Waging and Winning the Information War
This document is part of the Journal of Historical Review periodical.
Use this menu to find more documents that are part of this periodical.
For some twenty years, Ernst Zündel was the leading force for Holocaust revisionism in Canada. With uncanny instinct for turning the tables against his attackers in the media and in the courts, Zündel converted his two trials for Holocaust “denial” in the 1980s into trials of Holocaust dogma. During those trials he commissioned the Leuchter report, won over David Irving, and compiled an unmatched trial record of revisionist research. Together with his wife, Ingrid Rimland, Ernst Zündel now lives and works in the United States. This essay is an edited version of the author’s lecture to IHR’s 13th conference (May 2000).
It’s a real pleasure for me to be here. I always love to come to an IHR conference, because it lets you put faces with names. For instance, this morning I met a lovely black lady, young, pretty. I soon found out that I’ve been talking to this woman for four or five years on the telephone. Only when she spoke to me did I realize, “Ah! This is my telephone partner, Anita!” So it’s nice to put faces with names. It’s one thing to go over thousands of names in your office, but then to come here and read people’s badges and think, “Imagine that! This white-haired man, that white-haired lady has been helping me with my court fights for two decades, and I’m meeting them face to face for the first time.” There is something very human, very touching about this, and I think that’s what has sustained me, the knowledge that we have loyal friends and comrades that year in, year out, tolerate your peccadillos.
UFOs to the Rescue
Professor Butz has always been a little leery of me, because in my distant past I published books on UFOs. What kind of a revisionist is that? And yet, whenever we needed help from Professor Butz – good advice, sound advice – he was always there. He forgave me that I was a little weird when it came to those books. But the Jewish side of the equation hasn’t forgiven me for my UFO books: there are two or three UFO sites on the Internet with fake Zündel names, spelled Z-u-n-d-l, that advertise my old UFO books to embarrass me. Well, I’m still getting orders for these books – from Iran, from Johannesburg, from Brazil – at 1972 prices, naturally. I simply photocopy the original German or English edition, which otherwise I couldn’t give away and which these Jewish people are advertising free of charge. You know, I’m a little embarrassed about these books myself, and yet, this way they’re selling for me. Am I to blame for filling a market niche?
I was interviewed by Errol Morris in Boston for Mr. Death, his film about Fred Leuchter. Errol Morris is a very gifted film-maker. He’s invented a camera he calls the “Interrotron.” It has a kind of glass plate in front of it, on which he appears to the person being interviewed while he’s off in another room. You look directly into the lens of the camera, and that creates an amazing effect. When you appear on the big screen, you’re talking directly to everybody in the audience, because the camera’s pointing right at you, and you’re looking right into the camera. It is totally different from being filmed by a video camera, which allows you to shift this way and that. As Morris put very good questions to me in his four-hour interview, it suddenly dawned on me that my initial Holocaust trials and revisionist publications were financed in considerable part by people who had bought my UFO books. There’s something for the ADL’s file! I realized, too, that Fred Leuchter winged his way to Poland on a sizeable donation from a lady who was one of my UFO fans, and who had bequeathed a substantial amount of money to me in 1985, with which I was able to pay much of my first trial. She came to me through the UFO books. All I’m telling you is that we revisionists have to be tolerant, not only of our opposition, but of ourselves. For where would Ernst have been without all that UFO money?
I want to thank Greg Raven, Mark Weber, Ted O’Keefe, Ron Gray, and all the others who helped make this conference possible. It is really important, really important. Many people have told me how invigorating this experience of coming together without hostility has been. Like all movements, and revisionism is a historical movement, we have what we Germans call Flügelkämpfe, factional rivalries. The nice thing about revisionists is that we have been really very tolerant of one another. What makes us pliable, viable, and dangerous to our enemies is that we’re not calcified and dogmatic.
John Sack has republished his book An Eye for an Eye. John and I had it out in four-hour sessions in which I told him, “John, you can’t publish this. It’s full of lies about Auschwitz from these Jewish ‘eyewitnesses.’” And yet, I’m quite glad to see that the book has been republished because this Jewish writer, John Sack, has for the first time provided the American public with a detailed description of the tortures and the humiliation and the suffering of German people in Silesia. When I assailed him with my criticisms, he was gracious enough, and he told me, “Ernst, I am just quoting what these people said.” And in a way, you see, the only choice he had was not to let them speak. What a one-sided book that would have been!
We revisionists are so tolerant that we say, “All right, John Sack, half of your book is historical bunk that’s been refuted by Faurisson and many other revisionists, but the other half book is worthwhile, and you are welcome in our midst.” That’s what I like about us. Or take Charles Provan: he used to believe in the gas chambers. Then he became a revisionist and he didn’t believe in them. The next time I hear from my friend Charles Provan, he’s telling me, “Ernst, I believe that you could put eight hundred people in a gas chamber at Treblinka.” “Charles,” I said, “come on now, somewhere down the road you’re going to have to recant once again, and you’re going to embarrass yourself” – although everybody has the right to embarrass himself. The fact that here we have a man who once believed in the gas chambers, then disbelieved, and then went back to believing in them doesn’t mean we’re going to bar the doors to him. Charles Provan does extremely good revisionist work in many other areas, and I have interviewed him several times for my radio broadcasts, which are heard all across the United States and Canada. I think that the IHR is quite correct in welcoming these two men here.
That brings us to David Irving. I’m not going to preempt David Irving’s time, but I think his recent trial is on everybody’s mind, and I think that we should all view it from the same vantage point. I want it understood that there is nothing that we can change about the Irving-Lipstadt trial. The verdict is in. The condemnation is shrill. Our enemies are dancing in the streets. They are virtually drunk with victory. To outsiders, to those of you who haven’t gone through trials this may seem frightening, and even ominous. But I can tell you that after every one of my many defeats in the courtroom, the headlines were as shrill. The condemnation was as vicious. They made my name dirt in Canada, which didn’t prevent total strangers from walking up to me on the street, shaking my hand, patting me on the shoulder, fumbling in their pockets, and pulling out some money: “Ernst, that’s for your case!” This after I’ve been condemned as the most evil neo-Nazi racist monster.
It’s no different with David Irving. David Irving has done excellent revisionist work on the Third Reich. Although he says, “I’m not a revisionist,” he means, perhaps “I’m not a gas chamber revisionist” – not that it helped him any. We know that, but I want to say that the concessions he made during the trial came as a shock only to us. To the man and woman in the street, who read the papers and listened to the newscasts, David Irving’s concessions were meaningless. Do millions of people in England watching the evening news care whether 97,000 people allegedly did, or didn’t die, in gas vans?
The larger picture is that, although we revisionists were disappointed, David Irving performed a sterling service. Take his cross-examination of that arrogant ignoramus, Jan Van Pelt. Reading the transcript, I wondered if David Irving had looked at Barbara Kulaszka’s book Did Six Million Really Die? to see how my attorney, Doug Christie, went after Raul Hilberg. That David Irving didn’t, to my knowledge, consult Mark Weber, or Dr. Faurisson, or Doug Christie, or Barbara Kulaszka, or Dr. Butz before he brought suit against Penguin and Lipstadt means he is his own man. We revisionists had no alternative but to help him. Although David Irving sometimes strikes me as a prickly customer, I try to help him because I have a tremendous amount of admiration for this battling, courageous, handsome, and occasionally reckless man.
Yes, it was a setback. Yes, it would have been nice to have won. Realistically, though, I don’t think there’s a single person in this room who thought David Irving had much chance of winning. If he had fought a hard-core revisionist case, the written record of the trial, the transcripts and expert reports, would have been more revisionist, more historically accurate – that’s really my only criticism. But it wouldn’t have altered the outcome: a judgment so injudicious in its ferocity and in its nastiness to this man that it raises doubts about our opponents’ self-confidence. I do not think that a system that feels secure in its power, let alone unassailable, would have needed to stoop to such personal vilification. The ad hominem attacks didn’t reflect the mindset of people who feel secure or all-powerful. They betrayed a nervous twitching, and a shrillness, and to me their gloating seemed a bit contrived.
The worldwide avalanche of publicity unleashed by this Englishman will trouble our enemies for a long time to come. I think they realize that David Irving has put Holocaust revisionism on the map, certainly in the English-speaking world. I have a collection of the newspaper coverage in England. Now, British newspapers are the old-fashioned type, large enough in dimension to sleep on, like the big ones we used to have here in North America. During the Irving-Lipstadt trial they often ran full-page headlines, an inch high or more, and many times David Irving, who is admittedly one formidable-looking, and handsome, man, looked out at British newspaper readers with his serious demeanor and his fountain pen poised as if it were about to lance a boil. To me, as a graphic artist, and yes, as a propagandist, it was an advertiser’s dream.
Certainly he lost. I lost, too. Had he won, the result would have been buried on page 34, in an article the size of business card. That’s what happened to me.When I lost, it was always front-page news. But revisionism got name-brand recognition during the Irving trial, big time. You see, if you couple a story with a picture, you get eighty percent more attention paid to it by readers. All that’s necessary in the short run, which is really the focus of modern merchandising, advertising, and propaganda, is brand recognition. There isn’t a literate newspaper reader in all of England or Australia, and I dare say Canada or America, who wasn’t confronted at one time or another with the story that this English historian, this English revisionist, an author who has written thirty-four books, believes that there is something drastically wrong with the Holocaust story. That quote of all quotes, “More people died on the back seat of Ted Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than died in the gas chamber at Auschwitz,” went around the world in so many translations it’s amazing. People will remember those words longer than they’ll remember the ludicrous idea that 97,000 people were gassed in experimental gas vans.
Today many people are aware that there is something wrong fundamentally with the Holocaust story, and these people were able to go directly to the Web sites. During my trials I prayed for the opportunity to share the courtroom transcripts with thousands of people on the outside. Imagine how many Englishmen, Americans, Australians, New Zealanders, South Africans, Jews went to David Irving’s Web site. It was addictive. For the first time, a trial was vicariously watched and analyzed by people around the globe, instantaneously. That was another benefit of the fallout from the Irving trial.
We will overcome the setback. There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that revisionism can do so. Our enemies are not all-powerful. They are human, and they can be defeated. This has just been proven by the South Lebanese Army fiasco in Lebanon. Now, you may say “Oh Ernst, that’s stretching it.” Well, let me tell you: it isn’t. The reason these Hezbollah people won is this: they fought an informational campaign. In all modesty, I must tell you that in 1981 I was banned from the Canadian mail for publishing a booklet called “The West, War, and Islam.” In it I had outlined to the Arab world: “Please don’t spend any more money on hand-me-down, worn-out American or British military equipment. It’s all garbage, and anyway, Israel always will get the state of the art in military hardware. You will never outgun these people in modern weaponry.”
Although the Arabs cannot reverse this gap in military technology, the Hezbollah found a way to fight back – with video cams and mini cams. They would go out with little patrols and film their guerrillas blowing up an Israeli truck with a rocket launcher. What a picture! Then they would take it to their community centers, and broadcast it over Arab television. The Israeli press, always hungry for sensational footage, would even play this Palestinian footage. So the Palestinians were able to reinforce their own people’s staying power by saying, “Look, we’re inflicting damage on the enemy,” with video footage. At the same time they were working on the Jewish mothers whose sons were serving in southern Lebanon, weakening their will to resist because they were watching trucks with Jewish soldiers in them being blown up. Thus it was the informational campaign that weakened the Israelis’ will to occupy Lebanon, even though they were armed to the teeth. These Palestinians managed to work on the mind of their enemies and virtually achieved what the Viet Cong achieved with Jane Fonda’s footage in the United States in the Vietnam War. What I told the Arabs in 1981 has come true. Don’t buy guns. Don’t buy machine guns. Don’t buy those rusty tanks or second-hand jets. Buy camcorders. Get on the Internet, and of course listen to Ernst’s short-wave broadcasts. The pen is mightier than the sword.
What happened in southern Lebanon was revisionism. They certainly revised the borders. The Israelis slunk back, and what did their Lebanese vassals – I hate to insult Quisling – find when they got to the Israeli border? Their former trainers and teachers had their guns trained on them; suddenly they were no longer welcome. The kids in the streets of Gaza are going to remember that. They’ll remember that Israel, too, has an Achilles heel. I wouldn’t want to be an Israeli military strategist or political planner just now, because there’s nothing that succeeds like success. Those teenaged Palestinian kids are going to say, “Our brothers up north did it, and we can do it too.” While Israel’s atomic stockpiles (which they don’t admit to but everybody knows they have) sit idle in the desert, the kids are going to create havoc with their rocks. The film from the camcorders will be broadcast from Arafat’s Palestinian television station, and it will go to work on the minds of Israeli mothers and Israeli veterans. Fatigue has set in, and Israel is an artificial creation. Israel as we have known it, that strutting, macho military power, throwing its weight around in the Middle East, may find itself humiliated, because there are so many Palestinians, so many Arabs, and so few Israelis. Nothing lasts forever.
While we build monuments to the six, five, four, three, one, million, whichever million you believe, in Eastern Europe, in the Baltic states, and in Belarus they’re building monuments to SS men. Latvian and Estonian veterans of the SS are marching down the streets of their capitals with people on the curb cheering and saluting them. You don’t hear much about that unless you’re attuned to Eastern Europe, but that too is revisionism, and revisionism there is a movement that is just beginning to gather steam. It delights me that Jürgen Graf has had so many revisionist texts, so many of his own books quietly published in Russia. I have very good contacts with Russian nationalist publications, and the original version of Did Six Million Really Die? has been translated, expanded, improved upon, published, and reprinted in Russia. We’ve given the financially strapped Russian patriots revisionist works – about the “Holocaust,” on my trials – in printing flats and on diskettes in Russian, so that all the Russian publisher has to do is run them off. As Jürgen said, there is an amazing thirst for knowledge and for understanding over there; and revisionists have more freedom in Russia than in the West. Can you believe that? We Western Europeans have always looked down on the “Russkies.” We’ve always had a superiority complex about the East. Yet they can teach us a lesson when it comes to freedom, and courage, too, because there is more freedom for revisionists in Russia today than there is for German or French or Swiss revisionists in Western Europe.
The Future and the Internet
So, as we look around the globe, things don’t look so dismal for us. Things actually look very good for revisionism. There’s the Internet: Dr. Faurisson was telling me that Ahmed Rami, a former military officer from Morocco, has a Web site, and that recently it had 500,000 hits in a two week period. Imagine that! One nice thing about the Internet is that while you’re sleeping, someone in Johannesburg or Brazil is looking at your Web site. Ingrid [Rimland]’s Zundelsite has just been completely revised. If you are Internet devotees, I suggest you go to the Zundelsite.org or Lebensraum.org. It’s amazing what you can do today with this technology, absolutely amazing.
Of course there are frantic attempts to censor the Internet. In a recent decision by a French court, Yahoo is facing a fine of $97,000 every day, if they don’t find some way of blocking information that gets to French people. No, I don’t know how this will all play out, but for the moment we are reaching millions, in the far-flung corners of the world. Ingrid puts out a daily bulletin, the ZGram. I’ve seen many of the letters that come in. A sheep farmer in Australia writes, “Dear Dr. Rimland, I’m not going out to tend my sheep before I’ve had my morning coffee and my ZGram.” There are people right in this room who have just met Ingrid for the first time, but have long been reading her ZGrams. The Internet allows for worldwide, almost instantaneous contact with people of different cultures, races, nationalities, ages. What an age we live in! Why should we despair? The Simon Wiesenthal Center, B’nai B’rith Canada, all these self-appointed censors are quaking in their boots at all the intelligent, computer-literate young people who go to revisionist sites to research their term papers. Many of them come to the Zundelsite for information, something that never happened before the Internet. It’s a phenomenal development, the democratization of information, the leveling of the playing field. Suddenly, on the computer screen, we look as important as any of the big boys.
As I must now share with you, last week was a tough one: I lost in court four times. In each instance, I’m required to pay my opposition’s legal costs. That hurts all the more because I hate to give money to the lawyers for B’nai B’rith Canada and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. These Jewish groups had appealed my victories of April 13, 1999, against the Human Rights Tribunal, and the judges saw things, not surprisingly to me, the way they did. The good news is that I’ve instructed my attorneys to ask for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court, because the cases that we have brought are very substantial cases that deal with fundamental issues, such as truth. The State has told me, “Truth is not a defense in this case.” Now, truth is fundamental to any civilized court of law; it is the rock upon which any justice system is built. Whenever you enter the witness box, you are brought a Bible and told to put your hand on it and to swear “to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God.” When they ask me to step into the witness box now, and to swear on the Bible, what do I say? “Yes, I, Ernst Zündel, will tell lies and nothing but lies – because truth is not a defense”?
I also lost my Security Intelligence Review Committee appeal. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service called me, without any foundation in truth or fact, a security threat to Canada. They delivered that smear in a note from the Minister of Immigration as I was rebuilding my house after it had been firebombed by Marxist terrorists. I was up on the third floor, ripping down the roof because it was completely charred. I looked down, and there was a man in a black suit handing a letter to one of my men. I didn’t even have a roof on my burned-out house. Two weeks later I was sent a parcel bomb. The arsonists and the bombers have never been arrested, but the government had the nerve to call me, a man who has spent forty-four years in Canada, and an absolute advocate of Gandhi’s non-violent protest methods, a security threat to that country. I have spent lots of money to reverse this disgusting labeling.
What’s behind it all is that my opponents have gone institution shopping. Until now, they have lost in every venue. They lost the postal hearings. They were unable to deport me. They convicted me of the crime of spreading “false news,” but I won on appeal in the Supreme Court. Finally, after losing every case against me, desperate to find a venue where they could prevail, they went to the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal. There they told me, “Truth is not a defense.” Dr. Faurisson testified there, Mark Weber was an expert witness. They can tell how vicious, humiliating, and unconscionable was the behavior of the (mostly Jewish) Human Rights Commission lawyers. One of my associates remarked jokingly, “There’s only one difference between these people and the mafia. They carry law degrees in their violin cases instead of Uzis.” In the end, they’re just as deadly. Their goal is to criminalize me, to convict me first before the Human Rights Tribunal, then before the Security Intelligence Review Committee, so that they can ship me off to the gulag of my native Germany.
Some people, even in our own ranks, have criticized me for spending too much money on court cases. A few have said that I’m addicted to the courtroom. Whoever believes that knows nothing about Ernst Zündel. I am the least prone to grace the inside of a court room. I cringe every morning I go to court. I’m an artist by trade. I’d much rather paint beautiful pictures. I’d just as soon study the Talmud as sit there going over words and phrases with lawyers. Every fiber of my being rebels against these court cases. But I had no choice: if I hadn’t fought them I wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t have been here in 1994. I would have been off to Germany in 1985, at the very latest, to suffer the same fate as Fredrick Töben, Günther Deckert, Udo Walendy, in a land where there is no justice. The victorious Allies saw to that after 1945.
I do not battle in the courts because I like to. Please understand that, just as I understand that there exists what I call empathy, and donation, fatigue. The latest cases that our enemies have hurled at us are now so convoluted, so twisted, so talmudic that I can no longer proclaim that I’m tilting directly at the Holocaust windmill. It is now so complicated that even I have to call my lawyer and ask, “Barbara [Kulaszka], please, can you explain to me what the heck this means?”
Like the Lilliputians tying up Gulliver and pinning him down, that’s what they’re doing to me. That’s what they plan for Jürgen Graf. It’s really a tribute to Dr. Faurisson that they have been after him for so many years, because they fear him – and they fear us. People who are self-assured, people who have the truth on their side, can tolerate history being written the way things actually happened. They don’t have resort to persecution. Most people understand that, so our struggle is worth fighting.
Doing What Needs to Be Done
Fred Töben was wondering whether he should return to Germany to appeal his sentence, at the risk of serving the rest of it. Well, I went back to Germany to appeal my conviction, because I’m one to fight when a principle is at stake. I went back, and they kept me there for five or six weeks. Finally, I had to fly back to Canada for a Supreme Court hearing four days before Christmas. Two days later I flew back to Germany just to be convicted, as I knew was going to happen anyway. So I paid $2,750 for a one-way ticket to Germany to get convicted. Yet, the court record is an important historical record. We are leaving a legacy to our people, to our children. We are also setting examples to those who watch us.
As for Fred Töben, I’ll give him some advice. I would not go back there to collect my conviction by Heiko Klein. There is nobody in this room, there is nobody in the revisionist movement that demands that you impale yourself on the fixed bayonets of the German repressive system. Now, Udo Walendy had the choice of leaving Germany before he went to jail. He could have gone to Spain. Many of you here know this white-haired, blue-eyed, ramrod-straight German: he said “Nein. I cannot do it.” He’s served his first term, and now, although he’s in his seventies, Udo Walendy is serving his second jail term, for nothing more than trying to bring truth to his German people. Ultimately it’s Fred’s personal choice, but to me there is no shame in recognizing overwhelming odds, so overwhelming that to attack frontally would be suicide. I don’t think it’s heroism to neutralize yourself. That’s my honest opinion. Conviction is a foregone conclusion throughout Europe. Things have gone so far that an Austrian revisionist, the engineer Wolfgang Fröhlich, has had to seek asylum in the Iranian embassy. Seeing Europe, that once great continent, sunk so low, its people seemingly unable to liberate themselves, instead wallowing in wealth and forsaking all principle, fills me with shame. It is our job to fight back, by ringing the bell for freedom wherever we can, as loud as we can, as long as we can.
In closing, Mark Weber asked me, “Where do you think the IHR should be going?” There is still so much work to be done, so many minds to be liberated, so many people to be informed. The liberation of the Western world can only come through information. Only information will liberate our people – and revisionism is the tool. I’m not saying we cannot improve on what we have been doing. But I’m quite sure now that the IHR has turned the corner, that things are looking up, and that our outreach programs will improve. New topics will be touched on. New blood is coming in. New thinkers are emerging. Younger people are joining. This is an exciting time, and we are going to lick these people.
"A people that does not know its own history cannot understand itself and its present. Only through an understanding of history can a people be fully aware of itself"
—Adalbert Stifter (1805-1868), German writer
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Waging and Winning the Information War|
|Sources:||The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 20, no. 1 (January/February 2001), pp. 30-35|
|First posted on CODOH:||April 18, 2013, 7 p.m.|