(This article was originally posted on October 24th, 2002. It has been updated with new information)
How did the word ‘Holocaust’ come to be the term for the supposed atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis in WW2? Elie Wiesel, a well-known survivor of Auschwitz/Birkenau, made a big contribution to popularizing the term. Wiesel was one of the first to bring his story to market and he was one of the most famous survivors of his time. Propped up by orthodox Holocaust historians and news outlets like The New York Times (see page 191) he became the ‘Saint of the Holocaust’ during his lifetime.
Let’s examine the word:
Holo = Whole, entire, complete
Caust = To burn Holo + caust = Sacrifice by fire
Why is it called it that when the story is that they Jews were killed in homicidal gas chambers? The exact origin is unclear. It was first used in the 1950s and became widely used in the 1960s and 1970s as a way of describing the Nazi’s systematic campaign to exterminate European Jewry.
Consider this: The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, and Night, by Elie Wiesel were the first Holocaust survivor books to be become popular among general readers. No one in Anne Frank’s family was said to be murdered in a gas chamber. Wiesel’s story also had no gas chambers. He claimed that people were burned to death in outdoor fires. Babies dumped in by the truckload. Smoke that could be seen from miles around.
Problem is that in 1979 aerial photographs of Auschwitz were declassified and they disproved Wiesel’s claims of massive fires and abundant smoke (see images below). Because of this the claims of death by fire were peacefully sunsetted.
To learn more about Elie Wiesel and his many lies check out, Elie Wiesel, Saint of the Holocaust—A Critical Biography, by Warren B. Routledge.