killing camps.

Robert Faurisson: A British-French professor of literature, Faurisson became better known as a purveyor of Holocaust denial, of which he was convicted in a French court in 1990 and which prompted his subsequent dismissal from his academic post. Faurisson’s books on Target’s website include the above-mentioned Leuchter Report, which he co-edited, as well as the French-language Écrits révisionnistes I, which justifies his Holocaust denial as legitimate, academic “revisionism.” The website includes his “dedication” of the book to those who refuse “to endorse the atrocious, grotesque, and insolent fraud of the alleged genocide of Jews and supposed Nazi gas chambers.”

In addition, a defamatory, anti-Semitic book that is part of the Holocaust Handbook series, authored by one Warren Routledge, vilifies the late Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Prize-winning Holocaust survivor who gave voice to the Jewish victims who were silenced by the Nazis. Titled Elie Wiesel, Saint of the Holocaust, the book is marketed as “a biography exposing Wiesel’s personal and historical deceits, showing how the U.S.’s Zionist establishment allowed Wiesel to force a string of American presidents to genuflect before this imposter as symbolic acts of subordination to World Jewry.”

This is not an exhaustive list of all the Holocaust denial and anti-Semitic material found on Target’s website. Other books from deniers associated with CODOH/Castle Hill Publishers are marketed in German or French.

Because Holocaust denial is a criminal offense in much of Europe and in Germany, the international clique of anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi deniers have moved their operations to the United States, where the First Amendment allows Jew-haters to lie about the Holocaust and vilify Jews with impunity.

That doesn’t mean, however, that online marketers are required to play a role in mainstreaming their dangerous bigotry and defamatory lies. Indeed, Facebook, Twitter and other social-media platforms have made moves toward clamping down on Holocaust denial. Amazon has tried to prevent its platform from being used to market the deniers’ anti-Semitism, as have others. Isn’t it time that Target followed suit?

Ricki Hollander is a senior analyst at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. 

This article was first published by CAMERA.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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