Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Never Lie About Numbers

Never lie about numbers. 

They can be checked. 

IBM had a system.

Innmate tattoos were not formatted in this way

And we have a complete set of captured intake records for Auschwitz I, Auschwitz-Berkanau (Auschwitz II) and Auschwitz-IG (Auschwitz III)

Source : United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Prisoner numbers
"The first series of prisoner numbers was introduced in May 1940, well before the practice of tattooing began. This first series was given to male prisoners and remained in use until January 1945, ending with the number 202,499. [ meaning the first number in this series was "000001" - THERE WAS NO #9555, AND THIS IS A KABBALISTIC GEMATRIA NUMBER. ] Until mid-May 1944, male Jewish prisoners were given numbers from this series. 
A new series of registration numbers was introduced in October 1941 and remained in use until 1944. Approximately 12,000 Soviet POWs were given numbers from this series (some of the POWs murdered at Auschwitz were never registered and did not receive numbers). 
A third series of numbers was introduced in March 1942 with the arrival of the first female prisoners. Approximately 90,000 female prisoners were identified with a series of numbers created for female prisoners in March 1942 until May 1944. 
Each new series of numbers introduced at Auschwitz began with “1.” Some Jewish prisoners (but not all) had a triangle tattooed beneath their serial number. 
In order to avoid the assignment of excessively high numbers from the general series to the large number of Hungarian Jews arriving in 1944, the SS authorities introduced new sequences of numbers in mid-May 1944. This series, prefaced by the letter A, began with “1” and ended at “20,000.” Once the number 20,000 was reached, a new series beginning with “B” series was introduced. Some 15,000 men received “B” series tattoos. For an unknown reason, the “A” series for women did not stop at 20,000 and continued to 30,000. 
A separate series of numbers was introduced in January 1942 for “reeducation” prisoners who had not received numbers from the general series. Numbers from this new series were assigned retroactively to “reeducation” prisoners who had died or been released, while their superseded general-series serial numbers were reassigned to new “general” arrivals. This was the only instance in the history of Auschwitz of numbers being “recycled.” Approximately 9,000 prisoners were registered in the “reeducation” series. Beginning in 1943, female “reeducation” prisoners were given serial numbers from their own new series, which also began with “1.” There were approximately 2,000 serial numbers in this series. 
Beginning in February 1943, SS authorities issued two separate series' of number to Roma (Gypsy) prisoners registered at Auschwitz: one for the men and one for the women. Through August 1944, 10,094 numbers were assigned from the former series and 10,888 from the latter. Gypsy prisoners were given the letter Z (“Zigeuner” is German for Gypsy) in addition to the serial number. 
The camp authorities assigned more than 400,000 prisoner serial numbers (not counting approximately 3,000 numbers given to police prisoners interned at Auschwitz due to overcrowding in jails who were not included in the daily count of prisoners).

Police are French

What's the difference between a policeman and a sheriff?

And why is the legend of Robin Hood so eager to demonise the Sherif?

It's because the office of the Sheriff is ANGLO-SAXON, a check on the excesses of oligarchical power, and the Lords and feudal barons who rebelled against King Richard and King John, waged constant civil war and forced Magna Carta on the King were NORMAN.

Police are French.

Monday, 30 January 2017

The Sheriff

"The word “sheriff” is a contraction of the term “shire reeve”. The term, from the Old English scīrgerefa, designated a royal official responsible for keeping the peace (a “reeve”) throughout a shire or county on behalf of the king. 

The term was preserved in England notwithstanding the Norman Conquest. 

From the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, the term spread to several other regions, at an early point to Scotland, latterly to Ireland and to the United States.

In British English, the political or legal office of a sheriff, term of office of a sheriff, or jurisdiction of a sheriff, is called a shrievalty in England and Wales, and a sheriffdom in Scotland."

In the case of the "tramps," those three men who were rounded up on orders of Police Inspector J. Herbert Sawyer (the man in charge of security activity at Dealey Plaza), we find a sequence of astounding actions. 

A Sergeant D.V. Harkness was ordered to stop a freight train and remove the men. 

Harkness arrested the three men and turned them over to policemen Marvin Wise and Billy Bass, who marched them all the way from the west side of the Book building, around the north side of the Plaza, and into the vehicle entrance of the Sheriff's office. 

Few people realize this entire procedure took place almost on the steps of the Sheriff's office. 

While Wise and Bass were marching these men to the Sheriff's office, William Allen, George Smith, and Jack Beers of the Dallas Times Herald, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, and the Dallas Morning News, took several pictures of them. 

Their remarkable pictures show clearly that Wise and Bass took them to the Sheriff's office. 

Yet Harkness and Sheriff Harold Elkins couldn't remember that there were any other policemen with Harkness. 

This is utterly ridiculous in the face of so many clear pictures. Why was this done? And why weren't these amazing pictures shown to the Commission so that it could order the men before them. And worse still, there is absolutely no record anywhere that these men were booked that day. There are no "blotter" records at all. The men have simply vanished. 

I have been given a list of the names of these men. Also, the pictures show three policemen. Did the Sheriff, or someone in that office, spirit them away? And why did the Sheriff, who had all of these men in his custody, permit them to get away within minutes of the time that the President of the United States had been shot and killed on his doorstep? These are tough questions, but let's go a bit further. Why didn't the all-powerful Warren Commission—which included the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, the former Director of Central Intelligence, the man who is now our President, etc.—why didn't they have an opportunity to see these pictures? The photos would have led them to ask these questions and then to demand answers."

© 1975 by L. Fletcher Prouty 

Photographic Research Richard E Sprague

Religious and occult symbolism
The heptagram was used in Christianity to symbolize the seven days of creation and became a traditional symbol for warding off evil. The heptagram is a symbol of perfection (or God) in many Christian sects. ... The heptagram is known among neopagans as the Elven Star or Fairy Star.

The Path of the Energy of Life: The Secret Seven-pointed Star

The alchemical picture of the Vitriol seven-pointed star (septagram) reveals – like hardly any other picture – the deep knowledge of great alchemists such as Paracelsus. It shows their knowledge on the influence of the seven planets on and the course of life energy in the human being and even the living body of our earth. 

By Ulrich Arndt

Ancient alchemical scriptures often had been intentionally made very difficult to understand. Many alchemists – Paracelsus too – were treated with various forms of hostility. They often travelled throughout their lifetimes in Europe, some even went across the Middle East and North Africa in order to escape the greed of rulers and the narrow-mindedness of churchmen at that time. Due to this threat however, they could not lay their knowledge entirely open in books. Thus they referred to it in allegories, used secret names for important substances and laboratory procedures, and drew cryptic pictures with varied levels of meaning. This contributes to the difficulty nowadays to comprehend their theoretical and practical knowledge. Therefore comparative studies of the ancient scriptures and at the same time practical investigations in the laboratory for more than twenty years have been necessary to rediscover Paracelsus’ healing elixirs, such as, for instance, the gold essence ”Aurum Potabile” (see issue no. 6 and 7). Only in this way the most important basis for the high art of alchemy could be deciphered, namely – as described in the last issue – the knowledge of the secret solvents of alchemy, with the help of which only production of the ”High Arcana” (this is the term for the most supreme remedies of alchemy) from metals and gems is possible. 

What level of deep significance needs to be deciphered in the symbolic pictures of alchemy thereby, is amply demonstrated by the examples of the ”Vitriol seven-pointed star” and the ”planetary man”. 

The Vitriol seven-pointed star is one of the most famous pictures of all alchemy. It was reproduced in different versions by several authors. In the Middle Ages its secret knowledge was of such an importance that the occult Order of the Knight Templars even ”engraved” the seven-pointed star on the French landscape through buildings. And this was done in an ingenious geomantic (i.e. according to knowledge of earth energies) way, which also reveals an amazing knowledge about the alchemical meaning of the Vitriol seven-pointed star. More about this later, first let us have a look at the main components of the picture. 
The famous alchemical seven-pointed star with the VITRIOL formula.
seven-pointed star
In its centre the Vitriol seven-pointed star has a face to which the two hands on the left and on the right seem to belong, and the two feet as well. These four extremities refer to the four elements: in one hand there is a torch representing the element of fire, in the other hand there is an air bladder (Vesica Piscis) representing the element of air; one foot stands on the ground, and the other one in water. The fifth element is often overlooked but sits enthroned on the very top as the double wing of Hermes. The five symbols of elements are arranged in a regular pentagon. Beside the feet a king and a queen are seated with the symbols of Sun and Moon symbolising the polar powers of nature. Furthermore the picture shows three different forms: a triangle, a circle and a seven-pointed star. The triangle represents the trinity of body, spirit and soul, if one follows the inscriptions on the angles: ”corpus”, ”anima” and ”spiritus”, or, in alchemy, for sal (= body, the solidifying principle), sulphur (= soul, the moving principle) and mercurius (= spirit, the connecting principle).

Planetary man, by GichtelPlanetary man, by Gichtel. The seven planets mark the ”furnaces of the soul”, as the alchemists called the seven chakras.

Upon this triangle there is a circle with seven emblems and an inscription as follows: ”Visita Interiora Terrae Rectificando Invenies Occultum Lapidem”, in English: ”Search for the innermost of the earth, and you will, by rectifying, find the secret stone.” The first letters of all the Latin words form the name VITRIOL. In earlier times Vitriol was already known as copper or iron vitriol from which the alchemists made sulphuric acid for the processing of metals. But Vitriol is as well an alchemical symbol for the process of transmutation, thus meaning the legendary transformation from lead to gold. Related to man this means his transformation from darkness and disease to light, to health and to the dawning of consciousness. This process is nothing but the mythical path to the Holy Grail, since in the legends the Holy Grail stands for the achievement of a ”purer” and ”more illuminated” respectively ”more translucent” state. 

The seven emblems in the circle too refer to such a transformation from darkness to light and the rebirth on a higher level. They show symbols of the labour at the ”Great Work”, i.e. the transmutation from lead to gold; clockwise starting from the raven on the skull up to the unicorn and ”resurrection”. Raven and skull thereby represent the dark and matter in its slowest state of vibration, namely certain slag originating from a working process, so-called caput mortuum. Such slags are for instance ferric oxide or copper oxide that originate from the production of sulphuric acid out of metal sulphates, i.e. Vitriol. It was Paracelsus in particular who in his scriptures pointed out that even from such slags valuable things can be obtained. Here the emblem with the raven refers to a solvent containing ammoniac. The other pictures describe the process of obtaining a royal essence or the gold essence Aurum Potabile (symbolised by eagles carrying the crown); with their help – as shown in the last picture – man is elevated from darkness, earthiness and unconsciousness towards light, and thus ”reborn”, so-to-speak. 

Between each emblem one of the seven rays of the seven-pointed star is placed. On each ray there is one of the symbols of the seven planets starting, in accordance with the numbering of the rays, with Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, then Sun, Venus, Mercury, and finally Moon. The planets are traditionally assigned to certain metals: These are Saturn = lead (or Antimony, Vitriol ore), Jupiter = tin, Mars = iron, Sun = gold, Venus = copper, Mercury = mercury (or zinc), Moon = silver. By giving the names of planets an indication is as well given to the Great Work of the metals meaning the transformation from lead to gold. 

The sequence of the planets’ numbering from 1 to 7 corresponds to the so-called Chaldaic order of the planets. At that time the earth was supposed to be the centre of the planetary orbits. And the order that was established by the Chaldeans 3000 years ago was intended to mark their decreasing distance from the earth. It is amazing: when the seven classical planets are put into an order according to their average orbital speed starting with the slowest planet Saturn, the same sequence results. Thus it is a very reasonable physical order even though the geocentric conception of the world has been proved as wrong. 

At the end of the 17th century the alchemist Johann Georg Gichtel depicted the planets in his famous “planetary man” exactly according to this planetary sequence. Here the planets mark the chakras, the seven main energy centres of man, starting from the crown chakra with Saturn down to the root chakra with Moon. The alchemists called the chakras ”the seals of the planets” or ”the furnaces of the soul”. 
Gichtel hatching his planetary man in black called the picture a description of the ”entirely earthly, natural, dark man”. The black hatching represents the ”Nigredo phase”, literally ”the black”, the dark, low-vibrating matter at the beginning of the Great Work. Thus it is a similar phase as shown in the Vitriol seven-pointed star: there the beginning of the work is symbolised by the black bird on the skull. In the same way as the emblems in the seven-pointed star demonstrate the transformation of matter, ”dark planetary man” has to be transformed and raised. Thus, the planetary order and assignment of the chakras as shown in Gichtel’s picture represent the very beginning of the process. They mark a phase in which forces of solidification, slowing down, and finally dying, dominate the processes. An indication however is hidden in both pictures, the one of the seven-pointed star and the one of planetary man, an indication as to how the planets can combine their action, in order to elevate and illuminate man; and in order to transform dark lead into sunny gold vibrating high. 
More about this will be said in the next issue... 
Now let us have a look at the seven-pointed star of the Knight Templars in France. An old map of the Knight Templars shows the position of the seven main Commanderies which are arranged in the form of a star. Also here the rays of the star are in the same order as the planets. But there is a difference: they are arranged in a contrary order. Close to the centre of the star the name of Bourges, a town, stands out. Interestingly enough the famous alchemist Fulcanelli described Bourges as the ”Keystone of the Great Work of the Alchemists in Europe”, without however giving any further explanation. Only in 1998 this riddle was revealed, partly at least. Geomantist Peter Dawkins had found an extensive energy line, a so-called ley-line, that passes through France starting from Saintes Maries de-la-Mer (the most important place of pilgrimage of the Sinti and Roma), and running through Bourges and Chartres, and even through England. As many places of the legend of the Grail are located on this line, Dawkins called it the ”line of the Grail”. Exactly this line of the Grail passes through the centre of the seven-pointed star of the Knight Templars. In the North of France it divides the ray of the Sun precisely, and in the South it runs between the rays of Saturn and Moon into the Mediterranean. Mind you that this line of the Grail is not depicted in the old map of the Knight Templars. Could this coincidence be mere chance? Hardly: Sun, Moon and Saturn, the three planetary rays placed on the line of the Grail represent the trinity of body, spirit and soul. In the alchemy they stand for Sal, Sulphur and Mercurius. And if we look at the Vitriol seven-pointed star, the deliberate placement of the seven-pointed star is even more apparent. The three rays of Sun, Moon and Saturn in the contraction VITRIOL stand for the beginning, middle and end of the word, i.e. the letters VRL. VRL or VRIL is the name of the all-pervading, invigorating elemental force of creation. The remaining letters IT and IO form the Latin word ITIO, in English ”going” or ”travel”, meaning the journey or the path, or rather the flow of the universal power of creation through the seven planets in the form of seven divine ”lights”, and finally the course of life energy through body, spirit and soul, and the seven chakras of man. 
Drawing according to a model of the seven-pointed star of the Knight Templars in France that marks the position of the main Commanderies of their Order with the line of the Grail.
Knight Templars in France
The Knight Templars associated their seven-pointed star in France very purposefully with the flow of life energy on our earth. Such a sensational discovery was just made before the turn of the millennium. Like Dawkins, the geomantist Siegfried Prumbach has found extensive energy lines. Four years ago he discovered that all these ley-lines form a regular geometrical pattern: a global energy grid that is mainly built by 12 large pentagons, forming a so called dodecahedron (one of the five Platonic solids). Exactly in the centre of one of these large pentagons which is superimposed on Europe and North Africa, Bourges is located as the centre of the seven-pointed star. And, the line of the Grail too, runs exactly through the centre of this pentagon. The Knight Templars placed the main Commanderies of their seven-pointed star close to strong natural sites of power, for example the point of the Moon at Rennes-le-Chateau (a legendary place of the Catharians) and the point of the planet Mars at Verdun (actually this point of Mars, the god of war, attained sad fame during the First World War). The Knight Templars connected the flow of energy between the seven sites of power or ”chakras of the earth” in France in a particular way.
The secret knowledge of the alchemists is in regard to the way the energies in the seven-pointed star of the planets are to flow in order to have a vitalising effect. They knew how to transform the ”dark planetary order” of the Nigredo level to ”gold” and to brightness. They called this highest level of vibration ”Rubedo” (= reddening), according to the colours appearing during the transformation of matter in the Great Work. The endeavour of all great alchemists was to reach this highest level of vibration in their laboratory work and within themselves. For this purpose Paracelsus transformed solid metals and gems into unique lucid elixirs. Used as remedies they are meant to ”brighten up” man in the same manner, i.e. to raise him in his vibrational level, and to heal and support the development of character and consciousness.

Bildquellen: ©Hans Nietsch Verlag, ©Siegfried Prumbach 1x


God is a Concept 
by which we measure 
Our pain

I'll say it again

God is a Concept 
by which we measure 
Our pain

I don't believe in Magick
I don't believe in I-Ching
I don't believe in Bible
I don't believe in Tarot
I don't believe in Hitler
I don't believe in Jesus
I don't believe in Kennedy
I don't believe in Buddha
I don't believe in Mantra
I don't believe in Gita
I don't believe in Yoga
I don't believe in Kings
I don't believe in Elvis
I don't believe in Zimmerman
I don't believe in Beatles

I just believe in me.

Yoko and me.

And that's reality

The dream is over
What can I say?
The dream is over


I was The Dreamweaver
But now I'm reborn

I was The Walrus
But now I'm John

And so, dear friends,
You'll just have to carry on

The Dream is Over.

Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upontheSegregation of the Queen.

We don't know where the next attack will come from. 
Medusa was bad enough!

Ah, Medusa. Yes, I read about that on this machine here. 
Wee words keep coming out of it all the time. 

Oh, yes? 


Let's have a look. 

There. Look. 

DOCTOR: (reads.) 
Cancel. Doctor test report failure. 

Oh, I think I'm beginning to understand. 

Well, I wish I was. 

Well, when someone writes about an incident after it's happened, that is history. 


But when the writing comes first, that's fiction. *

If we'd have fallen into the Master's trap, we would have become fiction. 
* aka "Magick", or "prayer"

"But you have retired, Holmes. We heard of you as living the life of a hermit among your bees and your books in a small farm upon the South Downs."

"Exactly, Watson. Here is the fruit of my leisured ease, the magnum opus of my latter years!" He picked up the volume from the table and read out the whole title, Practical Handbook of Bee Culture, with Some Observations upon the Segregation of the Queen. "Alone I did it. Behold the fruit of pensive nights and laborious days when I watched the little working gangs as once I watched the criminal world of London."

" 'I remember Sherlock Holmes expressing similar sentiments.' 

'Yeah?' Ace was interested. 'Did you meet him? Oh, right, he wasn't real, was he?' 

'Just because somebody isn't real, it doesn't mean you can't meet them,' murmured the Doctor with a sly smile." 

'...for their escape. Enemy had finally been defeated, '

'The Enemy had been finally defeated.... by the Doctor.'

No, no, I can't say that! 

If I say that. I nearly fell for it, didn't I? 

Another two seconds and I should have turned myself into fiction! 


The magician wishing for a manifestation of Pan will not only invoke Pan directly and verbally, create Panlike conditions in his temple, reinforce Pan associations in every gesture and every article of furniture, use the colors and perfumes associated with Pan, etc.; he will also banish other gods verbally, banish them by removing their associated furnitures and colors and perfumes, and banish them in every other way. 

The Behavior Therapist calls this "negative reinforcement," and in treating a patient who is afraid of elevators he will not only reinforce (reward) every instance in which the patient rides an elevator without terror, but will also negatively reinforce (punish) each indication of terror shown by the patient. 

The Christian Scientist, of course, uses a mantra or spell which both reinforces health and negatively reinforces (banishes) illness.* Similarly, a commercial not only motivates the listener toward the sponsor's product but discourages interest in all "false gods"- by subsuming them under the rubric of the despised and contemptible Brand X.

The basic Christian Science mantra, known as "The Scientific Statement of Being," no less, is as follows: "There is no life, truth, intelligence nor substance in matter. All is infinite mind and its infinite manifestation, for God is all in all, Spirit is immortal truth: matter is mortal error. Spirit is the real and eternal; matter is the unreal and temporal. Spirit is God and man is His image and likeness. Therefore man is not material, he is spiritual." The fact that these statements are, in terms of the scientific criteria, "meaningless," "non-operational," and "footless" is actually totally irrelevant. They work. Try them and see. As Aleister Crowley, no friend of Mrs. Eddy's, wrote, "Enough of Because! May he be damned for a dog!"

The importance of symbols— images— as the link between word and primordial energy demonstrates the unity between magick and yoga. Both magick and yoga— we reiterate—are methods of self-programming employing synchronistically connected chains of word, image, and bio-energy.

Thus, rationalists, who are all puritans, have never considered the fact that disbelief in magick is found only in puritanical societies. The reason for this is simple: Puritans are incapable of guessing what magick is essentially all about. It can even be surely ventured that only those who have experienced true love, in the classic Albigensian or troubadour sense of that expression, are equipped to understand even the most clear-cut exposition of the mysteries.*

The eye in the triangle; for instance, is not primarily a symbol of the Christian Trinity, as the gullible assume— except insofar as the Christian Trinity is itself a visual (or verbal) elaboration on a much older meaning. 

Nor is this symbol representative of the Eye of Osiris or even of the Eye of Horus, as some have ventured; it is venerated, for instance, among the Cao Dai sect in Vietnam, who never heard of Osiris or Horus. 

The eye's meaning can be found quite simply by meditating on Tarot Trump XV, the Devil, which corresponds, on the Tree of Life, to the Hebrew letter ayin, the eye. The reader who realizes that "The Devil" is only a late rendering of the Great God Pan has already solved the mystery of the eye, and the triangle has its usual meaning. 

The two together are the union of Yod, the father, with He, the Mother, as in Yod-He-Vau-He, the holy unspeakable name of God. Vau, the Holy Ghost, is the result of their union, and final He is the divine ecstasy which follows. One might even venture that one who contemplates this key to the identities of Pan, the Devil, the Great Father, and the Great Mother will eventually come to a new, more complete understanding of the Christian Trinity itself, and especially of its most mysterious member, Vau, the elusive Holy Ghost.**

* This book has stated it as clearly as possible in a number of places, but some readers are still wondering what we are holding back.

** This being has more in common with the ordinary nocturnal visitor, sometimes called a "ghost," than is immediately evident to the uninitiated. Cf. the well-documented association of poltergeist disturbances with adolescents.


Here are we,
One magical movement from Kether to Malkuth 

There are you
You drive like a daemon from Station to Station

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Here's Tom with The Weather

"Today, a young man on acid realised that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that We are all 1Consciousness experiencing Itself subjectively : There is no such thing as Death, Life is only a Dream and We are the imagination of Ourselves :- 

Here's Tom with The Weather."


Saturday, 28 January 2017

Rogue One : "Vichy Wasn't Collaborationist"

" I've just made a deal that'll keep The Empire out of here forever. "


MORE THAN 40 YEARS have passed since the end of World War II. Yet despite a widespread desire to suppress the nightmarish memories of the war and the Holocaust that accompanied it, shadowy events from that past continue to haunt Europeans. 
Many American commentators assert that recent controversial events - such as Chancellor Helmut Kohl's invitation to President Reagan to visit a German military cemetery at Bitburg and the election of Kurt Waldheim as President of Austria - show that Europeans have buried the past, that they suffer from a kind of collective amnesia. Because Europeans have failed to examine their past fully and honestly, the argument goes, they have not come to grips with the causes of the war and the Holocaust, nor have they learned the lessons of history.

However, a month of interviews in West Germany, Austria and France - the West European countries most deeply affected by the Holocaust and its aftermath - suggests that a more complex and, in some ways, disturbing phenomenon is at work.

The vehemence of recent controversies shows that Europe's apparent amnesia about the war is largely a willed phenomenon. Europeans old enough to remember those years have not forgotten the past, but often remember it all too well, and they deeply resent being reminded of it.

Even more striking is that many Europeans have their own distinct, often suppressed memories which are at odds with those of the victors and those who suffered at the hands of the Third Reich, particularly those who survived Nazi concentration camps.
Decency and custom have prevented these alternative memories from being expressed openly. But scratch the surface, and they are there. The memories are a kind of volcano upon which the new, postwar societies of Europe have been constructed. Western Europe today seems prosperous, self-assured and tranquil enough. 

But beneath the crust, the lava of memory smolders. Only when a society is forced to confront these memories through a Bitburg commemoration, a Waldheim election, or the trial of accused war criminals such as France's Klaus Barbie, does the bitterness, the hatred, the latent anti-Semitism burst forth with what seems astonishing power and vehemence.

Many West European leaders have have tried to gloss over or to distort the past in order to build more self-confident, self-reliant, patriotic nations. Whether it is the West German notion of ''the year zero,'' the immaculate conception of the postwar German republic, or de Gaulle's promulgation in France of the myth of a large, glorious Resistance to Nazi terror, or Austria's self-perception, sanctioned for political purposes by the Allies, as ''Hitler's first victim,'' official emphasis on self-exonerating memories, on positive myths, has had politically useful effects.

But some intellectuals are now troubled by the long-term consequences of these myths and suppressed, distorted memories. Because those who experienced World War II and those who survived the Holocaust are dying, this group argues, Western Europe is approaching a critical juncture.

''Collective memory is about to become history,'' says Alain Finkielkraut, a French writer. So, he argues, a full and truthful rendering of the past, a confrontation between conflicting sets of collective memories is essential now, before the events of this era and its implications fade. It is now, he says, that the attitudes and conditions that led to the most terrible conflict in human history must be not merely re-examined, but solidified in individual memory, in collective consciousness, and entered faithfully into history. Yet this, by and large, is not being done. Instead, in many European countries, what were once politically repugnant memories are now beginning to find expression. And many intellectuals predict that there will be more such ''surfacings'' as time passes, witnesses die and past events become subject to greater distortion and reinterpretation. (In the United States, interviews are being conducted with hundreds of survivors; box, page 110.) 

''The clash of conflicting memories is already well underway,'' says Saul Friedlander, an Israeli historian and survivor of the Holocaust. 

PERHAPS NO COUNTRY HAS EXPLORED its recent past as intensively as the Federal Republic of Germany. ''Unlike the Austrians or the French, we were forced to do so,'' says Hans Mommsen, a professor of history at the University of Bochum, near Dusseldorf.

On the surface, Germany seems to have come to grips with its past effectively. ''Public opinion polls show that there is simply no appetite among German youth for a replay of the Nazi years, that there is almost no receptivity towards right-wing extremism,'' says Max Kasse, a political scientist at the University of Mannheim.
As in most of Western Europe, the confrontation with the past in Germany has undergone several stages. In the immediate postwar years, the Allies conducted the Nuremberg war crimes trials and supervised the rewriting of German history textbooks, the drafting of laws and the framing of a new Constitution designed to prevent the emergence of a Fourth Reich.

With the onset of the cold war, growing East-West tensions, and the election of Chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1949, West Germany and the Allies played down events of the past.

This ''latent'' period of memory was shattered by the student rebellions of the late 1960's. In Germany, and especially in France, the riots were a protest, among other things, of what Mr. Friedlander has called ''the silence of the fathers.'' In Germany, many young people awoke to the horrors of the Holocaust as if for the first time. But the exploration of Germany's Nazi past also gave rise to some of the first instances of what liberal historians call the marginalization and externalization of the Holocaust. Young leftists, outraged by a past they felt had been kept from them, turned on their society and elders. Germany was still ruled by ''fascists,'' they charged. The Americans were commiting ''genocide'' against the Vietnamese. Israelis were acting ''like Nazis'' towards Palestinians. Such evil had to be confronted - with violence, if necessary. To resist passively, went the argument of the New Left, was to succumb as Germany had during the war to fascism and authoritarianism.

Jurgen Habermas, a philosopher at the University of Frankfurt who passionately defended the student uprisings, nevertheless denounces this reasoning as ''fascism of the left.'' He and others argue that the New Left's jargon was dangerous in that it denied the specificity of National Socialism and of the Holocaust.
The denial of the specificity of the Holocaust is one of several themes found today in the literature of the so-called revisionists - ultraconservative and ultra-left-wing writers in Western Europe and the United States who have been attempting to rewrite history by challenging the existence of gas chambers and camps, and the extermination by the Nazis of some nine million Europeans, six million of them Jewish.

Revisionist historians are a tiny, intellectually isolated minority. They have no weight anywhere in Europe. But by taking an outrageously extreme positon, they have served to make the arguments of other, more moderate revisionists seem more reasonable.

''There is a new lack of constraints,'' says Mr. Habermas. ''Things are being written, and spoken in official and ordinary conversations, which were morally and politically unacceptable only a decade ago.''

At present, a fierce debate rages in intellectual circles in West Germany over two recent publications that Mr. Habermas and others call revisionist. The controversy began last April with the publication of a slender book, ''Two Kinds of Destruction: The Shattering of the German Reich and the End of European Jewry,'' by Andreas Hillgruber, a historian at Cologne University and a reknowned authority on National Socialism.

In his book, Mr. Hillgruber focuses primarily on the ''catastrophe'' of the fall of the eastern front in Germany during the winter of 1944-45 to the Soviet Army. To this section, the core of the book, he adds a 22-page essay on the Holocaust, almost as an afterthought. Mr. Hillgruber dramatically describes the murders, rapes and other forms of ''barbarian'' behavior of Soviet troops who, he writes, caused two million deaths and the displacement of millions more Germans. The German people, he maintains, should ''identify'' with the valiant German soldiers who defended their countrymen and Germany's eastern territories.

In June, Ernst Nolte, another historian, published an article in the leading Frankfurt newspaper, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which developed themes he had first discussed in an essay in a book published in London in 1985. Mr. Nolte argues that National Socialism must be seen as a reaction to what he terms the ''Bolshevik actions of annihilation'' in the 1930's in the Soviet Union, and farther back, to the Industrial Revolution.

He also asserts that the history of this period must be re-examined, or ''revised,'' because it was written largely by the victors and hence was transformed into what he terms a ''negative'' and ''state-supporting myth.''

Mr. Nolte argues that Hitler had reason to believe that the Jews wished to ''annihilate'' him. As proof, he cites a ''declaration of war'' proclaimed by Chaim Weizmann in 1939. Mr. Weizmann, a leading Zionist who helped found the state of Israel, had called upon Jews everywhere to fight on the side of England.

''This fact,'' Mr. Nolte claims, ''might justify the consequential thesis that Hitler was allowed to treat the German Jews as prisoners of war and by this means to intern them.''

This was too much for Mr. Habermas. Describing himself as ''outraged to the core,'' he denounced what he termed the ''grossly apologetic tendencies'' of Mr. Hillgruber and Mr. Nolte in an article published in July in the widely read liberal weekly, Die Zeit. Mr. Habermas accused the historians, in effect, of attempting to rewrite history to help fashion a new, patriotic German identity.

Although the debate among intellectuals over Mr. Hillgruber's and Mr. Nolte's views has only recently spilled over into the popular press, more and more revisionist themes are finding expression in the West German mass media.

In the fall of 1984, an ambitious 15-hour series on television by Edgar Reitz entitled ''Heimat,'' drew record audiences. 

- an almost untranslatable word that refers to home, native place, homeland - 

is the saga of the inhabitants of the fictional, tranquil village of Schabbach before and after the war. Its citizens are basically decent folk, who live through the brutal Nazi era without in most cases changing significantly. There are hardly any Nazis in Schabbach.

The subtle, but unmistakable message of ''Heimat,'' observes Hans Mommsen, is that ''this terrible thing, National Socialism, was done to us by a few brutes called the Nazis, a tiny minority who seized power and distorted the peaceful life of ordinary German people.'' Evil occurs in the script, but it is almost incidental.


The writers and directors of such films deny that they are revisionists. They say, rather, that they are exploring their past with the new honesty that time and distance from the events allows.
Some historians, however, are deeply troubled by what they see as the proliferation of such revisionist themes in academic and popular literature, and in films and works of art not just in Germany, but throughout Western Europe. These works, they say, fall into four categories of distortion of fact and history.

Among the most frequent is revisionism through comparison. As one is reminded in Mr. Nolte's work, Stalin arguably killed more people than did Hitler. Or, as the Greens and other leftists in Germany note, the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan, implying comparable guilt for Nazis and Americans. The Pol Pot regime committed ''genocide'' in Cambodia.


Therefore, it follows, Germany's wrongdoing is not an unprecedented horror, but an unfortunate continuation of a series of historical indications of man's inhumanity to man. 

The specificity of the Holocaust is buried in comparison.

Another strategy of deflection is describing the periphery instead of the core of fascism. ''Heimat'' is a case in point, Mr. Mommsen and other critics argue. ''By emphasizing the normalcy of daily life under the Third Reich,'' he maintains, ''you tend to lose touch with the essentials of the regime.''

A third strategy is referred to by the Germans as Schlusstrich, or the drawing of a line at the bottom of an account. In historical terms, that means closing the book on the Third Reich.

A fourth device is inversion - that is, portraying perpetrators as victims and victims as witting or unwitting perpetrators of their own misfortune. Mr. Nolte's citation of Weizmann's declaration of war against Hitler is a prime example.

Germany is unusual in Europe in that the intellectual debate over how Germany's past should be perceived is mirrored in its political divisions.

Mr. Habermas's outlook on the past has found political voice in the words and philosophy of Richard von Weizsacker, President of West Germany and a member of the conservative ruling Christian Democratic Union. In a remarkable address before the Bundestag after the Bitburg affair, President von Weizsacker spoke out eloquently against forgetting. ''All of us,'' he said, ''must accept the past. We are all affected by the consequences and liable for it . . . . Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to new risks of infection.''

An opposing model of remembrance has found political expression in Chancellor Kohl, whose obsession with what he calls ''normalizing'' the past led him to seek the ill-fated German-American reconciliation at Bitburg.

The basic thrust of Mr. Kohl's position is that the time has come for Schlusstrich. Germany must stop wallowing in guilt, turn the page of history and move on.

His motivation is understandable, for in modern, postwar Germany, the threat to democratic values has indeed come not from the minuscule right, but mainly from young people of the left who have no sense that their democracy is something worth defending.

The result has been what Pierre Hassner, a French political scientist, calls a debilitating leftist ''neutralism,'' that makes these young Germans unwilling to see much difference between the United States and the Soviet Union.

Mr. Hassner and some German experts see this neutralism as a suppressed form of the same nationalist tendencies that mark Germany's right wing.

''The right is seeking to promote its own form of nationalism to counter that of the left,'' Mr. Hassner says. ''But they are doing so by portraying Germany as a nation no better or worse than any other.''

A relatively new element in the German debate about the past has been added by the Reagan Administration's echoing of Mr. Kohl's themes. Anxious about the neutralist tendencies of young leftists, eager to establish a strong, pro-Western, pro-NATO Germany, American officials seem to have decided that this can best be accomplished by nurturing the kind of new, positive German identity and patriotism advocated by Mr. Kohl.

In a speech delivered in May, American Ambassador Richard R. Burt argued that democracy could not have succeeded in postwar Germany had there not been ''a long tradition of German experiences with democracy'' - including the German Hanseatic League; the Constitution written by the Frankfurt Parliament, which he admits was ''stillborn,'' and even the Weimar Republic, which handed over power to Hitler. That republic, Mr. Burt asserted, ''also deserves a better historical verdict than it has been given.''

Such pronouncements have provoked a strong reaction, even among those who agree that young Germans must become more self-confident. They warn that Germany's positive new identity must not be built on a rewriting of history or on a glossing over of the specificity of the horror of the Holocaust or crimes of the Third Reich. It must be built, as President von Weizsacker has urged, on acceptance of the past, on, in effect, a paradox: namely, that Germans should be proud of their political and economic postwar miracle precisely because it has been built on the ashes of National Socialism. Any effort to rewrite history, to deny the past, to gloss over the horror, is building a positive German identity on a myth.

And that is dangerous, such critics say.

''Germany is not America,'' observes Mr. Mommsen, the historian. ''This positive new identity that you Americans and Chancellor Kohl want so much to encourage can boomerang dangerously here if you begin rewriting the past, or encourage Germans to do it.

Haven't you learned that you can't play around with nationalism in Germany?'' 

WHEN KURT WALDHEIM, THE FORMER United Nations Secretary General who had lied about his Nazi involvement, was elected President of Austria on June 8 with 53.9 percent of the vote, those outside Austria who had opposed his election comforted themselves by saying that the episode was useful in that it had forced Austrians to confront their own past.


''Waldheim woke them up,'' asserted Israel Singer, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, an American who led the fight against Mr. Waldheim. This conclusion, however, is not shared by Austrians. Many of the staunchest opponents of Mr. Waldheim's election assert that the protracted furor over his personal background and moral character has made it virtually impossible, in the immediate wake of this bitter contest, to persuade Austrians to examine the past dispassionately.

The debate taking place in Germany may worry some analysts, but it is far less ominous than the silence in Austria.

''The Waldheim affair has undone years and years of our work,'' laments Peter Michael Lingens, editor of Profil, the weekly magazine that disclosed information about Mr. Waldheim's past and was one of only two publications in Austria to oppose his election.
''For years we have tried to make Austrians understand that there were different degrees of guilt in the war and to distinguish between them,'' Mr. Lingens said. ''Those who worked in concentration camps have a different level of guilt from Nazi party members in Austria, or from simple soldiers who fought in a Nazi uniform.

''What the Waldheim affair did was to mix them all up in people's minds. Waldheim's victory was all of Austria's exoneration. So nobody wants to talk about collective responsibility or examine individual guilt anymore.'' Among the newly silenced is Leon Zelman, a Polish Jew who survived three and a half years in the Mauthausen concentration camp southwest of Vienna and settled in the Austrian capital after the war. Mr. Zelman helped found one of the most innovative educational programs about the Holocaust in all of Europe.

Started by the Socialist Minister of Education in 1977, the program sends some 80 concentration camp survivors in the Vienna area into high schools throughout the country to discuss their wartime experiences with students. Mr. Zelman has visited 120 schools.
Usually, he recalled, ''the kids knew almost nothing about the Holocaust, about Austria's role during the war. But at least they had open minds and a genuine sense of shock and outrage about what we told them had happened.''

The atmosphere changed dramatically, however, when he visited a school five months ago during the Waldheim campaign. ''The kids were aggressive and hostile,'' he said. ''For the first time I heard children saying 'you Jews.' They said that Waldheim had only been a soldier, like their grandfathers. He had only done his duty, they said, echoing Waldheim's words.''

''I was so upset I almost had to leave the room,'' Mr. Zelman said. ''I haven't participated in the program since then. And I won't go into any more schools again.''

Some say that the essential background for understanding the Waldheim affair is Austria's profound discomfiture not only with the Nazi era, but with most of its modern history in general.
''It's been a bad history since 1918, since we lost our empire,'' said Gerold Christian, a spokesman for Mr. Waldheim. (Mr. Waldheim declined to be interviewed for this article.) An almost obsessive nostalgia for lost empire is palpable in Vienna. This imperial city, built to rule one of the most powerful empires of Europe, stands today as a gigantic head on a shrunken body. Austria, whose realm in 1900 included a multitude of peoples, lands and languages, is now an Alpine republic of 7.5 million people, fewer than in Belgium.

That Anschluss, absorption by Hitler in a new Germanic empire, should have appealed to people with such a heritage is not suprising, said Oliver Rathkolb, an Austrian specialist on the postwar period.

Another basic feature of Austria's political landscape is anti-Semitism. ''Ours is an old, Christian anti-Semitism, as old as the empire,'' said Ruth Beckermann, a young Austrian film maker and writer who actively opposed Mr. Waldheim's election. ''In Austria, even the Jews are anti-Semitic.''

According to figures from Simon Wiesenthal, Austria's celebrated Nazi hunter, Austria, whose population hovered around 7 million before the war, compared with Germany's roughly 65 million people at the time, supplied 40 percent of the staff at Nazi death camps.

''But Austria never did what the Germans did after the war,'' said Mr. Rathkolb. ''They never accepted historical and moral responsibility for what happened here. Everything was the fault of the Germans, plus a few horrid Austrian Nazis.''

Mr. Rothkolb also blames the Allies, in particular, the Americans, for helping to enshrine Austria as the ''first victim'' of Hit-ler's aggression through the Moscow Declaration of 1943. Partly due to growing East-West tensions, he says, Austria's de-Nazification program was overly formal, perfunctory, and truncated. People's wartime records were swept under the carpet. History textbooks were not rewritten as they were in Germany. Nor was Austria required to pay reparations to war victims.

Although Austria's 500,000 Nazi party members were not permitted to vote in the 1945 elections, by 1949 Austrian parties were actively vying for their support. When Bruno Kreisky was elected Chancellor in 1970, he brought former Nazis back into Austrian politics. There were four former Nazis in his first government. In the 1970's, he sought to solidify his political hold by building a coalition with the Freedom Party, composed of former Nazis and their sons, whose mission was to protect the ''Germanness'' of Austrian life from Slavic influences. Mr. Kreisky backed as President of the Austrian Parliament Friedrich Peter, the Freedom Party leader who was disclosed to have spent two years with a German unit that killed 10,000 civilians in the Soviet Union.

Mr. Kreisky defends his decisions and argues that Mr. Waldheim's People's Party is far more anti-Semitic than the Socialists. Asked about his cooperation with Austrians with a dubious past, he responded: ''With whom should we have rebuilt the country?''
In keeping with the Allies' exoneration of Austria as Hitler's ''first victim,'' Austrians old enough to remember the war genuinely seem to perceive of themselves as victims of war, first of Germany's Third Reich, and later of the occupying Allies.

Peter Sichrovsky, an Austrian writer who has completed a new book of interviews with children of Nazis in Germany and Austria, says that this perception is common among the postwar generation. ''They remember the hunger, their cities being bombed by Allied planes, the loss of fathers and uncles in the war, and they cannot understand why their suffering is not appreciated, why it doesn't count,'' Mr. Sichrovsky said. ''They don't want to look at how and why the war started.''

Given their historical exoneration and this generation's collective memory of itself as victims, many Austrians were ill-prepared to handle the Waldheim controversy.

They reacted with an aggressive defensiveness born of ignorance or illusions about the past. Others who perceived themselves and their generation as victims were able to articulate publicly what they had been saying in the privacy of their homes for years.

Polls show that young Austrians, the post-postwar generation, voted for Mr. Waldheim in greater numbers than did their elders. But political scientists say that this was not because they are particularly anti-Semitic or xenophobic (opinion polls show that they are less of both than older Austrians). Rather, they simply seemed less interested in the issue of Mr. Waldheim's past and more determined to end the 16-year Socialists' rule.

FRANCE'S HISTORICAL position is unique.
''Unlike Germany or Austria, France was in the camp of both collaborators and victors,'' said Claude Lanzmann, whose 9 1/2-hour film about the Holocaust, ''Shoah,'' has won international acclaim.

The fact that France was both a winner and a loser poses painful paradoxes for the French, who are profoundly attached to their country's rich history. Yet France has yet to decide where it stands on a variety of fundamental historical questions: how the Vichy Government should be viewed, whether France was truly collaborationist during the war, to what extent its deportation of thousands of Jews to concentration camps flowed from circumstances of the war or from the country's own anti-Semitism.
The impending trial of Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo official accused of killing 4,000 people and deporting 7,500 others to concentration camps, has sharpened debate here over such fundamental issues.

Mr. Barbie was forcibly returned to France from Bolivia in February 1983, to stand trial. But for almost four years, the French judicial system has pondered how and for which crimes he should be tried. The delays have been so systematic, the process so protracted, that many Frenchmen have wondered whether the unstated goal has been to insure that Mr. Barbie, now 73 and in poor health, dies before he can be brought to trial.

Some politicians have long warned that such a trial might sully the reputations of Resistance heros and show that Jean Moulin, leader of the Resistance in France, was betrayed by now-prominent individuals in France.

Now that the trial is expected to begin early next year, even prominent French Jews and non-Jews with impeccable wartime credentials have begun to voice their apprehension. Such trials, 40 years after the events, may no longer be useful ''mechanisms'' of memory, they say. They may not help France come to grips with its past.

The Barbie trial will almost inevitably focus national attention on France's deepest trauma and on questions that most Frenchmen would like to put behind them.

Consider, for example, how Vichy is viewed in France. In a rare interview on this topic in late September, Socialist President Francois Mitterrand, who himself fought with the Resistance, denied that the Vichy regime was a fascist government that collaborated with the Nazis. Rather, he says, it was ''a pathetic power, terribly weak. It was a regime of petit bourgeois, inspired by the views of the past. It was reactionary, sad, mediocre, and finally guilty, but much more because of cowardice than positive will.''

An opposing view of Vichy was presented by Robert O. Paxton, an American historian whose 1972 book, ''Vichy France,'' has influenced the thinking of a new generation of French historians. He argues that Vichy should not (Continued on Page 40) be seen simply as a product of France's defeat in war, as President Mitterrand suggests. It was, he says, a means of exploiting the German presence ''to carry out major changes in the way Frenchmen were governed, schooled, and employed.''

Vichy, he points out, set up its own concentration camp system, and enacted its own laws against Jews without German prodding. In fact, Vichy's first hundred days took place without close, direct German political supervision.

Mr. Paxton notes that the Resistance was initially the most minuscule of movements, dominated by the left after Germany invaded the Soviet Union, and, outside France, by Charles de Gaulle, a conservative nationalist whose total support stood at 35,000 until well into 1942.

The history taught in French schools is, not suprisingly, far closer to President Mitterrand's vision than to Mr. Paxton's. For most of the postwar period, French history of World War II, to the extent that it was taught at all, focused almost entirely on Germany's occupation and what Germany did in France.

''What my generation learned was what the Germans did to us,'' said Bernard-Henri Levy, the writer. ''We were taught that foreign doctrines were implanted here. But in fact, we had our very own fascism, a fascism in the colors of France.''

In 1983, after a decade-long campaign, Serge Klarsfeld, the French Nazi hunter who helped locate Mr. Barbie, succeeded in persuading French educators to change the country's history books, which until the 1980's, for example, continued to present the roundups of Jews as a German operation. ''The books are now impeccable,'' Mr. Klarsfeld said. ''But it was one hell of a battle.'' Pascal Ory, a young French historian, says that the return of Charles de Gaulle began ''the years of occultation,'' the building of the myth, a period in which France's memory was frozen.

De Gaulle had to give France back its honor, to uplift and reunify the nation by burying the differences. De Gaulle's reaction, said Mr. Mitterrand, was the ''reflex'' of a chief of state.

The student revolution of 1968, the publication of Mr. Paxton's book and the 1970 filming of Marcel Ophuls's classic documentary on occupied France, ''The Sorrow and the Pity,'' prompted a re-evaluation of certain myths, or exaggerations, such as the depth and breath of the Resistance.

This generation of the 1970's destroyed the myth that the Resistance was widespread, but it did not attack the sacred notion of the Resistance as noble or glorious. And it is this doctrine of political faith that threatens to be torn asunder by the Barbie trial.
Another threat to the image of the Resistance has emerged. In September, Alexandre de Marenches, the former head of French intelligence, asserted in a book that there were 10 tons of largely unexamined archives from the war in the possession of the French security police, some of which show that putative Resistance fighters had actually been German agents.

Mr. de Marenches argued that the documents should be sealed to prevent the age-old divisions of France from re-emerging and weakening the national fabric.

The French Government announced in September that the documents would be transferred to the Army's historical archives, where (Continued on Page 109) they are to be examined and processed. Since French law, however, requires that documents pertaining to national security and private individuals be sealed for 60 years, the decision effectively means that their contents will not be revealed until virtually all of the individuals mentioned in them are dead.

Will a reckoning with shameful parts of France's war history undermine this country's modern political consensus and resolve?
Pierre Lellouche, deputy director of the French Institute for International Relations, argues that the French are afraid to confront the past precisely because they fear that the consensus could shatter. But because France has not fully examined its past, he argues, the consensus is, in fact, far more fragile than it seems. 

Just as France crumbled during Vichy, Mr. Lellouche argues, it is liable to crumble again, as it has in the face of what appears to be Syrian-sponsored terrorism, and as it did when America asked its help against Libya.

President Mitterrand disagrees. He is persuaded that the divisions that have plagued, and continue to plague his country, ''have not shaken France's capacity to be a strong nation.''

''I don't know how the French would react if they found themselves today in a situation similar to the one we lived through,'' he said. ''I cannot say. But I hope they will remain fiercely partisan of their independence.''

ISRAEL SINGER, OF THE World Jewish Congress, has a memory, one of his first in America. He remembers 113 candles on his kitchen table in Brooklyn, or as he described it, ''a conflagration of candles.''

His mother had lit them the day she learned that 113 of Mr. Singer's relatives had been shot on the Russian-Polish border while trying to escape from their village.


The image is burned in his memory. It is one of the reasons why Mr. Singer, like so many Jews, cares so deeply about the need to remember. It explains, he says, why he works to insure that the intolerance, hatred and weaknesses that marked the prewar era can never again trigger another Holocaust. Elie Wiesel, the Jewish writer who has just been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, has a nightmare. It is that people will forget; that young people will fail to learn to remember. It is the reason, he says, that he cannot stop writing about the Holocaust.

For Jews, memory is almost a religion. ''Judaism is in part the constant retelling of a story, so memory is part of the essence of Jewish tradition,'' said Mr. Friedlander, the Israeli historian.
Jews seem to be one of the few peoples who have what can legitimately be termed a collective memory. This is not the case for the French, torn to this day in many villages between collaborators and resisters, subliminally haunted by their divisions. It is not true for the Germans, a divided nation whose memories are profoundly separated by the Berlin wall, their families' experiences, age, and political outlook. There is surely no agreed-upon memory in Austria, which for the moment has tried to bury not only memory itself, but even debate about it.

Of course, some degree of forgetting is not only unavoidable, but healthy. ''Total recall leads to madness,'' as Mr. Paxton puts it.
Yet most West Europeans would agree that knowledge of the past is essential if there is to be genuine reconciliation among former enemies in a society, and if future catastrophies are to be avoided.
For Mr. Klarsfeld, the Nazi hunter, there are certain ''mechanisms'' that can be used to jog memories of the painful past. First, there are commemorations. Then there is the writing of history, such as Mr. Paxton's first book on Vichy, which helped shape a new generation of French historians. A third mechanism of memory is, in effect, the presence of older generations who remember painful events firsthand; but this is disappearing.

Mr. Klarsfeld argues that trials and other judicial procedures against those who committed atrocities are also effective aids to memory. But considering the distortions that are likely to emerge from the Barbie trial due to the death of eyewitnesses and time and distance from the events, one can legitimately question - as have Mr. Lanzmann and Simone Veil, a leading French conservative politician and concentration camp survivor - whether such trials are still useful for exploring the past.

There are also what Mr. Klarsfeld calls ''tests of strength'' between conflicting sets of collective memories, such as those posed by the Waldheim election and the Bitburg affair.

Again, however, the effect of such politically charged confrontations is in dispute. There is little doubt that such encounters helped educate younger generations, especially outside of Germany and Austria, about World War II and the Holocaust. It is also true that, thanks to the Waldheim controversy, young Austrians may one day begin debating the past. But at present, it is by no means clear that they now know more about their past, or are better able to deal with it because of the Waldheim debate.

What is taught in schools, read in books and newspapers and seen on film is perhaps far more important to young people. Film, in particular, is enormously effective in stirring interest in the past and in helping young people to comprehend the horror of the genocide during World War II. The testimony of Mr. Zelman and other concentration camp survivors in Austria is now being videotaped so that future Austrians will be able to watch him speak about what he endured long after he is dead.

Such tools are vital to combat the indifference of Europe's young generations, says Marcel Ophuls, who is now completing a documentary on Klaus Barbie. ''Even politically active young people consider Chernobyl more relevant to their future than Waldheim.''

In France, says Bernard-Henri Levy, ''a sense of outrage is missing from daily life. Young people don't get very excited about anti-Semitism, or about anything else for that matter.''

This indifference presents a danger as great as that posed by revisionist historians, nationalist politicians or others who would seek to reinvent Europe's past. The Bitburg, Waldheim and Barbie controversies have been painful for Europeans. But the real risk Europe faces is a time when such events no longer provoke controversy. For, difficult though the debate may be, memory's most ardent enemy is silence.