22 March 2011
Members of Norway’s Labor Party have called for the resignation of one of the party’s lawmakers in the Sami Parliament who denied the Holocaust and the existence of gas chambers. Anders Mathisen told the ‘Finnmarken’ newspaper that the Holocaust had never happened, and he challenged readers to prove him wrong. “There is no evidence the gas chambers or mass graves existed. Even reputable Holocaust historians have admitted it cannot be established,” he was quoted as saying.
Mathisen has spent months researching World War II concentration camps and is advocating changing history books, according to the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism. He also published his reported his "findings" on his 'Facebook' page. The Labor politician also accused Holocaust survivors of exaggerating their stories. He also said that the public had been brainwashed into believing in the Holocaust by films such as ‘Schindler's List’.
“Raul Hilberg, the world’s most renowned Holocaust scholar, spent his entire life working at telling people the Holocaust took place,” Mathisen told his interviewer. “However, when asked at [the German Holocaust denier] Ernst Zündel’s trial in Canada in 1985 if he could prove this, he admitted this was not possible. Even those who examine the gas chambers cannot find any trace gas was used.”
Israel's Embassy in Oslo called the statements "abominable.”
Elan Steinberg, vice-president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, said in a statement: "Holocaust survivors are aghast at the morally repugnant comments of a Norwegian member of Parliament. They are an insult to the memory of all victims of Nazi brutality, Jew and non-Jew." Steinberg added: "It was not until the 1990s that Norway began to confront its collaboration with the deportation of Jews and the plunder of their property during the Nazi occupation. The manner in which they deal with MP Mathisen is a test of whether those historical lessons were learned."
Mathisen has so far refused to resign from the party, but is apparently no longer listed as a member as he has not paid his party dues since last year, according to media reports. He is a member of the Sami Parliament, the official representative body for people of Sami heritage in Norway, which acts as autonomous body on cultural matters.
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