For as long as there have been reports of Nazi crimes there have been people determined to deny and undermine them. The Nazis themselves were the first deniers, seeking to destroy the evidence of their crimes and deny them to the world.
For most people the notion that the Holocaust was an enormous hoax is nonsensical. How is it possible to see the newsreels from barbed wire-encircled camps with emaciated and withered bodies in piles or mass graves and not be filled with horror and sympathy? With such definitive evidence how can one still not believe? How do some people remain unmoved by the horrifying revelations of the Holocaust? How after news of Belsen, Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, Buchenwald and Chełmno do so many still not believe?
It is likely that many who deny the Holocaust publicly think differently in private. They do so as biased revisionism and denial was or is politically expedient and vital to their attempts to rehabilitate the doctrine with which they identify, namely fascism. Nazi atrocities have of course become inextricably linked to the doctrine of fascism, and any attempt to relaunch the ideology requires either the separation of one from the other or denial that the atrocities had happened at all.
Holocaust deniers have traditionally relied on a number of arguments to try and disprove the Holocaust. These include: Hitler and the Nazis were not responsible for the outbreak of the Second World War; there was no Nazi plan for genocide; that all evidence of extermination camps is faked; that gas chambers were erected after the war; that Zyklon B, the gas used to murder Jews, was merely a delousing agent; that Jews and others who died in concentration camps died from diseases like typhus; that the Holocaust was invented to force Germany to pay for the establishment of the state of Israel; that the Holocaust is a Jewish conspiracy. These arguments have all been around since the end of the Holocaust itself but, in the digital age, there has been a shift in the nature of Holocaust denial and the ease with which it can be accessed that has given some deniers a sense of optimism. As an article on the neo-Nazi website The Daily Stormer from October 2020 put it: There is no way to allow people to openly discuss the Holocaust and also have them come to the conclusion that it actually happened. You could do that before the internet, when the only way for people to spread information was through newsletters mailed to their mailboxes that they had to sign up for. In the modern age, anyone who tries to talk about the Holocaust is going to get spammed with facts that ultimately prove that [it did not happen]. This recognition by the far right that the internet has created opportunities for them to spread their Holocasut denial is deeply worrying. However, before exploring how far-right denial has been changed by the online spaces in which it is now spread, it is necessary to explore denial propagated by individuals and groups beyond the far right.