Ernst Zun­del, de­ported from Canada on Holo­caust de­nial charges, dies at 78

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - NICOLE THOMP­SON

Ernst Zun­del, a “pa­tri­arch” of the white su­prem­a­cist move­ment whose nu­mer­ous le­gal bat­tles played a role in over­turn­ing a Cana­dian law against pub­lish­ing “false news,” has died.

Zun­del’s wife, In­grid Zun­del, said her hus­band died Sat­ur­day at his home in Black For­est, Ger­many, where he was born. Ger­man of­fi­cials later con­firmed his death.

Zun­del, who was 78, spent decades in Canada be­fore even­tu­ally be­ing ex­tra­dited back to Ger­many, where he served five years in prison for Holo­caust de­nial — a crime in that coun­try.

Ge­orge Michael, a Mas­sachusetts-based ex­pert on rad­i­cal right-wing move­ments, said Zun­del was an early fig­ure­head in the fringe field of his­tor­i­cal re­vi­sion­ism.

Zun­del came to pub­lic at­ten­tion in the 1980s with sev­eral pub­li­ca­tions, in­clud­ing “The Hitler We Loved” and “Did Six Mil­lion Re­ally Die?”

Two at­tempts at pros­e­cu­tion in Canada ul­ti­mately foundered when his case led the Supreme Court of Canada to strike down the coun­try’s laws against spread­ing false news as a vi­o­la­tion of free speech.

The tri­als cat­a­pulted the per­ma­nent res­i­dent into the pub­lic spot­light and Zun­del be­came a fa­mil­iar fig­ure with his ret­inue of fol­low­ers in Toronto. He was the sub­ject of nu­mer­ous threats, and his home was once fire­bombed.

Zun­del con­tin­ued pub­lish­ing his be­liefs on­line, on a web­site started in the 1990s that re­mains ac­tive to this day — which Michael said makes him some­thing of a pioneer.

“He was one of the first to do that,” Michael said.

“He was in­ter­ested in things like graph­ics and me­dia, so it’s not sur­pris­ing that he would be one of the pi­o­neers in that re­gard, in get­ting this mes­sage out there on the World Wide Web.”

It was those on­line posts that made it pos­si­ble for Zun­del to be pros­e­cuted in Ger­many. But first, he had to get there. In 2005, he had just been de­ported from the United States, where he was liv­ing with his wife, due to im­mi­gra­tion vi­o­la­tions. But Michael sug­gested it was likely that the United States wanted him out of the coun­try be­cause of his ties to right-wing ex­trem­ists, as the gov­ern­ment was crack­ing down on all rad­i­cals af­ter 9/11.

The Cana­dian gov­ern­ment, too, wanted Zun­del out of the coun­try.

Fed­eral Court Jus­tice Pierre Blais in 2005 found Zun­del to be a hate-mon­ger who posed a threat to na­tional se­cu­rity be­cause of his as­so­ci­a­tion with white su­prem­a­cists.


Ernst Zun­del is flanked by sup­port­ers dur­ing an ap­pear­ance in Toronto in 1992.

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