| |

The witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers

 

SUMMARY: A testimony must always be verified. There are two basic means of verifying testimony in a criminal case: confronting it with the material elements (particularly, with a forensic study of the alleged murder weapon) and thorough cross-examination of the witness on what he claims to have seen. However, in the trials concerning the homicidal gas chambers of Auschwitz, no judge or lawyer had requested the least inquiry into such weapons; moreover, no lawyer had cross-examined the witnesses, asking them to describe with precision any of those chemical slaughterhouses. This was the case until 1985. When in that year, during the first trial of Ernst Zündel in Toronto, witnesses were at last cross-examined on the subject, their rout was total. Because of this resounding failure, and in view of other failures prior to or since 1985, those upholding the thesis of an extermination of the Jews began to abandon a history of Auschwitz essentially grounded in testimonies and are striving, at present, to replace it with a scientific history or, at least, one of scientific appearance, grounded in factual research and evidence. The “testimony-history” of Auschwitz in the manner of Elie Wiesel and Claude Lanzmann is discredited. It has had its day. It remains for the exterminationists to try to work, like the revisionists, on the facts and the evidence.

 

In this study, “gas chambers” is intended to mean “homicidal gas chambers,” or “Nazi gas chambers.” By “Auschwitz” one must understand Auschwitz-I, Auschwitz Stammlager or Auschwitz-II (Birkenau). Finally, by “witnesses of the gas chambers” I designate indifferently those who claim to have witnessed a homicidal gassing operation in the said places and those who go no further than to say that they either saw or perceived a gas chamber there. Finally, by “witnesses” I mean those whom one commonly designates as such, whether judicial witnesses or media witnesses; the former have given evidence under oath in court while the latter have given testimony in books, articles and films or on television or radio. Of course, some have been, alternately, both judicial and media witnesses.

This study is devoid of any psychological or sociological considerations regarding the Auschwitz gas chamber testimonies as well as of considerations on the physical, chemical, topographical, architectural, documentary and historical reasons for which those testimonies are unacceptable. It seeks above all to emphasise a point that the revisionists have thus far not raised, although it is of capital importance: until 1985 no judicial witness of those gas chambers had been cross-examined on the materiality of the alleged facts; when, in that year, at the first Zündel trial in Toronto, I was able to have such witnesses at last cross-examined, they broke down; since that date no more witnesses of the gas chambers have appeared in court, except perhaps at the Demjanjuk trial in Israel where, there again, the testimonies proved to be false.

To begin, I shall dwell a bit on the grave reasons why, as early as 1983, Simon Veil [1] was led to acknowledge that there was no witness of the gas chambers.

Simone Veil’s argument

After the war’s end the illusion that witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers were countless became gradually accredited. By the end of the 1970s, with historical revisionism’s arrival on the media stage, particularly in France, it began to occur to some people that those witnesses were perhaps not as numerous as had been believed. So it was that in the early ’80s, during the preparations for the big court case that the Jewish organisations were bringing against me, their lawyers and, particularly, Robert Badinter, future Minister of Justice, experienced the greatest difficulties in finding evidence and witnesses. Taking their pilgrim’s staff in hand, they had to go to Poland and to Israel in the hope of bringing back what they could not find in France. To no avail.

Then came my trial (1981), followed by my appeal (1983). Not a single witness took the risk of appearing. On April 26, 1983 the Paris Court of Appeal rendered its decision. Naturally, I was found liable, as one might expect, for “personal injury”, that is to say, in fact, for harm caused to the Jews by having put forth my arguments in a major newspaper. But the court, in its holdings, made remarks that brought consternation to my opponents’ camp. My work was deemed to be serious but dangerous. It was dangerous because, in the judges’ view, I gave, it seems, other persons the ability to exploit my findings for reprehensible ends! Still, this same work was serious in the sense that, according to the court, no negligence, nonchalance, wilful ignorance or lies were to be found in it, contrary to what the other party had claimed in accusing me of “personal injury by falsification of history” (sic).

On the subject of testimonies the court went so far as to comment:

Mr Faurisson’s research has dealt with the existence of the gas chambers which, according to multiple testimonies, were used during the Second World War to put to death systematically a portion of the persons deported by the German authorities. [my emphasis]

The court summarised perfectly what it called my “logical approach” and my “argumentation” in specifying that, for me,

the existence of the gas chambers, such as commonly described since 1945, runs into an absolute impossibility that by itself suffices to invalidate all the existing testimonies or at the very least cast suspicion on them. [my emphasis]

Finally, the court, drawing a practical conclusion from these recitals, declared the right of every Frenchman no longer to believe the evidence and witnesses of the gas chambers. It stated:

The appraisal of the value of the findings defended by Mr Faurisson [regarding the problem of the gas chambers] is a matter, therefore, solely for experts, historians and the public.

Two weeks later Simon Veil reacted publicly to this legal decision – so distressing for her and her co-religionists – with a declaration of extreme importance. She admitted the absence of evidence, traces and even witnesses of the gas chambers, but added that this absence was easily explained, for

Everyone knows that the Nazis destroyed those gas chambers and systematically did away with all the witnesses.

To begin with, “everyone knows” is not an argument worthy of a jurist. Then, Mrs Veil, perhaps believing she was getting out of a tight spot, made things worse for herself; indeed, in order to uphold what she asserted she would have had to prove not only that the gas chambers had existed but also that the Nazis had destroyed them and eliminated all the witnesses: a vast criminal undertaking, and one may rightly wonder on what order, when, with whom and by what means the Germans had carried it out, all in the greatest secrecy.

But never mind! This concession by Mrs Veil will be noted: there is neither any evidence, nor any trace, nor any witness of the gas chambers. Of course, attempting to reassure her crowd, Mrs Veil wrapped this surprising concession in some conventional remarks. Here, therefore, in her precise words, is what she confided to France-Soir Magazine (May 7, 1983, p. 47) in an “interview-event” bearing the headline “Simone Veil’s warning about the Hitler diaries: ‘There’s a risk of trivialising the genocide'”:

What strikes me today is the paradox of the situation: a diary attributed to Hitler is published in a blaze of publicity costing lots of money but without, it seems, any great precautions being taken to be sure of its authenticity but, at the same time, in the course of a case brought against Faurisson for having denied the gas chambers’ existence, those bringing the case are compelled to provide formal proof of the reality of the gas chambers. However, everyone knows that the Nazis destroyed those gas chambers and systematically did away with all the witnesses.

A choice so heavy with consequences as Mrs Veil’s is not explained solely by the disaster of April 26, 1983 but by a whole series of events that, for her, had made 1982 a very dark year as concerned the story of the gas chambers and the credibility of witnesses. I shall recall here but three of those events:

1) On April 21, 1982 historians, political figures and former deportees had founded an association in Paris having as its purpose the search for proof of the existence and operation of the gas chambers (ASSAG: Association pour l’étude des assassinats par gaz sous le régime national-socialiste); a year later this association had not yet discovered any such proof [this is still the case today in 1993 for, as its charter sets a “duration limited to the realisation of its purpose”, the association continues to exist];

2) In May 1982 the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs launched in Paris a noteworthy “Exhibition on the deportation 1933-1945”; this exhibition was supposed, afterwards, to tour throughout France. I immediately distributed a text in which I demonstrated the exhibition’s fallacious character: it was unable to show its visitors any evidence – apart from some fraudulent evidence – or any precise testimony of the existence of the Nazi gas chambers; consequently Miss Jacobs, the person in charge of this initiative at the Ministry, cancelled the itinerant exhibition forthwith;

3) From June 29 to July 2, 1982 an international symposium was held at the Sorbonne on “Nazi Germany and the extermination of the Jews”; this symposium had been announced as a decisive repost to the revisionist offensive in France; it was supposed to conclude with a resounding press conference. The reality of it was totally different: on the day it opened we had distributed in the Sorbonne’s entrance hall some copies of my just released Reply to Pierre Vidal-Naquet (an action that was not without risk for us); the symposium would take place behind closed doors and in a stormy atmosphere; finally, at the closing press conference, the event’s two organisers, historians François Furet and Raymond Aron, would not even utter the expression “gas chamber(s).”

I often say it was on this date of July 2, 1982 that the myth of the Nazi gas chambers and their witnesses died or went into its death throes, at least on the level of historical research. In the heart of the Sorbonne had thus been discovered with dismay the absence of any solid evidence and of any trustworthy witness. However, this symposium had previously been trumpeted as the event that would put an end to “Faurisson’s nonsense” by producing a wealth of evidence and testimonies. Such silence after all the noise was eloquent.

The written testimony of Fajnzylberg-Janowski

I have said above that at my trial not a single witness took the risk of appearing. At the last minute, my accusers nonetheless produced the written testimony of a Jew who lived in Paris but whom they were careful not to bring to the dock. This Jew was the famous Alter Szmul Fajnzylberg, born in Stockek, Poland, on October 23, 1911. This former waiter, a Pole, atheist Jew, Communist and erstwhile political representative of the international brigades in Spain, had been interned for three years in the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.

In his brief written testimony he essentially stated that, working in the Auschwitz crematorium (Altes Krematorium or Krematorium-I), he had spent a good part of his time locked up, with his fellow internees, in the coke room for, every time the SS gassed Jews in the adjoining enclosure, they took the precaution of sequestering the Sonderkommando in the coke room so that no Jew might see the gassing operation with his own eyes! Once the gassing was completed, the Germans let the Sonderkommando out and made its members drag away and incinerate the victims. Thus the Germans were said to have concealed their crime from, and revealed its results to, the same persons!

This non-eye witness is also known by the names Alter Feinsilber, Stanislaw Jankowski or Kaskowiak. His testimony may be read in another form in the Hefte von Auschwitz.[2]

The defeat of the witnesses at the first Zündel Trial (1985)

The important victory won on April 26, 1983 by revisionism in France would be confirmed in 1985 with the first Zündel trial in Toronto. I should like to dwell on this case for a moment in order to underscore its consequences in all respects, and especially as concerns the testimonies on the Auschwitz gas chambers: for the first time since the war, Jewish witnesses were to undergo a normal cross-examination. Moreover, without wanting to minimise the importance of the second Zündel trial (that of 1988), I should like it to be understood that the 1985 trial already contains the seed of all the 1988 trial’s achievements, including the Leuchter Report and all the scientific reports that, afterwards, would proliferate in its wake.

In 1985 (as, at a later stage, in 1988), I was an advisor to Ernst Zündel and his lawyer, Douglas Christie. In 1985 I had accepted this heavy responsibility only on condition that all the Jewish witnesses would, for the first time, be cross-examined on the materiality of the alleged facts, and without any particular consideration. I had, indeed, noted that from 1945 to 1985 the Jewish witnesses had enjoyed a veritable privilege. Never had any defence lawyer thought or dared to ask them for material explanations about the gas chambers (exact location, physical appearance, dimensions, internal and external structure) or about the gassings (their procedure from start to finish, instruments used, precautions taken by those in charge before, during and after the execution). On rare occasions, as at the trial of Tesch, Drosihn and Weinbacher [3], lawyers had worded a very few questions of a material kind, a bit embarrassing for the witness, but these were always situated on the margin of the central questions that should have been put. No lawyer had ever demanded clarifications on the murder weapon, although it was a thing that he had never seen and no-one had ever shown him. At the big Nuremberg trial of 1945-46, the German lawyers’ discretion on this point had been total. At the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem (1961), barrister Dr Robert Servatius had not wished to raise the question; in a letter to me regarding the matter he wrote: Eichmann hat selbst keine Gaskammer gesehen; die Frage wurde nicht diskutiert; er hat sich aber auch nicht gegen deren Existenz gewandt [Eichmann himself had not seen a gas chamber; the question was not discussed; but nor did he cast doubt on their existence] (June 21, 1974).

At the Frankfurt Trial (1963-1965), the lawyers showed themselves to be particularly timid; it must be said that the atmosphere was oppressive for the defence and the accused. This show trial will remain as a blot on the escutcheon of German justice and on the person of Hans Hofmeyer, first a Landgerichtsdirektor, then Senatspräsident. During more than 180 sessions the judges and jurors, the prosecutor and the private parties, the accused and their lawyers as well as the journalists from around the world, agreed to being provided, as physical representation of the “murder weapon”, with a mere map of the Auschwitz camp and a map of the Birkenau camp bearing five tiny geometrical figures, one for each of the alleged gas chambers, with the words, for Auschwitz: Altes Krematorium, and for Birkenau: Krematorium-II, Krematorium-III, Krematorium-IV, and Krematorium-V! These maps [4] were displayed in the courtroom. Among revisionists the Frankfurt trial has often been compared to the witchcraft trials of the period 1450-1650. However, at least during those trials the trouble was sometimes taken to describe or depict the witches’ sabbaths. At the Frankfurt trial, even among the barristers who put a witness like Filip Müller into difficulty, not one asked a Jewish witness or a repentant German defendant to describe in greater detail what he claimed to have seen. Despite two court visits to the crime scene at Auschwitz, in which a few German barristers participated, it seems that not one of them demanded a technical explanation or forensic study of the murder weapon. On the contrary, one barrister, Anton Reiners of Frankfurt, pushed complaisance to the point of having himself photographed by the press while raising the hatch of the chute down which the SS men were said to pour the Zyklon-B granules into the alleged gas chamber.

At Toronto in 1985 I was quite decided to have done with these anomalies, shatter the taboo and, to begin, to put or, rather, have Douglas Christie put to the experts and Jewish witnesses the questions that are normally asked in any trial expected to establish whether a crime has been committed and, if so, by whom, when and how. Happily for me, Ernst Zündel accepted my conditions and Douglas Christie agreed to adopt this line of conduct and put to the experts and witnesses the questions that I would prepare. I was convinced that, in this way, all might change and the veil woven by so many false testimonies would be torn asunder. I was not, however, counting on Ernst Zündel’s acquittal and we were all resigned to paying the price for our boldness but I had the hope that with the aid of this man of character and deep insight and thanks to his intrepid lawyer, history, if not justice, would at last win out against legend.

Starting from the first cross-examination, a wind of panic began to blow in the prosecution ranks. Every evening and through much of the night I prepared the questions to ask. In the morning I handed them, accompanied by the necessary dossiers, to barrister Christie who, for his part and with the aid of his female collaborator, carried out an essentially juridical task. During the cross-examinations I stayed close by the barrister’s lectern and, relentlessly, supplied him with post-it notes bearing the supplementary questions to improvise according to the experts’ and witnesses’ answers.

The expert called by the prosecution was Dr Raul Hilberg, author of The Destruction of European Jews. He was to undergo, day after day, such a humiliation that, when requested by a new prosecutor to appear for a new trial against Zündel in 1988, he refused to return and give evidence; he explained the reason for this refusal in a confidential letter in which he admitted his fear of having once again to face Douglas Christie’s questions. From Dr Raul Hilberg’s cross-examination it eventually emerged that no evidence for the existence either of an order, a plan, a directive or a budget for the alleged physical extermination of the Jews was available; nor any forensic report on the murder weapon (gas chamber or gas van) or post-mortem establishing the murder of any detainee by poison gas. But, failing evidence, weapon and victim, were there any witnesses of the crime?

A testimony must always be verified. The usual first means of proceeding with this verification is to confront the assertions of the witness with the results of investigations or a forensic study regarding the materiality of the crime. In the case at hand, there were neither any investigations nor any forensic study of the alleged Auschwitz gas chambers. Here was something that made cross-examination difficult. But this difficulty must not serve as an excuse, and indeed, cross-examination became all the more indispensable because, without it, there was no way of knowing whether a witness was telling the truth or lies.

Jewish witnesses finally cross-examined: A. Friedman and Dr R. Vrba

For those interested in the technical and documentary means by which we were nevertheless able to cross-examine, and severely, the two chief Jewish witnesses, Arnold Friedman and Dr Rudolf Vrba, I can only recommend a reading of the trial transcript: Queen v. Zündel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, January 7, 1985, whose pages 304-371 cover the examination and cross-examination of Arnold Friedman. This man breaks down on pages 445-446 when he ends up admitting that he had in fact seen nothing, that he had spoken from hearsay because, he said, he had met some people who were convincing; perhaps, he added, he would have adopted Mr Christie’s position rather than that of those people had Mr Christie been able to tell him back then what he was telling him now!

Dr Vrba was a witness of exceptional importance. It can even be said that for this trial in Toronto the prosecution had succeeded in recruiting “Holocaust” expert number one, with Dr Raul Hilberg, and “Holocaust” witness number one, with Dr Rudolf Vrba. The latter’s testimony had been one of the main sources of the famous War Refugee Board Report on the German Extermination Camps – Auschwitz and Birkenau, published in November 1944 by the Executive Office of the President [F. D. Roosevelt]. Dr Vrba was also the author of I Cannot Forgive (Bantam Books, New York 1964), written in collaboration with Alan Bestic who, in his preface, said:

Indeed I would like to pay tribute to him for the immense trouble he took over every detail; for the meticulous, almost fanatical respect he revealed for accuracy (p. 2).

Perhaps never had a court of justice seen a witness express himself with so much assurance on the Auschwitz gas chambers. But, at the end of the cross-examination, the situation had reversed itself to the point where Dr Vrba had but one explanation for his errors and lies: in his book he had, he acknowledged, had recourse to “poetic licence” or, as he took pleasure in saying in Latin, licentia poetarum!

At the end there was a coup de théâtre: prosecutor Griffiths himself, who had brought this number one witness to court, apparently exasperated by Dr Vrba’s lies, speared him with this question:

You told Mr Christie several times in discussing your book I Cannot Forgive that you used poetic licence in writing that book. Have you used poetic license in your testimony? (p. 1636).

The false witness tried to parry the thrust but prosecutor Griffiths finished him off with a second, equally malicious question, concerning this time the figures of gassing victims given by Vrba; the witness answered with prattle; Griffiths was getting ready to ask him a third and final question but things came to a sudden end, the prosecutor saying to the judge: “I have no further questions for Dr Vrba” (p. 1643).

With fallen face, the witness left the dock. The examination, cross-examination and re-examination of this individual take up 400 pages of the transcript (p. 1244-1643), pages that might be contained in a chapter of a law encyclopaedia on methods for detecting false testimony.

The prosecution gives up calling witnesses

Three years later, in 1988, during Zündel’s second trial, the public prosecutor deemed it prudent to abandon any recourse to a witness. Canadian justice had apparently grasped the lesson of the first trial: there were no credible witnesses of the existence and operation of the Nazi gas chambers.

All other countries of the world have, little by little, grasped the same lesson. In 1987, at the trial of Klaus Barbie in France, there was talk of the Auschwitz gas chambers but no witnesses of them, strictly speaking, were produced. Barrister Jacques Vergès, courageous but not daring, preferred to dodge the subject. This was lucky for the Jewish lawyers who dreaded nothing so much as seeing me appear by Vergès’s side. Had he accepted my offer to advise him we could have struck, in France, a formidable blow against the gas chamber myth.

Again in France, in a few court cases of revisionists, Jewish witnesses have sometimes evoked the gas chambers but none has attested, in the dock, to having seen one or to having witnessed a gassing.

Today, gas chamber witnesses are extremely scarce and the Demjanjuk trial in Israel, which has, once again, revealed how common false testimony is in the context, has contributed to this mutation. Still a few years ago I might find myself accosted in the rear of a courtroom by old Jews presenting themselves as “living witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers”; they would show me their tattoos. It sufficed for me to ask them to look me in the eye and describe a gas chamber to hear them inevitably retort: “How could I do that? If I’d seen a gas chamber with my own eyes I wouldn’t be here to talk with you today; I would have been gassed myself.” Which, as we see, brings us back to Simone Veil and her statement of May 7, 1983, about which we already know what to think.

The media witnesses

Alongside the judicial witnesses, there are media witnesses of the gas chambers or the gassings at Auschwitz or Birkenau. Here one thinks of the names of Olga Lengyel, Gisela Perl, Fania Fénelon, Ota Kraus, Erich Kulka, Hermann Langbein, André Lettich, Samuel Pisar, Maurice Benroubi, André Rogerie, Robert Clary… My bookshelves are laden with their stories that copy one another. Paul Rassinier was the first to show us how the falsehood of these testimonies could be demonstrated; he did this particularly, for Auschwitz, in Le Véritable Procès Eichmann ou les Vainqueurs incorrigibles (Les Sept Couleurs, Paris 1962), whose appendix V is devoted to Miklos Nyiszli’s Médecin à Auschwitz.

From the 1950s to the 1980s there was some interest for the revisionists in undertaking such critical studies of testimonies. Today, it seems to me that the exercise has become superfluous. Let us refrain from shooting at ambulances and leave the job of critiquing this sub-literature to the exterminationists themselves and, in particular, to Jean-Claude Pressac, because – as can be noted today – the fiercest anti-revisionists end up becoming the revisionists’ pupils. The result is sometimes rather savoury. In October 1991 the periodical Le Déporté pour la liberté (organ of the Union nationale des associations de déportés, internés et familles de disparus – UNADIF), announced on its cover: “At the centre pages of this issue, part one of the testimony of Henry Bily, one of the rare escapees from a Sonderkommando.” In the November issue Bily continued the account of his experience of Auschwitz under the title “Mon histoire extraordinaire”.

However, in the following issue, that of December 1991-January 1992, there appeared a “Clarification regarding the publication in our columns of the text by Henry Bily”. The Déporté‘s management and editorial board revealed the forgery: Bily, in the greater part of his testimony, had produced

the full copy without any mention of references, of passages (particularly from chapters 7 and 28) from the book by Dr Myklos Nyiszli: Médecin à Auschwitz, written in 1946 and translated and published in 1961 by Editions René Julliard. Inopportunely, the original errors committed by Dr Nyiszli were also reproduced; finally, the lengthiest of the borrowed passages deals with the description of the functioning of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Sonderkommando, in which Henry Bily purports [understood: mendaciously] to have worked…

It follows from this analysis that it is in no way possible to consider Henry Bily’s text as an original and personal testimony.

The sentence “Inopportunely, the original errors committed by Dr Nyiszli were also reproduced” could permit an attentive reader to perceive that, to make matters worse, Bily, a Jewish necktie dealer, had copied a testimony that was already false itself. As I have mentioned, Paul Rassinier had proved long before that Médecin à Auschwitz, a work dear to Jean-Paul Sartre (who, in 1951, had published fragments of it in Les Temps Modernes), could only be one of the very crudest impostures. A number of revisionists, and particularly Carlo Mattogno, have since confirmed this diagnosis. For my part, in my report on Jean-Claude Pressac’s book Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers (Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York 1989), I slipped in an illustration of this in a section headed “Pressac’s involuntary humour à propos of M. Nyiszli”, to which I refer the aficionados of false testimonies on Auschwitz, false testimonies that pharmacist J.-C. Pressac, by dint of contortions, laborious inventions and idle speculations, seeks to defend at any price but which, unintentionally, he discredits once and for all (R. Faurisson, Auschwitz: Technique & Operation of the Gas Chambers or improvised gas chambers & “casual gassings” at Auschwitz & Birkenau, according to Jean-Claude Pressac (1989).

False witnesses Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi

A few words on Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi are in order.

Regarding the former, I refer the reader to my article A Prominent false witness: Elie Wiesel. In La Nuit, an autobiographical account, in particular, of his internment at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, E. Wiesel does not even mention the gas chambers but it appears that, by way of a sort of universal media agreement, he is held to be the witness par excellence of the “Holocaust” and the gas chambers. According to him, if the Germans exterminated masses of Jews, it was by throwing them into blazing fires or ovens! The end of Wiesel’s testimony comprises an extremely curious episode regarding which I have been waiting for years for him to provide an explanation: in January 1945, he tells us, the Germans left him and his father the choice between staying in the camp to await the arrival of the Soviets and leaving with the Germans; having thought it over between them, the father and the son decided to leave with their exterminators instead of awaiting their Soviet liberators in situ [5]

Curiously, a few years ago Primo Levi posthumously acceded in the media to the first rank of witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers. He was the author of Se questo è un uomo (in English, If This is a Man; in French, Si c’est un homme, Julliard Press, pocket edition, 1993). The first part of the book is the longest and most important; it consists of 180 pages (p. 7-186) and was written in 1947; the author says, already on page 19, that it was after the war that he learned about the gassing of Jews at Birkenau; he himself worked at Buna-Monowitz and had never set foot in Birkenau; also, he only speaks only in extremely vague terms, and a mere six times, about the gas chamber (in the singular: p. 19, 48, 51, 96, 135 and 138), and only once about the gas chambers (in the plural: p. 159); he is content to mention it always in the singular and as a rumour that “everyone is talking about” (page 51). Suddenly, in his “Appendix” written in 1976, or nearly 30 years later, the gas chambers force their way in: in the space of 26 pages (p. 189-214) which, in view of their more compact typography, may be counted as 30, the author mentions them 11 times (page 193, twice; page 198, three times; page 199, once; page 201, twice; pages 202, 209 and 210, once each); twice he speaks of “gas” and nine times of “gas chambers” (always in the plural); he writes as if he had seen them: “The gas chambers were in effect camouflaged as shower rooms with piping, taps, dressing rooms, clothes hooks, benches, etc.” (page 198). He does not shrink from writing, in addition: “The gas chambers and the crematory ovens had been deliberately conceived to destroy human lives and bodies by the millions; the horrible record for this goes to Auschwitz, with 24,000 dead in a single day in the month of August 1944” (p. 201-202).

Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi are not the only ones to have thus “enriched” their recollections.

Primo Levi was a chemical engineer. Regarding, from a scientific viewpoint, his hitting the rocks, or his delirium, in If This is a Man, one may read Pierre Marais’s En lisant de près les écrivains chantres de la Shoah – Primo Levi, Georges Wellers, Jean-Claude Pressac (La Vieille Taupe, Paris 1991, 127 pages; see in particular “Le chimiste, la batterie de camion et… les chambres à gaz”, the chapter concerning Primo Levi – p. 7-21). Levi committed suicide on April 11, 1987. It was to his status of Jew that he owed not being shot when taken prisoner by the Fascist militia on December 13, 1943 at the age of 24. “The Fascists had captured him as a partisan (he still had a pistol on him), and he had declared himself a Jew in order not to be shot immediately. And it was as a Jew that he was handed over to the Germans. The Germans sent him to Auschwitz…” (Ferdinando Camon, “Chimie/Levi, la mort”, Libération, April 13, 1987, page 29).

Conclusion

From 1945 to 1985 the alleged judicial witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers enjoyed an extraordinary privilege: they were always spared the test of cross-examination on the materiality of the facts they claimed to relate. In 1985, at the first of two Zündel trials, barrister Douglas Christie agreed, on my suggestion and with my aid, to cross-examine this type of witness in line with standard procedures. The result was the rout of witnesses Arnold Friedman and Dr Rudolf Vrba. That rout was so severe that today there are no longer to be found any witnesses willing to take the risk of stating in court that they saw a homicidal gassing at Auschwitz or in any Third Reich concentration camp.

The media witnesses – alleged witnesses – continue to pervade the world of radio, television and books, where they hardly run the risk of being put into difficulty by embarrassing questions. But even these witnesses are more and more vague and may well find themselves being denounced by representatives of the exterminationist thesis. The latter are, in effect, increasingly becoming pupils of the revisionists because they realise that, hitherto, they have endorsed the lies of too many false witnesses, lies that end up costing their own cause dear.

As there are, manifestly, ever growing risks now in presenting oneself as a witness of the gas chambers – as the Jew Filip Müller was still doing in 1979 –, the solution that tends to prevail today is the one that, from May 7, 1983, Simone Veil had to adopt in the wake of the Paris Court of Appeal’s decision of April 26, a decision recognising that my work on the problem of the gas chambers was serious, work whereby I demonstrated that the alleged testimonies ran into some utter physical and chemical impossibilities. The solution, or rather the escape route, advocated by Mrs Veil consisted in saying that, if there was indeed neither any evidence, trace, nor witness of the crime, it was because the Germans had destroyed all the evidence, all the traces and all the witnesses. Such a statement, besides being absurd, would in turn require evidence that Mrs Veil does not provide. But this matters little. Let us take note of this statement and, after Mrs Veil and those who, in practice, seem to espouse her thesis, let us also take note of this obvious fact, long ago brought to light by the revisionists: not only is there neither any evidence nor trace of the Nazi gas chambers, but there are no witnesses of them either.

Today, at the close of 1993, the testimonies on the Auschwitz gas chambers are discredited, including among the exterminationists. The history grounded in those testimonies is beginning to give way to history grounded either in facts or in arguments of a scientific order.

This is what I had advocated in my article in Le Monde of December 29, 1978 and in my letter to Le Monde of January 16, 1979.

It would take more than ten years to see our opponents venture onto the field where I had invited them to confront us: the scientific field.

J.-C. Pressac was appointed, notably by the Klarsfeld couple, to denounce “testimony-history” and to replace it with a scientific history or, at least, one that would be scientific in appearance.

Claude Lanzmann and the adherents of “testimony-history” are in despair about this [6]. The revisionists are pleased. A half-century of unverified testimonies must give way, definitively, to the search for facts and evidence at the judicial, scientific and historical levels.

______________

Notes

[1] S. Veil, former Minister of Justice, former President of the European Parliament.
[2] Hefte von Auschwitz, Sonderheft (I), Handschriften von Mitgleidern des Sonderkommandos, Verlag Staatliches Auschwitz-Museum, 1972, p. 32-71.
[3] On the cross-examination of witness Dr Charles Sigismund Bendel by Dr Zippel see “Excerpt from transcript of proceedings…” (doc. NI-11953). Regarding this abominable trial, it is indispensable to read: Dr William Lindsay, “Zyklon B, Auschwitz, and the Trial of Bruno Tesch“, Journal of Historical Review, Fall 1983, p. 261-303. This study has been reproduced in part by Udo Walendy in Historische Tatsachen, no. 25 (1985), p. 10-23.
[4] For a reproduction of these two maps see Hermann Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozess, Eine Dokumentation, 2 volumes, Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt 1965, 1027 p., p. 930-933. For a masterful study of the trial see Dr Wilhelm Stäglich, Der Auschwitz-Mythos, Legende oder Wirklichkeit? Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme, Grabert Verlag, Tübingen 1979, xii-492 p.
[5] One point that is not lacking in interest: in the German translation of this book (Die Nacht zu begraben, Elischa, p. 17-153), the crematory ovens of the original French version are done away with to be replaced by gas chambers (also at Buchenwald). I owe this discovery to the Swiss revisionist Jürgen Graf and I am indebted to A. W., a German revisionist living in France, for a list of 15 instances where the German translator thought it good to use the word “gas” where it did not appear in the original text. In December 1986 I went to Oslo to attend the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Elie Wiesel. Assisted by friends, I distributed a tract previously entitled A Prominent false witness: Elie Wiesel. Some months later, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, one of my most implacable adversaries, denounced Wiesel as a man “who says any rubbish that comes into his head… It suffices to read some of his descriptions in Night to know that certain of his accounts are not exact and that he ends up turning himself into a Shoah pedlar. He commits an injustice, an immense injustice to historical truth” (Interview by Michel Folco, Zéro, April 1987, page 57).
[6] See notably the article by Robert Redeker published in his review Les Temps Modernes under the title “La Catastrophe du révisionnisme” (November 1993, p. 1-6); here, revisionism is presented as a catastrophic sign of the change of eras: “Auschwitz” was – and for the author remains – a “mystique,” that is, a belief surrounded by a religious respect; however, “Auschwitz”, he says in a deploring tone, is becoming the subject of historical and technological considerations. This article was at the press when there appeared in L’Express a whole dossier on Jean-Claude Pressac’s new book (September 23, 1993, p. 76-80, 82-87). Claude Lanzmann  protested virulently against this turn taken by “Holocaust” history, writing: “Even if it is only to refute them, discussion of the revisionists’ arguments legitimises them, and they and their arguments become the people and things in relation to which all others place themselves. The revisionists occupy the whole terrain” (Le Nouvel Observateur, September 30, 1993, page 97).

__________

This text constitutes a chapter of Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte. Ein Handbuch über strittige Fragen des 20. Jahrhundert, a collective work of revisionist studies edited by Ernst Gauss [Germar Rudolf] and published by Grabert, Tübingen, in 1994. The chapter’s title is “Die Zeugen der Gaskammern von Auschwitz”, p. 99-109. 

The book has been translated into English and published under the title Dissecting the Holocaust – The Growing Critique of “Truth” and “Memory”, with a preface by Robert Faurisson.

The original French text was not published until its inclusion in Ecrits révisionnistes (1974-1998), tome IV, p. 1554-1569.