Institute for Historical Review
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-- - Upon resuming on Wednesday, October 4, 2000
at 9:45 a.m.
THE REGISTRAR: The Hearing in the matter of the complaints filed under section 13.(1) of the Canadian Human Rights Act by Sabina Citron, dated September 25, 1996, and the Toronto Mayor's Committee on Community and Race Relations on July 18, 1996 against Ernst Zündel is now resuming.
The Tribunal calls for appearances, please.
MR. FREIMAN: For the Canadian Human Rights Commission Mark Freiman and Eddie Taylor.
MR. RICHLER: For the Canadian Jewish Congress, Joel Richler and Judy Chan.
MS MATHESON: For Sabina Citron and the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association, Wendy Matheson. For the Tribunal's information, my colleague Jane Bailey will also be appearing tomorrow and Friday.
MR. ROSEN: My name is John Rosen. I am here for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.
MR. KURZ: I am Marvin Kurz for the League of Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada.
MR. CHU: I am Glenn Chu. I am here for the Toronto Mayor's Committee on Community and Race Relations. My colleague Ward Earle will also be here on various days.
MR. LEMIRE: Marc Lemire for the Canadian Association for Free Expression. My associate Paul Fromm will be here shortly.
MR. CHRISTIE: Douglas Christie for Mr. Zündel.
MS KULASZKA: Barbara Kulaszka --
THE CHAIRPERSON: I have a vague recollection of all of you.
Mr. Christie, please.
MR. CHRISTIE: My next witness is Mr. Weber.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Counsel and witnesses will understand that the acoustics in this room are not very good, so please speak out.
SWORN: MARK WEBER
Costa Mesa, California
Q.Mr. Weber, I would like to begin by asking you questions relating to the origin of Holocaust revisionism. In doing so, perhaps we could start with the definition, as you understand it, of "revisionism". Could you assist us by telling us what that term means in your understanding.
A.Holocaust revisionism -- this is a continuation of a question that I think you asked me almost two years ago when we were meeting last.
Holocaust revisionism is a term applied to a skeptical, a dissident, a critical look at the Holocaust, at the history of the Jews in Europe in the Second World War.
It is a subset, a part of a phenomenon or a school of thought called "historical revisionism."
Q.What does the term "revisionism" mean?
A.First of all, it is a term that comes from the Latin "revidere" which means to look again, to take another look at evidence and to take another look at the past based on new evidence and new insights and new understandings.
It emerged as a phenomenon during the early 1920s in the aftermath of the First World War when there was a tremendous reaction among the public and particularly among scholars to the official propaganda of the First World War. During the First World War, of course, the Allied powers and the Central powers, each in their own way, had their own take and their own propaganda about the origins of the First World War, the development of the war, the conduct of the other side in that conflict. Of course, because the Allied powers were the victors, that was sort of the official view that was held out for the origins of the First World War.
Very quickly in the United States, in Germany, in France and in England there arose this so-called revisionist school represented in the United States by scholars such as Sidney Bradshaw Fay and Harry Elmer Barnes who said that the official story that Germany alone was responsible for the First World War was wrong. This became quite a large phenomenon, and that is when the word "revisionist" was first used in a very wide context.
It is very important to understand that today the word "revisionist" among historians is very, very widely accepted in public discourse. In the media, very often polemicists will say, "A revisionist is someone who rewrites history," with the implication that they are doing so in a deceitful or illegitimate way. That is a kind of polemical version of the thing.
In a larger way, almost all historians are revisionists in the best sense of the word. You very often hear revisionists say that a certain book, a certain publication is revisionist in the best sense of the word -- that is, it has something really new or insightful to offer about our interpretation of the past.
Today revisionism is largely applied to all fields of the past. Every good historian likes to think that they are going to be revisionists in the sense that he or she will offer some really new insights, some new look, at the past. Every generation, every period, every era has its own take on the events of the past. It's a very common thing.
In the aftermath of the Second World War another kind of leg of revisionism developed as well. Perhaps the best exemplar of that in looking at the origins of the Second World War was the British historian A.J.P. Taylor. He wrote a famous book called "The Origins of the Second World War" in which he took issue with the official view that Hitler was alone and diabolically responsible for the outbreak of the war.
Historical revision is, I think, very fairly said to have several characteristics. It is concerned about truth; it is concerned about, as Harry Elmer Barnes said, bringing history into accord with the facts. In this regard, revisionism is absolutely opposed to dogmatism and, above all, official history because the great bugaboo, the great nemesis of historians, especially those who call themselves revisionist historians, is an official, state-sponsored view of history.
It is very important to understand that in looking at history there is not a group of historians who are all called revisionist on one hand and non-revisionist on the other hand. That is not how it works. There is a continuum and there is an overlapping between historians and people who call themselves revisionists. They may agree about some points and disagree about other points. It is also very important to understand that revisionists, whether they call themselves historical revisionists, in the larger historical sense, or Holocaust revisionists dealing with this one specific chapter of history, are not either left-wing or right-wing. They represent all possible political, philosophical, ideological, religious backgrounds and, for that matter, ethnic or racial backgrounds as well.
Historical revisionism -- that is, a different outlook on history -- encompasses really all periods of history. There has been a whole school of revisionist historians, for example, who look at the history of the Cold War. Perhaps the most famous representative of that in the United States is William Appleman Williams who is from my own state of Oregon, who was very critical of the United States and the western countries on the origins of the Cold War. He was more, some say, apologetic for the policies of the Soviet Union. He was a well-known leftist.
Of course, the Vietnam War has had its own brand of revisionist history as well, the main feature of which is that it is opposed to the official history of the United States during that war. Today I would say that, broadly speaking, there is almost a universal acceptance that the revisionist or the skeptical or non-official view of the Vietnam War is the generally-accepted one.
There is also today in Israel a group of historians who are also very often called revisionists, who take a very critical look at the history of the founding of the state of Israel and Zionism and are very critical of it. They say that, contrary to the official propaganda, the Zionist policy with the founding of Israel was a very brutal and terrible one and are very critical of this. One of the interesting aspects of this is that there is more acceptance or more tolerance for, you might say, Zionist revisionism -- that is, a critical history of Zionism and the founding of Israel in Israel itself than there is among Jews and Jewish organizations in the diaspora that is outside of Israel itself.
One of the most sweeping and dramatic --
MR. ROSEN: Excuse me, I thought the question was: What was the definition of the word "revisionism," not an invitation to give a lecture on the whole area. I am thinking of the transcript, Mr. Chair, and I am also thinking about the evidence and I am thinking about the limitations of your ruling.
I object to Mr. Christie allowing the witness to just run on like this.
THE CHAIRPERSON: I suppose I could remind you, Mr. Christie that the ruling of the Tribunal was that this witness was qualified to give evidence to establish the context in which Holocaust revisionism operates. Perhaps this witness is preparing some sort of foundation to give that evidence, but I would urge you to direct him to the core of what his evidence is as soon as possible.
MR. CHRISTIE: He is, I think, endeavouring to define that field in relation to revisionism generally. That is why I think the answer is germane to the question of defining the term "revisionism" and then defining it in relation to Holocaust revisionism.
THE CHAIRPERSON: He has taken us through generally what the term "revisionism" means, and it may be appropriate now to focus a little more directly on what we are here to talk about.
Q.In relation to Holocaust revisionism, you referred to it as a subset of revisionism, and you have heard the objection about going into aspects of revisionism, Zionist revisionism which is not germane here.
Does Zionist revisionism, in your understanding, have anything to do with Holocaust revisionism?
A.In the sense that there is a continuum, an overlap between many aspects of this thing. Today --
Q.Just one question with regard to that. Are there any Zionist revisionists who are also Holocaust revisionists?
A.I was just about to get to a more specific treatment of Holocaust revisionism.
Q.Can you answer my question before you do that? Before we get any further objection, can you answer my question?
A.Could you repeat the question, please.
Q.Are there any Zionist revisionists who are also Holocaust revisionists?
A.I don't know about Zionists, but there are certainly Jewish historians or Jewish writers who are broadly defined as Holocaust revisionists or even Holocaust deniers.
THE CHAIRPERSON: That really wasn't the question. Do you understand the question? Mr. Christie's question was clear enough.
THE WITNESS: If it is confined to Zionist -- and, of course that is an ideology -- I can't think of one, no. I would say there are Jewish historians who are also Holocaust revisionists, but I don't know if I could say Zionists, not that I can think of.
Q.In relation to Holocaust revisionism, does it necessarily mean the term you have just used, Holocaust denier? What is a Holocaust denier?
A.A Holocaust denier -- that is a good question, because the very term "Holocaust" is ill-defined, I think, in society. No person who calls himself a Holocaust revisionist would accept the label of Holocaust denier. "Holocaust denier" is an epithet; it is a label. There are many who call themselves Holocaust revisionists, but the term "Holocaust denier" is a term that implies that those who deny the Holocaust know better, that they are deliberately lying, that they are in denial. That is, they know or should know better, but they are disingenuous.
Holocaust revisionists, of course, do not say that they deny; they say they affirm. They say they try to affirm what actually did happen.
I suppose that is the answer to your question.
Q.What is it that Holocaust deniers are accused of denying?
A.They are accused of denying the Holocaust which is, itself, a very elastic term.
Q.What does that mean, denying persecution of Jews?
Q.If you are accused of being a Holocaust denier, does it mean you are accused of denying the persecution of Jews?
A.I suppose the answer to that question is: What does each person who uses the term mean by it? That is very difficult to say because it is thrown around in a way that the people using it don't really know what they mean by it. Even the word "Holocaust" is very ill-defined.
For most people the understanding is that the Holocaust refers to the terrible pictures we have seen taken at the end of the war in various camps. It refers to the terrible persecution of Jews during the Second World War.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Council has on occasion given a definition of the Holocaust which is rather narrow. It refers to the systematic extermination of six million Jews by the German government and its allies during the war. Without wanting to be nit-picky about it, if that is the definition, then any figure under six million is Holocaust denial or is revisionism.
There is no Holocaust revisionist who denies that Jews in Europe were terribly persecuted during the Second World War, that there were concentration camps and ghettoes in which Jews were brutally consigned, that many Jews died and were killed during the Second World War, although, when reading the popular literature, one could often get the impression that a Holocaust denier is one who disputes even these basic things.
Is that an answer to your question?
Q.I think it comes as close as I can ask in terms of definition. You are saying it is a difficult term to define because it is difficult to know how people use the term "denier."
A.One, and second because the word "Holocaust" is elastically and ill-defined.
Q.Can you give us your understanding of issues in the Second World War that have been subject to revisionism with regard to the Holocaust, in respect of the Katyn Forest?
MR. ROSEN: I object to the question. It goes outside your ruling and it is offensive to the earlier ruling that truth is not a defence in this matter. In my respectful submission, Mr. Christie is doing indirectly what you ordered him not to do directly.
MR. CHRISTIE: Of course, I realize that truth is not an issue, and I am not asking questions about truth. I asked a question about whether Holocaust revisionism is related to the subject of the Katyn Forest, just to describe how some aspects of the Second World War, particularly that, are in relation to the field of Holocaust revisionism; how does it relate?
MR. ROSEN: The question was: What is your understanding of the issues relating to World War II that are the subject of revisionism? That, in my respectful submission, has nothing whatsoever to do with your ruling. Your ruling is: What is the context in which Holocaust revisionists today exist? if I can paraphrase.
MR. CHRISTIE: I won't paraphrase it, and it is this. We are prepared to accept him as an expert in Holocaust revisionism as he and others have defined that field, quote unquote.
MR. ROSEN: No, that is not it, Mr. Christie. The ruling is, with respect --
MR. CHRISTIE: It is right here at page 6142, line 16:
"We are prepared to accept him as an expert in Holocaust revisionism as he and others have defined that field."
MR. ROSEN: "Although we have grave reservations as to the academic qualifications and scholarly integrity of this witness, we are prepared to accept him as an expert in Holocaust revisionism as he and others have defined that field. We would, however, allow this evidence only for the very limited purpose of establishing the context in which the Holocaust revisionist community operates.
We do not accept Mr. Weber as an expert sociologist or as a historian beyond the field of Holocaust revisionism."
MR. CHRISTIE: The field of Holocaust revisionism operates in the context of the history of the Second World War. The Katyn Forest massacre was an incident in the Second World War, at one time attributed to Germany and at another time attributed to Soviet occupying forces. It is quite relevant to show the context in which the revisionist community operates respecting the Second World War, particularly on that issue as a demonstrable example of how history may be correct, may be incorrect and can be revised.
The revisionist community derives some of its legitimacy from the fact that history has sometimes been corrected about the Second World War. Nothing could more capably demonstrate this development than an example which is now generally accepted as a correct revision. I am not suggesting that it is true or that it is demonstrating the validity of Holocaust revisionism, but it is part of the context of Holocaust revisionism which may show a relationship to other
aspects of revisionism.
It would be rather ridiculous to take Holocaust revisionism and detach it from all other forms of revisionism and say that it is a unique and totally unacceptable brand of revisionism, particularly when it comes to the Second World War.
Respectfully, if he is as I understand him to have been allowed to be an expert in Holocaust revisionism as he and others have defined that field, surely it should be legitimate for me to ask him if he defines that field in relation to other incidents in the Second World War about which revisionism has produced some apparent changes in general perceptions and in the general marketplace of ideas, such as the Katyn Forest. It would seem to show the context in which historical revisionism operates.
I think the reason for the objection, Mr. Chairman, is that it shows it in relation to something that my learned friend would rather not have you see, which is that revisionism about the Second World War can sometimes be legitimate and might perhaps create the inference that the public-at-large has already accepted the proposition that Holocaust revisionism may have some value, which is a subject upon which this witness, I hope, will expand.
Therefore, I tried to relate it to the Katyn Forest because I am informed that Holocaust revisionists see that incident as somewhat similar to the process by which they look at other aspects of the Second World War, particularly the Holocaust. Of course, the death of Polish officers is not necessarily all that different from the death of Jews.
THE CHAIRPERSON: If that indeed is relevant and is of assistance to the witness in explaining his position under the general subject of established context in which Holocaust revisionism operates, one would have thought that you would direct this witness to the subject of Holocaust revisionism and perhaps in the course of discussing that, if it appears relevant that a discussion of the Katyn massacre or some other incident follows logically, then perhaps it would be more acceptable and comply with the Tribunal's ruling on this subject.
Could I suggest to you, Mr. Christie, that you proceed in that way.
MR. CHRISTIE: Thank you.
Q.Can you explain the logical relationship, if any, of the issue of the Katyn Forest to the subject of revisionism as you and others in the field have defined revisionism?
A.I think I can.
A simple event in our understanding both of the Holocaust and the Second World War is the Nuremberg Tribunal of 1945-46. It was the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal that gave the world the foundation, you might say, of what today we call the Holocaust in a very dramatic way. The leaders, as they were still alive, of the Third Reich were put on trial. Very, very extensive evidence was presented by the Allies and much less evidence by the defendants about their policies during the Second World War, of which the treatment of the Jews was a very important part. To this day some of the most important evidence cited for the Holocaust first emerged during the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.
We know now, and there is really no dispute about it, I think, by any historian of the subject, whether he is revisionist or not or whatever he calls himself, that much of what we were told in the Nuremberg Trial or that was supposedly established at the Nuremberg Trial was, in fact, not true.
With specific reference to the Katyn Forest massacre, during the Second World War the Allied governments claimed that the Germans had shot thousands of Polish officers in the Katyn Forest near Smolensk in occupied Russia. The Soviets were especially interested in blaming the Germans for this because the bodies were found in 1943, and the German government claimed that these Polish officers had been killed by the Soviets.
The Nuremberg Tribunal accepted witnesses presented at the Tribunal who supposedly showed that these Polish officers were shot by the Germans, and that was the official story. There was a very detailed Soviet report that was accepted in evidence by the Nuremberg Tribunal, supposedly proving and establishing that these officers had been killed by the Germans.
Today, as at one time even the Soviet government finally admitted under Gorbachev, it is now indisputable that the officers were in fact killed by the Soviet Secret Police.
The Katyn incident is just one example, but it is a dramatic one because it is a very specific and defined one of how our understanding of history, of the Nuremberg Tribunal, is a different one than the one we now accept and establish.
I want to establish a number of other things. The Nuremberg Tribunal supposedly proved that the Germans had gassed inmates at the Dachau concentration camp. A witness was produced, who had been an inmate at Dachau, named Franz Blahau who testified that he saw inmates being gassed at Dachau. In the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, this was the official story of the Allies. The American government even put out official U.S. Army photographs showing the door of a supposed gas chamber for killing inmates at Dachau, and the Nuremberg Tribunal supposedly proved this.
Today no historian of any repute contends any more that anyone was gassed at Dachau, that the Dachau gassing story is a historical lie; it's a propaganda lie, but it was supposed to be proven at the Nuremberg Tribunal. By the same token, evidence was presented at the Nuremberg Tribunal that inmates were gassed at the Buchenwald concentration camp which was located outside of Weimar in Germany. A French government report was presented in evidence which explained in some rather lurid detail about how inmates were gassed at the Buchenwald concentration camp.
Today it is conceded by every important historian of the subject that no one was gassed at the Buchenwald concentration camp.
To give another example, at the Nuremberg Tribunal --
MR. FREIMAN: Perhaps I ought to rise now.
We have listened to a lot and I haven't objected because, as the Chair has mentioned, perhaps all this was simply intended to set the table for an actual consideration of the issues that might properly be testified to by this witness under the Tribunal's ruling. If the purpose of the answer was to say that revisionism, as this witness understands it, is devoted to re-examining the truth of issues that consensus historians have set forward as true, fine; that is a definition of "revisionism," and we can move forward in order to understand what this witness understands by the term and to understand what the social context is.
I did not want to waste a lot of time on nit-picking details of the evidence, but it is clear now that the witness went well beyond any such setting of the table into a litany of allegations as to previously asserted truths and their present status.
In my respectful submission, there is no basis for this evidence to be accepted by this Tribunal. It is not relevant. If it has any meaning other than to say that revisionism as this witness understands it consists of challenging accepted truths, I am willing to allow that to be a definition and let's go on. Anything beyond that consists of the insinuation as to the truth or lack of truth of certain historical facts and can only be relevant to the area in which this Tribunal has clearly stated it will not hear evidence, namely the truth underlying some of the assertions in the materials objected to.
On that basis, it is my respectful submission that the witness should go on. He has made the point about what he understands revisionism to be. This Tribunal will not benefit from hearing a litany of allegations as to what was once thought to be false that is now thought to be true or vice versa.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Matheson, please.
MS MATHESON: Without pleading anything to this court, in my submission, this witness, on top of being irrelevant and inappropriate, is not qualified to give any of the evidence that we have just heard.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Christie, please.
MR. CHRISTIE: That is on the assumption that revisionist historians are not entitled to be given any credence, which is the position I suppose all the other parties take.
An interesting phrase that Mr. Freiman used is "consensus historians." I take it he means those are the correct historians who would have the consensus, and then he contrasts those with revisionist historians.
Ridiculous as that assertion is to anyone who looks at the subject of history to determine what is or is not consensus in a supposedly free and democratic society, let me accept that premise that there are consensus historians, whatever that may be. This is a revisionist historian which you have accepted as an expert in Holocaust revisionism as he and others have defined that field, and they contrast themselves with consensus historians. Sometimes the revisionist historian or the Holocaust revisionist historian can demonstrate that revisionist historians become consensus historians.
That is the context in which the Holocaust revisionist community operates. Believe it or not, over time, sometimes revisionist historians become consensus because in a supposedly free society unusual or contradictory opinions over time become accepted -- not that they are truth. No one has said that consensus is truth. We don't talk about truth here; we are in a Human Rights Tribunal. But we could talk about the context in which statements are made.
If it can be demonstrated that revisionist historians on the subject of the Holocaust have over time had some of their ideas accepted by a larger consensus and if it can be further demonstrated, which I intend to try to demonstrate. that not only that but that the Holocaust revisionist aspects of the revisionist field have also gradually become more and more consensus, it is your job, I take it, to decide whether in the context in which we live today Holocaust revisionism is hate or is part of the wider scope of the legitimate marketplace of ideas.
It is far more generally accepted than merely the opinion of one person. It is widely accepted that certain ideas exist in society and are communicated freely by people who are never accused of hate. It would seem rather ridiculous to pin that label on one individual because we all understand from our human rights education and law that intent is not relevant, that the intent of the speaker is not relevant.
MEMBER DEVINS: Mr. Christie, is it your submission that it is our role here to determine whether the entire field of Holocaust revisionism exposes people to hatred or whether we are simply here to look at the documents that are before us and to make a determination with respect to those materials?
MR. CHRISTIE: The latter.
MEMBER DEVINS: It would be helpful for me if you could put your arguments in the context of the specific documents that we are here to determine.
MR. CHRISTIE: I intend to do that, but I had intended to show that over time Holocaust revisionism developing from historical revisionism about the Second World War has become and is even more so now becoming generally accepted in society. Then I intend to go through the specific Zündelsite documents and use this witness to relate them to other Holocaust revisionists to demonstrate that they are widely disseminated in legitimate historical debate or at least consensus debate. I assume that is what my friend defines as legitimate. Is there a legitimate scope for Holocaust revisionism and are the Zündelsite documents analogous, compatible or where do they fit within the framework of Holocaust revisionist historians?
I don't think I can do it all at once.
MEMBER DEVINS: Fair enough.
MR. CHRISTIE: I would like to go through it systematically, hopefully without interruption, through a logical development. I try.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Can we get to that point --
MR. CHRISTIE: We could get to that point instantly if we had no preparation --
THE CHAIRPERSON: Wait until a Tribunal member has finished commenting so that you understand the question.
My question was: Can we get there with a little more alacrity and not pausing to deal with specific instances such as Dachau or Buchenwald, to determine if they were gassed or were not gassed. I think it would be helpful to the Tribunal if you brought this witness to what I understand he is going to present to us, a picture of what a Holocaust revisionist is.
What is the context in which that Holocaust revisionist operates?
I am just suggesting that his evidence is a little bit diffused at this point, and it doesn't focus on the core of what we expect from his evidence.
MR. CHRISTIE: I hope you don't expect it to be restricted in such a way that it only has the appearance of one thing. Of course, Holocaust revisionism, unless you have a preconceived notion of it, may be much broader than my learned friends would like you to believe. It may actually include consensus historians. That is where I was leading.
THE CHAIRPERSON: As far as the Tribunal is concerned, we are governed by the evidence we hear here, and we are going to hear evidence, I presume, about Holocaust revisionism. That is what we are waiting to hear about.
Mr. Freiman, do you want to say one last thing? I don't want this argument to go on interminably.
MR. FREIMAN: This will take only 12 seconds.
The reason that I rose is that it struck me that there is an analogy here to a charge of assault as a consequence of breaking an arm. It is clear what the relevant evidence would be there. It would not be relevant evidence to go into the history of medicine --
MR. CHRISTIE: The 12 seconds are up.
MR. FREIMAN: -- in which the history of medicine would allow one to break an arm in order to reset it. That is what we are getting here.
MR. CHRISTIE: Holocaust revisionism is not as simple as the subject of a broken arm.
I will take directions from the Chair and try to proceed more expeditiously.
Q.Are you familiar with the historian Goldhagen?
Q.Does he have any place in the field of Holocaust revisionism?
A.Daniel Goldhagen is a professor, I think, at Harvard University, and he has written a book called "Hitler's Willing Executioners." The contention of this book is that the German people were imbued, even before Hitler, with a murderous, eliminationist mentality, he calls it, to get rid of the Jews and that, when Hitler took power, he was able to take advantage of this eliminationist mentality to implement a murderous policy against the Jews.
His book has sold extremely well. It has been very much praised, but also very much condemned.
Q.What part does the condemnation play in the Holocaust revisionism field?
A.What it goes to, I suppose -- the most controversial part is Goldhagen's contention that the Germans were uniquely or specially viewed with a hateful eliminationist mentality toward Jews. I think it was Raul Hilberg, who is considered the dean of American Holocaust historians, who took the view that Goldhagen's book has set us back 50 years because it lurches us back to a view of a kind of collective evil of the German people.
Q.In your context, then, does the historical writing of Goldhagen and the critiques of others who would be opposed to his views play a part in Holocaust revisionism?
A.Yes, although Goldhagen, I don't think, is particularly important in all this regard.
Q.What part does he play in Holocaust revisionism?
A.He is one more historian who accepts a great deal about the standard view of the Holocaust. What is most interesting and what is most unique and important about his particular book is this thesis he has about the so-called eliminationist mentality which the vast majority of not only revisionists but, I would say, the majority of consensus historians condemn and reject.
Q.Does Raul Hilberg have aspects of Holocaust revisionism?
A.If I could try to answer the question that you were suggesting, there is a continuum of views. Many views held by so-called consensus historians or establishment historians parallel, echo the views of some so-called revisionist historians, and over a period of time there has been a tremendous change in how we view the so-called Holocaust and there is an overlap between them. It is not that there is a group of people who are revisionist and a group of people who are non-revisionist. There is a tremendous overlap between the two.
Q.Do they feed each other with information?
A.Yes, they do.
A.Do they gradually accept each other's point of view?
Q.I don't know about gradually accepting each other's point of view, but there is an --
MR. ROSEN: Perhaps Mr. Christie could be a little less leading on this.
MR. CHRISTIE: I am told, "Don't let the witness ramble, and then I am told, "Don't lead."
I think I see what my friends want. They want to make sure the witness doesn't say anything they don't want him to say, whether he says it himself or whether I lead him to it. They want to shut him up.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Proceed.
A.This gets, I think, to the core of what you were talking about. Many revisionist views that were once considered absolutely outlandish, absolutely unacceptable, are now consensually accepted.
Q.On the Holocaust?
A.On the Holocaust, yes.
A.I will give a number of examples.
MR. ROSEN: I raise the same objection.
MR. CHRISTIE: That is not proper. The Holocaust revisionist positions that have been accepted as consensus would be part of the Holocaust revisionist field as he and others have defined it. If he is accepted as a person who speaks with authority in this area, why shouldn't he be able to say that Holocaust revisionist views have been accepted by others and that he is going to give us some examples? What is wrong with that?
THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you going to proceed to give us some examples?
MR. CHRISTIE: He was just about to when Mr. Rosen jumped up.
MR. ROSEN: I just said that I raise the same objection.
MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Rosen jumped up and said, "I raise the same objection."
I point out for the record that the witness has knowledge in the field of Holocaust revisionism greater than ours, and it is accepted that he has that knowledge. If he is about to say that Holocaust revisionist views have been accepted by consensus historians in certain areas and he can give us specific examples, then that shows the context in which Holocaust revisionism is not necessarily beyond the pale of consensus.
That is the relevance, to show the context of Holocaust revisionism and the context in which the Holocaust revisionist community operates. To make it as simple as necessary for Mr. Rosen and others, if the Holocaust revisionist community operates in a society which has tolerance of their ideas to the point where gradually over time some of their ideas are accepted and some of their ideas are identical to or exactly the same as the documents that are in evidence, then I think it would be legitimate to suggest to you that even the Holocaust revisionist opinions expressed in the documents before you are within the scope of legitimate public debate and, therefore, not to be seen as productive of hatred, unless we are to attribute the same productivity to other consensus historians -- and we will be dealing with many more. As we all know, there are others who have developed even more recently than 1996 which will adopt many of the exact phrases and terms used by Mr. Zündel. We will come to that.
That is the purpose of this evidence, to demonstrate that the Holocaust revisionist community, albeit once isolated, threatened, persecuted, prosecuted, bombed, has gradually over time had some of its ideas accepted in the general marketplace of ideas as part of consensus historians' opinion.
THE CHAIRPERSON: You are proposing to give us some illustrations or examples?
MR. CHRISTIE: I was going to do one.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Matheson, please.
MS MATHESON: The one thing this witness is not qualified to talk about is the view of what has been described as consensus historians. He can speak about the view of the revisionist historian, but he cannot speak, in my submission, about consensus historians. Other witnesses may be able to speak about that, but that is another matter.
MR. CHRISTIE: Now my friend Ms Matheson would like to prevent the witness from saying anything about consensus historians -- a new phrase originating from Mr. Freiman for those who I presume he will argue are correct.
THE CHAIRPERSON: You were going to present one example. Let's proceed.
Q.Could we get back to the one example that you were about to give us. I hope you wrote it down, because I wouldn't remember it. If you do, you are better than I am in that department.
A.The one example which I think is going to be illustrative is about gassing at Buchenwald. Probably the person who is considered the founder of Holocaust revisionism was a Frenchman named Paul Rassinier. He was a leftist and socialist. He is a secondary school teacher by background, and he was active in the anti-German resistance. He helped smuggle Jews to Switzerland from France during the Second World War. He was arrested and he was interned during the Second World War at the Buchenwald and Dora concentration camps.
He was in very bad health when he came back, but he was given the highest medal of the French government for his resistance activities. He was elected to the French National Assembly. He was very put off and indignant at what he felt were many false stories that were being told about life in the camps because he had been there. He had some experience with this, including personally with Buchenwald.
He began writing a series of books. He wrote first a memoir of his own experiences, and then he began --
Q.What was that called?
A."The Lies of Ulysses," I believe was the first one. He basically referenced the fact from Ulysses that travellers tend to embellish their tales.
He wrote a series of other books.
Anyway, to get back to the central point, one of the points he made in his book was this business of people being gassed at Buchenwald. He confronted a French priest who had claimed that he saw people being gassed at Buchenwald. He related that he confronted this priest and said, "You know, people were not gassed there." The French priest said, "Well, it doesn't matter because people were gassed elsewhere, so it is important for that reason."
Paul Rassinier's writings have been very, very strongly condemned because he is the father of Holocaust revisionism.
To show that views or writings that were once condemned as just completely out of the pale can be accepted about establishment historians, I cite this book by Arno Mayer, "Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?" You may remember that this came up in discussion two years ago when I was being qualified, and I pointed out that Arno Mayer was a history professor at Yale University. He is a well-known leftist. I don't even agree with the central thesis of his book which is subtitled "The 'Final Solution' in History."
Arno Mayer felt that the writings of Paul Rassinier were legitimate enough, reliable enough to be cited in the bibliography along with other works that are clearly non-revisionist. Not only was Paul Rassinier's book cited in the bibliography, but so was the well-known and notorious book, "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century" by Arthur Butz which the Institute for Historical Review publishes in its American edition, which is a well-known Holocaust revisionist classic.
Q.Our learned friends are going to tell you to look at what is said about those things and to demonstrate that they are just simply quoted to quote the devil.
A.Wait a minute --
Q.Not where they are quoted.
A.Exactly. We went through all of this, you might remember, two years ago. Mr. Rosen went through quite a bit of Mayer's book, and at the time Mr. Rosen claimed that the book by Paul Rassinier and the book by Arthur Butz were cited by Mayer only in a special different way from other so-called consensus books. In fact, that is not true.
MR. ROSEN: I think the record speaks for itself and this witness' admissions on those points speak for themselves. I don't intend to repeat the cross-examination, and I leave it to the Tribunal to refer to the transcript. I don't think it is appropriate for this witness to try to correct something he may have said on an earlier occasion, with respect, under the guise of answering a question that Mr. Christie put.
THE CHAIRPERSON: You may be able to correct him, if that is called for, in your cross-examination.
Q.Could you please point out whether or not it is correct that Arno Mayer quoted Butz and Rassinier with disapproval or in a neutral context.
A.I am not, in fact, correcting what I said. I am amplifying or emphasizing the points I made, you might recall, two years ago, and that is that there is this continuum.
When this book by Arno Mayer came out, published by Pantheon, one of the most prestigious American publishing houses, Arno Mayer was vilified, was excoriated by a number of Jewish writers in Jewish periodicals for daring to, at least in part, give credence to arguments that revisionists had made and for citing and for using in his bibliography two of the most well-known or most important so-called Holocaust revisionist works, namely the works by Arthur Butz and by Paul Rassinier. That is not to say that Arno Mayer agrees completely with Arthur Butz or that he agrees completely with Paul Rassinier.
To bring it back to the specific point that came up earlier, one specific point that Paul Rassinier makes in his book that now is universally accepted is that inmates were not gassed at Buchenwald. Again, very often as we have seen -- and I think we will present much more evidence in the course of this Hearing to show that many views that revisionists first presented, which were considered absolutely outlandish, were eventually accepted at least in part and that the historical process requires precisely this kind of activity. Even when a revisionist historian or any other historian may be wrong, they still provide a valuable service by stimulating greater discussion and greater research into the questions that are raised by revisionist historians, as condemned as they often are in our society.
As a number of even consensus or establishment historians have conceded and acknowledged, they play an important and helpful role in the historical process.
Q.Specifically, does Arno Mayer quote Rassinier or Butz with disapproval or with --
A.One of the weaknesses of Arno Mayer's book is that he doesn't give any footnotes. He doesn't quote people. He presents his own narrative or his own presentation of history, and all he has is a bibliography. We don't know specifically at each point what he derived from each of the works that he has in his bibliography.
Q.It is not the case that you can find a footnote referring to Rassinier and to identify where he quotes him or where he says something about him.
A.Right. However, I think it is fair to say, and I can say this as someone who is familiar with revisionism anyway, that some of the most startling and criticized statements that Mayer makes in his book are clearly derived from the writings of Arthur Butz, for example.
Again, there is not this hermetically-sealed difference. There is a continuum and a cross-fertilization that takes place, and a great deal of evidence can be presented to substantiate this point.
Q.There is one aspect of your testimony about the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg that I wanted to deal with in relation to the Katyn Forest massacre.
What position did the Tribunal ultimately take in its judgment upon the evidence that was presented?
MR. FREIMAN: Again, I really don't like to slow down the proceedings, but this is clearly outside your ruling and clearly irrelevant. We are going back again to whatever has been incorrectly characterized and is intending to do indirectly what the Tribunal has said cannot be done directly.
MR. CHRISTIE: Is it this Tribunal's ruling that Holocaust revisionist historians cannot and do not refer and don't know anything about, cannot be
seen to know anything about the International Military Tribunal judgment at Nuremberg? Surely a Holocaust revisionist historian has every bit as much right and does -- maybe the witness doesn't know. If the witness says he doesn't know, that's fine.
Holocaust revisionism, I submit, is a field in which the International Military Tribunal judgment at Nuremberg -- the Blue Series, the Green Series -- is an important source of their historical analysis. He said so, and he is a Holocaust revisionist
What can he say? "Yes, I am familiar with the International Military Tribunal judgment, and I know what they said about Katyn Forest or didn't say about it," and that is basically what I asked him. Why is he not allowed to answer?
THE CHAIRPERSON: We have already addressed that in terms that, if it was necessary for him in giving his evidence in relation to what he is qualified to address, if it is necessary to address the Katyn massacre for example, perhaps that would be allowed. Please keep in mind that we have not qualified him as a historian. We have qualified him in that narrow band of relevance, namely, the context in which Holocaust revisionism operates.
MR. CHRISTIE: Are you telling this witness and me that Holocaust revisionism cannot operate and does not operate in the field of the judgment of the International Military Tribunal? This witness will tell you that it does, and I will argue that.
Whether my friends like the position taken or not doesn't matter. It is part of the field of Holocaust revisionism.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Why are you leaping to the Nuremberg Tribunal now?
MR. CHRISTIE: Because there was one aspect of it that Holocaust revisionists, with whom I am familiar and this one in particular having instructed me what his position and evidence is to be, are in fact familiar with the judgment, and the issue of the Katyn Forest is for Holocaust revisionists, as far as the Tribunal's judgment itself, a germane point of analysis. That is all I can say.
I am not here to give you evidence, but I do know that that is something that the witness has overlooked.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Are you posing this as an additional example of the views of revisionists that are now generally accepted by historians? That was the example you gave us a moment ago, whereby Rassinier's views have come to be accepted by at least one writer by the name of Mayer. You said you had one example, and we have allowed that. Now I would hope that you would move on from there.
MR. CHRISTIE: What I am trying to get at is that the Nuremberg trials are referred to in those Zündelsite documents, and I can go to those. What I was dealing with was the Katyn Forest massacre. The witness gave you an indication of what evidence was placed before the Tribunal, and I was going to ask him, not about the truth or falsity of anything, but it is certainly within the scope of Holocaust revisionists' analysis to be familiar with the International Military Tribunal judgment. I was just going to ask him how the International Military Tribunal dealt with the evidence before them about the Katyn Forest massacre.
It is a matter of record. We can read the whole thing or we can have someone who is familiar with it. My friends, if they wish, can cross-examine him on that. It is certainly relevant to show something in relation to Holocaust revisionism: (a) its commitment to analysis of specific documents; (b) its capacity to understand and relate it in a rational way; (c) its participation in the social discourse of history in a legitimate way.
If those reasons are within the scope of a Holocaust revisionist's field of study, it should be within the realm of this witness' capacity to speak about it. He can tell us if it is beyond his capacity, but I doubt that it is.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Freiman, please.
MR. FREIMAN: On the issue of relevance, there is no theory under which what the International Military Tribunal said about Katyn and this witness' view as to what the real situation at Katyn might have been --
MR. CHRISTIE: I didn't ask for the real situation at Katyn. Let's deal with what I did raise, not irrelevant questions that I didn't ask. I asked him --
MR. FREIMAN: The allegedly relevant question --
MR. CHRISTIE: First you have to understand the question if you are going to criticize it.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Let Mr. Freiman finish, and then I will hear from you.
MR. FREIMAN: The allegedly relevant question of what the International Military Tribunal found with regard to Katyn cannot be relevant under the Tribunal's ruling. The only way that it can be relevant is if it begins as one of the building blocks for an argument as to the truth or falsity of certain things on the Zündelsite. Otherwise, there is nothing there for it to be relevant about and there is no reason to ask the question.
Again, I don't think anyone -- certainly the Commission has no objection to a definition that I think is implicit in Mr. Weber's testimony thus far, that revisionism, as he understands it, is devoted to a re-examination of certain issues in history that others have made false quotes about and that revisionists wish to re-examine, even to the point of questioning the veracity.
He has given us evidence on the record that in his view some of the topics that revisionist historians have re-examined have later also been accepted by others. Fine. That is what revisionism is as he understands it. Now we can go to discover the social context in which they operate.
The line of questions that Mr. Christie appears to be commencing and his specific question that he has commenced goes well beyond that, and now he begins to ask specific questions about truth or falsehood of specific events. It is a waste of the Tribunal's time and, like Mr. Rosen, I have some concern for the integrity of the record.
MR. CHRISTIE: Mr. Freiman has no concern for the integrity of the record because he totally ignored the essential nature of my question and misquoted it. I asked nothing about truth or falsity. I asked: What position did the Nuremberg Tribunal take on the Katyn Forest in relation to the evidence that was before it? That had not nothing to do with truth or falsity.
THE CHAIRPERSON: And from there...?
MR. CHRISTIE: Its relevance to the Zündelsite documents, page 13 of the booklet, paragraph 5, the Nuremberg Trials.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Will you proceed there, please?
MR. CHRISTIE: Thank you.
Q.Did the International Military Tribunal take a position on the evidence before it regarding the Katyn Forest?
A.Ultimately the Tribunal in its judgment said nothing about Katyn and decided to drop the entire subject.
MR. CHRISTIE: I don't intend to proceed any farther.
Q.Does Holocaust revisionism see politics as playing a part in historical analysis?
A.Yes, it does. There is no question that politics, both in the narrower and broader sense of the term, plays a role in how we understand history, especially the history of what is called the Holocaust. Indeed, the very use of the term "Holocaust" is in a sense revisionist, in the way that during the 1950s, if someone had talked about Holocaust denial, no one would have known what one was talking about because the term "Holocaust" didn't come into popular usage until the 1960s or certainly into the 1970s.
Politics plays a very important role, not only in helping create the overall climate - and this was something I was hoping to go into a bit later -- but in disputing the official view of Holocaust history. It is a crime in certain countries -- in Germany, in France, in Spain and in some other countries -- to deny the Holocaust or to present views which are contrary to the official history. I think one of the most outstanding examples of this, and it relates to the discussion this morning, is that in France it is a crime to contest crimes against humanity as defined by the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal.
Q.Holocaust revisionists have to deal with these laws?
Q.So you are somewhat familiar with the nature of them?
Q.You are not claiming to be a legal expert, but as a Holocaust revisionist you have some knowledge?
Q.I am going to lead you a bit because, if I don't, you will go into areas where there will be objections. I will try to lead you a bit, and then there will be an objection to my leading you, and I will try to avoid that, too.
Does the name Harwood play any part in Holocaust revisionism?
Q.What did he do?
A.A booklet by Richard Harwood, which is a pen name for Richard Verral, called "Did Six Million Really Die?" played a very important role, both famously and infamously, in what we call Holocaust revisionism or Holocaust denial. I testified at some length about this booklet during the 1988 Zündel trial here in Toronto. As I understand, at least portions of this booklet are part of the Zündelsite documents.
The context here is that the Harwood booklet, "Did Six Million Really Die?", is in very large part derived from the writings of Paul Rassinier.
Richard Verral is not a historian. He compiled this booklet, taking a lot of this and that from writings by Paul Rassinier, a booklet by David Hoggan, an American historian, and some others. The book, as I testified in 1988 and as everybody, I think, recognizes has some important defects.
It was a very important booklet in making much better known the revisionist view of the Holocaust. The book was banned in some countries.
Q.What aspects of what we call the Holocaust does that book dispute?
A.Oh, boy --
Q.If we could simplify it into two or three categories, what two or three aspects of the thing called the Holocaust does the book dispute?
A.Without having it in front of me to refresh my memory, the central thesis of the book, as I recall, is that there was no German policy or program to exterminate the Jews of Europe during the Second World War. He amplifies that, and there are other aspects of that that are presented in the course of the book.
Q.Does he dispute anything else about the common belief in the Holocaust?
A.Yes. At least the original edition of the book, I think, alleges that the Anne Frank Diary is a fraud or a forgery.
Q.Does it dispute numbers?
A.Yes, it does.
Q.Does it dispute gas chambers?
A.As I recall, it does, but I would have to refresh my memory about that.
Q.Do you know any other significant aspects of that book in relation to Holocaust revisionism?
A.Yes. The booklet is really not very important today in Holocaust revisionism, if for no other reason than it is more than 20 years old and has been largely superseded by much, much more that has appeared since then.
THE CHAIRPERSON: It is not the authoritative work in Holocaust revisionism?
THE WITNESS: By no means.
THE CHAIRPERSON: What is its importance and why are we spending time on it?
THE WITNESS: There are several points why it is important, I suppose, both for revisionists and for this Tribunal. One is that it is part of the Zündelsite documents and it is very often still cited, both famously and infamously, by critics of Holocaust revisionism.
Q.Are you familiar with Mr. Zündel?
A.Yes, I am.
Q.Are you aware of why it is part of the Zündelsite documents?
THE CHAIRPERSON: From your own reading, did you come to some opinion of why it is part of the Zündelsite documents?
THE WITNESS: I thought it was posted on the Zündelsite, at least part of it, and that is why it is in the Zündelsite documents. I don't know any more than that.
THE CHAIRPERSON: That is all you can say about it?
THE WITNESS: That is all I can say about it, yes.
Q.Which regard to Arthur Butz, what part does he play in Holocaust revisionism?
A.Arthur Butz plays a very important role in Holocaust revisionism because he wrote one of the most important, more or less scholarly works of Holocaust revisionism called "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century."
Q.When was it written?
A.It was first published in 1976 in England. Subsequently, I think, it has gone through 10 or 12 printings, at least in the United States. The American publisher is the Institute for Historical Review, and I have had a role in preparing editions of it for publication.
No one that I know of in the revisionist community accepts everything that is in Butz' book. The Butz book, again, is more than 20 years old. Much of it has been superseded by other writings since then.
Q.What value, if any, does it have in relation to historical or Holocaust revisionism?
A.One of the most important roles that the Butz book plays is that the book by Arthur Butz, some writings, including some articles in Le Monde, the French daily, by Robert Faurisson in France, and a book by a German named Wilhelm Stäglich, all appeared at about the same time.
Holocaust revisionism is a real enterprise, a real undertaking. It is really based upon several things that happened in the late 1970s: the appearance of Butz' book in England; the appearance of some revisionist articles by Robert Faurisson in France in the prestigious French daily, Le Monde, in late 1978 and early 1979; and the appearance of a book called "The Auschwitz Myth" -- that was the original title in German -- in Germany by a retired administrative judge who had been stationed outside of Auschwitz during the war. With that came in 1979 the very first conference of the Institute for Historical Review which was the first kind of organizational bridging together of Holocaust revisionists.
It was at that conference in 1979 that Arthur Butz spoke and Robert Faurisson spoke. Ernst Zündel was at that very first conference. He was really an attendee, but he was very influenced, as he himself has told me and as he has said publicly, by what Arthur Butz said and by what Robert Faurisson said. As I recall, Ernst Zündel even read for someone who didn't speak English very well one of the papers; I don't remember about that but, in any case, he was there.
Just last May the 13th Conference of the Institute for Historical Review was held in southern California. Several of those who were at that very first IHR Conference in 1979 were also at this 13th one, including John Bennett who is a well-known civil rights champion or activist in Australia, Arthur Butz who wrote this important book, "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century," Robert Faurisson, Ernst Zündel, and there were others who were at this 13th one. It was a kind of retrospect or a kind of look back, both representing the continuity and also the progress that has taken place since then.
I am just putting this in context. The Arthur Butz book, as important as it was, is now disputed in many aspects by revisionist historians, not merely by non-revisionists. In fact, in the Journal of Historical Review that I just sent to the printer before I came up to Canada there is a lengthy essay by Jurgen Graf who is a younger revisionist historian --
Q.Is he a Holocaust revisionist?
A.Yes, he is, but in this essay and at the conference that we had last May he takes strong exception to some of the points made by Arthur Butz in his book.
Again, one of the important points is that Holocaust revisionists, like any historian, reject any form of dogmatism. Within the revisionist community there is a great deal of argument and disagreement and contention and progress that takes place over a period of time in which views that were once held are changed or modified or even abandoned, just as it takes place within the larger community of historians.
Again, to re-emphasize a point made earlier, views that were once considered outlandishly revisionist or denial are sometimes accepted by establishment historians and vice versa. This is part of a larger context, but it is impeded over and over when government authorities, as in France, in Germany and in some other countries, make it a crime to contest or dispute an official or dogmatic view of history on this subject.
Q.With regard to Faurisson, has he taken any position regarding the subject of gas chambers? In the revisionist community has he published on the subject?
A.Yes. Robert Faurisson had already made a positive reputation for himself in France as a critic and analyst of text and documents.
Q.You must know that the Tribunal has already rejected any expertise he had on the subject of Holocaust revisionism at least and maybe otherwise. Forgetting that for the moment, I don't want you to go into it except to ask you this question --
A.He was well known in France when he published the first writings disputing our understanding of the gas chambers or disputing gas chamber claims, and that was done in two or three articles published in Le Monde in late 1978 and early 1979.
Q.Was this significant in terms of the development of Holocaust revisionism?
A.Yes, highly significant.
Q.Wait for the question so that we get a little continuity. What significance did it have?
A.It was very important both for a revisionist or a skeptical view of the Holocaust or what happened to Jews during the Second World War, especially with regard to gas chambers, but it also prompted an immediate and very, very strong response from establishment historians. This is a very important point. In the aftermath of these articles by Faurisson, 34 leading French scholars issued a public declaration which was published in Le Monde stating that there cannot be and there must not be any debate about gas chambers, that the essential starting point of any discussion is that Jews were gassed and that is the end of it.
Q.Have you read that article?
A.Yes, I have.
Q.In the French version?
A.I have read it in French and in English both?
Q.Are you familiar with French?
A.Not very well, no; somewhat. I had to compare the translations to make sure that they --
Q.And you have?
A.Yes, I have.
Q.And you are satisfied that your understanding is correct?
A.Oh, yes. I used not only my own French, but I have consulted with others whose French is much better than mine.
Q.You are telling us from a Holocaust revisionist's perspective what these scholars decided was legitimate discussion.
A.Right. One of the important points is that today -- this statement by these 34 French scholars is now pretty much regarded as an embarrassment. This dogmatic statement that there cannot be any discussion has now been followed by establishment historians by precisely an investigation and a discussion of exactly how people were gassed.
Q.What does that have to do with -- who in France did such an investigation?
A.The most famous example of that was a very long book, a very detailed book, by Jean-Claude Pressac.
Q.What did he investigate?
A.He investigated or tried to investigate precisely this question of gassings at Auschwitz. What is the evidence? What is the real evidence, hard evidence, that people were gassed at Auschwitz? He produced this enormous book called "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers" which was published by the Carswell Foundation. The Carswells are well-known Nazi-hunters, very well-known anti-revisionists. The book was heralded in the New York Times as a very, very important response to revisionism.
Indeed, revisionists have dealt in great detail with this book by Jean-Claude Pressac because it is very valuable and contains a great deal of documents that were made public and so forth. One of the important points is that this book by Pressac would not have existed, would not have come about, if it had not been for the prompting of these revisionist articles by Robert Faurisson. The Pressac book came out in spite of and in contradiction to this declaration by 34 French scholars who insisted that precisely this kind of investigation should not take place.
Q.Has there been a revisionist response to the Pressac book?
A.Yes, there have been numerous. I think the Journal of Historical Review alone has published maybe six or seven detailed scholarly responses to this book by Pressac.
Pressac's main thesis is that there is no real proof for gassing at Auschwitz. What there is are what he calls criminal traces. He believes -- and this was a very important advance -- that much of the so-called eye witness testimony for gassings is unreliable, cannot be trusted. He tried to find hard evidence in the form of documents, and there does not exist any document that refers to gassing of Jews at Auschwitz.
Q.Did he examine physical evidence?
THE CHAIRPERSON: We are going to take our morning break now.
-- - Short Recess at 11:10 a.m.
-- - Upon resuming at 11:30 a.m.
THE CHAIRPERSON: It has been drawn to my attention that I may have cut off Ms Kulaszka as she was going to announce herself as being here. I am pleased to recognize you.
MR. CHRISTIE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I know she appreciates that. We were perhaps a little nervous at first, at least I was.
Q.I would like to ask you, Witness, in relation to the field of Holocaust revisionism what part some of the following people played.
Are you familiar with the author, Alfred Lilienthal?
A.Yes, I am. Alfred Lilienthal is an American Jewish writer who --
Q.Do you know him personally?
A.Yes, I do. I worked for him for a time in the early 1980s in Washington, D.C. when I lived there. He is a well-known Jewish critic of Zionism. His main book is called "The Zionist Connection" in which an entire chapter is devoted to what he regards as the illegitimate exploitation of the suffering of Jews during the Second World War for political ends and purposes.
Q.Does he have an epithet that he uses to describe that?
A.Yes. He calls it "Holocaustomania." In the last couple of years a number of books have been published since I was here last time which more emphatically and in much greater detail make the same point that Alfred Lilienthal made more than 20 years ago, that the Holocaust has come to play a very large political, cultural and social role in our society and that it is exploited illegitimately for self-serving ends by major Jewish organizations and by the State of Israel. This is a point that Lilienthal made pretty strongly in his book, "The Zionist Connection", and in other writings that he has published as well.
Q.Is he a fairly old man now?
A.Yes. I think he is in his eighties and in very poor health. He is important because he is denounced along with many others as Holocaust deniers or as revisionists even though Alfred Lilienthal makes no particular statement about gas chambers or those aspects of Second World War history.
Q.He is not a person who takes issue with the historical record or historical account?
A.Yes. He is not particularly interested in what happened to Europe's Jews during the Second World War, but he is interested and very critical of the exploitation of the Holocaust, a point which we will later go into and which is dealt with in some detail in the Zündelsite documents.
Q.How does this relate to Holocaust revisionism?
A.It is part of Holocaust revisionism in the larger sense that Holocaust revisionists are very critical of the social/political/cultural role, the exploitation of this story. Nothing better manifests the political importance that the Holocaust has come to play in society than that the people who are critical of it are and have been fined, jailed and otherwise punished by governments. It is against the law in various places, and this is again a manifestation of what Alfred Lilienthal calls Holocaustomania.
Q.Are you familiar with the writer, Israel Shahak?
A.Israel Shahak is a Jewish Israeli retired professor of chemistry in Israel who was interned in the Warsaw ghetto during the Second World War. He is a well-know human rights activist in Israel, and he is very critical --
THE CHAIRPERSON: You haven't been asked about the thesis of his writings. Confine yourself to the question, please.
MR. CHRISTIE: I will ask the question.
Q.How do his writings relate to Holocaust revisionism? Does he write about the subject of the Holocaust?
A.He has written about the exploitation of the Holocaust in Israeli society, but not in great detail. He is less important than Alfred Lilienthal and others.
Q.Does he have any relationship to Holocaust revisionism? In regard to his position on the exploitation of the Holocaust, how does it compare to Holocaust revisionism?
A.He is important only in that he shows and stresses the powerful dogmatic role that official history plays in Israeli society of which the Holocaust is one part.
Q.Are you familiar with the historical writings of Arno Mayer, particularly the book "Why Did the Heavens Not Darken?"
A.Yes. We talked about this a bit earlier, and we talked about it also when I was being qualified. Several portions of Arno Mayer's book that I have here have been cited by revisionists and apparently are based on Arno Mayer's citation of revisionists. He says:
"Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable."
For this statement and others Arno Mayer was attacked as a revisionist, vilified as a revisionist, because what we had been told for decades --
Q.Let me ask you a specific question. How does that statement compare with the position of revisionists? Would a Holocaust revisionist agree or disagree with that statement?
A.A Holocaust revisionist would agree with that statement. In fact, it seems that Arno Mayer has accepted revisionist views in making that statement.
Q.Are there any other statements that he makes that Holocaust revisionists would agree with?
A.Many statements that he makes are very important.
Q.Can you cite a few?
A.Yes. This is a very important one. He says at page 366:
But many questions remain open ... All in all, how many bodies were cremated in Auschwitz? How many died there all told? What was the national, religious, and ethnic breakdown in this commonwealth of victims?"
Q.Do Holocaust revisionists ask those questions?
A.Yes, they do.
Q.Does the book "Did Six Million Really Die?" ask those questions?
A.I don't remember.
A."How many of them were condemned to die a 'natural' death and how many were deliberately slaughtered? And what was the proportion of Jews among those murdered in cold blood -- among these gassed? We have simply no answers to these questions at this time."
The important thing and something that not only Holocaust revisionists but, I think, any historian would apply is that, contrary to what we are told, there are many open questions. There are many unanswered questions about the specifics of what happened at Auschwitz and especially at Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1942, 1943 and 1944. He develops that at some more length in his book as well.
He also says -- and this was another phrase that was seized upon to condemn him:
"Besides, from 1942 to 1945, certainly at Auschwitz but probably overall, more Jews were killed by so-called natural causes -- "
That is, of disease and neglect.
" -- than by unnatural ones."
That is, were deliberately put to death.
Q.We are hearing some moving here over your interjection of words about natural causes.
You must be very careful when there is an objection.
Read the sentence again --
THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't think we need to hear it again. Carry on.
THE WITNESS: The important point --
THE CHAIRPERSON: Just wait for the next question.
Q.What is the importance of that passage?
A.The importance of the passage is that it is very much in keeping with what revisionists have said for many years on the subject of the Holocaust, that the majority of Jews who died during the Second World War were not deliberately put to death but, instead, died of what he calls natural causes.
That is not to play down or to deny the terrible cruelty involved in the internment and mistreatment of Jews during the Second World War, but in making this statement he and other revisionists take issue with the dogmatic official claim that the vast majority of Jews in World War II were put to death in unnatural ways and deliberately put to death. That statement alone is not only completely consistent with the views that revisionists have taken, but Arno Mayer himself was strongly condemned as a denier for making that and other statements in his book.
Q.Are you familiar with a writer by the name of John Sack?
A.Yes, I am. John Sack spoke, in fact, at the last conference in May of the Institute for Historical Review.
Q.What part does he play in Holocaust revisionism?
A.He plays a role, if nothing else, in that he spoke at the Conference of the Institute for Historical Review and was attacked for that reason. John Sack is a very reputable American Jewish journalist and author. He has written books on the Vietnam War. He was a CBS news correspondent for many years.
He has written a very controversial, much attacked book called "An Eye for an Eye." The book deals in detail with the role played by Jews after the Second World War in communist Poland in running concentration camps in which tens of thousands of innocent Germans were put to death or died. He stresses the overwhelming role the Jews played in this process.
It is a matter really of historical record, but John Sack was vehemently attacked by various Jewish writers for writing this book. Deborah Lipstadt, who is one of the most well-known anti-revisionist activists, said that he is worse than a Holocaust denier for writing such a book. There is a great deal more to be said about that, but John Sack's book is part of the whole process of historical revisionism and in the broader context of Holocaust revisionism.
Q.In relation to John Sack, what is your relationship with him and how do you regard him?
A.I know him. I have spoken with him in person on a number of occasions. As I said, perhaps I know him best because he spoke at our recent conference and spoke in great detail about the origins and the impact of his book and how he was vilified and attacked by the organized Jewish community, if you will, for having written such an impertinent book.
Q.What is the position of Holocaust revisionism on this aspect of persecution for writing? What position do Holocaust revisionists take in regard to that?
A.Holocaust revisionists overwhelmingly -- if there is anything that Holocaust revisionists have in common, it is their belief in freedom of historical inquiry, freedom of speech and opposition to dogmatic history. Absolutely contrasted with that is the criminalization of skepticism about the Holocaust in a number of countries, including Israel. In the State of Israel the fine for denying the Holocaust is up to three years in prison. The fine for denying God is up to one year in prison. In France it is against the law to contest the crimes against humanity as defined by the Nuremberg Tribunal. In Germany --
THE CHAIRPERSON: Try not to repeat things.
Q.Has Raul Hilberg taken any positions of which you are aware that either agree with or agree with in part historical revisionist viewpoints?
A.Yes. Raul Hilberg is often called the dean of Holocaust historians. He is the author of a major three-volume work called "The Destruction of the European Jews."
Q.Are you familiar with his first book?
A.Yes. There was an original edition that was published in 1961, and then the three-volume one is an updated and expanded version of that. It is probably the most complete or the most reliable of the standard works on the Holocaust.
Raul Hilberg has made a number of very dramatic and important changes over the years in how he views the subject in that he himself has credited and applauded the role that Holocaust revisionism has played in helping the overall historical process. He has also supported or endorsed publicly the views of some of those who are denounced as Holocaust deniers or Holocaust revisionists.
Q.Can you be specific with regard to, first of all, any changes from his first to his second edition that moved toward or adopted Holocaust revisionist positions?
A.One of the most important is that in the first edition of "The Destruction of the European Jews" he alleges that Hitler issued two orders to kill European Jews, one in 1941 to kill the Jews of the occupied Soviet territories and then later an order to kill the Jews of Europe. In the second edition of his book he has dropped this discussion or this mention of orders and in a public talk that he gave in 1983 that he has subsequently reaffirmed he said that there is no order by Hitler to kill the Jews, that there was no budget for the process of exterminating European Jews, that there was no overall plan but that, instead, the destruction of the European Jews took place, as he put it, by a kind of consensus of mind-reading.
This is a very significant change and retreat from views he had taken before.
Q.Are there words used to describe the first position and the second position?
A.Revisionism, I guess, is the word. I don't know what you are --
Q.There are terms "intentionalist" and "functionalist." Has he used those terms?
A.I don't know if Hilberg has used the term or not. Among historians who say that Hitler killed six million Jews there is a debate that has been raging between so-called functionalists and intentionalists. The intentionalists -- a major example of that would be --
THE CHAIRPERSON: Do we have to go there? You don't know whether Hilberg used those terms.
THE WITNESS: I don't know.
Q.Has his position changed on that subject?
A.Yes, it has.
Q.Have you described that fully?
A.Pretty fully, I guess, yes.
Q.Before we go any farther, are there any other specific examples from his first to his second edition that demonstrate a change of attitude similar to or advancing towards revisionism by Dr. Raul Hilberg?
A.I can't recall any offhand.
Q.Has he made any public statements regarding the use of the Holocaust that are consistent with and similar to the field of Holocaust revisionism?
A.Yes. Raul Hilberg has been in the last couple of years, since we met last time, very critical of the campaign by major Jewish organizations, in particular the World Jewish Congress and Edgar Bronfman, against Switzerland and Germany who exploit the Holocaust story to, as he says, blackmail these countries.
Q.Did he actually use the term "blackmail?"
A.Yes, he did. He used the word "blackmail" and he also termed this campaign against Switzerland as "obscene"; that was one of the words he used as well. He is very, very disturbed by the exploitation of the Holocaust for what he regards as illegitimate as well as evil ends.
Q.I am going to deal with the subject of Ernst Zündel and the Zündel trials with which you are familiar. Is that correct? You are familiar with the first and second Zündel trials?
Q.Why is that?
A.Because I familiarized myself extensively both in writing and in personal talks with people who were involved in the first trial and because I was a witness in the second trial for five or six days or something like that. I know quite a bit about both trials.
Q.Have the contents of those trials been published, the transcripts of them?
A.Yes. The most important record of the trials, especially the second trial, is a very detailed book with the title "Did Six Million Really Die?" compiled by Barbara Kulaszka, which is based on the transcripts of the trials, especially the second trial.
There are other books as well. Another one is called "The Holocaust on Trial" written by Robert Lensky which is distributed by the Institute for Historical Review, or has been. There is a book also on the two trials called "The Great Holocaust Trial" by Michael Hoffman. The first edition is about the first trial, and the second edition tries to cover both of them.
Q.Did the Zündel trials, one and two, stimulate any new evidence about the whole subject, any discussions that have changed what are called consensus historians?
Q.Can you describe some of those?
A.There is a number of things. For example, in the first trial one of the most important witnesses was a man named Rudolf Verva. His original name was Rosenberg. At that time he lived in British Columbia, and he wrote a memoir about Auschwitz --
Q.When you say "at that time", what time are you referring to?
A.In 1985, at the time he testified, he was living in British Columbia.
Q.Where was he living during the war?
A.He escaped from Auschwitz-Birkenau during the war and made his way to Slovakia. He was one of those who helped produce the War Refugee Board report which played a very important role in promoting the gas chamber claims.
Q.What part did it play in the historical development of the Holocaust story?
A.It played a very important role.
Q.How did it do that?
A.The first major public awareness or sense that Jews were being gassed in any systematic way at Auschwitz came to the world in November 1944 when a report, often called the War Refugee Board Report, was published in Washington, D.C. by an agency of the U.S. government. It was based on evidence or claims made by several Jews who had escaped from Auschwitz, including Rudolf Verva who was one of three. He also published his own memoir about life and death in Auschwitz.
Q.Did he escape with one other inmate? Do you remember who that was?
A.Yes. I don't remember the names; I will have to refresh my memory about that. He escaped with one other, and then another person escaped, and they all played a role in this.
Q.What about Mr. Verva's testimony at the trial that was significant for the historical or Holocaust revisionist field?
A.One of the important points that came out of the trial was that Rudolf Verva under very close cross-examination conceded that, contrary to what he had claimed in his memoir, much of what his memoir consisted of was not true or was exaggerated. He finally was reduced to saying that his memoir should be regarded as a work of artistic licence, as an artistic portrait, rather than, as had been claimed by him and by his publishers before, as an absolutely accurate record of what was going on at Auschwitz. This was a concession he made.
Then, as I understand, subsequent editions of Rudolf Verva's memoirs have been promoted differently to take that into account.
One of the most important pieces of evidence or most dramatic moments of the 1988 trial was the evidence presented by an American gas chamber execution equipment expert named Fred Leuchter.
Q.Why do you say that he was an execution equipment expert?
A.Because the manager or the head of the Missouri State Penitentiary had earlier in the trial so testified. He said that the only American expert on execution hardware, including gas chambers, in the United States is Fred Leuchter. His name was William Armontrout. He was the head of the penitentiary at Missouri where executions are carried out by gas chamber.
There are only a few states that have gas chambers, and Fred Leuchter was at that time the only American expert in gas chamber technology. That was universally conceded. The New York Times referred to him that way; The Atlantic Monthly referred to him that way. There is just no dispute that he alone in the United States of America was the only recognized expert on the maintenance and operation of gas chambers.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Freiman, please.
MR. FREIMAN: I rise with great reluctance. We waste more time stopping this irrelevant testimony than listening to it. I do have some concerns.
Over the last few questions Mr. Weber has slipped, perhaps unintentionally, from describing a context or his understanding of how various writers or issues form part of the context for revisionism or part of the constellation of what revisionists, whatever they are, believe to be important to giving evidence as a historian as to what is true and what isn't true, who is reliable, who is unreliable, who is an expert, who has been found to be an expert. None of that is acceptable evidence from this witness.
If it were not so irrelevant, I would have stood up long before. Were it relevant, it would take us into a three-month experience as we would have to go through each of the claims, some quite sensitive as we have just heard, in order to determine which of them are reliable and which are unreliable. That is explicitly what this Tribunal has decided not to do.
This has no bearing at all either on the area of evidence in which the Tribunal has determined
this witness is capable of being of some assistance, subject to weight, nor on any issue before the Tribunal. As such, it is mischievous and takes us away from anything that may be constructive and useful.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Christie, I believe my colleague and I expect to hear evidence concerning the figures of significance in the field of revisionism and what impact those figures have within the context of the revisionism community. It seems that with this last line of questioning we are getting into discrete issues detailing specific instances which are posed in a way that raises questions about whether the incidents are true or not true.
You will understand our concern at this point. I don't want to get into a discussion about the execution expert. Presumably we are going to hear that the execution expert has certain opinions concerning whether certain things happened or did not happen. We are now into the first and second Zündel trials, and I suppose the relevance of this is to describe what the revisionist community is about.
I think I speak for myself and my colleague, and she may have the same problem that I do.
MR. CHRISTIE: First of all, there is no doubt that the context of historical revisionism changes over time. The Zündel trials, one and two, occurred 14-or-so years ago or somewhat more recently.
This witness is trying to testify as an expert as to matters of fact within the scope of his expertise, not to persuade you of the truth or falsity of any fact, but to show you the foundation for his opinion. No doubt, credibility is always an issue. It is not to persuade you that anything is true or false, but simply to persuade you, perhaps, that his opinions have a systematic, rational, defensible and maybe even credible foundation -- not that you believe them or disbelieve them.
Surely, if one were denied the opportunity to show the foundation for anything, it would be impossible to show your credibility. The basis for your belief is clearly one of the indicia of rationality or irrationality, of credibility or of lack of credibility. If I were denied the opportunity to show why this witness believes what he believes, we would have his opinions stand alone and the cross-examination could go into whatever aspects of his belief would discredit him, which would seem an unreasonable way to limit his evidence.
The significance of the Zündel trials and the development of historical Holocaust revisionism is all I was asking about. This witness, I concede, went into some detail as to the reasons why he may view as an expert in this field the evidence of Leuchter as of some significance. If the evidence is of some significance in his opinion in the formation and maintenance of a revisionist perspective, I would respectfully request that at least we allow him to explain to some extent why he regards it has having significance.
MEMBER DEVINS: Mr. Christie, would it perhaps be possible for him to do so in a concise, general way rather than reciting every fact upon which he bases his opinion?
MR. CHRISTIE: I am sure that not only he, but I would take direction on that and try to restrict it.
Q.Having heard that, can you quickly get to the point? The Zündel trials lasted for months and certainly would take a long time to deal with. Can you explain why there was significance to the Zündel trials in relation to the Leuchter report and any new evidence it presented in support of Holocaust revisionism -- not true evidence, but new evidence?
A.The Leuchter report, which is a forensic report about alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, is very important in the revisionist movement or struggle. Fred Leuchter has been both hailed and denounced as a very important Holocaust revisionist for having produced this report.
Q.In the social context of our time, did the Leuchter report, arising out of the second Zündel trial, stimulate any other research in the field of Holocaust revisionism or consensual history or whatever?
A.Yes, it did.
A.As a result of the Leuchter report, there were subsequently several other forensic examinations of the remains of alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau, some of it carried out by revisionists but also one of the most important was carried out at the behest of the Auschwitz State Museum, which is a Polish government institution, by a forensic research institute in Krakow, the Ancennes Institute.
The Krakow research institute forensic examination was carried out explicitly in response to the impact of the Leuchter report because the Auschwitz State Museum began getting all these inquiries from people all over about its view of the Leuchter report.
The revisionists' examinations that were carried out, stimulated by the Leuchter forensic examination, include a report by Walter Luthtel who is a very important engineer in Austria --
Q.Where did he work?
A.He works and lives in Austria.
Q.Where did he work? What was his job?
A.He is a major engineer. At one time he was President of the Austria Engineers Association. He wrote a long forensic report as well which affirmed essentially the findings of Fred Leuchter.
Q.Are there any other reports?
A.Yes. Another one of very great importance is by a young German chemist named Gehrmar Rudolf. He carried out an even more extensive forensic examination of Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau than did Fred Leuchter. Gehrmar Rudolf's report, like Leuchter's report, has now been published in a number of major languages. He was a research graduate student with the Munsk-Plaunk Institute which is a leading scientific institute in Germany. Subsequently, after the publication of his forensic report, it was banned by the German government and he was sentenced to prison. He has subsequently fled the country and is living in forced exile as a result of having published this report.
Q.How did the Polish study relate to the Leuchter report, the Rudolf report -- and what was the Austrian one?
A.The Lüftl report.
The amazing thing about the report by the Krakow Institute commissioned by the Auschwitz State Museum is that its findings largely support --
THE CHAIRPERSON: Will you get to the point?
MR. FREIMAN: Again, we have had established for us on a number of occasions that the issue of truth is not before this Tribunal. The evidence that this witness is providing is supposed to provide the context in which he operates. Allegations as to what the historical truth might be are irrelevant both as a defence if this Tribunal finds that the writings before it are capable of exposing individuals to hatred and contempt, nor are they relevant on their own basis given the Tribunal's ruling as to the nature, scope and, most important, limitations of this witness' expertise.
I rise not to detain us, but to point out the obvious reality that, if we start to get into allegations of what is true and what is not true, what supports whom, and what the actual state of the historical record is, we will be involving ourselves in weeks, if not months, worth of expert evidence on the historical record, none of which is relevant.
I urge this Tribunal simply to keep the witness and the evidence on track. There is no objection to his testifying with whatever eloquence his considerable abilities can muster on the context in which he believes revisionists practise whatever it is that they do nor the names of individuals who are influential nor any element that is in fact germane for questioning of the context of revisionism. It is simply not acceptable, in light of the Tribunal's rulings, to have excursions that begin to take us into areas where the only issue is historical truth or accuracy, and the Tribunal will then have to listen to extended evidence on that irrelevance.
THE CHAIRPERSON: The relevance, Mr. Freiman, may be slight, but is he not entitled to adduce evidence concerning what the revisionist community accepts and what the discourse is within the revisionist community?
MR. FREIMAN: He can say that he accepts anything and he can say that he rejects anything. What he cannot start to talk about is what individual historical records show or don't show, what are the facts that are reliable. A statement such as the Krakow Institute study remarkably supports the majority of what revisionists have said is so packed with assumptions as to historic truth that to unpack it would require more time than the statement is worth.
The more frequently we get into these areas, the more we will be piling allegations as to the historical record. That cannot be of any assistance and, frankly, cannot be allowed simply to sit on the record as though they were uncontroversial and as though they were well-accepted as historical statements. This is not a historian that you have accepted for any purpose other than to describe what the context of revisionism is. He is not a person who is reliable and able to give you assistance in the field of historiology let alone in the field of history.
MR. CHRISTIE: Sir, if I may, I always thought my learned friend was an expert in logic. He has always presented himself in that way, and it struck me as amazing that he would sense or suggest to you the consistency of some evidence of truth. Logically that doesn't follow. A number of consistent statements could all be lies.
What troubles him -- it doesn't trouble him at all, apparently, when Mr. Weber points out the consistency between various revisionist texts. What he rises to object to is the consistency of revisionist texts with official historical texts. At that moment he objects because, he says, it might introduce the element of truth.
That, of course, demonstrates the bias in his mind that revisionist texts are false and, the moment you suggest a link to the truth, my friend jumps to his feet.
It would seem to be evidence of a lack of logic that I would argue and suggest to my friend that he should consider. If social context is of concern -- not that we concern ourselves with truth, because society could be totally wrong; it doesn't matter. If the social context is that there are 15 socially accepted studies that say exactly the same thing as the Zündelsite, if a wide variety of other sources say the same thing - not to say that they are true or false; I am not suggesting truth. You will never hear a question about truth from me nor an answer about truth from him.
He was about to point out that, remarkably, the Polish study was the same as the revisionist study, and that could only show, their existence aside, a wide variety of opinions that agree with the Leuchter report and which show that Holocaust revisionism has a wide body of extrinsic -- that is, outside of itself -- support which shows social context.
MEMBER DEVINS: I understood that at least one of the points that Mr. Freiman was trying to make was simply a question with respect to the capacity of this witness to provide that evidence. This is not a witness who is offered from any other community and has not been qualified as an expert in history or in historiography, although, as I understood Mr. Freiman's submission to be, he can certainly make submissions with respect to the revisionist community. It was with respect to his ability to comment on whether others agree with that or not.
MR. CHRISTIE: There isn't a stone wall between the others and the revisionist community. The revisionist community exists in the real world, and this witness said so. You can call him a liar, if you like, and say that they live in outer space and they are all liars, which is exactly what I expect to hear from my learned friend.
If this witness, as an expert in the field of revisionism to which he has been qualified, says that revisionists actually do look around them in the outside world and see who agrees with them and who doesn't, he can at least say who agrees with them.
MEMBER DEVINS: In his view.
MR. CHRISTIE: That's fine. Every expert is subject to that qualification. If you want to attack his credibility on that point and say that actually the Polish studies don't agree, that's fine, but don't deny him the right to say that they do agree. I am only asking for him to have the right to say that a wide variety of opinions have, subsequent to the Zündel trials and subsequent to the Leuchter report, examined the same issue and come to the same conclusion. Therefore, the context of revisionist inquiries in this aspect at least is that further research has occurred, and actually those who are not deemed to be in outer space, in denial, a pack of liars, have confirmed some -- not all, but some aspects of the opinion taken by so-called revisionists.
That is to show context. If one were to isolate all revisionists and say, "You can only talk about things within your community," then you could characterize them as a bunch of lunatics because you couldn't say one single thing that would relate you to a sane human being. Then we would have exactly what my friend has argued for -- a categorization from which no one can escape, an air-tight category for Holocaust revisionists from which he cannot escape by talking about any normal human being.
That would be a denial of reason because, even if you accept that categorization for the sake of argument, you cannot deny that this witness says, "Holocaust revisionists don't restrict ourselves to that. We relate to and are on a continuum of opinion that extends all the way from Goldhagen maybe to Butz and to Zündel, and this is the social context in which we operate."
He said that, so how can you deny him the right to say, "We have found statements which have found the same conclusions as Leuchter?" "You can't say that because you are not a revisionist historian." It would be denying that which he says is within the scope of the field in which he is an expert. That, I suggest, is to argue by circular definition that you cannot escape the category into which we wish to put you.
THE CHAIRPERSON: The witness should keep in mind that he is here to give evidence as an expert and that he is here to assist this Tribunal in coming to a conclusion.
It is my impression that he is giving opinions which cross the line into specific views of his own with respect to discrete issues. He is here to tell us legitimately what is the discourse in the revisionist community, so we have to confine his remarks. We are not here to hear his opinions about those issues, whether he agrees with them or does not agree with them. He is here in a descriptive role of what the revisionism school of thought is about.
I hope the witness understands what the Tribunal's ruling is in that regard, that he has to be concise in his answers, that he has to direct his mind not only to the question but to what this Tribunal has ruled the ambit of his evidence is.
Q.What is the social context of the Leuchter report, generally speaking? What social effect did it have in relation to revisionism?
A.I feel a little confused here, because --
THE CHAIRPERSON: Let me put this question to you.
Do revisionist historians accept the conclusions in the Leuchter report?
THE WITNESS: Some do and some don't, but generally yes.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Generally yes. Next question.
Q.How has the revisionist position as expressed by the Leuchter report been received in the wider community?
THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't see the relevance of that question.
MR. CHRISTIE: That is called social context. Can't revisionists comment on how the wider community has dealt with the revisionist point of view?
THE CHAIRPERSON: He is not a historian. We are dealing with what the revisionist community thinks. Next question, please.
Q.What has the revisionist community on the Holocaust issue experienced from society at large in respect of the Leuchter report?
THE CHAIRPERSON: That is the same question, Mr. Christie.
MR. CHRISTIE: You are restricting the examination to issues that are unconnected to social context, which is what he is supposed to be entitled to testify about.
Q.Has the revisionist view on Dachau and Buchenwald affected things in social context outside the revisionist community?
MR. FREIMAN: The same objection.
MR. CHRISTIE: This is getting kind of ridiculous. If a revisionist can only say what a revisionist can only say about revisionists and he can't comment on a relationship between revisionists and the wider community, how can he possibly talk about social context?
THE CHAIRPERSON: Do we have to try to demonstrate the fact that the opinions of revisionists are not universally accepted?
MR. CHRISTIE: Could we demonstrate that the opinions of revisionists have affected a wider community and have been accepted? Could we show that?
THE CHAIRPERSON: I thought that was the exercise you were engaged in, the extent of the revisionist community. Let's move on.
Q.Have the subjects of the reliability of Holocaust survivor testimony been an issue for Holocaust revisionism?
A.Yes, they have.
Q.Has Dr. Hilberg expressed any views that are sympathetic to or similar to revisionist views on that subject?
A.I don't recall.
Q.Has the reduction of the claimed number of four million deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau been of concern to the Holocaust revisionist community?
A.Yes, of course.
Q.Have those concerns been in any way received by other historians?
A.Revisionists have long said that the official claim made for many years that four million people were killed at Auschwitz is not true. There is a great deal of disagreement and discussion among revisionist historians as there is among others about how many people died or were killed in Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau during the Second World War.
Revisionists have been very pleased that the official figure of four million killed at Auschwitz, which was officially held at the Nuremberg Tribunal, which was held by the Polish government, which was held by many other historians for many years, was then abandoned more or less officially because the head of the Yad Vashem Holocaust Centre in Israel, I think in 1991, officially declared that the four million figure is mythical, is not true. The revisionist community was very pleased that this kind of concession, this kind of acknowledgment was made.
It was largely in response to the criticisms of revisionists that there has been now a more narrowing and much more focus on trying to come to some real numbers of those who died at Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau during the war.
Q.Has the revisionist community at any time been the subject of or the recipient of violence?
A.Yes, many revisionists have been victims of violent attack for expressing their views.
Q.Can you name any?
A.Yes. The Institute for Historical Review was fired on and destroyed --
A.In 1984, on July 4 of all days. An arson attack destroyed the office and warehouse of the Institute for Historical Review.
Robert Faurisson has been repeatedly beaten up and one time almost fatally because of his views.
One man was murdered because he was a Holocaust revisionist.
A.He was a French school teacher named François Duprat. He was murdered, I think, in 1979 with a car bomb. His wife survived but with two lost legs, and he was killed instantly in a car bomb attack.
A Jewish organization claimed credit for the assassination, for the murder, and said explicitly that he had been killed because of his promotion of Holocaust denial, for denying the Shoah.
Many others have been beaten up and attacked over the years because they expressed these views, because they are regarded as so unacceptable by many in the Jewish community.
David Cole is a young Jewish writer from Los Angeles. He was beaten up by thugs of the Jewish Defence League. The Jewish Defence League, in fact, has praised repeatedly the thuggish attacks on revisionists.
There are many others as well. Pedro Vejara has been attacked in Spain. His book store, which sells revisionist books in Barcelona, was attacked by a mob and largely destroyed about a year and a half ago. There are many other examples of that as well.
This kind of violence against those who question the official dogma or the official view of history extends beyond even narrow Holocaust revisionists.
Q.Are you familiar with any incidents involving Mr. Zündel?
MR. ROSEN: I have to object to any further line. I was going to object earlier because, in my respectful submission, it wouldn't appear relevant.
The fact of the matter is that complaints were made through the proper channels and the proper authority that resulted in the filing of the complaint before this Tribunal. We are here dealing with an official proceeding to determine whether what Mr. Zündel did violated the Act and what remedy would follow if that was so found. We are not here to deal with whatever happens by persons over whom none of the parties here have any control.
Secondly, with respect to Mr. Zündel's own personal perception of persecution, in my respectful submission, this witness is incompetent to give that evidence. Let Mr. Christie call Mr. Zündel to give the evidence.
Those are my objections.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We are talking about this evidence of violence towards persons who espouse revisionist theories. We have heard this witness' evidence on that, if you intend to go any farther with that.
MR. CHRISTIE: Only to the extent that it was a matter of concern to the revisionist community. If it was, as I suspect it is, generally known, that is why I was exploring it in relation to the social context in which this alleged publication occurred.
MR. ROSEN: Let me respond to that.
In my respectful submission, the whole spectre of concern by the revisionist community is not a concern for indiscriminate and random acts of persons over whom authority may or may not have control. It raises, in my respectful submission, a vision of some sort of outer power that controls and directs us which, in my respectful submission, is precisely the spectre of anti-Semitism that previous witnesses have spoken of and that is a reality.
In my respectful submission, this witness' answer on that question is irrelevant for this Tribunal and, more important, feeds into the notion and justifies the assertion made by the Respondent in this matter that there is some sort of third power, dark power, here -- the Jew, the eternal Jew -- and so on and so forth that we have seen before.
In my respectful submission, the question is irrelevant and the witness' answer is irrelevant.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Christie, our concern is that we don't want this evidence that we have just heard to be the platform on which issues are raised about how those incidents occurred, what was the investigation of those issues, and so on.
MR. CHRISTIE: I haven't gone into that, and I won't go into that.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Can you move on to something else? In accordance with our schedule, we are going to rise at 12:30 and we will resume at two o'clock.
MR. FREIMAN: I wonder if the Tribunal could simply remind us of its preferred schedule and what we can expect as to starting times, breaks, and adjournments.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We established the starting times in December 1998 when we expected to resume in April. It was 9:30 to 4:30.
-- - Luncheon Recess at 12:30 p.m.
-- - Upon resuming at 2:00 p.m.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Christie, please.
Q.Are you familiar with someone by the name of Garaudy?
A.You are referring, I think, to Roger Garaudy who is a French historian and philosopher. Yes.
Q.Is he a member of the Holocaust revisionist community?
A.He is a Holocaust revisionist, yes.
Q.What is his impact and effect on Holocaust revisionism?
A.Roger Garaudy has had a very important impact, and I am familiar with him in part because a definitive American edition of his book, "The Founding Myths of Modern Israel," has been published recently by the Institute for Historical Review.
Roger Garaudy was for many years regarded as a very influential and highly regarded philosopher and scholar in France. He was a member of the French National Assembly. He was a communist for many years. He broke with the Communist Party in the 1960s over the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. He is an anti-racist; he is a leftist, and he still is.
Several years ago he wrote a book, "The Founding Myths of Modern Israel." One chapter of this book is devoted to the Holocaust story. In this book he strongly criticizes many of what he regards and what we regard as Holocaust legends, Holocaust lies, Holocaust deceptions. It is particularly relevant to this Hearing, I think, because in large part he relies in writing this book on evidence that was brought forward especially in the second Zündel trial in 1988.
The appearance of this book by Garaudy had an enormous impact in France and in many other countries, not least because a personal friend of Roger Garaudy is a man named Ave Pierre who is a kind of Mother Teresa of France, very widely beloved for his support for poor people and so forth. His endorsement of his friend Roger Garaudy received enormous attention in France.
Also Roger Garaudy in his later years became a convert to Islam. The appearance of this book had tremendous impact throughout the Muslim world - Iran, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and so forth. In spite of that, Roger Garaudy was hauled before a French court and fined for having written this book. The fine was
actually paid by the wife of a sheik of Kuwait. In any case, it caused enormous attention not only in France and Europe but throughout the Muslim world where, especially in Muslim countries, Holocaust revisionism isn't anything out of the mainstream; it is the mainstream.
THE CHAIRPERSON: You seem to be going into a great deal of detail. We are following a line here where this evidence may be admissible on the basis that he is a figure in the Holocaust community and succinctly his thesis is this. From that point, it is appropriate move on.
MR. CHRISTIE: Does the Chair recall that Dr. Schweitzer made relevant events in the Middle Ages to the Zündelsite?
THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps I don't recall specifically what you are referring to.
MR. CHRISTIE: You do have his evidence. He has gone back to the Middle Ages to get social context.
We respectfully suggest that things derived from that which is in evidence in several documents -- this witness has said that Garaudy's work derives from the book, "Did Six Million Really Die?", and the controversy around it. We think it is somewhat more germane to the social context today than Dr. Schweitzer. We are, of course, trying to weigh the various bits of evidence, and we would submit respectfully that what has come about in the last 15 years is perhaps more germane than the Middle Ages. That is why we would like to be able to pursue that.
THE CHAIRPERSON: I wouldn't think his conversion to Islam, for example -- I have encouraged this witness to be succinct in his evidence. He has some scholarly qualifications and he is familiar with the processes of the judicial system, so that he is obliged to direct his mind to the limits of his evidence, where he is allowed to give evidence and where he is not. I have drawn it to his attention on more than one occasion today, so I am asking the witness and you, Mr. Christie, to assist us in that regard.
Q.Has Holocaust revisionism experienced any pattern in the violence that you described?
A.Yes. It has been a consistent pattern from the very beginning that Holocaust revisionism and Holocaust scholarship must operate under a climate of tremendous intimidation manifest in repeated acts of violence and hatred against those who dispute or contest this Holocaust dogma and also manifest in a pattern in many countries of legal repression -- fines, jail sentences, forcing into exile, and other punishments inflicted against those who dare challenge this.
This pattern of intimidation, both extra-legal in the form of violence and legal in the form of legal repression in various countries, is one of the reasons why there is not more obvious widespread support for Holocaust revisionism. I know from my own experience that many of those who support the work that the IHR does and that other revisionists do are afraid to express their support publicly because of this climate of intimidation, violence, legal repression and social ostracism.
Q.Is it your position, then, that Holocaust revisionism promotes violence or promotes hatred?
A.To the contrary. Holocaust revisionists are themselves attacked. I do not know of a single case of any Holocaust revisionist who has attacked or inflicted any violence on any other person because he holds a contrary view. There is hatred with Holocaust revisionism. It is hatred of others against those who contest or dispute or are critical of this orthodox dogma.
Q.How does the revisionist community communicate with society at large? How does it attempt to communicate with society at large?
A.Revisionists make their views known through all the normal channels -- book publishing, newspapers of course, on the Internet, through videos, and so forth. Very often, because in our society today Holocaust revisionism is now accepted as a part of the mainstream, social, political landscape, Holocaust revisionists are often sought out for their views and to express their views. This is manifest in interviews, television appearances including by myself, and perhaps very dramatically in the past year through a documentary film called "Mr. Death" made by an American film-maker named Errol Morris, which is built around Fred Leuchter and includes portions of an interview with Ernst Zündel, with David Irving, and of personal interest for me, there is a brief appearance by myself in the film.
This is one example of the way in which Holocaust revisionism is much more than it has been in the past a part of the mainstream, general, social, cultural, political landscape in society.
Q.Has the way that Holocaust revisionism has been received by society changed in your experience as a Holocaust revisionist?
If you feel that is objectionable, make your objection; otherwise, please let me continue. Mr. Chairman, may I continue?
THE CHAIRPERSON: There is no objection. Go ahead.
THE WITNESS: Please repeat the question.
Q.In your own experience as a Holocaust revisionist, has the way that you are treated in society generally in any way changed of late?
A.Yes. There is no question that many revisionist views are now much more widely accepted, even on an official level, in a number of countries in the world in a way that did not used to be the case. To cite the impact of this book by Roger Garaudy, Roger Garaudy was honoured in Iran, in Egypt, in Jordan, in Lebanon and in some other countries on an official and semi-official public level.
Holocaust revisionism is, if anything, the mainstream view in a number of countries of the world, in contrast to Canada or the United States or in Germany where it is illegal.
MR. FREIMAN: I have to rise again. It is precisely this line of evidence that I objected to before. This witness is not qualified to tell the Tribunal what is the mainstream view in various countries of the world.
MR. CHRISTIE: I respectfully suggest that he didn't tell anyone what the mainstream view was. He said how revisionism is treated in some places. I think, with respect, he is entitled to say that because he is familiar with the way revisionists are treated, perhaps somewhat more than Mr. Freiman, myself or the Tribunal might otherwise be.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Next question.
Q.In what persons or events does the revisionist community find support of the revisionist position?
A.In the last five or ten years there have been a number of statements and a number of books published which the revisionist community regards as increasing affirmation or support for its views, at least in part or on some essential issues. They include the book "Seventh Million" by Tom Segev who is an Israeli journalist. His book was published by a major New York publisher.
Jacques Binoc, who is a French historian, in an article in a leading Swiss newspaper stated explicitly that there is no real evidence for gassings during the Second World War.
Yehuda Bauer, even though he is an official of the Yad Vashem Centre in Israel, has made a number of statements that the revisionist community has been very pleased to see because they affirm the accuracy or the truthfulness of points that the revisionist community has made over the years. For example, Yehuda Bauer has said that the Banzai Conference of January 20, 1942 was not a place at which an extermination program was planned or organized. He also publicly repudiated
the story that bars of soap were made from the bodies of murdered Jews during the Second World War, and there are other examples.
Also very important just recently is Norman Finkelstein, who is a professor at Hunter College in New York City. In his book, "The Holocaust Industry," he makes, in very emphatic language, a number of the same points that revisionists have made over the years about the exploitation and the utility and politicization of the Holocaust story and its use, as he calls it, as a racket and a shakedown.
This also includes Peter Novick who is an American Jewish writer. In his book, "The Holocaust in American Life", he also talks about what he regards as the illegitimate way in which the Holocaust story has come to play this tremendous iconic role in society.
As I mentioned briefly before, Raul Hilberg has made some remarkable statements over the years which for revisionists are greeted as at least partial affirmation of views that we have taken over the years.
Another one is Robert Jan van Pelt who also appears in this movie, "Mr. Death." Although Mr. van Pelt explicitly regards the Holocaust as a kind of religious icon, he nevertheless is on record as conceding that the gas chamber that has been shown to tourists at Auschwitz I is in fact a fraudulent post-war reconstruction. For making that very same statement David Irving, the British historian, was fined 10,000 and then 30,000 marks in Germany. The accuracy of that statement is now, for revisionists anyway, regarded as having been affirmed by men like Robert Jan van Pelt and so forth.
Q.Are you familiar with Michael Goldberg?
A.Yes. Michael Goldberg is an American rabbi who has written a book, "Why Should Jews Survive?" A chapter of this book is entitled "The Holocaust Cult." He is very concerned, from the Jewish point of view as he sees it, about the cultic, iconic way that the Holocaust story has come to play this political role, exploitive role in society.
Q.Are you familiar with Marc Ellis?
A.Marc Ellis wrote a book -- and I don't remember the title of it -- a review of which appeared in the Journal of Historical Review in which he again makes many of these very same points. He is also a Jewish writer.
Q.Is he supportive of some or all of the Holocaust revisionist positions?
A.Some. I don't think there is anyone who is supportive of all Holocaust revisionist positions, even among the hard core. There are differences between Robert Faurisson and Jurgen Graf and Arthur Butz, and that is at it should be. There is no dogmatic Holocaust revisionist position. Holocaust revisionism is skepticism about any of the aspects of what can be called the Holocaust dogma or the Holocaust industry.
Q.Has that term "Holocaust industry" or "dogma" been used in any way by Jewish authors?
A.Yes. The title of the new book by Norman Finkelstein is "The Holocaust Industry." This book is available in Canadian bookstores and in American bookstores. It is scheduled for publication in a number of foreign languages, and reviews of it appeared in every major British newspaper. Finkelstein has been interviewed on British television and he has been interviewed in German newspapers. In fact, one of the concerns that Jewish community leaders have expressed is that Norman Finkelstein's book is dangerous because it lends authority or credence to Holocaust revisionists.
Q.Are you familiar with Tim Coles?
A.Yes. Tim Coles is a British historian, non-Jewish. He has written a book entitled "Selling the Holocaust." In this book he writes over and over of the myth of the Holocaust, and by this he means the mythic story that we are told is the Holocaust in our society. He expresses on page after page grave misgivings about the exploitive, political, self-serving role that the Holocaust story has come to play in our society and takes explicit exception and a critical view of the way in which the Holocaust story is used by major Jewish organizations.
Q.What is the significance, in your view as a person familiar with Holocaust revisionism, of the film "Mr. Death?"
A.There is a number of reasons why this film is important. Fred Leuchter, as you know, was an important witness in the second Zündel trial. He comes up in the Zündelsite documents. He was allowed to express in great detail his skepticism of the Auschwitz gassing claims. Also this film is important because Ernst Zündel is interviewed at some length in this film, explaining the context in which Fred Leuchter made his report.
Although the film does present individuals who are critical of Leuchter and of David Irving, nevertheless at great length Fred Leuchter, David Irving and Ernst Zündel are permitted and allowed in this film, which has been widely shown both in Canada and in the United States and now in other countries, to express what used to be taboo skepticism about Holocaust gassing stories, specifically about Auschwitz.
Q.In order for us to appreciate the Holocaust revisionist position, in your opinion as an expert, would it be useful for us to see the film?
A.I think it would be very useful to see this film, to understand the way in which over recent years Holocaust revisionism and Holocaust skepticism has become more a part of the mainstream, social, cultural fabric of our society.
MR. CHRISTIE: Because we have a copy and we have made arrangements, I wonder if we could show that film.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Perhaps you could elaborate on how it is relevant. Obviously, I have not heard what you have to say, but what runs through my mind is that what he has been speaking of is the means by which the revisionist community communicates both inside and outside that community, by the press, by publications, by the Internet and by film. I raise the question: What is the point of seeing one of those modes of communication? How will it be helpful to the Tribunal?
I guess I am directing your arguments without even anticipating what objections you might hear.
MR. FREIMAN: I think I can probably make life a little easier because the Commission has no objection to viewing this film.
MR. CHRISTIE: That makes it relevant.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Ms Matheson, please.
MS MATHESON: Just to be clear, the last objection is that nothing is relevant. I just point out that I have not seen the film. I don't have a problem with it. Obviously, if Mr. Zündel is speaking on film about matters which I haven't heard, whatever it goes to, it doesn't go to the truth of whatever it is he is talking about.
MR. CHRISTIE: We know that in this work truth is never an issue.
THE CHAIRPERSON: This is not Mr. Christie giving evidence if he is on the film.
MR. CHRISTIE: I am not in the film.
THE CHAIRPERSON: I am sorry, Mr. Zündel.
MR. ROSEN: Mr. Zündel's statements on the film do not go to the truth.
THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't think anyone recognizes otherwise.
MR. CHRISTIE: We never suggest that the truth has any place here. What we are suggesting is social context of a widely distributed film that deals with the same issues in our society today and it gives us an indication of modern social context.
MR. ROSEN: As I understand it, it takes about an hour and a half to watch the film. I haven't seen it myself, so I have no idea whether there is anything else on it that would be objectionable and I reserve my right to make comment.
I should indicate to the Tribunal that I am required to be in the Supreme Court of Canada tomorrow. Other counsel will proceed in my absence. I won't be here to participate in the cross-examination of this witness tomorrow. Perhaps we will be here Friday and I will carry on at that time.
According to your ruling, I thought this was going to be a brief witness. I guess not.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you, Mr. Rosen.
Are you ready to proceed?
MR. CHRISTIE: Yes.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We will take a short recess while you organize.
-- - Short Recess at 2:25 p.m.
-- - Upon resuming at 2:35 p.m.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Before we proceed, what we are not sure about is what the connection of this film is with this witness. Is it proposed to be part of his evidence? What connection does he have with the film, and why is it necessary for us to watch this film en masse, so to speak? It would be preferable that all parties see the film to make sure they have no objection about it. If there is no objection, the Tribunal can make an informed decision about whether it wants to view the film or not. In the meantime we will have saved time in connection with the evidence given by this witness.
We could finish this witness' evidence.
What is the necessity of having this interruption of this witness' evidence? That is our concern.
MR. CHRISTIE: First of all, one of the documents before you is tab 30 which is "Inside the Auschwitz Gas Chamber," by Fred Leuchter. That is one of the things objected to in the case.
Second, this witness is an expert in the subject of Holocaust revisionism and has said that the distribution of the Leuchter film was a very significant event in the development of acceptance or receipt of the ideas in a wider audience of Holocaust revisionism.
It is, in my submission, highly relevant to show the modern social context, to show precisely what is found in the open marketplace of ideas on this subject and thereby give us the opportunity to demonstrate that that which is within what has been referred to as the Zündelsite is no different from what you can find in a movie theatre down the street, and it should not be viewed as productive of hate but as part of an industry and discussion of historical issues.
It would be impossible for you or anyone to see this in isolation and not have the opportunity to see it completely in order to assess the effect of the film itself. We should, as we will, have testimony about it. We have this witness' testimony that it is a significant film in which the concept of historical revisionism on the Holocaust is discussed. It is, therefore, part of the evidence in the case. It should be on the record as part of the evidence in the case.
It is part of the mainstream of our society, according to this witness, and he will testify to that if he has not already. It is widely distributed in all the film distribution facilities in both Canada and the United States.
MEMBER DEVINS: Mr. Christie, do you intend to ask this witness questions about the film?
MR. CHRISTIE: Yes.
MEMBER DEVINS: To explain its context?
MR. CHRISTIE: Yes, and to explain its effect, among other things. I have questions on a number of areas in respect of the film.
MEMBER DEVINS: Do we need to see the film first before you ask those questions?
MR. CHRISTIE: Yes, in order to see what the answers are about. You would have to see the film to understand what the witness would be talking about. It would be impossible to know what the film represents unless you see it.
MEMBER DEVINS: Could we not hear his views on it and then see the film outside of Hearing hours? I think the concern is whether this is the most efficient use of our limited Hearing time. I think it would be helpful to hear why counsel who have not yet viewed the film are not going to be given an opportunity to view the film and consider whether they have any objections and, if not, we can rule on whether we see it or not. I am not sure why we need to see it in this context.
MR. CHRISTIE: Let's ask this question. How would it be possible for me to ask questions of this witness about that film and have him give answers about its significance and its relevance to the issues that you have allowed him to testify to -- that is, the context in which the Holocaust revisionist community operates? How could I ask him those questions and how would you understand his answers except if you saw the film to which they pertain?
MEMBER DEVINS: I guess my thought, Mr. Christie -- and perhaps you can assist me -- is that you would do that in the same way that you did when you asked about specific writers and books. You haven't asked us to read them in full.
MR. CHRISTIE: No. He referred to excerpts which he could do. If you are going to talk about a whole film that has the impact of discussing these issues in a very real and constructive way and that is widely available in society, how can he excerpt from that overall impact and talk about that overall impact in any real way unless it is part of the record?
MEMBER DEVINS: If I could ask one further question, that is whether this represents the conclusion of your line of questioning with this witness or how much more evidence you anticipate from this witness.
MR. CHRISTIE: I certainly anticipate going into one other aspect in detail, and that is the substance of the Zündelsite documents in relation to other currently available positions that are consistent and identical to it, to show the social context of the Zündelsite documents in relation to other documents that are currently available in society.
MEMBER DEVINS: How long do you anticipate that may take?
MR. CHRISTIE: Perhaps a day. We have prepared books of reviews and copies of books -- for example, the Finkelstein book which we propose to introduce as evidence to show the modern social context on the subject. We have all those made in 15 or 17 copies, and we intended to refer to that through this witness. The witness has been on the stand now for half a day and we are just starting the second half of the day. We planned to show this film this afternoon, ask a few questions about it, and proceed tomorrow in this area of presenting exhibit evidence to substantiate his opinion evidence that the Zündelsite documents are part of the ongoing and legitimate revisionist debate about the Holocaust. To do that we have to show what is going on with regard to the Holocaust debate, and that will involve referring specifically to modern documents and texts that are widely available -- not to prove the truth of anything, but to prove the wide distribution and wide acceptance, a legal acceptance, in Canada and in the United States of that which is set out in the Commission materials.
That is what we plan to do tomorrow.
THE CHAIRPERSON: The Tribunal has expressed some reservations about this on the grounds being expressed by my colleague. We are influenced by the fact that we are not getting objections from any of the other parties.
Mr. Fromm, please.
MR. FROMM: Mr. Chairman, unless I misunderstood, I think there may be an impression that this is a movie produced by the Holocaust revisionist community. That is not the case. This is by a mainstream documentary film-maker, and this movie does have considerable airing, including at the Film Festival about a year ago here in the city of Toronto. It seems to me that it is something that ought to be seen from the point of view of context. It refers to many of the arguments in the documents we find on the Zündelsite and even some of the authors complained about on the Zündelsite. The movie shows these views and these authors as part of an intellectual rough-and-tumble. It is not a propaganda piece for either side. Both sides land some shots, and it might be helpful to see Holocaust revisionism as part of a mainstream argument.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Freiman, please.
MR. FREIMAN: I find it unusual to agree with the Respondent's side. Hearing Mr. Christie's description of plans for tomorrow, about which I do have considerable anxiety, it occurs to me that this film, in fact, may limit the amount of cross-examination that would be necessary with regard to some of the additional materials and will, in fact, provide the Tribunal with a useful perspective on some of the extraordinary statements that Mr. Weber has made thus far.
To that extent, although it is highly unusual, the Tribunal may find that in fact it is saving some time and is able to get a clearer perspective on the implicit arguments being advanced through this witness' evidence by simply viewing the film.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We will proceed to view the film. The voice-over on the film will not be recorded.
-- - Presentation of film "Mr. Death"
Q.I would like to ask you a few questions in respect of the film and in relation to the position of which you are allowed to speak -- that is, the subject of the Holocaust revisionist community, where it operates and as defined by yourself and others.
What is the relationship between the Holocaust community and the expressions that were used in this film, for instance, by Mr. Leuchter and Mr. Zündel about the concern for responsibility to the truth? What part does that play in revisionist activities?
A.For revisionists the truth is a very important thing. I think it is obvious from the film and I think it is obvious from what I have tried to say here in testimony. Fred Leuchter was saying the truth as he saw it.
The search for truth is a very important part and a central part of historical revisionism and of Holocaust revisionism. It is a search for truth. No one has the truth. No one finally says, "This is the truth." It is an endless process, and the search for it never stops. That is why the Fred Leuchter report is not the final word. It is followed by other reports and other investigations, as Fred Leuchter himself has said. Not in this film but in another context he himself has emphasized that.
Q.In the course of this film -- is it Dr. van Pelt?
Q.He makes a remark about this being sacrilege to enter the holy of holies. I noticed the young lady -- I think her name was Shapiro; at least that is the way it was identified -- referring to the guy who made the deal with the devil.
From the perspective of a Holocaust revisionist, is it unusual to experience the accusation of sacrilege?
A.No. Very often we find this kind of terminology used by those who oppose Holocaust revisionism. They use religious or pseudo-religious terminology to justify or support their view that anyone who opposes them is making a deal with the devil, that they are evil, that they are wicked, that their motives are bad, that their motives are wrong. In fact, several of those who are in the film, their only purpose really was to impute Fred Leuchter's motives.
This is a very common thing. Especially in the last several years there have been more and more writers, Jewish writers, who talk about the religious and pseudo-religious, cultic nature of what the Holocaust story has come to assume in our society.
Q.In relation to the context of Holocaust revisionism, do you claim a benefit as a result of the film?
A.The film is just one example of how a report which was so notorious at one time has been given some sort of treatment, albeit revisionists think and Fred Leuchter himself thinks a very unfair one because a number of critical comments were made in the film which we believe and he believes are not true and were never permitted to be answered.
Be that as it may, no serious person, no rational person, by merely having Fred Leuchter in that film saying what he says or Ernst Zündel, goes out and hates people as a result of it. It is almost impossible to take the view that Fred Leuchter expressing those views is somehow propagating hate in and of itself.
Q.We have actually been shown in the Canadian Human Rights Commission Book of Zündelsite Documents at tab 30 an article called "Inside the Auschwitz Gas Chambers", and it begins:
"1988 was a very informative and likewise disturbing year. I was appalled to learn that much of what I was taught in school about twentieth-century history and World War II was a myth, if not a lie."
I heard those exact words in the film. Is that correct?
A.As I recall, this text is taken from his address at the 1989 IHR Conference that he is shown speaking at and I am shown introducing him, yes.
Q.This film is distributed, you said, in what way? How is it presented?
A.It has appeared in motion picture theatres all over North America. It has been at various film festivals, and it is now available on video or on DVD. It is widely available all over North America. I understand also that an edition has been made or will be made in one or more foreign languages in Europe as well. It is widely distributed commercially.
Q.Is it ever represented, by the fact that Mr. Leuchter is allowed to speak, as exposing anyone to hatred or contempt in the general context of our society?
MR. FREIMAN: I have to take objection to that question. Not only is it the sort of question that nobody could answer, certainly not this witness based on anything that he is qualified to express an opinion on, but his opinion on this is irrelevant. The whole question is irrelevant --
MR. CHRISTIE: The whole defence is irrelevant, according to my friend. Really, at this point I don't understand the objection.
MR. FREIMAN: Fortunately for me, it is for the Tribunal to understand the objection rather than for others to understand the objection. This is irrelevant and well outside anything for which the witness is qualified and for which he is capable of giving evidence. In fact, nobody could give the evidence that is being asked for.
MR. CHRISTIE: I simply asked whether he had knowledge of any objections raised to this film of exposing anyone to hatred or contempt. He is, I think, allowed to be accepted as an expert in Holocaust revisionism as he and others have defined that field and the context in which the Holocaust revisionist community operates.
Q.Has the Holocaust community been aware or experienced accusations that the distribution of the film exposes anyone to hatred or contempt?
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Freiman has made his objection. You have rephrased the question in some way, and I wonder if your objection remains, Mr. Freiman.
MR. FREIMAN: It is still an objectionable question. It is still irrelevant. It is less objectionable than it was before. It attempts to recast it somewhat closer to the way the witness was qualified, in my respectful submission.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you want to gamble on his having no answer?
MR. FREIMAN: I am not going to stand up every time to bring this to a halt. Let him answer the question. In my respectful submission, there is no use that you are going to get from it.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Do you have an answer to the question?
THE WITNESS: The answer is that, to my knowledge, there has been no expression of any kind of hate argued as a result of this film. If anything, there has only been hatred directed against Mr. Leuchter whose career has been destroyed.
Q.Was there, to your knowledge, a second Leuchter report?
A.Yes, there was.
Q.What did it do?
A.Fred Leuchter was commissioned to carry out an investigation similar to the one he carried out at Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek at the camps at Dachau, Nordhausen and Hardheim. I am able to say that with some authority because I accompanied him on that visit, along with Robert Faurisson, to those camps. He carried out a similar investigation at those three sites as well.
Q.One of the points made in the film is that the taking of samples from the walls of Lichenkeller are incapable of providing any useful analysis. Was that the only thing done by Leuchter to assess the capacity in the Leuchter report?
THE CHAIRPERSON: How would this witness know that, even if it were relevant? I am not going to allow that.
MR. CHRISTIE: The Leuchter report is a revisionist document. He is a revisionist expert. He would know and does know the contents of the Leuchter report.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We have just seen the film. Are you talking about the second Leuchter report?
MR. CHRISTIE: No, I was actually talking about the first one.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We have seen the film. You are asking him a question which calls for information outside the film, as I understand it.
MR. CHRISTIE: Experts are allowed to testify to matters of fact within the scope of their expertise even though those facts may be upon hearsay.
THE CHAIRPERSON: I don't understand its relevance and I am not going to allow it.
Q.What impact has, for instance, the whole of Leuchter's work had on the revisionist movement?
A.It has had the impact of greatly stimulating additional research and study. It has led to much more detailed, much more extensive forensic examinations both by revisionists and by non-revisionists.
Q.What part, to your knowledge of the revisionist field, has Zündel played in revisionism, specifically Holocaust revisionism?
A.I guess it is pretty much more to the core of the whole thing. The question, to rephrase it, is: What is Ernst Zündel's role in this whole thing? That is a very important and good question.
Ernst Zündel is not a Holocaust scholar; he is not a historian. He doesn't claim to be a historian. He calls himself an impresario. He is a facilitator.
MR. ROSEN: In my respectful submission, this is clearly beyond the bounds of this witness' expertise. Leaving that aside, to call this some sort of fact evidence, in my respectful submission, he is not entitled to give this evidence. This is an apology for Ernst Zündel. If Ernst Zündel wants to testify and defend himself, that is another matter. He cannot do it through this witness. This has nothing to do with his expertise.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Christie, where are we going with this?
MR. CHRISTIE: I was actually going to get to the point of asking: What part has Mr. Zündel played in the revisionist movement? You accepted him as an expert in Holocaust revisionism as he and others have defined that field and the context in which Holocaust revisionists operate in the community.
This witness can say what part Mr. Zündel played, and I thought he was actually saying that. I don't see what is wrong with it. Dr. Schweitzer could say what Mr. Zündel plays in history, because he knows something about mediaeval history, because he is an expert in history. This is an expert in Holocaust revisionist history.
Mr. Weber could say, I suggest, what part Mr. Zündel has played in Holocaust revisionism.
THE CHAIRPERSON: He is restricted to commenting on Mr. Zündel's impact on the revisionist landscape without commenting on matters which may be of substantive relevance in connection with the very complaints that are made against him. You are not entitled to go into an apologia of Mr. Zündel.
THE WITNESS: It is not an apologia.
THE CHAIRPERSON: You are standing aside to give a comment about the impact of Mr. Zündel's activities within the revisionist community.
THE WITNESS: Exactly, yes.
THE CHAIRPERSON: You have commented on textbooks; you have commented on writings; you have commented on film. Answer within that context.
THE WITNESS: I think I understand. I am trying to place Mr. Zündel within the revisionist community, within the revisionist landscape, to use your term. I am not apologizing for him.
Revisionists in general and I know Ernst Zündel himself in the revisionist community looks at it in the way I am describing. It is not an apology for him. It is a fact that I, a revisionist, do not regard him as a scholar or a historian. We regard him as a facilitator, a publicist if you will or, to use his word, an impresario. That is not an apology for Ernst Zündel. It is simply a statement of a fact of the role that he plays in this community about which I am quite familiar and know quite a bit. That is the point.
Ernst Zündel publishes and distributes a great deal of material that he himself is not necessarily an expert on, and he doesn't claim to be an expert on.
He distributes, as the documents in the Zündelsite have been brought forward in this case show. Many things are published by others. He doesn't necessarily check them. He promotes all of this because Ernst Zündel thinks, as he has said and as the Zündelsite documents make clear, he is vindicating or supporting his people, the German people.
THE CHAIRPERSON: As you have said, he is a facilitator.
THE WITNESS: He is a facilitator, an impresario. He is not a scholar. He doesn't play the same role in the revisionist community or movement or whatever you care to call it that a Robert Faurisson does or that I do or that many others do. His motives are different. His goals are different. That is, I think, a completely legitimate and a very important point to be made. Otherwise, you lose completely the context about whatever was put on this Zündelsite by whoever put it on there.
THE CHAIRPERSON: You are getting onto dangerous ground here.
Q.In the context of Holocaust revisionism what is the purpose of the exercise?
A.Of Holocaust revisionism?
A.It is to ascertain the truth of what happened during the Second World War to Jews of Europe and to deal with that legacy as dispassionately as we can in the society we live in today, to try to reach and promote an understanding of history that is as truthful and as objective as we can make it.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Christie, I am going to suggest an interruption at that point. I would like to discuss plans for tomorrow. You mentioned certain matters that may be the subject of contention. Perhaps we can usefully use the last few minutes discussing what you propose to do tomorrow and get the comments of other counsel.
MR. CHRISTIE: Tomorrow I propose to attempt to introduce some material -- could I have a moment, please.
We would like to introduce through this witness, to show that there exists in society a growing body of Jewish literature which legitimately expresses identical opinions in a free and democratic society, widely available in Canada, using the same terminology to describe the Holocaust that Ernst Zündel does. We would like to argue that it would be ridiculous to accuse or hold Ernst Zündel violent for saying something that some Jewish person can say with impunity in society. It would seem to us at least, and we would like to be able to argue, that that is ridiculous.
Be that as it may, that is our position. We would like to introduce the Finkelstein book to analyze through this witness whether what is said there is, first of all, consistent with Holocaust revisionism and, second, how it compares with what is alleged to be published in the so-called Zündelsite.
Second, we would like to bring before you and provide copies to everybody the reviews of the Finkelstein book and to demonstrate that this an ongoing controversy that is not productive, promotional or indicative of hate, contempt or ridicule for Jews, but is considered not only by Jews but by Gentiles as a legitimate form of public discourse of matters of importance and concern for the benefit of Jews and, of course, others. We take the view that what is good for Jewish people may very well be good for everybody else, too, and vice versa. That may be a radical thought in some people's minds, but we take the view that in a society that values all cultures and all people the sensitivities and sensibilities of Germans is almost as important as that of Jews.
Then we intend to try to introduce a book of contemporary quotes where in our modern society a vast and diverse group of people use the same terms as are used on the Zündelsite, many of which were referred to by Dr. Schweitzer and Dr. Prideaux who claimed to know that these words carry sinister meanings or have sinister implications which were, in the views of those two witnesses, productive of hate, contempt and ridicule for Jews.
It will be our endeavour to contend that, if we can show you a wide diversity of opinion that contain the same terms as are objected to on the Zündelsite, we then could argue perhaps that in modern society these terms are not productive of or exposing anyone to hatred or contempt on the basis of race, religion or ethnic origin but, rather, are part of valuable ongoing discourse.
Then we want to produce a volume of articles in modern society where reference is made to the Holocaust industry and the extortionist nature of it, the abuse of it, which I will endeavour to argue is really systemically or thematically the same content as is presented by the material that is before you in the form of a complaint, all of which is directed to the very specific purpose of showing that in the social context in which we live these comments are acceptable, neutral or beneficial, that they are not productive of hate, contempt or ridicule, but a necessary and salutary presentation of divergent opinion, very much like in the film. You have the very strong, almost religious, convictions of Dr. van Pelt and Ms Shapiro, contrasted with the naive, perhaps ignorant, perhaps misguided, perhaps wrong views of Mr. Leuchter, the result being a society in which we can develop compassion for both sides because we actually hear both sides.
That at the end of the day may very well be my argument, that in a society where the views which some will argue are attributable to Mr. Zündel and somehow attributable to telephonic, and somehow fitting within categories of law set by paragraph 13 of the Human Rights Act, are actually ideas which are beneficial to the ongoing development of understanding and in fact tolerance in society.
Of course, aside from any person's point of view, it is not tolerance, but hate. If there is any hate that would be promoted by the contents of what is alleged to be the Zündelsite, it is more likely to be against Mr. Zündel himself, which is consistent with the tradition in which Holocaust revisionism finds itself.
Those are the four areas I intend to try to explore, and I am prepared to give copies to everyone. I regret that I did not have the means to drag the four boxes of heavy paper in here today, as I should have. I would have if I could have, but I didn't because I couldn't.
That is what I propose to do tomorrow, if I can.
THE CHAIRPERSON: Mr. Freiman may conclude that, with respect to at least two areas, we may have to hear the line of questioning before we entertain the relevance and the admissibility. With respect to the next two having to do with literature, articles, books, quotations, I suppose we should reserve that also to tomorrow until you have had a chance to look at it. Perhaps you and Mr. Christie could get here a little bit earlier --
MR. CHRISTIE: I was going to suggest that, if it is of use to Mr. Freiman or any of the parties, I would be glad to try to meet them this afternoon and give them these copies.
MR. FREIMAN: That would be helpful. Mr. Christie may well wish to consider overnight the following objection.
We have not seen the books. Obviously, I am not in a position any more than the Tribunal is in a position to make a ruling to really conceptualize what, if anything, I might want to say about the content. Regardless, it is very difficult to understand how this witness can be the conduit through which any of these opinions can be brought before the Tribunal.
Most of what Mr. Christie outlined sounds more like argument to me. If there is intended to be any expert component to the evidence, that is something to be said after the material is placed before the Tribunal, assuming it to be relevant and admissible. Mr. Weber has no credentials whatsoever, no expertise and certainly has not been qualified as an expert to provide any of the analysis or any of the explication or any of the views that Mr. Christie has put forward by way of argument, as anything but argument itself. We don't call witnesses to give argument.
THE CHAIRPERSON: I would like to know whether Mr. Christie intends to advance all this material through this witness or whether he just intends to attempt to file it as relevant. We can resolve that tomorrow.
MR. CHRISTIE: May I ask one thing? In view of the fact that we saw this movie and to keep the record complete, would it be possible for us to file the DVD so that it will at least be part of the record.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We have seen the film. I assume that it should be marked.
MR. CHRISTIE: Thank you.
MR. FREIMAN: May I raise one other issue before we rise?
From Mr. Christie's extended explication of the intended evidence, it appears to me that we will be finished with Mr. Weber tomorrow. We have yet to hear who the next witness is. I believe within the order of the Tribunal we should be given some indication of who the next witness is and what the evidence is to be.
THE CHAIRPERSON: We should have some indication of where we are going from here, certainly for the balance of the week, on the assumption that we will finish this witness perhaps before tomorrow ends. Will you inform counsel of that?
MR. CHRISTIE: I will certainly endeavour to do so. That, I would think, might take some consideration overnight. I had thought that it would take more than a two-day period for Mr. Weber's evidence.
THE CHAIRPERSON: That remains to be seen.
THE REGISTRAR: The film entitled "Mr. Death" will be filed as Respondent's Exhibit R-41.
EXHIBIT NO. R:41: Film entitled "Mr. Death"
THE CHAIRPERSON: Thank you.
-- - Whereupon the Hearing was adjourned at 4:37 p.m. to resume on Thursday, October 5, 2000 at 9:30 a.m.