The Holocaust Historiography Project

Editor's Introduction

This book began in the fall of 1987 as a series of witness evidence summaries to be used in the then rapidly approaching second Zündel trial (which commenced on January 18, 1988). Evidence from the second trial was later summarized for use in preparation of the appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1989. The project expanded considerably in 1990 when Ernst Zündel asked me to put the summaries in a form which could be published as a record of the evidence presented in the 1988 trial. This book is the result.

Most of the considerable testimony given at the trial over a period of three months has been condensed into summaries for the reader. The testimonies of important historians, however, have been included almost in their entirety. These historians are Raul Hilberg and Christopher Browning for the prosecution and Robert Faurisson and David Irving for the defence. Every attempt has been made to ensure the accuracy of direct quotes from the transcript and the accuracy of reproductions of exhibits referred to in the trial. It should be noted that the questions and comments made by defence attorney Douglas Christie, Crown Attorney John Pearson and Judge Ron Thomas are not direct quotes unless indicated by quotation marks.

My own involvement in the Zündel case began in early 1985 when I worked part time in the County Courthouse library in Toronto at the time of the first trial. I attended the proceedings during my free mornings and was shocked by what I saw. There can be nothing more disgusting than watching a man being forced to justify his writings, his beliefs and his opinions before a criminal tribunal in a supposedly civilized and "free" country.

Zündel was being portrayed in the media as a man of hatred; but the man I saw in the courtroom was calm and always gracious to everyone he dealt with. When he testified, he did not repudiate his belief in Germans or Germany or Adolf Hitler. He expressed clearly his admiration for their accomplishments and his disbelief that they had committed what is known as the "Holocaust". Perhaps I had never really known what it meant to be courageous before that trial; but I knew what it meant after I watched Ernst Zündel testify to his true beliefs notwithstanding his knowledge that the voicing of those beliefs would almost certainly seal his conviction.

And everyday as I watched defence attorney Douglas Christie, his legal assistant Keltie Zubko and the various defence witnesses make their way through crowds of hostile Jews, some of whom spat on them, as I watched them being savaged by a hysterical media, as I experienced the lynch-mob atmosphere of that trial day after day, I learned again and again what real courage was and what real dedication to the principles of a free society meant. It affected me profoundly. When the second Zündel trial began in 1988, it was no accident that I had also become part of the defence team.

While Jewish organizations and the mass media expressed satisfaction that Zündel had been convicted, many ordinary people in Canada were shocked at the implications of the trial for freedom of speech and thought. In a letter to the Toronto Sun, Lynda Mortl of Toronto wrote:

Why are we Canadians allowing a certain pressure group to act as censors for us? And worse, to have a member of society brought to trial, probably jailed, and/or deported for saying something we will not even be allowed to read. The more I think about the implications of this trial, the more angry and frightened I become. I am one Canadian who does not want Sabina Citron, Alan Shefman or Julian Sher to decide what I will read or what I will call the truth.

Indeed, the purpose of the prosecution of Ernst Zündel was to make sure that ordinary Canadians would not have access to the type of information contained in Did Six Million Really Die?. Even today, Canadians do not realize how far the original "Holocaust" story has disintegrated in the face of ongoing historical research and forensic studies of the alleged Auschwitz execution gas chambers. The tight control of information in this regard is a wonder to behold to those of us involved in this case. Canadians who believe they enjoy a "free" press in North America are sadly mistaken. There is never any attempt in the mass media to analyse why more and more people no longer believe in the "Holocaust"; there is no transferal of any basic information to the average reader to let them decide for themselves whether there is anything to what the revisionists say or whether it is hogwash. Instead, Zündel and anyone else who questions Holocaust claims are simply branded as "evil" and "hatemongers".

This book ensures that both sides of this ethnic dispute are at least available to the general reader. The record of the 1988 trial is unique in that the major historians on both sides of the issue testified and were cross-examined relentlessly on their research methods, bias, sources and findings. It records the only instance where Holocaust historians have been forced to defend their assertion that the Jews of Europe were exterminated (mainly in gas chambers) by the Nazi government during World War II. For the reader it is a rare opportunity to see how in fact history is written, how indeed history has become the tool of politics.

British historian David Irving testified that it is the reader who decides what constitutes a "historical fact"; it is the reader who decides what has been proven to happen in history and what has not. I therefore invite the reader to read the evidence of one of the most significant trials of our century and with respect to the story of what really happened to the Jews of Europe during World War II, to decide for himself.

Barbara Kulaszka
August 1992

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