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 some six million. But there it stopped. I believed in the Nazi genocide. I had no reason to disbelieve.
Some 24 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 50-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.
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 Zündel 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 Zündel, attorney Douglas Christie and the rest of Zündel's very able staff.
Dr. Robert Faurisson had postulated 13 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.
Valentine's Day weekend found me 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 judgment 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 Zündel'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, I had gifts with which we bribed the museum people to supply us with copies of documents from the Museum Archives.
I was fortunate to have a competent and dependable party of professionals: my wife Carolyn, my general assistant; Mr. Howard Miller, draftsman; Mr. Jürgen Neumann, cinematographer; Mr. Tijudar Rudolf, interpreter. All knew that, if caught, the Polish government would take a dim view of our activities and purpose, let alone my removal of forensic samples from national shrines and monuments.
And the two ex officio members of our party, Mr. Ernst Zündel and Dr. Robert Faurisson, who could not accompany us in person, but who nevertheless were with us every step of the way in spirit.
On February 25, 1988, we left for Poland. Neumann and Rudolf, the Canadian contingent, joined me and the remainder of our team in Frankfurt.
We arrived at Cracow in the late afternoon and spent our first night at the Hotel Orbis. We consumed the first of our three decent meals while in Poland. The following day we drove to Oswiecim (Auschwitz). We arrived at the Auschwitz hotel and were greeted by the smell of sulphur napthal disinfectant, a smell I had not encountered for many years. The hotel is apparently the old officers' quarters for the camp. We ate lunch at the hotel dining room, a cafeteria style facility. This was our first unidentifiable meal, starch soup and sundries.
We made a reconnaissance tour of the camp, lasting into the dim light of the Polish afternoon and several snow squalls, a common occurrence. We ate no supper, in that we found no place to eat in Auschwitz after sundown our first evening.
Auschwitz and Birkenau
The following day we began our work in the alleged gas chamber at the Auschwitz [camp] facility. Unfortunately, we were unable to accomplish much due to constant interruptions by both official and unofficial Sunday tours. Carolyn stood guard at one entrance and Tijudar at the other, advising myself, Jürgen and Howard of their arrival. It was too dangerous to take forensic samples and tape, so we left for Birkenau [camp site] about noon.
At Birkenau we began a four-hour walk into the damp Polish cold and through snow squalls so dense we could not see each other at a distance of a few feet. Unfortunately, we did not expect to spend that much time walking through the camp and, since vehicles are not permitted within the camp, we left Carolyn behind in the car. Since we forgot to leave her the keys, she nearly froze in the cold Polish afternoon. We visited the barracks, crematories II, III, IV and V, the sauna and the alleged burning pits. We took samples, documented our activities on video tape and in still photos, and made scale drawings of these facilities, carefully documenting the removal locations of all the forensic samples. We had to break into the sauna building, since it was locked.
At crematory II, I descended into the depths of the alleged gas chamber, a wet, dank subterranean place not visited by man in almost 50 years, since the building had been reduced to rubble, probably by a German military demolition team. Fortunately, there were fewer guards and less pedestrian traffic, making working conditions considerably better than they had been earlier at Auschwitz.
Having been instructed by our empty stomachs of the evening before, we found and ate at the restaurant at the bus station, the only legitimate restaurant in Auschwitz. We returned to the Auschwitz hotel for the night.
The following day, Monday, we again began our work at Auschwitz [camp site], the Sunday tours having subsided. We were able to get our samples, tapes and documentation. We had, by this time, obtained blueprints of the alleged gas-chamber facility and were able to follow the structural changes back to the dates in question. We also verified the existence of the floor drain for the periods of alleged gas chamber usage. Upon completion at Auschwitz, we drove again to Birkenau to take our control sample at delousing facility 1. Unfortunately, the building was locked and again we had to break and enter in order to access the delousing chamber. Again we ate at the bus station, and retired early to the Auschwitz hotel.
Tuesday morning, while awaiting Tijudar's unsuccessful attempt to obtain a can of Zyklon B, Jürgen and I made video tapes of locations within the camp. We moved from the Auschwitz hotel to a hostel nearby, obtaining newly vacated rooms. We ate at the bus station and retired early.
On Wednesday morning [the 24th] we ate a very enjoyable breakfast of ham, cheese and bread (our second decent meal in Poland) and began our trip to Lublin to see the Majdanek camp site. After one final look in at Auschwitz, we set off by car for Majdanek.
Several hours later, we arrived at Majdanek (Lublin), and visited the museum, the reconstructed alleged gas chamber and the crematory. We finally arrived at disinfection [buildings] 1 and 2, and examined the facilities. It was extremely difficult to work, in that a guard made rounds every 10 or 15 minutes. The alleged gas chambers were blocked by gates and not accessible for a detailed inspection by the general public. It was necessary for me to trespass beyond these gates in forbidden areas. Again Carolyn and Tijudar stood watch while I made measurements and did a detailed examination in these areas. Once we were caught short: I was forced to hurdle the gate, and was still in the air and in mid-jump when the guard entered. Fortunately, he was more interested in Jürgen and his camera to see me before I touched ground.
The camp closed in early afternoon and the guard rather nastily told us to leave. By three o'clock we were en route to Warsaw, a trip that would take five hours through rain and snow. Our hotel reservation had been fouled up but, fortunately, with the help of an embassy attache, we were able to secure rooms at another hotel.
We had our third edible meal in Poland that evening, and went to bed in preparation for our trip home on Thursday. The following morning we had breakfast and proceeded to the airport for our return trip.
We boarded the Polish airlines plane after clearing customs — my suitcase containing twenty pounds of the forbidden samples, fortunately none of which were found. I did not breathe easy until we cleared the passport checkpoint at Frankfurt. Our team split at Frankfurt for the return trips to the United States and Canada, respectively. After our return [on March 3], I delivered the forensic samples to the test laboratory in Massachusetts. Upon receipt of the test results, I prepared my report, combining my knowledge of gas execution facilities and procedures with the research I had completed at crematories and with retort manufacturers in the United States. With the results of my research I believe you are all familiar.
Upon completion of my report I testified at Toronto — but that is another story.
1. Gas Chambers
The results published in the Leuchter Report are the important thing. Categorically, none of the facilities examined at Auschwitz, Birkenau or Lublin (Majdanek) could have supported, or in fact did support, multiple executions utilizing hydrogen cyanide, carbon monoxide or any other allegedly or factually lethal gas. Based upon very generous maximum usage rates for all the alleged gas chambers, totalling 1,693 persons per week, and assuming these facilities could support gas executions, it would have required sixty-eight (68) years to execute the alleged number of six millions of persons. This must mean the Third Reich was in existence for some seventy-five (75) years. Promoting these facilities as being capable of effecting mass, multiple or even singular executions is both ludicrous and insulting to every individual on this planet. Further, those who do promote this mistruth are negligent and irresponsible for not investigating these facilities earlier and ascertaining the truth before indoctrinating the world with what may have become the greatest propaganda ploy in history.
Of equal importance are Exterminationist errors relating to the crematories. If these crematories, operated at a theoretical rate of maximum output per day, without any down time and at a constant pace (an impossible situation), and we accept the figure of at least six million executed, the Third Reich lasted for at least forty-two (42) years, since it would take thirty-five (35) years at an impossible minimum to cremate these six million souls.
No one by any stretch of the imagination would allege (or even believe) that the Third Reich ever lasted for seventy-five (75) or even forty-two (42) years, yet they would have us believe that six million souls were executed with equipment that could not possibly have functioned, in less than one-seventh of the absolute minimum time it could possibly have taken.
Forensic samples were taken from the visited sites. A control sample was removed from delousing facility 1 at Birkenau. It was postulated that because of the high iron content of the building materials at these camps the presence of hydrogen cyanide gas would result in a ferric-ferro-cyanide compound being formed, as evidenced by the Prussian blue staining on the walls in the delousing facilities.
A detailed analysis of the 32 samples taken at the Auschwitz-Birkenau complexes showed 1,050 mg/kg of cyanide and 6,170 mg/kg of iron. Higher iron results were found at all of the alleged gas chambers but no significant cyanide traces. This would be impossible if these sites were exposed to hydrogen cyanide gas, because the alleged gas chambers supposedly were exposed to much greater quantities of gas than the delousing facility. Thus, chemical analysis supports the fact that these facilities were never utilized as gas execution facilities.
Construction of these facilities shows that they were never used as gas chambers. None of these facilities were sealed or gasketed. No provision was ever made to prevent condensation of gas on the walls, floor or ceiling. No provision ever existed to exhaust the air-gas mixture from these buildings. No provision ever existed to introduce or distribute the gas throughout the chamber. No explosion-proof lighting existed and no attempt was ever made to prevent gas from entering the crematories, even though the gas is highly explosive. No attempt was made to protect operating personnel from exposure to the gas or to protect other non-participating persons from exposure. Specifically, at Auschwitz, a floor drain in the alleged gas chamber was connected directly to the camp's storm drain system. At Majdanek a depressed walkway around the alleged gas chambers would have collected gas seepage and resulted in a death trap for camp personnel. No exhaust stacks ever existed. Hydrogen cyanide gas is an extremely dangerous and lethal gas, and nowhere were there any provisions to effect any amount of safe handling. The chambers were too small to accommodate more than a small fraction of the alleged numbers. Plain and simple, these facilities could not have operated as execution gas chambers.
After a thorough examination of the alleged execution facilities in Poland and their associated crematories, the only conclusion that can be arrived at by a rational, responsible person is the absurdity of the notion that any of these facilities were ever capable of, or were utilized as, execution gas chambers.
About the Author
Fred A. Leuchter, Jr., has been widely acknowledged as America's leading specialist on the design and fabrication of homicidal gas chambers and other equipment used in execution of convicted criminals. His expertise has been acknowledged by state governments and in periodicals such as The Atlantic (Feb. 1990), The New York Times (Oct. 13, 1990) and The New York Times Book Review (Nov. 22, 1992), as well as on the "Phil Donahue Show," where he appeared as a guest. After receiving his Bachelor's degree from Boston University in 1964, he did postgraduate work at the Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. Leuchter holds patents for numerous highly sophisticated technical devices, including sextants, surveying instruments and optical encoding equipment.
Leuchter spoke at length about his investigation at Auschwitz and other camp sites in sworn courtroom testimony, April 20-21, 1988, in the Toronto "Holocaust" trial of German-Canadian publisher Ernst Zündel. Leuchter's detailed Report on his investigation and findings has been published in numerous editions in all major languages.
Infuriated by his stunning court testimony and his Report, powerful special interest groups responded with an intense worldwide campaign against Leuchter. This vicious campaign of slander and vilification ultimately succeeded in destroying his career.
This paper was first presented at the Ninth IHR Conference (1989), and was published in the Summer 1989 issue of The Journal of Historical Review.
An updated and expanded edition of the headline-making Leuchter Report, with an introduction by French professor Robert Faurisson, extensive comments by Germar Rudolf, and with three more expert reports subsequently authored by Fred A. Leuchter, is available at the CODOH Bookstore.
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