The Simon Wiesenthal Institute provides extensive answers both to "36 Questions about the Holocaust" that they pose to themselves; and in their responses to 13 questions posed by Holocaust revisionists, presumably using the resources they list in their extensive "Holocaust Bibliographies." However, they do not specifically site any sources in their actual responses to the questions. Does their lack of verifiable references make these answers less credible? Why or why not? Do you think that they are fully utilizing the resources to which they appear to have accessed to help us develop a full, fact-based understanding of the Holocaust in this section of their web site? Surf around some of the other areas; for example, the "(Learning Center"; or the "Special Collections." Do they utilize their resources better in these other parts of their web site?
Does the fact that the site also serves the Wiesenthal museum and includes the merchandizing ("Gift Galleria"; "Books and Videos") component of the museum in any way diminish the legitimacy of the site as an instrument of the Institute for teaching and research about the Holocaust? Do you think the site still fulfills its stated educational goals or do these parts of the site trivialize and/or compromise them?
Read the story of TJ Leyden, a former neo-nazi skinhead in the White Aryan Resistance who had a change of heart and now speaks about his life and work in the white supremacy movement. How might the Wiesenthal Institute use such a testimony to work toward the goals of their mission statement, to carry on, "the continuing fight against bigotry and anti-Semitism and pursu[e] an active agenda of related contemporary issues" ("About the SWC")?
Leyden's story is a form of eyewitness testimony regarding the reality of the hate that people still feel and try to convince others to express with them, as a means of identifying one another as members of a group, united by their hating of "others." Leyden says that his parents divorce left him angry and hurt a perfect target for the neo-Nazi movement. Have you ever felt this way? Do you think that a lot of teenagers feel this way? He says that the neo-Nazi movement provided a sense of family to vulnerable kids. Do you think that a young kid can be swept up into this kind of lifestyle, or that the person must be inherently evil?
He speaks about his recruiting techniques in the military and then latter on in the segment about his techniques for teenagers. Do you see a difference in the techniques? Leyden often asked white students "Shouldn't there be a group for you?" Do you think that the need for acceptance by someone drives young kids to become involved in this movement? Can you tell what the ultimate goal for this organization is by this passage? What kind of life do you think his children will have?
Do you think that James (TJ) Leyden is a credible person? Do you believe eyewitness testimony is a valid form of evidence? What are your feelings towards him after reading this article? Disgust, anger, admiration for this courage in honestly describing the things with which he was involved?
We have focused on this feature of the Wiesenthal site because although Holocaust revisionist organizations do not advocate violence and hate, their claims that either that the holocaust never occurred or it was exaggerated, in forms of phamplets or books, are useful to hate groups who want to "turn the tables" on the members of the Jewish community. On several hate web pages (The Occidental Pan-Aryan Crusader, National Alliance and God's Order Affirmed in Love) they site many revisionists thought or have links to their perspective websites. Most prominently sited are John Ball and Ernst Zundel. What circumstances do you think encourage and convince people to adopt the views of Holocaust revisionist groups and even become involved with these organizations? How can Holocaust history web sites and a healthy and informed skepticism about historical revisionism and information in general help people not to be drawn in by them?