From the time he was a boy, the boyhood friend of the Nazi regime’s former chief of staff, Heinrich Himmler, Otto Frank Jr., had been thinking about how the Holocaust could be used to his own benefit.
In 1938, as he was studying for a diploma in philosophy, Himmlers personal secretary, Josef Fritz, introduced him to a German-born, English-speaking lawyer, Paul Riehm, who was studying the Holocaust at the University of Heidelberg in Germany.
Himmings father, Heinz Himmel, had once been the head of a police union in Cologne.
Riehm would later become a mentor to Frank, who would later serve as a political prisoner in Nazi-occupied Europe.
But Frank was interested in the Holocaust from a different angle, and he wanted to help those persecuted by the Nazis to understand its significance.
He and Fritz were in contact regularly, and Riehn would come to visit the two of them at the university.
But it was Riehrm who became the key to unlocking the mysteries of the past.
He would take Frank to Berlin to meet with Riehme, the police commissioner at the time.
As Frank and Fritz discussed the horrors of the Holocaust, Riehl would say, “You know, the Nazis would have been better off without the Holocaust.”
It was at that moment, Riedhm says, that he decided to write his dissertation about the Nazis’ wartime policy toward the Jews.
Frank had already been imprisoned in Nazi Germany for more than three years, and the two men began to share intimate recollections of how they came to meet and share information about the Holocaust.
In his dissertation, Rieshm had the chance to interview thousands of former Nazis, as well as thousands of other people who were imprisoned in the camps, and to examine some of the most infamous events in German history, from World War II to the rise of Adolf Hitler.
He wrote that the experience taught him that, as a Nazi, “we have to bear responsibility for our past, and we must not try to hide it.”
It’s not that Riehsm had always believed the Holocaust to be true.
He had a degree in philosophy and was a German who studied in the United States.
And when he met Riehhms son, the day after his father died, he knew something was amiss.
He told his son that he would be returning to Germany at some point and would have to tell his father’s family about the discovery of the letters.
He knew he had been wrong, and had been betrayed.
But the two were not alone.
As the years went on, more and more people began to realize the horrors that the Nazis had perpetrated against the Jews and others.
They began to discover that the Holocaust had been manufactured, and that the truth was more complex and nuanced than they had imagined.
And Riehzms work on the research led him to discover the extent to which the Holocaust was a tool for the Nazi government.
In the mid-1960s, Riefhs work on his dissertation was recognized by the German Academic Heritage Society, which recognized his research as a major contribution to German academic history.
His work, Riemers research and writings were also recognized in the prestigious German journal Der Spiegel, which in the 1970s published an essay by Riefs titled, “We were told that the Jews had it coming.”
In Riefhms dissertation, he explained the meaning of the word “holocaust” and explained how the Nazi-sponsored extermination of the Jews came about.
He also detailed how the Nazis used the term to describe people who did not support the Nazi cause.
In a paper titled, RIEHMES HISTORY OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE, Rielhms research and research documents were presented as evidence that the genocide was carried out for the political and economic benefit of the Nazis.
The research showed that the Nazi leaders knew that the people they were killing were not loyal to the Reich and that they wanted to exterminate the Jews because the Nazis wanted to destroy the “Jewish element” in the country.
The paper also showed how Riemherds research was flawed.
It was not based on a single source, but on hundreds of thousands of documents and interviews, which were often incomplete and unreliable.
And it was based on the work of a few scholars, such as Dr. Fritz, who were very much opposed to the Holocaust as a concept.
Rielhmes work was controversial in the West.
But the West was also not convinced.
The historian and anti-Semite Ernst Zundel, who died in 1989, wrote in his book, “The Holocaust: The Hidden History of World Jewry,” that Rielhs research was not worth serious consideration.
The book was the culmination of decades of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial that the historian, who had once written that “the Jewish race was an inferior race,” had not