BOSTON (Feb. 21)
Fred Leuchter, who manufactures gas chambers for states with capital punishment but claims the Nazis never used them to kill Jews, was ordered to trial May 9 to face charges of violating a Massachusetts statute that bans the practice of engineering without a license.
Malden District Court Judge James Killian rejected a motion Tuesday for dismissal filed by Leuchter’s attorney, Texas lawyer Kirk Lyon, whose other clients include the Ku Klux Klan and assorted white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
The dapper 47-year-old Leuchter came to court under heavy security guard. It was his fourth appearance and, as on the previous occasions, it turned into a confrontation between Holocaust deniers and outraged Holocaust survivors and their friends.
About 30 Leuchter fans sporting “free speech” armbands carried signs reading, “The Holocaust is Dead” and “The Jewish Satanization of America.”
They sang German nationalist songs, hurled taunts at the Holocaust survivors and scuffled with about a dozen members of the local Jewish Defense League.
Three men were arrested when someone tried to burn an Israeli flag. One was a JDL member charged with assault and battery and disorderly conduct. The other two, Leuchter supporters, were hit with the same charges.
The charges against Leuchter, which carry a maximum three-month jail sentence and $500 fine, have nothing to do with his revisionism.
But Leonard Zakim, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, is convinced the trial will be a history lesson about the Holocaust for many people.
“The eventual verdict will be less important than the messages the case has brought to the surface,” he said.