TORONTO (Feb. 4)
The judge presiding at the second trial of neo-Nazi propagandist Ernst Zundel made clear Wednesday that he was taking judicial notice of the Holocaust.
Judge Ron Thomas told the jury of six men and six women that he has determined that the Holocaust is not a matter of dispute and is so notorious that among reasonable people it is generally known and accepted.
Zundel, 48, a German-born resident alien, published and distributed in Canada a new edition of a booklet entitled “Did Six Million Really Die?” which maintains that the Holocaust was a hoax invented by Jews.
Zundel was convicted in 1985 under a section of the Canadian Criminal Code forbidding the spread of false and malicious information. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison, but the Supreme Court overturned the conviction on technicalities and ordered a new trial.
Judge Thomas advised the jury that it must decide whether Zundel knew the booklet, written about 15 years ago by British fascist Richard Harwood, was in fact false when he purchased rights to it and circulated it in Canada with an introduction and conclusions of his own.
“It cannot be reasonably questioned among reasonable people that there was a mass murder and extermination of Jews in Europe during World War II,” Thomas said.
Zundel, who has boasted that his second trial would give him a new platform to express his views, is accused specifically of “spreading false news, such as distributing a tale or story that he knows to be false and that is likely to do injury or mischief to the public interest.” The “public interest” in this case is defined as racial tolerance and harmony.
The trial in federal court here is expected to last about two months. Zundel has long been active as a neo-Nazi propagandist. The Bundestag, the West German Parliament, has complained to Canada that he is the largest single source of neo-Nazi propaganda entering that country, which forbids the dissemination of such material by law.
Zundel will be defended by Douglas Christie, who seems to specialize in defending neo-Nazis and anti-Semites. Christie was attorney for Jim Keegstra, a former high school teacher from Eckville, Alberta, convicted in 1986 for preaching anti-Semitism in the classroom.
His next case will be that of suspected war criminal Imre Finta, accused of killing Jews and others in Hungary, Austria and Poland.