In early 1988, American execution hardware expert Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., carried out the first-ever forensic investigation of the alleged extermination gas chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek. His sensational conclusion — that these structures were never used as gas chambers to kill people — set off an international controversy that is still continuing. In a detailed report, commonly referred to simply as The Leuchter Report, the gas chamber specialist summed up the result of his investigation:
(According to the author) In February of this year (1988), I was contacted by Dr. Robert Faurisson for Mr. Ernst Zundel and asked to consider an assignment to investigate and forensically evaluate the extant crematoria and alleged execution gas chambers operated by the Nazis in Poland and to render an engineering opinion as to their feasibility and efficacy.
After a meeting with Mr. Zundel, defense lawyer Douglas H. Christie and staff members, in which the project was discussed, I was told that my findings were to be used in conjunction with the case of the Queen v Zundel, then before the District Court in Toronto.
Understanding this, it was determined that the investigation would include Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek (Lublin), and all associated crematoria and alleged execution gas chambers. I accepted the assignment and on February 25, 1988, I led a party of investigators to Poland. This party consisted of myself; my wife Carolyn Leuchter; Mr. Howard Miller, draftsman; Mr. Jurgen Neumann, cinematographer; and Mr. Tijadar Rudolph, Polish language interpreter. We returned on March 3, 1988 after inspecting all the required facilities at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek. This report and my findings are resultant to those investigations conducted in Poland.
In a paper presented to the Ninth International Revisionist Conference, Leuchter wrote the following Introduction:
1988 was a very informative and likewise disturbing year. I was appalled to learn that much of what I was taught in school about twentieth-century history and World War II was a myth, if not a lie. I was first amazed; then annoyed; then aware: the myth of the Holocaust was dead.
Like all American children born during and after World War II, I was taught about the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis on the Jews. By the time I had reached college, I had no reason to disbelieve any of my education, except that I had some problems swallowing the numbers of decedents, said to total better than six million persons. But there it stopped. I believed in the Nazi genocide. I had no reason to disbelieve.
Some twenty-four years later, a very believing engineer sat at his desk working one snowy January afternoon in 1988, when the telephone rang. This very believing engineer was about to receive a very shocking history lesson, one which would cause him to question that fifty-year-old Holocaust lie and the application of that lie to generations of children. “Hello, this is Robert Faurisson” – and that very believing engineer would believe no more.
Introduction by David Irving
|UNLIKE THE WRITING OF HISTORY chemistry is an exact science. Old fashioned historians have always conducted endless learned debates about meanings and interpretations, and the more indolent among them have developed a subsidiary Black Art of dreading between the lines”, as a substitute for wading into the archives of World War II documents which are now available in embarrassing abundance.
Recently, however, the more daring modern historians have begun using the tools of forensic science — carbon-dating, gas chromatography, and simple ink-aging tests — to examine, and not infrequently dispel, some of the more tenaciously held myths of the twentieth century.
Sometimes the public is receptive to the results, sometimes not. The negative result of the laboratory analysis of the ancient Shroud of Turin is one example: it is not a deliberate fake, perhaps, but nor was it nearly as old as the priests would have had centuries of gullible tourists believe.
It is unlikely that the world’s public will be as receptive, yet, to the results of the professional and dispassionate chemical examination of the remains of the wartime Auschwitz concentration camp which is at the centre of this report.
Nobody likes to be swindled, still less where considerable sums of money are involved. (Since 1949 the State of Israel has received over 90 billion Deutschmarks in voluntary reparations from West Germany, essentially in atonement for the “gas chambers of Auschwitz”.) And this myth will not die easily: Too many hundreds of millions of honest, intelligent people have been duped by the well-financed and brilliantly successful postwar publicity campaign which followed on from the original ingenious plan of the British Psychological Warfare Executive (PWE,) in 1942 to spread to the world the propaganda story that the Germans were using “gas chambers” to kill millions of Jews and other “undesirables”.
As late as August 1943 the head of the PWE minuted the Cabinet secretly that despite the stories they were putting out, there was not the slightest evidence that such contraptions existed, and he continued with a warning that stories from Jewish sources in this connection were particularly suspect.
As a historian I have, on occasion, had recourse to fraud laboratories to test controversial documents for their authenticity. In the late 1960s I discarded certain diaries of Vice Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, offered to myself and the publishers William Collins Ltd., since Messrs. Hehner & Cox Ltd. of the City of London advised me that the ink used for one signature did not exist during the war years. It was I who exposed the “Hitler Diaries” as fakes, at Der Stern’s famous international press conference in Hamburg in April 1983.
And yet I have to admit that it would never have occurred to me to subject the actual fabric of the Auschwitz concentration camp and its “gas chambers”–the holiest shrines of this new Twentieth Century religion–to chemical tests to see if there was any trace of cyanide compounds in the walls.
|The truly astounding results are as set out in this report: while significant quantities of cyanide compounds were found in the small de-lousing facilities of the camp where the proprietary (and lethal) Zyklon B compound was used, as all are agreed, to disinfect the plague-ridden clothing of all persons entering these brutal slave-labour camps, no significant trace whatsoever was found in the buildings which international opinion — for it is not more than that–has always labelled as the camp’s infamous gas chambers. Nor, as the report’s gruesomely expert author makes plain, could the design and construction of those buildings have made their use as mass gas- chambers feasible under any circumstances.
For myself shown this evidence for the first time when called as an expert witness at the Zündel trial in Toronto in April 1988, the laboratory reports were shattering. There could be no doubt as to their integrity. I myself would, admittedly, have preferred to see more rigorous methods used in identifying and certifying the samples taken for analysis, but I accept without reservation the difficulties that the examining team faced on location in what is now Poland: chiselling out the samples from the hallowed site under the very noses of the new camp guards. The video tapes made simultaneously by the team–which I have studied–provide compelling visual evidence of the scrupulous methods that they used.
Until the end of this tragic century there will always be incorrigible historians, statesmen, and publicists who are content to believe, or have no economically viable alternative but to believe, that the Nazis used “gas chambers” at Auschwitz to kill human beings. But it is now up to them to explain to me as an intelligent and critical student of modern history why there is no significant trace of any cyanide compound in the building which they have always identified as the former gas chambers.
The ball is in their court.
The principal investigator and author of this report on design and fabrication of execution hardware has specifically worked on and designed hardware in the United States used in the execution of condemned persons by means of hydrogen cyanide gas.
The investigator has inspected the facilities at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, made measurements, taken forensic samples, reviewed design and procedural literature on DEGESCH delousing chambers and procedures, Zyklon B gas, and materials on execution procedures. Much of the reviewed material was literature purchased and viewed at the sites in Poland, including copies of original drawings of Kremas I, II, III, IV and V.
In a paper presented to the Ninth International Revisionist Conference, Leuchter wrote the following Introduction:
I have for the past nine years worked with most, if not all, of the states in the United States having capital punishment. I design and manufacture execution equipment of all types, including electrocution systems, lethal injection equipment, gallows and gas chamber hardware. I have consulted for, or supplied equipment to, most of the applicable states and the federal government.
Because of my association with the states in this capacity, I was recommended to the Zundel defense as a consultant on gas chambers by Warden Bill Armontrout of the Missouri State Penitentiary. After answering my telephone on that cold January afternoon, I met with Dr. Robert Faurisson twice in Boston and, as a result of these meetings, I was summoned to Toronto to meet with Ernst Zundel, attorney Douglas Christie and the rest of Zundel’s very able staff. Dr. Robert Faurisson had postulated thirteen years ago that a gas-chamber specialist should be sought who could evaluate the alleged gas chambers in Poland and report on their efficacy for execution purposes, something the Revisionists already knew was impossible.
Valentine’s Day weekend found myself and Carolyn, my wife of two weeks, in Toronto. Two days of lengthy meetings followed, during which I was shown photos of the alleged German gas chambers in Poland, German documents and Allied aerial photographs. My examination of this material led me to question whether these alleged gas chambers were, in fact, execution facilities. I was asked if I would go to Poland and undertake a physical inspection and forensic analysis resulting in a written evaluation of these alleged execution gas chambers, some at places I had never even heard of.
After due consideration, I agreed, and made plans to leave for Poland, awaiting a time of minimal snow covering. I also stated that although the photos and documents seemed to support the view that these places were, indeed, not execution facilities, I would reserve final judgement until after my examination and, if I determined that these facilities were, in fact, or could have been, execution gas chambers, I would state this in my report. The final report was to be utilized as evidence in Ernst Zundel’s defense in his pending criminal trial at Toronto, and I had to be prepared to testify under oath.
Preparations for the trip required me to take sample bags, documentation journals and tools. Because we were in a Communist country I would have to be careful with the tools. Very few tourists carry hammers, chisels, star drills and tape measures while travelling. I hid them in the lining of my valise and hoped for the best. Further, I had maps of Poland, Czechoslovakia and Austria, in the event that we might have to make a hasty and unscheduled exit. And finally, the gifts with which we bribed the museum people to supply us with copies of documents from the Museum Archives.
The scope of this report includes a physical inspection and quantitative data obtained at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, literature supplied by the officials at the three (3) museum sites, blueprint copies of Kremas I, II, III, IV and V obtained at the museums, material relative to DEGESCH delousing chambers and facilities (including equipment and procedures utilized with Zyklon B gas), a description of operational procedures at the facilities in question and forensic samples taken at the Kremas investigated.
Additionally, data on the design of U.S. gas chambers and operational procedures coming from the investigator’s own personal knowledge and work in the field, as well as, an investigation of U.S. crematories and procedures, were utilized in the production of this report. Utilizing all of the above data, the investigator has limited the focus of this study to a determination of:
(a) the capability of the alleged execution gas chambers to have accomplished the mass murder of human beings by the use of Zyklon B gas in Auschwitz I and Birkenau and carbon monoxide and/or Zyklon B gas in Majdanek;
(b) the capability of the investigated kremas to have accomplished the alleged number of human cremations in the alleged time period.
Purpose of the Report
The purpose of this report and the investigation upon which it is based is to determine whether the alleged execution gas chambers and crematory facilities at three (3) sites in Poland, namely Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, could have operated in the manner ascribed them in Holocaust literature.
This purpose includes the investigation and inspection of the physical facilities, design of these facilities, and a description of procedures utilized at these facilities with an eye to determining the quantities of gas utilized, the times involved in these usages (i.e. execution and ventilation times), the physical sizes of chambers relative to the inclusion of occupants and the procedures and times involved in handling and cremating corpses with the intent of determining the veracity and credibility of unsupported operational reports.
This purpose does not include a determination of any numbers of persons who died or were killed by means other than gassing or as to whether an actual Holocaust occurred. It, further, is not the intent of this author to redefine the Holocaust in historical terms, but simply to supply scientific evidence and information obtained at the actual sites and to render an opinion based on all available scientific, engineering and quantitative data as to the purpose and usages of the alleged execution gas chambers and crematory facilities at the investigated locations.
Fred A. Leuchter, 45, is an engineer living in Boston, Massachusetts, who specialized in the design of execution hardware used in prisons throughout the United States. One of his major projects was the design of a new gas chamber at the Missouri State Penitentiary at Jefferson City.
In January of 1988, I was in Toronto, Canada, assisting in the defense of Mr. Ernst Zündel, a German-Canadian who was on trial for spreading false news by publishing “Did Six Million really Die?“, a booklet which challenged the prevailing view that six million Jews were killed by the Nazis during World War II, primarily through the use of gas chambers using hydrocyanic gas (Zyklon B gas).
Ernst Zündel had been previously tried on the same charge in 1985. The trial lasted seven weeks and ended with a conviction and a sentence of fifteen months imprisonment. In January 1987, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned the judgment because of grave errors in law and ordered that a new trial be held. The retrial began on January 18, 1988 and at the time of this writing is still proceeding.
My initial conversations with Fred Leuchter took place in Boston on the 3rd and 4th of February, 1988. I was impressed with the conciseness of his answers to my questions and by his ability to explain every detail of gassing procedures. He confirmed to me the particularly dangerous nature of an execution by hydrocyanic gas.
Executions using this gas were carried out for the first time in the United States in 1924, but as late as 1988 major difficulties still existed in the construction of execution gas chambers, including the problem of leakage. I noticed that Fred Leuchter did not question the standard notion of the Holocaust.
After my return from Boston to Toronto and after I had reported to Ernst Zündel on my discussions with Fred Leuchter, Mr. Zündel decided to ask the latter to prepare an expert opinion on the alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek.
Mr. Leuchter accepted the assignment after a weekend in Toronto reviewing wartime aerial photographs of the camps, plans of the crematoriums and alleged gas chambers, documents on Zyklon B and slides taken of the sites in the 1970’s by the Swedish researcher Ditlieb Felderer.
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