Pat Buchanan and the Holocaust
by Jamie McCarthy
New York Post column
of March 17, 1990, Patrick Buchanan wrote:
Since the war, 1,600 medical papers have been written on "The
Psychological and Medical Effects of the Concentration Camps on
This so-called "Holocaust Survivor Syndrome" involves "group
fantasies of martyrdom and heroics." Reportedly, half the 20,000
survivor testimonies in Jerusalem are considered "unreliable," not to
be used in trials.
Finally, the death engine. During the war, the underground
government of the Warsaw Ghetto reported to London that the Jews of
Treblinka were being electrocuted and steamed to death.
The Israeli court, however, concluded the murder weapon for 850,000
was the diesel engine from a Soviet tank which drove its exhaust into
the death chamber. All died in 20 minutes, Finkelstein swore in 1945.
The problem is: Diesel engines do not emit enough carbon monoxide
to kill anybody. In 1988, 97 kids, trapped 400 feet underground in a
Washington, D.C., tunnel while two locomotives spewed diesel exhaust
into the car, emerged unharmed after 45 minutes.
Demjanjuk's weapon of mass murder cannot kill.
Patrick Buchanan has come to a preposterous conclusion based on
incorrect facts. That the Nazis used engines as weapons of mass murder
is not in doubt; see for example the
to Himmler's staff
describing a gassing van, or the horribly detailed
describing how gassing vans were used to exterminate 97,000 people.
(Mobile vans were used first; the vans were made stationery at the
Chelmno camp; and special chambers were built at the Reinhard camps,
Let's look first at his claim about diesel engines. Many things are
wrong with the diesel argument, and this will be the topic of a future
webpage at this site. Here is the quickest way to debunk the claim: if
the operator of the diesel engine races it up to high RPM and then
restricts the air intake, the engine can be made to run arbitrarily
rich, producing extremely low levels of oxygen.
The victims at the Reinhard camps were suffocated to death, not
killed with carbon monoxide, because, although an
intentionally-mistuned diesel produces enough carbon monoxide to kill
you, the lack of oxygen will kill you first.
A properly-tuned diesel engine running at idle cannot kill: this is
true. But unlike the locomotive engineer in Buchanan's example, who
was concerned with saving the lives of trapped people, the Nazis had no
qualms about opening the engine's throttle and restricting the air
Buchanan's incorrect conclusion is one thing; people are sometimes
wrong. But now the question must be raised: where did he get his
facts? Who told him that the deaths of 850,000 people (in fact,
between 1.5 and 2.0 million people, because all Reinhard camps used
similar murder weapons) were imaginary?
According to Jacob Weisberg, in his article "The Heresies of Pat
Buchanan" in the October 22, 1990 issue of The New Republic:
Buchanan stands by his bizarre claim about the diesel engines, but
refuses to discuss it on the record. Suffice it to say that he
embraces a bolder debunking claim than he is yet willing to endorse in
print. ... Where did he get the anecdote [about the children in the
tunnel]? "Somebody sent it to me."
Who that "somebody" is will probably never be known. But we can make
an excellent guess at the "it" that was "sent."
Buchanan's source was almost certainly the July 1988 issue of a
small (six-page) pamphlet: the G.I.E.A. Newsletter of the German
American Information and Education Association (P.O. Box 23169,
Washington D.C., 20026). The agenda of this newsletter becomes clear on
The May Newsletter which discusses the Holocaust Museum continues to
generate the greatest response. Approximately 95% of the response has
been favorable; 5% negative. Evidently, that museum has a lot of
people stirred up. It is obvious that the issue that sticks in the
craw of so many is the hypocrisy blatantly displayed and practiced by
the American Jewish community.
It is very clear that if enough people would write their senators
and congressman [sic], and demand that rooms be set aside for other
holocausts, something could be accomplished. Write them and point out
that the German people were "holocausted" after WW II, especially by
the Bolshevics, originally a Jewish/Zionist movement.
The Palestinians daily suffer terrible persecution with their civil
and human rights being trampled upon by the State of Israel. Even the
United Methodist Church condemned "Israel's current iron-fist policy
... is totally unacceptable as civilized behavior." The Church's
reproach against Israel... [etc.]
On page five is a photocopy of a Washington Post article on May 13,
1988: "5th Graders' Trip Turns to Terror in Train Tunnel."
Above the article is typed "For the inevitable victory of decency,
free speech, and historical truth!" Below it is written (and I've
reproduced the typos and other errors):
SCHOOLCHILDREN UNHARMED BY DIESEL EXHAUST!
Nothing surprising about this, we would say, since it has been long
known that the exhaust from Diesel engines is, though malodorous, not
especially toxic. But why ist this of relevance to a German-American
organization? And why this mailing?
Because our children are still being poisoned
by the loathsome Zionist "Holocaust" story, and:
* Because, despite the of hundreds movies, books, TV docu-dramas,
"eyewitness-testimonies" and warcrimes trial "evidence" -
1. No one any longer claims "gassing" in the camps inside the German
Reich (Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Mauthausen, Ravensbrueck,
etc.). In fact,a recently brought forward allied investigatory
document reveals the authorities knew the stories were false as early
2. The Auschwitz/Birkenau (and related Majdanek) "gas chamber"
story, the very cornerstone of the entire "Holocaust" legend
(though long discounted by the sophisticated), has just been dealt the
final death blow. In Toronto on April 20th, 1988, Mr. Fred Leuchter,
an American engineer with over 25 years of experience in the design and
construction of gas chamber for execution of criminals...
At this point it's obvious where the article is going.
Discredited Fred Leuchter is cited as authoritative. The remainder of
page five and all of page six is devoted to Holocaust-denial. One
assumes that this particular section would have caught Buchanan's eye,
considering that his cause at the time was exonerating Nazi SS member
...that the ruthlessly efficient, evil Germans Exterminated Millions
of Jews at three tiny (and long since virtually vanished) transit camps
near the Polish Eastern border (Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka)
- - and did so (though some early versions referred to "steam" or
"suffocation") by means of DIESEL EXHAUST "from a Russian T-34
tank". (One assumes the tank was operated by John Demjanjuk, who no
doubt clubbed the "950,000" victims of Treblinka into the "gas
chamber", and then sprinted around the back, lept into his tank, and
started 'er up!)
I am not aware of this May 13, 1988 article being cited in any
Holocaust-denial material other than this newsletter. It looks,
therefore, suspiciously like it was this newsletter that Buchanan
received in the mail and, accepting its claims as true, reprinted them
in his nationally-syndicated column.
Now let's turn to Buchanan's claims about unreliable testimony of
Holocaust survivors. He writes:
..."Holocaust Survivor Syndrome" involves "group fantasies of
martyrdom and heroics." Reportedly, half the 20,000 survivor
testimonies in Jerusalem are considered "unreliable"...
There is no need to hunt for Buchanan's sources on these statements.
They have been staples of Holocaust-denial for many years. The source
is the Director of the Yad Vashem archives in Jerusalem,
Krakowski was misquoted in an article in the Jerusalem Post on
August 17, 1986. It read:
Over half of the 20,000 testimonies from Holocaust survivors on
record at Yad Vashem are "unreliable" and have never been used as
evidence in Nazi war crimes trials, Yad Vashem Archives director Shmuel
Krakowski has told The Jerusalem Post.
"A large number of testimonies on file were later proved inaccurate
when locations and dates could not pass an expert historian's
appraisal," he said
On the same day this article appeared, Krakowski sent a shocked
protest, which appeared on August 22:
To the Editor of the Jerusalem Post
Sir, - I was deeply astonished to read Barbara Amouyal's front-page article
of August 17, which is based in part on an interview with me.
Many hundreds of the 20,000 testimonies held in our archives were
extensively used in Nazi war criminal trials, contrary to what Amouyal
I told Amouyal that survivors wrote their accounts for the record of
history. I cannot understand why she made of it that survivors wanted
"to be part of history".
I said there are some - fortunately very few - testimonies, which proved
to be inaccurate. Why did Amouyal make them out to be a large number?
Regarding the final remark, I did not receive any "orders" not to
discuss the Demjanjuk case. I simply refused to discuss it with Amouyal.
Yad Vashem Archives
How would Buchanan have seen the inaccurate article and not noticed
the immediate retraction? It's possible he read it only second-hand. As
Holocaust-denier Bradley Smith
in 1995, the original had "made the rounds in revisionist circles" for
many years (but the retraction of course had not):
I hadn't known Krakowski replied to Amouyal's column until I read
his letter on the Internet. Krakowski had replied in 1986 but I didn't
learn of it until 1994. I don't know why. Maybe revisionists were more
interested in circulating the Amouyal column than they were Krakowski's
response to it. Revisionists are human too. The Amouyal column that
made the rounds in revisionist circles was published in the weekly
International Edition of the Jerusalem Post.
Whether Patrick Buchanan is a Holocaust-denier, or merely a
journalist who let his biases convince him to pass on rabid
antisemitism as truth, is left as an exercise for the reader. But
remember Jacob Weisberg's cryptic comment, presumably based on comments
made off the record, that Buchanan "embraces a bolder debunking claim
than he is yet willing to endorse in print." Also note that the only
letter to the New Republic protesting Weisberg's article was written by
Mona Charen; her letter was entirely rhetorical and contested none of
(This webpage is a revised version of an essay I wrote in