Breaking the Spell. The Holocaust: Myth and Reality. Nicholas Kollerstrom. Castle Hill Publishers, Uckfield, UK, 2014. 256 pp., including index.
"Breaking the Spell," by Nicholas Kollerstrom
Published with permission from Castle Hill Publishers
Dr. Nicholas Kollerstrom, recently of University College London, is a 21st-century Holocaust victim—perhaps a Holocaust survivor, in that he is alive today and, in respects other than professional, passably well. Of course, he is not a victim of National Socialist racial policies; he is a victim of … how can I say this? Contemporary taboos concerning historical events of the 1940s in Europe? Not too catchy, that. A Jewish plot to destroy freedom of speech in preparation for their takeover of the world? Maybe a bit too catchy, that one. Something in between, then—pick your own poison.
Call it what you will, our hapless author was excommunicated from the precincts of University College London (UCL) in 2008, when he published, in (Bradley) Smith’s Report an article that described Germar Rudolf’s discoveries regarding the cyanide content of brickwork in various parts of Auschwitz and other World War II-era German camps where presumed enemies of the Reich were said to have been gassed to death in numbers reaching into the millions. Before he disclosed his interest in what chemistry-based forensics revealed regarding erroneous popular history, Kollerstrom had been a member of staff of the Department of Science and Technology Studies. But UCL could not tolerate association with anyone expressing even the slightest credence for Rudolf’s heretical findings, so Kollerstrom became a nonperson, so far as UCL was concerned.
That’s all background, and not even terribly important except as it may have motivated his writing of this book and, of course, for that sort of reader who is interested in what might have motivated the author of a book he chooses to read.
There are other, much-better, reasons to choose to read this book, especially if you happen to be someone already persuaded of the counterfeit nature of Holocaust history and you wish to arouse some understanding—or respect, or even just tolerance—for the extremely unstylish views you might have communicated, deliberately or carelessly, to another, who it is to be hoped is a very close friend who will honor you if not with their sympathy, then at least with their confidence.
Those long and/or deeply familiar with the debunking of the Holocaust mythology that attained critical mass in 1976 with the publication of Arthur Butz’s Hoax of the 20th Century might view Kollerstrom’s oeuvre as a rehash—an extensive, but still partial, listing of the reasons why people should not credit what they have been told about the cruelty and genocidal intent of the National Socialists in the 1930s and 40s. That, viewed in a wide scope, would be a mistake, for several reasons.
First, it should be noted that, besides Butz’s magisterial work encompassing some 502 pages, any number of other works, some of them shorter, many more-recent, have undertaken more or less the same goal: debunking the Holocaust Myth. And many of these have done a very good job of it, including even to this day Butz’s original, which stands as a masterpiece.
But those who hold views such as those advanced by Butz, Stäglich, Mattogno, Faurisson, Rudolf, Dalton and a long list of other damned blasphemers from many walks of life and linguistic backgrounds, are occasionally, even often at pains, to present a foundation for their views in a form that might appeal to some particular relative, colleague, or even superior. In view of the reflexive disapprobation to which such views are subject, one is perforce challenged to proffer to each such recipient, just exactly that example of the genus that stands the best chances of reaching his or her understanding, if not credence.
And on this score, Kollerstrom’s contribution to what is happily a growing genre is a most worthy contribution, deserving in its own right both a judicious savoring by the faithful and further, in many cases, of bestowal, however timorous or diffident, upon beneficiaries presumably among the “unwashed” who constitute the huge majorities of the acquaintances adorning the lives we each enjoy in our respective free and tolerant societies.
Specifics: Kollerstrom is (was?) a respected writer of books, articles, and other tracts on the intersection of science with history, having not only edited or authored numerous books on the sociology of science reaching at least as far back as Galileo, and having participated in a number of conscience-spurring enterprises such as the investigation of the 1982 sinking of the Argentine cruiser General Belgrano, resulting in the drowning of over 800 of its complement. His is no pseudonym such as many other writers (including myself) on the present subject choose to wield—he is the scientist and historian who has already produced valuable contributions not only to knowledge, but to conscience as well, and promises, in this book as in the earlier works, to produce still more, and better, especially if he is not muted by the smothering blanket of political correctness that has been thrown over him of late.
Kollerstrom writes well. His voice is never shrill, never raised by outrage, never mortally wounded, never pleading nor importuning—somehow, he contrives to maintain emotional neutrality while still inspiring the reader’s own emotions, or curiosity, or interest, or some potent combination of these. This is no suspense novel—the informed, or even intelligent, reader knows where the “plot” is headed at all times, however unfamiliar the territory ahead might be to the uninitiated. But the “road” itself is fascinating: the scenes by the side of the road no less than the vistas looming ahead. He balances digression with forward progress with the skill of the accomplished, popular, author he in fact is.
Kollerstrom effortlessly avoids the demonization that renders some works of this kind objectionable, even prosecutable in the less-liberal regimes currently astride the continent of Europe. Myths and fables are debunked in large numbers on its pages, but allegations of sinister plots—conspiracies, even—are eschewed in favor of reasoned surveys of motivations and contexts, wherein all actors may be seen for what they are: individuals in more or less desperate circumstances trying with all their might to survive an unprecedentedly savage war with as much of their families and property intact as possible. Those likely to register an adverse reaction to Kollerstrom’s equable narrative should be only those who would react the same to any analysis, no matter how innocuously couched, reaching the ineluctable conclusions that this study reaches.
Finally, the most superficial of attributes, for whatever it might be worth to this reader or that: Kollerstrom is not German, not American, but British. The text is, in fact, spelled and worded British-ly, though by no means heavily, much less affectedly, so. Likewise, the perspective on the subject is impartial—neither British, American, German, Jewish, nor Gentile. This characteristic is as much a “flavor” as anything, but as such, is one of the many ineffable factors that can decide whether an initiate to the better view of historical mendacity completes the reading, and is informed, or breaks it off, to remain unenlightened at least until the next time some intellectual benefactor might again seek a way to break through the encrusted layers of deception and mistrust under which each of us is consigned to grope toward wisdom.
Do you wish to spread the faith? If so, Kollerstrom’s reaction to his ostracism could be of great use to you. Or do you, rather, wish only to seek understanding, if not agreement, from an intellectual soul-mate, or protégé, or even adversary toward whom you feel sympathy, or even respect? Then you should admit Kollerstrom’s worthy offering to the armamentarium with which you defend your more-challenging viewpoints.
Or are you, dear reader, feeling your own self ill-grounded in this most-contested of historical battlefields, and in want of a gentle, careful introduction to the issues therein contained, without the massive rigor of some of its running mates, nor the insinuation or aspersion of some of the others?
In all these cases, I recommend Breaking the Spell. And after you’ve succeeded in using it for one of the benefits listed above, you may even continue to use it, in other copies or your own, for yet another of the purposes I’ve surmised. But if you lend your own copy to some lucky borrower or other, I hope for your sake that he returns it promptly.
After reading it. With approbation, of course.
|||Distributed in the United States by The Barnes Review, PO Box 15877, Washington, DC 20003.|
|||Germar Rudolf, The Rudolf Report—Expert Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the “Gas Chambers” of Auschwitz. Vol. 2 of Holocaust Handbooks (Washington, D.C.: The Barnes Review, 2011).|