Institute for Historical Review

Institute for Historical Review

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

Publisher's Notes

In the early 1980s, Samisdat Publishers Ltd., under the signature of its president, Ernst Zündel, published a 32-page booklet entitled Did Six Million Really Die?. The booklet was published under a licence from Historical Review Press in England which prohibited Samisdat from making any changes whatsoever to the publication. Samisdat sent the booklet to hundreds of teachers, ministers, politicians and media personalities across Canada in the hope that interest could be aroused in discussing the subject explored in the booklet: did six million Jews really die pursuant to a systematic policy of extermination by Nazi Germany during World War II?

Samisdat received no complaints regarding the booklet's factual accuracy. Nevertheless, in 1983, Samisdat's president, Ernst Zündel, was charged under a private information laid by Sabina Citron, a founder of the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association, with the criminal offence of "spreading false news" likely to cause racial and social intolerance. The charge was later assumed by the Crown and led to two lengthy jury trials in 1985 and 1988, both of which ended in convictions.

There is no doubt that Did Six Million Really Die? contained errors. It was written hastily by a young University of London graduate, Richard Verrall (who used the pseudonym "Richard Harwood") in the early 1970s. The errors, however, were the type of minor error which one can find in the first edition of any non-fiction book. For example, Verrall wrote that the first allegation of mass murder of Jews was made against the Germans in 1943 by the Polish Jew Raphael Lemkin. In fact, the first charge of mass murder was made by the Allies in a Joint Declaration issued on December 17, 1942. The error played no significant part in the argumentation of the author. The significance and importance of Did Six Million Really Die? lay in its logic, its reasoning and its opinions. It critiqued the weaknesses of the evidence and arguments provided in orthodox "Holocaust" literature and it gave to the reader little-known alternate views of what happened in the camps, such as those of Dr. Russell Barton (who was present in Bergen-Belsen immediately after its liberation) and Thies Christophersen (who was stationed near Auschwitz during the war). It summarized the findings of the French revisionist historian Paul Rassinier, whose works at that time were not known at all in the English-speaking world. In short, Did Six Million Really Die? did what polemical works were meant to do: it provided the reader with an alternate viewpoint on a historical event.

Two juries convicted Zündel notwithstanding devastating cross-examination of Holocaust "survivors" and Holocaust historians by defence attorney Douglas H. Christie and notwithstanding expert evidence which crushed the basis of the Holocaust story, namely, the allegation that millions of Jews were done to death with industrial efficiency in gigantic gas chambers and disposed of in crematories and burning pits. It did not matter to the jury in the second Zündel trial in 1988 that the warden of a United States penitentiary, Bill M. Armontrout, testified to the enormous difficulties of gassing even one person today in gas chambers. It did not matter to the jury that a forensic investigation of Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek by the only expert in gas chamber technology in the United States, Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., resulted in Leuchter's opinion that no gassings could have taken place in the alleged Nazi gas chambers. It mattered not that the Canadian crematory expert, Ivan Lagacé, testified that the thousands of persons alleged by Holocaust historians to have been cremated in Birkenau and Auschwitz daily were "ludicrous" and "beyond the realm of reality." It did not matter to the jury that the internationally-known British historian David Irving testified that he no longer believed in the "Holocaust" as it had been defined by its historians. It did not matter that Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg refused to return to testify in 1988 after testifying in 1985 for fear of cross- examination. It did not matter that the Crown could not produce one expert witness in gas chambers or crematories to refute the defence expert evidence.

If the evidence presented at the 1988 trial of Zündel was not enough to convince the jury to acquit him, it was enough to start an explosive chain reaction of books and studies into the veracity of the gas chamber claim. The evidence of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. and his report on the gas chambers at Auschwitz and Majdanek by far caused the most reverberations. The Jewish Holocaust lobby at first ignored the Leuchter Report, but as its influence mounted internationally, they scrambled to attempt to refute it. The Beate Klarsfeld Foundation published the books Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers and Truth Prevails: Demolishing Holocaust Denial: the end of "The Leuchter Report." The success of these books in "demolishing" the Leuchter Report can perhaps be measured by the fact that almost no one has heard of them; the mass media, usually so willing to use anything to smear Holocaust revisionism, has virtually ignored them.

Apparently unable to find competent experts to support the gas chamber claim among engineers and crematory experts, the Jewish Holocaust lobby turned the use of their considerable resources instead to ensuring the destruction of Fred Leuchter's career and the passage of laws in France and Austria making "denial of the Holocaust" a criminal offence. A full account of the tactics used against Leuchter can be found in his article "Witch Hunt in Boston" (Journal of Historical Review, vol. 10, pp. 453-460). While the Jewish lobby has succeeded in the political arena in having repressive laws enacted against revisionism, they have not succeeded in refuting revisionism on its merits, most importantly its technical and forensic evidence. The report of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., has engendered three further studies of the gas chambers.

Krakow Forensic Institute

In response to the Leuchter Report, the Auschwitz State Museum in 1990 commissioned the Krakow Forensic Institute to carry out an investigation of the alleged gassing sites at the camp. The result of the testing of brick and mortar samples fully corroborated the findings of Leuchter: the Institute found either no traces or extremely small traces of cyanide in its samples. The Institute explained the test results, however, by stating that it could not be assumed that cyanide traces would still be detected after 45 years of being subjected to the weather and the elements. The Krakow Forensic Institute also tested samples of hair from the Auschwitz Museum for cyanide. The tests proved negative. (For a copy of the report and commentary, see "An Official Polish Report on the Auschwitz 'Gas Chambers'", Journal of Historical Review, vol. 11, pp. 207- 216).

Germar Rudolf

Germar Rudolf, a diplom chemist in Germany, investigated the sites of the alleged gas chambers of Auschwitz and took samples for the purpose of determining cyanide levels. Tests on the samples showed no or minimal traces of cyanide. Rudolf's report concluded, like Leuchter's, that the alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz could never have been used for gassings. Rudolf disputed the Krakow Forensic Institute's conclusion that the cyanide had been removed by environmental factors, pointing out that it was well-known that cyanide compounds have enormous environmental resistance. Ernst Zündel's attempts to call Rudolf as an expert witness on charges in Germany regarding the "Holocaust" were prevented by the German judge.

Walter Lüftl

Walter Lüftl is a professional engineer with a large engineering firm in Vienna and is president of the Austrian Chamber of Engineers. In 1992 Lüftl wrote a report calling the alleged extermination of millions of Jews in gas chambers "technically impossible." He pointed out that the design of the crematories themselves showed that they were incapable of handling the number of victims alleged. "Corpses are not flammable material," wrote Lüftl, " to cremate them requires much time and energy."

These reports and other mounting evidence have shown the durability of the conclusions stated in Did Six Million Really Die?. The booklet has proven to be, in the words of Dr. Robert Faurisson, "prophetic."

Today Samisdat is proud to publish Did Six Million Really Die?: Report of the Evidence in the Canadian "False News" Trial of Ernst Zündel, 1988. This book is the result of four years of work and summarizes for the reader the evidence presented at the second Zündel trial in 1988. This includes, for the Crown, the evidence of Holocaust historians Raul Hilberg (whose evidence from 1985 was read to the jury since he refused to reattend personally) and Christopher Browning and the evidence of Red Cross representative Charles Biedermann. For the defence, it includes the evidence of the premiere revisionist historian today, Dr. Robert Faurisson, that of the internationally renowned British historian David Irving, German historian Udo Walendy, American historian Mark Weber, Canadian crematory expert Ivan Lagacé and Canadian aerial photograph expert Ken Wilson. It includes the evidence and the report of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., concerning his forensic investigation of the alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek and the evidence of chemistry expert Dr. James Roth concerning the cyanide content of samples removed from the alleged Auschwitz gas chambers by Leuchter. It summarizes the evidence of the path-breaking Swedish revisionist writer, Ditlieb Felderer, and reproduces the revealing photographs of Auschwitz and Birkenau which Felderer showed the jury.

It is shocking that the persecution of Ernst Zündel has continued for ten years and continues today with virtually no protest either in the intellectual or media elites of Canada. These elites are apparently no longer interested in objective truth, but interested only in maintaining the "political correctness" which will ensure access to lucrative government and institutional positions, the continuation of government and academic grants and the accolades of their like-minded peers. These elites did not simply remain silent concerning the Zündel trials but participated in a feeding frenzy of hatred against him simply because he had published a booklet questioning the Holocaust. Few voices were raised in defence of intellectual freedom and its relation to the workings of a true democracy. Instead, Zündel was attacked, vilified and ridiculed. The media willingly censored the 1988 trial. The performance of these elites in the Zündel affair has shown that they are unwilling to inform Canadians honestly about controversial and vital issues which offend powerful vested interests; indeed, it has proven their total corruption.

Ernst Zündel, in the foreword to the first Did Six Million Really Die?, wrote the following words:

Truth has no need of coercion. Those who choose to ignore the truth are not punished by law -- they punish themselves. We of Samisdat Publishers do not believe that you should be forced to read something, any more than we believe that you should be forced not to read something...Whether you agree or disagree with the facts presented in this booklet, we invite you to assist us in reclaiming and safeguarding the freedoms we have all so long enjoyed, until now, in Canada...Without freedom of enquiry and freedom of access to information we cannot have freedom of thought and without freedom of thought, we cannot be a free people.

Today those words apply with even greater force as more and more individuals face prosecution in Canada and Europe for their beliefs and opinions. Samisdat offers this book to its readers in the hope that they will reclaim for themselves the right to decide what is truth in history.

Table of Contents | Editor's Introduction