TORONTO (May. 11)
District Court Judge Ron Thomas instructed a jury late Tuesday to find neo-Nazi propagandist Ernst Zundel in violation of the law only if he knew his denial of the Holocaust to be false when he published the booklet, “Did Six Million Really Die?”
Under Canadian law, Zundel must be acquitted if the jury decides that he believed his ideas about the Holocaust were true and was expressing opinion, which is protected by freedom of speech.
Zundel, a vocal admirer of Hitler, was tried under a 90-year-old Canadian statute known as the “spreading false news” law. It makes illegal the dissemination of information known to be false and which is likely to “produce mischief and injure the public interest” or foment social and racial intolerance.
It was Zundel’s second trial on the charge. His first, which ended with a conviction and 15-month prison sentence in 1985, was overturned on technicalities by an appeals court, which ordered a new trial.
Zundel’s lawyer, Douglas Christie, argued that this recognition by the judge did not include the possibility that fewer than 6 million perished in the Holocaust; that there was no official policy in the third Reich or a specific order by Hitler to kill Jews; and that homicidal equipment did not exist.
He said in his summation last week that his client believed those possibilities to be true when he published the pamphlet, written by a British fascist about 20 years ago.
Crown attorney John Pearson dismissed that argument as nonsense. He maintained that Zundel has been shown to be a fanatical Nazi who would lie to advance the Nazi ideology.
Zundel, writing under the pseudonym Kristoff Friedrich, was co-author with Toronto neo-Nazi Eric Thomson of the book “The Hitler We Loved and Why,” which was published by Liberty Bell Press in Reedy, W.V.
The judge’s charge to the jury lasted three and a half hours. A verdict is not expected before the end of the week.