Israel Displays Blueprints of Nazi Death Camp

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JERUSALEM, Israel - This week, Israel's museum Yad Vashem put on display the architectural plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi death camp and a stark reminder of the six million Jews who died during the Holocaust.

The unveiling comes as Jews and others around the world marked International Holocaust Memorial Day, Jan. 27. The day marks one of history's darkest moments and is a chance to pledge that it will never happen again.

"The horrifying point is that those representatives of the SS planning units knew exactly for what plans they are planning those buildings, an industry that means to systematically eradicate Jewish human beings," Yad Vashem Chairman Avner Shalev said.

But 65 years after the Holocaust, many are still denying it ever happened.

Manfred Gerstenfeld, author of "The Abuse of Holocaust: Distortions and Responses," cited many ways the Holocaust is minimized.

"The first one I would say was Holocaust justification: 'The Jews were guilty of the anti-Semitism.' 'It wasn't Hitler's fault.' 'It was the misbehavior of the Jews which caused Hitler to act as he did and then Germany,'" Gerstenfeld described as the faulty logic behind the denial attitudes.

"The second one is denial, which is the best known obviously: 'The Holocaust never happened,'" he said.

His book mentions other ways people lessen the impact of the Holocaust. But he also listed ways to respond when the Holocaust is distorted:

"The visits to museums, the putting up of memorials, the holding of ceremonies, legislation against Holocaust denial."

However, 65 years after the rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany, the specter of another Holocaust has emerged on the world's scene: Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and radical Islam.

"Suddenly out of nowhere comes a man who, in fact, promotes genocide of the Jews of the state of Israel which is where 45 percent of the Jewish people live," Gerstenfeld said. "And that, of course, the man recalls Hitler and you see that it is not over."

*Originally published January 27, 2010.

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