From _Skeptic_ vol. 2, no. 4, 1994, pp. 58-70.
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GIVING THE DEVIL HIS DUE: HOLOCAUST REVISIONISM AS A TEST CASE FOR
FREE SPEECH AND THE SKEPTICAL ETHIC
By Frank Miele
_The exchange between Sir Thomas More, stalwart of due process in
Robert Bolt's play_ A Man for All Seasons, _and the younger and
zealous Roper, epitomizes the argument advocates of open inquiry have
presented in many lands at many times (Act 1, Scene 6):
Roper: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law.
More: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to
get after the Devil?
Roper: I'd cut down every law in England to do that.
More: Oh? And when the last law was down--and the Devil turned
round on you--where would you hide? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of
law, for my own safety's sake._
The revisionist assertion that the Holocaust (the Nazi persecution
of European Jewry culminating in the intentional mass genocide of five
to six million) is a snare and a delusion foisted upon the rest of
society by powerful Zionist Jews is generated by only a handful of
scholars and propagandists at a few fringe organizations. Despite
fears and claims to the contrary, it is taken seriously by only a
small percentage of the American population. (I use the term
"revisionist" rather than "denier" because that is the term these
individuals use; just as newspapers use "Pro-Choice" and "Pro-Life."
Likewise, I do not use the term "exterminationist," by which the
revisionists often designate their opponents.) According to the most
recent Gallup poll on the subject, when asked directly, "Do you doubt
that the Holocaust actually happened or not?" only 9% said yes and 4%
said they were unsure (Morin, 1994). The Gallup organization explained
the discrepancy between the low level of support for Holocaust
revisionism found in their poll and the much higher level (22%
doubters; 12% unsure) in the Roper poll commissioned by the American
Jewish Committee, as resulting from the different wording, especially
the use of a double negative in the Roper question.
Denying or even doubting the Holocaust has the same effect on Jews
(and others) as would burning an American flag in front of a VA
hospital filled with disabled war veterans. To many, it's yelling
"liar!" at a crowded gas chamber. And in countries other than the
U.S., it's a criminal offense for which violators can do hard time in
Should skeptics take the claims of Holocaust revisionists seriously
or simply write them off as yet another product of the lunatic fringe?
And, do the claims of the Holocaust revisionists have any historical
merit? So asked Michael Shermer in a recent issue of _Skeptic_, in the
process of identifying the concept of pseudohistory, the fraternal
twin of pseudoscience (Shermer, 1993). Shermer's essay in this issue
provides a detailed analysis of these questions. Tom McIver's article
specifically compares revisionism with creationism and argues that
they share underlying racist assumptions. What I shall examine is how
Holocaust revisionism provides a useful test case for the skeptical
ethic, our views on freedom of inquiry and expression, academic
freedom and responsibility, and the extent to which the "received
version" of history is enforced as an article of faith, to be
questioned only at the loss of one's reputation, job, or even personal
The Russian language emigre newspaper, _Russkaia Mysl'_ ("La Pensee
Russe"), once described how in the former Soviet Union what began as a
criminal charge became just another part of the day to day operation
of government: "Censorship, which began as a judicial term, became an
In the United States, the First Amendment protects the right of
every citizen to question the very existence of the Holocaust (or of
Pearl Harbor, the moon walk, the death of Elvis, or anything else for
that matter). According to FBI Director Louis Freeh, "no matter how
despicable, it's protected by the 1st Amendment." (Shanker, 1993,
That is not the case elsewhere in the world. In Canada, anti-hate
and pornography statutes and the law against spreading "false news"
have been used against Holocaust revisionists. In France it is illegal
to contest the existence of any of the crimes against humanity as
defined by the Nuremberg Military Tribunal. In Germany it is against
the law to "defame the memory of the dead." Similar laws are on the
books in Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy, Sweden and Israel.
Mark Weber, editor of the _Journal of Historical Review_ (the
official organ of revisionists) is presently compiling a detailed list
of anti-revisionist laws and criminal prosecutions. He, along with
Zundel, Irving, and Faurisson, supplied me with information on these
laws (as well as considerably more material despite being told in
advance that the resulting essay could be critical of their
positions). No one disputes the existence of these laws. Indeed, the
most prominent critics of the claims of Holocaust revisionists,
Deborah Lipstadt, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, and Michael Shermer, have
_publicly stated they oppose laws that criminalize revisionism_.
(Lipstadt, 1993, p.17; Vidal-Naquet, 1992, pp. 71-71; Shermer, 1994,
This can be an especially difficult philosophy to live by, with the
most extreme proponents of Holocaust revisionism--those who have
not-so-hidden anti-Semitic agendas. A classic example is Francis
Parker Yockey's _Imperium: The Philosophy of History and Politics_,
written under the Irish-Viking-Russian nom-de-plume of Ulick Varange
and dedicated to Adolf Hitler. Yockey, who originally worked for the
War Crimes Tribunal, but then quit, was one of the earliest Holocaust
revisionists. _Imperium_ was republished by Noontide Press, the
publishing arm of IHR. The 1992 IHR catalogue describes _Imperium_ as,
"a sweeping historico-philosophical treatise in the Spenglerian mold
and a clarion call to arms in defense of Europe and the West." This
"prophetic masterwork brought its author a martyr's death" (p. 11).
According to Lipstadt (p.147), Yockey had a history of paranoid
behavior and committed suicide by taking a cyanide capsule while in
prison on a passport violation. Yockey claims Darwinian evolution
amounts to the "materialistic animalization of Culture-man." Species,
he tells us, do NOT evolve. They arise spontaneously and disappear
just as magically. Needless to say, "parasites" (that is, Jews,
Negroes, and Communists) come off even worse in his view than does
Darwin (McIver, 1988, Entry #1829a).
In Yockey's league is the self-described former Marxist (now
unclassifiable political extremist) Lyndon LaRouche, and his wife
Helga Zepp LaRouche. Her _Hitler Book_ argues along the lines of
creation scientists that Darwinism is the origin of Hitlerism, both of
which the LaRouches despise (McIver entry #1841). In addition to
having revealed the Queen of England as the Godmother of the
International Drug Trade, LaRouche and his followers have resolved the
wave-particle duality, uncovered a 3,000-year old conspiracy against
humanity, discovered the critical error in the thinking of "capitalist
reformer" Karl Marx, rendered all previously existing economic systems
meaningless, and conceived the strategic defense initiative (LaRouche,
1979a, 1979b, 1980, 1983). Amidst all these claims, the LaRouches have
also dismissed the Holocaust as "mythical" and "a swindle" (King,
Conspiracy theories interpret history as governed by "demonic
forces of almost transcendent power." They have a long history in the
United States and are equally at home among both right- and
left-wingers (Hofstadter, 1965, p. 29). Among those fingered as the
evil ones: the Illuminati, the Knights of Malta, the Masons, the Jews,
the Crypto-Jews, the Cosmopolitans, the Abolitionists, Slaveholders,
the Catholics, the Communists, the Nazis, the neo-Nazis, the
Bilderbergers, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral
Commission, the Warren Commission, the World Wildlife Fund, the
International Monetary Fund, the New Agers, and the list goes on.
Not all Holocaust revisionists are conspiracy theorists. Mark
Weber, in fact, is redirecting the IHR away from both conspiratorial
thinking and overt anti-Semitic leanings, in an effort to lead the
movement into the mainstream of historical scholarship. In this
process they must also distance themselves from some of the more
extreme revisionists. The best known cases of prosecution of Holocaust
revisionists reveal a lot about both the social movement of
revisionism and the unwillingness of some countries to grant them the
freedom to revise certain histories.
Playing With Fire
A Canadian resident but German citizen, Ernst Zundel is the most
outspoken and visible advocate of Holocaust revisionism. He is,
interestingly (especially for skeptics) also the author of _UFO's:
Nazi Secret Weapons?_, which has sold out seven underground printings.
The book argued that what are usually described as flying saucers from
outer space are actually Nazi secret weapons, still being launched
from a hole in the ice in Antarctica. This may be why he jokingly told
me in an early phone conversation to realize that I was dealing with
the "real lunatic fringe." In a later phone conversation, Zundel told
me that the UFO book was in fact a ploy. "I realized that North
Americans were not interested in being educated. They want to be
entertained. The book was for fun. With a picture of the Fuhrer on the
cover and flying saucers coming out of Antarctica it was a chance to
get on radio and TV talk shows. For about 15 minutes of an hour
program I'd talk about that esoteric stuff. Then I would start talking
about all those Jewish scientists in concentration camps, working on
these secret weapons. And that was my chance to talk about what I
wanted to talk about."
"In that case," I asked him, "do you still stand by what you wrote
in the UFO book?" I asked. "Look," he replied, "it has a question mark
at the end of the title."
While some Holocaust revisionists operate quietly and seek outlets
in academic or academic-like journals, Zundel unleashes an avalanche
of newsletters, audio cassettes, stickers, radio and TV broadcasts.
The sheer volume of his output would be the envy of any political
campaign manager or television evangelist. His tone, however, in
person, phone conversations, audio cassettes (which open with a
trumpet fanfare that sounds like a 40's Movietone newsreel) is almost
always calm and didactic.
During a recent visit to German-American friends in the San
Francisco Bay Area, Zundel surprised me with a phone call and invited
me over for a lengthy and wide ranging discussion and interview. The
word "Zundel," I found out, comes from the same root as "zundeln"--to
play with fire. The word, he explained, can have the connotation of
either a spark plug (that which ignites something for a desired
purpose) or someone running irresponsibly through the haystacks. "A
Jewish woman psychic told me that in my previous incarnation [he meant
it figuratively] at a convention where I was peddling my UFO book that
this was a very powerful name. Something that can spark a revolution.
Like 'Iskra'" (in Russian, "the spark," the title of one of Lenin's
Zundel was born in Germany in 1939, and his earliest memories while
growing up in a small village in the Black Forest are of the sound of
the Allied bombing raids and of waking up frightened, cold and
shivering, even in summer. Zundel said he has no memories whatsoever
of Jews from his days in Germany. He did not meet his first Jew until
he was 19 years old and living in Canada. There he met and married a
French Canadian girl and became a successful commercial artist,
specializing in photo retouching, (which he found to be a most
profitable line of work). He paints in a style he likens to that of
Andrew Wyeth, and has sold over 700 paintings to buyers around the
world, 80% of whom he estimates were Jews, a fact he apparently thinks
is important for us to know.
When discussing his work as a commercial artist, Zundel told me
that he had never employed a salesman, but acted as his own salesman
and used lunches and dinners to combine business with pleasure. I have
worked with a fair number of salesmen over the years and Zundel is as
good as any I have met. His introduction is pleasant and filled with
stories and self-deprecating humor. He quickly reverses himself in
order to agree with his interlocutor on anything that is not critical
to his "game plan" Without making a written note, he remembers any
points that seem either to test the credulity or win support of his
interviewer and at convenient breaks produces supporting documentation
from his "briefing book" (a huge three-ring binder, similar to a
salesman's pitchbook). And he has his pitch down cold. I feel sorry
for any opponent who goes up against Zundel unprepared.
Zundel will dangle a reference to UFO's or the wisdom of the
ancient Atlanteans. If it has no effect, he just moves on. If it
elicits skepticism, he blows it off with a jovial "for whatever it's
worth." Given our early conversation on the UFO book, I'm still not
sure whether Zundel really believes any of this esoteric stuff or
whether he's just learned how effective pushing hot buttons is in
grabbing the media spotlight and perhaps bringing in donations.
"It's a lot like operating a church" he explained. "We survive on
donations." He has, in fact, survived well enough to provide for his
own defense, assist others in the preparation of theirs, conduct a
research project to determine who was really behind the U.S.
internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II, and is
currently going to send a multilingual team to Europe to investigate
and interview the "enigmatic revisionist" and noted Russian
ultranationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky.
It is as a Holocaust revisionist that Zundel has become incendiary.
In 1983, Sabrina Citron, a Holocaust survivor and founder of the
Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association, placed a private complaint
against Zundel. Zundel claims that Citron was a loose cannon and that
her action was based upon the desire to raise her profile and status
in the Canadian Jewish community and that most members considered her
action counterproductive. Lipstadt agrees that "most Canadian Jewish
organizations did not support her decision" (p.157).
In 1984, the Canadian government initiated criminal proceedings
against Zundel based on Citron's complaint. Specifically, Zundel was
charged under section 177 (the false news section) of the Criminal
Code of Canada which provides that "every one who wilfully publishes a
statement, tale or news that he knows is false and that causes or is
likely to cause injury or mischief to a public interest is guilty of
an indictable offence and liable to imprisonment for a term of not
exceeding two years" (Samisdat, 1992, p.1). Zundel's actionable
behavior was publishing (not writing) two books: _The West, War, and
Islam_, and _Did Six Million Really Die?_ (Again that question mark at
the end of the title.)
The trial, during which he appeared in court wearing the now
familiar Zundel garb of a bullet-proof vest and a hardhat bearing the
motto, "Freedom of Speech" in both English and German, took place in
1985. Zundel was acquitted of the false news charge for _The West, War,
and Islam_, but convicted for _Did Six Million Really Die?_ He was
sentenced to 15 months in jail. That conviction was subsequently
overturned on appeal and a new trial ordered.
The second trial became a revisionist media event in which Zundel's
lawyer largely succeeded in putting the Holocaust, rather than his
client, on trial. Zundel was able to call leading revisionists
Faurisson, Leuchter, Irving, Weber and others as expert witnesses.
Zundel's company, Samisdat Publishers (1993) has printed a 566-page
summary of the testimony presented in that trial. ("Samisdat" is
derived from the Russian word for "self-publication" the way all
works, fact and fiction, had to be published unless they were
"officially approved" in the former Soviet Union.)
Zundel was again convicted, but the case worked its way up to the
Canadian Supreme Court, which struck down the publishing false news
statute as an unconstitutional violation of free speech (_B'nai B'rith
Covenant_, 1993, p. 7). Thus Ernst Zundel, self-described admirer of
der Fuhrer, became a civil libertarian hero of Canada.
Zundel is not, however, home free, as some Canadian Jewish groups
have initiated further action against him under the anti-hate
provisions of Canadian law. The German ambassador to Canada, Dr.
Guenther Sulimma, joined with them when he told a B'nai B'rith
luncheon in Canada that he would formally ask the Canadian government
to do what it could to stop Zundel from publishing Holocaust
revisionist materials (_B'nai B'rith Covenant_, p. 7).
Zundel has retaliated by filing his own anti-hate suit against
various Canadian Jewish groups, citing the statement by Elie Wiesel in
his book, _Legends of Our Time_: "Every Jew, somewhere in his being,
should set apart a zone of hate--healthy, virile hate--for what the
German personifies and for what persists in the German." (_Journal of
Historical Review_, 1993b, p. 16). To date no action has been taken by
the Canadian authorities.
Zundel's "game plan," as he calls it, is to "first, bring down
Jewish suffering in terms of numbers and events, both real and
imagined, to what it really was, not what they say it was, what they
exploit for their own political, financial, and geopolitical
purposes." When asked to be more precise, he estimated total Jewish
deaths from all causes under the Nazi regime as only about 300,000.
His second goal is to make the world look at German suffering and the
Allied brutality toward Germany and realize that both peoples were
"Suppose," I asked, "new evidence, either from the archives or from
scientific analysis, proves that you and the revisionists were really
right all along. What would change?"
"First," he replied "all the numbers would go down. It would be a
satisfying personal victory to know that I was right; that I had been
a trailblazer and an iconoclast. History would be rewritten and
corrected and I could get out of this stuff and get back to my life."
"What about aid to Israel?"
"I would cut it off immediately," he stated, as his voice shifted
from its usual avuncular tone to the more strident one he calls "the
eloquence of emergency." Israel, he says, is "a parasitic enterprise
and they don't deserve it. It wouldn't happen if it weren't for the
Holocaust. The Jews will have to give back the money to the Germans or
to the Palestinians and make restitution to the Germans. They must
apologize verbally and then financially. They got the money
illegitimately. It must be turned over to legitimate causes."
"Why go back in time?" I asked. "Why not just wipe the slate
In an even more strident tone he replied, "Why should we let
parasites and liars live with their loot? They took it from Egypt (a
reference to the Old Testament Exodus). They're not going to take it
from the Germans."
"Those are awfully strong words," I said, offering him a chance to
take them back were he to feel they were spoken in a moment of anger.
"They are strong words. After what I've suffered, the price I've
paid, I have the right to use strong words."
I gave him yet another chance. "You're comfortable being quoted on
"Absolutely. The Holocaust has become an enterprise based on
falsehoods and lies and they are promoting it criminally."
I asked Zundel what might have happened if in 1917, when both sides
had been putting out peace feelers, all sides had gone back to the
pre-World War I borders and there had been no Treaty of Versailles. He
replied that it was the Treaty of Versailles that created Hitler. The
Kaiser had offered to do that, but there wasn't peace in 1917 because
the Jewish political and financial interests manipulated the U.S. into
Realizing that in Zundel's view the Jews had a hand in everything,
I granted him that there was a Jewish lobby (or an Israeli lobby) and
that it was powerful. But how is what AIPAC does (the American Israel
Public Affairs Committee) different, quantitatively or qualitatively
from what the National Rifle Association does?
Zundel replied that they were totally different. The NRA was made
up of Americans concerned about their Second Amendment Rights. Zundel
told me he wasn't envious of Jewish power; he was alarmed by it.
Unlike the NRA or other lobbying groups, the Jewish lobby, he said,
works for a foreign power.
And at that moment Zundel's conspiratorial mind opened up. He
referred me to Francis Parker Yockey's book, _Imperium_, which shows
how the Jews have distorted and perverted the direction of Western
culture. He informed me that Jews lack what he called,
"fingerspitzengefuhl," which he translated from the German as "the
touch of the fingers." Throughout history this has derailed Jewish
enterprises. Since they didn't listen to Moses, Zundel doubted they'd
listen to him. They were on the path to becoming intellectual Baruch
Goldsteins (a reference to the American born Israeli West Bank settler
who recently gunned down defenseless Palestinians in a mosque). When I
asked what the result of their not heeding him would be, Zundel told
me massive pogroms were ahead.
"Suppose the evidence proves you're wrong. What will you then do?"
I asked. He replied "I'll spend my last money issuing apologies and
When asked if he could think of any definitive experiment that
could decide the gas chamber issue one way or the other Zundel offered
the macabre suggestion that someone build a gas chamber according to
what are alleged to be the plans, get DEGESH to supply the gas, fill
it with people, gas them and see if they in fact died. Since the U.S.
continues to execute people, we could also save some money in
conducting such an experiment.
Zundel's Judeophobia is clear enough. His Germanophilia is no less
potent. In our conversation he waxed eloquent about all of Hitler's
accomplishments. He believes that Europe is only now 50 years later
arriving where Hitler wanted it to be. Hitler, according to Zundel,
evolved from being a German ultranationalist, to a Pan German, to a
European. By the time the war ended, der Fuhrer had hit upon the idea
of a "Europa ethnica," in which each ethnic group could live
peacefully in its own little place. When I asked him if this was not
just so much propaganda to get Poles, Slovaks, and others to fight and
die to keep the Third Reich going just a little longer, Zundel
explained that I too was a victim of my limited American perspective.
Even if viewed from his perspective as a German ethnic activist, I
queried, was not Hitler more responsible than anyone for ruining
Germany and making Germans subservient to the Jews? "No," he stated.
"That would be blaming the victim! Hitler didn't bomb the German
cities. Hitler didn't fire the German university professors. Hitler
didn't . . . . " All this started to sound a little too much like
Franz Liebkind in Mel Brooks' _The Producers_: "Hitler was a better
dancer than Churchill. Hitler was a better singer than Churchill.
Churchill couldn't even say Nazi. He would say Naah-Zees, Bloody
In checking my notes before publication I called Zundel one more
time, by chance on April 2Oth, the 105th anniversary of the birth of
Adolf Hitler. He complained that the Canadian authorities had detained
him when he returned and tried to seize his notes and briefing book.
He told me he was celebrating Hitler's birthday "the way we Germans
like to--by hard work!"
Robert Faurisson, a professor of literature at the University of Lyon
2, has in a number of articles, argued that: (1) there never was a
preconceived German master plan to exterminate Jews; (2) no gas
chambers were ever in use in the Third Reich or its territories for
that purpose (those structures being, in fact, delousing chambers, as
is standard in POW camps and prisons); and (3) that the conventionally
accepted figure of six million Jewish deaths (including those from
disease and other "natural causes") is absurdly high.
For making these statements, Faurisson was first dismissed from his
academic post on grounds that should send shivers down the spine of
any civil libertarian: ". . . the authorities couldn't protect him
from his enemies" (Herman, 1993, p. 8). He was in fact physically
beaten rather severely by anti-revisionists. Faurisson, his
publishers, and supporters who have distributed or promoted his
materials have been tried, convicted, fined, and barred from holding
any government jobs (_Le Monde_, 19 September 1983).
The convictions were under the Fabius-Gayssot law of 1990, largely
written with the express intent of criminalizing Faurisson's
revisionist activities, which should also raise civil libertarian
eyebrows. That law makes it a criminal offense "to contest by any
means the existence of one or more of the crimes against humanity as
defined by Article 6 of the Statutes of the International Military
Tribunal, attached to the London Agreement of August 8, 1945,
committed either by the members of an organization declared criminal
in application of Article 9 of the same Statutes, or by a person held
guilty of such a crime by a French or international jurisdiction."
Any meaningful appeal of those verdicts is therefore impossible
under French law. Faurisson and his supporters have been restricted in
court from mentioning "gas chambers" (ostensibly, the existence of
which they were convicted of questioning) and have been denied
government jobs. _Le Choc du Mois_ ("The Shock of the Month") had to
cease operation because of the fines it repeatedly incurred in
publishing Faurisson's work.
The Leuchter Protocol
For years, Fred Leuchter (who described himself as an "engineer,"
though he does not possess an engineering degree) made his living
developing, selling, and servicing execution devices. _The Execution
Protocol: Inside America's Capital Punishment Industry_ (Trombley,
1992), contains a sympathetic portrait of Leuchter in his
pre-revisionist days. Lipstadt (1993) offers a scathing evaluation of
Leuchter's professional competence, even before his venture into
Leuchter's involvement with Holocaust revisionism began when Zundel
called him as an expert witness as to the existence of gas chambers in
the Nazi concentration camps. Zundel's defense paid Leuchter $30,000
to perform an analysis on samples from the chambers, which Leuchter
obtained without the knowledge or consent of the Polish authorities.
This was strictly illegal.
According to the analysis performed by an independent laboratory on
the samples, Leuchter claimed, in the now famous "Leuchter Report,"
("An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Chambers at
Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek, Poland"), no gassing could have
taken place. (See Shermer's article for an analysis of this
controversy). The Leuchter Report became a revisionist international
best seller and Leuchter an overnight (and by his account, reluctant)
star of the movement. This produced a good deal of ill feeling for
Leuchter in certain circles.
In response, Serge and Beate Klarsfeld joined a local Massachusetts
survivors group and brought an action against Leuchter for practicing
engineering without a license. This statute had been previously
untested (Trombley, p. 88) and according to the figures supplied by
Zundel, less than 20% of the "engineers" practicing in Massachusetts
are so licensed. Like the Zundel trials, the Leuchter trial became a
Leuchter eventually signed a consent decree barring him from using
the title "engineer" (Trombley, p. 90). This was really academic. All
of his contracts with the various states have been terminated and,
according to Zundel, some states have reneged on outstanding invoices
so that Leuchter has been left holding the bag on some rather
In the tape interview distributed by Zundel (1993), Leuchter (whose
name in German, Zundel tells his listeners, means "illuminator,"
though "candelabra" is the preferred translation) tells his lawyer
Kirk Lyons, that his life is a shambles and his business is ruined.
Leuchter now exists on speaking fees from sympathetic revisionist
groups and working at odd jobs. He receives no royalties on the
Leuchter report. (Leuchter did not return any of my numerous phone
Leuchter gave a speech in Germany in 1991 based on the finding of
his report. He later returned to that country to appear as a guest on
the popular German TV program, _Schreinemakers_, to discuss capital
punishment. He was arrested in the TV studio before the program began
on "suspicion he would use the TV show to incite racism and to slander
the memory of Holocaust victims" (_Canada News_, 1993, p. 12).
Initially held without bail, he was subsequently released and is
now in the United States. Gunther Deckert, head of the right-wing
National Democratic Party of Germany set up the Leuchter speech and
served as translator. He was arrested and charged with "defaming the
dead" by translating and agreeing with Leuchter's arguments.
Leuchter's lawyer, Hajo Herrmann, was also placed under investigation,
though not formally charged, for having repeated Leuchter's arguments
during his client's bail proceeding (_Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger_, 1993, p.
In March of 1994, the German Federal Court of Justice (Germany's
highest appeals court) revoked Deckert's $6,000 fine and one year
suspended sentence. The court ordered a retrial of Deckert on the
grounds that it was "too much of an overgeneralization" to assume that
he had "attacked the dignity of the Jewish community in Germany by
claiming that the Holocaust had not occurred" and that a new trial
must prove that he was guilty of specifically "inciting racial hatred"
(_Boston Globe_, 1994, p. 6). This ruling should affect Leuchter's
trial, which will take place later this year.
If David Irving were an American baseball fan, he would turn off the
sound on the TV because he could not stand the announcers, and he
would read the box scores every morning without even looking at the AP
wire, let alone the big name columnists. When he decided to become
fluent in German, he did not take German 101 or order
"learn-a-language" tapes; he spent two years as a steel worker in
Irving goes about writing history in the same do-it-yourself
manner. He has no formal academic training in history. In fact, he
holds most academic historians in contempt. While they spend their
time reading each others' books, Irving avoids secondary and
interpretive sources and instead immerses himself in the archives,
going through diaries, correspondence, handwritten notes of the person
he's writing about, his staff and intimates.
Irving has written or is in the process of writing a book on most
of the major figures of World War II. When I reached him for a series
of telephone interviews he was going over the final draft of _Dr.
Irving's method of relying on only primary sources gives his books
a unique style and a very controversial impact. Some are more in the
form of a chronology than an interpretive summary. They often read
more like Joe Friday than Gibbon or Macaulay. And like a police
report, they contain firsthand information you will find nowhere else,
which is why they have been required reading at such places as West
Point, the Army War College at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, the British
Open University, and the Royal Institute of International Affairs.
Critics would argue that Irving's methodology is not only his
strength, but his greatest weakness. The mildest criticism would be
that in his avoidance of secondary and interpretive sources, his
reader loses any sense of context and is unable to see the forest for
all the (unearthed) trees.
A stronger criticism would be that after providing a mass of
details, Irving seizes upon some "zinger" as support for some
controversial thesis and thereby guarantees publicity and sales. When
I asked Irving if he thought this criticism had any merit, he answered
that if he discovers "zingers as you call them," he documents them and
follows the evidence wherever it leads him; he does not manufacture
them. He also told me that certain forms of controversy hurt sales and
result in costly litigation.
The strongest criticism would be that Irving uses whatever he can
find in the mass of documents to support his own "mild fascist"
position. In 1979 he argued in _Hitler's War_ that not only was there no
evidence of a Fuhrer order for the extermination of the Jews, but that
Hitler himself did not know what was going on with respect to the Jews
(at least in the beginning). Since then his conclusions have
consistently moved in a revisionist direction that reduces the
culpability assigned to Germany in general and Hitler in particular,
both for starting the war and practicing genocide.
Irving told me that the oft-repeated characterization of him as a
"self-described mild Fascist" was neither fair nor accurate and was
based on a 1959 article that was "retracted immediately." He prefers
to describe himself as an "ultraconservative with socialist leanings."
As for reducing Nazi culpability, Irving stated that he has publicly
accepted every Nazi atrocity or crime for which he can find hard
Controversy and litigation are no strangers to Irving. But it was
only after his testimony in the Zundel trial that governments placed
criminal charges against him, that he was deported or denied entry,
and that his books were removed from stores and/or the stores
vandalized. He told me he realized that there was "a campaign to shut
me up" and that he "was up against an international organization with
considerable clout." I asked him to identify the organization, which
he did as "the traditional enemies of the truth."
In May, 1992, Irving told a German audience that the gas chamber
shown to tourists at Auschwitz was "a fake built after the war." In
June, 1992, he was coming to Rome from Moscow. When the plane landed,
it was surrounded by police and Irving was put on the next plane to
Munich. He was charged under the German law of "defaming the memory of
the dead" and fined 3,000DM. He appealed the conviction and on
subsequent appeals the conviction was upheld and the fine increased
first to 10,000 and then to 30,000DM, or about $20,000. (The German
legal system provides for increasing the penalty on appeal. Irving was
not the victim of extralegal tactics, nor has he ever claimed this).
In all his appeals, Irving was not allowed to call the director of the
Auschwitz museum as a witness to confirm his statement. (The Auschwitz
gas chamber is, in fact, a reconstruction built after the war. No one
at the Auschwitz museum denies this.)
Later that year, while in California, Irving received a letter from
the Canadian government saying that he would not be allowed into that
country because of the German conviction. He did enter Canada,
legally, in October, 1992, to receive the George Orwell award from a
conservative free speech organization. He was arrested by the Royal
Canadian Mounted Police, led away in handcuffs and told that he was
being deported on the grounds that he had been convicted of a criminal
offense in Germany and was likely to perform similar acts in Canada.
According to Irving, he had been to the country numerous times before
without even a traffic ticket.
At present he cannot legally enter Canada, Australia, New Zealand,
Italy, Germany, or South Africa. When he is allowed into certain
countries, the authorities sometimes present Irving with a list of
just what it is he is not allowed to say. The list can sometimes run
Irving feels he has also suffered professionally because of his
revisionist views. Waterstones and Dillon's (British book chains)
decided to keep Irving's books out of view after a number of their
stores had been vandalized (Brownlee, 1992). The German Federal
Archives in Coblenz, to which Irving has donated one ton of materials,
has denied him further access and he is demanding the return of his
materials. In March of 1994, Macmillan, the American publisher of
Irving's forthcoming book on Dr. Goebbels, rejected his final draft
and demanded the return of his (sizable) advance.
Irving's current position is that no one has offered proof (or now
even tries) to contradict his argument that there was no "Fuhrer
order;" that the total number of Jewish deaths should be reduced to a
figure below one million; that the Leuchter Report is firm evidence
against the existence of gas chambers which has been independently
confirmed; and that the number of gassings that may have taken place
in mobile vans or other experimental devices was at most an
insignificant percentage of the total deaths.
Having grown up in a mob town in New Jersey, I asked Irving why one
would even hope to find a written order, as such things usually take
the form of verbal commands: "Hey Vito, can you take care of that
thing for me?" Irving agreed that the "Godfather" method might well
have been the way it happened.
I suggested to Irving that Hitler's declaration of war on the
United States on December 10, 1941, was evidence that der Fuhrer
realized he would either win the war and have the history books
written the way he wanted, or lose completely, in which case he would
take as many of his enemies with him as he could. Given this mindset,
he probably encouraged Himmler to "take care of that Jewish thing."
Irving responded that such an interpretation did not contradict the
evidence and may well have been what happened. While going through the
Goebbels diaries he found that from about 1942 on Goebbels repeatedly
said things like "We have crimes on our book. We can't go back. We can
only go forward." I quoted Shakespeare's murderous Richard III (Act
IV, scene ii), "I am so far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.
Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye," which Irving thought fit
My conversations with Irving were quite different from those with
either Zundel or Mark Weber. Where Zundel struck me as a supersalesman
looking for a way to close, and Weber seemed like a therapist trying
to help me get over denial, Irving came across as the polished
professional, with immediate recall of a wealth of facts and figures
and little concern whether I agreed with him or not. This difference
became even more obvious when I asked Irving: "suppose the
revisionists are proven correct, what would change?" He responded,
"the press would immediately say, 'we knew it all along.'" He then
read his "Note for the Record," which he asks all journalists to sign
before interviewing him on the Holocaust:
Being a responsible journalist reporting for _______, I solemnly
affirm that I still believe in the existence during World War
Two of "gas chambers" and "factories of death" in which Nazis
killed millions of their opponents. Signed______ Print
_Alternatively_: signature declined, (signed)______
(Since I am acting as a journalist for _Skeptic_, here is how I
responded to Irving's note: "I neither affirm your note as provided,
nor decline to participate. Here's what, based on reading and
interviews, including you and revisionists, I presently think:
Millions of Jews died in Europe under the Nazis. Some died of disease,
overwork, brutality in the camps. Some were shot on the spot by
Einsatzgruppen and Nazi collaborators. Some were systematically killed
in the camps by methods that included gassing. I've found no 'hard'
percentages. I'll continue to believe this until and unless you or
someone else can convince me otherwise." Irving told me that I was the
second person to provide an alternative version. All others had simply
declined. None had signed.)
When I asked Irving what he would do if proven wrong, he again
offered a professional and unemotional reply. He said he'd move on to
something else, satisfied that he had argued the case well.
Where revisionism is a crusade for Zundel, for Irving it seems more
an intellectual battle royal. And when it's done and over, he believes
he'll be the last one standing and will take particular delight in
stepping over the bodies of the academics he has KO'd along the way.
Intellectually, Irving's extremely proud. He told me how, when he
was imprisoned in England for contempt of court arising out of a libel
action brought by Australian Jewish organizations, his fellow
prisoners, especially blacks, treated him with respect and dignity.
Irving is miffed that John Charmley is getting the credit for the
current wave of Churchill revisionism going on in Britain, when it was
he (Irving) who started it all. He's even more miffed that Vladimir
Zhirinovsky has taken Irving's place as the star speaker at right-wing
talkfests put on by the German publisher Gerhard Frey. He considers
Zhirinovsky an unstable lightweight who'll never be taken seriously,
and feels Frey has wasted his money bankrolling Zhirinovsky's
Irving enjoys taking chances and defending controversial positions
for the intellectual challenge. He doesn't like to be labeled or
pigeon-holed. He's currently working on a book on FDR, whom he found
to be an exceptionally capable war time leader who listened to his
generals, lost relatively few lives, "took us (Brits) for all we had,"
and made the U.S. a great power. He considers America's subsequent
wars (Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Panama) to have been counterproductive
and racist and thinks the American media have done a terrible job of
presenting the story to us. After likening the Gulf War to the
Holocaust, in October, 1991, he was thrown out of an Argentine TV
studio and all his lectures in that country were cancelled.
Down the Slippery Slope
Given the unpleasant nature of the subject matter and in many cases
the motivation, manner, and association (past, present, and probably
future) of Holocaust revisionists, one might accuse me of falling back
on the Slippery Slope argument. That argument contends that when
government invokes some compelling state interest to "trump" an
existing right for an unpopular minority, one sets in motion a process
that eventually undermines the rights of all. With respect to the
history of the Third Reich, the Slippery Slope argument takes the form
of Reverend Niemoeller's famous challenge to bystandars: "First they
came for the socialists, and I did not speak out--because I was not a
socialist. Then they came for the trade-unionists, and I did not speak
out--because I was not a trade-unionist.Then they came for the Jews,
and I did not speak out--because I was not a Jew. Then they came for
me--and there was no one left to speak for me."
I will go even further and argue that in the post-Cold War world
censorship in general is on the increase, not the decrease. And where
once "national security" could be invoked to deny basic civil rights
to dissidents, now preventing injury to some one's (or particularly
some group's) "self esteem" is the cry being used by one and all to
erode long established constitutional rights. A recent poll by the
_National Law Journal_ found 49% of Americans surveyed "say it would
be 'compelling' for a defendant to argue that fury as a result of
long-term, institutionalized racism, caused an individual to snap"
(Sherman, 1994, p. A19).
Related to anti-revisionism legislation, consider next the
unintended consequences of anti-pornography legislation. Canada has
led the free, industrial world in anti-porn laws. Indeed, the hate
speech laws used against Zundel are part of the same legislation. The
Canadian Supreme Court has expanded the definition of pornography "to
include depictions of sex that degrades or exploits women or other
groups." The result--customs officials have gone on a rampage of
seizing books that include scenes of rape, bestiality, child sex, sex
with family members (even if not genetically related) or _even if such
acts are just implied_! The same customs service memo also covers
"hate propaganda," defined in the memo to include "material blaming
any specific group for economic problems or for manipulating the
media" (Lyall, 1993, p. A6).
According to Lyall's story in _The New York Times_, "hundreds of
books, magazines, and newspapers have been detained, often for months
at a time, or banned outright." The most frequent targets of such
seizures have not been 24-hour hard-core porn shops filled with
inflatable dolls and misogynistic "stroke books," but gay and lesbian
books and magazines, small publishers, and small (often gay and
lesbian) proprietorship bookstores--one quarter of Canada's feminist
bookstores according to the National Coalition Against Censorship
(1993b, p. 1).
Well-known feminists Andrea Dworkin and Catherine MacKinnon have
argued that pornography by its very nature constitutes violence
against women, and must therefore be banned. It is perhaps the
ultimate vindication of the Slippery Slope argument to point out that
their works are among those that have been seized (NCAC, 1993a, p. 4)!
And based on the examples Dworkin provides of just what it is she is
against, they would have to be. By like reasoning, Deborah Lipstadt's
book, and this issue of _Skeptic_, for that matter, could be seized on
the grounds that we have, by way of summary, repeated the arguments of
the Holocaust revisionists and some simple soul out there could
conceivably be won over by them.
Along these lines, a librarian in Montana recently was fired
because "she assisted two seventh-grade girls with their research by
giving them information from encyclopedias and lending them two books
of her own after making sure that they had their parents' and
teacher's approval" (Hoffman, 1994, p. A23). The subject was not
revisionism, but the Salem witchcraft trials (though the study of the
government suppression of witchcraft could be classified as feminist
revisionist history). The West Valley School Board of Trustees in
their press release argued that Ms. Denzer was only a "library aide"
and that while the two books in question contained "graphic text and
pictures depicting atrocities toward women," they contained "only a
few pages of information" or "no references" to the Salem witch trials
(West Valley School Board, 1994). Apparently the West Valley School
Board sees no value in background research. Since the Bill of Rights
does not explicitly mention the Salem witchcraft trials, I guess
students at West Valley should not request a copy of it either. As to
protecting school children from the harmful effects of "graphic
depictions of atrocities," the school board should perhaps feel
compelled to speak with Zundel before allowing any pupils to see
Librarians are in fact duty bound by American Library Association
policy "to obtain requested material without regard to bias or
personal judgment" (Hoffman, p. A23). A decision by the U.S. First
Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that Holocaust revisionist materials
be treated in "a reasonable and nondiscriminatory manner, equally
applicable to all and administered with equality to all" (Polish
Historical Society News Release 1993). As some feminists consider
witchcraft trials the "women's holocaust," the school board's actions
have the effect of not only violating the rights of revisionists but
of simultaneously "denying a holocaust," a punishable offense in other
Regarding the use of law to restrict and prohibit Holocaust
revisionism, the skeptical ethic can do no better than to follow the
counsel given by Thomas Jefferson: "If a sect arises, whose tenets
would subvert morals, good sense has fair play, and reasons and laughs
it out of doors, without suffering the state to be troubled by it"
(Jefferson, 1964, p.154). He noted that when "reason and experiment"
are employed, "error" flees before them. "It is error alone that needs
the support of government. Truth can stand by itself" (p. 153).
If the skeptical ethic is clear on anything it is that individuals
should not be subjected to government force (that is, arrest,
imprisonment, fines) simply for what they believe, say, or write,
rather than for what they do. It is perhaps as good a definition of
dictatorship (as opposed to rule of law) as any that individuals are
prosecuted (and persecuted) not for what they have actually done, but
for what unspecified actions they or others influenced by them (also
unspecified) _might_ perform at some unspecified future time.
The quashing of the false news law by the Canadian Supreme Court in
the Zundel case, and the demand for retrial on the grounds of
overgenerality by the German Appeals Court in the Deckert case,
indicate that the courts in the countries that do have
anti-revisionist laws are moving in the direction of the skeptical
ethic and of Thomas Jefferson. They are also acting in the spirit of
those sections of the Helsinki Accords that deal with freedom of
travel, personal contact, and communication (Lawson, 1991, pp.
717-719). To date, the most effective and respected revisionist has
been the Israeli high court, which in effect threw out both survivor
testimony and documentation from government archives that were
introduced as evidence by the prosecution when they acquitted John
Can There Be
Valid Holocaust Revisionism?
If the Holocaust is to be treated as a historical event, rather than
an article of religious faith, it must be subjected to continued,
critical revision, and treated no differently than the Battle of
Waterloo or any other historical event. As Eatwell (1992) points out,
the defining characteristic of serious revisionism, as opposed to
propagandistic denial, is that the former serves to broaden debate,
the latter to narrow it. Valid revisionism provides information on
which others may reach different conclusions, rather than confirmation
and reconfirmation of a predefined (though contrarian) point of view.
In doing so, valid revisionism raises more questions than it
answers. Among those noted by Eatwell regarding the Holocaust are
"detailed questions about the procurement of transport for the Jews .
. . general questions about the Nazi regime, whether the system was
truly totalitarian, or whether it was more chaotic and fragmented than
has generally been assumed . . . sweeping issues, such as the question
of human nature, or the concept of progress" (1992, p. 143).
One of the important matters raised by historians is the debate
between "functionalists" who believe the Holocaust "just evolved," and
"intentionalists" who contend that exterminations were planned very
early on (see Marrus, 1987, pp. 34-48). Irving's archival research
satisfies Eatwell's criterion. It was, in fact, Martin Broszat's
critique of Irving's _Hitler's War_ that moved the
functionalist-intentionalist debate from academic circles into broader
public debate (Marrus, p. 40).
Even Zundel, who sparks more heat than light and is often
deliberately inflammatory, did get the "false news" law struck down
and thus extended the civil rights of all Canadians. The summary of
the second Zundel trial, produced by Zundel's Samisdat Press, provides
a bibliography and an index in addition to the testimony and is a
Lipstadt, one of the severest critics of Holocaust revisionists,
notes that Jean-Claude Pressac was at first impressed by Faurisson's
"seemingly vast array of knowledge" and "began to meet with him on a
regular basis" (p.175). It was only after Pressac studied Faurisson's
work and then rejected it that he produced his own work, which
Lipstadt and others believe so effectively destroys the revisionist
argument on the gas chambers.
"The problem of all factionalism," philosopher Hans Sluga pointed
out in this analysis of the Heidigger controversy "is that it already
knows the answers to the questions it raises" (1993, p. 5). To fully
participate in a valid historical examination of the Holocaust,
revisionists cannot continue to simply "nibble at the edges" of the
accepted version, seizing upon any discrepancy or seeming
contradiction between proponents of the accepted view as proof that
the whole thing never happened, in the manner of creationists and
Kennedy conspiracy theorists.
A defense lawyer need only create a reasonable doubt in the mind of
at least one juror to deny the prosecution a conviction. In academic
argument, when challenging the "received version," at some point one
must provide an alternative interpretation of greater plausibility.
And this is precisely what most serious skeptical literature on ESP,
faith healing, and the like does. Likewise, Holocaust revisionists
must provide their own detailed account of what actually did happen to
all those Jews if they did not die the way we have been told they did.
To date, their best attempt is Butz's (1976) virtually unreadable _The
Hoax of the Twentieth Century_.
In particular, to be taken seriously and not be dismissed as
"conspiracy theorists," revisionists cannot invoke the machinations of
powerful, nefarious Zionist controlled entities to explain away any
testimony or evidence that supports the received version. Rather,
revisionists must demonstrate independent, falsifiable (in Popper's
sense of being capable of being disproved) evidence that a small group
of Zionist Jews could so effectively put one over on all the rest of
us, at no small cost to us, and yet have proved singularly unable to
rescue the bulk of their coreligionists from the horrors that befell
them (even if only the limited set of horrors conceded by the
If and when Holocaust revisionists produce such material they must
be provided full liberty to write, speak, and distribute it, and be
accorded the opportunity to present it in respectable journals and
academic fora. They should be extended the opportunity to engage in
open, fair, and lengthy debate before knowledgeable audiences (rather
than "hit and run" appearances before self-selected groups) along with
anyone of a contrary view who chooses to appear opposite them. If such
opportunity is refused, they should self-publish their work along with
the rejections and accompanying correspondence and thereby, as Mr.
Jefferson said, "let good sense have fair play."
_B'nai B'rith Covenant_. 1993. "Zundel on Germany's List." November 11,
Bolt, R. 1962. _A Man for All Seasons_. London: Samuel French.
_Boston Globe_. 1994. "Denying camps doesn't amount to stirring hatred,
Germans rule." March 16, p. 6.
Brownley, N. 1992. "War book goes under cover." _Evening Chronicle_.
(Newcastle-Upon-Tyne), June 10.
Butz, A. 1977. _The Hoax of the Twentieth Century_. Southam: Historical
_Canada News_. 1993. "American Holocaust Revisionist Arrested in Germany."
November 8, p. 12.
Eatwell, R. 1992. "The Holocaust Denial." in L. Cheles, R. Ferguson, and
M. Vaughn (eds.). _Neo-Fascism in Europe_. New York: Longman's.
Herscher, E. 1994. "Castlemont High Hears Spielberg on Holocaust" _San
Francisco Chronicle_. April 12, p. Al.
Hitchens, C. 1993. "Cultural Elite." _Vanity Fair_. December.
Hoffman, A. 1994. "Librarian Fired for Doing Her Job." _San Francisco
Chronicle_. March 16, p. A23.
Hofstadter, R. 1965. _The Paranoid Style in American Politics_. New York:
Irving, D. 1977. _Hitler's War_. New York: Viking.
___.. 1994. Author telephone interviews and faxes.
Jefferson, T. 1964. _Notes on the State of Virginia_. New York: Harper.
_Journal of Historical Review_. 1993a "French Court Orders Heavy Penalties
Against Faurisson for Holocaust Views." March-April, pp. 26-28.
_Journal of Historical Review_. 1993b. "Holocaust Revisionism is not 'Hate
Speech' Canadian Officials Affirm." May-June, p. 16.
King, D. 1989. _Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism_. New York:
_Kolner Stadt-Anzeiger_. 1993 "Verdacht gegen Anwalt." December 14, 1993,
LaRouche, L. 1979a. _The Power of Reason--A Kind of Autobiography_. New
York: New Benjamin Franklin House.
___. 1979b. _Will the Soviets Rule During the 1980's?_ New York: New
Benjamin Franklin House.
___. 1980. _Basic Economics for Conservative Democrats_. New York: New
Benjamin Franklin House.
___. 1983. _LaRouche--Will This Man Become President?_ New York: New
Benjamin Franklin House.
Lawson, E. 1991. _Encyclopedia of Human Rights_. New York: Taylor and
_Le Monde_. 1989. "L'agression contre M. Robert Faurisson re'vendique'e par
'Les fils de me'moire juive'". September 19, p. 14.
Lipstadt, D. 1993. _Denying the Holocaust_. New York: Free Press.
Lyall, S. 1993. "At Canada Border: Literature at Risk?" _New York Times_.
December 13, p. A6.
McIver, T. 1988. _Anti-Evolution: A Reader's Guide to Writings Before and
After Darwin_. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins.
Marrus, M. 1987. _The Holocaust in History_. New York: Meridian.
Morin, R. 1994. "Survey on Holocaust Was Seriously Flawed, Rival Polltaker
Says." _San Francisco Chronicle_. March 22, p. A7.
National Coalition Against Censorship. 1993a. _NCAC Newsletter_. Issue 3,
National Coalition Against Censorship. 1993b. _NCAC Newsletter_. Issue 4,
_New York Post_. 1993. "Censors still listing to right." March 9.
Parker, D. and Hollinger, H. 1994. "'Schindler' Won't be Edited for Muslims."
_San Francisco Chronicle_. April 9.
Polish Historical Society. 1993. Press Release of December 12.
_Russkaia Mysl'_. 1994. "The Place Where It's Uncomfortable to Publish"
January 6-12, p. 13.
Samisdat Publishers Ltd. 1992. _Did Six Million Really Die? Report of the
Evidence in the Canadian "False News" Trial of Ernst Zundel--1988_.
Shanker, T. 1993. "U.S. Group helps neo-Nazis, Germany says." _Chicago
Tribune_. December 19, p.72.
Sherman, R. 1994. "Crime's Toll on the U.S.: Fear, Despair, and Guns."
_National Law Journal_. April 18, p. Al.
Shermer, M. 1993. "Holocaust Revisionism and Pseudo-History." _Skeptic_.
Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 20-22.
___. 1994. "Holocaust Denial, Free Speech, and the Burden of Proof."
_Skeptic_. Vol. 2, No. 3, pp. 13-14.
Sluga, H. 1993. _Heidegger's Crisis_. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
_Toronto Sun_. 1994. "Malaysia Bans Schindler's List." March 24, p. 78.
Trombley, S. 1992. _The Execution Protocol_. New York: Crown.
Vidal-Naquet, P. 1992. _Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of the
Holocaust_. New York: Columbia University Press.
Weber, M. 1994. Author telephone interviews and faxes.
West Valley School Number 1. 1994. Press Release. Kalispell, Montana,
Zundel, E. 1993. "Audio-Newsletter." November 15.
Zundel, E. 1993-1994. Telephone interviews and faxes of newspaper articles and
summaries of material. Taped interview April 13, 1994.
AND THE LAW
Ernst Zundel: Convicted by a Canadian court of inciting racial
hatred by spreading false news for publishing (not writing) the
Holocaust revisionist pamphlet, _Did Six Million Really Die?_ Retried
because of procedural errors in the first trial, the second trial
became a media event, with other revisionists listed below called as
expert witnesses on his behalf. Zundel was again convicted. On appeal,
the Canadian Supreme Court struck down the false news law as
David Irving: Best-selling British historian of World War II, has
moved to an increasingly revisionist position since he first claimed
in _Hitler's War_ (1977) that Hitler knew nothing of the extermination
of the Jews until late in 1943. Since testifying on behalf of Zundel,
Irving was fined in Germany for "defaming the memory of the dead,"
deported from Canada on the grounds that he was "likely to commit a
criminal offense" (based on the German conviction) and denied entry to
Australia on the grounds that he was "likely to become involved in
violence." At present, he cannot legally enter Canada, Australia, New
Zealand, Germany, Italy, or South Africa.
Robert Faurisson: Professor at University of Lyon 2, who wrote that
no homicidal gas chambers were ever in use in the Nazi concentration
camps. Originally suspended from teaching on the grounds that the
authorities "could not protect him" after he was physically beaten,
Faurisson, his publishers, and supporters have been fined for
"contesting the crimes against humanity as defined by the Nuremberg
War Crimes Tribunal."
Fred Leuchter: American developer and servicer of execution
devices, testified at Zundel's second trial that, based on his
examination of the Nazi concentration camps, no executions by "gas
chamber" could have taken place. He repeated his findings before a
right-wing group in Germany. His translator was arrested for "defaming
the memory of the dead." Leuchter was arrested when he returned to
appear on a German TV program to discuss capital punishment. He is
currently in the US, awaiting trial in Germany. The highest German
Appeals Court ordered a retrial of Leuchter's translator (a leader of
the right-wing party) and revoked the prison sentence and fine on the
grounds that simply denying the Holocaust did not constitute
defamation. Leuchter's lawyer has been placed under investigation, but
not officially charged, for repeating Leuchter's findings as to the
nonexistence of gas chambers during a bond hearing.
From _Skeptic_'s Interview of Ernst Zundel by Frank Miele:
Also Sprach Zundel
The number of Jews killed: "All deaths, from all causes, in
What the Germans did to the Jews: "I think that there should have
been much kinder methods found."
Holocausts and Genocides: "To the Germans, Dresden was the
Holocaust--burning by fire."
Steven Spielberg: "He is celebrating the tribe in Hollywood. This
is so arrogant."
His own politics: "I'm not a Marxist Socialist. I'm a National
Persecution: "Because of what has happened to me I now know how it
must have felt to be a Jew in Nazi Germany."
Adolf Hitler: "I am an admirer of how this man took a country that
was like a beaten child amongst nations and within six years turned
that place around and made it into the marvel that National Socialist
Germany was in 1938. He was a humble man with wonderful, intuitive
gifts. Hitler's contribution to mankind, if he had died in 1939, would
be as one of the great statesman of the 20th century."
Ernst Zundel: "Society would do well to listen to its outcasts.
These people have a story to tell."
Long term goals: "To bring Jewish suffering down to what it was,
not what they say it was, and what they exploit. Then make the world
take a look at the Allied behavior toward Germany. Then we can talk to
each other as equals and see that both peoples were victims."
Frank Miele grew up in a "mob" town in New Jersey. His current
incarnation is as a free-lance writer and musician living in the San
Francisco Bay Area. His principal interest is applying Occam's Razor
and Hume's Fork to the study of evolutionary biology, political
ideology, and religious philosophy, especially extremist positions as
test cases. The present article, "Giving the Devil His Due,"
developed from a letter to the editor he submitted in response to
Michael Shermer's editorial asking if Skeptics should look into
Holocaust revisionism (_Skeptic_> Vol. 2 No. 2). The author wishes to
thank Vora Shamelis and Pat Carri for editorial and research
assistance, and the reference librarians of the South Bay Cooperative
Library System who, despite budget cuts, answered questions and
provided materials without which this article could not have been