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Holocaust Denial: Ernst Zündel and Fred Leuchter


John Simkin
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Last night I watched Errol Morris' great documentary, Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999). It provides a fascinating insight into the mentality of holocaust deniers. It included interviews with Ernst Zündel, Fred Leuchter and David Irving.

The background to the story concerns Ernst Zündel, a German who went to live in Canada. In 1977, Zündel founded a small press publishing house called Samisdat Publishers which promoted the idea that UFOs are really secret weapons of Nazis who had fled to Neu-Schwabenland in Antarctica. The UFOs supposedly monitor humanity and are part of a secret plan to re-conquer the world at an unspecified time.

He also published his own "The Hitler We Loved" and Richard Verrall's Did Six Million Really Die?". Both became important documents of the Holocaust denial movement. As a result, Zündel was charged with publishing material which "is likely to incite hatred against an identifiable group".

On the recommendation of Bill Armantrout, warden for Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri, Zündel hired Fred Leuchter to investigate the Holocaust. Leuchter (nicknamed Dr. Death) ran a company offering services to several states to help them maintain, improve, document, and ascertain their equipment for administration of capital punishment. He was completely self-taught but bizarre as it might sound he actually made a living doing this job.

Leuchter traveled to Auschwitz and Birkenau to examine the structures identified as gas chambers, and concluded that they could not have been used for mass murder. Zündel's Samisdat Publications published his findings as The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek Poland (published in England by David Irving). Leuchter gave evidence under oath in Zündel's trial.

In "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter" David Irving argues that it was the research of Leuchter that convinced him that the Holocaust did not take place.

This is what Wikipedia say happened next:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_A._Leuchter

In 1988, Leuchter traveled to several sites of structures identified as gas chambers, where he surreptitiously collected samples from walls, ceilings and floors since he did not have permission to take samples, using a chisel and hammer to chip and scrape off pieces of the masonry. He took copious notes about the floor plans and layout, and all of his actions were videotaped by a cameraman. (Leuchter, who had been married for about one month before the trip, told his wife that the trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau was their honeymoon.) Leuchter then brought the samples back to Boston, where he presented them to Alpha Analytical Laboratories, a top laboratory, for testing. Leuchter told Alpha only that the samples were to be used as evidence in a court case about an industrial accident. The lab tested them for exposure to cyanide and found trace amounts in the alleged crematoria, which Leuchter dismissed in his report:

"It is notable that almost all the samples were negative and that the few that were positive were very close to the detection level (1mg/kg); 6.7 mg/kg at Krema III; 7.9 mg/kg at Krema I. The absence of any consequential readings at any of the tested locations as compared to the control sample reading 1050 mg/kg supports the evidence that these facilities were not execution gas chambers. The small quantities detected would indicate that at some point these buildings were deloused with Zyklon B - as were all the buildings at all these facilities".

Leuchter does not address the discrepancy between the trace amounts of cyanide which he dismisses vs. the complete lack of any cyanide residue found in his sample 12, a sample taken from a gasket in an unrelated building intended for use as a negative control [1]; instead he only compares the low amounts in the alleged Krema to the higher readings in his positive control sample.

Lab manager James Roth swore under oath to the results at the trial. It was only after he got off the stand that Roth learned what the trial was about. In an interview for Morris's film, Roth states that cyanide would have formed an extremely fine layer on the walls, to the depth of one-tenth of a human hair. Leuchter had taken samples of indeterminate thickness (he is seen in Morris's film hammering at the bricks with a rock hammer). Not informed of this, Roth had pulverized the entire samples, thus severely diluting the cyanide-containing layer of each sample with an indeterminate amount of brick, varying for each sample. Roth offers the analogy that the tests were like looking at timbers when one needed to be looking at the paint.

Leuchter did not examine the walls of the gas chambers until fifty years after they had been used; his critics note that it would have been virtually impossible to discover any cyanide at all using his method. In fact, tests conducted on ventilation grates immediately after the end of the war showed substantial amounts of cyanide. The chambers were demolished by the Nazis when they abandoned Auschwitz, and the facilities Leuchter examined were, in fact, partially reconstructed. Leuchter was unaware that part of the camp and chambers were reconstructed, so he had no way of knowing if the bricks he was scraping were actually part of the original gas chamber.

Leuchter also asserted that the necessary ventilation systems and other pieces simply would not fit. Documents from the period show that the gas chambers in fact had powerful ventilators capable of clearing the gas chambers in minutes. When challenged in court, Leuchter said he was unaware of those documents.

Many of Leuchter's conclusions are based on the assumption that it takes 20 to 30 hours to air a room disinfected with Zyklon-B; since far lower concentrations are required when gassing people it actually takes 20 to 30 minutes to air out the room and the forced ventilation systems used are more than adequate to allow the gas chambers to be operated without endangering the executioners. When questioned in court, Leuchter admitted he had not seen a document by the Waffen SS Commandant for construction issued when the gas chambers were constructed which estimated they had a 24 hour capacity of 4756 people, more than 30 times Leuchter's estimate of 156.

During the trial, Leuchter also made claims that it would be dangerous to house the furnaces for cremating the victims in the same building in which the gas chambers were located, because the "gas might explode" The gas only explodes at a minimal concentration of 56,000 PPM, about 200 times more than the lethal concentration. Leuchter also testified that it was impossible to kill six million people at Auschwitz (six million is the estimate commonly given for all Jews killed during the Holocaust, not the estimated number of those gassed at Auschwitz.) Further in regards to Leuchter's estimates on the numbers who could be killed by gas chambers at Auschwitz:

Leuchter arrives at his figures assuming that the people could occupy the gas chambers at a density of maximum 1 person per 9 square feet (a density of 1.2/m²) and that it would take a week to ventilate the gas chambers before they could be used for another mass execution. These assumptions are absurd.[2]

Leuchter's opposition to the possibility of gas chambers rests on the relatively low concentration of cyanide residue measured in his sample of the remains of the supposed gas chambers in Auschwitz, compared to his sample of the "delousing chambers" in which clothes were deloused using the same gas, hydrogen cyanide. However, his report contains the assumption that lower concentrations are required for delousing than to kill humans and other warm blooded creatures; in fact, with their simpler structures and slower metabolisms, insects are more resistant to such gross metabolic poisons than mammals. Both toxicological study and practical experience demonstrate that it takes a much higher concentration of cyanide (16,000 parts per million) to kill insects than to kill humans (300 PPM), as well as an exposure time of many hours rather than only minutes. Leuchter also fails to explain his belief that Zyklon-B was used for delousing, in view of his belief that the product would present technical difficulties in ventilating and decontaminating such as to make it impractical for use in a gas chamber.

Leuchter initially denied any desire to disprove the Holocaust, and claims he only came to doubt its occurrence as a result of being convinced that the structures he saw were not gas chambers. He claims he conducted the investigation and testified about it because he believed in freedom of speech and freedom of thought and felt that people should be allowed to publish their views, however misguided and that he believes every man deserves a fair trial (Zündel was facing 25 years in prison if he lost), and he was the only expert competent to provide the key testimony. However, critics argue that Leuchter had a profitable career as an "expert witness" for hire who would say whatever his contractor wanted him to say and, according to trial testimony, Zündel paid Leuchter $35,000 for his report.

I cannot believe that any sane person can watch Errol Morris's documentary without being convinced that Ernst Zündel, Fred Leuchter and David Irving are all suffering from deep psychological problems.

For details of the film see:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192335/

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John, they quite likely do suffer from some kind of mental illness. However, I think it's important to keep in mind that there are people who (again suffering from some type of sociopathy or psychopathy) in an organised way seek to create a discord, disunity, chaos, fear, terror, environment within which they can then organise for their intended purposes.

This 'organised' pathology is not unusual. Often highly intelligent persons are such. (witness the many studies of the 'organised' serial killer for example.

Here, however we are talking of dangerous global elements. I generally lump them together as Fascists, as people of that persuasion seem more likely to do these things.

The organised 'worker bee' or 'lumpen' (to use a more scientific(politics: Karl Marx)) elements are usually the more visible part of this hierarchical element. Fuhrer to death squad foot 'soldier'. In amongst them there are the 'cutural' elements, or thinkers. or those who identify what is in need of justification and set out to provide it in order to. at some time. justify far more malignant acts.

IOW while they no doubt are disturbed in some dissociative manner, one shouldn't just see them as such, but rather a very dangerous tendency that has a plan and purpose.

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Last night I watched Errol Morris' great documentary, Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. (1999). It provides a fascinating insight into the mentality of holocaust deniers. It included interviews with Ernst Zündel, Fred Leuchter and David Irving.

The background to the story concerns Ernst Zündel, a German who went to live in Canada. In 1977, Zündel founded a small press publishing house called Samisdat Publishers which promoted the idea that UFOs are really secret weapons of Nazis who had fled to Neu-Schwabenland in Antarctica. The UFOs supposedly monitor humanity and are part of a secret plan to re-conquer the world at an unspecified time.

He also published his own "The Hitler We Loved" and Richard Verrall's Did Six Million Really Die?". Both became important documents of the Holocaust denial movement. As a result, Zündel was charged with publishing material which "is likely to incite hatred against an identifiable group".

On the recommendation of Bill Armantrout, warden for Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City, Missouri, Zündel hired Fred Leuchter to investigate the Holocaust. Leuchter (nicknamed Dr. Death) ran a company offering services to several states to help them maintain, improve, document, and ascertain their equipment for administration of capital punishment. He was completely self-taught but bizarre as it might sound he actually made a living doing this job.

Leuchter traveled to Auschwitz and Birkenau to examine the structures identified as gas chambers, and concluded that they could not have been used for mass murder. Zündel's Samisdat Publications published his findings as The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek Poland (published in England by David Irving). Leuchter gave evidence under oath in Zündel's trial.

In "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter" David Irving argues that it was the research of Leuchter that convinced him that the Holocaust did not take place.

This is what Wikipedia say happened next:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_A._Leuchter

In 1988, Leuchter traveled to several sites of structures identified as gas chambers, where he surreptitiously collected samples from walls, ceilings and floors since he did not have permission to take samples, using a chisel and hammer to chip and scrape off pieces of the masonry. He took copious notes about the floor plans and layout, and all of his actions were videotaped by a cameraman. (Leuchter, who had been married for about one month before the trip, told his wife that the trip to Auschwitz-Birkenau was their honeymoon.) Leuchter then brought the samples back to Boston, where he presented them to Alpha Analytical Laboratories, a top laboratory, for testing. Leuchter told Alpha only that the samples were to be used as evidence in a court case about an industrial accident. The lab tested them for exposure to cyanide and found trace amounts in the alleged crematoria, which Leuchter dismissed in his report:

"It is notable that almost all the samples were negative and that the few that were positive were very close to the detection level (1mg/kg); 6.7 mg/kg at Krema III; 7.9 mg/kg at Krema I. The absence of any consequential readings at any of the tested locations as compared to the control sample reading 1050 mg/kg supports the evidence that these facilities were not execution gas chambers. The small quantities detected would indicate that at some point these buildings were deloused with Zyklon B - as were all the buildings at all these facilities".

Leuchter does not address the discrepancy between the trace amounts of cyanide which he dismisses vs. the complete lack of any cyanide residue found in his sample 12, a sample taken from a gasket in an unrelated building intended for use as a negative control [1]; instead he only compares the low amounts in the alleged Krema to the higher readings in his positive control sample.

Lab manager James Roth swore under oath to the results at the trial. It was only after he got off the stand that Roth learned what the trial was about. In an interview for Morris's film, Roth states that cyanide would have formed an extremely fine layer on the walls, to the depth of one-tenth of a human hair. Leuchter had taken samples of indeterminate thickness (he is seen in Morris's film hammering at the bricks with a rock hammer). Not informed of this, Roth had pulverized the entire samples, thus severely diluting the cyanide-containing layer of each sample with an indeterminate amount of brick, varying for each sample. Roth offers the analogy that the tests were like looking at timbers when one needed to be looking at the paint.

Leuchter did not examine the walls of the gas chambers until fifty years after they had been used; his critics note that it would have been virtually impossible to discover any cyanide at all using his method. In fact, tests conducted on ventilation grates immediately after the end of the war showed substantial amounts of cyanide. The chambers were demolished by the Nazis when they abandoned Auschwitz, and the facilities Leuchter examined were, in fact, partially reconstructed. Leuchter was unaware that part of the camp and chambers were reconstructed, so he had no way of knowing if the bricks he was scraping were actually part of the original gas chamber.

Leuchter also asserted that the necessary ventilation systems and other pieces simply would not fit. Documents from the period show that the gas chambers in fact had powerful ventilators capable of clearing the gas chambers in minutes. When challenged in court, Leuchter said he was unaware of those documents.

Many of Leuchter's conclusions are based on the assumption that it takes 20 to 30 hours to air a room disinfected with Zyklon-B; since far lower concentrations are required when gassing people it actually takes 20 to 30 minutes to air out the room and the forced ventilation systems used are more than adequate to allow the gas chambers to be operated without endangering the executioners. When questioned in court, Leuchter admitted he had not seen a document by the Waffen SS Commandant for construction issued when the gas chambers were constructed which estimated they had a 24 hour capacity of 4756 people, more than 30 times Leuchter's estimate of 156.

During the trial, Leuchter also made claims that it would be dangerous to house the furnaces for cremating the victims in the same building in which the gas chambers were located, because the "gas might explode" The gas only explodes at a minimal concentration of 56,000 PPM, about 200 times more than the lethal concentration. Leuchter also testified that it was impossible to kill six million people at Auschwitz (six million is the estimate commonly given for all Jews killed during the Holocaust, not the estimated number of those gassed at Auschwitz.) Further in regards to Leuchter's estimates on the numbers who could be killed by gas chambers at Auschwitz:

Leuchter arrives at his figures assuming that the people could occupy the gas chambers at a density of maximum 1 person per 9 square feet (a density of 1.2/m²) and that it would take a week to ventilate the gas chambers before they could be used for another mass execution. These assumptions are absurd.[2]

Leuchter's opposition to the possibility of gas chambers rests on the relatively low concentration of cyanide residue measured in his sample of the remains of the supposed gas chambers in Auschwitz, compared to his sample of the "delousing chambers" in which clothes were deloused using the same gas, hydrogen cyanide. However, his report contains the assumption that lower concentrations are required for delousing than to kill humans and other warm blooded creatures; in fact, with their simpler structures and slower metabolisms, insects are more resistant to such gross metabolic poisons than mammals. Both toxicological study and practical experience demonstrate that it takes a much higher concentration of cyanide (16,000 parts per million) to kill insects than to kill humans (300 PPM), as well as an exposure time of many hours rather than only minutes. Leuchter also fails to explain his belief that Zyklon-B was used for delousing, in view of his belief that the product would present technical difficulties in ventilating and decontaminating such as to make it impractical for use in a gas chamber.

Leuchter initially denied any desire to disprove the Holocaust, and claims he only came to doubt its occurrence as a result of being convinced that the structures he saw were not gas chambers. He claims he conducted the investigation and testified about it because he believed in freedom of speech and freedom of thought and felt that people should be allowed to publish their views, however misguided and that he believes every man deserves a fair trial (Zündel was facing 25 years in prison if he lost), and he was the only expert competent to provide the key testimony. However, critics argue that Leuchter had a profitable career as an "expert witness" for hire who would say whatever his contractor wanted him to say and, according to trial testimony, Zündel paid Leuchter $35,000 for his report.

I cannot believe that any sane person can watch Errol Morris's documentary without being convinced that Ernst Zündel, Fred Leuchter and David Irving are all suffering from deep psychological problems.

For details of the film see:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0192335/

I remember the Dr Death ‘documentary’ a year on Australian SBS TV a year or so back, but unfortunately wasn’t able to watch it closely.

I recall some very effective cinematography.

It’s frustrating I didn’t see it all, because I wasn’t able to establish whether my observation was true throughout the entire program. From the segments I observed, although Irving and Leuchter were occasionally heard speaking, they were never interviewed in the normal sense of the word. The extracts – and context – certainly presented them like one of John Dolva’s case studies in psychological abnormality.

If they are such basket cases, however, one wonders what all the fuss is about? After all, no-one is required to read any of David Irving’s books, nor do they have to read Leuchter’s reports. (Most people – including most historians – are happy to do precisely that, I suspect, relying only on secondary sources reported in the mainstream media when forming their opinion of these two men and their work.)

So why not let them both have a voice? Why not allow them to be interviewed - and participate in open debates on these hot topics? If they really are as daft as their portrayal by Mr Morris, such exposure would surely benefit the cause of discrediting their views.

The sheer folly of their positions would become apparent in fair and open debate, wouldn’t it?

Yet if anyone is able to find an interview of any length with either of these gentlemen in the mainstream western media this century- electronic or print - please let me know. I must have missed it. In my observation, David Shayler stands more chance of getting an airing.

Turning to the Wikipedia article…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find Wikipedia a tad unreliable on lots of ‘hot’ political and historical topics. I don’t discount what Wikipedia has to say, but at the very least, I like to look at its Discussion tab to see comments left by participants in its editorial process. The most interesting stuff, I find, often doesn’t appear on the front page.

In the case of the Leuchter article, there is a great comment:

This article remains a good example why wikipedia will never be a professional encyclopedia. This article is not about man named Fred A. Leuchter (apart from birthday there are only "claims"), but a attempt to discredit his findings. To overcome that problem we should use only sources which predate 1988. --Magabund 12:12, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Magabund, I suspect, has it about right. The purpose of the (front page) Wikipedia article is not to inform and raise questions. It’s to propagandize and instill a false sense of certainty.

Let’s just examine just one of its many unfair and ludicrous insinuations. Right at the end of the extract selected by John, Wikipedia says::

“critics argue that Leuchter had a profitable career as an "expert witness" for hire who would say whatever his contractor wanted him to say and, according to trial testimony, Zündel paid Leuchter $35,000 for his report.”

That is a cruel distortion of what happened. It makes it seem that Leuchter perjured himself on Zundel’s behalf for a fee, in order to forge himself a lucrative career as an expert perjurer.

In reality, Leuchter’s previously successful career has been in ruins since his involvement in the 1980’s Zundel court case. THIS article, written sympathetically, tells that rather sad tale. Does anyone - apart from a Wikipedia insider - really dispute it?

I suspect the article is a rather more accurate and balanced bio than Wikipedia’s exercise in character assassination.

On another thread, John, you recently replied to James Fetzer :

I am sorry if I offended you by calling you a “wide-eyed extremist”. That was my genuine impression of your performance. Of course the BBC wanted the audience to get this impression of you and no doubt by skilful editing they got what they wanted. You were set-up.
Why should one expect the Errol Morris ‘documentary’ be any different?

This extract from a New York Times Review suggests he may not approach the topic of Mr Leuchter and his research with an entirely open mind:

Mr. Morris… is Jewish and… lost relatives in the Holocaust. "… I do think Holocaust denial is something worthy of examination. The Holocaust itself is worthy of examination. It's the epicenter of evil in our century. It was unfathomably evil, but looking at it is a good thing rather than a bad thing. And Holocaust denial, in my view, is an alternative route into the Holocaust."

That's a point of view shared by many in our era. But it is only a point of view. It is not obligatory to believe what Mr Morris says, is it?

Errol Morris is a skilled filmmaker. He was able to draw on plenty of footage to pillory Messrs Irving and Leuchter in a quite artistic manner. Both of them, I imagine, realized they had been conned and set up once they saw the movie. Rather like Jim Fetzner felt after the BBC mauled him over 9-11, I guess.

Incidentally, it’s interesting to see Ernst Zundel mentioned on the forum – for the first time, I think, since he was sentenced to five (more?) years in jail by a German court for thought crimes.

His story is summarized HERE. The article is written with a positive spin - instead of the extremely negative slant predicatably served up by Errol Morris, Abe Foxman, the BBC, Wikipedia and other demonstrably biased sources. I present it in the interests of balanced debate.

Edited by Sid Walker
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From the segments I observed, although Irving and Leuchter were occasionally heard speaking, they were never interviewed in the normal sense of the word. The extracts – and context – certainly presented them like one of John Dolva’s case studies in psychological abnormality.

If they are such basket cases, however, one wonders what all the fuss is about? After all, no-one is required to read any of David Irving’s books, nor do they have to read Leuchter’s reports. (Most people – including most historians – are happy to do precisely that, I suspect, relying only on secondary sources reported in the mainstream media when forming their opinion of these two men and their work.)

So why not let them both have a voice? Why not allow them to be interviewed - and participate in open debates on these hot topics? If they really are as daft as their portrayal by Mr Morris, such exposure would surely benefit the cause of discrediting their views.

The sheer folly of their positions would become apparent in fair and open debate, wouldn’t it?

Yet if anyone is able to find an interview of any length with either of these gentlemen in the mainstream western media this century- electronic or print - please let me know. I must have missed it. In my observation, David Shayler stands more chance of getting an airing.

One also doesn’t see many interviews with flat earthers, moon hoax proponents, or creationists in the “mainstream western media” is this because of some sort of insidious cover up or because few people take such ideas seriously. Neither John was advocating censoring Irving, Zudel or Leuchter.

Turning to the Wikipedia article…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I find Wikipedia a tad unreliable on lots of ‘hot’ political and historical topics.

<snip>

Let’s just examine just one of its many unfair and ludicrous insinuations. Right at the end of the extract selected by John, Wikipedia says::

“critics argue that Leuchter had a profitable career as an "expert witness" for hire who would say whatever his contractor wanted him to say and, according to trial testimony, Zündel paid Leuchter $35,000 for his report.”

That is a cruel distortion of what happened. It makes it seem that Leuchter perjured himself on Zundel’s behalf for a fee, in order to forge himself a lucrative career as an expert perjurer.

In reality, Leuchter’s previously successful career has been in ruins since his involvement in the 1980’s Zundel court case. THIS article, written sympathetically, tells that rather sad tale. Does anyone - apart from a Wikipedia insider - really dispute it?

I suspect the article is a rather more accurate and balanced bio than Wikipedia’s exercise in character assassination. .

Why do you think the article from a partisan (i.e. revisionist) site which does not include any citations “is a rather more accurate and balanced bio than Wikipedia’s”? Funny that you didn't try to defend his claim that gas residue should have still been detectable 50 years later

On another thread, John, you recently replied to James Fetzer :
I am sorry if I offended you by calling you a “wide-eyed extremist”. That was my genuine impression of your performance. Of course the BBC wanted the audience to get this impression of you and no doubt by skilful editing they got what they wanted. You were set-up.
Why should one expect the Errol Morris ‘documentary’ be any different?

This extract from a New York Times Review suggests he may not approach the topic of Mr Leuchter and his research with an entirely open mind:

Mr. Morris… is Jewish and… lost relatives in the Holocaust. "… I do think Holocaust denial is something worthy of examination. The Holocaust itself is worthy of examination. It's the epicenter of evil in our century. It was unfathomably evil, but looking at it is a good thing rather than a bad thing. And Holocaust denial, in my view, is an alternative route into the Holocaust."
That's a point of view shared by many in our era. But it is only a point of view. It is not obligatory to believe what Mr Morris says, is it?

Errol Morris is a skilled filmmaker. He was able to draw on plenty of footage to pillory Messrs Irving and Leuchter in a quite artistic manner. Both of them, I imagine, realized they had been conned and set up once they saw the movie. Rather like Jim Fetzner felt after the BBC mauled him over 9-11, I guess.

So you’re saying we can’t trust Morris because he “is Jewish and… lost relatives in the Holocaust”?

Fetzer always feels that any article, documentary etc that doesn’t lionize him is a hit piece.

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Len

You are quite right that one doesn't see many interviews with flat earthers, moon hoax proponents, or creationists in the “mainstream western media”.

I also agree that's because few people take such ideas seriously.

You are also quite right that John does not advocate censoring Irving, Zundel or Leuchter.

However, some folk do - and they have quite a lot of influence.

Irving is now out of jail - but Zundel's 'rendition' nightmare continues.

I don't know of any flat earthers, moon hoax proponents, or creationists in jail for thier beliefs. Do you?

If there were, I expect the medoa would take some interest in their case.

One might see them, for instance, interviewed on that spiffing BBC program 'Hardtalk'.

Here's a brief personal anecdote.

A few years ago, when I was much more naive, I corresponded with Philip Adams - a well-known personality in Oz who has a daily radio program called 'Late Night Live' on ABC radio.

Adams interviews interesting folk from many parts of the world. I heard him interview Richard Evans, an Oxbridge History Professor and one of David Irving's most prominent critics. The interview took up the entire hour-long show. Evans was not really 'interviewed; Adams allowed him free reign for the entire program. There were no hostile questions. Perhaps this is 'soft-talk'?

Anyhow, I emailed Adams, and asked if, in the interests of balance, he would also interview Irving - either on hs own or best of all in debate with Evans? I was genuinely interested to hear a debate. I thought it would also make for good radio.

Adams replied that he'd be happy to interview Irving, but doubted Irving would have the courage for such an encounter.

I then emailed Irving, sent a copy of Adam's email, and asked if he would, in fact, like an interview on Australian radio. He quickly replied that he would - but doubted the invitation would hold.

He was right. Adams never replied to my response, which included Irving's reply. Adams, in short, was not being truthful when he said he'd welcome an interview with Irving. He was not accurate when he said Irving would decline. It was the other way round.

I have since discovered that while revisionists are typically willing to debate their opponents, the reverse is not the case.

Evans, Lipstadt and the rest claim it's because they don't want to lend unwarranted credibility to their opponents. They like to use the same 'flat-earther' analogy, Len.

I suspect, however, the real reason they won't debate Irving, Faurisson, Butz and others is not because they believe a debate would be easily won. I think they are scared they couldn't compete in a FAIR debate.

But... I would be delighted to be proven wrong about this. Perhaps you could use your influence, Len, and pull off the first free debate on this topic of the new century?

You also asked me "Why (I) think the article from a partisan (i.e. revisionist) site which does not include any citations “is a rather more accurate and balanced bio than Wikipedia’s”?

That's simple!

I claimed the bio in the revisionist site was more balanced because the Wikipedia article was SO extremely unbalanced, citations or not.

No, Len, I didn't get into the cyanide residue debate.

Do you really want that debate here?

If so, chemist Germar Rudolf has published a susbtantial amount of relevant material worth reviewing. Here's an example.

Perhaps Rudolf could be asked to join the Forum from his prison cell in Germany, where he currently awaits sentencing for thought-crime after yet another case of US 'rendition' of anti-Zionists to hostile third countries lacking the benefits of basic civil liberties such as free speech.

Finally, Len, you said "So you’re saying we can’t trust Morris because he “is Jewish and… lost relatives in the Holocaust”?"

No, I am not sayng that, Len.

I am saying it is information pertinent to considering Morris' movie and his evident bias against Irving and Leuchter.

But in truth, whether one supports - or opposes - the official Holocaust narrative is not determined by an accident of birth. I believe it has more to do with having the opportunity to see and hear both sides of the story (most people only see and hear one side) - and the willingness to stand up to pressure, sometimes applied with subtelty, sometimes not.

Some gentiles are among the most passionate advocates of the official version of events. Some Jews doubt the official line.

In the latter case, which is quite rare, 'offenders' are often persecuted and intimidated into retracting.

David Cole is the quintessential example - a brave young Jewish American who visited Auschwitz, produced a video that queried the official story - then experienced such a barrage of threats and hate from organized Jewry in the USA that he published a rather tragic retraction.

Paradoxically, Cole's story really helps buttress the revisionists case

As the CODOH site claimed:

The funny thing about Cole's retraction is that in a cosmic way it simply confirms what revisionists have been saying all along. For over twenty years, revisionists have said that the German confessions, wildly inaccurate and contradictory, were given not so much in response to direct physical torture as from the desire to protect themselves and above all their families from retaliation and hardship. For Cole's retraction, the JDL boasts that it was the result of their previous page, and that Cole "was afraid for his life and the relatives he supposedly is taking care of." So for those who didn't believe it possible that the Germans involved in the concentration camps could have been intimidated into making abject confessions, the idea is strikingly confirmed by Cole's retraction, and furthermore the JDL is waving the proof right under your nose.

There's more about this story HERE

While visiting that unusual website, it's also worth checking out the Six Reasons page.

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Len

You are quite right that one doesn't see many interviews with flat earthers, moon hoax proponents, or creationists in the “mainstream western media”.

I also agree that's because few people take such ideas seriously.

You are also quite right that John does not advocate censoring Irving, Zundel or Leuchter.

However, some folk do - and they have quite a lot of influence.

The point is that Zundel and Leuchter are well established as charlatans and Nazi sympathisers.

There is real danger in lending legitimacy to such proponents of racially motivated holocaust denial hogwash. I fear that is what Sid Walker is trying to do.

This is certainly not the place for such bizarre meanderings. There are plenty of Far Right and denial forums where such views can be forwarded and well received. However please do not pollute the Education Forum with such drivel.

This is why as Sid says;

"I have since discovered that while revisionists are typically willing to debate their opponents, the reverse is not the case." Deniers, as revisionists should be properly called, are desperate to gain acceptance for equal status for their calumnies. My position is that of course deniers are free to express their falsifications but the academic community has a grave responsibility not to take them seriously and to see them for what they are.

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I must ask Sid one question, seeing as he is the only proponent of the non-use of gas chambers on this forum.

Do you consider the jews that were forced to tend to the gas chambers and assist in the genocide to be liars? Do they play a role in a cover-up of sorts? I am interested to hear how Irving and others account for the personal accounts of the jews who were forced to assist the nazis in concentration camps in return for their lives. It may be quite easy to deate the forensice evidence, but the personal accounts present a significantly more difficult story to the holocaust deniers.

John

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I must ask Sid one question, seeing as he is the only proponent of the non-use of gas chambers on this forum.

Do you consider the jews that were forced to tend to the gas chambers and assist in the genocide to be liars? Do they play a role in a cover-up of sorts? I am interested to hear how Irving and others account for the personal accounts of the jews who were forced to assist the nazis in concentration camps in return for their lives. It may be quite easy to deate the forensice evidence, but the personal accounts present a significantly more difficult story to the holocaust deniers.

John

John

If you really wish to have this question answered (I may be able to do so... or may not), I must ask that you cite a specific eyewitness account.

It isn't good enough to say "there are many/scores/hundreds/thousands of such accounts".

Please just cite one (two is you have time) and I'll try to respond to that. But it must be specific and refererenced to a primary source.

Some time ago, Stephen Turner started a thread called "The Holocaust, tragedy, or Zionist lie., Sorry everybody but this needs nailing."

I asked what evidence there was that Hitler condemned millions to death in purpose-built gas chambers.

He replied:

Well Sid it all depends on what you will except as evidence, but how about. .....

The indivdual documentation of the Holocaust. Thousands upon thousands of documents, and punch cards used in IBM tabulating machines. Docments that reveal how the Jews, and other enemies of the Nazi state were locate, their treatment, transportation, and the implementation of the final solution, many from the highest levels of the Nazi leadership urging the camp comendants on to greater efforts of extermination. Documents which betray the beaurocratisation, and beastiality of this particular madness. all of which you must prove false, or forged.

I replied:
You suggest there are a lot of these documents (thousands?).

How about one?

One original, genuine, verifiable document that "reveals... the highest levels of the Nazi leadership urging the camp comendants on to greater efforts of extermination."

Stephen subsequently said he would email me with the requested reference. Then he said he was busy on something else. I'm still waiting.

So, John, please give me one eye witness account of a "Jew forced to tend to the gas chambers and assist in the genocide" and I'll respond to it if I can.

If it seems like really solid evidence, I may come to share your view about the certainty that the Nazis mudered millions of internees in homicidal gas chambers.

After all, I wasn't there myself.

What happened is a puzzle to be worked out. I retain an open mind and seek to be guided by the evidence.

Edited by Sid Walker
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Thanks Andy

I am working through the homework you have set me. I am willing to look at all sources with an open mind.

I'll also wait to see if John Geraghty wishes to present a single instance of definitive eye witness proof of the existence of homicidal gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps.

The task may be harder than he imagines.

In 1983, Simone Veil said the following in an interview with France-Soir:

"What strikes me nowadays is the paradox of the situation: someone publishes a diary attributed to Hitler by sheer dint of publicity and a great deal of money without, it seems, taking very great precautions to assure himself of its authenticity, yet, at the same time, in the course of a trial brought against Faurisson for having denied the existence of the gas chambers, those lodging the complaint are obliged to apply a formal proof about the reality of the gas chambers. Yet everyone knows that the Nazis destroyed these gas chambers and systematically eradicated all the witnesses."

I assume the translation into English of her words is correct. If not, please point out the inaccuracy. I have bolded the part that John wishes to contradict.

Less erudite than others on this thread, I'll only present one piece of background reading, for John Geraghty or anyone else who wishes to navigate these choppy waters. It is an article specifically directed to the topic raised by John Geraghty: the question of eye witness testimony.

It's Witnesses to the Gas Chambers of Auschwitz by Robert Faurisson, written, I understand, more than a decade ago, but I don't think it has been supeceded or disowned by its author in subsequent years.

I'd be grateful if anyone can point out specific inaccuracies or falsehoods in Faurisson's article, which, inter alia, explains the importance of the Zundel trials in the 1980s for those of a revisionist perspective on these matters - especially the first case in 1985.

It was the only occasion when self-professed witnesses to Nazi homical gas chambers faced the type of cross-examination typical in judicial proceedings.

This is Faurisson's account of the testimony of Dr Vrba at that trial:

Dr. Vrba was a witness of exceptional importance. One might even say about this trial in Toronto that the prosecution had found the means of recruiting 'Holocaust' expert number one in the person of Dr. Raul Hilberg, and witness number one in the person of Dr. Rudolf Vrba. The testimony of this latter gentleman had been one of the principal sources of the famous War Refugee Board Report on the German Extermination Camps - Auschwitz and Birkenau, published in November 1944 by the Executive Office of President Roosevelt. Dr. R. Vrba was also the author of I Cannot Forgive, written in collaboration with Alan Bestic who, in his preface, declares with regard to him:

"Indeed I would like to pay tribute to him for the immense trouble he took over every detail; for the meticulous, almost fanatical respect he revealed for accuracy." (p.2).

Never perhaps, had a court of justice seen a witness express himself with more assurance on the Auschwitz gas chambers. Yet, by the end of the cross-examination, the situation had reversed itself to the point where Dr. R. Vrba was left with only one explanation for his errors and his lies: in his book he had, he confessed, resorted to "poetic license" or, as he was wont to say in Latin, to "licentia poetarum"!

In the end, a bit of drama unfolded: Mr. Griffiths, the prosecutor who had himself solicited the presence of this witness numero uno and yet now apparently exasperated by Dr. Vrba's lies, fired off the following question:

"You told Mr. Christie several times in discussing your book I Cannot Forgive that you used poetic license in writing that book. Have you used poetic license in your testimony?" (p. 1636).

The false witness tried to parry the blow but prosecutor Griffiths hit him with a second question equally treacherous, this time concerning the number of gassing victims which Vrba had given; the witness responded with garrulous nonsense; Griffiths was getting ready to ask him a third and final question when suddenly, the matter was cut short and one heard the prosecutor say to the judge:

"I have no further questions for Dr. Vrba" (p. 1643).

Edited by Sid Walker
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I remember the Dr Death ‘documentary’ a year on Australian SBS TV a year or so back, but unfortunately wasn’t able to watch it closely.

I recall some very effective cinematography.

It’s frustrating I didn’t see it all, because I wasn’t able to establish whether my observation was true throughout the entire program. From the segments I observed, although Irving and Leuchter were occasionally heard speaking, they were never interviewed in the normal sense of the word. The extracts – and context – certainly presented them like one of John Dolva’s case studies in psychological abnormality.

If they are such basket cases, however, one wonders what all the fuss is about? After all, no-one is required to read any of David Irving’s books, nor do they have to read Leuchter’s reports. (Most people – including most historians – are happy to do precisely that, I suspect, relying only on secondary sources reported in the mainstream media when forming their opinion of these two men and their work.)

So why not let them both have a voice? Why not allow them to be interviewed - and participate in open debates on these hot topics? If they really are as daft as their portrayal by Mr Morris, such exposure would surely benefit the cause of discrediting their views.

The whole point of Errol Morris's work is that he does give people a voice. They do not use a voice over that tells you what to think. He just points a camera at people and lets them talk. See for example his excellent "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara ". He is currently working on a documentary where he interviews people involved in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The idea that he cannot be trusted because he is Jewish is ridiculous. (I know you only implied this but we all know what you were trying to do.) Morris is a man who has spent his life fighting against injustice. His film, the Thin Blue Line saved Randall Adams from being executed. It was while making this film that he became interested in Fred A. Leuchter because he had spent his working life helping the state execute people. It is of course a great irony that Leuchter spent his spare-time trying to provide evidence that Hitler did not execute 6 million Jews.

Why don't you rent his films on DVD? I cannot believe any rational person can watch this film and still believe this holocaust denial nonsense.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001554/

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The whole point of Errol Morris's work is that he does give people a voice. They do not use a voice over that tells you what to think. He just points a camera at people and lets them talk. See for example his excellent "The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara ". He is currently working on a documentary where he interviews people involved in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. The idea that he cannot be trusted because he is Jewish is ridiculous. (I know you only implied this but we all know what you were trying to do.) Morris is a man who has spent his life fighting against injustice. His film, the Thin Blue Line saved Randall Adams from being executed. It was while making this film that he became interested in Fred A. Leuchter because he had spent his working life helping the state execute people. It is of course a great irony that Leuchter spent his spare-time trying to provide evidence that Hitler did not execute 6 million Jews.

Why don't you rent his films on DVD? I cannot believe any rational person can watch this film and still believe this holocaust denial nonsense.

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0001554/

John

I shall try to track down Morris' movie.

I may gain a different impression on a second, more complete viewing.

I was NOT trying to imply in this thread that he cannot be trusted because he is Jewish.

I merely pointed out that his own website contains a biography which says that he's Jewish and has relatives who died in the Holocaust.

That background is relevant background, I submit, to an evaluation of his movie about Leuchter and Irving. It doesn't mean he's necessarily a xxxx. If I gave the impression I believe that, I did so unintentionally and withdraw it without qualification.

As I pointed out previously, David Cole is also of Jewish origin. So is Gilad Atzmon. So is Paul Eisen. So is Israel Shamir...

People who read the works of Edward Said typically know he's of Palestinian origin. That doesn't (or shouldn't) be taken to imply that he's an unreliable source about Palestine. But it is relevant background. The case of Errol Morris is no different, IMO. Why should it be?

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Hi Sid,

I ask because I watched a lengthy documentary that interviewed several of these jews who were forced to tend to the gas chambers. There quite a few of them. I'm trying to remember the name of their position in german (einsatzgruppen keeps going through my head, but I know thats not it). Let me try to find the documentary again, oissibly on IMDB and get the names of the people whom I watched speak at length about their experiences.

I understand that you want sourced material and I will try to get it. If I can remember the German name that I am thinking of, I will be able to get it quite easily.

I will have a look now.

John

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If you really wish to have this question answered (I may be able to do so... or may not), I must ask that you cite a specific eyewitness account.

The first eyewitness account was provided by Rudolf Vrba (Walter Rosenberg). The son of a sawmill owner, he was born in Slovakia on 11th September, 1924. At the age of fifteen he was expelled from his high school in Bratislava, under the Slovak puppet state's version of the Nazis' Nuremberg Laws.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Vrba, like other Jews in countries occupied in Nazi Germany, was rounded up and sent to concentration camps. In 1942 Vrba arrived in Auschwitz. On 9th April 1944, Vrba and his friend, Alfred Wetzler, managed to escape. The two men spent eleven days walking and hiding before they got back to Slovakia.

Vrba and Wetzler made contact with the local Jewish Council. They provided details of the Holocaust that was taking place in Eastern Europe. They also gave an estimate of the number of Jews killed in Auschwitz between June 1942 and April 1944: about 1.75 million. In June, 1944, the 32-page Vrba-Wetzler Report was published. It was the first information about the extermination camps to reach the free world and to be accepted as credible.

In September 1944 Vrba joined the Czechoslovak partisans and was later decorated for bravery. After the war he read biology and chemistry at Charles University, Prague, took a doctorate and then escaped to the west. He worked in Israel from 1958 to 1960 at the biological research institute in Beit Dagan. He then moved to Britain and worked for the Medical Research Council.

Vrba's memoirs, I Cannot Forgive, appeared in 1963. They were later republished as I Escaped from Auschwitz. In 1967 Vrba became professor of biochemistry in the pharmacology department of the medical school of the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Canada. Rudolf Vrba died of cancer on 26th March, 2006.

This is a passage from Vrba's 1944 report.

The crematorium contains a large hall, a gas chamber and a furnace. People are assembled in the hall, which holds 2,000. They have to undress and are given a piece of soap and a towel as if they were going to the baths. Then they are crowded into the gas chamber which is hermetically sealed. Several SS men in gas masks then pour into the gas chamber through three openings in the ceiling a preparation of the poison gas maga-cyclon. At the end of three minutes all the persons are dead. The dead bodies are then taken away in carts to the furnace to be burnt.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/2WWvrba.htm

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