| A lunatic Chaplin imitator|
and his greatest fans
|First as tragedy|
|Then as farce|
| Not just a river in Egypt|
|♫ We're not listening ♫|
“”If Ernst Zündel is a refugee, Daffy Duck is Albert Einstein… Some propositions are so ludicrous that they are a betrayal of common sense and human dignity if allowed a moment's oxygen.
|—Rex Murphy, Globe & Mail|
Ernst Christof Friedrich Zündel (1939–2017), "I am known as the Gandhi of the right", was a Nazi, famous for his diesel punk fan-fiction[No, not The Onion] and for appearing in Manufacturing Consent (1992), a documentary in which Noam Chomsky defended Zündel during his "false news" trial. Zündel was twice-convicted by the Canadian government for Holocaust denial, which was[note 1] against the law in Canada. Chomsky disagreed with the ruling because it infringed on Zündel's free speech. In 2007, he was jailed in Germany for same, and was released in 2010.
Zündel sometimes wrote under his middle names, "Christof Friedrich". His combination of unabashed Nazism with UFO lunacy gives some of Zündel's writings the flavor of the Franz Liebkind Nazi playwright character from Mel Brook's 1967 film The Producers. Friedrich's writings included The Hitler We Loved & Why, Secret Nazi Polar Expeditions, and UFO's, Nazi Secret Weapon?.
Zündel flavoured his antisemitism with the promotion of other crank ideas such as Hollow Earth theory, secret Nazi bases in Antarctica, and Nazi UFOs. He used to buy airtime on shortwave station WWCR and broadcast a German-language program denying the Holocaust until WWCR dropped the show, explaining that no one at the station spoke German and could understand what he was saying. Now if only he'd made a "fact-finding trip" to Antarctica instead of Auschwitz.
In 1958 at age 19, Zündel displayed his Teutonic bravery by dodging the West German draft and wound up in Canada, where he met a local fascist and learned that none of his problems were his fault. No, to the contrary, he could easily blame the Jews and their covert incitement to hatred of Germans in Canada, because that totally makes as much sense as anything else the problem might be. So he started Concerned Parents of German Descent, to boldly stand against the rampant Germanophobia of the Canadian establishment, as expressed in all those Canadian camps for Germans, the endless pogroms, the seizure of property, the ghettos and relocations, illegalization of the German language, etc. He fought to ban Schindler's List for its unflattering depiction of the Nazis, and he even ran for Parliament as a campaigner for (presumably Caucasian) immigrants' rights. In the 1990's, he befriended and later married a fellow author and Holocaust denier Ingrid Rimland.
However, when it was exposed that Zündel was writing things like The Hitler We Loved and Why under a pseudonym, his public credibility imploded. His days of proudly defending his downtrodden people in viscerally Germanophobic Canada, and shamelessly whoring for attention, had only begun.
Crazy, deep crazy
Having nothing left to lose, Zündel began peddling loopy notions that caused even other neo-Nazis to take a step back and say, "Whoa, buddy; let's be reasonable" — and these are people for whom British Israelism and Lamarckism are par for the course.
With Germany's loss in World War 2 incompatible with the notion of the Aryan superman, Zündel wrote books claiming that Hitler was alive in Neu-Schwabenland, a secret Nazi base at the entrance to the Hollow Earth in Antarctica, and directing the wave of UFOs that the credulous had been "seeing" for decades. These were invented during the war but saved back for this covert phase in which Hitler lets the Jews think they'd won. In the 70s he offered people $9,999 seats aboard his swastika-emblazoned blimp, which he intended to fly to Neu-Schwabenland. The Nazi symbology was not to incite hatred, said Zündel, but rather peace — how better to let the Antarcticans know he was friendly, and not some Jew parasite? This crackhead theory was the basis of a Japanese PlayStation game, if you can believe it.
But Zündel's magnum opus of crazy, for which he suffered all his sad life, is Holocaust denial. He said all of it — there weren't that many Jews in Europe to begin with, all Hitler really wanted to do was deport them, the Zyklon-B was just for disinfecting corpses, there was no overt extermination order given at Wannsee, there are no mass graves, etc., etc., on and on, into the twilight of madness, pseudo-scholarship, and self-serving racist hyperbole that comprises this matter. He was a maestro of the subject, and probably the "movement's" greatest exemplar.
This is actually excellent for the rest of us.
Ernst Zündel used the following to convince people he's a crusader for truth that the Jews are just trying to suppress all the time.
Deportations and bannings
- Canada — denied citizenship, 1966
- Canada — banned from using the postal service, 1981
- Canada — denied citizenship, 1994
- United States - deported to Canada, 2003
- Canada — deported to Germany, 2005
- Canada — banned from re-entry, 2010
- United States — banned from re-entry, 2010
- Pipe bomb, 1984
- Arson, 1995
- Parcel bomb, 1995
Trials and imprisonments
- Private suit by a Holocaust survivor Sabina Citron
- Criminal trial for "spreading false news," 1985; conviction overturned on a technicality
- Criminal trial for "spreading false news," 1988; conviction upheld and then overturned in 1992
- Canadian Human Rights Commission investigation for promulgating hate online, 1997
- Detention for illegal immigrant status, 2003
- Attempt to be counted a refugee so as to avoid deportation to Germany, 2003; rejected
- Denying the Holocaust in Germany, 2005; convicted
- Imprisoned; Mannheim, Germany; 2007-2010
So, where is he now?
After his deportation to Germany in 2005, he was arrested and charged with 14 counts of inciting racial hatred. After his trial in 2007, he was sentenced to 5 years imprisonment, but was released in 2010. Canadian Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews reiterated that Zündel would not be allowed re-entry into Canada. Zündel stated that he would return to his family home in the Black Forest to recuperate from his prison experiences. His now shuttered "Zündelsite" fell into near total inactivity, consisting of a handful of links (many of which did not work) and promises of updates. His Toronto based publishing company, Samisdat Publishers, is long defunct.
- Archiv of ze official Zündelsite. Original ist kaput!
- Soaring Eagles Studio and Gallery, run by his wife Ingrid Rimland, where she also sells Zündel's books, DVDs, and prints of his artwork. (Original website is closed. Archive is available.
- "Off Your Knees, Germany!", a 2011 pro-Zündel documentary of his "struggling to restore the honor of his German people" while denying the Holocaust ever happened. (Posted on the Internet Archive).
- Zündel's second appeal overturned the section of the Criminal Code that made spreading false news a crime; the part of the Human Rights Act which he was found to have violated was later repealed with effect from June 2014.
- Holocaust denier tells refugee board he's known as 'Gandhi of the right' by Jennifer Kennedy (Published April 1, 2003; Updated April 18, 2018) The Globe and Mail.
- Franz Liebkind Villains Wiki
- Germany's Antarctic Claim: Secret Nazi Polar Expeditions by Christof Friedrich (i.e., Ernst Zündel) (1977) Samisdat Publishers.
- James Careless. "The Odd World of U.S. Shortwave".
- Confirmed by his own words.
- The Zündel Affair by Manuel Prutschi
- Persona 2, the one where you sword-fight Hitler inside of a UFO.
- Report that Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel dead at 78, but wife says he sounded fine