The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

The Lachout Document
Anatomy of a Forgery

Austrian Resistance Archives, 1990

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 Zündel, 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."[15]

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 original plaintext version of this file is available via ftp.

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