LIES OF OUR TIMES
by Jeffrey Shallit
How the Words of the Holocaust Deniers and Their Allies
Show Them For What They Are
Canada has a long tradition of tolerance and multiculturalism. That’s
why many residents of the K-W area were shocked and saddened to learn
that a stereo store on King Street in Kitchener was displaying posters
advertising a talk by David Irving, a self-described historian who
says that the estimates of six million Jews killed by the Nazis during
World War II are greatly exaggerated. Inside the store, according to
the K-W Record, one can find for sale a book by Fred Leuchter
that claims that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were never used
for mass killing.
After local protests, the store owner retaliated by putting up posters
about the banking system based on the writings of anti-Semite Eustace
Mullins. Subsequently, these posters were taken down by the store
owner, but one explicitly anti-Semitic flyer still remains.
The Kitchener-Waterloo Record recently carried a letter to the editor
by Paul Fromm, director of “Canadian Association for Free Expression,
Inc.”. This letter defended neo-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel, saying,
“Zundel was dragged through the courts for nine years … MERELY for
his UNPOPULAR views.” [emphasis mine]
Who are Michael Rothe, David Irving, Fred Leuchter, Eustace Mullins,
and Paul Fromm, and what do they stand for?
2. Michael Rothe
Michael Rothe is the owner of European Sound Imports, at 109 King
Street W. in Kitchener. According to the K-W Record, he is a native of
southern Germany, who came to Canada eight years ago. His stereo store
might appear harmless on the outside, but on the inside, one can obtain
anti-Semitic propaganda from a variety of sources. According to the
Record, in addition to the book by Fred Leuchter mentioned above,
one can also purchase a booklet
on the court battles of pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel.
Rothe also believes that the Holocaust has been greatly exaggerated, and
that there is a world-wide Jewish conspiracy behind it. “They want
money. When they have money they have power,” he has been quoted as
saying. Although Rothe has
claimed, “I have not seen a neo-Nazi before,” according to the
Record, he attended a recent “victory party” for Ernst Zundel, and Zundel was
recently sighted at his store.
When I asked Rothe if he knew what Irving would speak on, he claimed,
“Irving comes to speak on Germany … only Germany.” When I pointed out
that this was false, that Irving actually spends a significant portion
of his speeches discussing how the Holocaust is a hoax, he repeated,
“No, that is wrong — Irving only speaks about Germany.” However, the
posters Rothe himself has put up belie this claim–they list the
Holocaust as a topic of Irving’s speech.
3. David Irving
David John Cawdell Irving is a British “historian”, born in 1938.
According to David Cesarani of the Wiener Library in London, England,
he attended Imperial College at the University of London, but never
graduated. He holds no academic degree and no academic position at any
university or college. He calls himself a “moderate fascist”, and
claims, among other things that the gas chambers at Auschwitz (in which
an estimated 2–3 million people died) were “built by the Poles after
the war as a tourist attraction.” (For this remark, he was fined DM
10,000 by a Munich court in May 1992. The judge was quoted as saying
that the gas chambers of Auschwitz were “an historically certain
Irving denies being a “Holocaust denier” or “Hitler apologist”, and
seems willing to resort to legal action if necessary.
In a recent fax printed in the K-W Record, he is reported as
saying, “I have warned 22 British newspapers that I shall not
hesitate to commence libel action if they use smear phrases such
like ‘Hitler apologist’ or ‘Holocaust denier’ to embellish their
writings.” But Bernard Levin, writing in the Times of London in
May of this year, quoted Irving as saying, “I hope the court will fight
a battle for the German people and put an end to the blood lie of
the Holocaust which has been told against this country for 50 years.”
Irving first entered the headlines in 1970. In July of that year, he
was forced to apologize in the High Court of London for “making a
wholly untrue and highly damaging statement about a woman writer.” — not
an auspicious start for someone who claims to be in pursuit of the
truth. Later that year, Irving was back in the headlines, concerning
publication of his book, “The Destruction of Convoy PQ17”. Ostensibly
an expose of an ill-fated 1942 Arctic convoy headed for the Soviet
Union during World War II, it eventually resulted in Irving being fined
40,000 British pounds for libel. Irving’s book faulted Captain John
Broome, commander of the convoy at the time, saying he was guilty of
“downright disobedience” and “downright desertion of the convoy.”
Broome brought suit against Irving for false statements, and won a
judgment in August of 1970. Irving’s lawyers appealed, and lost in
March, 1971. The case is revealing because of what it says about
Irving’s abilities as a historian and his motives as an author.
According to the Times of London, Irving showed a copy of the
manuscript to Broome before publication. Broome objected to the
accuracy of some thirty passages in the book, and threatened to sue for
libel if Irving did not make changes. At that point, William Kimbers
Ltd., Irving’s publisher, notified him that they would not publish the
book as it was then written. Later, Irving published the book with
The court found that Irving “was warned from most responsible quarters
that his book contained libels on Captain Broome… To make [the book]
a success he was ready to risk libel actions… Documentary evidence
…. showed that [Irving] had deliberately set out to attack Captain
Broome and in spite of the most explicit warnings persisted in his
attack because it would help sell the book.” The court labeled
Irving’s conduct as “outrageous and shocking.”
Irving’s misrepresentations did not end with the publication of his book.
According to Cesarani, in 1979, a German publisher had to pay
compensation to the father of Anne Frank after printing the German
edition of Irving’s book, Hitler’s War. Irving had claimed that Anne
Frank’s diary was a forgery.
Irving claims that according to his “research”, the Holocaust is
greatly exaggerated. (He was recently quoted in the K-W Record as
saying that the number of Jews who died in concentration camps
was “of the order of 100,000 or more.”) But during the 1988 trial
of pro-Nazi publisher Ernst Zundel, he was forced to admit under
cross-examination that he hadn’t
even read all of Eichmann’s 1960 trial testimony. (In this testimony,
Eichmann admitted that Nazi leaders discussed the so-called “Final
Solution to the Jewish problem”– extermination, in 1942.)
In November 1991, a reporter from the Independent showed that Irving
omitted crucial lines from a translation of Goebbels’ diaries — lines
that would have contradicted his theory that Hitler knew nothing about
the extermination of the Jews.
Irving’s record is clear: he is not an historian, and he has
made false statements and been forced to apologize for them.
As Andrew Cohen, reporter for the
Financial Post, has said, “David Irving should be denied credibility.”
4. Eustace Mullins
According to analyst Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates,
Mullins is quite simply, “the most vicious anti-Semite on the face of
Eustace Clarence Mullins, born in 1923, is the author of a biography of
Ezra Pound (a copy exists in the University of Waterloo library). But
he is also the author of numerous truly bizarre tracts published by
small Christian publishers. Some of these, like the excerpt recently
posted and then removed by Kitchener store owner Rothe, are critiques
of the banking system. Berlet says, “Mullins masks his anti-Semitism
with a critique of the [U. S.] Federal Reserve System.”
In a 1952 book, Mullins wrote a book blaming Paul Warburg, Bernard
Baruch, and other U. S. Jews for drowning Americans in debt.
According to Mullins, The Federal Reserve Act of 1913
put the nation’s banking reserves in the hands of the “Jewish
International Bankers” for the purpose of carrying out a plan for world
In a 1955 article entitled, “Jews mass poison American children”,
Mullins claimed that the polio vaccine, invented by Jonas Salk, was a
poison because it contains live polio germs. Other books depict Jews
as parasites, living off their gentile hosts. In what has to be one of
the most bizarre of Mullins’ beliefs, it has been reported by
L. J. Davis that Mullins has claimed that the phrase
“Have a nice day” is a code for Jews to begin killing Christians.
Mullins’ writings have been adopted wholesale by violent extremists in
the US, such as the Posse Comitatus. Should we not be more than a
little worried to see those writings appearing in the window of a store
5. Fred Leuchter
Rothe sells the “Leuchter report” in his store, a book purporting to be
an engineer’s refutation of the existence of gas chambers in Poland.
(David Irving also uses Leuchter’s report to support his claims.)
What Rothe will not tell you, however, is that Fred Leuchter is not an
engineer. Rothe also won’t tell you that, according to the Boston
Globe, Leuchter admitted to
illegally collecting 20 pounds of building and soil samples in Poland,
and that Leuchter’s “analysis” has been thoroughly rebutted in a
report by French pharmacist Jean-Claude Pressac. Pressac “noted that
Leuchter never looked at documents in the Auschwitz Museum, and failed
to study German blueprints of the gas chambers.”
Leuchter is a self-described expert in the construction of execution
machines. With his false credentials, he convinced authorities in
several states in the U. S. to let him construct execution machinery
for their prisons. But in 1990, according to the New York Times,
his misrepresentations began to unravel.
The Attorney General of Alabama questioned his expertise. Illinois
terminated his contract after determining that his machine for
injecting cyanide would cause prisoners unnecessary pain.
Then, in October 1990, Leuchter was charged with fraud in
Massachusetts. It was revealed that he had only a bachelor’s degree in
history, and was not licensed to practice engineering in
Massachusetts. In June 1991, to avoid a trial in which he would surely
have been convicted, Leuchter admitted that, “I am not and have never been
registered as a professional engineer”, and that he had falsely
represented himself as one. Under the consent agreement, Leuchter
agreed to stop “using in any manner whatsoever the title ‘engineer'”,
and to stop distribution of the Leuchter report. Despite the
agreement, one can still obtain copies of the report from Rothe’s store
According to the Boston Globe,
Leuchter was deported from Britain in 1991. Leonard Zakim, a
spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai Brith, said,
“Leuchter’s admissions of lying to promote his business in violation of
Massachusetts law should serve to discredit Leuchter wherever he
6. Paul Fromm
Paul Fromm claims to be the director of a group called “Canadian
Association of Free Expression”. While the name sounds innocuous, the
truth is darker.
According to investigative journalist Russ Bellant, Fromm helped found
the Canadian neo-Nazi organization Western Guard. In a 1983 interview
with a Toronto Star reporter, Fromm was caught dissembling.
He said he “never
had any connection” with the Western Guard, but the Star account
revealed that Fromm himself had had a letter published in the Star in
February 1973 that stated “… in May, 1972, many members, myself
included, left the Western Guard…”. Asked to explain the
discrepancy, Fromm said in a Star interview that it was
“a matter of semantics”.
In Julian Sher’s 1983 account of the Ku Klux Klan, Fromm is reported as
saying that belief of a supreme race “is a good idea.” Remarks like
this caused him to be kicked out of the federal Progressive
In September 1991, the Star reported that Fromm was ejected from a
Toronto meeting on race relations after he blurted out, “Scalp them,”
while a native Canadian was speaking.
In April 1992, the Star reported on Fromm’s 1990 speech before the
Heritage Front, a neo-Nazi organization advocating white supremacy.
According to the Star, Fromm told the neo-Nazi group, “We’re all on the
same side.” Fromm later claimed in a Star article that he hadn’t known
about the Heritage Front’s neo-Nazi views. But Bernie Farber of the
Canadian Jewish Congress disputes this. “He had to know,” Farber
said. “There was a Nazi flag with swastikas, about 10 feet long and 5
feet tall, just to his right. Furthermore, just a few months after the
Star article came out, Fromm spoke again before the same group.”
Although the holocaust “revisionists” and their defenders claim to be
in pursuit of the truth, the record says otherwise.
Although some claim to be advocates of free speech, their real goal
is a regime that would deny free speech, and more, to Jews and other
It is easy to dismiss Rothe, Irving, Leuchter, Mullins, and Fromm as kooks.
But according to statistics compiled by the League for Human Rights of
B’nai Brith, anti-Semitism in Canada is at its highest level in a
decade. There were 251 reported incidents of harassment and vandalism
against Jews in Canada in 1991, up 42% from two years earlier.
The reader may feel that anti-Semitism is only a distant threat. But
consider this: many of the sources I sought in preparing this article
are listed as “missing” in our University library. Some articles had
been ripped out of magazines. Others books, though still on the
shelves, I found to contain anti-Semitic or pro-Nazi graffiti.
To repeat a saying attributed to Edmund Burke, “The only thing
necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
For Further Reading:
Julian Sher, “White Hoods: Canada’s Ku Klux Klan”, New Star Books,
James Ridgeway, “Blood in the Face”, Thunder’s Mouth Press, New York,
Russ Bellant, “Old Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party”,
South End Press, Boston, 1991.
Steve Mertl and John Ward, “Keegstra: The Trial, The Issues, and The
Consequences”, Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, 1985.
James Coates, “Armed and Dangerous: The Rise of the Survivalist
Right”, Hill and Wang, New York, 1987.
About the author.
Jeffrey Shallit, who is not Jewish, is associate professor in the
computer science department at the University of Waterloo.
[David Irving’s reply to this report is available on the CODOH web site,
-Jamie McCarthy, 18 Aug 1996]