Austin Joseph App (24 May 1902 – 4 May 1984) was a German-American professor of medieval English literature who taught at the University of Scranton and La Salle University. App defended Nazi Germany during World War II. He is known for his work denying the Holocaust, and he has been called the first major American Holocaust denier.
Austin Joseph App
Austin Joseph App
May 24, 1902
|Died||May 4, 1984|
|Occupation||professor, Holocaust denier|
Born in Milwaukee to German immigrant parents who were farmers, he attended St. Francis Seminary near Milwaukee and graduated in 1923. He studied English Literature at the Catholic University of America and received the Ph.D. in 1929. He served as an instructor of English at that university from 1929 to 1935. From 1935 to 1942 he served as the head of the English Department at the University of Scranton, publishing widely in scholarly and popular journals. Among the latter, he often wrote for The Catholic Home Journal, Magnificat, Queen's Work, and The Victorian. By his own account, he was particularly devoted to the cultural value of good manners, well-developed public speaking, and chivalry.
App, who never married, was a frequent public speaker and also wrote letters to the editors of magazines and newspapers. He often complained about the United States declaration of war upon Germany (1941). App argued that, without American help, the Axis Powers would have won the war. App blamed both Jews and Communists for Germany's postwar problems. However, few of these letters were ever published.
In a manner of criticism typical for his generation, App often examined literary aesthetics according to categories of virtue and truth. In a collection of essays printed in 1948, he argued for a Christian interpretation of literature in chapters titled “Presenting Sin and Temptation in Literature” and “How to Judge a Novel Ethically.”
He became president of the Federation of American Citizens of German Descent in 1945, serving in this position for several years. In the 1950s, App often wrote articles for Conde McGinley's antisemitic journal Common Sense. He later founded The Boniface Press and served as an editor there. It was named after Saint Boniface, the Anglo-Saxon missionary who brought the faith to Germanic Europe. He served on the editorial advisory committe of the revisionist Journal of Historical Review from 1980 until his death.
App laid out eight axioms, or what he described as "incontrovertible assertions", about the Holocaust in his 1973 pamphlet The Six Million Swindle:
- Emigration, not extermination, was the Nazi Germany's plan for dealing with its "Jewish problem".
- No Jews were gassed in any German concentration camps
- Jews missing since World War II disappeared in territories under Soviet, not German, control.
- The majority of Jews killed by Nazis were justly executed criminals.
- If the Holocaust claims were true, Israel would have opened its archives to researchers.
- The statistic of six million homicides rests upon misquotes of Nazi utterances and documents.
- It is incumbent upon the accusers to prove the six million figure.
- There are great discrepancies in calculations of the number of victims.
In February 1976, App published an article "The Sudeten-German Tragedy" in Reason magazine, criticizing the post-World War II expulsion of the Sudeten Germans as "one of the worst mass atrocities in history." The article was later printed as a pamphlet.
App also published A Straight Look at the Third Reich, a defense of Nazi Germany, and The Curse of Anti-Anti-Semitism, arguing that the entire Jewish community is responsible for the death of Christ. App's work inspired the Institute for Historical Review, a Holocaust denial center in California, founded in 1978.
- Lancelot in English Literature: His Role and Character, doctoral dissertation, Catholic University of America, 1929.
- Edwin Arlington Robinson’s Arthurian Poems, in: Thought 10.3 (1935), p.468-479.
- History's Most Terrifying Peace. 1947.
- Ravishing the Women of Conquered Europe. Pamphlet, 1948.
- The Way to Creative Writing. Milwaukee: Bruce Publishers, 1954.
- Making the Later Years Count. For a healthy, well-provided, blessed Old Age. Milwaukee: Bruce Publishers, 1960.
- The Rooseveltian concentration camps for Japanese-Americans, 1942-46. Philadelphia: Boniface Press, 1967.
- A straight look at the Third Reich: Hitler and National Socialism, how right? how wrong? Takoma Park, Maryland: Boniface Press, 1974.
- The Six Million Swindle: Blackmailing the German People for Hard Marks with Fabricated Corpses. Takoma Park, Maryland: Boniface Press, 1973. Second edition printed in 1976.
- The Curse of Anti-Anti-Semitism. 1976.
- German-American Voice for Truth and Justice: Autobiography. Takoma Park, Maryland: Boniface Press, 1977.
- The Sudeten-German Tragedy. Takoma Park, Maryland: Boniface Press, 1979-. Several volumes.
- Stephen E. Atkins, Holocaust Denial as an International Movement (Wesport, CT: Praeger, 2009), pp. 153-155.
- Atkins, Stephen E. (2009). Austin J. App and Holocaust Denial. Holocaust denial as an international movement. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. pp. 153–55. ISBN 978-0-313-34539-5.
- Diana R. Grant (2003). Phyllis Gertenfield (ed.). Crimes of Hate: Selected Readings. Sage. p. 190. ISBN 978-0761929437.
- Knight, Peter (2003). Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia, Volume 1. ABC-CLIO. p. 322. ISBN 978-1576078129.
- Lucey, William L. “Catholic Magazines: 1894-1900.” Records of the American Catholic Historical Society of Philadelphia, 63.4 (1952), pp. 197–223. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/44210489. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.
- Autobiographical Speech held by App.
- See chapter 5 in Deborah E. Lipstadt: Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, 2012.
- Austin Joseph App: The true concept of literature: eight reprinted and two original articles. San Antonio: Mission Press, 1948.
- App, Austin J (February 1976). "The Sudeten-German Tragedy". Reason: 28–33.
- Autobiographical Speech held by App, accessed 27 Oct 2020.