ZGram: Where Truth is Destiny and Destination!

October 6, 1999

Good Morning from the Zundelsite:

For today and tomorrow, you are in for a treat! I have had these two ZGrams sitting in my "incubator' for two or three weeks, smiling at me all the while. They were supposed to go out first in the October Power Letter to Ernst's supporters in 42 countries before I made them available worldwide to my own faithful readership.

Now his letter has gone out - and here comes my ZGram bringing glad tidings.

Let it be known officially hereby that we believe Revisionism has finally entered the mainstream. I am, of course, talking about the important Fred Leuchter documentary, produced by Errol Morris, one of the world's most accomplished documentary producers - coming soon to your own neighborhood theater (. . . if the gods are still on our side!)

Read on, and when you are through, plaster them all over the relevant newsgroups:

The Film Premiere - Reviewed by Ernst Zündel

For months, the US media channels were abuzz with tremorous reports - all with an undertone of trepidation, it seemed to me - about a most unusual documentary film by one of America's best-known documentary film makers, Errol Morris, of Boston's Fourth Floor and Bulldog Productions.

The topic? The tragic story of Fred Leuchter, American execution technology expert and author of the four world-famous "Leuchter Reports" about the alleged "Nazi gas chambers" of World War II.

Morris chose the title - "Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred Leuchter." Jewish by background, Morris is an established and acclaimed documentary film maker - maybe the foremost of his generation. He gained the respect of his peers for producing such films as "The Thin Blue Line" and several documentaries acknowledged to be exceptional. He has, thus, impeccable credentials as a craftsman and is in command of this genre of film. He has developed some quirky, unique-to-himself ways of creating a tapestry of images at once dazzling and persuasive, designed to probe and penetrate not only the psyche of his subjects but also to evoke in the viewer a feeling of being the "person behind the camera."

Morris achieves that effect chiefly through a technique invented and perfected by himself of shooting through a see-through 45 degree angled piece of glass plate on which he projects his own face as he probes, fathoms, questions and cajoles his interview subjects. During an interview, the person interviewed does not get to see Morris in person - only his face, projected on that piece of glass, right in front of the camera lens, a lens the subject cannot see, a camera man hidden in the dark whose contours one can barely make out in the glare of the lights. This produces the startling effect of the interviewee gazing directly into the eyes of the viewer of the final product, a technique which gives Errol Morris films a penetration right into the viewer's heart and soul - his subconscious, if you will.

I noticed this at once, after I arrived at the studio where my sequence in this memorable film was videotaped - to my astonishment on small, High-8 digital video camera, later to be transferred to film, another Morris innovation which allows for compact unintrusiveness. The person interviewed soon forgets that he or she is being filmed at all.

Another smart technique: Morris refuses to meet his interview subjects for any preliminary briefing before an interview shoot to guarantee spontaneity in the answers of his subjects. He is one of the best interviewers I ever worked with - with a pleasant, very human but firm manner, flexible, curious, seemingly unprejudiced and thus capable of forming spontaneous follow-up questions, made possible by answers which virtually percolate out of the subconscious to the surface of the mind being probed, coaxed and prodded by Morris with his quiet manner. Morris would have made a superb shrink because he himself has the air of a quixotic iconoclast who dares to ask the oddest questions from weird vantage points and thus often astonishes even his subject. To be interviewed by Errol Morris is an experience in itself!

I stubbornly resisted that "experience" fiercely for about two years and gave the Morris staff blast after blast and reason and explanation sometimes bordering on the insulting why I chose not to cooperate in their Leuchter film. I simply had been deceived, used, abused, insulted and compromised by one too many film makers over the years. I had been lied to by producers and lied about by interviewers so many times in my long career that I simply had enough - and I told that to the staff of Errol Morris at Fourth Floor and Bulldog Productions whenever they called and pleaded with me to cooperate - for more than two years running.

They, for their part, did not give up. They desperately wanted footage of Fred Leuchter at work in Auschwitz - footage to which only we had the copyright. The same was true of the Zündel trial footage from Toronto, trial footage of Leuchter's own trial in Boston - and, above all, original footage shot by Jürgen Neumann, Samisdat cinematographer, inside the "gas chambers" of Auschwitz, Majdanek and Birkenau.

I told them we had lots of footage. I tantalized them by sending black-and-white and color photographs of Fred in action, and excerpts of videotapes of Fred on location, but I drove a hard bargain, and the project dragged on because I owned those rights to that crucial footage. I had undergone an attitude change when it came to German-Jewish cooperation, especially after the arson and bomb of 1995. My enemies had gone too far! By then, I had determined that if this was their response to my decades of trying to find a negotiated, cooperative solution to their idee fixe Holocaust victimhood lollipop - then I had simply run out of cheeks to turn in response to abuse, and that from now on I was not going to go the extra mile to stretch out my hand in reconciliation and in trying to find common denominators to bridge the "Holocaust" chasm that seemed to divide us. I did not care how famous a Jew this film maker Errol Morris was. I was through being abused and vilified. I, too, had my limits - and enough was enough! Even some of my closest associates were and are still perplexed by my new attitude and resolve.

Enter a new Morris associate, Michael Williams.

Williams was one in what seemed an endless association of Morris flunkies, as I had disdainfully pegged them in my mind, who called me one day - one more time trying to pry loose from me that precious Leuchter footage for their use!

I gave him my usual acerbic brush-off at first. However, this time the Morris pitch seemed different.

There was something about that man's persuasive insistence and human interest angle that touched me. He conveyed a sense of history he translated into our conversations. He pointed out the unique opportunity this project represented for Fred Leuchter to tell his side of the story, a story which had never been explained sympathetically, much less honestly, by the mainstream media. It was always invectives and caricatures, accusations and wholesale vilification of Leuchter!

I argued heatedly: "What has Morris ever done to help an underdog?" and Williams told me calmly: "Well, he has helped one interview subject, who was falsely accused and railroaded and was on death Row in Texas, to get a new, fair trial - a trial after which the man was found innocent!"

I don't know if Michael Williams knew, or if he just calculatedly told me this story. It paralleled, in a way, Fred's story, a man falsely accused and convicted by an orchestrated media vilification campaign in the court of public opinion - after he had gone to Auschwitz, and after he produced his, by now, famous Leuchter Reports and testified for me in Toronto. I saw myself in the same situation as Fred and that poor convict on death row in Texas - railroaded by my enemies and a hostile media.

I, too, had been falsely accused and relentlessly persecuted through numerous prosecutions in Canada by a vicious campaign grounded in hate and prejudice, which had brought me face to face with near death on numerous occasions by bombs, arson and assassination attempts for over 30 years. At that very juncture in my life, I was once again before a so-called "Human Rights" Tribunal, dragged there by the same Jewish elements who had so viciously and relentlessly hounded me for years already in the courts, Additionally, the Canadian spy service had recklessly and falsely accused me of being a "security threat to Canada" because of my perfectly legal, non-violent, peaceful, protective-of-my-German-heritage anti-Holocaust campaign. If my opponents succeeded with their latest campaigns, I knew that I faced near-certain deportation to Germany, where eager prosecutors were already waiting to put me behind bars and then throw the keys away for a decade - if not the rest of my life.

That was my situation as that call came in from Michael Williams. When he told me in a calm voice that Errol Morris had spent not only his talent as a researcher/interviewer/film maker on that falsely accused and convicted death row inmate, but also used his own funds to make that film and finance the campaign which led to a new trial, I was impressed!

Could it be that Errol Morris was the key to liberate my people I had been praying for and hoping for? Could he breach the curtain of censorship which had closed around Leuchter's devastating findings of no deadly Zyklon B in the "gas chambers"? Could a Jew succeed and break the ring of censorship?

It had been ten years since that dramatic, ground-breaking Leuchter expedition to Auschwitz to test the rocks and mortar for Zyklon B allegedly used to genocide the Jews of Europe - and the censorship grip on the media was such that most of what that decade had netted was ever more vilification and destruction of his name - and mine - but no real breakthrough into the mainstream consciousness, the way I had hoped for in 1988. We needed a different vehicle to deliver the truth to a world in a grip of a cunning, organized, all-pervasive historical deception. Could this documentary be such a vehicle?

I asked Williams to send me more biographical information on Errol Morris's other projects he had done, his career, and interviews with the media - about his life, himself, his thoughts etc. Williams was prompt. FedEx envelopes, bulging with information, arrived at my office in short order. Enclosed were color copies of photos of Morris, an imposing giant of a man with penetrating and expressive eyes and interesting body language. I liked what I saw and read and decided to talk to him myself.

We talked at length. I warmed to him - and, in the end, I promised him some of the footage he needed for his Leuchter project, which we prepared promptly and Morris reviewed in Boston. I had decided, one more time, that I would rather light yet one more candle of truth than merely curse the darkness.

Morris requested more specific material and asked additional questions. Back and forth went the negotiations, much like in another thousand business deals I have been involved in during my 40 year business career. Williams, and in the background, Morris, seemed to be competent men, dedicated to his Leuchter project. There was not a hint of double dealing. They promised - not an "anti-Holocaust" film but a documentary of Fred's life and views, warts and all. And I am pleased to say that they delivered. There was no undue haggling about prices. I understood fully the risks involved, for I completely comprehend the world we live in and what any movie maker would face trying to sell this story, with Shylock hovering in the shadows and getting his pound of flesh as well. I had no illusions but saw an opportunity to break out of the vice my enemies had thrown around me and the story. It looked like we were going to have a mutually satisfactory deal.

Then somewhere along the way, either Morris or Williams floated the idea that I should share some inside information about this unusual story in front of the camera - insights only I possessed.

By then I had heard enough about the background work that had already gone into the film and the direction the project seemed to be going that I felt that if Morris could get past the censors with part of the story intact - in other words, get past his fellow Jews who have a vice grip on the electronic and film media in America - perhaps there was a long shot chance that at least part of Leuchter's story (and riding on his coat tails, my story, my lifelong quest for truth in history and, yes, part of my own sacrifices in this struggle) could be brought to a greater audience than I could ever hope to reach with my own quasi semi-underground publications and videotapes, radio and TV programs via satellite and Public Access.

I told Williams and Morris I would seriously think about their suggestion to be interviewed in person.

I did just that. I thought about it. Hard.

For several more months, Williams kept quietly insisting. I was still reluctant. I told him that burned children feared the fire. I said I had been hurt so many times and compromised so ruthlessly by distorted and slanted films - like the 60 Minutes character assassination by Mike Wallace in America or the W5 program in Canada before it with the film "Profession Neo-Nazi" in Germany - that I wasn't going to subject myself to that kind of treatment lightly one more time.

Williams, never giving up, told me that Fred Leuchter was totally cooperating, and that they had already filmed him for days. He told me how well Fred did and how pleased Morris was. He told me that David Irving was going to fly to Boston to be interviewed - within days!

Next, David Irving sent an e-mail to Ingrid Rimland urging my cooperation, saying that the project had, in his opinion, merit. He felt Morris was a straight-shooter, a man of his word.

That e-mail finally was the deciding factor! I agreed I would subject myself one more time to an interview. I would put my head one more time on a Jew's block - and hope that the blade would not fall.

I called Williams who was off at some film festival in another part of the world, and we made arrangements between Human Rights Tribunal hearings, dates, court appearances etc. that I would fly to Boston to do the interview with Errol Morris. At first, we had planned to do the taping in Toronto, but time ran simply out.

Everything proceeded smoothly. Williams picked me up at Boston's Logan Airport. He recognized me instantly from the film footage. We drove to the hotel. I found him to be pleasant, intelligent, straightforward and efficient.

Next morning he picked me up and we drove to the studio. I met Morris, who surprised me by his size and by the way he moved. I must confess I did feel a small jolt because Morris was the spitting image of Egon Krenz, the German Communist party leader who presided over the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It was like I was being interviewed by Egon Krenz! Eerie, I thought! Why was it that I always had to deal in my life in historic moments like this with Jews? Never Gentiles?

I did not have much time to reflect on this strange karma of mine. Errol Morris motioned me towards the hot seat before the camera - but not before telling me that he considered the interview he had done several weeks before with David Irving one of the best and most memorable ones in his life! He was clearly impressed and genuine in his respect, even awe, of Irving's brilliance, recall of facts and figures, eloquence and demeanor. I knew he was not, as they say, "flim-flamming" me.

This did not surprise me because I knew from interviews I had done with Irving that he could be a class act when he was in good form - quick on his feet, smooth in his delivery, fluent in his subjects and speaking without hesitation, with an astonishing capacity for instant recall of facts and figures. I agreed with Morris that to meet Irving at his best was a treat - what with his charisma and polished showmanship!

Morris allowed me to set up my own superb little High-8 video camera on a tripod, off to the side, so I would have an historical record of what I said, and film the interview on automatic. Then we settled down to the business at hand and got going.

The minutes turned into hours - only to be broken up by tape changes and washroom stops! Lunch time came. By then, we had approximately 4 hours of film on tape. When we stopped, Errol Morris came over from behind some partition where he had been sitting before another camera while questioning me, out of sight from me, to shake my hand. He told me, visibly moved, that he was shocked by some of my revelations and details of my struggle for truth in history. He said he was surprised about many of the things I said - especially my telling of beatings, bombs, arson, violence, even murder the other side had committed against Revisionists like Francois Duprat, Dr. Faurisson, Christophersen and myself. Morris paid me what I still think is one of the nicest compliments ever made to me: He said that I had not only matched Irving's performance - but had topped him by ". . . being so human."

After lunch - which I ate alone, away from everybody so as not to dilute my concentrated thought force -- I went back inside the studio. Morris alias Krenz greeted me effusively. He said that he and his staff had reviewed his questions and my answers, and that they had concluded that what they had gotten on tape already was "just right" and sufficient for the project.

Then we shook hands, I signed some releases and packed up my tripod, camera and water bottles. Williams flagged down a cab for me on a busy Boston street. Off I drove to the airport, secure in the knowledge that I had done one of the very best interviews of my life and had witnessed one more time before history - to the truth as I knew it, had found it and lived it.

I felt sure that in Errol Morris I had found an artist who would, to the best of his ability - and conscious of the powers that run America's film industry - guide and shepherd that Leuchter Project around the cliffs of the censors. He did admit to me before we parted that he was apprehensive about his own fate after what he had just heard happened to others who found and told the truth about the "Holocaust." How much he could save - how much or how little would survive of the things Leuchter, Irving and I had said, or would end up on the cutting room floor - would now entirely be in the hands of this Jewish movie maker. I was conscious of the irony that the direction of at least part of history was now going to be determined by this artistic non-historian - to boot, a member of the tribe!

As for myself, I had witnessed one more time - before my God and history - to the facts as best as I knew how, and that now it would be up to Errol Morris to fight for his film, sequence by sequence and image by image, with his censorious fellow tribesmen who did not want this story told.

Asked about the project later, I would answer all and sundry that I liked Errol Morris and thought that with some luck and help from the gods, we would be able to achieve a breakthrough into the mainstream of society with our ideas. We would raise doubts and hopefully, find open minds. I knew that this project, and Fred Leuchter's unusual story in Errol Morris's artistic and qualified hands could be the means by which we could achieve this breakthrough.

 Tomorrow: The Zündel-Team attends the documentary premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival

CONTINUE! to Part 2 of the Zundel review


Thought for the Day:

"The world's great men have not commonly been great scholars, nor its great scholars great men."

 (Oliver Wendell Holmes)