|"But no-one would say anything publicly ... for fear of the Jews." (The Bible, John 7:13)|
The Trial of Graf Inquisition
The criminal trial of Gerhard Förster and Jürgen Graf for "Racial Discrimination" in Baden!
(Baden, Switzerland) on 16 June 1998)
Based on Xavier Marxs report on the trial for RECHT + FREIHEIT(22 July).
15 months + fine
12 months + fine
GERHARD FÖRSTER'S APPEARANCE AS DEFENDANT
Preliminary remark: this report is based on notes. Since its editor cannot take shorthand, his notes are rudimentary in nature. When the participants are quoted directly in the many passages which follow, it is quite obvious that they may not have spoken word for word as given below. It is just as obvious that the editor has made extensive abridgements. The reader is nevertheless assured that the meaning of the corresponding statements has been correctly given.
Switzerlands most import political trial to date for violation of the "Anti-Racism law" was held on 16 July 1998. Passed in 1995, application of article 261bis of the Criminal Code ("Racial Discrimination") had been only hesitatingly applied during the first two years of its existence; an avalanche of such trials then began in early 1997 (see, in this regard, the brochrure "Abschied vom Rechtsstaat. Das Antirassismusgesetz als Instrument zur Errichtung einer totatalitären Diktatur in der Schweiz" [Farewell to the State of Law: The Anti-racism law as an Introduction for the Creation of a Totalitarian Dictatorship in Switzerland], edited by Presseclub Schweiz, Postfach 105, 4008 Basel). Judgment was pronounced on 21.7.1998. Graf and Förster were found guilty on the principal counts of the indictment, as was expected in view of the recently created state of totalitarian hysteria with regards to conscientous Holocaust research. Graf was sentenced to 15 months and Förster to 12 -- without probation -- as well to fines of 8,000 Swiss Francs for Graf and 12,000 for Förster. Graf has filed an appeal, Förster died four weeks after the verdicts were handed down.
Presiding judge Guido Näf had previously delayed proceedings for two years, obviously because he was aware of the very weak basis for the indictment filed by Dominik Aufdenblatten (the principal indictment dated 4 April 1996 was later supplemented by several additional counts). Judge Näf was withdrawn from the case in April 1998, and disciplinary proceedings were filed against him, the results of which remain unknown due to official secrecy. A new judge, a woman, Andrea Stäubli, was finally assigned to the case.
The prosecution demanded 17 months imprisonment without probation and a fine of 22,000 SF for Förster, and 18 months imprisonment without probation and a fine of 27,000 SF for Graf. The sentence was the stiffest so far against alleged violators of the "Anti-Racism Law" [ARG]. Graf was indicted for publishing four books ("The Holocaust under the Scanner", "The Holocaust Swindle", "Auschwitz Tatergeständnisse und Augenzeugen des Holocaust" [Auschwitz Criminal Confessions and Eyewitnesses to the Holocaust" only available in German], "Totesursache Zeitgeschichtsforchung" ["Cause of Death: Research into Contemporary History" only available in German], as well as a brochure "Das Rotbuch" ["The Red Book"], also known as "Vom Untergang der Schweizerischen Freiheit" ["The Decline and Fall of Swiss Freedom"]. He was furthermore indicted for sending several texts on diskette to Ahmed Rami in Sweden, as well as to Ernst Zündel in Canada, who then disseminated those same texts on the Internet. Förster was indicted for publishing the Graf books "Auschwitz " and "Totesurache" , as well as "Das Rotebuch", in addition to other books by Erich Glagau and Harald Cecil Robinson, by means of his publishing company "Neue Visionen" (Postfach, 5436 Würenlos).
The trial began at 8:00 A.M. in the Saal Roter Turm, and ended at 9:00 P.M.. The courtroom (seating approximately 60 persons) was fully occupied, mostly by supporters of the two defendants. Apart from about 10 journalists, the Jewish plaintiffs only succeeded in mobilizing a few sympathizers. All the representatives of the revisionist camp came from western Switzerland or foreign countries.
DR. URS OSWALD MOVES FOR DISMISSAL
Immediately after the opening of the proceedings, Dr. Urs Oswald, defence attorney for J. Graf, made an application to quash the procedings. Under the European Convention on Human Rights, the two defendants had a right to a defence, as well as the right to defend themselves. The peculiar wording of the "Anti-Racism Law"[ARG], however, made this quite impossible. If he, Dr. Oswald, as attorney, penetrated to the core of the subject matter under discussion and introduced evidence accordingly, he himself risked indictment for alleged violation of the ARG. If the trial nevertheless continued despite his application for dismissal, the motion continued, he intended to call Dr. Robert Faurisson from France as well as certified engineer Wolfgang from Austria as defence witnesses.
The court adjourned for approximately twenty minutes for consultation. As expected, the court rejected the application to stop the trial. On the other hand, however, it approved Fröhlichs appearance as an expert witness. Dr. Oswald had naturally notifed the court prior to trial that two witnesses were to appear, but had not revealed heir names. Robert Faurisson is one of the world´s best known experts with regards to research into the subject of gas chambers in relation to the Third Reich. Due to the trials political bias, it was of course expected that the court would refuse to permit Faurissons appearance. On the other hand, certified engineer Wolfgang Fröhlich is only known in Austria. Peter Liatowitsch (Basel), a Jewish attorney present in the courtroom and acting for assistant prosecuting attorney, Walter Stegemann (Basel), obviously had no idea who Fröhlich was, and raised no objection against Fröhlichs appearance as a defence witness. Liatowitsch must have regretted this afterwards.
WOLFGANG FRÖHLICH, CERTIFIED ENGINEER, TAKES THE STAND AS DEFENCE WITNESS
The witness, a certified engineer, described himself briefly. His field of speciality was the technique of procedure and handling of toxic gas. He had carried out gassings on innumerable occasions for the extermination of vermin, but chiefly for the elimination of disease organisms.
Presiding judge Andrea Staubli warned the witness that perjury was punishable by law with imprisonment. She then asked him whether Jürgen Grafs books, in his opinion, were scientific in nature.
Fröhlich answered that, as a non-historian, he was unable to form an opinion with regards to the historical parts of the books. On the other hand, the technical aspects of the mass exterminations as alleged were absolutely untenable from a scientific point of view.
State prosecutor Dominik Aufdenblatten requested the presiding judge to remind Fröhlich once again of his duty to testify truthfully; this was done. In substance, the following exchange then followed:
Aufdenblatten: In your opinion, were mass exterminations with Zyklon B technically possible?
Audenblatten: Why not?
Fröhlich: The insecticide Zyklon B consists of hydrocyanic acid absorbed in a granulate carrier substance. The hydrocyanic acid is released through contact with the air. The boiling point of hydrocyanic acid is 25.7 degrees C. The higher the temperature, the faster the evaporation rate. The delousing chambers in which Zyklon B was used in National Socialist camps and elsewhere, were heated to 30 degrees C or more, so that the hydrocyanic acid left the carrier granulate rapidly. On the other hand, much lower temperatures are said to have prevailed in the half-subterranean morgues of the crematoria at Auschwitz-Birkenau, where, according to eyewitness accounts, mass murders are supposed to have taken place using Zyklon B. Even if if one assumes that the rooms were warmed by the body temperature of the hypothetical occupants, the temperature should not have exceed 15 degrees, even in the warm season. The hydrocyanic acid in Zyklon B would therefore have taken many hours to evaporate.
According to the eyewitness accounts, the victims died very rapidly. The eyewitnesses speak of time periods ranging from "immediately" to "15 minutes". To kill the occupants of the gas chamber in such a short time, the Germans would have had to use absurdly large quantities of Zyklon; I assume from 40 to 50 kilos per gassing procedure. This would have made any work in the gas chamber radically impossible. The members of the Sonderkommando -- who, according to the eyewitnesses, were responsible for removing the bodies from the chamber -- would have collapsed immediately upon entering the chamber, even if they had worn gas masks. Immensely great quantities of hydrocyanic acid vapour would have streamed into the open air through the open doors, contaminating the entire camp.
Fröhlichs testimony was greeted with applause by members of the public attending the trial.
Prosecutor Aufdenblatten then jumped up, his face flushed red, and shouted:
"I hereby request the court to bring an indictment [against witness Fröhlich] for racial discrimination under article 261; otherwise I will do it myself."
Jürg Stehrenberger, defence attorney for defendant Förster, then stood up and informed the court that, in view of the intolerable restrictions placed upon the defence, he would consider resigning his brief as defence attorney. Together with Dr. Oswald, he then left the courtroom for a few minutes. Finally, the two lawyers announced that they strongly protested against the attitude of the prosecuting attorney, but would nevertheless continue in their duties; otherwise, the last vestiges of a formal defence would be lost to the defendant, and the defendants would be assigned court-appointed attorneys. Court-appointed defence attorneys, by the very nature of the situation, were known to dance to the tune of the state prosecutors, acting as de facto second prosecutors, as was the case in the show trials of the Soviet Union. It was precisely this which defence attorneys Stehrenberger and Dr. Oswald wished to avoid by not resigning their briefs.
Prosecutor Aufdenblattens demand for a criminal indictment against defence witness Fröhlich brutally unmasked the true nature of the situation. In point of fact, it amounted to the criminal offence of attempting to intimidate the witness.
Gerhard Förster, managing director of NeueVisionen GmbH, is 78 years old and a sufferer from osteoporosis and other disabilities; he is a widower. His father, along with approximately two million other Germans from the Eastern territories, died during the mass genocide of the mass expulsions of 1944-46. A Silesian by birth, he was a certified engineer,the holder of approximately 50 patents, and has long been a Swiss citizen. Due to his extremely precarious state of health, he was brought into the courtroom in a wheel chair. His examination as a defendant lasted over two hours, visibly tiring the seriously ill old man.
Presiding judge Andrea Stäubli asked the defendant whether he considered himself a "revisionist" . Förster rejected the expression, since it had negative connotations, being assocated with "right-wing radicalism". He was a searcher for the truth, with a mathematical turn of mind. In reading Holocaust literature, he was struck by the widely divergent figures given in relation to the number of Jews having died during WWII, and sought complete clarity as to the correct number. So far, no one had ever been able to give him an answer to this question.
Did he personally believe in the Holocaust and the gas chambers, the prosecutor then hammered away. Förster replied that he was not been there, and that faith was not his business. Rather, he wanted to know as much as possible, answered Förster. The presiding judge herself had shown that these trials were a matter of the imposition of compulsory belief, that is, modern religious trials, without regard to the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of belief.
Since Försters memory was, by the nature of things, no longer what it used to be, and in view of his serious illness, he was unable to answer many questions, and got several dates confused. But he held up remarkably well, enduring the ordeal courageously. After about 11:00 A.M., however, his strength visibly waned; he no longer had the strength to speak audibly. This did not prevent the presiding judge from tormenting the mortally ill man with additional questions.
Förster stated that he had sent female federal prosecuting attorney Carla del Ponte a copy of "Auschwitz: Tätergeständnisse " prior the entry into effect of the AGR [on 31 October 1994 to be exact], asking whether the contents were in violation of the ARG. He never received an answer, despite repeated requests. After six months, the Federal prosecutors office disclaimed competence to answer. Under the circumstances, he felt he was entitled to assume in good faith that there were no objections to the book from the point of view of criminal law.
The examination of the defendant ended at 12:00 A.M., and the proceedings were ajourned until 2:00 P.M. Förster was discharged from any further participation.
THE PROSECUTION FINAL STATEMENT
After a pause, prosecutor Dominik Aufdenblatten began his final summation. His miserable performance was purely rhetorical, and, as one trial observer expressed it, speaking crudely, "unter allen Sau" ["really lousy"]. Aufdenblatten made no attempt to show any relation between the passages in the books published by Förster and which were the subject of the indictment, and the wording of the ARG; rather, he contented himself with reeling off an endless litany of phrases ("pseudoscience", "anti-semitic incitation", racist propaganda", etc.). Graf was said to be an intelligent man, and, therefore, doubly dangerous. Graf was said not to have sought the truth, but to have knowingly distorted the truth. His writings were said to have incited anti-Semitism and xenophobia. Since Graf was unreasonable, and and fully acknowledged his revisionist views, there could be no favourable social prognosis. He could not therefore be given merely a suspended sentence. The same was true of Förster, who was just as unreasonable as Graf. Försters poor health was allegedly no reason why he should not be sentenced to imprisonment without probabation, since it was not the courts responsibility to determine the defendants fitness to endure imprisonment; that was the responsibility of a doctor.
FINAL SUMMATION BY PETER LIATOWITSCH FOR THE CIVIL PLAINTIFF
Jewish attorney Peter Liatowitsch confirmed that his client, Professor Stegemann, felt himself seriously libelled, both professionally and personally, by the dedication to the book. He demanded compensation for his client in the sum of 1000 SF, to be paid into a "Solidary Fund". Stegemann described himself as "somatized" (whatever that might mean) by Grafs book and its mocking dedication.
FINAL SUMMATION BY JÜRG STEHRENBERGER
G. Försters attorney Jürg Stehrenberger spoke for appoximately one and a half hours, demanding acquittal for his client in an extremely rapid and passionately delivered final summation. He began by emphasizing that the mere presentation of any defence at all involved the danger of a stiffer sentence or another indictment, even for the defence lawyers and witnesses, effectively denying the defendant of his basic right to a defence.
It was not the courts responsibility to decide what happened 50 years ago, but rather, what the citizens of Switzerland were to be permitted to read and write today. Article 261bis was in conflict with fundamental constitutional rights such the right to the freedom of expression, freedom of scienfitic research, and freedom of the press.
According to article 1 of the Criminal Code, no one could be punished for committing an act not expressly declared to be punishable. The wording of the Anti-Racism Law law was extremely vague, as is openly admitted in the relevant literature, particularly, in the commentary by Professor Marcel Nigglis. In doubtful cases, it was the duty of the court to hold for the defendant.
The text of the law spoke of a "systematic denigration" of the members of a "race, ethnic group, or religion". This element of the offence was no where to be found in the books in question.
The text of the law spoke of "Leugnen" [to deny] the Holocaust. But "Leugnen" meant "to dispute against better knowledge". Disputing the Holocaust based on subjective conviction must, therefore, remain unpunishable, as emphasized by Stratenwerth in the commentary quoted by Niggli. (Stratenwerth speaks of "stubbornness" or "zeal".)
The concept of "gross trivialization" gave rise to further questions. Nigglis commentary states that human suffering cannot be quantified, and that the number of victims was therefore legally irrelevant to the qualification of a crime as genocide. Before one can trivialize anything, it is first necessary to know what happened. But anyone who arrives at a lower estimate of the number of Holocaust victims than the figures established by certain special interest groups was liable to punishment! This in itself was a contradiction. According to this logic, Jean-Claude Pressac, who arrives at an estimate of 631,000 Auschwitz victims in his book, "Die Krematorien von Auschwitz" (Piper 1994), would be liable to crminal indictment in Switzerland.
In view of the class action suits pending against Switzerland in the United States, filed by Jewish organizations for a total of 40 billion Swiss Francs, there was immense public interest in determining what Swiss officials actually knew of the fate of the Jews during WWII. How was it possible for the Red Cross official Rossel, who visited the Auschwitz concentration camp on 29 September 1944 with other fellow workers, to write in his report (quoted in "Documents sur linactivite du Comite international de la Croix Rouge en faveur des civils detenus dans le camps de concentration en Allemagne", Geneva 1947), that he had seen no confirmation of the rumours of mass gassings, and that the inmates questioned had not themselves mentioned them. The visit took place, it must be remembered, in SEPTEMBER 1944!
No one, not even the prosecutor, claimed that Graf had falsely quoted or mistranslated the statements in "Auschwitz. Tätergeständnisse ". The state prosecutors office never reacted to Försters mailing of a copy of the book in October 1994; never expressed an opinion on it, even after repeated inquiries. Finally, six months later, it disclaimed competence to answer the question as to the legality or illegality of the book. This was inconceivable; in any event, it proved that the state prosecutors office did not consider to the book to be automatically in violation of the ARG. The prosecutor at trial flatly, and without justification, dismissed the book as "pseudoscientific"; this was impermissible. "Todesursache Zeitgeschichtsforschung", the story of a fictitious secondary school classroom debate, contained references to inummerable works of historical literature, clearly stating the sources in every case. Imbedding these references in a literarily invented project week on the subject of contemporary history was in itself nothing objectionable.
Defendant Förster had already been condemned by ceaseless media hysteria. Although he had served only six weeks at the front as a Wehrmacht lance corporal, the press depicted him as an SS officer; he was constantly smeared as a Nazi. His German ancestry made him a target for the violence of self-styled "anti-racists", which in itself is the "racism" in its purest form. "My client must therefore be acquitted".
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