On December 31, 2011, the Los Angeles Times published an article on the death of Thomas T. Johnson with this headline:
Thomas T. Johnson dies at 88; judge ruled that Holocaust was a fact
The headline refers to a court case in which Judge Johnson “took judicial notice” that the Holocaust was a fact. A judge is allowed to “take judicial notice” when there is some “fact” that is “common knowledge.” The Holocaust is “common knowledge,” according to Judge Johnson’s ruling, because everyone knows that the Holocaust is a “fact.”
This quote is from the L.A. Times news article:
On Oct. 9, 1981, Johnson resolved the most controversial part of the case using the doctrine of judicial notice, which allows courts to recognize as fact matters that are common knowledge.
“The court does take judicial notice that Jews were gassed to death in Poland at Auschwitz in the summer of 1944,” when Mermelstein and his family were there, Johnson said.
Johnson made the unusual pronouncement in a case brought by Long Beach businessman Mel Mermelstein against the Institute for Historical Review, a Torrance organization that claimed that the planned extermination of Jews by the Nazis was a myth. The institute offered a $50,000 reward for proof that Jews had been gassed at Auschwitz during World War II.
In Germany, the law that is used to convict Holocaust deniers like Ernst Zündel and Germar Rudolf is based on the doctrine of Manifest Obviousness, as provided in Section 244 of the Penal Code. This is the German equivalent of a judge taking judicial notice that the Holocaust is a fact. (more…)