A court in Switzerland has punished 47-year-old teacher Jürgen Graf and 78-year-old retired engineer Gerhard Förster with fines and prison terms for writing or publishing allegedly anti-Jewish books.
A district court in the northern Swiss town of Baden on July 21 sentenced Graf, a leading Holocaust revisionist, to 15 months imprisonment for writing several dissident works on the wartime treatment of Europe's Jews, and Förster to 12 months in prison for publishing several allegedly anti-Jewish books, including two by Graf. In addition, each was fined 8,000 Swiss francs ($5,500). The court also ordered the two Swiss citizens to turn over 55,000 francs (about $38,000) earned from book sales, with Förster to pay 45,000 and Graf 10,000.
Graf must also pay 1,000 francs to a Basel theology professor as compensation or atonement for having mailed him a copy of one of his books with an allegedly offensive inscription. The court also ordered the confiscation and destruction of a long list of books and booklets. As a consequence of his conviction and sentencing, Graf was fired in early August from his position as a teacher at a private school.
With the verdict now on appeal, Graf and Förster are still free men. It's unlikely that the appeals court will consider the case before January 1999, and even if it upholds the verdict, the case may still go to Switzerland's highest court (Bundesgericht).
The Graf/Förster case is by far the most important so far on the basis of Switzerland's new “Anti-Racism Law,” which came into effect on January 1, 1995. During the one-day trial, held on July 16, Graf eloquently defended his skeptical views on the Holocaust story. Similarly, each of the two defense attorneys ably represented his client with vigor, skill and intelligence.
The Baden court found that Graf had violated the law as the author of four books, Der Holocaust auf dem Prüfstand ("The Holocaust on the Test Stand"), Der Holocaust Schwindel ("The Holocaust Swindle"), Auschwitz: Tätergeständnisse und Augenzeugen des Holocaust ("Auschwitz: Confessions and Witnesses of the Holocaust"), and Todesursache Zeitgeschichtsforschung ("Cause of Death: Contemporary History Research"), as well as a booklet, Das Rotbuch: Vom Untergang der Schweizerischen Freiheit ("The Red Book: On the Decline of Swiss Freedom").
Graf was further found guilty of having mailed computer diskettes containing several of his “racist” texts to Ahmed Rami in Sweden and to Ernst Zündel in Canada, who then posted them on the Internet.
Förster was found guilty of having published allegedly anti-Jewish writings by Graf and two other authors.
In explaining the court's severe punishment, Presiding Judge Andrea Staubli cited the defendants' “remarkable criminal energy,” and said that their lack of remorse contributed to the decision not to hand down suspended sentences. The five members of the court, three women and two men, were unanimous in their verdict.
Judge Andrea Staubli rejected defendants' arguments that the “criminal” books were scholarly: she characterized them as cynical and inhuman. The court also rejected the argument that Graf should not be punished for at least one of the “offending” books because it was written before January 1, 1995, when the law under which they were being tried came into effect.
As the trial began at eight o'clock on the morning of July 16, all 60 seats in the court room were already occupied, mostly by supporters of Graf and Förster. Some of the sympathizers had traveled from French-speaking western Switzerland, and even from outside the country.
Graf's court-appointed defense attorney, Dr. Urs Oswald, lost no time in calling on the court to quash the case because law under which the defendants had been brought to trial violated the European Human Rights Convention. Even the defense attorneys in this case, he pointed out, risked being punished if they try to show to the court that their clients' views are based on fact. As expected, the court rejected Oswald's motion.
He then asked the court to permit testimony on behalf of the defendants by two witnesses: well-known French revisionist scholar Dr. Robert Faurisson, and Austrian engineer Wolfgang Fröhlich. The court rejected Dr. Faurisson (perhaps because the court and the prosecutor were familiar with him), but agreed to permit Fröhlich to testify (perhaps because they were not familiar with him).
In his brief introductory remarks to the court, Wolfgang Fröhlich noted that his special fields of expertise are process engineering and gas applications. He told the court that he has carried out numerous gassings to exterminate pests and infectious microbes.
Presiding Judge Staubli warned Fröhlich that any false testimony would be punished with imprisonment. She then asked the engineer if, in his opinion, Graf's books were scholarly in character. Fröhlich replied that he is not able to judge their scholarship as works of history, because he is not a historian. However, with respect to their treatments of technical aspects of the alleged mass exterminations, he affirmed that Graf's statements are absolutely sound.
At this point, public prosecutor Aufdenblatten asked the presiding judge to once again remind Fröhlich of his obligation to provide truthful testimony. She did so, and thereafter the following exchange took place (as recorded verbatim by persons attending the trial):
Aufdenblatten: “In your opinion were mass gassings with Zyklon B technically possible?”
Aufdenblatten: “Why not?”
Fröhlich: “The pesticide Zyklon B is hydrocyanic acid absorbed in a granular-shaped carrier substance. It is released through contact with the air. The evaporation point of hydrocyanic acid is 25.7 degrees [Celsius]. The higher the temperature, the more rapid is the rate of evaporation. The delousing chambers in which Zyklon B was used in NS [German wartime] camps and elsewhere were heated to 30 degrees and higher, so that the hydrocyanic acid would be released rapidly from the carrier granules. However, in the half-underground mortuaries of the Auschwitz-Birkenau crematories, where witnesses claim that mass killings with Zyklon B took place, the temperatures were very much lower. Even if one allows for the warming of the spaces by the body warmth of the hypothetical prisoners, the temperature would not have been more than 15 degrees, even in summer time. Consequently, it would have taken many hours for the hydrocyanic acid to evaporate.
"According to eyewitness reports, the victims died very quickly. The witnesses mention time frames of 'instantaneous' to '15 minutes.' To be able to kill the gas chamber prisoners in such a short time, the Germans would have had to use ridiculously large amounts of Zyklon — I estimate from 40 to 50 kilograms for each gassing. This would have made any work in the gas chamber fundamentally impossible. The special detachment [Sonderkommando] people, whom the witnesses say were assigned the task of clearing out [dead bodies] from them [the gas chambers], would have collapsed immediately upon entering the rooms, even if they were wearing gas masks. Enormous amounts of hydrocyanic acid would have streamed out into the open, and would have poisoned the entire camp.”
Fröhlich's statement, which was greeted with applause by many of those in the court room, is entirely in keeping with findings of other specialists. His testimony strengthens and corroborates the investigations and declarations of such specialists as American gas chamber expert Fred Leuchter, Austrian engineer Walter Lüftl, American research chemist William B. Lindsay, German chemist Germar Rudolf, and German engineer Wolfgang Schuster. (See the Winter 1992-93 Journal, esp. pp. 391-420, 427, 428.)
Immediately following Fröhlich's statement, public prosecutor Aufdenblatten said: “I hereby ask the court to bring charges against you for racial discrimination, on the basis of Article 261 [the Anti-Racism Law] or otherwise I'll do it myself.”
At this point Förster's defense attorney, Jürg Stehrenberger, arose to inform the court that in view of this intolerable intimidation of the witness, he would withdraw from the case. Together with Graf's attorney, he left the courtroom for several minutes. When they returned, the two attorneys expressed their vehement objection to the to the prosecutor's behavior, but announced that they would nevertheless continue their duties as defense attorneys.
In threatening punitive legal action against the witness, the prosecutor not only revealed his lack of regard for truth or justice, but himself committed the punishable offense of attempting to intimidate a witness.
Co-defendant Gerhard Förster, 78 years old, suffers from osteoperosis and other illnesses. He is in such poor health that he had to be brought into the courtroom in a wheel chair. He was born in Silesia, Germany, and served briefly during the Second World War as a private in the regular German army. His father perished, along with some two million others, in the genocidal flight and expulsion of some 12-14 million ethnic Germans from central and eastern Europe, 1944-1946.
Gerhard Förster moved from Germany to Switzerland in 1967, and has been a Swiss citizen for many years. He is a certified electrical engineer who holds several dozen patents. He is a widower.
With an obviously deficient memory, the elderly man easily became confused as he testified, mixed up dates, and was unable to answer some questions clearly. All the same, he did acknowledge to the court his role as business director of the Neue Visionen Verlag (Postfach, 5436 Würenlos, Switzerland), which published three of Graf's allegedly dangerous books.
The contrast between the testimony of Förster and Graf could hardly have been more striking. Unlike Förster, Jürgen Graf was energetic, articulate and unrepentant in defending the views and arguments presented in his books. His testimony, including cross examination, lasted well over two hours.
Although presiding judge Staubli repeatedly asked Graf to speak more slowly or to shorten his responses, she did permit him to present his views and fully develop his arguments. She also kept the proceedings focused on the critical issues at dispute, and away from such extraneous matters as the defendants' political views.
In response to judge Staubli's question as to whether there had actually been a Holocaust or not, Graf said:
"It's a question of definition. If, by 'Holocaust,' you mean a brutal persecution of the Jews, mass deportations to camps, and the deaths of very many Jews by disease, exhaustion and malnutrition, then this is of course a historical fact. But the Greek term 'holocaust' means 'completely burned' or 'fire sacrifice,' and is used by orthodox historians for the alleged mass gassing and incineration of Jews in 'extermination camps.' That is a myth.”
Staubli: “Do you consider yourself a revisionist? What does that expression mean?”
Graf: “Yes, I consider myself a revisionist. In general, the term is applied to historians who subject the official historical account to critical examination. Holocaust revisionism, which is what we are concerned with here, contests three central points: first, the existence of a plan for the physical extermination of the Jews; second, the existence of extermination camps and execution gas chambers; and, third, the figure of five to six million Jewish victims. We cannot know the exact number of victims because the documentation is inadequate. Personally, I estimate probably one million.”
Staubli: “Are you a trained historian?”
Graf: “No. But I draw your attention to the fact that both of the most renowned representatives of orthodox 'Holocaust' literature, the Jews Gerald Reitlinger and Raul Hilberg, likewise are not (or were not) trained historians. Reitlinger was a specialist of art history, and Hilberg is a jurist [actually, a political scientist]. The Frenchman Jean-Claude Pressac, who is praised in the media as one who has discredited revisionism, is a pharmacist. If an art historian, a jurist and a pharmacist has the right to express his views on the Holocaust, certainly a philologist has the same right.”
Staubli: “What is your motive for writing such [revisionist] books?”
Graf: “My main motive is not to defend the German people, even though I like the Germans. My main motive is a love of the truth. I can't stand lying.”
Staubli: “How do you define the term 'scholarship'?”
Graf: “The characteristic feature of scholarship is that all counter arguments are first taken into account and tested before one formulates his own thesis. Revisionists do that.”
Staubli: “Would you characterize your own books as scholarly?”
Graf: “I would divide them into three categories. 'Auschwitz: Confessions and Witnesses of the Holocaust,' as well as the book on Majdanek I wrote together with Mattogno, which will be published soon, are scholarly books. 'The Holocaust Swindle' and 'The Holocaust on the Test Stand' I would call popular-scholarly. In these books, I do not so much present my own findings, but for the most part present the findings of revisionists in general. And, finally, 'Cause of Death: Contemporary History Research' is quite simply a novel, and as such is of course not scholarly.”
Staubli: “What induced you to write your Auschwitz book?”
Graf: “For the alleged mass gassings in Auschwitz there is neither solid evidence nor documentation, only witness testimony. I got the idea to compile, cite, and analyze the most important of these witness accounts …”
Staubli: “Do you consider that witness testimony is not credible?”
Graf: “Yes. Let us assume that three witnesses describe an alleged automobile accident. The first testifies that the car left the road, caught fire, and exploded. The second witness states that the car collided with another oncoming car. The third claims that the car was crossing over a bridge that collapsed, throwing the car into the river. What would you make of that? And what would you think if no auto wreck was to be seen anywhere nearby [the site of the alleged accident], and that there was no river or bridge?
"The eyewitness testimonies of gassings contradict each other on every conceivable point. And when they do agree, they always contain the same impossibilities that rob them of all credibility. For example, many witnesses testify that three bodies were incinerated in a single oven in 15 minutes. In fact, the capacity is one body per oven per hour. The number cited by the witnesses is therefore exaggerated by a factor of twelve …”
Staubli: “In the introduction to your Auschwitz book you write that there is no documentary proof for the extermination of Jews in the camps. Do you stand by this testimony?”
Graf: “Of course. The anti-revisionist French historian Jacques Baynac wrote in [the Swiss newspaper] Nouveau Quotidien of September 3, 1996, that a lack of evidence makes it impossible to prove the existence of the gas chambers. In 1995 Mattogno and I spent nearly two months in two Moscow archives, where we perused 88,000 pages of Auschwitz documents and thousands of pages of documents from other camps. Not one single document provides proof of the gassing of a single Jew. This did not surprise us, because if such documents existed, the Communists would have triumphantly displayed them to the world in 1945. But no, the documents vanished for 46 years and have only been accessible to researchers since 1991. Why?
"The German documents show very clearly what the National Socialist Jewish policy called for. They wanted to get the Jews out of Europe and, during the war, to exploit their labor.”
Staubli: “You write in 'The Holocaust Swindle' that 'after the war the Jews were still there.' What do you mean by that?”
Graf: “I mean that most of the Jews in the area controlled by Germany survived. Rolf Bloch, President of the Holocaust Fund, said in the Handelszeitung of February 4, 1998, that there are still more than a million Holocaust survivors alive today. Any insurance statistician can calculate for you that in the Spring of 1945 there must have been more than three million alive. As Walter Sanning proved in his study The Dissolution [of Eastern European Jewry], published in 1983 and based almost exclusively on Jewish sources, that at the most four million Jews lived in the area under German control at its greatest extent. Of these, as we have shown, more than three million survived. How can anyone arrive at a figure of six million victims?
Staubli: “Can't you imagine that Jews feel offended by your books?”
Graf: “Yes, and many non-Jews as well. The brain-washing has been so thorough that anyone who inadvertently stumbles upon the truth would be completely upset.”
Staubli: “And don't you care if Jews feel offended by your books?”
Graf: “Edgar Bronfman said recently that Switzerland is like a man who has to have his feet held in the fire before he sees reason. Can't you imagine that a Swiss person would feel offended by that? Why is it that only Jewish feelings are taken into account, and never the feelings of non-Jews?”
Staubli: “The Anti-Racism Law was affirmed through a democratic referendum. Shouldn't you respect that?”
Graf: “At the time the people were led to believe that the law serves to protect foreigners against racist violence. In reality it serves exclusively to protect Jews against all criticism. This is irrefutably proven in the booklet Abschied vom Rechtsstaat ('Departure from the State of Law'), to which I contributed two short essays. So far not a single Swiss citizen has been indicted or convicted because he criticized a black man, an Arab, or a Turk. Only persons who have criticized Jews have been indicted and convicted.”
Staubli: “Did the action you depicted in 'Cause of Death: Contemporary History Research,' the discussion in a German secondary school class, really take place?”
Graf: “The action was, of course, invented.”
Staubli: “But in your introduction you represent it as if it actually took place.”
Graf: “That's a familiar old literary ploy. Many authors of novels write that they have discovered an old manuscript or found a message in a bottle.”
Staubli: “In this book the pupil Marietta says that if the Germans had had more Zyklon available, fewer prisoners would have died. Justify that statement!”
Graf: “The main reason for the extremely high mortality in Auschwitz was typhus, which is carried by lice. In late Summer 1942 this pestilence accounted for 403 deaths on a single day. The documents show that the Germans repeatedly requested Zyklon B to eliminate the lice, because the supplies were inadequate. Thus, Marietta's statement is nothing less than a provable historical fact. Incidentally, I bring your attention to the fact that during the war Zyklon B was also delivered to Switzerland, Norway and Finland. Does that mean that Jews were gassed in those countries as well?”
Staubli: “In the booklet [Rotbuch] 'On the Decline of Swiss Freedom' you write that the Holocaust has become a religion for the Jews. Do you want to comment on that?”
Graf: “It is estimated that today one in three Jews no longer believes in God, but they all believe in the gas chambers. Belief in the Holocaust is today the glue that holds the Jews together.”
Staubli: “In the same booklet is the sentence: 'The march toward a police state has begun.' Why do you speak of a march toward a police state?”
Graf: “If a total police state already existed, I would be in jail or dead, and would be unable to speak freely here today. We still are able to protest. If things develop as they are now going, in five years we will no longer have that possibility.”
Graf characterized the legal proceeding against Förster and himself as a “classic political trial.” The defendants are on trial here not because of anything they've done, but rather because of their opinions. The suppression of dissident opinions through the penal code, he said, is the classic feature of a dictatorship.
In his concluding address to the court, public prosecutor Aufdenblatten did not even try to establish a connection between the incriminating passages in the books published by Förster and the wording of Switzerland's Anti-Racism Law. Instead, he resorted to emotion-charged phrases such as “pseudo-scholarly,” “anti-semitic incitement,” and “racist propaganda.” Because Graf is highly intelligent, the prosecutor went on, he is doubly dangerous. Graf was not seeking the truth, but rather consciously distorting it. His writings fanned the flames of anti-Semitism and hatred of foreigners.
Because Graf showed no remorse, and even reaffirmed his revisionist views before the court, the prosecutor said, he is not likely to mend his ways. Therefore the court should not consider handing down a suspended sentence against him. The same is true of Förster, the prosecutor went on, who has been just as unreasonable as Graf. Förster's poor health is no reason to be lenient. If he's too ill to actually serve a prison term, that's something for a physician to decide, not the court.
In his concluding address to the court, Förster's attorney Jürg Stehrenberger spoke quickly and with conviction. He began by emphasizing the special difficulties involved in defending his client in this case, noting that by merely discussing the testimonies of the defendants and the defense witness he runs the risk of himself violating Swiss law.
The Court was not competent to judge what happened 50 years ago, he continued, but only what one writes today. The Anti-Racism Law violates basic constitutional rights, such as the freedom to express one's opinion, freedom of scholarship, and freedom of the press. Moreover, and as even recognized legal specialists have acknowledged, this new law is vaguely or imprecisely worded. And when there is such ambiguity, the court must give the benefit of the doubt to the defendant, and find on his behalf.
The Anti-Racism Law, Stehrenberger continued, specifically states that to violate this law one must “systematically disparage or slander members of a race, ethnic group, or religion.” But no such systematic disparagement is to be found in the books written by Graf or published by Förster.
The Anti-Racism Law specifically refers to “denial” of genocide. However, to deny means to contest against one's better knowledge. Therefore, said Stehrenberger, a person who “denies” genocide out of sincere conviction, even if this conviction is subjective, should not be punished, as even a well-recognized legal specialist has acknowledged.
The law's notion of “flagrant whitewashing” or “gross trivializing” ("gröblich verharmlost") poses additional difficulties, Stehrenberger continued. As an authoritative specialist on the criminal code has commented, human suffering cannot be measured, and therefore the number of victims is essentially irrelevant in determining the crime of genocide. Today, however, anyone who estimates the number of Holocaust victims lower than the commonly accepted Six Million figure is subject to criminal prosecution. There is an inherent contradiction here.
As Stehrenberger noted, anti-revisionist historian Jean-Claude Pressac estimated in the 1994 German edition of his book on “The Crematories of Auschwitz” that the total number of Jewish victims at Auschwitz was between 630,000 and 710,000. (See R. Faurisson's commentary in the Jan.-Feb. 1995 Journal, p. 24.) On this basis, even a prominent anti-revisionist such as Pressac could conceivably be prosecuted under Swiss law for “whitewashing” genocide.
Because of the highly-publicized campaign currently being carried out by Jewish organizations against Switzerland and Swiss banks, Stehrenberger further noted, there is considerable public interest in determining just what Swiss officials knew, and did not know, during the Second World War about the fate of the Jews under German control.
In this regard, he spoke of the inspection visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp by Rossel and other delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on September 29, 1944. How does one explain, he asked, that in their report on this visit, the ICRC delegation stated that they found no confirmation of the rumors of human gassings, and that the prisoners questioned did not mention them? (See Documents relating to the work of the International Committee of the Red Cross for the benefit of civilian detainees in German Concentration Camps between 1939 and 1945 [Geneva: ICRC, 1975], pp. 76-77. French-language ed., Geneva, June 1946, p. 92.)
No one, Stehrenberger pointed out, not even the public prosecutor, has ever claimed that Graf either falsely cited or translated any of the eyewitness testimonies dealt with in his “Auschwitz: Confessions” book. Furthermore, he pointed out, in October 1994 Förster specifically provided the Swiss Federal Prosecutor's Office with a copy of this book. It is simply incomprehensible, Stehrenberger went on, that if this book was really “criminal,” this agency did not react to it, in spite of numerous queries, and six months later declared itself unable to determine if this book is legal or not. In any case, this shows that the Federal Prosecutor's office itself, at least initially, did not regard this book as violating the law.
Stehrenberger went on note that the public prosecutor had dismissed Graf's book out of hand, and without good reason, as “pseudo-scholarly.” This is simply unacceptable. In the case of Graf's fictional work, “Cause of Death,” the imaginary school class referred to numerous historical works, with the sources always clearly cited. To have included such source references in a fictional literary work on a topic of contemporary history is not offensive.
Stehrenberger also told the court that his client has already been tried and found guilty by the media. During the Second World War Gerhard Förster served for just six weeks on the front as a Wehrmacht private, but the Swiss press promoted him to the rank of SS officer, and repeatedly castigated him as a “Nazi.” Because of his German origin, he was considered free game for bigoted “anti-racists.”
Stehrenberger concluded by asking the court to exonerate and acquit his client.
In his concluding address to the court, Graf's attorney spoke for more than an hour. Dr. Oswald repeatedly assailed the public prosecutor's arguments, and rejected the indictment as carelessly drawn up and completely indefensible.
For one thing, said Oswald, the books by Graf that were written before the Anti-Racism Law came into effect on January 1, 1995, should never have been the subject of an indictment at all. For this reason he hadn't even bothered to deal with the contents of these writings. Graf's “Auschwitz” book, for example, was indisputably written in May 1994 and published in August of the same year. To prosecute someone for books that were written before the law under which he is indicted even came into effect is a violation of the ancient legal principle of Nulla poena sine lege, “without a law, no crime.” (This principle is also expressed in the American constitutional prohibition against “ex post facto” laws.)
Neither the prosecutor nor anyone else has ever claimed that Graf himself had marketed his “Auschwitz” book. The prosecutor's argument that Graf was liable because he had not forbidden the book's distribution after January 1, 1995, but had expressly agreed to its further distribution, is pathetic and violates basic legal norms.
Even the fact that Graf had continued to sell his two earliest books after the Anti-Racism Law went into effect is not punishable because he had not violated the law's stricture against “public” distribution. Graf had not advertised his books, nor had he distributed them to libraries, where they would have been available to the general public, but rather had sent them only to persons who had specifically ordered them. How, therefore, can anyone speak of the “public” in this case? According to prevailing legal norms, even a closed circle of friends is not considered the general “public,” much less a few individuals.
While it is true that Graf's booklet, “On the Decline of Swiss Freedom,” was written after the Anti-Racism Law came into effect, the allegedly incriminating passages in this work were taken from his “Auschwitz” book, and were cited by him there in response to critics.
Oswald acknowledged that Graf had sent diskettes containing his revisionist writings to Ahmed Rami in Sweden and Ernst Zündel in Canada, who then posted the texts on the Internet. But this is also not a crime, because the “scene of the crime” in this case was not in Switzerland. Graf's texts have been posted on the Internet in Canada, the United States, and Sweden, where there are no laws against revisionism.
Because any Internet text can be called up in any country, to be consistent with the prosecutor's view of the world every text posted on the Internet would have to conform to the laws of every country in the world. Anyway, Oswald told the court, the provider and not the author should be held legally responsible for deciding which of the texts to post that he may have received.
Graf's motive, Oswald went on, has not been to disparage Jews, but rather to pursue the truth. The prosecuting attorney claims the opposite, without however providing any proof. He made no effort whatsoever to substantiate his accusation of “pseudo-scholarship.”
For all these reasons, Oswald summed up, Graf should be acquitted on all counts.
Dr. Oswald's concluding address was received with warm appreciation by the courtroom's sympathetic majority, just as the concluding statement by Förster's attorney had been.
Presiding Judge Staubli offered defendant Graf ten minutes in which to make a final statement, on condition that he limit himself to discussing issues of the trial itself. After agreeing to this, Graf said the following:
Honorable Madame Presiding Judge, distinguished members of the Court, ladies and gentlemen:
First, permit me two preliminary remarks. I want to thank you, Madame Presiding Judge, for the fair manner and way you have conducted this trial. You've permitted me to speak without hindrance and to defend my theses, and for that I am grateful. I [also] thank my attorney Dr. Oswald for his outstanding [final] address …
This morning an eminently qualified engineer — a specialist in constructing gas chambers for pest control and for exterminating microbes — testified as a witness for the defense. Wolfgang Fröhlich was explicitly instructed on his duty to testify truthfully, and he acknowledged this responsibility. Public prosecutor Aufdenblatten asked him if mass killings of human beings by means of Zyklon B in gas chambers, as has been described by witnesses, were possible, and if not, why not. On the basis of his profound technical knowledge, and faithful to his duty to provide truthful testimony, Fröhlich answered “no” to the question, and he then substantiated his response.
And how did the public prosecutor respond? He proposed criminal charges against him. That, ladies and gentlemen, is pure Stalinism! I know that this is a serious accusation, but I stand by it. As much as you, Madame Presiding Judge, have striven for a fair trial, the public prosecutor has not.
Permit me to say a few words about myself, although I don't like to focus attention on myself. I have knowingly exchanged a secure and well paid position in a state school for an uncertain future. From the outset, I've anticipated facing a trial. I'm surprised that it's taken this long. And then the public prosecutor presumes to read my mind, claiming that I don't really seek the truth, but rather lies. Do you believe that anyone would willingly risk ruining his career for an obvious lie?
We revisionists try hard to get as close to the historical truth as we can. We like nothing more than to have our mistakes pointed out to us. Indeed, there are some mistakes in my books. But do you know who brought them to my attention? Other revisionists! From the other side the only reactions have been insults, smears, threats, legal actions, and trials.
Their absolute helplessness in the face of revisionist arguments was just as glaringly obvious in the statements of the public prosecutor… Not a single argument, but rather only phrases such as “pseudo-scholarship,” “anti-Semitism,” “racist incitement,” and so forth.
[Jewish community leader] Sigi Feigel and his people want to put Förster and me behind bars, and to ban our books. I don't want Sigi Feigel locked up, and if he should manage one day to write a book, I wouldn't want it banned. I invite Mr. Feigel … or any other representative of the official Holocaust school, to a factual, non-polemical, open discussion of this issue on radio or television. The two major topics of this discussion would be the question of the existence of gas chambers and the number of Jewish victims of National Socialist policies.
As far back as any human being can remember, no Swiss man or women has been imprisoned for the non-violent expression of his or her opinion. The last such case was early in the last century. Do you, ladies and gentlemen of the court, at the dawn of the 21st century, want to break this tradition? And if you insist on jailing one of us, then please lock me up and not Mr. Förster, who is deathly ill!
You would not shame me by imprisoning me. By doing so, you would shame our country, Switzerland. A Switzerland in which freedom of expression is being abolished, a Switzerland in which a minority of 0.6 percent of the population is permitted to decide who reads, writes, says or thinks what, is dead.
I would like to close my comments by citing my friend in western Switzerland, Gaston-Armand Amaudruz, against whom a trial is being prepared in Lausanne that is similar to the one here today against Förster and me. In issue number 371 of his Courrier du Continent newsletter, Amaudruz writes: “As once in early historical times, it is sign of weakness to try to impose a dogma by force. The exterminationists may win trials through laws that muzzle freedom of speech. But they will lose the final trial before the court of future generations.
Jürgen Graf says that he was not surprised by the court's harsh verdict. Last year, in fact, he had predicted that he and Förster would be found guilty and sentenced.
As one of the most internationally prominent revisionist scholars, Graf has been targeted by Jewish organizations for several years now as a particularly notorious “Holocaust denier.” In March 1993, following the publication of his 112-page book, “The Holocaust on the Test Stand,” he was summarily dismissed from his post as a secondary school teacher of Latin and French. (See “Swiss Teacher Suspended for Holocaust Book,” Sept.-Oct. 1993 Journal, pp. 36-37.)
Graf, born in 1951, is a meticulous scholar and researcher with an impressive command of languages, including Russian, modern Greek, Mandarin Chinese, and the Scandinavian languages. He makes his home near Basel.
His “Holocaust on the Test Stand” book has appeared in French, Spanish, Dutch, Bulgarian, Italian and Arabic editions. In December 1994 the French-language edition, L'Holocauste au scanner, was banned in France by order of the country's Interior Ministry. Some 200,000 copies of an expanded edition of this work have been published and distributed in Russia under the title “The Myth of the Holocaust.” (See “A Major Revisionist Breakthrough in Russia,” July-August 1997 Journal, pp. 36-37.)
Through the Internet “world wide web,” a number of Graf's writings are accessible to millions around the world.
Graf has worked together with other revisionist scholars, including Robert Faurisson and Carlo Mattogno. Graf and Mattogno have made four research visits together to Russia, eastern Europe and the Netherlands, including detailed investigation of documents in Moscow archives. (See the report in the Nov.-Dec. 1995 Journal, pp. 36-37.)
Graf spoke at the Twelfth Conference of the Institute for Historical Review Conference, held in southern California in September 1994. (An adaptation of his address was published in the Nov.-Dec. 1995 Journal, pp. 2-11.) He is also a member of this Journal's Editorial Advisory Committee. (See the May-June 1997 Journal, p. 20)
One journalist who closely followed the Graf/Förster trial and who is familiar with the Middle East expressed the view that the Swiss court had conducted itself much like an Israeli military tribunal judging Palestinians. The prison sentences imposed against Graf and Förster are all the more shameful and ominous because they were handed down in a country with a traditionally high regard for freedom. Commenting on the severity of the sentences, one American writer quipped: “It's lucky that Switzerland is a country with freedom of speech. Imagine how harsh the sentences would be if it wasn't.”
Tellingly, no influential American newspaper or magazine has expressed even a word of criticism of the Graf/Förster verdicts or, for that matter, of any of the numerous legal persecutions of revisionists in western Europe. Perhaps this silence betrays embarrassment over the obvious injustice of this assault against free speech and freedom of research.
In a front-page commentary on the Graf/Förster case that reflects “official” opinion the Alpine confederation these days, the daily Tages-Anzeiger (July 22) warned that the defendants are not as harmless as they appear. In an effort to justify the verdicts, the large-circulation Swiss paper went on to tell readers:
Holocaust deniers, with their unspeakable theories, injure the human dignity of the Jews, the memory of the victims, and their history… Their goal is to stir up hatred against the Jews, and their hidden motive is to whitewash the National Socialists and make their dangerous ideology once again acceptable.
One might just as easily argue, and with greater justification, something like the following:
Jewish-Zionist apologists, with their unspeakable theories, injure the human dignity of non-Jews, and especially Palestinians and Germans, the memory of Israel's victims, and their history … Their goal is to promote an arrogant contempt for non-Jews, and their hidden motive is to whitewash the Zionists and make their dangerous ideology acceptable.
The plain reality is that in Western society today, Jewish interests and sensitivities are treated, both legally and socially, as more important than those of any other group. This special, superior status is codified in Switzerland's Anti-Racism Law, in similar laws in other European countries, and in the United States' “special relationship” with Israel.
The legal persecution of “Holocaust deniers,” as well as the intense, and enormously successful, international Jewish campaign of pressure and blackmail to squeeze money from Switzerland and others countries for their supposed transgressions during the Second World War, clearly reflect immense Jewish power and influence.
The Graf/Förster case, and the legal persecution of “Holocaust deniers” in western Europe generally, point up the important quasi-religious role that the Holocaust story has come to play in contemporary Western society. Accordingly, “Holocaust blasphemy” is treated, and punished, as the most serious “thought crime.”
Even if only quietly, resentment and opposition to this obvious injustice is growing. For this reason, it's not surprising that Switzerland's respected weekly paper Weltwoche expresses concern (July 23) that the Graf/Förster trial, and others like it, are actually likely to promote even more anti-Jewish sentiment. The supposedly anti-Jewish passages in Graf's books, the weekly paper notes, are “harmless compared to what's being said [across Switzerland] these days, not only in bars and coffee shops, but even in theater lobbies.”
-- September 6, 1998
|Title:||Swiss Court Punishes Two Revisionists|
|Source:||The Journal for Historical Review|
|Issue:||Volume 17 number 4|
|Attribution:||“Reprinted from The Journal of Historical Review, PO Box 2739, Newport Beach, CA 92659, USA.”|
|Please send a copy of all reprints to the Editor.|