Zündel in 1992
|Born||Ernst Christof Friedrich Zündel
April 24, 1939
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Part of Jewish history
Ernst Christof Friedrich Zündel (born April 24, 1939) is a German publisher best known for his Holocaust denial. He has been jailed several times: in Canada for publishing literature "likely to incite hatred against an identifiable group", and on charges of being a threat to national security; in the United States, of overstaying his visa; and in Germany for charges of "inciting racial hatred". He lived in Canada from 1958 to 2000.
In 1977, Zündel founded a small press publishing house called Samisdat Publishers which issued such neo-Nazi pamphlets as "The Hitler We Loved and Why" and "Did Six Million Really Die?", both prominent documents of the Holocaust denial movement.
On February 5, 2003, Ernst Zündel was detained by local police in the US and deported to Canada, where he was detained for two years on a Security Certificate for being a foreign national considered a threat to national security pending a court decision on the validity of the certificate. Once the certificate was upheld, he was deported to Germany and tried in the state court of Mannheim on outstanding charges of incitement for Holocaust denial dating from the early 1990s. On February 15, 2007, he was convicted and sentenced to the maximum term of five years in prison. All these imprisonments and prosecutions were for inciting hatred against an identifiable group. He was released on March 1, 2010.
- 1 Background
- 2 Holocaust Denial
- 3 Trials in the 1980s
- 4 Canadian Human Rights Commission hearing and first departure from Canada
- 5 Detention, deportation, and imprisonment
- 6 UFOlogy
- 7 Ancestry
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Zündel was born in Bad Wildbad in Baden-Württemberg. He emigrated to Canada in 1958, when he was 19, to avoid conscription by the German military. He married a French-Canadian, Janick Larouche, in 1960 with whom he had two sons, Pierre and Hans. During the 1960s he came under the tutelage of Canadian fascist politician Adrien Arcand.
Professionally, Zündel worked as a graphic artist and printer. On several occasions in the 1960s he was commissioned to illustrate covers for Maclean's Magazine. His controversial views were not well known in the 1960s and 1970s since he published his opinions under the pseudonym Christof Friedrich. At the time, he was also an organizer among immigrants for the Ralliement des créditistes, Quebec's Social Credit party. In 1968 he joined the Liberal Party of Canada and ran in that year's Liberal leadership convention under the name Ernest Zundel as a self-described "nuisance candidate" running on an "immigrant rights" platform. He used his candidacy to campaign against anti-German attitudes. He dropped out of the contest prior to the election, but not before delivering his campaign speech to the convention.
Zündel gained prominence and respectability during the 1970s as spokesman for Concerned Parents of German Descent, a group which claimed that German-Canadians and their children were the target of discrimination due to anti-German stereotyping in the media. In the late 1970s, Zündel, as the group's spokesman, issued press releases protesting the NBC Holocaust miniseries for its depiction of Germans. In the late 1970s, reporter Mark Bonokoski unmasked Zündel and ended his career as a credible media spokesperson by revealing that using his Christof Friedrich pseudonym he was publishing neo-nazi and antisemitic pamphlets such as The Hitler We Loved and Why.
His first marriage ended in 1977 as his public notoriety grew.
Zündel campaigned in Canada to ban the movie Schindler's List as hate speech. and celebrated the movie being banned in Malaysia and the Philippines, and effectively banned in Lebanon and Jordan.
On May 8, 1995, his Toronto residence was the target of an arson attack resulting in $400,000 in damage. A group calling itself the "Jewish Armed Resistance Movement" claimed responsibility for the arson attack; according to the Toronto Sun, the group had ties to extremist organisations including the Jewish Defense League and Kahane Chai. The leader of the Toronto wing of the Jewish Defense League, Meir Weinstein (known then as Meir Halevi), denied involvement in the attack; however, five days later, Weinstein and US JDL leader Irv Rubin were caught trying to break into the Zündel property, where he was apprehended by police. No charges have ever been laid in the incident. Later the same month Zündel was targeted with a parcel bomb that was detonated by the Toronto Police bomb squad. The investigation into the parcel bomb attack led to charges being laid against David Barbarash, an animal rights activist based in British Columbia, but they were eventually stayed.
By the early 1980s, Samisdat Publications had grown into a worldwide distributor of Nazi and neo-Nazi posters, audiotapes, and memorabilia, as well as pamphlets and books devoted to Holocaust denial and Allied and Israeli war crimes, claiming a mailing list of 29,000 in the United States alone. Advertisements for Samisdat Publications were purchased in well-known reputable American magazines and even comic books. West Germany became another large market, in violation of their Volksverhetzung (incitement of the masses) laws preventing Holocaust denial and dissemination of Nazi and neo-Nazi material, going so far as to send mass mailings to every member of the West German Bundestag (parliament).
In December 1980, the West German Federal Ministry of Finance told the Bundestag that between January 1978, and December 1979, "200 shipments of right-wing content including books, periodicals, symbols, decorations, films, cassettes, and records" had been intercepted entering West Germany; these shipments "came overwhelmingly from Canada." On April 23, 1981, the West German government sent a letter to the Canadian Jewish Congress, confirming that the source of the material was Samisdat Publishers.
From 1981 to 1982 Zündel had his mailing privileges suspended by the Canadian government on the grounds that he had been using the mail to send hate propaganda, a criminal offence in Canada. Zündel then began shipping from a post office box in Niagara Falls, New York, until the ban on his mailing in Canada was lifted in January 1983.
Trials in the 1980s
In 1983 Sabina Citron, a Holocaust survivor and founder of the Canadian Holocaust Remembrance Association, filed a private complaint against Zündel before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. In 1984, the Ontario government joined the criminal proceedings against Zündel based on Citron's complaint. Zündel was charged under the Criminal Code, section 181, of spreading false news for publishing "Did Six Million Really Die?".
Zündel underwent two criminal trials in 1985 and 1988. The charge against Zündel alleged that he "did publish a statement or tale, namely, "Did Six Million Really Die?" that he knows is false and that is likely to cause mischief to the public interest in social and racial tolerance, contrary to the Criminal Code." After a much publicized trial in 1985, Zündel was found guilty. After his conviction, Zündel was able to have it overturned in an appeal on a legal technicality, leading to a second trial in 1988, in which he was again convicted. Zündel was originally found guilty by two juries but was finally acquitted upon appeal by the Supreme Court of Canada which held in 1992 that section 181 (formerly known as section 177) was a violation of the guarantees of freedom of expression under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The 1988 trial was notable for its reliance on testimony from individuals such as Holocaust denier David Irving and Fred A. Leuchter, a self-taught execution technician. Leuchter's testimony as an expert witness was accepted by the court, but his accompanying Leuchter report was excluded, based on his lack of engineering credentials. In 1985, key expert testimony against Zündel's alleged Holocaust denial was provided at great lengths by Holocaust historian Raul Hilberg. Hilberg refused to testify at Zündel's 1988 trial. Zündel was convicted in 1988 and sentenced to 15 months imprisonment by an Ontario court; however, in 1992 in R. v. Zündel his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada when the law he had been charged under, reporting false news, was ruled unconstitutional.
Canadian Human Rights Commission hearing and first departure from Canada
In 1997, Zündel's marriage with his second wife, Irene Marcarelli, collapsed after 18 months. She subsequently testified against him in the late 1990s when he was under investigation by the Canadian Human Rights Commission for promoting hatred against Jews via his website. In January 2000, before the Commission had completed its hearings, he left Canada for Sevierville, Tennessee where he married his third wife, Dr. Ingrid Rimland, and vowed never to return to Canada.
Detention, deportation, and imprisonment
Deportation from the United States
In 2003, Zündel was arrested in the United States for violating immigration rules, specifically visa waiver overstay, which he argues was a "trumped up" charge. After two weeks he was deported. Zündel being a German citizen, a warrant for his arrest for Volksverhetzung (incitement of the masses) had been issued in Germany in the same year. At his hearing, Zündel described himself as "the Gandhi of the right."
Detention and deportation from Canada
Despite having lived in Canada for over forty years prior to moving to the United States, Zündel never obtained Canadian citizenship. Applications for citizenship were rejected in 1966 and again in 1994 for reasons that have never been publicly disclosed. So, upon his return to Canada, he had no status in the country as he was not a citizen and as his landed immigrant status had been forfeited by his prolonged absence from the country. Upon entry into Canada, Zündel claimed refugee status in hopes of preventing his deportation to Germany. This claim elicited public ridicule; Rex Murphy, a columnist for the Globe and Mail and a well known commentator on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, wrote "If Ernst Zündel is a refugee, Daffy Duck is Albert Einstein... Some propositions are so ludicrous that they are a betrayal of common sense and human dignity if allowed a moment's oxygen."
On May 2, 2003, Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister Denis Coderre and Solicitor General Wayne Easter issued a "national security certificate" against Zündel under the provisions of the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, indicating that he was a threat to Canada's national security of Canadian citizens owing to his alleged links with violent neo-Nazi groups including Aryan Nations leader Richard Girnt Butler, neo-Nazi Christian Worch, and former Canadian Aryan Nations leader Terry Long, as well as Ewald Althans, convicted in a German court in 1995 of charges that included insulting the memory of the dead and insulting the state.
Zündel moved twice to have Canadian Federal Court justice Pierre Blais recuse himself from the case for "badgering and accusing the witness of lying" and exhibiting "open hostility" towards Zündel, and filed two constitutional challenges, one in the Ontario courts and one in the federal courts, both unsuccessful. During the hearing, Zündel characterized his position as "Sometimes I feel like a black man being convicted on Ku Klux Klan news clippings."
Zündel meanwhile moved to be released from detention on his own recognizance while the legal proceedings were ongoing. His lawyer, Doug Christie, introduced as a "surprise witness" Lorraine Day, a California doctor who practises alternative cancer treatments, to testify that Zündel's incarceration at Toronto's Toronto West Detention Centre was causing his chest tumor (revealed to the court a few weeks previously) to grow and his blood pressure to rise, that the medication supplied to control his blood pressure was causing side-effects such as a slow heart rate and loss of memory, and that "He needs exercise, fresh air, and freedom from stress. The whole point is we need to have his high blood pressure controlled without the drug." On January 21, 2004, after three months of hearings including both public and secret testimony, Justice Blais again ruled against Zündel with a damning statement.
During his imprisonment, Canadian neo-Nazi leader Paul Fromm attempted to hold numerous rallies in support of Zündel, both in Ontario and in Alberta. The rallies were met with formidable opposition, namely by the Anti-Racist Action group, which heightened its opposition to Fromm's pro-Zündel work in the summer of 2004. The anti-racist efforts included participation by numerous Toronto activist groups and individuals, including Shane Ruttle Martinez and Marcell Rodden, and successfully managed to prevent similar future congregations of the neo-Nazis. Fromm eventually ceased his efforts after being advised by Zündel's attorneys that public clashes between opponents of the Zündel issues was not assisting the image of their client's case.
On February 24, 2005, Justice Blais ruled that Canada could deport Zündel back to Germany at any time, and on February 25 Zündel's lawyer, Peter Lindsay, announced that his client would not attempt to obtain a stay against the deportation and that his fight to remain in Canada was over. In his decision, Justice Blais noted that Zündel had had the opportunity to respond to the allegations of the decision of January 21 by explaining the nature of his contacts with the extremists mentioned and/or providing exonerating witnesses, but had failed to do so. Blais found that "Mr. Zündel's activities are not only a threat to Canada's national security, but also a threat to the international community of nations."
Zündel was deported to Germany on March 1, 2005. Upon his arrival at Frankfurt airport, he was immediately arrested and detained in Mannheim prison awaiting trial for inciting racial hatred. In 2007, Zündel's appeal to the UN Human Rights Committee against deportation was rejected, partly for failure to exhaust domestic remedies, partly as lying outside Committee's competence.
Trial and imprisonment in Germany
German prosecutors charged Zündel on July 19, 2005, with fourteen counts of inciting racial hatred, which is punishable under German criminal law, Section 130, 2.(3) (Agitation (sedition) of the People) with up to 5 years in prison. The indictment says Zündel "denied the fate of destruction for the Jews planned by National Socialist powerholders and justified this by saying that the mass destruction in Auschwitz and Treblinka, among others, were an invention of the Jews and served the repression and extortion of the German people."
His trial was scheduled for five days beginning November 8, 2005, but ran into an early delay when Judge Ulrich Meinerzhagen ruled that Horst Mahler, whose license to practice as a lawyer was withdrawn in 2004 and who, in January 2005, was sentenced to nine months in prison for inciting racial hatred, could not be part of the defense team. Mahler had been associated with the violent far-left Red Army Faction in the 1970s, but has since become a supporter of far-right and antisemitic groups. Zündel's public defender Sylvia Stolz was also dismissed, on the grounds that her written submissions to the court included Mahler's ideas. On November 15, 2005, Meinerzhagen announced that the trial was to be rescheduled to allow new counsel time to prepare.
The trial resumed on February 9, 2006 for several court sessions but then adjourned on March 9 when the trial judge asked for Stolz to be removed as Zündel's defence lawyer after Stolz denounced the court as a "tool of foreign domination" and described the Jews as an "enemy people". On March 31 the superior state court in Karlsruhe removed Stolz from the case for illegally obstructing proceedings "with the sole goal of sabotaging the trial . . . and making it into a farce".
The trial again resumed on June 9, 2006 and continued, intermittently, into early 2007. The prosecution concluded its case on January 26, 2007 calling for Zündel to be handed the maximum sentence of five years imprisonment with state prosecutor Andreas Grossman calling him a "political con man" from whom the German people needed protection. After quoting extensively from Zündel's writings on the Holocaust, Grossman argued "[you] might as well argue that the sun rises in the West... But you cannot change that the Holocaust has been proven." In its closing arguments the defence called for Zündel to be acquitted.
On February 15, 2007, Zündel was sentenced to a five year term in prison, the maximum sentence possible for violating the Volksverhetzung law (Section 130, 2.(3)) in the German criminal code which bans incitement of hatred against a minority of the population, which is how his Holocaust denial was interpreted by the Federal German court.
His time in pre-trial confinement in Canada was not taken into account on his sentence, but only the two years he was confined in Germany since 2005. One of his lawyers was excluded from the process for agitation and had to be carried out of the courtroom. Another lawyer, Jürgen Rieger, a leading member of Germany's NPD, was forbidden to voice petitions and ruled to put them down in writing; he let another lawyer read them aloud. Another lawyer read parts of Mein Kampf and parts of the NS race legislation aloud in his closing speech. Zündel asked for the inception of an expert's commission to examine the Holocaust. The judge in his emotional closing speech called Zündel an „Brunnenvergifter und Brandstifter, einen Verehrer dieses menschenverachtenden Barbaren Adolf Hitler, von dem er dummdreist daherschwafelt.“, in English roughly translated "well-poisoner and arsonist, an admirer of this human-despising barbarian Adolf Hitler, of whom he rambles on with brash impertinence". It is believed that Holocaust deniers are using this trial and the coming revisions to show that freedom of speech was impaired in Germany depending on the ideology of the speaker.
Release from prison
Zündel was released on March 1, 2010, five years after his deportation to Germany. Following the end of his prison term, Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews re-iterated that Zündel will not be permitted to return to Canada. "In 2005, a Federal Court judge confirmed that Zündel is inadmissible on security grounds for being a danger to the security of Canada," Mr. Toews said in a written statement adding that, "The decision reinforced the government of Canada's position that this country will not be a safe haven for individuals who pose a risk to Canada's national security."
When Zündel started Samisdat Publishers in the 1970s, he became interested in UFOlogy when the subject was at its peak of worldwide popularity and public acceptance. His main offerings were his own books claiming that flying saucers were secret weapons developed by the Third Reich and now based in Antarctica.
Under the pseudonyms Christof Friedrich and Mattern Friedrich, he also wrote several publications promoting the idea that UFOs were craft developed by German scientists who had fled to New Swabia in Antarctica. These titles include "Secret Nazi Polar Expeditions"  and "Hitler at the South Pole" . He promoted the idea of Nazi secret bases in Antarctica, Nazi UFOs, secret polar bases and Hollow Earth theories.
It is not clear whether Zündel really believed these theories or whether they were merely speculative fiction. Zündel, Ernst. "Zündelgram". December 1, 2002. Obtained from The Nizkor Project on August 27, 2006 
In the Samisdat Publishers newsletter of 1978, Zündel advertised an expedition to Antarctica to find these bases and UFOs. A ticket would cost $9,999 for a seat on an exploration team to locate the polar entrance to the hollow earth. This expedition never took place.
According to Frank Miele, a member of the Skeptics Society in the United States, Zündel told him that his book 'UFOs: Nazi Secret Weapon?' (which became an underground bestseller, going through several printings) was nothing more than popular fiction to build publicity for Samisdat. Said Zündel in a telephone conversation with Miele: "I realized that North Americans were not interested in being educated. They want to be entertained. The book was for fun. With a picture of the Führer on the cover and flying saucers coming out of Antarctica it was a chance to get on radio and TV talk shows. For about 15 minutes of an hour program I'd talk about that esoteric stuff. Then I would start talking about all those Jewish scientists in concentration camps, working on these secret weapons. And that was my chance to talk about what I wanted to talk about." "In that case," I asked him, "do you still stand by what you wrote in the UFO book?" "Look," he replied, "it has a question mark at the end of the title." Zündel continued to defend these views as late as 2002.
According to Toronto Sun columnist Mark Bonokoski, Zündel's mother was Gertrude Mayer, and his maternal grandparents were Mr. and Mrs. Nagal and Isador Mayer. Isador Mayer was a trade union organiser for the garment industry in the Bavarian city of Augsburg.
According to Bonokoski, Ernst's ex-wife, Irene Zündel, claimed that the possibility of being at least part Jewish bothered Zündel so much that he returned to Germany in the 1960s in search of his family's Ariernachweis, a Third Reich certificate of pure Aryan blood, but was unable to find any such document for his family.
Zundel: "If you are fishing for any political information, my father was a Social Democrat, my mother a simple Christian woman. Her father had been a union organizer in Bavaria, and of the garment workers' union. His name got him into trouble because it was Isadore Mayer and, of course, he was called Izzy by his people and the people thought he ... "
Yecheskeli: "Was Jewish?"
Zundel: "No, I don't ... don't think so."
Yecheskeli: "Are you sure there's no Jewish blood in your family?"Zundel: "No."
- "Zundel won't appeal deportation, lawyer says", CTV.ca, February 6, 2005 (accessed July 26, 2008): Canadian Justice Pierre Blais denounced Zundel as a Hitler sympathizer determined to propagate the neo-Nazi movement
- Burns, J.F. "Canada Puts Neo-Nazi's Ideas on Trial, Again", The New York Times, March 30, 1988 (accessed July 26, 2008)
- "Ernst Zundel", Anti-Defamation League (accessed July 26, 2008)
- "Ernst Zundel sentenced to 5 years for Holocaust denial", cbcnews.ca, February 15, 2007 (accessed July 26, 2008)
- Connolly, Kate (February 16, 2007). "Holocaust denial writer jailed for five years". The Guardian (London).
- CBC News (March 2, 2005). "Trial could turn Zundel into neo-Nazi martyr: observer".
- Irwin, Anna C. (February 8, 2003). "Renowned Neo-Nazi activist held in Blount County jail". The Daily Times (Maryville, Tennessee).
- Associated Press & Canadian Press (February 15, 2007). "Ernst Zundel sentenced to 5 years in prison for Holocaust denial". Winnipeg Free Press. Archived from the original on September 27, 2007. Retrieved February 15, 2007.
- Zundel released from German prison, CBS News World
- The Zundel Affair, Shofar FTP Archives, nizkor.net
- Bonokoski, Mark. "Zundel released from German Jail", Toronto Sun, March 2, 2010.
- "Schindler's List Exposed as Lies and Hate", 1994 leaflet published by Zündel's Samisdat Publishers
- "Ernst Zündel on the film 'Schindler's List'", The Nizkor Project
- Censorship offer file, Shofar FTP Archive, The Nizkor Project
- Shermer, Michael. Why People Believe Weird Things, 1997, p.185.
- Deutsch, Linda. "U.S. Jewish militants charged in bomb plot: Los Angeles mosque, congressman's office were intended targets", Ottawa Citizen, December 13, 2001.
- Stancu, Henry. "Police detonate bomb sent to Zündel's home 'Just another day in life of Ernst Zundel,' he says", Toronto Star, May 21, 1995.
- Hogben, David. "Charges stayed against activists accused of mailing booby-trapped letters", Canadian Press, September 26, 2000.
- Morris, Errol (2006). "Mr. Death: Transcript". Retrieved March 4, 2007.
- Full text of Supreme Court of Canada decision at LexUM
- Article,[dead link] Globe and Mail, February 14, 2003.
- Let's try Zundel denial by Rex Murphy, (Toronto) Globe & Mail, Feb 22, 2003.
- Court finds Zundel can be deported Kirk Makin, (Toronto) Globe & Mail, Feb 25, 2005
- "Zundel turned over to German authorities". CBC News. March 1, 2005.[dead link]
- Kanada: Holocaust-Leugner Zündel abgeschoben - Panorama - SPIEGEL ONLINE - Nachrichten
- Human Rights Committee views in case Zündel v. Canada, No. 1341/2005
- Toronto Star
- http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2006/03/31/1514185-ap.html[dead link]
- Associated Press (January 26, 2007). "Five years' jail urged for Zundel". Toronto Star. Retrieved January 26, 2007.
- Associated Press (February 9, 2007). "Defense seeks acquittal of far-right activist Ernst Zundel at German trial". International Herald Tribune. Retrieved February 13, 2007.
- Canada Press (February 15, 2007). "German court sentences Ernst Zundel to 5 years in prison for Holocaust denial". Canada.com. Retrieved February 15, 2007.[dead link]
- Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg (March 2007). "Verteidigung von ZÜNDEL legt Revision ein". Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz Baden-Württemberg. Archived from the original on May 29, 2007. Retrieved May 30, 2007.
- "Holocaust Denier Zündel Released", Associated Press, March 1, 2010
- "Zündel free but barred from Canada", National Post, March 2, 2010
- Zündel, Ernst (as Christof Friedrich) (1974). UFO's – Nazi Secret Weapon?. Samisdat Publishers.
- "Ernst Zündel's Flying Saucers". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
- Goodricke-Clarke. Black Sun, pp.158, 331.
- Zündel, Ernst (as Christof Friedrich) (1979). "Samisdat Hollow Earth Expedition". The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
- Baker, Alan. Invisible Eagle, pp.268-272.
- Miele, Frank. "Giving the Devil His Due", regarding Zündel's "UFOs: Nazi Secret Weapons?"
- Zündel, Ernst (December 1, 2002). "Zündelgram". archived at The Nizkor Project. Retrieved 2006-08-27.
- Mark Bonokoski (March 2, 2005). "The Jewish card". Toronto Sun.
- Zündelsite: Ernst Zündel's Web site
- Anti-Defamation League on Ernst Zundel
- Nizkor Project archive criticism of Zündel
- Ernst Zundel: Civil Rights Champion? from the Toronto Globe and Mail
- Will his ex bring him down? 1999 article from Now Magazine on Irene Zündel's testimony against her ex-husband
- Full text of Justice Blais' decision February 24, 2005 ruling on the Zündel security certificate and deportation
- "Who Denies the Holocaust And Why Do They Deny It?". Retrieved February 9, 2009.
- Ernst Zündel at the Internet Movie Database
- Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leuchter, Jr. at Google Video