On March 5th, 1995 the Hamburg Institute for Social Research opened two exhibitions focusing on the war crimes of the Wehrmacht (the regular German armed forces) during World War II. This was an attempt to dispel the ‘myth’ of the clean Wehrmacht. According to Mark Weber in his article, Fraud Exposed in Defamatory German Exhibition: “…hundreds of thousands of visitors had viewed the exhibition, which appeared in more than 30 German and Austrian cities. Numerous secondary school classes were guided through it. Many of Germany’s most prominent social, political and business personalities endorsed the exhibit, which was designed to prove that regular German army (Wehrmacht) troops, and not just SS soldiers, carried out “Holocaust” killings of Jews and others.”
On November 5, 1999 the exhibition was shut down due to the fact that many of the photographs were being misrepresented and the criticism became too great to ignore. According to Weber, “Most of the approximately 800 photographs in the exhibition are from Soviet-era Russian sources. More than half of the total are non-incriminating, while most of the 34 photos proven to be fraudulent or misrepresented actually show victims of the Soviets, and of other non-German forces. Exhibition organizer Hannes Herr also admitted that some of the photographs had been retouched. In some instances, photos taken from different angles of the same event or scene were displayed at different places in the exhibition with captions telling viewers that they showed atrocities at different locations. Also presented in the exhibition were documents that included phony confessions by Germans that had been extracted under torture from Soviets.”
I don’t want to rehash what Weber already covered in his article (that you should totally read) save to share some examples of the fraud. The following is an Soviet NKVD massacre being pinned on the Wehrmacht.
One of the most widely reproduced photograph from the exhibition depicted an execution carried out by German troops in April 1941 in Panchevo, Vojvodina (see image below). The execution involved 18 Yugoslav army fighters who had disguised themselves as civilians and were responsible for shooting German soldiers. These individuals were sentenced to death by a military court. This execution was conducted in accordance with internationally approved military regulations. Therefore it was not a crime and presenting as such is utterly dishonest.
What I would like to focus on is the report from the committee that reviewed the Wehrmacht exhibition. Unfortunately I don’t have any of the names of anyone on the committee to see what kind of people they were. Let’s take a look at some of the committee’s conclusions.
The committee employs an admission/cope format here. In point 2 below we have the admission that the Wehrmacht exhibit contained errors in content, inaccuracies with the use of historical source material and unduly generalized and suggestive statements. Even though the creators of the Wehrmacht exhibit needed to lie to present their case their overall message is somehow still valid according to the committee. The committee blames the exhibit’s mistakes on incorrect attributions from the archives from which the materials were obtained. Then they conclude that, “…taken as a whole (this is an oft used term with Holocaust affirmers), the review confirmed the thoroughness and reliability of the authors’ work with historical sources.” That cope just isn’t going to fly with me. What the creators of the exhibit did was find something that confirmed their bias and used it without scrutiny. It is laughable and incorrect to say their work with historical sources was reliable.
Next we have a rehash of what was previously said. There’s the admission that the exhibition argued with sweeping statements and inadmissible generalizations. NONETHELESS the exhibitions fundamental statements are correct- despite all the lying. And why are the creators getting all these excuses for their lies? Simply because their lies benefit the official Holocaust narrative and protecting the narrative means covering for those who get caught lying while trying to promote it. If this were about anything other than the Holocaust The Hamburg Institute for Social Research would have lost all credibility.
Next the committee attempts to deflect from the errors in the content of the exhibition by making it about the personality problems of the exhibit’s creators. They are trying to say that it’s not the lies of the exhibit that warranted such a major investigation, but rather the way in which the creators dealt with the criticism.
Finally the committee recommended that the exhibition be shown to the public in a revised form. The ‘key statements’ about the Wehrmacht’s ‘annihilation of the Jews in the east’ do not have to be revised. Rather it must be ‘safeguarded from misunderstandings’. Why is the Holocaust narrative so fragile? In point 8 they said that the exhibit should include witness testimony. This is because witness testimony is necessary to bolster the Holocaust narrative and it is another means of emotionally manipulating people.
The committee got what it asked for. In 2001 the exhibition was reopened, toured for a few years and became a permanent fixture in the German Historical museum.
Something to take away from the Wehrmacht exhibition incident is that this was an instance where the lies were caught, called out and not ignored. Holocaust lies get caught and called out all the time. It’s the not being ignored by the mainstream part that poses the biggest challenge. There are countless books, articles, videos, etc, that could be perpetuating Holocaust falsehoods and the consumer would be none the wiser as there is a system in place to protect the narrative from scrutiny.
Next time you see a photo in an article about the Holocaust don’t just take it at face value. Ask yourself if the image could be a false caption on a genuine photo, an alteration of a genuine photo, or a complete forgery altogether.