The 'Revisionist' scene increasingly has a problem: while its videos, spam and other propaganda keep the flame alive on the far right and in at least some parts of the conspiracy theory world, the 'movement' seemingly cannot retain its activists. It's almost a year since Committe for Open Debate on the Holocaust founder Bradley R. Smith passed away, prompting zero newspaper obituaries and little acknowledgement from anti-defamation watchdogs, leaving the CODOH empire in the hands of the 'Holocaust Handbooks' publisher Germar Rudolf.
Despite revamping and rebranding many parts of the portfolio, it's been increasingly obvious for some time that the denier scene lacks enough researchers and writers to do more than put lipstick on an increasingly doddery pig. Worse still, the small number of newer stars drop out of the scene almost as fast as they become known, as happened for example with Thomas Kues and Friedrich Jansson. Or, like The Black Rabbit of Inlé, they openly admit that they no longer believe in the core tenets of 'Holocaust revisionism'.
The latest apostate? None other than video-maker Eric Hunt.
It's not much of an exaggeration to say that Hunt's five documentary videos, produced between May 2011 and May 2016, have done more to keep Holocaust denial alive this decade than the entire output of Mattogno, Graf and Kues. Along with 'denierbud's documentaries, produced between 2006 and 2012, Hunt's videos have been touted across what we'd now call the alt-right blogosphere and uploaded by dozens of different 'revisionist', alt-right and conspiracist groups onto their websites or YouTube channels, as the ADL was forced to note back in 2014. If you had asked me on January 20 who the leading Holocaust revisionist activists were, then I'd have unhesitatingly put Eric Hunt in the top ten.
Given the fractiousness of the 'revisionist' scene, the well-known tendency of alternative movements to suffer from personality clashes and infighting, and the extremely limited amount of money to be made from Holocaust denial, it wasn't a total surprise to learn at the end of January that Hunt had parted ways with CODOH. In an appeal to the CODOH mailing list for volunteers, Germar Rudolf noted in his typically frank-verging-on-indiscreet style that "a short while ago, our Video Manager Eric Hunt decided to throw in the towel as well. Although he did receive a remuneration for his efforts, it wasn't as much as a professional of that level usually receives, so he, too, was a volunteer to some degree. Eric's decision was not surprising. Tensions had been rising for quite a while."
"Tensions" was evidently a major understatement. It turned out that three days before the CODOH circular went out, on January 27, Eric Hunt had posted a nearly 14,000 word long rejection of the core claims of 'Holocaust Revisionism' onto the website of the 'Questioning the Holocaust' video series. Yet no one, revisionist or anti-revisionist, noticed this until this morning when a thread was started at RODOH.
Reactions from deniers have been a model of cognitive dissonance, with many posters at CODOH and RODOH convinced that someone had "gotten to" Hunt. Denier webmaster k0nsl apparently restricted Hunt's bandwidth in retaliation for posting "exterminationalist bull shit", taking Hunt's website offline this afternoon for several hours. (We've archived the page here, should the website go offline in the near future. ETA 14.2.2017, midday GMT: k0nsl's server shut it down again) Anti-deniers wondered aloud whether Hunt's website had been hacked, before concluding from style, tone, language and continued digs at David Cole, with whom Hunt had a fairly public spat in 2014, that Hunt had indeed reached 'The End of the Line'.
While the volte-face is relatively sudden, and there's much we don't know about the background to this (Hunt promises more details soon), the main reasons Hunt gives for his change of heart seem completely genuine. First and foremost among these reasons is Hunt's admission that the denier 'resettlement' thesis is completely untenable:
All along, I claimed I was looking for the truth and out to tell the truth. I have determined I have reached “the end of the line” in the extent relevant research in the central issue of the “Holocaust denial” debate is able to go. I have come to what can be called a conclusion regarding the central issue of “Holocaust denial” which is –
Where did the Jews declared unable to work (small children and the elderly, etc.) sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Treblinka, Belzec, Sobibor, Chelmno, go if they were not gassed at these sites?
Through the years, I have asked several prominent “Revisionists” this question. The most common response is “I don’t know.”
Does this answer sound like it would win a public debate let alone get laughed out of an auditorium? Instead it is undoubtedly a losing position. And this is precisely why Revisionists have not and are, without additional miraculous, earth-shattering new data, unable to ever “win” the “Holocaust denial” debate.
Back in 2014, Hunt had an extended argument on Skeptics Society Forum about 'transit' via Treblinka, in which I took part - one of my few interactions with him over the years. He then appealed to fellow 'revisionists' to help him solve the 'resettlement' conundrum (comment on defunct website, preserved here):
I would like to form a team to get as much new information about where did the Warsaw Jews go from July 22nd - September 21st 1942, specifically individuals talking about being transited during this time period ANYWHERE and surviving.
This is one of the perceived holes in the Revisionist case and if we can help plug it up more than has been done by Mattogno, Graf, Kues, it will do a great service to our cause. In fact if we could get enough information it'd be all over for the Treblinka hoax.
Evidently he had no takers, and little more than two years later, instead of bidding to respond to Roberto Muehlenkamp's challenge to supporters of the revisionist transit camp theory to claim his prize money, Hunt is now touting Roberto's challenge:
Holocaust researcher Roberto Muehlenkamp’s offer of a financial reward for proof of one Jew transited to the “Russian East”, stopping at Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor is out there for anyone who can find even one Jew out of the approximately 1.5 million alleged “transited” through Treblinka, Belzec, and Sobibor that fits the proposed Revisionist “transit camp theory.” This potent challenge is proof of how strong the accepted history is and how phenomenally weak and untenable the Revisionist / denier “transit camp” theory is.
This isn't the only place where Hunt cites HC arguments; he does so about:
- The Sonderkommando photographs from Krema V
- The Sonderkommando photographs of open air incinerations at Auschwitz
- Revisionist forgery allegations about the Sonderkommando photographs
- Polish investigations of Treblinka in 1945
- Gas introduction holes in the Birkenau gas chambers
- John Ball's forgery claims regarding the Auschwitz aerial photos
It would be convenient for deniers to think that Hunt simply lifted these arguments from HC, but it's quite obvious that the nearly 14,000 words he wrote for his article are his own, and that he arrived at these conclusions himself, from reading and rereading Pressac, visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau and examining the visual evidence in particular ("I’m a visual learner, and just visually minded in general"). Nonetheless, we're glad that our articles evidently helped him change his mind.
Another reason Hunt gives for his disenchantment with 'Revisionism' is as he puts it, the "intertwining of “Revisionism” with other increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories", which he says "exposes Nazi mass murder denial as similar nonsense". As I noted when interviewed in The Observer recently, the conspiracy theory milieu and the 'revisionist' scene have increasingly overlapped in recent years, although the crossover is not entirely new. The Spotlight and its successor American Free Press, both published by the late Willis Carto, promoted conspiracy theories alongside antisemitism, Holocaust denial and far-right politics from the 1970s onwards, with AFP jumping on the 9/11 conspiracy bandwagon in the early 2000s in a deliberate attempt to proselytise among the youthful Truth Movement activists. Younger white nationalists often seem to think 9/11 conspiracy theories go without saying, and nearly a quarter of Stormfront's 'Revisionism' forum is dedicated to the subject of 9/11.
What seems to have disturbed Hunt most is the welcome extended by the 'Revisionist' movement and its leadership, especially Germar Rudolf, to serial conspiracy theorists like James Fetzer and Nicholas Kollerstrom, both of whom added Holocaust denial to their repertoire of beliefs in the late 2000s or early 2010s. The final straw appears to have been the resurgence of flat-earthism and its crossover with 'Revisionism'. The prime mover in the current flat earth revival, Eric Dubay, is also a Holocaust denier, while a number of prominent social media white nationalists have decided to embrace flat-earthism:
Recently, some involved with the production of Revisionist material have promoted the concept of a literal “flat earth.” Yes, really. That the earth is not round, but is actually flat. Deborah Lipstadt must love that. In particular, Sinead McCarthy, chosen as a narrator by Germar Rudolf for a video for his Holocaust Handbooks series believes the earth is flat. McCarthy was involved with the creation of a series of videos, articles, and internet radio shows promoting the concept of a literal flat earth. Since then, McCarthy has appeared in videos and filmed supposed “earth curvature experiments” affirming her belief that the earth is literally flat.
Before seeing evidence of McCarthy being completely unhinged, I originally thought McCarthy would make a good narrator for my “Questioning” video. I wanted a female narrator to make the subject more approachable. With a background in singing, she had a pleasing voice. McCarthy narrated Kyle Hunt’s “Hellstorm” video. Evidence of McCarthy being completely being unhinged started to emerge, such as the following audio clip.
After only recording the first few minutes of “Questioning The Holocaust : Why We Believed” I was exposed to a video of McCarthy vehemently proclaiming the earth is literally flat. Eric Dubay, a literal flat earther, apparently persuaded her. It was as disturbing and as as unhinged as the video above. I told McCarthy I could never be associated with Lipstadt’s dream of associating literal flat earthers with “Revisionism.” That and other embarrassing videos of McCarthy’s promoting her own belief in a literal flat earth have since been deleted, although traces remain.
In spite of warning Germar Rudolf of Sinead McCarthy’s flat earth absurdity, Rudolf decided to go ahead and have someone who believed and promoted the concept of a flat earth, Sinead McCarthy herself, narrate the following “scholarly” video for his Holocaust Handbooks series.
Hunt is far from alone on the right in expressing his disgust with the full-blown conspiraloon brigade, but it shouldn't be thought that his rejection of Holocaust 'Revisionism' means he has changed his fundamental politics. The dirty little secret of the far right, white nationalist, 'race realist', new right, alt-right scene nexus is how fundamentally split they all are on Holocaust denial and the 'Hitler question'. While below-the-line commenters are quite often committed Holocaust deniers, the above-the-line writers often simply aren't interested. (The Daily Stormer is the most prominent exception to this rule.) As I've pointed out in a forthcoming essay in the collection Holocaust and Genocide Denial: A Contextual Perspective, many prominent figures in these overlapping scenes simply don't see the tactical or strategic relevance of 'Revisionism', even if they remain thoroughly committed to antisemitism as an ideology. Hunt has evidently come around to the same position as new right luminaries such as Matt Parrott, Greg Johnson and Kevin Macdonald:
Dr. Kevin MacDonald, on the other hand, who even testified at the David Irving / Deborah Lipstadt libel trial, has smartly stayed away from denying Nazi mass murders. MacDonald’s work on Jewish subversive movements in the West as a group evolutionary strategy is highly successful and persuasive, and his leadership within the growing “alt-right” movement has shown real signs of bearing fruit. MacDonald has blazed a pathway to success for those who care about the same things as Revisionists / deniers without denying the Nazis mass murdered Jews.
After appealing for donations to continue his work, Hunt tellingly concludes:
In many ways I feel the “denial” issue held me back from tackling other issues essential to the survival of Western Civilization. Especially Nationalism, race realism, and opposing the very real Jewish-led white genocide campaign.
So I doubt he'll be on the ADL holiday greetings card list any time soon.
Much else could be said about Hunt's deconversion, and since he promises further articles explaining what "took so long" and other details, we'll wait until those appear to comment more. In the meantime, there's no denying the sheer inconvenience of this bombshell to the 'Revisionist' cause, since Hunt has disavowed and disowned his video work as they are currently edited ("I ask that copies of my old videos, recordings, or writings be deleted, as it is misleading, especially to young people"). Whatever led Hunt to this point, whatever his precise motives, whatever his true sincerity, whatever happens with his website, there's really no going back on this. As Monty Python might have put it:
'E's not pinin'! 'E's passed on! This revisionist is no more! He has ceased to be! 'E's expired and gone to meet 'is maker! 'E's a stiff! Bereft of life, 'e rests in peace! If you hadn't nailed 'im to the perch 'e'd be pushing up the daisies! 'Is metabolic processes are now 'istory! 'E's off the twig! 'E's kicked the bucket, 'e's shuffled off 'is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin' choir invisibile!! THIS IS AN EX-REVISIONIST!!