Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr.

Synopsis: Documentary about Fred Leuchter, an engineer who became an expert on execution devices and was later hired by revisionist historian Ernst Zundel to "prove" that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz. Leuchter published a controversial report confirming Zundel's position, which ultimately ruined his own career. Most of the footage is of Leuchter, puttering around execution facilities or chipping away at the walls of Auschwitz, but Morris also interviews various historians, associates, and neighbors.
Director(s): Errol Morris
Production: Lions Gate Releasing
  1 win & 8 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
91 min

correctional system.

He was a superintendent

of transportation

for many years,

first at the old state prison

in Charlestown,

and then at the new prison

in Walpole,

which has now since been

renamed Cedar Junction.

As many youngsters do,

I went to work

with my father.

I'd been

accompanying him to work

since I was four years old.

I visited all of the cell areas,

including the death house area.

I was in the same room that

people like Sacco and Vanzetti

were executed in.

I learned a number of things

from the inmates that

normally would be illegal...

but have proved

very useful to me

in my later life,

things like picking locks

and cracking safes and--

I learned all kinds

of strange things

as a youngster.

I came into

the execution field...

from a back-door


because I was very concerned

about the humanitarian aspects

of death by torture,

similar to what happened

in the state of Florida

two years ago...

with Mr.Jesse Tafero,

where they actually

set the man's head on fire.

Once the chair broke in half

in the state of New York,

and the individual

lay writhing on the floor

of the death chamber...

crying for 35 or 40 minutes

while the carpenters

repaired the chair.

They burnt

the transformer up.


due to the quick thinking

of the prison electrician,

they had some cable,

they ran some wires

over the prison wall...

and tapped into

the outside power line...

without the consent

of the power company, but

there was no objection later.

They had one execution...

where the transformer

caught on fire and blew up,

and it occurred

in such a sequence...

that all it did was knock

the individual unconscious.

He came out of it with

no apparent brain damage,

no problem.

Six months later they repaired

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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