Archive/File: pub/orgs/austrian/austrian-resistance-archives/lachout-document Last-Modified: 1996/008/20 THE LACHOUT "DOCUMENT" ANATOMY OF A FORGERY by Brigitte Bailer-Galanda Wilhelm Lasek Wolfgang Neugebauer Gustav Spann Financially Supported by ISAAC ZIERING FOUNDATION Vienna: Austrian Resistance Archives, 1990 [Transciption note: This document contains both German and English translations, as well as photocopies of all original documents. I have excluded all but the English text in this transcription, but will add graphics files to the archive when time permits. Typos mine. knm] [The "document"] Military Police Service Vienna, Oct. 1, 1948 10th. copy Circular No 31/48 1. The Allied Investigation Commission have established so far that no persons were killed by the use of poison gas in the following concentration camps: Bergen-Belsen, Buchenwald, Dachau, Flossenbuerg, Gross-Rosen, Mauthausen and its extension camps, Natzweler, Neuengamme, Niederhagen (Wewelsburg), Ravensbrueck, Sachsenhausen, Stutthof, Theriesienstadt. In all these cases it could be proved that the confessions were the result of torture and the testimonies were false. This fact has to be taken into account in war crime investigations and interrogations. Former concentration camp prisoners testifying that persons, especially Jews, were killed with poison gas in these concentration camps, are to be informed of this finding by the Allied Investigation Commissions. Should they insist in their testimony, a charge of false testimony is to be filed against them. 2. Paragraph 1 of circular 15/48 can be cancelled. The commander of the Military Police Service: Mueller, Major For the correctness of the contents: Lachout, Lieutenant For the correctness of the contents: (Stamp) Republic of Austria Guard Battalion Vienna Command (Signature) I hereby testify that on October 1, 1948, as a member of the military police service of the Allied Military Command, I certified the correctness of the contents of the copy of the (Law of General Administrative Procedure). Vienna, October 27, 1987. (Signature) (Stamp) The authenticity of the signature of Ing. Emil Lachout (address) is certified. This document consists of 1/2 sheet and was stamped with 120, -- ATS attached to -- reported to the Internal Revenue Office -- Attached to -- at a fee of -- District Court of Favoriten 1101 Vienna, Angeligasse 35 Vienna, October 27, 1987 (Signature) ["document" ends] FOREWARD The Austrian Resistance Archives (DOEW, Dokumentationsarchiv des oesterreichischen Widerstandes) dealt initially mainly with the collection, scientific evaluation, and publication of material about resistance, persecution and exile during the period 1934-1945. However, after the Archive's formation in 1963, it became apparent that the DOEW would also have to keep its collective eye on neo-Nazi and racist manifestations in Austria after 1945 as well. The continuing proliferation of neo-Nazi propaganda concentrates the majority of its activities and publications not only on trivializing or denying the unparalleled crimes of the Nazi regime, but also on defaming anti-fascists and resistance fighters as traitors and criminals. The DOEW's landmark publication in this anti-fascist civic work was Rechtsextremismus in Oesterreich nach 1945. This book not only went through five editions bewteen 1979-1981 (now out of print), it also generated countless protests and litigation from radical right activists and organizations. Among the radical right activists in North America and Western Europe are a group of pseudo-historians such as from Great Britain David Irving and from France Robert Faurisson, who call themselves "revisionists" and proclaim that the mass-murder of Jews in National-Socialist concentration camps is pure invention ("Auschwitz Lie", "Gas-Chamber Swindle", etc.). Gerd Honsik's publication of the "Lachout-document" in his neo-Nazi publication, "Halt" (November 1987), contributed to "revisionist" literature with an Austrian variation known as the "Mauthausen Lie". According to this "document" which claims to be a legally notarized memorandum written by a "Lieutenant" Lachout of the (non-existant) 'Militaerpolizeiliche Dienst" the "Alliierte Untersuchungskommissionen" supposedly prove that there had never been any gassings in Mauthausen or in twelve other concentration camps. Experts were easily able to prove that this document was a forgery. Consequently, the DOEW filed charges against Lachout for reviving National Socialist activities. Unfortunately, the authorities have not pursued the matter aggressively, as is usual in such cases, and the proceedings have still not come to an end, but all copies of the reproduced Lachout "document" have been confiscated and judicial pre-trial investigations initiated against Lachout and Honsik. Lachout retaliated by filing defamation suits against the DOEW, the Gesellschaft fuer Aufklaerung, profil, Wochenpresse, and other newspapers for accusing him of forgery. To defend its case the DOEW prepared an extensive rebuttal, which not only proved the Lachout "document" to be a forgery, but that several other documents discovered in the process of DOEWs research were forgeries as well. The DOEW then filed a charge of Documentation Falsification with the Public Prosecutor's Office in Vienna. The DOEW decided to publish the main parts of the rebuttal in this pamphlet for two reasons: First, the Lachout "document" (distributed by Halt and other groups primarily to school students) has caused a great deal of confusion among students and teachers because Lachaout was falsely portrayed in these handouts as an "official expert", "special agent of the Federal Government" and "gendarmerie major". Second, the responsible authorities and the judical system are apparently not capable of putting a quick, effective end as proscribed by the Constitution to forgeries like this and other neo-Nazi propaganda, even though two parliamentary inquiries about this matter have been addressed to the Justice Minister. Allowing allegations about the non-existence of gas-chambers in Austrian concentration camps to be spread unchallenged is, in our opinion, intolerable. What can relatives and the descendents of persons murdered in these gas-chambers think about an Austria where such obscenities are allowed to go un-punished? Brigitte Bailer-Galanda and Willi Lasek, DOEW staff members and specialists on Austria's radical right, wrote the chapters on the Lachout "document". Gustav Spann, of the Institute of Contemporary History, University of Vienna, contributed a chapter on the methodology of Nazi apologists. The DOEW want to thank them, our tireless researcher Hans Landauer, and all those who contributed material, information and advice, as well as Martin Much, who read the galleys. Despite many negative experiences, not the least of which was the recent scandalous acquittal of the neo-Nazi Walter Ochensberger in Vararlberg, we still hope and expect the Austrian courts to prosecute forgeries, like the one described here, as well as neo-Nazi propaganda in general. It would be devastating for Austria's reputation and position in the world if our country, reborn in the struggle against Nazi-fascism, should become a breeding ground for neo-Nazis and anti-Semites. The DOEW will in any case stalwarthly continue its efforts to spread awareness about the facts of contemporary history. Wolfgang Neugebauer DOEW Director 1. PUBLICATION OF THE LACHOUT "DOCUMENT" AND ITS NEO-NAZI SUPPORTERS The so-called Lachout "document", Memorandum Nr. 31/48, supposedly circulated by the "Militaerpolizeilicher Dienst" (Military Police Service) in 1948, has been published in several radical-right and neo-Nazi publications in Austrian and in the Federal Republic of Germany. It was first published in Austria in the neo-Nazi periodical "Halt" (No. 40, 1987) in an article entitled "Mauthasuenbetrug amtsbekannt". Copies of this document were sent to large numbers of students in the hope that an official-looking document would succeed in convincing them that there had never been a gas-chamber in Mauthausen. The group backing "Halt" was organized in 1980 as a successor organization to the group "Kameradschaft Babenberg", which had been disbanded by the authorities in April 1980. The editorial staff of the publication is made up of activists from that "Kameradschaft", as well as members of the neo-Nazi groups "Aktion Neue Rechte", the "Nationalistischer Bund Nordland" and the "Nationaldemokratische Partei" (NDP) whose membership includes Gottfried Kussel and Gerd Honsik who have records of violating the Law Against Renewing National Socialist Activities. Honsik has an especially long record of violations. The group has tried repeatedly, but unsuccessfully, to form a new party. Their last efforst were in November 1984, when they tried to found a "National Front Party"; however, an Austrian Consititutional Court decision of March 3, 1987 declared that the party's program strongly paralleled the NSDAPs program. The activites of the group backing "Halt" have repeatedly been subjected to parliamentary inquiries because of their propaganda which was spread particularly among young people. Emil Lachout had not been prominent in neo-Nazi circles before the publication of this "document", which soon gave him a certain prominence among groups who denied the existence of gas-chambers during the Third Reich. While Lachout insists that he has not supplied neo-nazi groups with documents, these groups say the contrary. For instance, Lachout's role was described in "Sieg", another neo-Nazi publication: "October 27, shortly before his retirement, the former special agent of the Austrian Federal Government broke his silence and gave the magazine 'Halt' exclusive rights to an officially notarized document." Walter Ochensberger, the publisher of this neo-Nazi magazine, comes from Austria's westermost state, Vorarlberg. "Sieg" has repeatedly been confiscated due to its offences against the Law Against the Renewal of National Socialist Activity. The above mentioned issue of "Sieg" contained a statement by Lachout, certified by the Viennese District Court of Favoriten, that could not have reached the magazine's office had Lachout not sent it himself. In this document Lachout said "There never were gas-chambers in Mauthausen that were used for killing people before the camp's liberation in 1945." Another issue of "Sieg" published correspondence between Lachout and the Ministry for Education, Art and Sport which, in all probability, also could only ahve reached the newspaper through Lachout himself. The publisher of Halt, Gerd Honsik, recently published a book titled, "Freispruch fuer Hitler? - 36 ungehoerte Zeugen wider die Gaskammer" which has already been confiscated by the Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office. In this book, another Lachout "document" appears that again could only have been included because Lachout personally turned it over to Honsik. According to further reports in Halt (No. 43, 1988) and the "Germania. Ein Ziel, ein Wille, ein Sieg!" (the newsletter of the infamous German-Canadian Ernst Zuendel), Lachout also testified at Zuendel's trial in Toronto, Canada on Zuendel's behalf. The German-Canadian, who was on trial for denying the existence of gas-chambers in Auschwitz, received a nine-month jail sentence in May, 1988. [Transcription note: subsequently, the Supreme Court of Canada declared the law, "Publishing False News," unconstitutional, and reversed the conviction. knm] As a witness, Lachout has consorted with a number of internationally renowned "revisionist" historians such as the French Robert Faurisson, the "uncrowned king of the revisionists" as Zuendel calls him, and the West German Udo Walendy. Another "historian" who testified for Zuendel was the British David Irving, a frequent guest of radical-right and neo-Nazi circles in Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany. Zuendel's publishing house, Samisdat Verlag, produced a half-hour video with Lachout that was distributed by the West German neo-Nazi magazine "Der Bismarck-Deutsche." In the video Lachout says, "the reason (for testifying in Canada) is my "document" that I've published and presented to the court." The DOEW thus drew the following conclusion in the rebuttal it prepared for Lachout's civil litigation against it: "Lachout's assertion that he had nothing to do with the publication of the 'document,' nor had contacts with neo-Nazis, does not represent the truth." "The 'document's' debut publication in the neo-Nazi paper 'Halt' leads us to believe that a definitive political intention to propagate National Socialism existed in the publication of this 'document.' The 'document' does not meant [sic] to reveal the truth. On the contrary: it is meant to support the neo-Nazis' argumentation who have for years denied the mass murder of the Jewish people. That this publication was aimed at supporting this denial can be seen in the headline 'Government Agent Breaks Silence - Mauthausen Swindle Officially Recognized'. This document strengthens propaganda published by 'Halt,' which whitewashes and trivializes the harm done by the Nazi regime. 'Halt' (no. 17, 1983) had already maintained that there had never been any gas-chambers. Revisionists - including neo-Nazi circles abroad - have been trying since the 1970s to prove that there were no poison-gas mass murders during the Third Reich. In 1973, the well known revisionist Thies Christophersen, a former concentration camp guard in Auschwitz, published a pamphlet entitled "Die Auschwitzluege" ("The Auschwitz Lie") which denied the existence of gas-chambers in Auschwitz. A West German court ordered it sequestrated in 1979. In 1986, Christophersen, who has a long record of sentences for neo-Nazi crimes, was again facing trial. He fled to Denmark rather than risk another sentence and has been active there ever since. Other revisionists include the West German judge Welhelm Staeglich, author of "Der Auschwitzmythos" (The Auschwitz Myth, trans.); Udo Walendy, West-German publisher of the neo-Nazi magazine "Historische Tatsachen"; the American Arthur Butz, author ot "The Hoax of the Century"; the French pseudo-historian Paul Rassnier, whom neo-Nazis like to call "the father of revisionism", and Robert Faurisson, also French, who is another neo-Nazi "expert" on gas-chambers. Dr. Gustav Spann, Institute of Contemporary History, University of Vienna, characterizes this "evidence" against the existence of gas-chambers as follows: "The goal and purpose of all radical-right apologists' historical writings is not the discovery of historical truth through rational analysis, but the fabrication of propaganda justifying National Socialism and the Third Reich." Until recently, international revisionist groups have focused their efforts on the Auschwitz concentration camp. Now an Austrian variation of the theme "Auschwitz Lie", the "Mauthausen Lie", is being constructed with the help of the Lachout "document." The former Mauthausen concentration camp serves as a memorial and museum and is used by Austria's school system as an important pedagogical tool for teaching contemporary history to its students. That is why the Austrian radical right devotes so much time and effort to this subject, rather than to Auschwtiz which for them is geographically far, far away... II. THE FORGERY Whenever a new document is discovered, historical methodology demands that the document's authenticity be checked first. This is just as mandatory for contemporary history as it is for older historical periods. In our age of carbon copies or photocopies, a document's genuiness is generally proven by matching it with an authenticated original, or, lacking that, by tracing the path of the document to the issuing authority or institution. Neither method was possible in the case of the Lachout "document". Emil Lachout has never produced an original that can be forensically tested. What he has submitted are different statements concerning the origins of the "document". He refers to the "document" published in "Halt" (No. 40) in an extensive video interview produced by the German-Canadian Ernst Zuendel, who owns the neo-Nazi Samisdat Verlag. His comments make it clear once more that this "document" was obviously published for specific propaganda reasons rather than out of historical interest. For instance, when asked about where the "document" came from, he replied: "Well, that can be explained like that: I pointed out this document, as well as other documents, years ago. Unfortunately, nobody was interested in them. It was only later that people realized what it was about. And then, I'll be quite open during the Waldheim investigations - the Waldheim Commission, document publication, etc - two gentlemen from this Commission, not those who make up the Commission, but rather government employees asked me if it was true that I had signed the document back then. I confirmed this and so on, as certification for the Commission - sworn testimony -, and then reserved the right to check. I took a copy of this document and checked it, to see if it agreed with the notes that I have at home. I then realized it agreed, had it notarized again, and turned this 'document' over to the President's office." This confused information certainly does not allow the path of the "document" to be traced from its supposed origin in 1948 to its publication in 1987. The Austrian Resistance Archives asked Prof. Manfred Messerschmidt, member of the Historical Commission that investigated Waldheim's war-time past and head of the Freiburg Office for Military History Research, about Lachout's role in the Waldheim investigations. Prof. Messerschmidt replied that the Historical Commission neither knew about Lachout nor of the "document" in question. Furthermore: "I am not aware that the Historical Commission ever saw or discussed the document in question. There was no request to the President's Office to ask Lachout if such a circular existed. Had this circular been part of the Historical Commission's investigation, it would, of course, have gotten in touch with Mr. Lachout itself and would not have left the examination to the President's Office." Taking a closer look at the "document", one notices a number of details, which (in addition to wrong allegations in the text itself that will be dealt with in a later chapter) allows one to recognize that it is a forgery or falsification. The only point of the purported "document" is to "prove" neo-Nazi claims that there were neither gas-chambers nor murder by poison gas in the concentration camps. The following has been established about the "document's" formal criteria: A. Purported Provenance Whenever Lachout has presented "statements" in order to "confirm" the "authenticity" of the "document" (which have already been partly proven to be falsifications), he has given a different account of the "document's" origins as well as different "statements", which have already proven to be falsifications. The official source has been given different titles: either "Military Police Service", or "Allied Military Command Austria", etc. But, according to all the information we have about the Four-Power Occupation of Austria, such an Allied authority never existed. The "Gazette of the Allied Commission for Austria" published regulations for public security which state: "b) Austrian Civilian Police may be included in Inter- Allied Police or Military Patrols." The March 1946 edition published the personnel lists of the Allied Military Missions in Austria and stated: "2. The Allied Council decided that Allied Missions in Vienna, whether military or political, should not include military guards, and that their protection should be assured by the Austrian police except where non-military guards are required." Police duties within Austria could only be undertaken by all the four Allies in one body, the Inter-Allied Command, and then only at the request of the Austrian police authorities. The commander-in-chief of an Allied zone could only use the Inter-Allied Patrol ("Four-in-a-jeep") even in an emergency. Hans Landauer, a retired policeman who began service in 1945, described the usual procedure as follows: "If the Soviet occupation power (whose zone included Lower Austria, parts of Upper Austria and parts of Vienna) had some sort of request from the criminal police, this information would be conveyed by the Soviet Headquarters, whose seat was in Purkersdorf, Lower Austria, but which also had some office space in the Lower Austrian state government building on Herrengasse in Vienna, to the Lower Austrian Police Headquarters." The Allied Control Agreement for Austria, signed on July 4, 1945, set up a control apparatus, whereby "supreme authority was to be vested in an Allied Council consisting of the four Commanders-in-Chief, each of whom.... was to have supreme authority in his own zone ...Below the Council was to be an Executive Committee, responsible for ensuring implementation ... of the Council's decisions on matters effecting Austria as a whole." This supreme authority was given the title "Allied Commission for Austria". In addition, there was an Allied Command for the administration of the City of Vienna consisting of four commanders who were nominated by the respective Commanders-in-Chief. Organizations that appear in the certificates of authenticity supplied by Lachout, like the "Allied Investigation Commission", therefore did not exist. Furthermore, the Allies as a rule only accepted Austrians, or former Austrians, into their service if they had either worked for one of the Allied authorities or had been part of one of the Allied military units while in emigration, and were known to be trustworthy. The Soviet military power did not accept former Austrians into the service of the occupying authorities at all. Never were interned POWs accepted for occupying duty in 1945 and certainly not with an officer's rank, as Lachout maintains. B. The "Document's" Language The official Allied languages were English, French and Russian. Also the above mentioned Allied gazette appeared with a trilingual title. Its forward read "The 'Gazette' will appear monthly in four languages: English, French, Russian and German. The English, Russian, and French languages are official languages, and only text in these languages are authentic." Even if the Lachout "document" were only a translation into German, one can be certain that the Allies would never have used an abbreviation as "F.d.R.dA." (Fuer die Richtigkeit der Ausfertigung, Responsible for the correctness of the content) or "RS" (Rundschreiben, circular), which are only found in Austrian civil servant usage. C. The Stamp "Republic Oesterreich-Wachbataillon Wien-Kommando" Austria did not have her own military force until 1955. In 1945 the Under-Secretariat for Military Affairs, then under Franz Winterer, was part of the Chancellory of the Provisional Chancellor, Karl Renner and was dissolved at the Allies' request with the resignation of the provisional government on December 21, 1945. The newly elected National Assembly reaffirmed this on January 18, 1946. The gendarmerie's alarm-formation was only formed in 1949. The so-called B-Gendarmerie, a small number of para-military units, was only established on August 1, 1952. It was put under the command of the Interior Ministry. Therefore, there was no "Guard Battalion Vienna" in 1948. This has been confirmed in letters from the Defense and Interior Ministers to the DOEW. A further problem: How was it possible that an "original" stamp of the "Guard Battalion Vienna" ever got on a "copy" of a tenth copy, as it appears on the published facsimile? This could only have been possible years later with the advent of photocopying. D. The Missing "Document" Heading It is impossible that the Allied authorities' official stationery would not carry a letterhead showing the name of the responsible command. This letterhead and, more importantly, the name of the occupation authority in question, are missing on Lachout's "document." E. "Allied Investigating Commissions" There was no such organization as an "Allied Investigating Commission" in such a general form. The United States, Great Britain and other Allied nations had already formed the "War-Crimes Commission of the United Nations" during the Second World War. This met in London for the first time in October, 1943 to organize the collection of material about war-crimes. The Commission formed the starting point for the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. The trial against those responsible for the Mauthausen concentration camp was processed by a United States court in Dachau. Here the question of poison-gas murders was investigated. It would have been absurd for the very authority that carried out these extensive trials to produce such a "document". Besides, the question of poison gassing in the Mauthausen concentration camp had already been dealt with during the Allies' Nuremberg trials. F. The Use of the Allgemeines Verwaltungsverfahrensgesetz by Allied Authorities. The Allied authorities were not under the jurisdiction of the Austrian legal system for their internal correspondence. That means, it was impossible that an Allied authority would have bothered to state that the "document" was correct according to criteria set down in Para 18 of the Allgemeines Verwaltungsverfahrens-gesetz, which is normal procedure for Austrian authorities and as it is confirmed by Lachout's signature on his "document". G. Lachout's Alleged Role with the "Military Police Service" Lachout signed the "document" as "lieutenant". He was only twenty years old at the time. He was too young to have had such a rank. Moreover, there were no Austrian officers among the Allied Powers, unless that person had already volunteered as an emigrant to serve with the troops of his country of exile during the war. It was impossible to "moonlight" with an Allied authority while at the same time being a civil servant of the City of Vienna as Lachout supposedly did. To serve in a non-Austrian military organization also meant automatic forfeiture of one's Austrian citizenship. An officer's appointment needs several years of intensive training. Even during the war, officer's training lasted more than a year and as a rule required a high-school diploma. Lachout says that he got his Austrian highschool diploma in 1946. The DOEW has, therefore, concluded in its court rebuttal that "Lachout's claims must be ... qualified as obviously false." Lachout could never have served as a member of an Austrian executive body (police, gendarmerie, B-gendarmerie) in a "Military Police Service", because he never belonged to an Austrian executive body after 1945. Furthermore, moonlighting for an Allied organization would have been inconceivable. III. LACHOUT'S BIOGRAPHY AND HIS WAY WITH "DOCUMENTS" An autobiographical record of Emil Lachout emerges from the "documents" he presented to the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund Oesterreichs (ASBO) and the stories Lachout told in the video interview produced by the neo-Nazi Samidat Verlag. It is a biography riddled with contradictions and inconsistancies. This can be "documented" by the following examples. Lachout was born on October 20, 1928. Yet, in the video, he told some strange stories about his war experiences and his experiences during the immediate post war years. For instance, his description of how he came to enter the "Military Police Service": "How I came to that is a somewhat long story, which I'll have to shorten. During the war I carried out special tasks for the German Wehrmacht. These special duties were well known to the Russians. And, while carrying out these missions, I learned there had been a secret school for spies in the Mauthausen concentration camp, in which there were Jews. As incredible as that may seem, but it's been well documented that there were over 1000 Jews who had been trained as spies for the Germans. These spies were never caught by the Allies, because they could not imagine that a Jew would spy for the Germans. And, therefore I have, for some, not all but some of these people - they were picked up as injured, as sick on stretchers from the Mauthausen concentration camp to the military airfield at Schwechat, to be dropped by airplane behind enemy lines. I served on these transports as a medic. Of course we soon became aware, that these people were not sick. On the contrary, they were pumperlgesund, as one says in Austria, men who had gone to special duty." Furthermore: "I was in a special unit during the war, and I want to emphasize that it was not the SS. I had to capture paratroopers, and they came to a POW camp in Gross-wetzdorf. In this POW camp everything was quite normal. Everyone had to sleep on straw, but we had to sleep on straw too. And as far as sleeping on straw is concerned, I'd like to say, the concentration camp beds were the same beds as we had in the army training camp, also in the barracks. And wen the war came to an end, all these prisoners were released. ...And then after I had fled from Russian imprisonment for the umpteenth time, I don't know anymore how many times I fled, but when I was already home, a Russian commission came to me. I was very ill. I had typhoid fever, and a Russian Commission - Officers' Commission - gave me an ultimatum. I had two choices: as seriously ill, as deathly ill, to be sent to Siberia, or to work with the Military Police Service. I picked the second choice... Our job was to go along with the Military Police, with the Russian patrols, when civilians were arrested to make sure they were neither tortured nor in the case of women, raped.... and that was our job. That was the Military Police Service. There were commissions that investigated war crimes. We were with them. And our job with the Military Police Service was to ask prisoners, when we were alone with them, if they had been tortured." Lachout's video testimony contradicts the statement he made to the ASBO about his military service. New versions about his war experiences appear there: "I was called up to serve in the emergency service as an airforce medic's helper with the Wehrmacht, when I was fourteen. The official drafting, I mean registration, followed later. ... I requested a confirmation from the War Archive because the kind of malicious discussion (within the ASBO, author) - above and beyond libel - angered me. There it can be seen that I already had an NCO rank as Truppfuehrer on September 16, 1944. On December 2, 1944 I was promoted to San-Gruppenfuehrer. Since in peace-time in the Wehrmacht one could become an NCO with two years of service and an officer with two and a half years, as a youngster in wartime ... After I had been with the engineer corps (catastrophy aid like today's air-raid protection troops), I received the usual Feldmeister rank with this troop." In addition to the stories in the various documents Lachout gave the ASBO, there are additional stories about other functions and activities from the period 1944-1945 that he supposedly carried out: for example, acting instructor with the German Life-Saving Society on September 18, 1944, sporting team manager on October 16, 1944, appointment to medic mate in the navy on February 4, 1945,] Feldmeister in the Reichsarbeitsdienst on March 27, 1945, etc. Another "document", supposedly from the Professoriate of the First Accident Surgery (University Clinics, Vienna, trans.) - whose forgery is dealt with later on - purports that Lachout was appointed Sanitaetswachtmeister (Medic Sergeant) on May 1, 1945 by the Austrian Chancellory for Military Affairs. Yet, in light of what he said on the video this was at a time when he was still a member of a special unit of the German Wehrmacht, trained to capture paratroopers. One must also note that although the Under-Secretariat for Military Affairs was placed under Karl Renner's Chancellory command during the 1945 provisional government, there never was a "Chancellory for Military Affairs". Statements in copies of two of the "documents" he presented to the ASBO also contradict his stories in the video about his post-war experiences (Russian POW camp, from which he claimed to have escaped umpteen times). These statements maintain that he was already an NCO medic with the Russian Army on May 9, a day after the capitulation of the Third Reich, and served in this function until May 16, 1945. There is no mention of his asserted service with the Russian military police, after the POW camp, in the ASBO documents. According to a copy of an "official notarization, MA 2", he was a sergeant and department leader in the Catastrophy Help and Work Service from August 7, to September 2, 1945, where he cleared away rubble and did reconstruction work. Furthermore, Lachout maintains that except for the period from December 20, 1945 to June 21, 1946, when he was supposedly working as military police NCO with the Russian military command, his work with the Russian Army from June 30, 1946 until June 1, 1947 was as a medic NCO, in the POW medic service. In the same "document", one reads that Lachout passed his medic NCO test on February 15, 1954 because of his foreign mission with the Red Cross and with the medical corps of the United Nations, and that he was also appointed medic NCO with the mechant marines. The remarkable thing here is that Austria did not join the United Nations until December 15, 1955. The "documents" Lachout gave ASBO are for the most part copies or duplicates of supposed transcripts. The DOEW thus surmised in its rebuttal for its civil litigation against Lachout that "...it must be noted here that transcribing documents is a practice that ceased in the 1960s; on the contrary, photocopies of original documents are usually presented. Furthermore, Lachout's 'documents' are in many cases on official stationary - usually from the City Board of Education, or the Office of the Viennese State Government, or of a city department - although the contents make it seem improbable that these offices would certify the same. Notarizations (also copied) occurred in many cases through the notarization of Lachout's signature, or by the certification of a transcript. Therefore it appears that a great number of the presented 'documents' are implausible, and, in some cases, have already proven to be obvious forgeries." One of the more interesting documents in this connection had already been published by Lachout in the previously mentioned neo-nazi book by Gerd Honsik, "Freispruch fuer Hitler?" It is a transcript produced by the Federal Chancellory on October 18, 1955, and has the stamp and the "Richtigkeit der Ausfertigung" of the Viennese Board of Education and is "certified" by the Vienna Board of Education as well. The contents of this "official notarization" establish that Lachout served as a "military police and line officer" from 1947-1955 and was also with the "Mountain Troops" and the gendarmie where he was promoted to Hauptmann (captain) in 1954. These assertions are false. A letter from the Ministry of the Interior to the DOEW asserts Lauchout never belonged to any branch of the Austrian executive body. Besides, during those years Austria did not have any armed forces. Research has shown that under the file number of this "official notarization" (No. 508.191-I/Pers/55), there is indeed a Federal Chancellory file where Lachout petitioned the Office for Defense for the use of the title of a reserve officer, but his petition was turned down. The original petition can be found in the Archive of the Republic. Moreover, in 1954 there was no rank of "Hauptmann" in the gendarmie, only Rittmeister. The Office for Defense could never have confirmed such a title. Under these circumstances "the conclusion follows that the official notarization presented by Lachout is a forgery." The two documents already mentioned above and supposedly produced by the Chair of the First Accident Surgery have already been proven to be forgeries. Prof. Trojan, Chief of the University Clinic for Accident Surgery answered the DOEWs inquiry: "As far as the 'official notarization' of August 3, 1972 is concerned, I think it is out of the question that such was or could have been issued. I also find the second notarization from Aug. 2, 1972 about the use of the title 'Oberpfleger' improbable, because we have never had an 'Oberpfleger'. Besides the signature is completely illegible and unidentifiable. In conclusion, I am convinced that such certificates were never issued by the Chair for Accident Surgery. Furthermore, copies of all such certificates and grade reports from the year 1972 are kept at the First University Clinic for Accident Surgery, then the Professiorate for Accident Surgery. Such certificates as mentioned above can not be found and therefore were never issued." Thus, on the basis of these obvious forgeries, the Austrian Resistance Archives filed charges on suspicion of document forgery against Lachout at the Public Prosecutor's Office. EMIL LACHOUT'S CURRICULUM VITAE Born October 20, 1928 1942-1945 From his own account, various activities for the German Wehrmacht and Reichsarbeitsdienst 1945-1955 From his own account, various activities for the Allies 1946 Finished eight semesters polytechnical training 1947-1971 B-Level civil servant with the city of Vienna 1966-1988 Teacher of Protestant religion in Vienna's public schools. IV. AUSTRIAN COURT DECISIONS AGAINST NAZI PROPAGANDA One of the first tasks that Karl Renner's provisional government after Austria's liberation in 1945 has to face, was to rid Austria's economic and political life of Nazis. For this reason a constitutional amendment known as the NS-Verbotsgesetz was passed. It established the legal basis for denazification and the prohibition of the formation of similar new groups, and the publishing of neo-Nazi propaganda. As such, it is still an important pillar of Austria's constitution. Articles Four, Nine and Ten of the Austrian State Treaty complimented this law and have also been amended to the Austrian Constitution. From a practical point of view, the most important legal tool for the fight against neo-Nazi activities today is Para 3 of the Verbotsgesetz. It provides for the punishment of anyone reviving National Socialist organizations, campaigning for such organizations, approving of National Socialist measures, and trivializing National Socialist crimes against humanity. Austria's Constitutional Court has elaborated on just how the Verbotsgesetz should be applied, and, just as importantly, the implied duty to implement the law. It states that no act entailing a revival of National Socialist activity can be considered legal. There is no doubt that Para 3 should be applied by every official authority within its area of influence, regardless of whether its implementation is specified in the laws governing the activities of that authority explicitly or implicitly. Paragraph Three is to be considered a "universal clause" applicable everywhere and by everyone, not just by one specific agency of Austria's executive and law-enforcement organizations. The uncompromising rejection of National Socialism is a cornerstone of the Republic. Every act of the State has to abide, without exception, to this ban. No official act may indicate the State's complicity in a revival of National Socialist activity. The Austrian courts have always taken a clear stand against the neo-Nazi propaganda lies that there were never gas-chamber mass murders in the National Socialist concentration camps. In 1984 a group of activists from the magazine "Halt" tried to register a new political party under the name "Nationale Front" with the Ministry of Interior. The Ministry did not recognize this party as legitimate. The party-founders then took their case to the Constitutional Court, which rejected its appeal: "The question of whether a revival of activity in the sense of the Verbotzgesetz exists, can not be answered - as the Supreme Court (in reference to earlier judicature) already aptly demonstrated in its judgement of June 25, 1986, 9 Os 132-85 - through an accompanying description of all possible areas of activity, because the goals of the NSDAP and its subsidiary organziations were all too manifold and multifarious. In any case, an apology or trivialization of the (criminal) measures of the Nazi regime and the glorification of the annexation of Austria in 1938 constitutes a revial of activity according to the Verbotsgesetz just like any other one-sided propagandistic positive description of National Socialist measures and goals. /.../ In the case at hand, the Minister of the Interior came to the supposition that a revival of activity existed. He substantiated this supposition comprehensively and logically in the contested order. The'Provisional Program for the Nationale Front', 'Suggestions for Eliminating the Existing System', published in Halt (No 23, Nov., 1984), clearly shows that the attempted formation of the 'Nationale Front' represented a revival of (Nazi) activity." Another example is the repeated confiscation of newspaper "Deutsche National-Zeitung" which comes to Austria from Munich. It is published by Gerhard Frey, founder of the radical-right "Deutsche Volksunion". The Austrian courts have repeatedly ordered the newspaper confiscated for denying the Holocaust. Frey filed a complaint against one such confiscation (issue March 9, 1979, No. 4, Vol. 29) but was rebuffed by the Austrian Supreme Court in its decision of March 6, 1980. The Court found that many of the texts that had appeared in an article entitled "Dangerous Doubts About Gassings" were examples of the revival of Nazi activity as seen in Para 3 of the Verbotsgesetz. It also found that the Lower Court had correctly and objectively recognized such a "one-sided" trivialization of what Austrian courts had already identified as the "inhuman National Socialist measures" as "in line with the meaning of Para 3 of the Verbotsgesetz". The Lower Court had correctly recognized the illegality of certain passages which described conditions in the Nazi concentration camps, especially those in Auschwitz and Birkenau, maintained that there had never been any mass-murders of Jews or other persons in gas chambers and insisted it was all a swindle perpetrated by false witnesses. The Supreme Court's decisions were later reflected by the Vienna Criminal Court which ruled in April 1980 that "one of the main propaganda tactics used to promote National Socialism is to deny the historical reality of Nazi crimes, to insist they are all lies, and, when the crimes are acknowledged, to trivialize them, and to put these crimes on the same footing with Allied war-crimes, often doing so in the most macabre fashion." Authorities have other possibilities in addition to the constitutional regulations mentioned above. For instance, there is a law against wearing or displaying certain medals and symbols. The introductory law to the Administrative Procedure Laws passed by the National Assembly in February 1986 authorize every policeman to take immediate action whenever neo-Nazi leaflets or similar material are distributed. Moreover, the Criminal Code, Para 283 of January 23, 1974, (BGBI. No. 60/1974), states that it is illegal to agitate in any form against "any church or religious community existing within the country, or against any group because of their race, nationality, or ethnic background". V. LITIGATION AROUND LACHOUT'S "DOCUMENT" The contents of the Lachout "document" published in "Halt" and the formal points mentioned in an earlier chapter make it clear that this is not a genuine Allied document. The Vienna Public Prosecutor's Office, therefore, requested and received permission from the court to have "Halt" and all the other neo-Nazi publications that had published the "document" confiscated. Nevertheless, it was only six months later that the preliminary investigation against Emil Lachout for suspicion of violating Para 3 of the Verbotsgesetz got underway. This caused one MP, Sepp Rieder, the Socialist Party Parliamentary Speaker for Judical Affairs, to direct a parliamentary inquiry to the Minister of Justice Egmont Foregger. Minister Foregger answered in September 1988: "On November 27, 1987, the Vienna Public Prosecutor ordered a preliminary investigation of the 'legal and ideological advisor' named on the masthead of the periodical 'Halt', and also asked for the confiscation of this publication because the publication's contents had violated Para 3, clause 1, of the Verbotsgesetz. Vienna's Criminal Court sactioned the confiscation order on December 1, 1987. The January 1988 issue of 'Halt', No. 41, again published 'Circular No. 31-48' that had appeared in Halt's previous issue (No. 40), which included the denial of the gas-chambers' existence. The Vienna Prosecutor's Office thus ordered a preliminary investigation against those who appeared on the publication's masthead. A request for the confiscation of No. 41 of 'Halt' was also made and granted on January 27, 1988 by the State Criminal Court's investigation judge. On July 28, 1988, the Prosecutor's Office requested permission from the Vienna Criminal Court to begin proceedings against Emil Lachout for his involvement in the production and publication of this 'circular' for suspicion of violating Para 3, clause 1 of the Verbotsgesetz." This litigation was still in progress at the time of the printing of this pamphlet. MP Rieder, along with MPs Schranz and Ederer, again directed a parliamentary inquiry about this matter to Minister Foregger in March 1989. Emil Lachout in turn started civil proceedings against various institutions and publications that were critical about him or his falsified "document" while criminal proceedings were started against him. Among these institutions were the DOEW for an article in their newsletter, the magazines "profil" and "Wochenpresse", and several Styrian newpapers. The DOEW put together and submitted an extensive rebuttal to prove its case before the court. It goes into exhaustive detail over the question of the asserted "genuineness" of the "document" as well as into Lachout's credability. During the research for this evidence, researchers of the DOEW came across many "documents" which Lachout had already given to various other institutions, and were without doubt forgeries as well (see chapter 3). These findings resulted in the DOEW's decision to press charges of document forgery against Emil Lachout at the Public Prosecutor's Office. These proceedings are still in progress. [photocopy of Lachout's Red Cross "certificate": The "issuing" district office address given on the stamp is a warehouse with no office space.] Footnotes: 1. "The Radical Right in Austria Since 1945," trans. 2. David Irving was deported from Austria in 1984. He then sued the Republic of Austria and won in the Lower Court. The Republic of Austria appealed and on Feb. 27, 1989, the Vienna Superior Court turned over the Lower Court's decision on the grounds Irving represents National Socialist views. 3. "Military Police Service" and "Allied Investigation Commission", trans. 4. Society for Political Information, Innsbruck. 5. "Mauthausen Swindle Now Officially Recognized", trans. 6. Erkenntniz des Verfassungsgerichtshofes, B 682/86-10, March 3, 1987. 7. Sieg. AJ-Presse-Dienst, No. 11-12, November-December, 1987. 8. Ibid. 9. Sieg. AJ-Presse_Dienst, No. 3, March 1988 10. "Acquittal for Hitler? Thirty-Six Unheard Witnesses Against the Gas-Chambers," trans. 11. See video transcript, "Das Lachout Dokument", Samisdat Video-Medig, p. 6, available at the DOEW 12. Rebuttal, "Wahreitsbeweis des Dokumentationsarchivs im Privatanklageverfarher Lachout" DOEW c. Emil Lachout, Vienna, January, 1989, p.23. 13. Ibid, p. 25 14. Gustav Spann, Florian Freund, "Zur Auseinandersetzung mit der Apologie des Nationalsozialismus im Schulunterricht am Beispiel der Vernichtung der Juden," Zeitgeschichte, Heft 5, (February 1981). 15. Letter, Manfred Messerschmidt, Freiburg.Breisgau, FRG, July 14, 1988, to the DOEW. 16. "Militaerpolizeilicher Dienst" or "Alliiertes Militaerkommando fuer Oesterreich". 17. "Gazette of the Allied Commissions for Austria" (February, 1946), p. 8. The Allied Council decided to publish a monthly gazette at their meeting on December 18, 1945, _Gazette_, p. 24. 18. _Gazette_, March 1946, p. 18 19. Protocol of Allied Council Vienna, August 7, 1945; Protocol No. 75 of Inter-Allied Command, January 9, 1947, in Papers of Dr. Albert Loewy, Chief of Legal Department, U.S. High Commissioner for Austria; Institut fuer Zeitgeschichte, University of Vienna. 20. Deposition, Hans Landauer, Vienna, February 1988, available at DOEW. 21. John Mair, "Four-Power control in Germany and Austria, 1945-1946, Part II, Austria" Survey of International Affairs 1939-1946 (London-New York-Toronto: Oxford University Press; 1956), p. 308, 21a. 22. Ibid., p. 309 23. _Gazette_, February 1946 24. See video transcript, "Das Lachout-Dokument", Samisdat Video Medig, p. 2, available at the DOEW. 25. _Gazette_, December 1945-January 1946, p. 24. 26. The expression used by the Allies in the _Gazette_ is "Certified true copy". See _Gazette_, Dec. 1945-Jan. 1946, p. 40. 27. "Republic of Austria - guard Battalion Command Vienna" 28. Letter, Robert Lichal, Minister of Defense, Vienna, Feb. 20, 1989, to the DOEW; Letter, Karl Blecha, Minister of the Interior, Vienna, Jan. 27, 1989, to the DOEW. 29. Rolf Vogel, ed., "Ein Weg aus der Vergangenkeit. Eine Dokumentation zur Verjaeh-rungsfrage und zu den NS-Prozesse. (Frankfurt/Main-Berlin: Ullstein Verlag, 1969), p. 9; Telford Taylor, "Die Nuernberger Prozesse. Kriegsverbrechen und Voelkerrecht" (Zurich: Europa Verlag, 1951), p. 13. 30. IMT Document 3870-PS, in "Der Prozess gegen Hauptkriegsverbrecher vor dem Internationalen Militaergerichtshof. Nuernberg 14. November -1. Oktober 1946" Vol. 33, Official Text, German Edition (Nuremberg: Inter. Militaergerichtshof: 1949), p. 279f. 31. "Law of General Administrative Procedure" trans. 32. Rebuttal, "Wahrheitsbeweis", p. 31 33. Letter, Karl Blecha, Minister of the Interior, Vienna, Feb. 5, 1988 to the DOEW, Justification exhibit. 34. Contents of the "document" (especially the denial of mass murder through poison gas in concentration camps) are dealt with in chapter six below. 35. "Worker's Samaritan Association of Austria", which among other things runs an ambulance service. trans. 36. Fit as a fiddle. trans. 37. See video transcript, "Das Lachout-Dokument". Samisdat-Video-Medig, p. 2, available at the DOEW. 38. Ibid., p. 5 f. 39. Ibid., p 2 f. 40. Lachout's "Statement to District Board (ASBO Leopoldstadt District, author) About My War Years", Oct. 1, 1982. 41. Excerpt from personal file, MA 6, City of Vienna, that Lachout presneted to ASBO. (MA, Magistratsamt, is the Viennese equivalent of a city department. trans) 42. Ibid 43. Transcript of a "Dienstzettel," German Red Cross, District 17, Feb. 12, 1945. 44. Transcript of a "diploma", signed by Reichsarbeitsfuehrer Hierl, March 30, 1945. 45. "Official Certification", Chair for Accident Surgery I, Aug. 3, 1972. 46. Duplicate of "Training Certificate" from MA 15, City of Vienna, Jan. 26, 1949; Transcript of an official certification of MA 2, City of Vienna, Sept. 2, 1971 47. Transcript of an "Official Certificate", MA 2, City of Vienna, Sept. 2, 1971 48. "Certificate" duplicate, Feb. 15, 1954 49. Photocopy machines were in common use then. trans. 50. Wahrheitsbeweis, p. 18 51. "For the production's correctness", trans. 52. "Official Certification", Federal Chancellory, Office for Defense, Archive of the Republic, Vienna, No. 508.191-I/Pers/55, Oct. 18, 1955. 53. Letter, Karl Blecha, Minister of the Interior, Vienna, Feb. 5, 1988 54. "Wahrheitsbeweis", p. 19 55. Letter, Prof. Trojan, Chief, First University Clinic for Accident Surgery, Vienna, Jan. 23, 1989, to the DOEW. 56. see Original, S. 26, Footnote 55. Nationalsozialistengesetz 1947 (Federal Constitutional Law of February 6, 1947) in Bundesgesetzblatt, No. 25 (1947) concerning the treatment of the National Socialists. 57. "Kein Rechtsakt kann Wirksamkeit entfalten, der nationalsozialistische Wiederbetaetgung darstellt. Unter diesen Umstaended kann nicht zweifelhaft sein, dass [Para] 3 VerbotsG von jeder staatlichen Behoerde im Rahmen ihres Wirkungsberiches unmittelbar anzuwenden ist. /.../ [Para] 3 VerbotsG ist auch dann anwendbar, wenn das fuer die Behoerde massgebliche Gesetz seine Beachtung nicht ausdruecklich oder durch einen allgemeinen Vorbehalt der Rechtmaessigkeit des Vorhabens oder Begehrens vorschreibt. Als allgemeine Generalklausel steht dieses Verbot neben und ueber allen Einzelvorschriften. /.../ Das Wiederbetaetigungsverbot ist auch nich blosser Teilzweck der staatlichen Taetigkeit fuer einen bestimmten Bereich, der hinter anderen Teilzwecken anderer Bereiche zurueckstehen muesste, sondern umfassende Massgabe jeglichen staatlichen Verhaltens. Die kompromisslose Abelnung des Nationalsozialismus ist ein grundlegendes Mermal der wiedererstandenen Republik. Ausnahmslos jede Staats-taetigkeit hat sich an diesem Verbot zu orientieren. Es darf kein behoerlicher Akt gesetzt werden, der eine Mitwikung des Staates an nationalsozialistischer Wieder-betaetigung bedeuten wuerde." _Erkenntnis des Verfassungsgerichtshofes G 175/84-34, November 29, 1985_. 58. Erkenntnis des Verfassungsgerichthofes B 682/86-10, Mar. 3, 1987. 59. "Gefaehrliche Zweifel an Vergasungen". 60. Decision, Oberster Gerichtshof, 13 Os 14-80, Mar. 6, 1980. 61. Decision, Landesgericht fuer Strafsachen Wien, 6 bE 3271/78, Oct. 6, 1980, p. 81. 62. Abzeichengesetz 1960 (April 5, 1960) in _Bundesgesetzblatt_, No. 84 (1960) forbids certain medals and symbols. This law was later amended by the Federal Law of March 5, 1980 in _Bundesgesetzblatt_, No. 117 (1980) 64. Reply of Minister of Justice, Egmont Foregger, to the Parliamentary Query (7143/I-Pr- 1/88), Sept. 1, 1988. 65. Minister Foregger still had not answered at the time of this printing.
Site Map ·
What's New? ·
© The Nizkor Project, 1991-2012
Home · Site Map · What's New? · Search Nizkor