January 12, 1985
indecisive: Lawyer challenges crematoria
Zundel's lawyer challenged the testimony of a Holocaust
survivor yesterday, telling the man he couldn't have seen
concentration camp chimneys belch smoke and flames from
exterminated Jews because crematoria don't emit
it is quite impossible for smoke to come from a
crematoria from human beings," said Doug Christie,
whose client is charged with spreading false news. "What
do you say about that, sir?"
Arnold Friedman, prisoner number B14515, initially
replied. "If you're talking of crematoria in Toronto and
crematoria in Auschwitz,
those are two different things. In Birkenau (part of
Auschwitz complex), smoke came out of the
"I put it
to you that you don't really understand anything about
crematoria, to say: 'Aha, that is a crematorium,' because
that is quite wrong, sir," Mr. Christie said.
observers in the packed courtroom were left shaking
their heads or fidgeting uncomfortably as Mr.
Friedman, 56, then agreed that perhaps Jews were not
being burnt in the chimneyed buildings.
two-day span, Mr. Friedman has testified repeatedly to
seeing thousands of boys herded toward the crematoria,
and of seeing trainloads of people unloaded near the
He told of
how he and other internees even thought they could tell
whether fat or skinny people, Ukrainians or Poles, were
being cremated by looking at the color of the
Friedman's sudden indecision in the face of Mr.
Christie's forceful questioning touched off an
almost-perceptible shockwave in the courtroom. "Couldn't
there have been other explanations (for the smoke and
flames)?" Mr. Christie asked, pressing home his
there could have," Mr. Friedman replied. "If I had
listened to you at the time when I was listening to other
people (in the camp), I might have listened to you. But
at the time I listened to them."
dramatic testimony took place at the trial of Ernst
Zundel, who has pleaded not guilty to two charges of
knowingly publishing false news which caused or was to
cause damage to social and racial tolerance.
In one of
two articles forming the subject of the charges, the
author maintains information on the Holocaust has been
grossly exaggerated or faked. One of the Crown's tasks is
to prove Mr. Zundel knew the articles were false.