How about denial that "gas chambers" existed? Here too, Mayer
makes a startling statement at page 362 of his book: "Sources for
the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable." Mayer
believes there is no question that gas chambers did exist at Auschwitz,
but points out that "[m]ost of what is known is based on the depositions
of Nazi officials and executioners at postwar trials and on the memory
of survivors and bystanders. This testimony must be screened carefully,
since it can be influenced by subjective factors of great complexity."
One example of this might be the evidence of Rudolf Hoess, one of the three
commandants of Auschwitz. At Nuremberg, the International Military Tribunal
quoted from Hoess' evidence at length in its judgment to support its findings
of extermination. But today, with the publication of the book Legions
of Death by Rupert Butler (Hamlyn Paperbacks, Great Britain, 1983),
it is now known that Hoess was beaten almost to death prior to making the
statements relied upon by the Nuremberg Tribunal. His wife and children
were threatened with the firing squad and with deportation to Siberia.
In Canada today, Hoess' statement would not be admissible in any court
of law. He claimed that an extermination camp called "Wolzek"
existed; it is now known there was no such camp. He claimed 2,500,000 people
were exterminated in Auschwitz and that a further 500,000 died of disease;
today, no historian can uphold these figures. It is obvious that Hoess
was willing to say anything, sign anything and do anything to stop the
torture and to try to save himself and his family.
Mayer also calls for "excavations at the killing sites and in their immediate environs..." to determine more about the gas chambers. Two such forensic studies have now been made. The first was conducted in 1988 by execution equipment consultant, Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., of Boston, Massachusetts. Leuchter was commissioned by Zündel during his 1988 "false news" trial to examine Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek to determine if the places alleged to have been gas chambers could in fact have been used as such. Leuchter's conclusion, based on examination of the alleged gas chambers and the analysis of samples taken from the walls and floors, was that the sites could not have been used and were not used as homicidal gas chambers. Analysis of the samples taken from the walls of the alleged gas chambers showed either no or extremely small traces (1.1 to 7.9 mg/kg) of cyanide, the chief component of Zyklon B, the insecticide allegedly used by the Nazis to murder the victims. A forensic examination and subsequent report commissioned by the Auschwitz Museum has confirmed Leuchter's findings that minimal or no traces of cyanide can be found in the sites alleged to have been gas chambers. The significance of this is evident when forensic examination of disinfection facilities at Auschwitz where Zyklon B was used to delouse mattresses and clothing, showed massive traces of cyanide (1050 mg/kg) in the walls and floor. The Auschwitz Museum still maintains that the sites were used as gas chambers, but obviously the results of these forensic reports has thrown the issue open to further investigation. In fact, further examinations are being planned by Polish authorities. A third study of the problem was made this year by the Austrian engineer Walter Lüftl. Lüftl called the alleged mass extermination of Jews in gas chambers "technically impossible." Lüftl is not a right-wing fanatic. He is the president of Austria's Chamber of Engineers and a respected expert witness in court cases.
So what will constitute "Holocaust denial"? Those who so vehemently advocate criminal prosecution of "Holocaust deniers" seem to be living still in the world of 1946 where the Nuremberg Tribunal has just given its judgment concerning what happened to the Jews during World War II. But the findings of the Nuremberg Tribunal can no longer be assumed to be valid today. Because it relied upon such questionable evidence, as that of Rudolf Hoess, more and more of its basic findings are being debunked. The courts of Canada are not the place to resolve historical debates. Why should the taxpayers of Canada in these recessionary times be handed yet another massive bill in the millions of dollars to finance historical debates in criminal courtrooms because some special interest group doesn't like someone's opinion? Whether it is politically correct or not, there is a growing controversy over what happened to the Jews during World War II. Let this matter be resolved as all other historical controversies are resolved: with free and open inquiry and debate in our journals, newspapers and classrooms.
GERMAN LAWS AGAINST HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM
In 1991, Fred Leuchter, an American expert in execution technology and
an expert witness at Zündel's 1988 "false news" trial in
Toronto, gave a lecture on his findings regarding the alleged gas chamber
installations at the concentration camps of Auschwitz and Majdanek to the
National Democratic Party headed by Günter Deckert. Deckert, bilingual
in both German and English, interpreted the lecture to attendees at the
meeting and subsequently sold videos of the lecture in Germany. Deckert
was later charged with inciting racial hatred by propagating Holocaust
In October of 1993, ten minutes before Leuchter was to appear as an invited guest on one of Germany's most popular TV talk show programmes, he was arrested at the television studios on charges of contravening the Auschwitz law and agitating the people. The police making the arrest told the show's shocked producer that "the decision to arrest Leuchter was political because his appearance on television would have damaged Germany's image."
In March of 1994, Germany's Federal Court of Justice overturned Deckert's conviction, holding that denying the Holocaust did not in itself constitute incitement to racial hatred. The court ordered a new trial for Deckert to determine whether Deckert sympathized with Nazi beliefs.
However, in April of 1994, the Supreme Court of Germany gave a contradictory ruling in another case stating that Holocaust revisionism fell within the purview of the law.
In the meantime, Deckert was tried again by a three judge panel who held that he was a Nazi sympathizer. However, the panel sentenced Deckert to only a suspended one-year jail sentence and a small fine on the grounds that he had only expressed an opinion that came from his heart, was a good family man, and was only trying to strengthen German resistance to incessant Jewish demands.
The Deckert case created a storm of controversy in the media which even created a new word in the German vocabulary - "Richterschelde" - which meant "admonishing judges." Prior to the Deckert case, this was extremely unusual and even illegal because German judges were supposed to be aloof from public criticism. Two of the judges sitting on the Deckert case were immediately relieved of their duties because of "long-term illness", the only ground upon which the German government could immediately remove them.
On appeal , the Federal Court of Justice quickly overturned this sentence and ordered another trial for Deckert.
In 1994, in response to the Deckert case and the pressure exerted by the Federation of Jewish Communities, Germany passed a new law making Holocaust revisionism in and of itself a criminal offence. A spokesman for the Federation of Jewish Communities of Germany, Michael Friedman, expressed the reason for the law: it was a highly symbolic move in the "democratic Germany that was established under the condition that it would accept responsibility for the history of the Third Reich and the Holocaust." Friedman expressed fury that Holocaust revisionism was not illegal in Canada., thus allowing Zündel to send revisionist information into Germany. (Globe & Mail, May 21, 1994)
International human rights groups have protested the anti-Holocaust revisionist laws in Germany. The distinguished legal authority on human rights, Ronald Dworkin, wrote an article entitled "The unbearable cost of liberty" published in the Index on Censorship in 1995 dealing with the Leuchter and Deckert cases. He wrote:
"The German Constitution guarantees freedom of speech. What justifies this exception? It is implausible that allowing fanatics to deny the Holocaust would substantially increase the risk of fascist violence in Germany. Savage anti-Semitic crimes are indeed committed there, along with equally savage crimes against immigrants, and right-wing groups are undoubtedly responsible for much of this. But these groups do not need to deny that Hitler slaughtered Jews in order to encourage Hitler worshippers to attack Jews themselves. Neo-Nazis have found hundreds of lies and distortions with which to inflame Germans who are angry, resentful and prejudiced. Why should this one be picked out for special censorship, and punished so severely?"
Dworkin warned that:
"We must not endorse the principle that opinion may be banned when those in power are persuaded that it is false and that some group would be deeply and understandably wounded by its publication...The Muslim fundamentalists who banned Salman Rushdie were convinced that he was wrong, and they, too, acted to protect people who had suffered deeply from what they took to be outrageous insult...Beware principles you can trust only in the hands of people who think as you do."
Human Rights Watch/Helsinki dealt with the German anti-Holocaust revisionist laws in its 1995 publication "Germany for Germans: Xenophobia and Racist Violence in Germany." After reviewing Germany's laws and recent cases such as Deckert and Althans, it stated:
"Human Rights Watch/Helsinki acknowledges that the tragedy of the Holocaust is the historical context in which such laws were adopted. We also recognize that, by more rigorously enforcing these laws, the German government has underscored the seriousness with which it views the danger posed by right-wing extremists. Nevertheless, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki believes that such measures seriously restrict the protected right to freedom of expression, association and assembly. We are mindful of the fact that international human rights law provides different and conflicting standards in this area and base our position on a strong commitment to freedom of expression as a core principle of human rights. (...)
Certainly those whose expressive activities constitute a direct and immediate incitement to violence can and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. But sweeping restrictions that affect entire parties, organizations or philosophies inevitably cast too broad a net; they can be used to suppress dissenting political movements of all sorts and often encourage gratuitous restrictions beyond those initially foreseen. (...)
Our own research has shown that such restrictions are often misused by majoritarian governments against minorities. It is our view that it is inherently dangerous for governments to have the power to determine which political philosophies are 'threatening'; power that invites abuse against political foes." (pp. 70-77)
APPENDIX IV THE OFFICIAL PERSECUTION OF ERNST ZÜNDEL IN CANADA A CHRONOLOGY
(This ban was instigated by Sabina Citron of the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association and Simon Wiesenthal of Austria. The ban was made on the grounds that Zündel was using the mails to "incite hatred" against Jews. The Board of Review restored Zündel's mailing privileges on the grounds that his writings did not constitute "hatred.")
Postal ban imposed*****November 13, 1981
Board of Review Hearings held*****February 22, 23, 24, March 11, 12, 1982
Revocation Order restoring mailing privileges issued*****November 15, 1982
CRIMINAL "FALSE NEWS" CHARGES LAID BY SABINA CITRON
(Citron laid two charges alleging Zündel had "spread false news" about the Holocaust in the book "Did Six Million Really Die?" and about Jews and bankers in "The West, War and Islam." The charges were later taken over by the Crown.) Private Charge laid*****November 18, 1983
Held on*****June 18, 20, 21, 22, 26, 27 1984
Judge*****Provincial Court Judge W. P. Hryciuk
Formal indictment laid*****July 26, 1984
Trial Commenced*****January 7, 1985
Judge*****County Court Judge Hugh Locke
Length of trial*****9 days
Date of Conviction*****February 28, 1985
Date of Sentence*****March 25, 1985
Sentence imposed*****15 months plus probation for 3 years
Deportation Inquiry Ordered*****April 12, 1985
Deportation inquiry*****April 29, 1985
Deportation Order issued*****April 29, 1985
Notice of Appeal filed*****April 29, 1985
Immigration Appeal Board appeal heard*****June 25, 1987
Deportation order quashed as contrary to law*****July 7, 1987
FIRST APPEAL TO THE ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL
Appeal filed*****March 20, 1985
Appeal allowed*****January 23, 1987
CROWN APPLICATION FOR LEAVE TO APPEAL TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
Application for leave to appeal filed*****March 3, 1987
Application argued*****April 7, 1987
Application dismissed*****June 4, 1987
Attorney General Ian Scott announced second trial*****June 4, 1987
THIRD CHARGE LAID BY SABINA CITRON OF FALSE NEWS (RE "RADIO NOON" TALK SHOW ON CBC NETWORK ON JANUARY 30, 1987)
Private charge laid for comments on talk show*****August 25, 1987
Charge withdrawn by Crown*****September 18, 1987
APPLICATION TO INTERVENE BY SABINA CITRON AND THE CANADIAN HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE ASSOCIATION (Citron and the CHRA applied to intervene in the second trial for the purpose of ensuring that the trial judge took judicial notice of the "Holocaust.")
Motion to intervene*****December 22, 1987
Motion denied*****December 22, 1987
SECOND TRIAL ON "FALSE NEWS" CHARGE
Trial Commenced*****January 18, 1988
Judge*****District Court Judge Ronald Thomas
Length of trial*****61 days
Date of Conviction*****May 11, 1988
Date of Sentence*****May 13, 1988
SECOND APPEAL TO ONTARIO COURT OF APPEAL
Appeal filed*****May 11, 1988
Appeal heard (Brooke, Morden & Galligan)*****September 18-22, 1989
Appeal dismissed*****February 5, 1990
APPEAL TO SUPREME COURT OF CANADA
Application for leave to appeal filed*****February 7, 1990
Leave granted to appeal*****November 15, 1990
Appeal allowed; Zündel acquitted*****August 27, 1992
CRIMINAL COMPLAINT LAID BY THE CANADIAN JEWISH CONGRESS AGAINST ZÜNDEL FOR "INCITING HATRED" (The CJC filed a 71 page brief with police alleging that Zündel had "incited hatred" in comments made in media interviews after his acquittal by the Supreme Court of Canada. Included in the brief was the book "Did Six Million Really Die?".)
Complaint laid with police against Zündel*****August 31, 1992
Police refuse to lay charges on grounds that Zündel's
comments did not constitute "inciting hatred"*****March 5, 1993
CANADIAN JEWISH CONGRESS PUBLICALLY CALLS FOR ZÜNDEL TO BE CHARGED FOR "INCITING HATRED" (The CJC called for the Ontario Attorney General to prosecute Zündel for the film "Profession: Neonazi" aired on TVO television network)
CJC call for prosecution*****March 29, 1995
FOURTH AND FIFTH CHARGES LAID BY SABINA CITRON (These charges alleged conspiracy to "incite hatred" against Jews and "criminal defamatory libel" of named Jewish individuals including Deborah Lipstadt, Simon Wiesenthal, Beate Klarsfeld, Rabbi Cooper, Michael Berenbaum. The charges were supported by the Canadian Jewish Congress which filed a 200 page brief in support of the prosecution.)
Private charge *****November 7, 1995
First Appearance*****December 19, 1995
Second Appearance (scheduled for)*****February 9, 1996
Charges withdrawn by Crown because of insufficient evidence to support charges*****March 15, 1996
This chronology does not include the numerous court and harassment actions taken by the German and Austrian governments against Zündel since 1980 when the German government illegally seized Zündel's bank accounts and his passport.
It should also be noted that during most of the seven years from his first "false news" conviction in 1985 to his acquittal in 1992, Zündel was under a sweeping gag order as part of his bail conditions as follows:
"Not publish directly or indirectly by publishing or speaking in public anything in support of or in furtherance of the views and assertions of fact expressed in the publication that is the subject of the appellant's conviction."
This order prevented Zündel from speaking about the policy and actions of Nazi Germany regarding the Jewish people in Europe during World War II, revisionism or any matter contained in "Did Six Million Really Die?" for seven years.