The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Holocaust Denial Today
Manuel Prutschi, Canadian Jewish Congress

In Switzerland there is Mariette Paschoud, a teacher at a high school in Lausanne. In August 1986, at a press conference in Paris, she denied that there had been any gassing of Jews in the Second World War. She has been stripped of her history course but she still remains in school teaching French. Students went on a city-wide protest feeling that the authorities had been over-lenient.

In Germany there is the case of Wilhelm Staeglich, formerly a Hambourg judge with a doctorate from the University of Goettingen. In 1981 he published The Auschwitz Myth. He was stripped of his doctorate, fined ten percent of the salary he had received as a judge since 1981, and authorities have banned his book.

Sweden provided the example of Ditlieb Felderer. In April, 1983 he was convicted of hatemongering and underwent court- ordered psychiatric treatment. It seemed to have been of no avail, since he also twice testified in Zundel's defence.

In England there is the case of Richard Hawood or Richard Verrall. He was the editor of the neo-Nazi National Front's magazine Spearhead. He authored the pamphlet "Did Six Million Really Die?", for whose publication and distribution in Canada Zundel has been twice convicted under the "false news" section of the Criminal Code. It was first published in 1974 by "Historical Review Press" which was owned by R.F. Beauclair. Beauclair is an ex chairman of the Racial Preservation Society, which subsequently merged with the National Front.

More notorious than Harwood/Verrall however is David Irving. He is an ultra-nationalist Englishman with fascist sympathies. He is a prolific writer of popular, as opposed to scholarly, historical works - dozens of them.

In The Destruction of Dresden, Irving declared that the Allies were as bad as the Nazis in the commission of atrocities against civilians. In Hitler's War he argued that Hitler neither ordered nor knew about the destruction of the Jews. He in fact offered a reward of one-thousand pounds to anyone who could produce a written Hitler order to annihilate the Jews. Until recently David Irving, in what he wrote or said publicly, had gingerly straddled the line between legitimacy and illegitimacy. However he never has been coy about the company he kept. He has attended conferences at the Holocaust denying Institute for Historical Review, for instance. At one convention he is quoted as proclaiming that "Hitler was probably the biggest friend the Jews had in the Third Reich, certainly at least when the war broke out."

Irving, at long last, chose to come out of the Holocaust denial closet at the second Zundel trial. In the closing moments of the case for the defence he was brought out as a "surprise" witness and he openly declared himself for the Holocaust denier that he really is.

Under vigorous cross-examination Irving was confronted with what he himself had written ten years earlier in his book, Hitler's War. In that work Irving did not deny the Holocaust - far from it. In fact he outlined in detail its extent and its horrors, ascribing it to Heinrich Himler [sic] and his subordinates but insisting that Hitler was ignorant of it. Repeatedly, when faced by the Crown with passages from that book which asserted the reality of the Holocaust, Irving monotonously countered that "He believed then but he no longer believed now." When he was asked whether he had done any research in the last ten years in this field which led him to change his mind, he candidly admitted that he had not. When pressed further, as evidence for his turnaround, he cited the Leuchter "report".

Fred Leuchter is a self-confessed expert in "execution hardware" whom Ernst Zundel found in the United States, and recruited to go to Auschwitz for him to collect samples of the soil and off the walls of the gas chambers. Zundel and Leuchter had this soil "analyzed" and then, in a "report", presented "findings" which suggested no evidence for gassing at Auschwitz. Irving would have seen this worthless "report" no earlier than forty-eight to twenty-four hours before he took the stand. Yet he pointed to it as a significant influence in changing his mind away from what he had written about the Holocaust ten years earlier, in Hitler's War. If Irving had any credibility as a historian, the a-historical and indeed anti-historical way in which he dealt with the facts of the Holocaust while testifying, under oath, in the Zundel trial reduced his credibility to zero.

Irving frequently visits Canada on cross-country tours sponsored by various radical right groups.

In the United States there is the case of Harry Elmer Barnes. He died in 1968 at the age of 79. He was responsible for translating Rassinier into English.

The original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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