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The Globe and Mail,

Toronto, January 25, 1985


Holocaust victim accused of lying by Zündel lawyer



A concentration-camp survivor at the Ernst Zündel trial approached true rage for the first time in his testimony yesterday as Mr. Zündel's lawyer accused him of lying about his experiences to bolster the "hoax" of the Holocaust.

Douglas Christie"I am saying to you that to consider a person who fought the Nazis is a liar is a misuse of the free courts of Canada," Professor Rudolf Vrba furiously told lawyer Douglas Christie (left), who had just suggested that the witness must employ complex memory techniques to keep his lies straight.

"Should I bring you six million bodies here that are the proof?" Prof. Vrba asked.

"I'd be content with just one autopsy report," Mr. Christie replied, setting off a ripple of scornful laughter from observers which drew a stern warning from County Court Judge Hugh Locke.

"You, as counsel, must know that it is not the habit of murderers to make reports of the murder", Prof. Vrba said. "Your request, therefore, is nonsensical."

Vrba on German TVAsked if he had ever actually seen people being gassed, Prof. Vrba said he saw them being taken to the buildings, at which point SS officers tossed gas canisters in and no one ever emerged.

"Therefore, I concluded it was not a kitchen or a bakery, but it was a gas chamber. ... It is possible they are still there or that there is a tunnel and they are now in China. Otherwise, they were gassed."

To suggest that six million Jews were not annihilated makes as much sense as arguing the earth is flat or that photographs of astronauts walking on the moon were from a Star Trek movie, said Prof. Vrba, who spent two years at Auschwitz.

Prof. Vrba was equally contemptuous of the lawyer's suggestion that every prisoner who arrived at Auschwitz was given a camp number. Most didn't, he said, meaning they were marked for the gas chambers within a few hours.

Vrba on German TVIf there was a big line-up in the forested area by the crematorium, soothing Gypsy music would be played while the victims-to-be milled around, unaware that their hours were numbered, he said.

The exchanges brought an end to several hours of acerbic sparring over technicalities and focussed Dr. Vrba's testimony on the broad aspect of the Zündel trial: Did six million Jews die during the Second World War?

According to a pamphlet published by the 46-year-old defendant, the Holocaust was greatly inflated. A second pamphlet says there is an international conspiracy of Zionists, bankers, secret societies and Communists. Mr. Zündel has pleaded not guilty to knowingly publishing false news which caused or was likely to cause harm to racial or social tolerance.

Vrba on German TVJudge Locke had his hands full during the cross-examination separating the verbal combatants. At one point yesterday, the lawyer from Victoria was scathing about Prof. Vrba's account of escaping Auschwitz by night without instruments or food.

"Perhaps in Girl Guides or Boy Scouts in Victoria they didn't teach you how this can be done, but it can," Prof. Vrba said.

Prof. Vrba has testified he kept a remarkably accurate account of the rail cars and the truckloads of Jews he saw transported to the gas chambers during his time at Auschwitz. He has even broken them down into nationalities.

Mr. Christie appeared to draw some blood yesterday when he quoted a figure from a book indicating that 75,721 Jews were deported from France during the war. Prof. Vrba had just testified that almost double that number -- about 150,000 French Jews -- were gassed at Auschwitz while he was there.

"Where do you have that figure -- from a Nazi newspaper?" Prof. Vrba asked.

No, Mr. Christie replied: It was from a French Nazi-hunter.

Prof. Vrba explained that he was able to calculate the nationalities of victims accurately by various means, such as the language they spoke when they were uploaded at the train station, or the kind of possessions they brought.square  


Pictures courtesy of Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR)

Related stories: Toronto Star version of this story ballblue testimonies of Raul Hilberg (1985) ballblue A Friedman (1985)

IT IS WORTH COMMENTING that Rudolf Vrba, alias Walter Rosenberg, is not just any survivor: he and a certain Wetzler claimed to have escaped the camp in the spring of 1944, and it was their horrific eye-witness account, edited by the Slovakian Jewish community leaders, which was released in November 1944 by the War Refugee Board in Washington ARSmallLogo(in fact by Henry Morgenthau acting behind the back of, and against the wishes of, the two other Board members Henry Stimson and Cordell Hull).

© Focal Point 2000 F DISmall write to David Irving