Reflections on the Holocaust Denial Case

September 7, 2011

It has been 30 years since I represented Auschwitz survivor Mel Mermelstein in the Holocaust Denial Case.

We were successful in our lawsuit against the radical right-wing organizations which, as a publicity ploy, denied the Holocaust.

Following my argument to the Los Angeles Superior Court on October 9, 1981, a very wise Judge Thomas Johnson took “judicial notice” of the fact that Jews were gassed to death in the Summer of 1944 in the Auschwitz concentration camp.

Turner Network Television made a movie about the case in 1991, entitled Never Forget, and at about that time I wrote a letter to the editor of The Heritage newspaper which ended with these words:

“Some have wondered who I am and what motivated me to undertake legal representation of Mel, and derivatively the millions of Holocaust victims, their survivors, and all who, by their faith or birth, are targets of hate and discrimination. A full answer to this question goes beyond the scope of this letter, but is fairly simple.

“My family arrived in America before its birth as a nation and has willingly sacrificed upon its altar of freedom and justice the blood of our children to defend it, and the fruits of our labor to maintain it.

“The distortions of history and twisted racial and political theories peddled by Willis Carto through his network threatens our collective security and the personal right of everyone to happiness, irrespective of race, religion, or creed.

“I also did what I did because I am a Christian and strive to live by and bear witness to my faith in the true teachings of Jesus. Thus, when this life ends, I trust that it will be the God of my Savior, the God of Israel, who judges the righteousness of my soul. If this makes me a Jew, so be it.

“Finally, as I argued to the court, if the Holocaust did not occur, then where are all the children? Where are the babies?

“Why did I do it? I did it for the murdered children, whether they were Jewish, Gypsy, or Christian. Why? The world has never seen such evil. It can never be permitted to happen again.

“Recently, I was at Mel’s Museum when he had just received several boxes of artifacts from Auschwitz.

“As we stood together and looked at the pile of rusty and melted scissors, spoons and forks, and other items taken from the victims and later burned, I saw a small rectangular flat piece of rusty metal which I asked for and which he gave me as a gift. It is the musical note bar of a harmonica.


“The rest of the instrument has been burned away, and we will never know whose lips were upon it or the songs they played, but I shall forever choose to hear in my mind the happy sound of singing children, too innocent for such death, rather than the screams of their final agony.

“Mel doesn’t have that privilege. He must keep his promise to never forget.”

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