Did the "Holocaust" of the European Jews really occur? Is it true that during the Second World War, the Germans ordered, planned and carried out a policy of physical destruction of the European Jews? More specifically, did they design, build and use execution gas chambers for that purpose? Did they cause the deaths of millions of Jews in that manner?
To these questions, the majority of writers say yes; they believe in the "Holocaust" of the European Jews. We shall call these writers "exterminationists" because they defend the thesis of the physical extermination of the Jews. To these same questions, other writers say no; these writers are called "revisionists" but it goes without saying that the revisionists do not dispute the fact that, during a world conflict which caused 40 to 50 million deaths, many Jews (the approximate number remains to be determined) died.
Who is right? The exterminationists or the revisionists?
For the layman, there are, in principle, three main ways of forming a personal opinion on a historical controversy.
The first way consists in reading the writings of both sides but in this specific case that would require much time and revisionist literature is often difficult to obtain.
The second way is to attend a public debate between the two sides: the orthodox side (the exterminationists) and the heterodox side (the revisionists). Unfortunately, the exterminationists have always refused the public debate proposed to them by the revisionists and which the revisionists continue to propose. In certain countries such as France and Austria, the supporters of the exterminationist thesis have recently gone so far as to obtain special laws that punish revisionists with heavy prison terms and fines for "contesting" the existence of the "Holocaust" and the execution gas chambers.
Fortunately, there remains a third way of forming an opinion on this controversy, that of reading the transcript of a trial where the two sides found themselves face to face before a judge and jury. In the case which concerns us, that is what happened twice, in 1985 and 1988, in actions brought against the revisionist Ernst Zündel in Toronto by exterminationist members of a Jewish organization.
This remarkable book by Barbara Kulaszka rests upon the transcripts of the 1988 trial. It will enable the layman to obtain a precise idea of the historical controversy surrounding the Jewish "Holocaust" and to form an opinion for himself. I must, however, express a reservation and issue a warning to the reader: a courtroom is not an appropriate place for a historical debate. A trial has its own formal rules of procedure and it is very limited as to time; freedom of expression is not total since one of the parties is seeking to obtain a condemnation as the other party is trying to avoid that condemnation. Finally, a judge and jury, even if they listen to experts, have neither the competence nor the means required to settle a point of history.
I participated in the preliminary hearing of Ernst Zündel in 1984, in the first Zündel trial in 1985 (quashed on procedural and substantive grounds), and, finally, in the second Zündel trial in 1988. I published a complete account of the case in The Journal of Historical Review, Winter 1988-1989, pp. 417-431 in an article entitled "The Zündel Trials (1985-1988)". I take the liberty of referring the reader to it but I would also wish to quote here a passage from the article and to comment on it in the light of what has happened since 1988. This passage deals essentially with my own discovery in the 1970s of the chemical impossibility of the Auschwitz execution gassings and the confirmation of that impossibility by Fred Leuchter. I wrote then:
For my part, I appeared as an expert witness for nearly six days. I concentrated particularly on my investigations of the American gas chambers. I recalled that Zyklon B is essentially hydrocyanic acid and that it is with this gas that certain American penitentiaries execute those who have been condemned to death.
In 1945 the Allies should have asked specialists on American gas chambers to examine the buildings, at Auschwitz and elsewhere, which were supposed to have been used to gas millions of people. Since 1977, I have had the following idea: when one deals with a vast historical problem like that of the reality or the legend of the Holocaust, one must strive to get to the core of the problem. In this case the central problem is Auschwitz and the core of that problem is a space of 275 square metres: the 65 square metres of the "gas chamber" of crematorium I at Auschwitz and, at Birkenau, the 210 square metres of the "gas chamber" of crematorium II. In 1988, my idea remained the same: let us have expert studies of those 275 square metres and we will have an answer to the vast problem of the Holocaust! I showed the jury my photos of the gas chamber at the Maryland State Penitentiary in Baltimore as well as my plans for the Auschwitz gas chambers and I underlined the physical and chemical impossibilities of the latter ones.
A Sensational Turn of Events: The Leuchter Report
Ernst Zündel, in possession of the correspondence I had exchanged in 1977-78 with the six American penitentiaries outfitted with gas chambers, gave attorney Barbara Kulaszka the job of getting in touch with the chief wardens of those penitentiaries in order to see if one of them would agree to appear in court to explain how a real gas chamber operates. Bill Armontrout, chief warden of the penitentiary at Jefferson City (Missouri), agreed to testify and in doing so pointed out that no one in the USA was more knowledgeable about the functioning of gas chambers than Fred A. Leuchter, an engineer from Boston. I went to visit Leuchter on February 3 and 4, 1988. I found that he had never asked himself any questions about the "gas chambers" in the German camps. He had simply believed in their existence. After I began to show him my files, he became aware of the chemical and physical impossibility of the German "gassings" and he agreed to examine our documents in Toronto.
After that, at Zündel's expense, he left for Poland with a secretary (his wife), a draftsman, a video-cameraman and an interpreter. He came back and drew up a 192 page report (including appendices). He also brought back 32 samples taken, on the one hand, from the crematories of Auschwitz and Birkenau at the site of the homicidal "gassings" and, on the other hand, in a disinfection gas chamber at Birkenau. His conclusion was simple: there had never been any homicidal gassings at Auschwitz, Birkenau, or Majdanek.
On April 20 and 21, 1988, Fred Leuchter appeared on the witness stand in the Toronto courtroom. He told the story of his investigation and presented his conclusions. I am convinced that during those two days I was an eyewitness to the death of the gas chamber myth, a myth which, in my opinion, had entered its death throes at the Sorbonne colloquium on "Nazi Germany and the Extermination of the Jews" (June 29 to July 2, 1982), where the organizers themselves began to grasp that there was no proof of the existence of the gas chambers.
In the Toronto courtroom emotions were intense, in particular among the friends of Sabina Citron. Ernst Zündel's friends were also moved, but for a different reason: they were witnessing the veil of the great swindle being torn away. As for me, I felt both relief and melancholy: relief because a thesis that I had defended for so many years was at last fully confirmed, and melancholy because I had fathered the idea in the first place. I had even, with the clumsiness of a man of letters, presented physical, chemical, topographical and architectural arguments which I now saw summed up by a scientist who was astonishingly precise and thorough.
Would people one day remember the skepticism I had encountered, even from other Revisionists? Just before Fred Leuchter, Bill Armontrout had been on the witness stand, where he confirmed, in every detail, what I had said to the jury about the extreme difficulties of a homicidal gassing (not to be confused with a suicidal or accidental gassing). Ken Wilson, a specialist in aerial photographs, had shown that the homicidal "gas chambers" of Auschwitz and Birkenau did not have gas evacuation chimneys, which would have been indispensable. He also showed that I had been right in accusing Serge Klarsfeld and Jean-Claude Pressac of falsifying the map of Birkenau in The Auschwitz Album (Seuil Publishers, 1983, p. 42). Those authors, in order to make the reader believe that groups of Jewish women and children surprised by the photographer between crematories II and III could not go any farther and were thus going to end up in the "gas chambers" and those crematories, had simply eliminated from the map the path which, in reality, led up to the "Zentralsauna," a large shower facility (located beyond the zone of the crematories), where those women and children were actually going.
James Roth, director of a laboratory in Massachusetts, then testified on the analysis of the 32 samples, the origin of which he was unaware of: all the samples taken in the homicidal "gas chambers" contained a quantity of cyanide which was either unmeasurable or infinitesimal, while the sample from the disinfection gas chamber, taken for comparison's sake, contained an enormous amount of cyanide (the infinitesimal quantity detected in the former case can be explained by the fact that the supposed homicidal gas chambers were in fact morgues for preserving bodies; such morgues could have been occasionally disinfected with Zyklon B). (pp. 428 430)
That happened in 1988. Four years later, the Leuchter Report was confirmed by three other reports: first, that of the Krakow Forensic Institute; then, that of the German Germar Rudolf, and finally, that of the Austrian Walter Lüftl. The most stunning of these three reports is the one from Krakow. It had been pressed for by the authorities at the Auschwitz State Museum in the hope that it would disprove the Leuchter Report's conclusions. The opposite happened and despite embarrassed explanations to try to minimize the meaning of their own tests, the authors of the Krakow report indeed confirmed -- involuntarily -- that Fred Leuchter was right. As a result, the exterminationists prefer to treat the report of the Krakow Forensic Institute with silence.
In 1989, the pharmacist Jean-Claude Pressac published, under the aegis of New York's Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, an enormous book entitled Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers. I rendered an account of that exterminationist attempt in The Journal of Historical Review in 1991 [Spring 1991, pp. 25-66 and Summer, 1991, pp. 133-175]. I showed there that "the exterminationist mountain" in labour had brought forth "a revisionist mouse." The occasion gave me the opportunity to emphasize again what I call "one of the 20th century's great paradoxes": that millions of people, stupefied by incessant media propaganda, believe in the Nazi gas chambers without ever having seen one, without having the slightest idea of what this allegedly fantastic weapon was, without any ability to describe its shape and operation. The Nazi gas chamber is alleged to have physically existed; yet no one can provide us with a representation of it! This gas chamber is immaterial and magical. Nobody, and above all, not J.-C. Pressac in his work with the misleading title, has been able in a half-century to provide us with a photograph, a blueprint or a model. The rare attempts in that direction have ended in failure. In their works, such men as Poliakov, Wellers, Hilberg or Pressac have not dared -- and for a good reason -- to reproduce a complete photograph of the alleged "gas chambers" which tourists can visit in certain concentration camps. Nor do they reproduce the large mock-up which tourists can see at the Auschwitz Museum's Block 4, for they know that this is but a grotesque trick. Thus, the challenge I have made to the adepts of the "Holocaust" religion for decades remains the same: "I will be prepared to believe in the Nazi gas chamber, the central pillar of the 'Holocaust' religion, on the day you can describe 'a single one of those gas chambers' to me." Sometimes I add: "But you are unable to do so. Those chemical slaughterhouses where, according to you, one could have entered with impunity to retrieve millions of bodies out of an ocean of hydrocyanic acid were a physical and chemical impossibility. One cannot describe or draw the alleged homicidal gas chamber of Auschwitz as one cannot describe or draw a square circle or a circular square."
Our age believes itself to be skeptical, believing only that which it sees. It claims to be the age of television. Yet it believes in a material thing of which it does not have the least material representation and never has a book, a movie or the television provided us with an image of this material thing. The best way to deceive the masses is by suggestion which entails auto-suggestion. Television cannot show or describe a Nazi gas chamber but it suggests the idea; for example, it shows a building and the commentary asserts: "Building containing a gas chamber"; or it settles for showing us a simple shower sprinkler and like Pavlovian dogs we are conditioned, lo and behold, "to see" a "gas chamber." Other times, our pity will be aroused over some "hair of the gassed", "suitcases of the gassed", "baby carriages of the gassed infants." Thus do we go from suggestion to auto-suggestion.
The myth of the gassing of civilians in enclosed places dates back to 1916; already, at that time, the Germans, Austrians or the Bulgarians were accused of gassing Serbian men, women and children. After the war, this myth was quickly overshadowed by the myth of the Belgian children having their hands crushed by uhlans; it vanished only to reappear twenty years later. This time the victims were no longer Serbs but Jews. And it is this myth, absurd and painful, that at the end of the 20th century is persistently imposed upon us.
In centuries past, people believed, likewise, in the devil, in his physical shape, in his pales and tenterhooks, in his shouts and in his smells. Tribunals, chaired by judges who reckoned themselves intelligent and enlightened, posited in principle (judicial notice!) that such was true, so obviously true that demonstrating it was unwarranted. Yet it was false. Smack in the middle of the 20th century, devilry came back and judges who thought themselves more intelligent and more enlightened than their predecessors of centuries past, posited in principle (judicial notice anew!) that the devilish Nazi gas chambers had indeed existed. In Toronto in 1988, Judge Ron Thomas took "judicial notice" of the "Holocaust" notwithstanding that this was the very issue at the core of the trial where the matter was one of determining whether Ernst Zündel was spreading false news or not when he distributed a piece of revisionist literature entitled Did Six Million Really Die?.
I was a witness to Ernst Zündel's judicial and extra-judicial calvary. This man is a heroic figure of our time. He honours the German people of whom he was born. He honours Canada where he came to settle. But Germany and Canada, without reason, work against him at the instigation of the leaders of the world Jewish community. It is a disgrace. As historian David Irving said so well: "The Jewish community have to examine their consciences. They have been propagating something that isn't true." (The Jewish Chronicle, London, 23 June 1989).
Under a simple exterior, Ernst Zündel has a visionary's depth. This peasant of Swabian origin, this artist, this businessman, casts a penetrating gaze on history, society, politics, institutions and men. In my article on his trials which I have already referred to, my conclusion had been the following:
Ernst Zündel had promised that his trial would be "the trial of the Nuremberg Trial" or "the Stalingrad of the Exterminationists." The unfolding of those two long trials proved him right, even though the jury, "instructed" by the judge to consider the Holocaust as an established fact "which no reasonable person can doubt," finally found him guilty. Zündel has already won. It remains for him to make it known to Canada and to the entire world. The media blackout of the 1988 trial was almost complete. Jewish organizations campaigned vigorously for such a blackout, and even went so far as to say that they did not want an impartial account of the trial. They did not want any account of it at all. The paradox is that the only publication which reported relatively honestly about the trial was the Canadian Jewish News.
Ernst Zündel and the Leuchter report have left a profound mark on history; both will be remembered for many years to come.
Today I would add that to me Ernst Zündel's fate appears both more tragic and more enviable than in 1988. It is even more tragic because I fear that the leaders of the world Jewish community will not leave any respite to a man of this breadth, able not only to discern what he calls truth, freedom and justice but also to struggle with so much skill and courage for that truth, that freedom and that justice. In a general way, I am pessimistic for the future of revisionists. But I am optimistic for the future of revisionism: the work initiated by Paul Rassinier and crowned by the brilliant work of the American Arthur Robert Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, has known, thanks to Ernst Zündel, such a great expansion that no obstacle will be able to impede its course. And it is in this sense that, notwithstanding everything, one can envy the fate of Ernst Zündel.
Foreword to Did Six Million Really Die? Report of the Evidence in the Canadian "False News" Trial of Ernst Zündel -- 1988, ed. by Barbara Kulaszka, Samisdat, Toronto, 1992.
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