In 1979, the Institute For Historical Review, a Holocaust-denial think-tank, offered $50,000 to anyone who could prove that Jews were killed in gas chambers at Auschwitz. Now, of all the things that happened in history, we're pretty sure the Holocaust happened the most, thanks to the Nazis' terrifying efficiency when it came to both ethnic cleansing and keeping detailed records of said ethnic cleansing.
Comstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images"Umm, hello? The sign clearly says: Work will set you FREE. Why would they put that up if it wasn't true?"
For Holocaust deniers like the IHR, however, all of that inconvenient "evidence" was just part of a Jewish conspiracy, so it's hard to tell what exactly they were looking for. Maybe they just wanted free publicity, or maybe this was all a secret government project meant to motivate someone into finally coming up with a time machine?
So What Went Wrong?
Because they were as impatient as they were assholes, in 1980 the IHR decided to be proactive and contacted Holocaust survivor Mel Mermelstein, telling him that they have this contest where if you've lived through Hell on Earth, they'll give you a shit ton of money. They did specify, however, that his evidence would be judged according to U.S. criminal law, not "to the standards of Nuremberg."
Private H. MillerApparently, a thousand-yard stare from which all light has gone out wasn't good enough for them.
Mermelstein accepted the challenge and offered his detailed, notarized account of having actually been at Auschwitz as proof. The IHR, naturally, refused to give him the money, so Mermelstein brought them to court for breach of contract. The judge issued a judicial notice declaring that the gassing of Jews at Auschwitz was supported by evidence "not reasonably subject to dispute." Under California law, this officially established the Holocaust as a stone-cold fact on par with stuff like "Wednesday comes after Tuesday."
The IHR were ordered to pay Mermelstein the $50,000 plus an additional $40,000, via a document that the judge presumably signed with a little drawing of himself flipping them the bird.
For more hilarious propaganda, check out The 16 Most Hilariously Ineffective Propaganda Posters and The 7 Most Unintentionally Hilarious Propaganda Campaigns.
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