Institute for Historical Review

Institute for Historical Review

IHR books on-line

The 'False News' Trial of Ernst Zündel -- 1988

Bradley Smith

[Bradley Smith was the sixth witness called by the defence. He testified on Friday, March 11, 1988.]

Bradley Smith, a 58 year old writer and Director of the Media Project for the Institute for Historical Review, testified that he became acquainted with Zündel in 1980. At that time, he was publishing a 16-page tabloid called Smith's Journal which included a mixture of autobiography, journalism and polemics. In the third issue of the publication, Smith wrote about the beliefs of the revisionists and the turmoil that this discovery had caused in himself. Smith had sent copies to the Institute for Historical Review (IHR) to introduce himself. The IHR bought further copies and distributed it. Smith confirmed that Zündel received a copy of the journal because within a few weeks, he received some literature from Samisdat which was owned by Zündel. (22-5530 to 5533)

In the issue of Smith's Journal which Zündel received, Smith described the shock and confusion he had felt at discovering that there were actually questions that could be addressed to the traditional 'Holocaust' story. He was almost 50 years old at the time and it had never occurred to him that there might be a question that one could ask about any of the thousands and thousands of claims that were made about the 'Holocaust'. Smith had accepted everything, sight unseen, and never attempted to verify a single story that he had ever heard about it. (22-5533)

The first part of the Journal described Smith's discovery of an essay by Robert Faurisson and which had been published in Le Monde, Paris. Smith didn't know who Faurisson was but he was shocked by the thesis he was attempting to develop. The idea that the piece was published in Le Monde, a world-class daily, made Smith feel he should read it. (22-5534)

In the article, Faurisson wrote about a claim by the former commandant of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss that the Jewish workers would smoke and eat as they removed bodies from the gas chamber. Faurisson's point was that if these people entered a gas chamber which was still full of gas without wearing gas masks, according to the man who was directing the programme, this alone went to the falsity of the story. Smith was struck by the fact that the claim was being made that Jewish workers, not just one time but endlessly repeating themselves, would go into a gas chamber -- the bodies covered with excrement, urine, menstrual blood, vomit and various other things -- while eating and smoking cigarettes. The image, to Smith, was esthetically so disgusting that he didn't believe it. He did not believe that Jews would do that day after day, and he didn't believe any human being would do it day after day. (22-5534 to 5536)

In the Journal article, Smith also described what Dr. Arthur Butz had written in The Hoax of the Twentieth Century about the torture by the American military of German prisoners in order to get war crime confessions at Dachau. Smith was struck by the fact that in order to get the information about war crimes from Germans, the Americans found it necessary to commit war crimes. Smith had been in Vietnam as a writer and it sounded like something Americans would do. (22 5539)

Smith decided to see who had reviewed Butz's book and what the intellectual elites had done with it. With the help of a librarian, Smith quickly determined that neither the historians, the intellectual elites nor the journalists had addressed the Butz book. Smith "smelled a rat." He had been through a censorship trial himself in the 1960s and he realized he had some work to do about the censorship and suppression of Holocaust revisionist-critics. Smith subsequently incorporated these ideas in a book entitled Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist -- Part One. (22- 5539)

Smith was working at the time as a concrete contractor and he began asking people on the job sites what they thought about Holocaust literature. He was surprised at how many people had doubts about the orthodox Holocaust story. He thought everybody believed it completely and it worked out that even his own mother ridiculed him for buying the story as it was presented in the press. (22-5541)

In 1984, after the IHR was burned to the ground on the morning of July 4th, Smith went out to them and said "Listen, I'd like to do something to help you guys in an outreach programme to the public." From 1986 onward, Smith acted as director of the IHR Media Project which consisted mostly of doing interviews on the radio from coast to coast. He had done about ninety- five talk shows and was about to start television. Smith estimated that he had spoken on radio to about 150 Holocaust survivors directly, or people who claimed to be survivors. Smith personally no longer believed in a policy of extermination. (22-5543, 5544)

Smith testified that the IHR published the Journal of Historical Review four times a year with a bound volume at the end of the year. The first volume was published in 1980. Over the seven years of publication, of the ninety-five major articles published, some fifty-four of those articles dealt with subjects other than Holocaust revisionism. The remainder discussed the fraud and falsehood of the orthodox Holocaust story. Smith had seen a box of the journals in Zündel's house the previous evening. (22-5544 to 5546)

The IHR published the works of Jewish authors such as Dr. Howard Stein, an Associate Professor of Medical-Psychiatric Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma; Alfred Lilienthal, an author and lecturer; Bezalel Chaim, who was the New York City editor of Revisionist Press; and Peter H. Oppenheimer. (22-5548)

In his radio project, Smith's primary interest was in the suppression and censorship that seemed to swirl around any attempt to express doubt about any of the traditional Holocaust stories no matter how idiotic they might be under a little close observation. (22-5554)

One of the things that interested Smith was the fact that when he was arrested and prosecuted and convicted of selling a banned book in the United States, which was Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, the Jewish community was solidly on the side of the free press. When Smith published doubts about the orthodox view of the Holocaust, however, he found that the opposite was true. He was really surprised to see how much difference it made on whose ox was being gored. (22-5561)

Smith testified that "Richard Harwood" was a pseudonym for several writers who really didn't want to bear up under the most vitriolic personal attacks for expressing their feelings and their thoughts. One of these writers was David McCalden. (22-5555)

Smith had examined Zündel's library and found that IHR material accounted for quite a small percentage. Zündel had 5,000 to 6,000 books in his library. Of these, there were about 193 titles in English on the exterminationist theory that were orthodox and fifty-three that were revisionist. In the German language, there were twenty volumes that dealt with the orthodox view of the Holocaust and eleven that dealt with the revisionist view. In French, Smith found seven revisionist titles and in Spanish, six revisionist titles. The proportion of orthodox Holocaust books compared to revisionist books was about three to one, said Smith. There were about three times as many orthodox volumes on the extermination theory in Zündel's library as there were revisionist titles. (22-5559, 5560)

On cross-examination, Smith agreed that historical revisionism was the effort to revise the historical record in the light of a more complete collection of historical facts, a more calm political atmosphere and a more objective attitude. (22-5562)

Smith testified that Harry Elmer Barnes's claim to fame rested with his revisionist writings about World War I. He helped to dispel many of the atrocity stories that were circulated by British and American propaganda during that war. Barnes was intellectually influential. He did not think that the United States government was capable of sending foreign expeditionary armies all over the world to increase its power and influence. He thought there was something a little wrong with that. Smith did not believe that the writing of isolationist historians was suppressed. (22 5562 to 5564)

Smith testified that A.J.P. Taylor, the premier English historian, was a revisionist to one degree or another. He would include Taylor in any list of revisionist historians and pointed out that not all revisionists thought the same way. Smith did not know whether Taylor 'denied the Holocaust' or not, but indicated that one of the valuable things about intellectual life was that he was not going to threaten the man's life because he didn't agree with Smith about the Holocaust. (22-5564 to 5568))

Smith indicated that every historian was a revisionist historian. It was a waste of time if a historian simply repeated the things that had been said before. In the revisionist movement, there were revisionists who were not Holocaust revisionists. Holocaust revisionism was one part of revisionism in America, and were simply people who were critiquing and expressing doubt about the orthodox theories of the Holocaust, and there seemed to be innumerable people who didn't want to hear doubt expressed about this story. Revisionist scholarship was consistently challenged for not being objective, but the orthodox historians never explained their reasons for this allegation. (22-5567 to 5569)

Smith testified that Ditlieb Felderer's book on the diary of Anne Frank had nothing to do with the extermination thesis, although it did lend credence to the fact that the German state had no policy to exterminate Anne Frank. Smith agreed that Arthur Butz's book The Hoax of the Twentieth Century did deny the Holocaust. Smith agreed that Butz was not a historian. The historians, said Smith, were failing in their responsibilities as Butz pointed out in the front of his book. Robert Faurisson was a Holocaust revisionist. His degrees were in textual analysis. Smith added that it was very difficult for academic professors to write critically on the Holocaust when they might be brought to trial. (22-5571, 5572)

Smith pointed out that the term "denial of the Holocaust" which Pearson was using in his questions was misleading. The Holocaust was now defined as starting in 1933 and going to 1945. The idea that men like Faurisson, Christophersen or Felderer denied everything that happened under the Hitler regime over this immense period of time was very misleading. They denied what was incredible about the orthodox view of the Holocaust and wrote books about it. The normal thing to do for those who believed that revisionists were mistaken in their views was to answer them in print, not in the courts. In Smith's opinion, "Holocaust denial" was a newspeak term. (22-5573, 5574)

Smith testified that he was not a neo-Nazi but agreed that anyone wishing to rehabilitate Hitler could consider the Holocaust as a starting point. Pearson showed Smith a copy of the newspaper, White Power, previously shown to Thies Christophersen. Smith agreed that the newspaper advertised books by Butz, Harwood and Christophersen. He pointed out, however, that if there wasn't so much fraud and falsehood in the orthodox view of the Holocaust, anti- Jewish individuals and organizations would not be able to use those lies to attack the Jews. In Smith's view, rather than suppress the books, the academic community should join in an examination of the historical writings on this event and clean it up. There was fraud and falsehood growing out of the Holocaust story like pus from a canker, said Smith. Anyone who wanted to beat up on Jews could use these books and say "Look, Jewish lies, Jewish lies." Smith believed the literature should be cleaned up and then those people could not use it against the Jews. Smith summarized by stating that revisionism could be an effective tool to get across Nazi doctrine because the Holocaust contained so much fraud and falsehood. You couldn't beat up on other people with the truth, said Smith, but you could beat up on them with lies that they themselves distributed. (22-5574 to 5577)

Pearson suggested that no one took the IHR seriously. Smith replied that this was not true, because extremist groups in the Jewish community took them very seriously and attacked them continuously in the most violent and virulent ways. (22-5578)

Pearson put to Smith that the mainstream didn't take revisionists seriously. Smith replied that one of the things a writer did was stand witness to the intellectual corruption and the false social mores of his day and if he were standing witness with the majority there would be no need for it. Smith was standing witness for a minority. He didn't think there was anything wrong with being part of a minority. (22-5579)

Pearson suggested that Smith was a paid propagandist for the IHR. Smith answered that one who wrote advertising for cigarettes was a paid propagandist under that definition. Smith didn't sell the IHR; he sold a revisionist critique of the Holocaust orthodoxy and this programme was sponsored by the IHR. (22-5579, 5580)

Smith did not know when Zündel published Did Six Million Really Die?, but Zündel told him why he had published it: that along with all of the work that he did, Zündel published the booklet to expose the fraud and falsehood in the orthodox story of the Holocaust. (22-5592, 5593)

Smith could not say from his personal knowledge whether Zündel had read any of the books in his library before he published the booklet; however, the books were marked and dog- eared from handling, implying that Zündel and his associates had used the books quite a lot. (22- 5592)

Revisionists did not deny the tragedy that the Jews suffered in World War II, said Smith. This was why he did not understand why it went so against the grain of Jewish extremists to clean up their own story because when the revisionists finished all their work, the tragedy of the Jews remained. (22-5594)

Smith's understanding was that the IHR was founded by Willis Carto in 1979. Carto's other major organization was the Liberty Lobby. The first director of the IHR was David McCalden who used the pen name Lewis Brandon. Smith pointed out that it was sometimes necessary in the revisionist movement to use a pen name because of the violence directed at one simply for expressing doubt about the bona fides of a historical event. The expression of such doubt created a great deal of hysteria in extremist Jewish circles and there was actually some danger involved. Smith himself had been threatened physically as recently as the last fifteen days for simply expressing doubt about something which he doubted. (22-5594, 5595)

David McCalden was Irish and prior to moving to California had been involved in the National Front in the United Kingdom. Smith did not agree with Pearson that the National Front was a neo-Nazi organization. He himself had been accused of being neo-Nazi so he took with a great deal of salt these unending accusations. (22 5596, 5597)

Smith used the term "Holocaust cult" because he thought that was largely what it was. In the media project, he attempted to discuss the fraud and falsehood in the Holocaust story and to ask people to become informed about it. An example of such fraud was the claim by Elie Wiesel that when some Jews were executed in the Ukraine, their bodies continued to spurt geysers of blood from their graves into the air for months after the shootings. Smith said he had two ways to look at this: either Mr. Wiesel believed in it, in which case he was "not wrapped too tight," or he was passing along fraudulent information. One didn't need to have a doctorate in hydrology to understand in this day and age that even Jewish cadavers could not spurt geysers of blood from their graves for months after they were buried. The fraud was not only in the original statement, said Smith, but was perpetrated by the unwillingness of the academics and the press to question Wiesel about such matters. There were so many people involved in this fraud that Smith did not know the purpose of it. He believed, however, that the part played by the journalists, intellectual elites and universities in the fraud was an expression of the cowardice of these professions in the face of the lobby that ran the Holocaust story. The "Holocaust Lobby" were all those organizations and people who treated a historical event as if it were something that no doubt could be expressed about. (22-5599 to 5602)

Smith agreed with Harwood's thesis that the Holocaust story was used to preserve the state of Israel. In his view, it was used as one of the legitimating factors in the Jewish invasion of Palestine in 1948, for subsequent Israeli policies and for American support of those policies. This could be argued and Smith didn't see why it shouldn't be. It was used primarily by those who most associated themselves with the Israeli state. It was to their advantage to use the Holocaust story and it was to their advantage to stop all criticism of it. Zionists certainly used it, said Smith. It had been used since 1941 or 1942. The really disgusting story, the human soap story, had been used as early as 1942 by Soviet Zionists. Smith defined Zionists as people who supported strongly the on-going policies of the Israeli state. He himself didn't use the term "Zionist" very much; it was not a subject that much interested him. (22 5603 to 5605)

Pearson suggested that the Zionists were behind the Joint Allied Declaration in 1943 about the Nazi extermination. Smith didn't know who was behind it but said it wouldn't surprise him if they were. Pearson asked whether the Zionists were behind the prosecution of war criminals in the 1960s in West Germany. Smith replied that he didn't know much about it. Again, it was not something that interested him. (22 5605, 5606)

Pearson suggested that what interested Smith were the things that could be used to deny the Holocaust. Smith replied that he did not "deny the Holocaust" which he had tried to explain before. The Holocaust was now defined as something that lasted during the entire reign of Hitler and the idea that Smith denied everything that happened in that time period was ridiculous. Smith agreed that Hitler was anti Jewish and that Nazi Germany had a policy of rounding up Jews and using them for their own ends. They didn't round them all up. Smith did not know how many were rounded up and he didn't think anybody else did either. Some were used as forced labour in camps, some were used as labour in the east. (22-5606 to 5608)

Smith agreed with Pearson that the IHR offered a $50,000 reward for anyone who could show evidence that one Jew had been gassed in a programme at Auschwitz. A Mr. Mel Mermelstein had come forward and claimed the reward. In a court settlement, the IHR agreed to pay Mermelstein the sum of $90,000. (22-5608, 5609)

Pearson produced and showed to Smith a poster for the sale of cassettes from the IHR's 1983 Fifth International Conference. Smith could not remember Zündel being at the conference and had never heard Zündel speak at an IHR conference. Smith agreed that the cassettes being advertised included one by Dr. Martin A. Larson entitled "A Brief History of Monetary Crimes Against America" and one by Keith Thompson entitled "Grand Admiral Dönitz, Last President of United Germany." Smith agreed that Thompson argued that the Dönitz government was the last legitimate government of Germany. Smith didn't know whether he agreed with that or not; he didn't have an opinion on everything. He pointed out, however, that no peace treaty had ever been signed with Germany, that they were a conquered and divided people, and that forty-five years after the war ended the Holocaust cult was still used against them. (22-5609 to 5611)

Another tape advertised for sale was one by Dr. William Lindsey, a very experienced and well-educated chemist, who dealt with some of the chemical issues involved with the alleged Zyklon B poisoning. Another tape was by Friedrich Berg, an engineer. Another tape was by David Irving, one of the mostly widely-read historians in the British Isles. Irving chose not to discuss the Holocaust issue yet, but when he did, said Smith, it was going to be a wonderful thing. Smith agreed that Irving's thesis roughly was that Himmler and other 'Nazi thugs' exterminated millions of Jews but that Hitler didn't know about it until 1944. (22-5612 to 5614) Another tape advertised for sale was by Dr. Wilhelm Stäglich, a judge who served on the West German bench for more than twenty years and had personal experience being stationed outside Auschwitz during the war. Germans like Stäglich and Christophersen were also eyewitness survivors, said Smith. It was interesting why people were so anxious to believe Jewish eyewitness survivors and so fearful of giving German eyewitness survivors the time of day. There was a real fear involved in this and it was because of the taboo around this subject. (22-5614)

Smith agreed that it was a possibility, as suggested by Pearson, that somebody who was in the Nazi regime and stationed at one of the camps might have an interest in saying that nothing wrong happened there, but he disagreed with making such charges against individuals with no particular grounds for making them. Stäglich's book had been banned by the West German government and the plates destroyed; his pension had been reduced and a Hitler law from the 1930s used to strip him of his university degree. Pearson asked if the Zionists were behind that. Smith replied that Pearson had Zionists on the brain. Obviously, said Smith, this was one of the marvellous feats of the West German government. (22-5614, 5615)

Pearson asked if Dr. James J. Martin denied the Holocaust. Smith replied that nobody "denied the Holocaust" and asked if Pearson wanted it explained to him again. This was a newspeak term, said Smith, that was used to make the revisionist position seem ridiculous. It had worked for a long time but one of the things Smith did for the IHR Media Project was to gradually disabuse people of this and have them look at the affair more closely. (22-5616)

The IHR did not rely on academic historians. Academic historians, said Smith, were the reason why the understanding of the traditional Holocaust story was so confused. The cassettes advertised by the IHR were recordings of lectures that were given at the annual IHR conference by people who came from all over the world, Great Britain, Germany, France and so on, to discuss these issues. There was a standing invitation to discuss these issues with academic historians, those people that Pearson was expressing such worry about that they were not involved in this. The thing was, said Smith, they were fearful for their careers if they got involved. (22-5617; List of IHR Cassettes from 5th International Revisionist Conference filed as Exhibit 98 at 22-5618)

Smith agreed that in a special report published by the IHR a book by Christof Friedrich of Samisdat Publishers entitled Nazi Horrors: Fact, Fiction and Propaganda was advertised. Smith did not know of the book, however, or who wrote it. (22-5618, 5619)

Pearson suggested that Smith looked upon revisionism as a cause or a movement. Smith testified that in an informal way it was talked about as a movement because there was no one organization. The IHR for example had no membership. There was a revisionist movement made up of various people who devoted some of their time to looking into this mess. (22-5619)

Pearson produced the IHR Newsletter for January, 1988 and read from it to the court:

Ernst Zündel needs your help. If you've got the means and the time, you can assist by volunteering your services in Toronto in a range of activities, from research and writing to leafletting, to cooking and housework. The Zündel team can't pay you but they'll house you, feed you and give you an experience in the revisionist commitment and camaraderie that no amount of money could buy. If you're game for a good fight, call Ernst.

Smith agreed he was there out of revisionist camaraderie and commitment. It had to be remembered, he continued, that the state apparatus, with all its tax monies, was supporting Pearson's prosecution of Ernst Zündel while Ernst Zündel, who was a private citizen and didn't have a state apparatus behind him, had to raise money on his own. It was a wonder, said Smith, that he could even have done it. Smith admired him for having been able to raise enough money to apparently carry on these affairs which were meant to destroy him financially and in other ways. (22 5621)

On re-examination, Christie asked Smith why the IHR settled with Mermelstein. Smith testified that the judge in the trial took judicial notice of the existence of gas chambers. The IHR felt that it had no further capacity to fight the charges against it in the case because the entire state was lined up behind the prosecution and the IHR would very likely have had to go bankrupt had it followed through on the suit. (22 5621, 5622)

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