Jewish officials are applauding a move by Canada toward deporting a Holocaust denier back to his native Germany.
Late last week, the Canadian government declared Ernst Zundel a national security threat, thus putting the 64-year-old Holocaust denier on a fast track to deportation back to Germany, where he is wanted on hate-crime and Holocaust-denial charges.
The certificate signed May 1 by two Cabinet ministers and the director of the national intelligence organization effectively quashes Zundel’s application for refugee status, which he made after the United States expelled him in February.
“Ernst Zundel is a German citizen, convicted by a German court, and Germany is where he should face justice,” said Keith Landy, national president of the Canadian Jewish Congress.
“He is wanted by a democratic country with a fair and open judicial system and it is ludicrous to consider him a refugee,” Landy said. “This man has been sullying our shores long enough.”
German consular officials here are eager to see Zundel face justice in a German courtroom and have offered to pay for his transportation back to Germany, where he could face up to five years in prison.
As in the past, Zundel blames the Jewish community and those with Jewish sympathies for his legal troubles.
On several occasions he dragged a large wooden cross through the streets of Toronto on his way to legal proceedings in a bid to portray himself as being persecuted.
In an Easter Sunday message e-mailed from prison, Zundel resumed this theme, writing that he had been imprisoned for trying to expose “a vast criminal enterprise called warmongering and war-profiteering” in which those sympathetic to Jewish interests were the key players.
Canada “always was willing to pimp for Jewish interests,” he wrote in the message, which his wife, Ingrid, distributed to his supporters.
A professional printer and photo retoucher, Zundel first moved to Canada in 1958. He gained notoriety in the 1970s and 1980s for distributing anti-Semitic pamphlets in the mail and was convicted of spreading false news, a judgment that was ultimately overturned by the Supreme Court.
His request for Canadian citizenship was denied in 1995 after the Canadian Security Intelligence Service declared him a security threat.
A Canadian human rights tribunal ruled in January 2001 that he violated the law through his arm’s-length operation of a California-based Web site that vilified and promoted hatred against Jews.
But Zundel, who had months earlier moved to Tennessee in anticipation of the judgment, ignored the tribunal’s order to remove all anti-Semitic material from the Web site.
He wound up back on Canada’s doorstep in February, when the United States deported him for missing a routine immigration hearing and banned him from returning for 20 years.
Because the intelligence service has argued that he may incite followers to commit violent acts, he has been kept in custody since Feb. 19.
“While Ernst Zundel may not actually wield the stick, he provides oxygen to neo-Nazi skinheads and other white supremacists who use violence as a means to an end,” said Bernie Farber, executive director of the Ontario region of the Canadian Jewish Congress and an expert witness in previous Zundel trials and hearings.
“This is Zundel’s final chapter in Canada,” Farber said. “The book is about to be closed.”
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.