Publication of the Lachout “Document” & Its Neo-Nazi Supporters
The so-called Lachout “document”, Memorandum Nr. 31/48, supposedly circulated by the “Militärpolizeilicher 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 “Mauthasünbetrug 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 have reached the newspaper through Lachout himself.
The publisher of Halt, Gerd Honsik, recently published a book titled, “Freispruch für 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 Zündel), Lachout also testified at Zündel’s trial in Toronto, Canada on Zündel’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 Zündel calls him, and the West German Udo Walendy. Another “historian” who testified for Zündel was the British David Irving, a frequent guest of radical-right and neo-Nazi circles in Austria and the Federal Republic of Germany.
Zündel‘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 Wilhelm Stäglich, 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 Rassinier, 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 Auschwitz which for them is geographically far, far away…