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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/l/lipstadt.deborah/citations/fred.leuchter

Newsgroups: alt.revisionism,soc.history
Subject: Holocaust Almanac - Leuchter's "Expertise" denied by Canadian Court
Summary: Fred Leuchter lacks expertise in toxocology, engineering, chemistry,
         according to Canadian court findings during trial of Ernst Zundel
Followup-To: alt.revisionism
Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac, Vancouver Island, CANADA
Keywords: Leuchter,Zundel
Lines: 239

Archive/File: holocaust/usa/lipstadt lipstadt.005
Last-Modified: 1994/01/07

Lipstadt discusses the demolition of Fred Leuchter's qualifications as
an "expert" at the trial of Zu"ndel:

   "With the jury out of the room, the court began to determine
   Leuchter's qualifications as an expert witness.  When the Crown
   Counsel questioned him about his training in math, chemistry,
   physics, and toxicology, he acknowledged that his only training in
   chemistry was "basic ...on the college level." The only physics he
   had studied likewise consisted of two courses taken when he was
   sutdying for a bachelor of arts (not sciences) degree at Boston
   University.  Admitting that he was not a toxicologist and had no
   degree in engineering, he rather cavalierly dismissed the need for
   it.<36> To this the judge responded sharply:

      THE COURT: How do you function as an engineer if you don't have
      an engineering degree?

      THE WITNESS: Well, I would question, Your Honour, what an
      engineering degree is. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree and I
      have the required background training both on the college level
      and in the field to perform my function as an engineer.

      THE COURT: Who determines that? You?<37>

   Throughout the trial [the judge] made it clear that he was appalled
   by Leuchter's lack of training as an engineer as well as his
   depreciation of the need for such training. The judge was
   particularly taken aback by Leuchter's repeated assertions that
   anyone who went to college had "the necessary math and science" to
   be an electrical engineer and to conduct the tests that he
   conducted at Auschwitz.<38> The judge ruled that Leuchter could not
   serve as an expert witness on the construction and functioning of
   the gas chambers. The judge's findings as to Leuchter's suitability
   to comment on questions of engineering was unequivocal:

      THE COURT: I'm not going to have him get into the question of
      what's in a brick, what's in iron, what is in - he has no
      expertise in this area. He is an engineer because he has made
      himself an engineer in a very limited area.<39>

   Unknown to the court, Leuchter, who admitted under oath that he had
   only a bachelor of arts degree, was not being entirely candid
   regarding his education. Implying that an engineering degree had
   been unavailable to him, he told the court that when he was a
   student at Boston University, the school did not offer a degree in
   engineering. In fact it did, three different kinds.<40> Later in
   the trial, when the jury returned to the room, Zundel's lawyer and
   Leuchter obfuscated the paucity of his training:

      Q. And you are, I understand, a graduate of Boston University,
      with a B.A. in a field that entitles you to function as an
      engineer. Is that right?

      A. Yes, sir.<41>

   That field was history.

   Leuchter was also less than candid about his methodology. He
   repeatedly asserted that he obtained the "bulk" of his research
   material on the camps - including maps, floor plans and "original
   blueprints" for the crematoria - from the official archives at
   Auschwitz/Birkenau and Majdanek. He testified that these drawings
   and blueprints played a far more important role in shaping his
   conclusions than the samples he collected at the camp.<42> After
   the trial Kazimierz Smolen, the director of the Auschwitz museum,
   unequivocally denied that Leuchter had received any plans or
   blueprints from the museum.<43> He may have procured tourist
   materials sold in the official souvenir kiosks in the camps....


   As citations from Leuchter's report were read, the judge's
   impatience intensified. He characterized Leuchter's methodology as
   'ridiculous' and 'preposterous.'<46> Ruling that 'this report is
   not going to be filed,' the judge dismissed many of his conclusions
   as based on 'second-hand information.' He refused to allow Leuchter
   to testify about the impact of Zyklon-B on humans because he was
   neither a toxicologist nor a chemist and had never worked with the
   gas.<47> Again and again the judge kept coming back to Leuchter's
   capabilities and credibility:

      THE COURT: His opinion on this report is that there were never
      any gassings or there was never any extermination carried on in
      this facility. As far as I am concerned, from what I have heard,
      he is not capable of giving that opinion.... He is not in a
      position to say, as he said so sweepingly in this report, what
      could not have been carried on in these facilities.<48>

   On the question of the functioning of the crematoria, despite the
   defense attorney's opposition, the judge's decision was
   unequivocal. He could not testify on this topic for a simple

      THE COURT: He hasn't any expertise.<49>

   The judge might have been even more irritated had he known that
   Leuchter misrepresented the extent of his familiarity with the
   operation of hydrogen cyanide. He told the court that he had
   discussed matters relating to the gas with the largest U.S.
   manufacturer of sodium cyanide and hydrogen cyanide, Du Pont, and
   that such consultation was 'an on-going thing.' Leuchter was again
   being less than accurate. He may have obtained Du Pont's published
   guidelines about the care needed in using hydrogen cyanide or oany
   other of the myriad of substances the company manufactured. But Du
   Pont, denying Leuchter's claims of ongoing consultations, stated
   that it had 'never provided any information on cyanides to persons
   representing themselves as Holocaust deniers, including Fred
   Leuchter. Specifically, Du Pont has never provided any information
   regarding the use of cyanide at Auschwitz, Birkenau, or Majdanek.

   But it was not only Leuchter's scientific expertise, or lack
   thereof, which was questioned by the court. The judge also
   expressed serious doubts about Leuchter's historical knowledge,
   which, as it emerged at the trial, was limited and often flawed.
   Leuchter was unaware of a host of documents pertaining to the
   installation and construction of the gas chambers and crematoria.
   He did not know of a report filed in June 1943 by the Waffen-SS
   commandant of construction at Auschwitz on the completion of the
   crematoria. The report indicated that the five crematoria had a
   total twnety-four-hour capacity of 4,756 bodies.<51> Leuchter had
   stated that the crematoria had a total capacity of 156 bodies in
   the same period of time. <52> Even if the SS's calculation was
   overly 'optimistic,' the difference between it and Leuchter's was
   staggering. He also had to admit that he did not know that there
   existed correspondence and documentation regarding powerful
   ventilators installed in the gas chambers to extract the gas that
   remained after the killings. After hearing these and other
   admissions by Leuchter, Judge Thomas expressed his dismay that
   Leuchter had reached his conclusions despite the fact that he had
   only a 'nodding acquaintance' with the history of the gas chambers.
   To suggest that he had any more than that, the judge declared,
   would be an insult.<53>" (Lipstadt, 164-167)

Even in history, the field in which Fred Leuchter gained his degree,
it seems he lacks expertise. As an engineer, he is clearly unqualified
to submit opinions to the court or anyone else.

... and regarding Leuchter's shakedown scam:

   "On July 20,1990, Alabama Assistant Attorney General Ed Carnes sent
   a memo to all capital-punishment states questioning Leuchter's
   credentials and credibility.  Carnes stated that not only were
   Leuchter's views on the gas-chamber process "unorthodox" but that
   he was running a shakedown scheme.  If a state refused to use his
   services, Leuchter would testify at the last minute on behalf of
   the inmate, claiming that the state's gas chamber might malfunction
   <68>.  According to Carnes, Leuchter made 'money on both sides of
   the fence' <69>.  Describing Leuchter's behavior in Virginia,
   Florida, and Alabama, Carnes observed that in less than thirty days
   Leuchter had testified in three states that their electric-chair
   technology was too old and unreliable to be used.  In Florida and
   Virginia the federal courts had rejected Leuchter's testimony as
   unreliable.  In Florida the court had found that Leuchter had
   'misquoted the statements' contained in an important affidavit and
   had 'inaccurately surmised' a crucial premise of his conclusion
   <70>.  In Virginia, Leuchter provided a death-row inmate's attorney
   with an affidavit claiming the electric chair would fail.  The
   Virginia court decided the credibility of Leuchter's affidavit was
   limited because Leuchter was 'the refused contractor who bid to
   replace the electrodes in the Virginia chair'<71>." (Lipstadt, 170)

Lipstadt's Footnotes:

<36> Her Majesty the Queen vs. Ernst Zundel, District Court of
     Ontario, 1988 (hereafter referred to as Zundel), pp.8962, 8969,
     8972, 8978
<37> Ibid., p. 8973
<38> See testimony of Raul Hilberg at the first Zundel trial. Her
     Majesty the Queen vs. Ernst Zundel, District Court of Ontario,
     1985, p. 1112; Zundel, 1988, pp. 9010, 9011, 9013.
<39> Zundel, p. 9048
<40> Shelly Shapiro, "An Investigation," in _Truth Prevails: 
     Demolishing Holocaust Denial: The End of "The Leuchter Report"_ 
     ed. Shelly Shapiro (New York, 1990), p. 14; Arthur Goodman,
     "Leuchter: Exposed and Discredited by the Court," in Shapiro,
     "Truth Prevails," p. 78
<41> Zundel, p. 9056
<42> Ibid., pp. 8984, 9017, 9061, 9097, 9125, 9154, 9210, 9223
<43> Shapiro, "Truth Prevails," p. 56
<44> Zundel, pp. 8894-95
<45> Ibid., p. 8983
<46> Ibid., pp. 9052-53
<47> Ibid., pp. 9034-9038
<48> Ibid., pp. 9049-50
<49> Ibid., pp. 8976, 9052
<50> Ibid., p. 8951; Statement by E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Company,
     Oct. 2, 1990, cited in Shapiro, p. 28
<51> Zundel, pp. 9028-9034
<52> Leuchter Report, p. 10
<53> Zundel, pp. 9028, 9034
<68> Memorandum from Ed Carnes, Alabama Assistant Attorney General, to
     all Capital Punishment States July 20,1990 (hereafter cited as
     Carnes); Shapiro "Truth Prevails" pp.  17 and 21; Newsweek, Oct.
     22, 1990, p.  64; Swampscott Journal, Nov.  1, 1990.
<69> Associated Press, Oct. 24, 1990. 
<70> Carnes, Op.Cit., 2
<71> Shapiro, "Truth Prevails", p.22.

                            Work Cited

Lipstadt, Deborah. Denying The Holocaust. New York: Macmillan, 1993.
Toronto: Maxwell MacMillan Canada. ISBN: 0-02-919235-8

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