This is the latest accepted revision, reviewed on 22 July 2018. Leuchter became past dissertations known for his testimony in defense of Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel in 1988.
His study for Zündel’s trial has been referred to as the Leuchter Report since it was published by Zündel with that title. Leuchter’s work is often presented by Holocaust deniers as scientifically-based evidence for Holocaust denial, despite his research methods and findings having been widely discredited on both scientific and historical grounds. Leuchter, and his report, are the subject of Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A.
Leuchter was born on February 7, 1943, to Fred Arthur Leuchter Sr. Leuchter received a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Boston University in 1964. He holds patents for a geodetic instrument and an electronic sextant. Leuchter started Fred Leuchter Associates, in which he sold services to several states to help them maintain, improve, document, and ascertain the effectiveness of their equipment for administration of capital punishment.
In 1988, prior to releasing the report, Leuchter had traveled to several sites of structures identified as gas chambers, where, although he did not have permission to do so, he collected samples from walls, ceilings and floors, using a chisel and hammer to chip and scrape off pieces of the masonry. He took copious notes about the floor plans and layout, and all of his actions were videotaped by a cameraman. Leuchter compared the low amounts in the Krema to the higher readings in his positive control sample. Lab manager James Roth testified under oath to the results at the trial.
It was only after he got off the stand that Roth learned what the trial was about. In an interview for Morris’ film, Roth states that cyanide would have formed an extremely fine layer on the walls, to the depth of one-tenth of a human hair. In fact, tests conducted on ventilation grates immediately after the end of the war showed substantial amounts of cyanide. Leuchter claimed that the relatively low concentration of cyanide residue measured in his samples of the remains of the gas chambers in Auschwitz, compared to his samples of the «delousing chambers» in which clothes were deloused using the same gas, hydrogen cyanide, excluded the possibility of them being used to kill humans. Leuchter also wrongly assumed that it would take 20 to 30 hours to air a room disinfected with Zyklon-B.