Ditlieb Felderer explains Auschwitz
Ditlieb Felderer, 46, first met Zündel in 1979. Both had an interest in what Felderer defined as the "extermination theory," the belief that during the Second World War, in Poland, millions of people had been exterminated in gas chambers. (18-4225)
Felderer's interest in the subject had been aroused during his years as a researcher for the Jehovah's Witness publication Awake!, during which time he prepared a research paper for the Witnesses' governing body on the history of the Jehovah's Witnesses during World War II. Members of the sect were incarcerated in virtually every camp in Nazi Germany during the war and also in such countries as Canada because they refused to bear arms. (18-4225 to 4229) In the beginning, the Jehovah's Witnesses claimed that 60,000 of their members were killed in the Nazi concentration camps. Felderer's research on the question, which took him to the headquarters of the Jehovah's Witnesses in New York, as well as to archives in Toronto, Switzerland and Scandinavian countries, convinced him that the actual number was far lower, and that only about 200 Jehovah's Witnesses were killed. Felderer's research put him on a collision course with the sect; the leadership in New York warned members that they were not allowed to speak to him. In a subsequent Yearbook published by the Jehovah's Witnesses, however, they conceded that only 203 people were killed during the war. Felderer had told Zündel about this research. (18-4226 to 4229; 4645)
In 1976, Felderer received an English language edition of the booklet Did Six Million Really Die? by Richard Harwood from an anonymous sender. Felderer, who was Swedish, could also read Danish, Norwegian, German, French and English. As a result of reading the booklet, he decided to delve into the issue and visit all of the camps that he possibly could. (18-4230, 4231)
Felderer subsequently published a Swedish language edition of Did Six Million Really Die? in 1977. Under Swedish law, he was required to submit the booklet to the Attorney General's department, which had a special department where publications were scanned to determine whether they were lawful. No complaint or prosecution was ever brought against Felderer for the booklet. It was mailed to all major newspapers in Sweden and schools and was still available in Sweden today. (18-4233) In total, he distributed about 10,000 copies in Swedish. (19-4620; Dog Verkligen Sex Miljoner? entered as Exhibit 74, 18-4231)
Felderer had never found anything substantially wrong with Did Six Million Really Die?. He testified that, to the contrary, it had proven to be more true as the years progressed. In 1974, when the booklet was first published, it was believed there was a Hitler order. Did Six Million Really Die? was the first publication Felderer saw which claimed otherwise. The exterminationists had now moved to a position closer to that of the booklet. (19-4601)
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