Selective citation

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Selective citation is the practice by which holocaust deniers distort the work of historians by quoting them out of context in order to use their words in the opposite manner they were intended.

An excellent example of this can be found in the writings of Germar Rudolf, who wrote

The tendency in recent historiography seems to be more and more to abandon the gas chambers, for which the sources are "at once rare and unreliable", as Prof. Arno J. Mayer put it.

When what Arno J. Mayer actually wrote was

Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable.. .there is no denying the many contradictions, and ambiguities in the existing sources. These cannot be ignored, although it must be emphasized strongly that such defects are altogether insufficient to put in question the use of gas chambers in the mass murder of Jews at Auschwitz.

While the exact words that Mayer wrote were used by Rudolf, the meaning was completely reversed.[1]

Another example can be seen in the attempts by deniers to discredit the testimony of Abraham Bomba, a barber at Treblinka.[2]

The entire trend is recognized in Samuel Moyn's book A Holocaust Controversy.[3]

Occasionally the term quote mining has been used to refer to this practice.


  1. [1]
  2. [2]
  3. Moyn, Samuel, A Holocaust Controversy UPNE 2005 p. 67