LIES OF OUR TIMES by Jeffrey Shallit How the Words of the Holocaust Deniers and Their Allies Show Them For What They Are 1. Background Canada has a long tradition of tolerance and multiculturalism. That's why many residents of the K-W area were shocked and saddened to learn that a stereo store on King Street in Kitchener was displaying posters advertising a talk by David Irving, a self-described historian who says that the estimates of six million Jews killed by the Nazis during World War II are greatly exaggerated. Inside the store, according to the K-W Record, one can find for sale a book by Fred Leuchter that claims that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were never used for mass killing. After local protests, the store owner retaliated by putting up posters about the banking system based on the writings of anti-Semite Eustace Mullins. Subsequently, these posters were taken down by the store owner, but one explicitly anti-Semitic flyer still remains. The Kitchener-Waterloo Record recently carried a letter to the editor by Paul Fromm, director of "Canadian Association for Free Expression, Inc.". This letter defended neo-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel, saying, "Zundel was dragged through the courts for nine years ... MERELY for his UNPOPULAR views." [emphasis mine] Who are Michael Rothe, David Irving, Fred Leuchter, Eustace Mullins, and Paul Fromm, and what do they stand for? 2. Michael Rothe Michael Rothe is the owner of European Sound Imports, at 109 King Street W. in Kitchener. According to the K-W Record, he is a native of southern Germany, who came to Canada eight years ago. His stereo store might appear harmless on the outside, but on the inside, one can obtain anti-Semitic propaganda from a variety of sources. According to the Record, in addition to the book by Fred Leuchter mentioned above, one can also purchase a booklet on the court battles of pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel. Rothe also believes that the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated, and that there is a world-wide Jewish conspiracy behind it. "They want money. When they have money they have power," he has been quoted as saying. Although Rothe has claimed, "I have not seen a neo-Nazi before," according to the Record, he attended a recent "victory party" for Ernst Zundel, and Zundel was recently sighted at his store. When I asked Rothe if he knew what Irving would speak on, he claimed, "Irving comes to speak on Germany ... only Germany." When I pointed out that this was false, that Irving actually spends a significant portion of his speeches discussing how the Holocaust is a hoax, he repeated, "No, that is wrong -- Irving only speaks about Germany." However, the posters Rothe himself has put up belie this claim--they list the Holocaust as a topic of Irving's speech. 3. David Irving David John Cawdell Irving is a British "historian", born in 1938. According to David Cesarani of the Wiener Library in London, England, he attended Imperial College at the University of London, but never graduated. He holds no academic degree and no academic position at any university or college. He calls himself a "moderate fascist", and claims, among other things that the gas chambers at Auschwitz (in which an estimated 2--3 million people died) were "built by the Poles after the war as a tourist attraction." (For this remark, he was fined DM 10,000 by a Munich court in May 1992. The judge was quoted as saying that the gas chambers of Auschwitz were "an historically certain fact.") Irving denies being a "Holocaust denier" or "Hitler apologist", and seems willing to resort to legal action if necessary. In a recent fax printed in the K-W Record, he is reported as saying, "I have warned 22 British newspapers that I shall not hesitate to commence libel action if they use smear phrases such like 'Hitler apologist' or 'Holocaust denier' to embellish their writings." But Bernard Levin, writing in the Times of London in May of this year, quoted Irving as saying, "I hope the court will fight a battle for the German people and put an end to the blood lie of the Holocaust which has been told against this country for 50 years." Irving first entered the headlines in 1970. In July of that year, he was forced to apologize in the High Court of London for "making a wholly untrue and highly damaging statement about a woman writer." -- not an auspicious start for someone who claims to be in pursuit of the truth. Later that year, Irving was back in the headlines, concerning publication of his book, "The Destruction of Convoy PQ17". Ostensibly an expose of an ill-fated 1942 Arctic convoy headed for the Soviet Union during World War II, it eventually resulted in Irving being fined 40,000 British pounds for libel. Irving's book faulted Captain John Broome, commander of the convoy at the time, saying he was guilty of "downright disobedience" and "downright desertion of the convoy." Broome brought suit against Irving for false statements, and won a judgment in August of 1970. Irving's lawyers appealed, and lost in March, 1971. The case is revealing because of what it says about Irving's abilities as a historian and his motives as an author. According to the Times of London, Irving showed a copy of the manuscript to Broome before publication. Broome objected to the accuracy of some thirty passages in the book, and threatened to sue for libel if Irving did not make changes. At that point, William Kimbers Ltd., Irving's publisher, notified him that they would not publish the book as it was then written. Later, Irving published the book with another publisher. The court found that Irving "was warned from most responsible quarters that his book contained libels on Captain Broome... To make [the book] a success he was ready to risk libel actions... Documentary evidence .... showed that [Irving] had deliberately set out to attack Captain Broome and in spite of the most explicit warnings persisted in his attack because it would help sell the book." The court labeled Irving's conduct as "outrageous and shocking." Irving's misrepresentations did not end with the publication of his book. According to Cesarani, in 1979, a German publisher had to pay compensation to the father of Anne Frank after printing the German edition of Irving's book, Hitler's War. Irving had claimed that Anne Frank's diary was a forgery. Irving claims that according to his "research", the Holocaust is greatly exaggerated. (He was recently quoted in the K-W Record as saying that the number of Jews who died in concentration camps was "of the order of 100,000 or more.") But during the 1988 trial of pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel, he was forced to admit under cross-examination that he hadn't even read all of Eichmann's 1960 trial testimony. (In this testimony, Eichmann admitted that Nazi leaders discussed the so-called "Final Solution to the Jewish problem''-- extermination, in 1942.) In November 1991, a reporter from the Independent showed that Irving omitted crucial lines from a translation of Goebbels' diaries -- lines that would have contradicted his theory that Hitler knew nothing about the extermination of the Jews. Irving's record is clear: he is not an historian, and he has made false statements and been forced to apologize for them. As Andrew Cohen, reporter for the Financial Post, has said, "David Irving should be denied credibility." 4. Eustace Mullins According to analyst Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, Mullins is quite simply, "the most vicious anti-Semite on the face of the planet." Eustace Clarence Mullins, born in 1923, is the author of a biography of Ezra Pound (a copy exists in the University of Waterloo library). But he is also the author of numerous truly bizarre tracts published by small Christian publishers. Some of these, like the excerpt recently posted and then removed by Kitchener store owner Rothe, are critiques of the banking system. Berlet says, "Mullins masks his anti-Semitism with a critique of the [U. S.] Federal Reserve System." In a 1952 book, Mullins wrote a book blaming Paul Warburg, Bernard Baruch, and other U. S. Jews for drowning Americans in debt. According to Mullins, The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 put the nation's banking reserves in the hands of the "Jewish International Bankers" for the purpose of carrying out a plan for world dictatorship. In a 1955 article entitled, "Jews mass poison American children", Mullins claimed that the polio vaccine, invented by Jonas Salk, was a poison because it contains live polio germs. Other books depict Jews as parasites, living off their gentile hosts. In what has to be one of the most bizarre of Mullins' beliefs, it has been reported by L. J. Davis that Mullins has claimed that the phrase "Have a nice day" is a code for Jews to begin killing Christians. Mullins' writings have been adopted wholesale by violent extremists in the US, such as the Posse Comitatus. Should we not be more than a little worried to see those writings appearing in the window of a store in Kitchener? 5. Fred Leuchter Rothe sells the "Leuchter report" in his store, a book purporting to be an engineer's refutation of the existence of gas chambers in Poland. (David Irving also uses Leuchter's report to support his claims.) What Rothe will not tell you, however, is that Fred Leuchter is not an engineer. Rothe also won't tell you that, according to the Boston Globe, Leuchter admitted to illegally collecting 20 pounds of building and soil samples in Poland, and that Leuchter's ``analysis'' has been thoroughly rebutted in a report by French pharmacist Jean-Claude Pressac. Pressac "noted that Leuchter never looked at documents in the Auschwitz Museum, and failed to study German blueprints of the gas chambers." Leuchter is a self-described expert in the construction of execution machines. With his false credentials, he convinced authorities in several states in the U. S. to let him construct execution machinery for their prisons. But in 1990, according to the New York Times, his misrepresentations began to unravel. The Attorney General of Alabama questioned his expertise. Illinois terminated his contract after determining that his machine for injecting cyanide would cause prisoners unnecessary pain. Then, in October 1990, Leuchter was charged with fraud in Massachusetts. It was revealed that he had only a bachelor's degree in history, and was not licensed to practice engineering in Massachusetts. In June 1991, to avoid a trial in which he would surely have been convicted, Leuchter admitted that, "I am not and have never been registered as a professional engineer", and that he had falsely represented himself as one. Under the consent agreement, Leuchter agreed to stop "using in any manner whatsoever the title 'engineer'", and to stop distribution of the Leuchter report. Despite the agreement, one can still obtain copies of the report from Rothe's store in Kitchener. According to the Boston Globe, Leuchter was deported from Britain in 1991. Leonard Zakim, a spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith, said, "Leuchter's admissions of lying to promote his business in violation of Massachusetts law should serve to discredit Leuchter wherever he travels." 6. Paul Fromm Paul Fromm claims to be the director of a group called "Canadian Association of Free Expression". While the name sounds innocuous, the truth is darker. According to investigative journalist Russ Bellant, Fromm helped found the Canadian neo-Nazi organization Western Guard. In a 1983 interview with a Toronto Star reporter, Fromm was caught dissembling. He said he "never had any connection" with the Western Guard, but the Star account revealed that Fromm himself had had a letter published in the Star in February 1973 that stated "... in May, 1972, many members, myself included, left the Western Guard...". Asked to explain the discrepancy, Fromm said in a Star interview that it was "a matter of semantics". In Julian Sher's 1983 account of the Ku Klux Klan, Fromm is reported as saying that belief of a supreme race "is a good idea." Remarks like this caused him to be kicked out of the federal Progressive Conservative Party. In September 1991, the Star reported that Fromm was ejected from a Toronto meeting on race relations after he blurted out, "Scalp them," while a native Canadian was speaking. In April 1992, the Star reported on Fromm's 1990 speech before the Heritage Front, a neo-Nazi organization advocating white supremacy. According to the Star, Fromm told the neo-Nazi group, "We're all on the same side." Fromm later claimed in a Star article that he hadn't known about the Heritage Front's neo-Nazi views. But Bernie Farber of the Canadian Jewish Congress disputes this. "He had to know," Farber said. "There was a Nazi flag with swastikas, about 10 feet long and 5 feet tall, just to his right. Furthermore, just a few months after the Star article came out, Fromm spoke again before the same group." 7. Conclusions Although the holocaust "revisionists" and their defenders claim to be in pursuit of the truth, the record says otherwise. Although some claim to be advocates of free speech, their real goal is a regime that would deny free speech, and more, to Jews and other minorities. It is easy to dismiss Rothe, Irving, Leuchter, Mullins, and Fromm as kooks. But according to statistics compiled by the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith, anti-Semitism in Canada is at its highest level in a decade. There were 251 reported incidents of harassment and vandalism against Jews in Canada in 1991, up 42% from two years earlier. The reader may feel that anti-Semitism is only a distant threat. But consider this: many of the sources I sought in preparing this article are listed as ``missing'' in our University library. Some articles had been ripped out of magazines. Others books, though still on the shelves, I found to contain anti-Semitic or pro-Nazi graffiti. To repeat a saying attributed to Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." For Further Reading: Julian Sher, "White Hoods: Canada's Ku Klux Klan", New Star Books, Vancouver, 1983. James Ridgeway, "Blood in the Face", Thunder's Mouth Press, New York, 1991. Russ Bellant, "Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party", South End Press, Boston, 1991. Steve Mertl and John Ward, "Keegstra: The Trial, The Issues, and The Consequences", Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, 1985. James Coates, ``Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist Right'', Hill and Wang, New York, 1987. About the author. Jeffrey Shallit, who is not Jewish, is associate professor in the computer science department at the University of Waterloo. -------------------------------------------------------------------- [David Irving's reply to this report is available on the CODOH web site, at: http://www.codoh.com/irving/irvshallreply.html -Jamie McCarthy, 18 Aug 1996]
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