Wednesday, November 10, 1993

Witnesses of the Auschwitz Gas Chambers

SUMMARY: Witnesses' testimony must always be verified. There are two essential means of verifying such testimony in criminal cases: confronting it with the material elements (in particular, through an investigation regarding the crime weapon) and detailed cross-examining of the witness on what he purports to have seen. However, in proceedings where the homicidal gas chambers of Auschwitz were concerned, no judge and no barrister had ever demanded so much as an investigation of the crime weapon; moreover, no lawyer had ever cross-examined the witnesses asking them to describe with precision even one of those chemical slaughter-houses for humans. Such was the case until 1985. When finally, that year, during the first trial of Ernst Zündel in Toronto, witnesses were cross-examined on those subjects, they were completely routed. Because of that and other resounding failures before or since, those defending the argument of extermination of the Jews began to abandon a history of Auschwitz grounded essentially in testimonies and are striving, at present, to replace it with a scientific history or, at least, an apparently scientific history, grounded in research for facts 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 facts and evidence.

In the present study, "gas chambers" are understood as "homicidal gas chambers" or "Nazi gas chambers". "Auschwitz" must be understood both as Auschwitz-I or Auschwitz Stammlager and as Auschwitz-II or Birkenau. Finally, by "witnesses of the gas chambers", I designate indiscriminately those who claim to have witnessed a homicidal gassing operation in the aforesaid places and those who go no further than to say that they either saw or noted the presence of a homicidal gas chamber there. Finally, by "witnesses" I mean those who are usually designated as such, whether in the courts or the media; in the former context they have expressed themselves under judicial oath, while the latter have given testimony in books, articles, films, on television or radio. Of course, certain witnesses have alternately been of both the judicial and media type.

This study is devoid of any psychological or sociological consideration regarding the Auschwitz gas chamber testimonies and of any consideration as to the physical, chemical, topographical, architectural, documentary and historical reasons for which these testimonies are unacceptable. It aims above all to highlight a point that the revisionists have so far not raised and which is, however, of prime importance: up until 1985 no judicial witness of those gas chambers had been cross-examined on the material nature of the alleged facts as reported. When, in Toronto, at the first trial of Ernst Zündel in 1985, I was able to have such witnesses cross-examined, they collapsed; since that date no gas chamber witnesses have appeared in court, except perhaps at the trial of John Demjanjuk in Israel where, again, the testimonies were shown to be false [1].

To begin, I shall deal at some length with the serious reasons for which, in 1983, Simone Veil [2] was led to acknowledge that there were no witnesses of the gas chambers.

                                                         Simone Veil's argument

After the end of the war, the illusion that there were countless witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers was gradually accredited. In the late 1970s, with the arrival of historical revisionism on the media scene, particularly in France, it began to appear to some that those witnesses were perhaps not as numerous as one might have believed. So it was that, during the preparations for the big lawsuit brought against me in the early 1980s by French Jewish organisations, their lawyers, and particularly Robert Badinter, future Minister of Justice, experienced the greatest difficulties in uncovering evidence and witnesses. With pilgrim's staff in hand, they had to go visit Poland and Israel in order to bring back, if possible, what they did not find in France. A wasted effort! 

Then came my 1981 trial, followed by the appeal in 1983. Not one single witness took the risk of appearing. On April 26, 1983 the Paris court of appeal handed down its decision. Naturally, I was found liable, as one might expect, for "personal injury", which was, in fact, harm caused to the Jews by the presentation of my arguments in the mainstream press. But the court coupled this finding of liability with remarks of a kind to cause my adversaries some disquiet. My work was judged to be serious but dangerous. It was dangerous because, in the judges' opinion, it appeared that I might enable others to exploit my findings for reprehensible ends! Still, that work was serious in the sense that neither negligence, rashness, willful ignorance nor lies were to be detected in it – and this contrary to what had been claimed by the opposing party, which had accused me of "personal injury through falsification of history" (sic).

On the subject of testimonies, the court went so far as to state:
Mr Faurisson's research has concerned 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 summed up perfectly what it called my "logical approach" and my "argumentation", specifying that, for me,
[...] the existence of the gas chambers, such as they have usually been described since 1945, runs into an absolute impossibility, which by itself would suffice to invalidate all the existing testimonies or, at the very least, to brand them as suspect [my emphasis].
Finally, the court, drawing a practical conclusion from these considerations, decreed the right of every Frenchman not to believe the evidence and witnesses presented for the case of the gas chambers. It stated:
The appraisal of the value of the findings [on the gas chambers] defended by Mr Faurisson is a matter, therefore, solely for experts, historians and the public.
Two weeks later, Simone Veil reacted publicly to this court decision – distressing for her and her co-religionists – with a statement 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 because:
Everyone knows that the Nazis destroyed those gas chambers and systematically eliminated all the witnesses.
To begin with, "everyone knows" is not an argument worthy of a jurist. Then, Simone Veil, perhaps thinking she could get out of a tight spot, made things worse for herself; in effect, in order to uphold what she claimed, 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 about which one wonders on what order, when, with whom and by what means the Germans had conducted it in the greatest secrecy.

But what does it matter? Note will be taken of this concession by S. Veil: there is neither evidence, nor trace, nor witness of the gas chambers. It goes without saying that, in trying to reassure people, S. Veil clothed this surprising concession in some standard remarks. Here, therefore, in her own words, is what she confided in an interview-event for France-Soir Magazine (May 7, 1983, p. 47), under the title "Simone Veil's warning about the Hitler diaries: 'There is a risk of trivialising the genocide'":
What strikes me today is the paradox of the situation: a diary attributed to Hitler is published amid huge publicity costing a lot of money without, it seems, much precaution taken to be sure of its authenticity, but, at the same time, in a lawsuit brought against Faurisson for having denied the existence of the gas chambers, the plaintiffs are obliged to produce formal proof of the reality of the gas chambers. However, everyone knows that the Nazis destroyed those gas chambers and systematically eliminated all the witnesses.
A choice so heavy with consequences as Mrs Veil's is not to be explained by the disaster of April 26, 1983 alone but rather by a whole series of events which, for her, had made 1982 a dark year as concerned the gas chamber story and the witnesses' credibility. I shall recall here but three of those events:
  1. on April 21, 1982 historians, politicians and former deportees founded an association in Paris having as its purpose the search for evidence of the existence and operation of the gas chambers (ASSAG: Association pour l'étude des assassinats par gaz sous le régime national-socialist – "association for the study of the killings by gas under the national-socialist regime"); a year later this association had yet to discover any such evidence [this is also the case today in 1993 since, set by its charter to last for a "duration limited to the attainment of its objective", the association still exists];
  2. in May 1982, the Ministry for veterans' affairs launched, in Paris, a noteworthy "Exposition of the Deportation 1933-1945"; this exposition was supposed to continue touring throughout France. I immediately distributed a text in which I demonstrated its fallacious character: it was unable to show visitors any evidence – apart from one fraudulent bit of evidence – or precise testimony for the existence of the Nazi gas chambers; furthermore, a Mlle Jacobs, in charge of the initiative at the Ministry, immediately cancelled this itinerant exposition;
  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 gathering had been announced as a decisive rebuttal to the revisionist offensive in France and was scheduled to conclude with a resounding press conference. The reality of it was altogether different: on the day of commencement we distributed in the entrance hall of the Sorbonne some recent copies of my Response to Pierre Vidal-Naquet (a task that was not to be without risk to ourselves) [3]. The proceedings were held behind closed doors and in a stormy atmosphere; at the end, during the closing press conference of July 2, the two organisers, historians François Furet and Raymond Aron, would not even utter the words "gas chamber(s)".
I often say that it is on the same date – July 2, 1982 – that the myth of the Nazi gas chambers and their witnesses died or went into agony, at least on the level of historical research. In the very heart of the Sorbonne, the absence of any solid evidence or any trustworthy witnesses had been discovered with dismay. However, this symposium had previously been trumpeted as the event that would put an end to "Faurisson's nonsense" by producing a mass of evidence and testimonies. Such silence, after such fanfare, was eloquent.
The written testimony of Fajnzylberg-Jankowski 
I have said above that at my trial not a single witness took the risk of appearing. At the last minute, my accusers had nonetheless produced the written testimony of a Jew who lived then in Paris but whom they refrained from presenting in court: the famous Alter Szmul Fajnzylberg, born in Stockek, Poland, on October 23, 1911. This former café waiter, a Polish atheistic and communist Jew, political delegate of the international brigades in Spain, had been interned for three years at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

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 comrades, in the coke-room for, every time the SS men gassed Jews in the adjoining room, they took the precaution of sequestering the Sonderkommando in the coke-room so that no Jew might visibly note the gassing operation! Once the operation was over the Germans released the Sonderkommando and made them drag out the victims and incinerate them. Thus, according to Fajnzylberg, the Germans would conceal the commission of the crime and then immediately reveal its result!

This non-eyewitness is also known by the names Alter Feinsilber, Stanislaw Jankowski or Kaskowiak. His testimony may be read in another form in the Auschwitz Diaries [4].
The demise of the witnesses at the first Zündel trial (1985)
The important victory won by revisionism in France on April 26, 1983 was to find confirmation in 1985 with the first trial of Ernst Zündel in Toronto. I should like to dwell a moment on this trial and underscore its importance in all aspects, especially as concerns the testimonies on the Auschwitz gas chambers: for the first time since the war, Jewish witnesses were subjected to a regular cross-examination. Moreover, without wishing to minimise the importance of the second Zündel trial (that of 1988), I should like it to be understood that the 1985 trial already bore the seeds for all that was achieved in the 1988 trial, including the Leuchter Report and all the scientific studies which, afterwards, were to proliferate in its wake.

In both 1985 and 1988 I was counsellor to Ernst Zündel and his lawyer, Douglas Christie. In 1985 I had accepted that heavy responsibility only on condition that all the Jewish witnesses would, for the first time, be cross-examined, and bluntly, on the material nature of the alleged facts. I had, in effect, noted that from 1945 to 1985, the Jewish witnesses had enjoyed a real privilege: never had any defence lawyer thought or dared to ask them for any material explanations about the gas chambers (exact location, physical appearance, dimensions, internal and external structure) or about the homicidal gassings (operational procedure from beginning to end, instruments used, precautions taken by the executioners before, during and after execution).

On rare occasions, as at the trial of Tesch, Drosihn and Weinbacher [5], lawyers put rare questions of a material nature, somewhat embarrassing for the witness, but these were always at the margin of the central questions that ought to have been posed. No lawyer had demanded clarification on a weapon that he had never seen and had never been shown to him. At the big Nuremberg Trial of 1945-46, the German lawyers had been altogether discreet on this point. At the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem (1961), the barrister Dr Robert Servatius had not wished to raise the question; in a letter of June 21, 1974 he wrote to me: 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 any gas chamber; the question was not discussed; but neither did he raise the matter of their existence] [6].

At the Frankfurt Trial of 1963-65 the lawyers showed themselves to be particularly timid; it must be said that the atmosphere was stifling for the defence and the accused. That show trial will remain as a stain on the reputation of German justice and on the person of Hans Hofmeyer, initially Landgerichtsdirektor, then Senatspräsident. During more than 180 sessions the judges and the jurors, the public prosecutor and the plaintiffs, the accused and their lawyers, as well as journalists from around the world acceptedas physical representation of the "crime weapon", the mere production in court of two maps of the Auschwitz and Birkenau camps, respectively, in which were to be seen, at the alleged location of the gas chambers, five minuscule geometric figures with the words, for Auschwitz, "Altes Krematorium" and, for Birkenau, "Krematorium-II", "Krematorium-III", "Krematorium-IV", and "Krematorium-V"! These maps were displayed in the courtroom [7].

Revisionists have often made a comparison of the Frankfurt trial to the witchcraft trials of the period 1450-1650. However, in those trials there was at least, sometimes, an effort made to describe or depict a witches' sabbath. At the Frankfurt trial, not even one of the lawyers who put a witness like Filip Müller in difficulty asked a Jewish witness or a repentant German defendant to describe in greater detail what he claimed to have seen. Despite two visits by judges to the crime scene, at Auschwitz, accompanied by a few German lawyers, it seems that not one of the latter demanded any technical explanation or forensic examination of the crime weapon. On the contrary, one of them, Anton Reiners, himself of Frankfurt, pushed deference to the point of having himself photographed by the press while raising the cover of the chute through which the SS were said to have poured the Zyklon B pellets into the alleged Auschwitz gas chamber.

And so at Toronto, in 1985, I was quite decided to break with those abnormal practices, to shatter the taboo and, to begin with, to put, or rather have Douglas Christie put, such questions to the experts and Jewish witnesses as are normally put in any trial where it is a matter of establishing whether a crime has been committed and, if so, by whom, how and when.

Happily for me, Ernst Zündel accepted my conditions and Douglas Christie agreed to adopt that course of action and ask the experts and witnesses the questions that I would prepare for him. I was convinced that, in this way, everything might change and that the veil woven by so many false testimonies would be torn. Nonetheless, I was not expecting Ernst Zündel's acquittal and we were all resigned to pay the price of our boldness, but I had hope that with the aid of that man of character and such deep insight and thanks to his intrepid barrister, history, if not justice, would at last prevail over legend.

From the moment of the first cross-examination, a wind of panic began to stir in the rows of the prosecution. Every evening and through a good part of the night I prepared my questions. In the morning I would hand them, accompanied by the necessary documents, to barrister Christie who, for his part, with the aid of his female collaborator, carried out an essentially legal task. During the cross-examination sessions I stayed close by the barrister's lectern and, relentlessly, supplied, on yellow post-its, supplementary questions for him to improvise according to a given expert's or witness's answer.

The expert cited by the prosecution was Dr Raul Hilberg, author of The Destruction of the European Jews. Day after day he had to undergo such a humiliation that, when called on in 1988 by a new prosecutor to appear at Ernst Zündel's new trial, he refused to return and testify; he explained the grounds for his refusal in a confidential letter confessing his fear of having once again to face Douglas Christie's questions. It had emerged from the cross-examination of Dr Raul Hilberg, in absolute terms, that no proof could be had of the existence either of an order, a plan, an instruction or a budget for the alleged enterprise of physical extermination of the Jews, and that neither was there any known forensic study of the murder weapon (gas chamber or gas van) or any post-mortem establishing the killing of a detainee by poison gas. But, in the absence of evidence, weapon and body, were there witnesses of the crime?

A testimony must always be verified. The usual first means of proceeding with verification is to confront a witness's assertions with the results of investigations or expert studies regarding the materiality of the crime. In the case at hand, there had been neither any investigation nor expert study of the alleged Auschwitz gas chambers. That is what made any cross-examination difficult. But that difficulty must not serve as an excuse, and a cross-examination became still more indispensable for, without it, there would be no way of knowing whether the witness was telling the truth or not.
Jewish witnesses finally cross-examined:
Arnold Friedman and Dr Rudolf Vrba
For those interested in the technical and documentary means thanks to which we were nonetheless able to cross-examine with severity the two leading Jewish witnesses, Arnold Friedman and Dr Rudolf Vrba, I can only recommend a reading of the trial transcript [8]. Pages 304-371 cover the examination and cross-examination of Arnold Friedman who, on pages 445-446, breaks down when he ends up admitting that in fact he had seen nothing, that he had spoken from hearsay because, said he, he had met persons who were convincing; perhaps, he added, he would have adopted Mr Christie's position rather than that of those persons if, back then, Mr Christie had been able to tell him what he was telling him now!

Dr Vrba was a witness of exceptional importance. It can even be said that at this trial in Toronto the prosecution had found the way to recruit, in matters "Holocaust", the number one expert in Dr Hilberg and the number one witness in Dr Vrba. The latter's testimony had been one of the principal sources of the famous War Refugee Board Report on the German Extermination Camps - Auschwitz and Birkenau, published in Washington in November 1944 by the Executive Office of the President (Roosevelt). Dr Vrba was also the author of I Cannot Forgive [9], written in collaboration with Alan Bestic who, in his preface, declared:
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).
Never, perhaps, had a court of justice seen a witness express himself with such assurance on the gas chambers of Auschwitz. But, towards the end of the cross-examination, the situation had been reversed to the point where Dr Vrba had but one explanation for his errors and his lies: in his book he had, he acknowledged, resorted to "poetic licence" or, as he took pleasure in saying in Latin, to "licentia poetarum"!

A twist occurred at the end: prosecutor Griffiths himself, who had called this number one witness to appear, apparently angered at Dr Vrba's lies, fired this question at him:
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 licence in your testimony? (p. 1636).
The false witness tried to parry the stroke but prosecutor Griffiths hit him with a second, equally treacherous question, this time concerning the figures of gassing victims he had given; the witness responded with chatter; Griffiths was getting ready to put a third and final question when, suddenly, things came to a standstill and the prosecutor was heard saying to the judge:
I have no further questions for Dr Vrba (p. 1643).
His face contorted, the witness left the dock. This individual's examination, cross-examination and re-examination fill 400 pages of transcripts (p. 1244-1643), pages that a law encyclopedia might contain in an article on methods for detecting false testimony.
The prosecution renounces calling witnesses
Three years later, in 1988, during the second Zündel trial, the public prosecutor deemed it prudent to abandon all recourse to witnesses. Canadian justice had apparently understood the lesson of the first trial: there were no genuine witnesses of the existence and operation of the Nazi gas chambers.

All other countries of the world have, little by little, learnt the lesson. At the trial of Klaus Barbie in France, in 1987, there was talk of the Auschwitz gas chambers but no witnesses of them, strictly speaking, were produced [10]. Barrister Jacques Vergès, brave but not daring, preferred to dodge the subject. This was fortunate for the Jewish lawyers who feared nothing so much as to see me appearing by Vergès's side. If he had accepted my offer to counsel him, we might have been able to strike a formidable blow in France against the myth of the gas chambers.

Also in France, in several revisionist cases Jewish witnesses have at times come to evoke the gas chambers but none has testified, in court, to having seen one or been present at a homicidal gassing.

Today, gas chamber witnesses make themselves extremely scarce and the Demjanjuk trial in Israel, which once again revealed how prevalent false testimony was in the matter, has contributed to this mutation. As recently as a few years ago I could find myself being accosted verbally at the rear of a courtroom by elderly Jews presenting themselves as "living witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers"; they would show me their tattoos. I only had to ask them to look me in the eye and describe a gas chamber for them to retort inevitably:
How could I do that? If I'd seen a gas chamber with my own eyes I wouldn't be here today to talk to you; I myself would have been gassed too.
Which, as is clear, 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 gassings at Auschwitz or Birkenau. Here one recalls 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 personal library is full of the accounts of these people who copy one another. Paul Rassinier was the first to point out the way in which such testimonies' falsehood could be demonstrated; he did this, particularly for Auschwitz, in Le Véritable Procès Eichmann ou les Vainqueurs incorrigibles (The Real Eichmann Trial, or the Incorrigible Victors), whose appendix V is devoted to Médecin à Auschwitz by Miklos Nyiszli [11].

From the 1950s to the 1980s there was some interest for revisionists in undertaking such critical studies of testimonies. Today it seems to me that this exercise has become superfluous. Let us refrain from shooting at the ambulances and leave the criticism of this sub-literature to the exterminationists themselves, and specially to Jean-Claude Pressac for – as may now be noted – the fiercest anti-revisionists end up going to "revisionism school". The result is at times rather piquant. In October 1991, the bulletin Le Déporté pour la liberté, organ of the Union nationale des associations de déportés, internés et familles de disparus, announced on its front page:
In the central pages of this issue, part one of the testimony of Henry Bily, one of the rare escapees from a Sonderkommando.
In the November 1991 issue, H. Bily continued the account of his time at Auschwitz under the title "Mon histoire extraordinaire".

However, in the following issue (December 1991-January 1992), there appeared a "clarification after the inclusion in our columns of the text of Henry Bily". The management and the editor revealed the falsehood: Bily had, in the greater part of his testimony, proceeded to:
copy word for word, with no mention of references, passages (notably chapters 7 and 28) of the book by Dr Myklos Nyiszli Médecin à Auschwitz, written in 1946 and translated and published in 1961 by René Julliard. Unfortunately, the original errors committed by Dr Nyiszli were also copied; finally, the most extensive borrowing concerns the description of the operations of the Sonderkommando at Auschwitz-Birkenau, in which Henry Bily declares [understood: lyingly] to have worked ... 

The result of this analysis is that it is by no means possible to consider Henry Bily's text as an original and personal testimony.
For an attentive reader of this statement, the sentence "Unfortunately, the original errors committed by Dr Nyiszli were also copied" could give a glimpse of the fact that, to make matters worse, Mr Bily, a Jewish necktie dealer, had copied a testimony which, in itself, was already false. As I have just mentioned, Paul Rassinier had long since proved that Médecin à Auschwitz, a work dear to Jean-Paul Sartre who, in 1951, published snippets of it in Les Temps modernes, could only be an imposture of the crudest kind. Several revisionists, and in particular Carlo Mattogno [12], have since confirmed this diagnosis. As for me, in my account of Jean-Claude Pressac's book Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers [13]I slipped in an analysis entitled "Pressac's Involuntary Drollery Apropos M. Nyiszli". I  take the liberty of recommending it for fans of false testimonies on Auschwitz, false testimonies that pharmacist J.-C. Pressac, by way of twistings, laborious inventions and flighty speculations, seeks to defend at all costs but which, without wanting to do so, he discredits for good [14].
The false witnesses Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi
A few words on Elie Wiesel and Primo Levi are in order.

Regarding the former, I come back to my article A Prominent False Witness: Elie Wiesel ("Un grand faux témoin: Elie Wiesel") [15]. In Night [16], an autobiographical account, particularly of his internment at Auschwitz and Buchenwald, E. Wiesel does not even mention the gas chambers but it seems that, through a sort of universal media convention, he is held to be the witness par excellence of the "Holocaust" and the gas chambers. According to him, if the Germans exterminated large numbers of Jews, it was by pushing them into either fiery pits or ovens! The end of his testimony includes an extremely curious episode for which I have been waiting years for him to be so good as to give us 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; after discussion, the father and the son decided to leave with their exterminators for Germany instead of awaiting their Soviet liberators on the spot ... [17].

Curiously, for several years now, Primo Levi has posthumously acceded in the media to the first rank of witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers. He is the author of Se questo è un uomo (French version, cited here, Si c'est un homme, Paris, Julliard, 1987) [18]The first part of the book is the longest and most important; it comprises 180 pages (p. 7-186) and was written in 1947; the author says, starting on page 19, that it was after the war that he learned of the gassing of Jews at Birkenau; he himself worked at Buna-Monowitz and never set foot in Birkenau; also, he speaks only in extremely vague terms and only six times about "the" gas chamber and only once about the "gas chambers" (p. 26, 48, 51, 96, 135, 138 and 159); he nearly always mentions it in the singular alone and as a rumour that "everyone talks" about (p. 51). Suddenly, in his "appendix", written in 1976, or nearly 30 years later, the gas chambers make a decisive entrance: in the space of 26 pages (p. 189-214, which, given their more compact typography, can be counted as 30 pages), the author mentions them on 11 occasions (page 193, twice; page 198, three times; page 199, once; page 201, twice; pages 202, 209 and 210, once each); on two occasions he speaks of "gas" and on nine others 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 as well:
The gas chambers and the cremation ovens had been deliberately designed to destroy human lives and bodies by the million; the horrible record for this goes to Auschwitz, with 24,000 deaths 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. On the subject of his foundering or delirium from the scientific standpoint in Si c'est un homme, one may consult Pierre Marais's En lisant de près les écrivains chantres de la Shoah - Primo Levi, Georges Wellers, Jean-Claude Pressac [19]; see in particular "Le chimiste, la batterie de camion et... les chambres à gaz", the chapter concerning Primo Levi (p. 7-21). The latter either committed suicide or died of an accident on April 11, 1987. It was to his being Jewish that he had owed the luck not to be 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 so as 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 [...] [20]

From 1945 to 1985 the alleged judicial witnesses of the Auschwitz gas chambers benefited from an extraordinary privilege: they were always spared the strain of cross-examination regarding the material nature of the facts that they claimed to relate. In 1985, at the first of the two Zündel trials in Toronto, barrister Douglas Christie agreed, in line with my suggestion and offer of assistance, to conduct cross-examinations according to standard procedure for this type of witness. The result was a rout of the witnesses Arnold Friedman and Dr Rudolf Vrba. This 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 any other Third Reich concentration camp.

Alleged witnesses continue to pervade the media, the world of radio, television and books, where they run little risk of being put into difficulty by embarrassing questions. But even these witnesses are becoming more and more vague and may find themselves being denounced by advocates of the exterminationist case. The latter are, in effect, aligning themselves more and more with the revisionist school because they realise that until now they have endorsed the lies of too many false witnesses, lies that end up costing their own cause dear.

Since it is a matter of some notoriety that presenting oneself as a witness of the gas chambers – as did the Jew Filip Müller again in 1979 – is now increasingly risky, the solution tending to prevail today is that which Simone Veil has had to adopt since May 7, 1983, i.e. shortly after the Paris court of appeal's decision of April 26 acknowledging that my work on the problem of the gas chambers was serious insofar as it demonstrated that the alleged testimonies flew in the face of deep-rooted physicochemical impossibilities. The solution, or rather the escape route, advocated by Mrs Veil consisted in saying that, if there was in effect neither evidence nor traces nor witnesses of the crime, it was because the Germans had done away with all the evidence, all the traces and all the witnesses. Such a statement, besides being absurd, would in turn need evidence that Mrs Veil does not supply. But this matters little. Let us register her statement and also, like Mrs Veil and those who in practice seem to rally to her argument, take note of this obvious fact brought to light by the revisionists long ago: not only does there exist neither evidence nor trace of the Nazi gas chambers, but there are also no witnesses of them.

Today, towards the end of 1993, the testimonies about the Auschwitz gas chambers are discredited, even among the exterminationists. History as grounded in these testimonies is beginning to give way to history grounded either in facts or in arguments of scientific nature. 

It will have taken more than ten years for us to see our adversaries venture onto the field where I was asking them to show how they might measure up against us: the field of science. 

Jean-Claude Pressac had been appointed, in particular by the Klarsfeld couple, to denounce "testimony-history" and replace it with a scientific history or, at least, one of scientific appearance.

Claude Lanzmann and the partisans of "testimony-history" are in despair at this development [21]. The revisionists applaud it. A half-century of unproved testimonies must now give way, definitively, to research for facts and evidence on the judicial, scientific and historical level.

November 10, 1993


[This text constitutes a chapter of Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte, Ein Handbuch über strittige Fragen des 20. Jahrhunderts, a collective work published in 1994 under the direction of Ernst Gauss [Germar Rudolf] by Grabert-Verlag (Tübingen). The original French version was not published until 1999 (Ecrits révisionnistes (1974-1998), tome IV). Professor Faurisson also wrote the preface to that very important book, which is classified in this blog at the date of writing, i.e. September 23, 1994. – editor's note]

Appendix: The German translation of Elie Wiesel's most famous book*

French Original Version:
La Nuit
, éditions de Minuit,
1958, 178 p.
   English Translation:
, translated by Stella 
Bantam Books, 1986 (25th Anniversary Edition), xiv-111 p.
   German Translation:
   Die Nacht zu begraben
, Elisha,
   translated by Kurt Meyer-Clason, Ullstein**, 1962, p. 17-153

A. In Auschwitz
  1. p. 57: au crématoire
  2. p. 57: au crématoire
  3. p. 58: les fours crématoires
  4. p. 61: aux crématoires
  5. p. 62: le four crématoire
  6. p. 67: Au crématoire
  7. p. 67: le crématoire
  8. p. 84: exterminés
  9. p. 101: les fours crématoires
  10. p. 108: six crématoires
  11. p. 109: au crématoire
  12. p. 112: le crématoire
  13. p. 129: au crématoire    

A. In Auschwitz

1. p. 30: to the crematory
2. p. 30: to the crematory
3. p. 30: these crematories
4. p. 33: in the crematories
5. p. 33: the crematory oven
6. p. 36: the crematory
7. p. 36: the crematory
8. p. 48: exterminated
9. p. 59: the crematory ovens
10. p. 64: six crematories
11. p. 64: the crematory
12. p. 66: the crematory
13. p. 77: to the crematory

       B. In Buchenwald
       14. p. 99: of the crematory oven
       15. p. 106: to the crematory

A. In Auschwitz

p. 53: in die Gaskammer
p. 53: ins Vernichtungslager***
p. 54: die Gaskammern
p. 57: in den Gaskammern
p. 57: die Gaskammer
p. 62: die Gaskammer
p. 62: Gaskammer
p. 76: vergast
p. 90: den Gaskammern
p. 95: sechs Gaskammern
p. 95: den Gaskammern
p. 98: die Gaskammer
p. 113: in die Gaskammer

B. In Buchenwald
p. 140: der Gaskammer
p. 150: in die Gaskammer
B. In Buchenwald
14. p. 163: du four crématoire
15. p. 174: au crématoire

*      Thanks to a discovery by Jürgen Graf and the help of Mrs A. W.
**    Ullstein, Thomas-Wimmer-Ring 11, D-80539 Munich; telephone: (089) 235 00 80; fax: (089) 235 00 844.
***  Vernichtungslager means 'camp with homicidal gas chambers'.

Conclusion: The English translation (1960) of the French original (1958) is correct, whereas the German translation (1962) reads "gas" in 15 instances where, in fact, there is no mention of "gas" in the French original. This interpolation was effected so systematically that the translator even invented two gas chambers in the Buchenwald concentration camp.


[1] Cf. E. Loftus, K. Ketcham, Witness for Defense, St Martin's Press, New York, 1991, as well as the contribution of A. Neumaier in Germar Rudolf (ed.), Dissecting the Holocaust.

[2] Simone Veil, maiden name Jacob, former President of the European Parliament, was interned during the war in the Auschwitz concentration camp, especially in subcamp Bobzek.

[3] R. Faurisson, Réponse à Pierre Vidal-Naquet, La Vieille Taupe, Paris, 1982; English: "Response to a Paper Historian", The Journal of Historical Review, Spring 1986, p. 21-72.

[4] "Handschriften von Mitgliedern des Sonderkommandos", in Hefte von Auschwitz, Sonderheft (I), Verlag Staatliches Auschwitz-Museum, Auschwitz, 1972, p. 32-71.

[5] On the cross-examination of the witness Dr Charles Sigismund Bendel by attorney Dr Zippel, see "Excerpt from transcript of proceedings of a Military Court for the Trial of War Criminals held at the War Crimes Court, Curiohaus, Hamburg, on Saturday 2nd March, 1946, upon the trial of Bruno Tesch, Joachim Drosihn and Karl Weinbacher", transcript, p. 30-31 (doc. NI-11953). Regarding this abominable trial, it is indispensable to read Dr William Lindsey, "Zyklon B, Auschwitz, and the Trial of Bruno Tesch"Journal of Historical Review, 4(3) (1983), p. 261-303 (online: This study has been reproduced in part by Udo Walendy in Historische Tatsachen, no. 25 (1985), p. 10-23.

[6] While waiting for his trial in Jerusalem, Eichmann, in his cell, was fed like a Christmas goose. He ended up no longer knowing what he had heard, what he had seen, what he had read. Here, for example, is a very important passage from his interrogation by the Israeli government commissioner regarding the "gas chambers" (taken directly from Transcripts, J1-MJ at 02-RM):
The Commissioner: Did you talk with Höß about the number of Jews who were exterminated at Auschwitz?
Eichmann: No, never. He told me that he had built new buildings and that he could put to death ten thousand Jews each day. I do remember something like that. I do not know whether I am only imaging that today, but I do not believe I am imaging it. I cannot recall exactly when and how he told me that and the location where he told me. Perhaps I read it and perhaps I am now imaging what I had read I heard from him. That is also possible.

[7] For a representation of these two maps, see Hermann Langbein, Der Auschwitz-Prozess, Eine Dokumentation, 2 vol., Europäische Verlagsanstalt, Frankfurt, 1965, 1027 p., p. 930-933. For an authoritative study of the trial, see Dr Wilhelm Stäglich, Der Auschwitz Mythos, Legende oder Wirklichkeit? Eine kritische Bestandsaufnahme, Grabert Verlag, Tübingen 1979, xii-492 p. (English version – Auschwitz: A Judge Looks at the Evidence – online:

[8] Queen v. Zündel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, beginning January 7, 1985.

[9] Bantam Books, New York, 1964.

[10] During the trial of Gottfried Weise in 1988 in Wuppertal (Germany), gas chambers were not mentioned; cf. the contribution of C. Jordan in Germar Rudolf (ed.) Dissecting the Holocaust.

[11] Julliard, Paris, 1961. English version: Auschwitz: a Doctor's eyewitness account.

[12] "Medico ad Auchwitz": Anatomia di un falso, Edizioni La Sfinge, Parma, 1988.

[13] Beate Klarsfeld Foundation, New York, 1989.

[14] R. Faurisson, "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, 1989, ou Bricolage et 'gazouillage' à Auschwitz et Birkenau selon Pressac" [..., or, Pottering and Sputtering at Auschwitz and Birkenau According to J.-C. Pressac], Revue d'histoire révisionniste, November 1990, p. 126-130; English: "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers or, Improvised Gas Chambers and Casual Gassings at Auschwitz and Birkenau According to J.-C. Pressac (1989)", The Journal of Historical Review, Part I, Spring 1991, p. 25-66; Part II, Summer 1991, p. 133-175.

[15] Original in Annales d'histoire révisionniste, Spring 1988, p. 163-168; see also "Un grand faux témoin: Elie Wiesel (suite)" (A Prominent False Witness: Elie Wiesel (Continued)).

[16] La Nuit, preface by François Mauriac, Les Editions de Minuit, Paris, 1958.

[17] One point which cannot fail to be interesting is that in the German translation of this book (Die Nacht zu begraben, Elisha, by Kurt Meyer-Clason, Ullstein, Munich, 1962, p. 17-153), the crematory ovens of the original French version are done away with to be replaced by gas chambers (which also applies to Buchenwald). I owe this discovery to the Swiss revisionist Jürgen Graf and I am indebted to Mrs 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 was not used in the original text. In December 1986, I made my way to Oslo to attend the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to Elie Wiesel. Assisted by friends, I distributed a tract entitled "A Prominent False Witness: Elie Wiesel". Some months later, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, one of my most implacable adversaries, denounced Mr Wiesel as a man "who talks any rubbish that comes into his head [...] It suffices to read certain of his descriptions in Night to know that some of his accounts are not exact and that he ends up transforming himself into a Shoah peddler. He commits an injustice, an immense injustice to historical truth". (Interview by Michel Folco, Zéro, April 1987, p. 57).

[18] English version: If This is a Man, Penguin, London, 1979 (Abacus, 1987).

[19] La Vieille Taupe, Paris, 1991, 127 p.

[20] Ferdinando Camon, "Chimie/Levi, la mort" (Chemistry/Levi, death), Libération, April 13, 1987, p. 29)
[21] See notably the article by Robert Redeker which he published in C. Lanzmann's 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 a changing time: "Auschwitz" was – and, for the author, still is  a "mystique", which is to say a belief enveloped by religious reverence; yet, he says in a deploring tone that "Auschwitz" is becoming the subject of historical and technological considerations. This article was at press when there appeared in L'Express a substantial write-up on the new book by Jean-Claude Pressac (September 23, 1993, p. 76-80, 82-87). Claude Lanzmann virulently protested against this turn of events taken by "Holocaust" history. He wrote: "Even if it is in order to refute them, we thus legitimate the revisionists' arguments, which become the only criterion by which every text and every author is now judged. The revisionists occupy the entire playing field" (Le Nouvel Observateur, September 30, 1993, p. 97).