Refused Citizenship but a Canadian just the same. Our Government does not rule our Hearts when it comes to Freedom!
On May 13, 1988, Ernst Zündel was sentenced by Judge Ronald Thomas of the District Court of Ontario, in Toronto, to nine months in prison for having distributed a Revisionist booklet that is now 14 years old: Did Six Million Really Die?
Ernst Zündel lives in Toronto where, up until a few years ago, he worked as a graphic artist and advertising man. He is now 49 years old. A native of Germany, he has kept his German citizenship. His life has known serious upsets from the day when, in about 1981, he began to distribute Did Six Million Really Die?, a Revisionist booklet by Richard Harwood. The booklet was first published in 1974 in Great Britain where, a year later, it was the focus of a lengthy controversy in the literary journal Books and Bookmen. At the instigation of the Jewish community of South Africa, it was later banned in that country.
In Canada, during an earlier trial in 1985, Zündel had been sentenced to 15 months in prison. That sentence was thrown out in 1987. A new trial began on January 18, 1988. I participated in the preparations for it and in the unfolding of those judicial proceedings. I devoted thousands of hours to the defense of Ernst Zündel.
The British historian David Irving enjoys great prestige. Zündel thought of asking him to testify, but there was a problem: Irving was only partly a Revisionist. The thesis that he defended, for example, in Hitler’s War (New York, The Viking Press, 1977) can be summed up as follows: Hitler never gave an order for the extermination of the Jews; at least up to the end of 1943 he was kept in ignorance of that extermination; only Himmler and a group of about 70 or so persons were aware of it; in October 1944 Himmler, who wanted to get into the good graces of the Allies, gave an order to cease the extermination of the Jews.
I had met Irving in Los Angeles in September of 1983 at the annual convention of the Institute for Historical Review, where I challenged him by asking several questions about proof to support his thesis. Then I published an article entitled “A Challenge to David Irving” in The Journal of Historical Review (Winter 1984, pp. 289-305) and Spring 1985, p. 8 and 122). I tried to convince this brilliant historian that logically he could no longer be satisfied with a semi-Revisionist position. To begin with, I challenged him to produce Himmler’s order to stop the extermination, an order which never actually existed. Later on, I learned from various sources that Irving was undergoing a change that moved him in the direction of Revisionism.
In 1988, Zündel became convinced that the British historian was only waiting for a decisive event to take a final step in our direction. After arriving in Toronto, David Irving discovered in rapid succession the Leuchter report and an impressive number of documents that Zündel, his friends and I had accumulated over the course of several years. The last reservations or the last misunderstandings melted away in the course of a meeting. He agreed to testify on the stand. In the opinion of those who were present at the two trials (1985 and 1988), no single testimony, except that of Fred Leuchter, caused such a sensation. For more than three days, David Irving, engaging in a sort of public confession, took back all that he had said about the extermination of the Jews and without reservation adopted the Revisionist position. With courage and honesty, he showed how a historian can be brought to revise profoundly his views on the history of the Second World War.
Ernst Zündel had promised that his trial would be “the trial of the Nuremberg Trial” or “the Stalingrad of the “exterminationists.” The unfolding of those two long trials proved him right, even though the jury, “instructed” by the judge to consider the Holocaust as an established fact “which no reasonable person can doubt,” finally found him guilty. Zündel has already won. It remains for him to make it known to Canada and to the entire world. The media black-out of the 1988 trial was almost complete. Jewish organizations campaigned vigorously for such a blackout and even went so far as to say that they did not want an impartial account of the trial. They did not want any account of it at all. The paradox is that the only publication which reported relatively honestly about the trial was The Canadian Jewish News. Ernst Zündel and the Leuchter report have left a profound mark on history; both will be remembered for many years to come.