A few days ago, John Friend a veteran journalist and podcaster who has worked extensively for American Free Press and The Barnes Review sat down with our own Michael Santomauro to talk about revisionism. The interview that ensued on behalf of The Barnes Review was rather productive and worth sharing with a candid world.
Can you briefly explain how you became interested in revisionism? What sparked your journey into this field?
Although “Holocaust denial” laws have created physical and mental hardship for such scholars as Dr. Fredrick Töben, David Irving, Jürgen Graf, Dr. Robert Faurisson, and Germar Rudolf, they have actually created an interest in this historical period for people, myself included, who normally would not be interested, or who simply never heard about the topic.
My first encounter with a prominent revisionist was in 1999, when I phoned Dr. Töben at his Australian residence from my New York office, not realizing I was ringing him at 6:00 AM!
A few days later, I learned from David Irving’s website that the very same man—the first major revisionist that I had contacted directly—had been arrested in Germany. I was perplexed. Why would there be laws to sabotage historical research for Dr. Töben? His arrest had an impact on my own pursuits in historical research. What struck a chord in my new thinking about the Holocaust, in particular, was a point he made during our conversation a few days before his infamous arrest. When I asked him what he believed, he said “I don’t believe in anything. I want to know.” As simple as it sounds, that was my turning point in my immersion into historical revisionism.
His words, “I want to know,” coupled with his arrest, motivated me to become a web journalist and create RePortersNotebook.com—a collection of journalistic truths suppressed by the mainstream media. Its mission statement is the following: “The ramifications of dishonest news reporting divides people. Our purpose is to rectify false concepts in the writing of history and in contemporary news reporting.”
I am indebted to researchers such as the late Dr. Toben (who died in 2020), as well as to the highly productive and, frankly, one of the most important free speech advocates in the world, Germar Rudolf. Both men have had major sacrifices forced upon them, including prison terms, and both have shown tremendous courage in speaking out, at the risk of suffering physical and mental hardships.
But the Internet has been a huge benefit to the revisionist movement, given that so much of their work is censored, blocked, or otherwise unpublishable by conventional means. I would never have known about Dr. Töben, or his arrest if it had not been promoted on the Web.
Today, now 80 years after the event, it is mind-boggling that it is taboo to want to know about certain historical events related to the Holocaust. Clearly, there are powerful actors at work who are greatly concerned about the truth getting out. They make life difficult for all of us, every day.
How would you explain the concept of historical revisionism to an average person? Why is revisionism such a worthy endeavor?
There are really two issues here. Conventional ‘historical revisionism’ happens all the time. It helps us develop a better and more accurate understanding of the world. Historical revisionism helps us understand the world at large, both past and present. Historical revisionism paints a detailed picture of how society, technology, and government worked in the past so that we can better understand how it works now. Given that there can always be new information that can change our collective understanding of the past, historical revisionism in itself is not innately good or bad. It is in fact an essential part of the work historians do. All historians by default are revisionists. They are always correcting or modifying our views of the past, based on new insights and new information.
The second issue, though, is much more contentious. It is ‘Holocaust revisionism.’ This is literally the one and only area of history that is banned from revisionist work. The orthodox Holocaust story is set in stone, and no one is allowed to challenge or modify it—by penalty of law, in many countries (not yet in the US, thankfully). Even in the US, Holocaust revisionists are harassed, threatened, ‘canceled,’ sometimes sued, and sometimes physically attacked. There is a powerful Jewish Lobby here that is terrified of Holocaust revisionism. It seems to be their Achilles’ Heel: they sense that their story is largely false or exaggerated, yet they cling to the “gas chambers” and the “6 million” in order to solidify their victimhood status.
If the orthodox account were shown to be radically false, it would not only undermine their victimhood, it would also prove them to be malicious liars and draconian censors of the truth. If that message got out, people might start to ask, “What other Jewish tales have we been misled about?” And, “How do they have so much power to stifle open debate?” And, “Why do so many non-Jews play along with them?” If people start asking these questions, the whole Jewish power structure will start to wobble.
Tell our readers about your role with Castle Hill Publishing. How long have you been involved with the publishing house?
Castle Hill Publishers was founded in 1997 in Hastings, England, by Germar Rudolf. A small imprint, “Theses & Dissertations Press,” was created as the American outlet of CHP. Several revisionist books have been published under both headings.
In 2000, Rudolf initiated the “Holocaust Handbook” series, to encompass the most important and authoritative revisionist books. To date, there are some 50 titles in that series.
I have been the CEO of Castle Hill Publishers on and off since 2005, including for 5 years while Germar Rudolf was in prison in Germany. Then upon his release in 2009, I handed the publishing company back to him, which he ran for several years, until about a year ago. Since early 2022, he has retired from all activities to do with Holocaust revisionism; I am now at the helm once again, to continue his body of work with the help of Dr. Thomas Dalton, a retired professor of humanities.
Can you tell us the purpose and mission of Castle Hill Publishing?
Its purpose is to continue to counter the claims that the National Socialists mass-murdered people in homicidal gas chambers. It does not deny that “something happened” to the Jews, or that many thousands died while under the National Socialists. But we do deny that anything like 6 million Jews were killed. Most revisionists currently estimate that the actual figure is around 500,000, or about 10% of the official number.
Interestingly, it took a leftist French political prisoner who suffered through two German war-time concentration and forced-labor camps to get the ball rolling: Paul Rassinier. He earned a Ph.D. in history and was a university professor by 1933. He was arrested by the Germans in 1943 and sent to Buchenwald and later, Dora camps.
Serious, academic Holocaust revisionism began with his book The Lie of Ulysses, which came out in French in 1950. In it, he corrected numerous popular exaggerations of the time, and denied any knowledge of gas chambers, either at Buchenwald or elsewhere. And this, despite the fact that he considered the Germans as enemies. He was neither trying to “rehabilitate” nor defend the Germans; Rassinier simply wanted people to know the truth. In addition to relating his own experiences, he analyzes the books of former fellow prisoners and shows how they lied and distorted the truth in order to hide their complicity.
The ramifications of dishonest history writing divides people. Our purpose is to rectify false concepts in the Holocaust narrative. The truth will ultimately bring people together, and inspire trust in authority. Today, authorities are almost completely devoid of credibility.
We have carried on in the spirit of Rassinier, dedicated to exposing the truth, no matter how inconvenient it may be for those in power.
Who is Germar Rudolf and why is he such a significant figure in revisionism? Germar has been highly persecuted for his academic research into certain aspects of the official “Holocaust” narrative—can you give us a brief background on what he has experienced and gone through? What is his current status?
Germar Rudolf is the most important researcher and former publisher on the questioning of the orthodox Holocaust narrative. Though now retired, his work remains hugely important. Rudolf was born in Limburg an der Lahn, Hesse, Germany, in 1964. In 1983 he took his Abitur in Remscheid, then studied chemistry in Bonn, graduating in 1989 with a Master’s degree. After his military service with the German Air Force, he joined the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research at Stuttgart in 1990, where he prepared for a Ph.D. thesis.
In 1991, Rudolf began work on a paper regarding the formation of cyanide compounds in the Auschwitz “gas chambers.” He stated that his findings at Auschwitz and Birkenau “completely shattered his worldview”. Among other things, his report claims that only insignificant traces of cyanide compounds can be found in the samples taken from Auschwitz chambers; therefore, they could never have been used for mass homicidal gassings.
But such work was forbidden in Germany, and he was banned from the Planck Institute in 1993. In 1994, this dismissal was converted into a termination by mutual agreement. In 1996, the University of Stuttgart asked Rudolf to withdraw his application for a final Ph.D. examination, or it would be denied, rendering his Ph.D. thesis worthless. The legal basis for this is a German law that allows universities to deny or withdraw academic degrees where the candidate has used his academic credentials or knowledge “to commit a crime”—here, a thought crime. Rudolf subsequently withdrew his application.
Between 1991 and 1994, Rudolf’s Auschwitz report was used to defend several Holocaust skeptics, among them Otto Ernst Remer, a former Wehrmacht officer.
In 1995, Rudolf was sentenced to 14 months in prison by the district court of Stuttgart for “inciting racial hatred” via his “Rudolf Report”. But he avoided prison by fleeing to Spain, England, and finally to the United States.
He got married to an American woman in 2004, settling in Chicago and, later, Pennsylvania. He applied for political asylum, or at least for the right not to be expelled, but this was rejected in November 2004. On 14 November 2005, Rudolf was extradited to Germany where he was wanted for incitement of racial hatred (Volksverhetzung). On arrival there, he was arrested by the police and transferred to a prison in Rothenburg, then to another in Stuttgart in Baden-Württemberg. In early 2007, the Mannheim District Court sentenced him to two years and six months in prison for inciting hatred, disparaging the dead, and libel. Rudolf accepted the verdict, and copies of his book Lectures on the Holocaust were confiscated and destroyed. He was released from prison on 5 July 2009 and returned to the US with his wife and children.
For years, the German government agencies and influential private bodies associated with the Jewish Lobby have waged a concerted campaign to silence him. He has had to defend himself in court for his candid and uncompromising writings and statements, being convicted under Holocaust denial laws and sent to prison for his non-violent writings and his non-violent published books. After many years of hard work and sacrifice, he retired from the business in 2022 and now lives a quiet personal life.
Still, it remains a fact that only a few living people in the Western hemisphere are more courageous regarding free speech advocacy than Germar Rudolf. I would say that Rudolf and Julian Assange are the most important free speech advocates in the Western world today.