Past dissertations is the latest accepted revision, reviewed on 24 February 2019.
Leuchter became internationally known for his testimony in defense of Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel in 1988. His study for Zündel’s trial has been referred to as the Leuchter Report since it was published by Zündel with that title. Leuchter’s work is often presented by Holocaust deniers as scientifically-based evidence for Holocaust denial, despite his research methods and findings having been widely discredited on both scientific and historical grounds. Leuchter, and his report, are the subject of Mr.
Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter was born on February 7, 1943, to Fred Arthur Leuchter Sr. Leuchter received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Boston University in 1964. He holds patents for a geodetic instrument and an electronic sextant.
Leuchter started Fred Leuchter Associates, in which he sold services to several states to help them maintain, improve, document, and ascertain the effectiveness of their equipment for administration of capital punishment. In 1988, prior to releasing the report, Leuchter had traveled to several sites of structures identified as gas chambers, where, although he did not have permission to do so, he collected samples from walls, ceilings and floors, using a chisel and hammer to chip and scrape off pieces of the masonry. He took copious notes about the floor plans and layout, and all of his actions were videotaped by a cameraman. Leuchter compared the low amounts in the Krema to the higher readings in his positive control sample. Lab manager James Roth testified under oath to the results at the trial.
It was only after he got off the stand that Roth learned what the trial was about. In an interview for Morris’ film, Roth states that cyanide would have formed an extremely fine layer on the walls, to the depth of one-tenth of a human hair. In fact, tests conducted on ventilation grates immediately after the end of the war showed substantial amounts of cyanide. Leuchter claimed that the relatively low concentration of cyanide residue measured in his samples of the remains of the gas chambers in Auschwitz, compared to his samples of the «delousing chambers» in which clothes were deloused using the same gas, hydrogen cyanide, excluded the possibility of them being used to kill humans.
Leuchter also wrongly assumed that it would take 20 to 30 hours to air a room disinfected with Zyklon-B. Since far lower concentrations are required when gassing people than for delousing, it would take only 20 to 30 minutes to air out the room, therefore, the forced ventilation systems used past dissertations be more than adequate to allow the gas chambers to be operated without endangering the executioners. Leuchter’s report also made claims about the capacity of the crematoria, although he admitted he had no experience with cremation technology.
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When questioned in court, Leuchter admitted he had never seen a document by the Waffen SS Commandant for construction issued when the crematoria were constructed, which estimated they had a 24-hour capacity of 4,756 people, more than 30 times Leuchter’s estimate of 156. Protests were organized outside the court house in Canada, and near Leuchter’s home in Malden, Massachusetts. Despite the bad publicity Leuchter remained active until 1990, when his lack of qualifications to practice was exposed. In this case, it is myself that I post mortem — and the cadaver isn’t dead!
Much to the dismay of my executioners, the execution was so badly botched that I am able to stand here before you to speak the truth, and to tell the world that it is not myself, but the Holocaust story that is dead. Because I was somewhat naïve at the time, I was not aware that by so testifying I was offending the organized world Jewish community. I would have to pay for this crime. While I innocently told the truth in Toronto, plans were made, and subsequently implemented, for a major effort to destroy me. If I could be destroyed and discredited — so the reasoning went — no one would accept my professional findings, no matter how truthful. When he tried to sell parts of a lethal injection machine and other items from Fred Leuchter Associates, many of which were part of projects done for states who had refused to pay him for previously contracted or agreed work, he was again charged.
Leuchter claimed that the Massachusetts Attorney General had to explain that the sale of the offered equipment was not, in fact, illegal. Leuchter was arrested in and shortly thereafter deported from the United Kingdom in November 1991. He had been banned from entering the country by the Home Office and his entry and presence in the country was therefore considered illegal. According to the Institute for Historical Review, Leuchter subsequently took employment as a «telephone solicitor. According to The New York Times, before selling execution equipment Leuchter had been a dealer in military surveillance equipment.
On October 24, 1990 The New York Times described him as «self-proclaimed execution expert and manufacturer of death machinery. In Virginia, Leuchter provided a death row inmate’s attorney with an affidavit claiming the electric chair would fail. The Virginia court decided the credibility of Leuchter’s affidavit was limited because Leuchter was «the refused contractor who bid to replace the electrodes in the Virginia chair. In 1991 Leuchter faced charges of practicing engineering without a license issued by the Board of Registration of Professional Engineers and of Land Surveyors, which regulates professional engineers, a violation of Massachusetts law. Massachusetts court system with the intent of destroying my reputation by putting me in prison for three months.
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