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ZGram: Where Truth is Destiny and Destination!

October 7, 1999

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

Part II of Ernst Zundel's reviews of the Errol Morris documentary "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred Leuchter."

Saturday, September 18, 1999 will be etched into my consciousness for many years to come!

This was to be a "first" - the day when I would attend the premiere of a film in which I not only "acted" or appeared as an interview partner; no, in a way I was responsible for the film itself having come into being, even though I was not the producer and did not have to pay a dime for its production. It had its origins in my 1988 trial - for, thanks to Dr. Faurisson, my French advisor, mentor and friend who had told me a decade earlier that to solve the "homicidal/genocidal gas chamber" story, we had to find a man in the profession in order to confirm the total physical and chemical impossibility of the "homicidal/genocidal gas chamber" story.

In Fred Leuchter of Boston, a decade ago, we finally found such a man.

The film, "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred Leuchter" is the story of that quest for truth in history and of that man I sent to find that truth - sensitively and movingly told and documented by Errol Morris, a Jewish documentary movie maker of exceptional talent.

For months, reports had appeared in the mainstream press and in movie trade magazines about Errol Morris's "quirky" project about this weirdo, wacko "Holocaust Denier" and gallows' builder named Fred Leuchter - hired by that other strange tilter-at-windmills and modern Don Quixote, Ernst Zündel, whose sole aim was to set the historical record straight. The movie reviews were an odd mix of "reviewer angst' and what seemed to me almost a near-panic helplessness by all the writers to come to grips with and focus on the story at hand. What was this story all about? I had never seen any reviews like it. Especially World War II topics are always presented as one-dimensional - as "good versus evil" - where no sane person would contradict the obvious "moral" that Hitler was a genocidal maniac who "gassed six million Jews."

In these pre-premiere reviews, published in some of the most prestigious publications in America, there was not the usual shrill, out-of-hand condemnation of me, the "evil Holocaust Denier" or even of Revisionism - or, for that matter, of Leuchter or David Irving, both of whom had willingly participated in the making of this film.

I was guardedly optimistic. Intuitively I had taken a liking to Errol Morris, the man who had had the idea to make this documentary about Fred Leuchter and his trials and tribulations as a result of that pack of censors that started hounding Leuchter after he dared to go after historical truth with a hammer and chisel on a cold winter day in then still Communist Poland.

When I was told that the film would be officially introduced at Toronto's International Film Festival on the 16th and 18th of September '99, I tried to get advance tickets early, for I thought there were going to be throngs of Jewish movie goers snapping up the seats. What I had overlooked was that the premiere date fell smack into Rosh Hashanah and the week of Yom Kippur! As it happened, this was to keep the more devout and fanatical Jewish elements away. At least that's my guess - or could it be that there is now a policy shift in Jewish quarters and a realization that the genie is out of the bottle?

What greeted me and my friends, as we approached Toronto's elegant and superbly restored Elgin Theater on famous Yonge Street at noon on a beautiful, crisp and sunny Fall day, was a line-up of almost exclusively young, well-behaved people in the 18-23 age range, mainly white. My supporters and I were pretty much the oldest people in sight, except for our younger friends and body guards. Surprising also was the orderliness and civility of the group and the neat dress of both males and females - a pleasant sight in these days of artificial, in-your-face sloppiness of torn jeans, dirty running shoes and baggy, down--to-your-knee pants.

The theater filled quickly. As I walked along the brass-railed, red-carpeted floor with its Gothic pillars, with gold trim and gold leaf motifs sparkling in the subdued, tastefully lit theater, my mind wandered back to the Second Great Holocaust Trial of 1988 - and the censorious media blackout. Who would have, a decade ago, predicted I would see the story re-created on the silver screen?

There must have been some 500-600 people seated in plush, comfortable seats. There was heavy security everywhere - beefy men carrying walkie-talkies, lining the walls and stairs. I was recognized by a few passersby and bystanders as well as guards and ushers. To my surprise, there were no incidents - no heckling, no cat calls, no insults. Just quiet, polite civility.

Soon the lights dimmed - and to my shock we were treated to an eardrum-assaulting cacophony of horrific sound, of lightning bolts crashing with the harsh crackle of static electricity and a wild and frantic display of lights and images dancing on the screen - with an image of Fred Leuchter hoisted up in a cell-like cage - much like the Jew "Jud Suess" was hoisted in that famous classic. It looked like Fred was being electrocuted before the movie had even begun!

I thought: "Oh my God! This is going to be a rape of the senses by some doped-out, freaky producer! "

That whole, horrifying introduction lasted all of three to four minutes, when the ruckus stopped as suddenly as it had begun - and an unusual sound, almost reminiscent of Nazi rally newsreel sound track, permeated the room as the most incredible story I have ever seen in a documentary movie unraveled before my eyes!

From that moment on, the musical score and the background music and sound were non-intrusive and non-offensive - if anything, I would have to call them tastefully composed, even touching and tender, at times so fitting it can only be called poetic. Perhaps Errol Morris wanted to contrast the overwhelmingly boisterous society of today with what took place in the quiet of a quest, for decades away from society's eyes, thanks to the simple commitment of very plain people like Leuchter.

The story of Fred Leuchter unfolds from his childhood, with faded clippings and photos of his father, a prison official, and rare, grainy but very interesting home movie still footage of Fred and his father and prisoners horsing around in the prison yard where his father worked. There is footage from the 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, masterfully utilized by Morris. There is even the electrocution of an elephant in footage so grainy it must have been shot before WWI. No wonder reviewers call Errol Morris "quirky."

Fred, a highly competent, self-taught professional who holds a number of impressive patents for execution equipment and navigation devices, finally gets to tell his story in a very human, fluid way, supplemented by images of him at work repairing electrical chairs, helmets used in electrocutions, weird gadgets and complicated consoles. Switches and syringes for a lethal injection machine invented by Fred Leuchter are being woven into a tapestry of images, as Fred takes a walk through one of the prisons where the machine has been installed. His then wife shows him on home videos working in his crowded basement, tinkering away, practicing his macabre craft to make the execution of society's worst elements less painful and more human. Fred is shown testing gallows in prisons, performing fake executions with ropes tied around bags of sand as they hurl down a trap door. At times, the audience snickers and laughs lightheartedly when Fred makes some self-deprecating remarks about what has to be one of the eeriest lines of work in the world.

Suddenly the screen goes pitch black - and in stark, bold, white type the message appears on the screen: "The Trial of Ernst Zündel in Toronto, Canada" - accompanied by a subdued, now serious musical score!

Abrupt is the word!

The room fell totally silent at that moment! It was so silent you could hear a feather drop - and the mood of the audience, from that moment on, never changed back to the frivolous giggles or nervous laughs that punctuated the first part of the film! This change in mood was so telling - and startling! - that it must send shivers up the spine of traditional Holocaust promoters and beneficiaries. That silence signaled very clearly that serious business and issues are at hand!

The next moment was even more startling: Filling the entire screen, edge to edge, in the most vivid red, with striking bold black type, was the cover of that fateful booklet "Did Six Million Really Die?" This provocative image surely must sear itself, in this extreme close-up, filling the entire screen, into the consciousness of the most casual viewer.

Next followed an equally startling, brilliantly colored sequence, shot by a camera man for a Toronto TV station, of me being hoisted on the shoulders of my friends on January 18, 1988, at the beginning of the trial, as I unfurl a huge banner reading "The Holocau$t is a Hoax!" - holding it up for the entire world to see! Next to me stand supporters who hold up similar slogans and signs, saying "The Holocaust is a Racket!" "The Holocaust is Hate!" etc.

That image sat there for what seemed like an eternity to me! I was utterly stunned by that opening scene!

Wow!

I could not believe it! I did not think that I could trust my eyes!

Errol Morris had gone out of his way to dig up that provocative footage, because our own amateur photographer, I later found out, had pushed the "gain" switch on his video camera at the time, which burned out and ruined that crucial, memorable scene in our own videos of the day.

Man, was I pleased! What an opening statement to a story challenging the Holocaust! And not a word had yet been said!

Then followed video footage of newscasts of my 1988 trial, good excerpts of my statements to the press - one better than the next! - and all that on the huge silver screen in a spectacular theater in downtown Toronto, where a decade ago I had been beaten and spat at by hissing, howling Jewish Defense League thugs!

One could write page after page to go through this fast-paced presentation of the trial, which had the entire audience enthralled with rapt attention. Gone was the laughter. There were no snickers. Only a somber silence permeated the theater as the Revisionist drama unfolded.

The audience watched the Leuchter trip to Poland, then still under Communist rule, illustrated with scenes at the airport, Fred on the plane and in Warsaw, filmed in dramatic angles, and the startling but for me familiar footage out of one of the most famous films of the Nazi era, "Triumph of the Will".

It is hard to describe what I felt as I saw it all fill the screen. It is the famous series of sequences of Adolf Hitler, winging his way to Nuremberg like in some ride of the Valkyries, high above the clouds over Germany. Then the clouds break and reveal the old medieval town of Nuremberg from a birds-eye's view, with a swastika flag slowly moving in the breeze as it hangs there languidly from a tall church tower below - as if some god had filmed it!

The pace picks up as Leuchter lands in Poland and arrives in Auschwitz to begin his work in earnest. The on-the-ground investigations in the ruins of the various buildings and in the "gas chambers" are interestingly presented. One practically smells the rot and mildew, now that fifty years have passed. Fred's hammer blows echo eerily through the dimly lit "gas chamber" as his chisels bite into the mortar and bricks - soon to reveal a falsified and distorted history! - while Fred narrates dispassionately but with a quiet and steady voice, what he is doing, step by step - and why!

For some of the close-up sequences, Morris skillfully employed professional actors, who immeasurably heighten the drama and enhance the on-the-ground footage I gave him permission to use. The scenes of Auschwitz with the ground fog rising, the barbed wire, rusty and dripping wet, the decaying buildings - image piled upon image in an unhurried and purposeful way - these sequences are simply exceptionally done and interwoven skillfully! This film must have a profound effect on newcomers to the subject of Revisionism - pro or con - for years to come!

Somewhere midway through this sequence, my face gets blended in with some telling commentary by me, filmed in Boston. Then Fred Leuchter comes on with his Boston accent and continues with the narration of the story. There is never a dull moment in this film! Not one!

For instance, Morris could not pass by the opportunity and temptation to bring my "Adolf Hitler's birthday present" to the screen. This is my very own private gesture to this Leuchter story. Unbeknownst to my lawyers and even to Fred Leuchter and his wife, I had timed the introduction of the Leuchter Report and his court appearance on the 99th birthday of Adolf Hitler on the 20th of April 1988. It was my "gift" to history and to the late Chancellor of the German Reich - and to my German people - to present what David Irving called "this shattering document" on this very day.

It was my gift of hoped-for liberation. I knew that if properly wielded by Germany's leaders and its media, the Leuchter Report would be the sword the Germans could swing to cut the Gordian Knot of the entangled Holocaust lie that has imprisoned them and kept them on the defensive for more than half a century on the world's stage!

In this documentary there are, of course, politically correct concessions - without it, films such as this one are doomed at the box office, if they ever make it to the silver screen at all. There are the expected Holocaust promoter interspersions like Shelly Shapiro and others - about Fred and I being "racists" and "anti-semites" etc. - but one can sense that Morris put these sequences in to get his documentary past the censors and to secure the distribution for his film in the perfunctory way he presents them, clearly announcing in stark white text - "Zionist Activist" - before they appear on the screen. His heart or his artistic hand are obviously not in these perfunctory nods to the Holocaust Lobby.

For instance, just when Revisionism is about to triumph, when our forensic examination of the alleged "murder weapon" and "murder site" are about to reveal the falsification of Holocaust history, when Fred Leuchter, applying Dr. Faurisson's blue print for his search for clues and samples should bear fruit - because they did reveal the lack of Zyklon B in the samples taken! - in steps who else but Dr. Roth?!

Dr. Roth was our horrendously expensive expert witness of the 1988 trial, the man who had analyzed Leuchter's Auschwitz-Birkenau samples in a blind analysis test, as empirical tests of this kind are supposed to be done according to the scientific method. I remembered Roth as an imposing, proper scholar - well-spoken, nattily attired. His testimony in the trial transcript is unequivocal and to the point.

Well, that was then - and now is now. In this film, Roth looks like the cadaverous, almost mummy-like alien we have gotten to know in X-File and "Incident at Roswell" UFO flicks - with his elongated turkey neck, his eyes that are narrow as slits, and his mouth a mere thin horizontal line across his face, his skin texture hardly human. I was appalled - as much by his looks as I was, seconds later, by the words that came out of his mouth!

What this man said there on the screen was in glaring contrast to what he had said under oath in front of Judge Thomas in the witness box in 1988 in Toronto!

What happened?

It isn't hard to speculate. Now Roth has had 11 years of experience under his belt of how ruthless the Lobby is towards all those who rattle the cage of the Holocaust taboo. What Dr. Roth delivers now is gibberish - and has been competently refuted, as surely he must know, by three additional forensic investigations, more detailed than Leuchter's. His "reasoning" can be refuted by any high school chemistry student. As I was listening to him, he reminded me of the testimony of all those who testified in the witches trials, all of whom had seen the devil have sex with the accused witches, all of whom had minute details to add to what we know today were blatant lies. Today we know how witch trial testimonies come about, how people feared that if they did not say what was expected of them, they stood themselves under suspicion of having cavorted with the devil and could themselves be accused next - for they had been, self-admittedly, in the very presence of the devil!

Morris dazzles the viewer with beautifully filmed scenes of bubbling cauldrons, gurgling Bunsen-burners, scores of glass bottles, flasks and scientific apparatus - to camouflage, or reinforce, Roth's situational ethics chemistry? I found these scenes at once angering and disturbing, for we, the victims of the Holocaust lie, were victimized once more - this time by Errol Morris. Was it necessary for Morris to get the film passed to include this disingenuous perjury? Who, at this point, is to say? We were not in on the negotiations.

Next enters Jan van Pelt, a self-satisfied, smug and equally oily representative of Holocaust orthodoxy, who waxes eloquent and as expected in theological phraseology - who talks about "holy ground", "sacred sites", "religious shrines" etc. being violated by the infidel Fred Leuchter. He turns the pages of some brittle documents and palms off on the viewers as new "discoveries" such terms as "Vergasungskeller" - a term that was discussed and explained by Dr. Faurisson decades ago! He lets forth the usual streams of invectives and customary vilification, while he engages in what he knows to be the falsification of German texts and documents - in full and plain view of the audience. He assigns sinister meanings to texts which are perfectly harmless and normal, such as "Gasprüfer" (gas sniffer) - a device every Canadian Consumers Gas employee dangles from his belt when he goes out on a call where a gas leak is suspected. Every normal viewer cannot help but wonder at this point: "Is the Canadian Gas Company" also secretly running an underground "extermination of six million Jews" campaign?

Bizarre. Cheap. Unethical to boot. Unworthy of Errol Morris, I thought. Still, my heart froze and a cold shiver overcame me when I saw the performance of van Pelt who delivered his lies and distortions of German words and intentions and texts with a convincing if somewhat sarcastic tone of voice so as to once more try to con the gullible - and to prevent the truth from sinking in: That the Germans had no genocidal program using homicidal "gas chambers".

However, there too, Morris's artistry, when document folders are opened in the Auschwitz archives with blueprints and elaborate building plans, is superb, the lighting masterful. It cannot camouflage the deception to all those who still can think. From the sound of the brittle papers being amplified to the cropping, lighting and perspective - I must say that seldom have I seen such a sensitive treatment of documents found in any other film - including our own.

Overall, the sound bytes and scenes chosen by Morris are good. David Irving makes a few appearances in the film. In spite of the discordant note of the shrill insertion of sound bites by "Zionist activists" - declared as such by Morris before or after they make their appearances - the film winds its way to its very haunting conclusion, at times accompanied by narration from Fred's former wife, Carol, about her life with Fred, their harrowing trips to Poland, and their work on their honeymoon in Auschwitz. Fred's "six packs of cigarettes and 40 cups of coffee" a day get a "Sonderbehandlung" - special treatment. Even Mark Weber of the Institute for Historical Review" makes a brief appearance, introducing Fred at an IHR convention.

For the rest of the film, Fred gets star billing - and makes the most of it, given the chance presented to him. He walks away as a true Anti-Hero. Fred Leuchter never sold himself. This man was not for sale.

I was moved by Fred's tragic story and felt empathy for him, for I had gotten to know him and developed an appreciation of his rock-bottom honesty and simplistic goodness while I worked with him.

In summary: Fred Leuchter had his say!

The van Pelts will distort texts and facts of history a little while longer. The Roths will backslide out of fear and terror, thus risking charges of perjury. The censors and keepers of the gates of Holocaust orthodoxy may even be able to cow and browbeat Jewish film makers like Errol Morris into compromising themselves to get at least part of the message out - a message of quiet resolve and civic heroism, of courage, of painful abuse endured in the service of a truth once found and understood.

What does it really matter? The truth will out. It will. This film, despite its minor genuflecting to please the Noisy Lobby, proves it.

The one man who did not yet have his say, who was not there, who took more abuse than any one of us and who was, and is, a central figure in this drama - a drama he has coined the "great intellectual adventure at the end of the 20th century" - is my dear friend and mentor, Professor Robert Faurisson. He is the man who ultimately found Fred Leuchter. A latter day Diogenes, he took his intellectual lantern and found one honest man - walking the streets of Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

And this planet was never the same!

It was, and is, Dr. Faurisson's achievement that this film was even possible - for Fred Leuchter, Dr. Roth, Shelly Shapiro, van Pelt, David Irving and I were only actors on the stage of history - with small bit parts to play. He was the man who set it all in motion. To him, the world owes thanks and honor! I pray and hope that he will find his Errol Morris to let him tell his story in his own words in his own lifetime.

I predict this documentary will become a cult film among the young generation. It will be talked and written about for many years to come. Other film makers and documentary producers will pick up where Errol Morris left off. With the increasing technological perfection and sophistication of the Internet, these future film artists will not have to make the compromises Errol Morris still had to make to get this project finished and distributed by standard film distributors.

This film is a true milestone - and even with its ethical flaws, more than we have ever dared to hope. Dr. Faurisson, Fred Leuchter, David Irving, the Institute for Historical Review, Ingrid Rimland and I - we could not have done it without our supporters! All of us were nothing but mere instruments of fate, for God works through plain men and women. This breakthrough is your breakthrough! Mankind and truth are the winners! The floodgates have been opened, and a torrent of truthful information is about to wash away decades, if not centuries, of lies! The Age of Truth, the new millennium, is now upon us - and you, my supporters and donors far and wide, have made it possible by your donations, large and small. You gave us not only the means, but also the will and determination to carry on this fight against great odds - and even greater evil! It was your love and devotion to truth that made us stay the course!

Ernst Zundel

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Thought for the Day:

"The conscious mind allows itself to be trained like a parrot, but the unconscious does not - which is why St. Augustine thanked God for not making him responsible for his dreams."

(Carl Jung)





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