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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 November 2005, 18:01 GMT
German Holocaust denier on trial
Holocaust denier Ernst Zuendel in court
Ernst Zuendel has said his struggle will not end despite the charges
A German Holocaust denier who has regularly lavished praise on Adolf Hitler has gone on trial in Germany.

The case was delayed as soon as it had started, when the judge dismissed a member of Ernst Zuendel's defence team for having a racist conviction.

Mr Zuendel, 66, moved to Canada in 1958 but was judged a national security threat and deported earlier this year.

He denies inciting racial hatred and spreading Nazi propaganda. He faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

Mr Zuendel once published a book called The Hitler We Loved and Why, and described the former Nazi leader as "a decent and very peaceful man".

Denying the Holocaust is a crime in Germany.

In a 20-page charge sheet, Mr Zuendel is accused of using "pseudo-scientific" methods to try to rewrite the accepted history of the Nazi Holocaust, in 14 pieces of written work and internet publications.

He is charged with incitement offences, as well as libel and disparaging the dead.

He denies the charges, asserting his right to free speech, and questions the constitutionality of the laws being used against him.

Calm

In court in the western German city of Mannheim, Judge Ulrich Meinerzhagen dismissed Mr Zuendel's defence lawyer Horst Mahler on the grounds that he was barred from practising earlier this year, and had been convicted of incitement for distributing anti-Semitic propaganda.

Fellow defence lawyer Juergen Rieger complained: "These are measures not even used in the gulags in the Soviet Union."

The defendant's supporters in the gallery cried "Shame!"

Mr Zuendel appeared calm in court, wearing a dark suit and a light shirt.

The judge told him he must also answer charges of denying the Holocaust after claiming that the death camps were merely a Jewish plot to extort money from post-war Germany.

His wife, Ingrid Rimland, described the charges against him as "politically tainted".

On the move

His appearance in Mannheim was the climax of a lengthy effort by German authorities to bring him before a court.

He was arrested and fined 6,400 euros (4,300) in 1991 on a previous visit to Germany.

Supporters for the German Holocaust-denier Ernst Zundel rally outside the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles
US supporters of Zundel opposed his extradition to Germany
In 1988 he was convicted in Canada of "knowingly publishing false news" after issuing a leaflet carrying the title Did Six Million Really Die?

But in 1992, the Supreme Court struck down the "false news" law on the grounds that it violated freedom of expression.

Mr Zuendel, who never managed to obtain Canadian citizenship, moved to the US in 2001 but was later deported back to Canada for allegedly violating immigration laws.

Germany obtained an international warrant for his arrest in 2003, but it was two years before Canada judged him to be a security threat and ordered his deportation.


SEE ALSO:
Canada expels Holocaust denier
01 Mar 05 |  Americas
Learning lessons from history
28 Sep 05 |  UK Politics


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