|Mel Gibson's father says Holocaust exagg|
- Thursday, February 19 2004, 0:13:50 (EST)|
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Mel Gibson's father says Holocaust exaggerated
February 19, 2004 - 12:23PM
A week before the United States release of Mel Gibson's controversial movie, The Passion of the Christ, the filmmaker's father has repeated claims the Holocaust was exaggerated.
Hutton Gibson's comments, made in a telephone interview with New York radio talk show host Steve Feuerstein, come at an awkward time for the actor-director who has been trying to deflect criticism from Jewish groups that his film might inflame anti-Semitic sentiment.
In his interview on WSNR radio's Speak Your Piece, to be broadcast on Monday, Hutton Gibson, argued that many European Jews counted as death camp victims of the Nazi regime had in fact fled to countries like Australia and the United States.
"It's all -- maybe not all fiction -- but most of it is," he said, adding that the gas chambers and crematoria at camps like Auschwitz would not have been capable of exterminating so many people.
"Do you know what it takes to get rid of a dead body? To cremate it?" he said. "It takes a litre of petrol and 20 minutes. Now, six million of them? They (the Germans) did not have the gas to do it. That's why they lost the war."
Gibson's father caused a furore last year when he made similar remarks in a New York Times article.
In a television interview with Diane Sawyer this week, Mel Gibson accused the Times of taking advantage of his father, and he warned Sawyer against broaching the subject again.
"He's my father. Gotta leave it alone Diane. Gotta leave it alone," Gibson said, while offering his own perspective on the Holocaust.
"Do I believe that there were concentration camps where defenceless and innocent Jews died cruelly under the Nazi regime? Of course I do; absolutely," he said. "It was an atrocity of monumental proportion."
During his lengthy radio interview, Hutton Gibson, 85, said Jews were out to create "one world religion and one world government" and outlined a conspiracy theory involving Jewish bankers, the US Federal Reserve and the Vatican, among others.
The Passion, which gets its US release on February 25, purports to be a faithful and graphic account of Christ's last 12 hours on earth.
Jewish leaders who have attended advance screenings have voiced concerns that its portrayal of the Jews' role in Christ's execution could stir up anti-Semitic feeling.
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