Saul by email asks :
John Demjanjuk is accused of the murder of 29,500 people in Poland in
1943 as part of the planned systematic extermination of Jews.
Antisemites deny the Holocaust happened.
I have two genuine questions about this letter published in today’s Guardian.
“What kind of justice is it that proscribes the normally accepted
right of the accused to challenge the assumption that a crime had, in
fact, occurred? Normally the prosecution is obliged to prove beyond
reasonable doubt that the crime of murder had taken place. This is not
the case in the trial of Demjanjuk. The court will, without proof,
arbitrarily accept that the crime took place. Being stripped of his
most powerful defence, the accused is reduced to pleading mistaken
identity or that he had nothing to do with an unproved murder.”
1. Is this letter doing what I think it is doing, that is, denying the
facts of the Holocaust? Or is some other interpretation possible?
2. If so, why did the Guardian think it fir to publish? or is
Holocaust Denial now part of “legiitimate debate”?
UPDATE. Modernity sheds some light on the letter writer’s views.
SAUL ADDS : On an update at Modernity, this has now been placed on the relevant letter’s page at the Guardian,
“Editor’s statement: We published a letter by John Mortl in the Guardian of Thursday 3 December and on this site relating to the case of John Demjanjuk, who is accused of assisting in the murder of 27,900 people in Poland. Unfortunately, we misread the letter. The underlying meaning, we now realise, implied Holocaust denial. As soon as we realised our mistake, we removed the letter from the site. It should never have been published and we apologise unreservedly that it was.”
I’d like to thank Modernity for the information he has thrown on this matter, as well as those who posted their comments, especially Jeremy.