Mel Mermelstein, Holocaust survivor who sued Holocaust deniers, dies at 95

He submitted a notarized account of seeing Nazi guards lock his mother and sisters in a gas chamber. In his book, he recounts his last conversation with his father:

“’Your mother and sisters are…’ He paused for a moment, unable to continue. “And you mustn’t fret about their fate. Yes Yes. See! The!’ And he pointed to the burning fireplaces. The sight of mother, Etu and Magda being burned to death made me faint,” he continued. “My head started spinning. I wouldn’t accept it. I wanted to run, but where? I started to get up, but my father put a hand on me.

“’And it will happen to us too,’ he added calmly. Then, more firmly, he said, “But if we stay apart, at least one of us will live to tell.”

The revisionist institute refused to pay the reward, insisting that Mr. Mermelstein’s sworn account was insufficient evidence. He hired William John Cox, a public interest attorney (and later in the proceedings, Gloria Allred), and sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court for breach of contract, anticipated repudiation, defamation, prejudicial denial of ‘an established and intentional infliction of emotional distress. .

Mr. Cox invoked two legal issues. One was a technicality that allowed Mr. Mermelstein to sue for breach of contract because the trips to and from the institute were made by mail. The other was inspired by English common law: “what is known does not need to be proven”.

In a pretrial ruling, Judge Thomas T. Johnson said, “This court takes note of the fact that Jews were gassed to death at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland during the summer of 1944. This does not is not reasonably subject to dispute. And it is capable of an immediate and precise determination by resorting to sources of reasonably indisputable precision. It’s just a fact.”

On August 5, 1985, Judge Robert A. Wenke issued a judgment requiring the institute and several other defendants to pay Mr. Mermelstein the $50,000 reward and an additional $40,000, and issue him a letter of apology and to his fellow survivors for the “pain, anguish and suffering” inflicted upon them. Mr. Mermelstein received the money.

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