LOS ANGELES (Jul. 25)
The Superior Court of Los Angeles has ruled that the Institute for Historical Review must pay to a Holocaust survivor the $50,000 reward the Institute offered for “proof” that the Nazis gassed Jews in concentration camps, the survivor’s attorney reported yesterday.
Superior Court Judge Robert Wenke approved a court settlement ordering the Institute to pay the survivor, Mel Mermelstein, the $50,000 reward. The Institute, which is based in Torrance, Cal., has consistently publicized its contention that the Holocaust never happened, a stand taken by many “revisionist” historians.
The Institute, under terms of the settlement reached last Monday, must also pay Mermelstein $100,000 for the suffering he underwent because of the widely publicized reward. The attorney, Gloria Allred, said that payment may be reduced to $40,000 if the Institute paid the reward speedily.
Mermelstein, 58, now of Long Beach, Cal., sued the Institute in February 1981 after the Institute sent him a letter promising to pay him $50,000 for “proof” of the gassing of Jews at Auschwitz.
Mermelstein accepted the challenge and submitted as proof declarations by other survivors who reported witnessing friends and relatives taken to be gassed, as well as a declaration by him describing how he watched his mother and sister led to the gas chambers.
CONSEQUENCES OF THE SETTLEMENT
The Institute rejected his proofs and continued to assert the Holocaust had never happened. Mermelstein sued the Institute in 1981 for refusing to pay the reward. Last Monday, two weeks before the trial of Mermelstein’s suit was to start, the Institute agreed to a settlement.
The Institute, as part of the settlement, also agreed to apologize in writing to Mermelstein and other Auschwitz survivors for saying the Holocaust was a myth. The statement has been signed and is part of the court records. The Institute also must declare publicly “the fact that Jews were gassed at Auschwitz is indisputable.”
Other defendants were the Institute’s parent company, Legion for Survival for Freedom; founder Willis Carto and his wife; the Liberty Lobby; and Noontide Press, the legion’s publishing firm.
Mermelstein’s attorney said the ruling would send “a clear message to all those throughout the world who attempt to distort history and inflict misery and suffering on Jews” that the Holocaust survivors “will fight back” to “protect themselves and vindicate the truth about their lives.”