The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: people/p/prutschi.manuel/zundel-affair/za-06

Subject: The Zundel Affair: A Report by Manuel Prutschi (6/11)


Propaganda Techniques and Activities

Most of Zundel's material takes the form of circulars, leaflets and
letters, including letters to the editor: occasionally, he also
issues questionnaires. Some of his organizations have distinctive
letterheads, e.g., Concerned Parents of German Descent, which
features a pre-adolescent blonde girl against a dark background,
curled up, fragile and fearful, with a teardrop descending from each
eye. The pathos-inspiring caption underneath reads, "HELP US." The
German-Jewish Historical Commission sports an imperial eagle in the
top left comer and a Star of David on the right.

Zundel's style is also distinctive: a tightly packed text, sometimes
with press clippings and commentaries appended. His mail-order
operation purveys books, pamphlets, tapes, video cassettes, films,
records and art. There are homemade audio-visual productions. as well
as tapes of media interviews in which the self-appointed defender of
Germany's honour is the star attraction. Fantasy in space, as well as
fantasy in history, is included, with such titles as UFO'S - Nazi
Secret Weapon? or Little Known UFO Sightings from Around the World.

The catalogue also shows that Samisdat serves as a clearing-house for
Holocaust denial publications from all over the world. Authors
represented are the Americans, Arthur Butz, with his The Hoax of the
Twentieth Century, and Austin J. App, with his The Six Million
Swindle; the Briton Richard Harwood, with his pamphlet Did Six
Million Really Die?; the Germans, Udo Walendy, with (among other
titles) Truth for Germany: The Guilt Question of the Second World War
and Thies Christophersen, with his Auschwitz: Truth or Lie; the
Frenchman Robert Faurisson, with his taped presentation ("in slide
show form") on the "fraudulent character of the gas chambers"; and
the Swede Ditlieb Felderer on videotape with The Anne Frank Diary
Hoax. For US$10, one can obtain South Africa Today, in which life in
the last white bastion in Africa is described as it "really is."[61]

A great deal of Nazi material can be ordered, especially tapes of
Hitler's speeches with a "simultaneous English-language translation."
One can hear "the man whose voice captured the hearts and minds of
millions of enthusiastic supporters." Other Nazi offerings include
the movie Triumph of the Will, which is advertised as "The Third
Reich's Version of the Woodstock Festival." For only $10, one can
purchase Hitler Declares War on Poland or Hitler Declares War on
America; one can also purchase "Hitler's sad but powerfully prophetic
final broadcast from Berlin on January 1 1945." Besides Nazi
speeches, the Music of the Third Reich can be obtained, offering "old
favourites" like the "Horst Wessel Lied," and the "Badenweiler
March," described as "Hitler's favourite."

One can further assuage one's penchant for Nazi melodies with "Black
shirt and Brown shirt Stormtrooper Songs and Marches." Art is also
available; the Nazi aficionado can obtain for two dollars "large,
beautiful illustrations of Nazi Secret Weapons suitable for framing."
Devising a symbol based on the old runic form of the letter "Z," the
ingenious artist-entrepreneur has marketed his own creation as
"Thor's Warrior Belt Buckle," which comes with an "embossed Lightning
Bolt of Thor," and the "Amulet of Thor," depicting "Thor's Lightning
Bolt within the Sacred Sun Symbol." In both cases, the lightning bolt
is the letter "Z."

Canadian politicians, both federal and provincial, were bombarded
incessantly by Zundel. Elections provided special opportunities to
canvass both incumbents and other candidates hungry for office.
Another favourite target group was the media: on the whole, however,
Zundel has been unsuccessful in his efforts to employ the media as a
vehicle for the promulgation of his views. From time to time, he
enjoyed modest success, usually in one of the smaller outlets. Thus,
for example, in October 1979, a substantial letter to the editor from
the tireless propagandist was printed in The Mirror of Middleton,
Nova Scotia. This prompted a reply from an expatriate American living
in Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia. Ms. Barbara Bachrach Taylor, who
questioned the editorial decision to publish Zundel, characterizing
his letter as "very disturbing in many ways to many people in the
community," and proceeded to answer it.[62] On another occasion, in
June 1981, a Niagara Falls radio station put him on a three-hour
phone-in program.

Zundel also distributed his material to libraries and schools across
Canada. Invariably, the recipients contacted the Canadian Jewish
Congress with expressions of concern. In late 1978, when a copy of
Butz's "The Hoax of the Twentieth Century" was mailed to a junior
high school principal in Toronto, and when it was discovered that
other mailings were being planned, the Toronto Board of Education
alerted all elementary and high school principals under its
jurisdiction. Apart from sundry individuals and organizations, Zundel
acquired a steady list of subscribers numbering between 700 and 800
in Canada.[63] His Canadian mailing list, however, pales in
comparison to his infiltration of the antisemitic market in the
United States. Here alone, he claims a mailing list of 29 000,
although it is unclear as to whether this includes about 10 000 radio
and TV stations. As part of his North American promotion campaign, he
has placed full-page advertisements for Samisdat Publications in such
magazines as Soldier of Fortune and Saga; he advertised also in
Marvel Comics, until its pages were closed to him.[64]

Outside of North America, West Germany constitutes his principal
target, where (as in Canada) his mass mailings are aimed at
parliamentarians. In December 1983, he sent the book "Allied War
Crimes" to all members of the West German parliament, acquiring in
his homeland an ideologically sympathetic clientele for his mail
order business. In December 1980, the Parliamentary Secretary of
State for the Federal Ministry of Finance announced in the Bundestag
that. between January 1, 1978 and December 30, 1979, "200 shipments
of a right wing extremist and neo-Nazi content...books, periodicals,
symbols, decorations, films, cassettes, records...came overwhelmingly
from Canada."[65] He added that, as a result of similar shipments
during the first half of 1980, prosecutions were being considered.

On April 23, 1981, in a letter to the Canadian Jewish Congress, an
official of the Ministry of Finance in Bonn identified the source of
these materials as "Samisdat Publishers, 206 Carlton Street, Toronto,
Ontario, Canada M5A 2L1."[66] A story on Simon Wiesenthal in the New
York Times Magazine of May 3, 1981, provides a particularly telling
example of how Zundel's mailings filter through German society and
beyond. A Dutch tourist, vacationing in Upper Austria, was supplied
with antisemitic material by a gas station attendant, who, in turn,
had obtained the writings from a friend who was a Samisdat

Canada, the United States, Germany and Europe do not comprise the
limits of Zundel's reach: Australia is also within his orbit, as is
the Middle East. In the summer of 1981, 400 tapes in the Arabic
language apparently were shipped to opinion-makers in Arab lands.[68]
Zundel's claim to be in touch with people in 45 to 47 countries in at
least 14 different languages is not impossible: an impressive
operation indeed! This propaganda mill is by no means an altruistic
enterprise. While much of the material is mailed unsolicited, much of
it, together with his vast mail order enterprise, generates funds.
Police sources estimate that a steady income ranging between
$60000-100000 per annum comes from his empire.

Moreover, he has frequently appealed directly for money. A report of
the West German Ministry of the Interior reveals that, in one
fund-raising campaign in 1980, Zundel raised close to 100000 German
marks (the equivalent of $50000).[69] Even this estimate may be too
modest. In one of his own publications in 1981, he pooh-poohed the
German magazine Der Spiegel for guessing that his total annual budget
amounted to 100000 marks, countering indignantly that "Samisdat has
long ago exceeded the figure...for no organization that spans the
world and reaches forty-five countries can manage with so low a

An enterprising and ambitious man, Zundel regards himself not only as
a businessman and publisher, but also as an intellectual and author.
Certainly, he is not unintelligent. His mission is both practical and
theoretical, combining his flair for organization with his flair for
drama and exhibitionism. One forms an impression of an impresario - a
P.T. Barnum of Holocaust denial. Various circuses are staged at his
home, grandeloquently described in publicity literature as "Samisdat
Lecture Hall." His guest performers have included R.G. Dommerque (or
Dommergue) from France and J.J. Burg from West Germany. Other
speakers have been Frank Walus from the United States and Mrs. Rost
Von Toningen, described as the "wife of the former financial genius
and Finance Minister of Holland." Zundel both arranged their public
appearances and acted as publicity agent. setting up media
interviews, etc.

Zundel's activities as an impresario are not restricted to Canada. As
early as the late summer of 1979, he was engaged (as Ernst Christof
Friedrich Zundel) in organizing a North American speaking tour and a
"historical symposium" for what he referred to as his "Samisdat Truth
Squad."[72] The projected itinerary was ambitious, including Los
Angeles, Las Vegas, Flagstaff, Denver, Topeka, Kansas City, St.
Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Buffalo, New York, Philadelphia and
Washington. There is no indication that it ever took place. but
Zundel, undaunted, planned a similar venture for his "flying
truth-squads" through his German-Jewish Historical Commission several
years later.[73] Although the impresario might appear more comic than
criminal, the image of buffoon is undoubtedly a device to disarm. It
is evident that Zundel's ideas are toxic, his modus operandi
carefully conceived, his connections in Canada and elsewhere most
unsavoury and the consequences of his presence and his activities
potentially dangerous.

An inkling of this danger was unearthed on March 24, 1981, in what
The Toronto Star described as "the biggest crackdown on neo-Nazis
since West Germany was founded in 1949."[74] West German police,
raiding hundreds of homes of German neo-Nazis, discovered weapons,
ammunition and explosives, as well as tens of thousands of copies of
Zundel-type and Zundel-produced material, including, among other
things, the diary of the top neo-Nazi leader, Manfred Roeder. Roeder,
an ex-lawyer incarcerated in West Germany as a terrorist killer,
claimed an organized network of radical right adherents stretching
across 35 countries. His diary mentions Zundel. 

The report of the Ministry of the Interior in West Germany 
identified Gary Rex Lauck, George Dietz and Ernst Zundel as 
important North American contacts of the West German radical right 
and its principal suppliers of neo-Nazi
and antisemitic propaganda. Lauck of Lincoln, Nebraska, is the leader
of the American Nazi Party; Dietz, of Reedy, West Virginia, is a
leading American white supremacist; Zundel, of course, has published
in Dietz's publications, and has admitted that Dietz has visited his
Toronto home.[75] There is a sinister aspect to these connections. As
the propagandist himself has reported, he was once visited by the
police who, in his words, "were looking for persons who might be on
my mailing list who were wanted for murdering a certain person of
Hungarian birth in Missouri. The murdered man was a National
Socialist and possessed many of my writings."[76]


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