He filed a notarized report of witnessing Nazi guards herding his mother and sisters into a gas chamber. In his book, he recounts his last conversation with his father:
““Your mother and sisters…” He paused for a moment, unable to continue. ‘And you must not torture your mind about their fate. Yes Yes. Look! Over there!’ And he pointed to the flaming chimneys. The sight of my mother, Etu and Magda being burned alive makes me feel weak,” he continued. “My head started spinning. I don’t accept it. I want to run, but where? I started to get up, but my father put a hand out to stop me.
“And it will happen to us too,” he added. Then, more certain, he said, “But if we’re apart, at least one of us will live to tell.”
The Review Institute refused to pay the award, asserting that Mr. Mermelstein’s sworn account was insufficiently substantiated. He hired William John Cox, a public interest attorney (and later Gloria Allred), and sued in Los Angeles County Superior Court for breach of contract, libel, libel, negation, and denial. gratuitously accepting the truth and intentionally causing mental suffering.
Mr. Cox cited two legal issues. One is the technique that led Mr. Mermelstein to sue for breach of contract because communications with the institute were conducted by post. The other is based on the common English law: “what is known is not required to prove.”
In a pre-trial decision, Judge Thomas T. Johnson stated: “This court has not given judicial notice regarding the incident that the Jews were asphyxiated at Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland in the summer of last year. 1944. It is not a reasonable subject of dispute. And it is capable of immediate and accurate determinations using sources of undisputed reasonable accuracy. It is simply a fact.”
On August 5, 1985, Judge Robert A. Wenke ordered the institute and several other defendants to pay Mr. Mermelstein a reward of $50,000 and an additional $40,000, and to issue a letter of apology. he and his survivors for the “pain, anguish, and suffering” inflicted upon them. Mr. Mermelstein received the money.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/01/us/mel-mermelstein-dead.html Mel Mermelstein, Holocaust survivor sued Deniers, dies aged 95