Letters to the editor -- Volume 19 number 6
Among the many accounts that I have read of "Mr. Death," Errol Morris' film about Fred Leuchter, I think that Greg Raven's is the most instructive ("Flawed Documentary of Execution Expert", Sept.-Dec. 1999 Journal, pp. 62-69). In it the basic dishonesty of Jewish director Morris is well displayed. It is simply a pity for Raven that he does not point out that, in some scenes, it is not Leuchter who appears on the screen but an actor disguised as him so that Leuchter is portrayed as a "desecrator" in the ruins of an alleged Nazi gas chamber. (This point is explained on the aaargh.vho.org web site, "Actualités de novembre 2000," in an article entitled "Simplet," French for "simpleton," the term used, altogether unjustly, by David Irving in his interview with Morris to describe Leuchter.)
There is an essential factor that neither Raven nor any other revisionist, to my knowledge, seems to have noticed: the absence, in this alleged documentary, of any depiction of an American gas chamber designed for the execution of condemned prisoners. Fred Leuchter is described in words as a sort of technician of death administered in four ways: electrocution, hanging, lethal injection, and gassing. But while Morris takes care to illustrate the first three methods of execution with numerous images, he carefully avoids showing even one image of an American penitentiary gas chamber. And he is right to do so, for the mere representation of the imposing door of such a chamber would, in my opinion, be enough to let the attentive viewer grasp that the putting to death of one man by gassing with hydrocyanic acid calls for extensive safety measures and a highly sophisticated technique.
I have devoted a part of my life to citing again and again what I call "the argument of the American gas chamber," to demonstrate the absurdity of the alleged Nazi [homicidal] gas chambers. I have often published or shown, as I did at the Zündel trials, photographs of the Baltimore penitentiary's gas chamber, along with the text of the "Procedure Check List" for executions there. (See S. Thion, Vérité historique ou vérité politique? , pp. 301-309; "The Mechanics of Gassing," Spring 1980 Journal, pp. 23-30, reproduced in B. Kulaszka, Did Six Million Really Die?: Report on the Evidence in the Canadian "False News" Trial of Ernst Zündel [Toronto: 1992], pp. 322-324; "The Gas Chambers: Truth or Lie?," Winter 1981 Journal, esp. pp. 326-327.)
But I have the impression of not having convinced very many. Neither Fred Leuchter, nor Germar Rudolf, nor Walter Lüftl, has taken up my argument. I am therefore happy to note that Errol Morris, for his part, seems, in his own way, to have been receptive to that argument.
An Angry Episode
Having just read the July-August 2000 Journal, I want to say that I found all the articles interesting. One thing struck me: the articles all read so very well. You could say I read it from cover to cover in one sitting (actually two).
Your piece on the 1945 sinkings of the Cap Arcona and the Thielbek reminded me of an episode when I spent a six-month sabbatical at Reading in England during 1983. I was walking along the Kennet and Avon canal with the Telegraph under my arm. It contained a letter from an arrogant Englishman (probably a major or officer from World War II) who dismissed with contempt any possibility that the British could in any way be responsible for this bombing. It made me so angry that I threw the paper into the canal, and I found a large stone to throw on the paper to make sure it sank forever!
A Blessing In Disguise
Although "Holocaust denial" laws have created physical and mental hardship for such scholars as Dr. Fredrick Töben, David Irving, Jürgen Graf and Dr. Robert Faurisson, they have actually created an interest in this historical period for people, myself included, who normally would not be interested.
My first encounter with a prominent revisionist was when I phoned Dr. Töben at his Australian residence from my New York office, not realizing I was ringing him at 6:00 in the morning, his time. A few days later I learned from David Irving's web site that the first person in the revisionist movement I contacted had been arrested in Germany.
I was perplexed. Why would there be laws to sabotage historical research for Dr. Töben? His arrest had an impact on my own pursuits in historical research. What struck a chord in my new thinking about the Holocaust, in
particular, was a point he made during our conversation a few days before his infamous arrest. When I asked him what he believed, he said "I don't believe in anything. I want to know." As simple as it sounds, that was my turning point in my immersion into historical revisionism.
His words, "I want to know," coupled with his arrest motivated me to become a web journalist and create RePortersNotebook.com, a collection of journalistic truths suppressed by the mainstream media. Its mission statement is the following: "The ramifications of dishonest news reporting divides people. Our purpose is to rectify false concepts in history writing and contemporary news reporting."
I am indebted to researchers such as Dr. Töben for the sacrifices forced on them, and for their courage in speaking out, at the risk of suffering physical and mental hardships. (And I would not have known about Dr. Töben, or his arrest, if I had not been exposed to the World Wide Web.)
As we enter a new millennium, it is mind boggling that it is a taboo to want to know about certain historical events.
New York City
I am student in Denmark. Having read through your article about Simon Wiesenthal [from the Sept.-Oct. 1995 Journal], I was quite disturbed by the accusations you make. It is not my intention to discuss whether even just one of these so-called frauds you claim Wiesenthal is guilty of, truly is a fraud. I am merely interested: Why even dig through all that information and commit yourself so heartedly to prove it wrong, if not for some political conviction? Do you intend to write off the entire Holocaust? And if so, would that not make you a Nazi in the eyes of this entire world, including me? Or have I gotten this all wrong?
Søren R. Staugaard
Denmark [by e-mail]
Today the "Nazi" accusation is little more than a cheap epithet. It is used not to explain or define, but to smear. I am not a "Nazi." But whether I am or not should basically be irrelevant in assessing the accuracy of what I've written about Simon Wiesenthal.
My purpose in writing about Wiesenthal was to focus attention on facts -- verifiable facts -- about this deceitful man. This is important, even necessary, because he is such an influential man in our society. He is portrayed, by himself and others, as a great moral guide. He's nothing of the kind, as I think the facts clearly show.
If what I wrote about Wiesenthal is accurate, your indignation should be directed at him and those who, for their own self-serving reasons, portray him as an icon.
-- The Editor
From The Journal of Historical Review, November/December 2000 (Vol. 19, No. 6), page 55.