The 20th Anniversary of the Leuchter Report

Interview: Fred A. Leuchter
Published: 2008-01-09

Arguably the most important of all Revisionist studies, The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Execution Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, Poland celebrates the twentieth anniversary of its publication this year. Although most revisionists are familiar with the background of this trailblazing work, a brief review is called for. In 1988 Ernst Zündel found himself on trial for violating a “false news” law in Canada. Zündel’s “crime” was having published a work which questioned the orthodox version of the Holocaust story, Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood. Following the recommendation of Professor Robert Faurisson, the Zündel defense team decided to seek out a gas chamber expert who could evaluate the alleged gas chambers in Poland and report on their efficacy for execution purposes.

The Leuchter Reports: Critical Edition

Bill Armontrout, the Warden of the Missouri State Penitentiary named Fred Leuchter as the only consultant in the United States in the design, operation, and maintenance of gas chambers. From 1979 to 1988, Leuchter had worked with most of the states in the United States that carried out capital punishment. He specialized in the design and manufacture of execution equipment including electrocution systems, lethal injection equipment, gallows, and gas chamber hardware. Leuchter was a perfect choice, he was the only expert on execution gas chambers in the United States and he believed in the Nazi genocide of the Jews.

Leuchter was asked by the Defense team to go to Poland and undertake a physical inspection and forensic analysis of the alleged execution gas chambers. On February 25, 1988 Leuchter set out to Poland to examine the alleged gas chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau, and Majdanek. Leuchter examined the buildings believed in the literature to be gas chambers. He also conducted a forensic examination in which physical samples of brick and mortar were removed and returned to the United States for chemical analysis. The results of Leuchter's findings were submitted to the Court in Canada. Leuchter wrote in his report, "the author finds no evidence that any of the facilities normally alleged to be execution gas chambers were ever used as such and finds, further, that because of the design and fabrication of these facilities, they could not have been utilized for execution gas chambers."

The presiding judge, Ron Thomas decided that Leuchter was qualified as an expert in the design, construction, maintenance, and operation of gas chambers. Leuchter was allowed to give his opinion on the operation and suitability of the various facilities to function as execution gas chambers. The Report itself however, was not allowed into evidence. Although the Report was not accepted by the court, it still had a staggering effect. Many would become skeptical of the establishment version of the Holocaust story based on its findings.

Perhaps the most important impact of Leuchter’s work was on British historian David Irving. Shortly after seeing the Report for the first time, Irving wrote, "Shown this evidence for the first time when called as an expert witness a the Zündel trial in Toronto in April 1988, the laboratory reports were shattering." Irving goes on, "No significant trace [of cyanide compounds] whatsoever was found in the buildings... labeled as the camp's infamous gas chambers. Nor, as the reports' 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." (Leuchter Report: Focal Point Edition p. 6)

Despite being universally acknowledged for his expertise in the area of execution equipment, Leuchter was now found himself under attack for his testimony. One can argue that it was the power of Leuchter’s Report, the irrefutable scientific analysis and the credibility of its author which caused those who would uphold the orthodox version of the Holocaust story to attack as viciously as they did. Threats were made to prison officials who chose to do business with Leuchter. He was vilified in newsprint and on television. Legislation was used to prevent him from working at his chosen profession. Even criminal prosecution was brought against Leuchter.

There is no doubt that Fred Leuchter paid an extremely high price to defend the freedom of Ernst Zündel. Fred, however, is one of those rare types who understands that when one person’s freedom is challenged, everyone’s freedom is challenged. Fred also knew the importance of historical truth. His Report had no axes to grind. It wasn’t opposed to anyone and did not come with any hidden agenda despite what his detractors would have you believe. Then, as now, Fred Leuchter is the real deal. Germar Rudolf called him a “pioneer.” I would call him a hero.

On June 30th of this year, Fred Leuchter allowed me to conduct the following interview:


WIDMANN: Mr. Leuchter, your work, The Leuchter Report: An Engineering Report on the Alleged Gas Chambers at Auschwitz, Birkenau and Majdanek, Poland is now twenty years old. In it you gave your best engineering opinion based on years of experience as an expert in execution equipment that "the alleged gas chambers at the inspected sites could not have then been, or now, be utilized or seriously considered to function as execution gas chambers." Do you still stand by that opinion, and if so why?

LEUCHTER: I gave my best engineering opinion and it still stands. Time has only solidified that opinion. The Polish State Police Laboratory, Germar Rudolf, Walter Lüftl and many others have followed my investigation and confirmed my findings. If anyone questioned my results and opinion at the time they certainly cannot now. I certainly do not. I did not take my investigation lightly. I had done the same thing a number of times in the United States relative to defective execution equipment and botched executions. I take my work and my reputation very seriously. The alleged gas chambers I investigated were not then, now or ever gas execution chambers.

WIDMANN: You have paid a very high price for your involvement with Holocaust revisionism. If you could do it all over again, would you still take that now famous trip to the concentration camps of Poland?

LEUCHTER: I do not like what has happened to me! I could not in good conscience walk away from Ernst Zündel then or now. He had a right to the best defense he could muster and that was me. Further, I believe everyone has a right to free speech and free thought. Yes, I would do it again.

WIDMANN: Do you keep current with revisionist writings and thought? Specifically have you read Germar Rudolf's report, which basically supports most of the conclusions of your own report? If so, what is your opinion of Mr. Rudolf's work?

LEUCHTER: Yes, I do keep current. And yes, I have read his report. I believe Germar's report to be an excellent work. Germar is a chemist and as such his approach is different from my approach as an engineer. Our differences are minor and stem from disciplinary issues. I am honored that Germar Rudolf agreed with and supported my work!

WIDMANN: What is your opinion of the anti-revisionist legislation through out much of Europe, which has basically outlawed alternative viewpoints on the Holocaust?

LEUCHTER: I believe the legislation is anathema to free thought and free speech and those countries that support such legislation and those politicians that support such legislation should be ashamed of themselves. The voters in these countries should be ashamed that this legislation is being passed and enforced in their name and should remove these politicians from office. They are creating a Gulag within their own countries.

WIDMANN: What do you consider your most important life's work?

LEUCHTER: I am an instrument maker and I consider my patents and work electronicizing older instruments my best work. I became involved in execution equipment to prevent torture and perhaps this is my best work because it was more humanitarian. I am very proud of it.

WIDMANN: What advice do you have for youth who may be faced with tremendous opposition to ideas and ideals that they know are right? Should they take a stand even in light of strong opposition?

LEUCHTER: I am not sure that this is a fair question to ask me, Zündel, Faurisson, Germar or anyone else that has been caught up in the fight and punished for telling the truth. We will all say, unequivocally, "Take a stand and fight." The harder the fight the tougher we get.

WIDMANN: Surely yours has been an interesting and some would say amazing life. Do you ever consider writing your memoirs?

LEUCHTER: Perhaps. See if you can get anyone to make an offer!


This article originally appeared in Smith's Report, No. 153 September 2008]

The Leuchter Reports: Critical Edition, shown above was published in its third edition by The Barnes Review in November 2012.

Additional information about this document

Author(s) Fred A. Leuchter
Title The 20th Anniversary of the Leuchter Report, Interview: Fred A. Leuchter
Sources Smith's Report, No. 153 September 2008
Contributions
  • Richard A. Widmann: interviewer
Dates published: 2008-01-09, first posted on CODOH: Sept. 29, 2008, 7 p.m., last revision: n/a
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