WOLFGANG FRÖHLICH, CERTIFIED ENGINEER, TAKES THE STAND AS DEFENCE WITNESS for Jurgen Graf
The witness, a certified engineer, described himself briefly. His field of specialty 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 Graf’s 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 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.
Fröhlich’s 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 courtappointed 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 Aufdenblatten’s 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 Neue Visionen 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 associated 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 had 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 Förster’s 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 to 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 prosecutor’s 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 adjourned until 2:00 P.M. Förster was discharged from any further participation