Iran Further Isolates Itself with 'Holocaust Denial'

Senior News Analyst Daniel Schorr comments on the recent Holocaust denial conference hosted and sponsored by the Iranian government in Tehran.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

DANIEL SCHORR: Call it a community of hate.


NPR's senior news analyst, Daniel Schorr.

SCHORR: Sixty-seven delegates from 30 countries gathered in Tehran by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a Holocaust-denial conference. I know a little about the Holocaust, having visited the lakeside mansion in Berlin where the Wannsee Conference in 1942 drew up the master plan with Adolph Eichmann for the extinction of the Jews of Europe. In the Wannsee mansion are housed documents that make mass murder seem like an engineering assignment.

And I spent some time in Auschwitz in 1959 making a documentary for CBS. I reported, This was the greatest death factory ever devised. And I showed the gas chambers where murder was efficiently processed at a rate of 60,000 a day. I showed the stagnant ponds, where if you ran your hands over the bottom, you picked up human ashes and fragments of bone.

So you will understand if I'm not entirely disinterested when I read that people like David Duke of the Ku Klux Klan joins French, Canadian, Swiss, Austrian and other Holocaust deniers in peddling the idea that the mass murder was simply a myth.

The two-day conference was part of Iran's anti-Israel campaign. But maybe the conference served one useful purpose in that it forced world leaders to renew their humanist credentials. European Union Commissioner Franco Frattini said anti-Semitism has no place in Europe. The Vatican called the Holocaust an immense tragedy and a warning to all people to respect the rights of others. The new secretary general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, told Iran it was unacceptable to deny the Holocaust. The German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said, The Tehran meeting shows the danger of the situation that Israel is in. British Prime Minister Tony Blair called the conference shocking beyond belief. And here in Washington, the White House called the meeting an affront to the entire civilized world.

The Iranian effort to mount a Holocaust denial campaign is linked with the Palestinian-Israeli crisis. Ahmadinejad calls for the extinction of Israel in the same speeches in which he denies the Holocaust. It seems inconceivable that anyone today would go through the charade of wanting to research this historic wrong but this is the age of the inconceivable.

This is Daniel Schorr.

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.