While Noam Chomsky was in MIT complaining that he wasn't getting enough op-ed pieces in the New York Times, Ernst Zundel was defending the indefensible in a Toronto courthouse and clearing the rubble in his firebombed house. While Aung San Suu Kyi was giving press conferences to a breathlessly waiting world, Ernst Zundel was serving five years in a German prison.
Truth is, it's one thing to be a feted and admired Nelson Mandela, it's quite another to be an isolated and despised Ernst Zundel.
But why his struggle is so important? Leaving aside the shining example of his courage, there is also the question of his message. The Holocaust not only defames the German people, it also defames pretty well everyone. I’m going to quote myself:
“The German and Austrian peoples who, we are told, conceived and perpetrated the slaughter; the Russian, Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, Rumanian, Hungarian, peoples etc., etc who supposedly hosted, assisted in and cheered on the slaughter ; the Americans, the British, the French, the Dutch, the Belgians, the Italians (but not the Danes and the Bulgarians) etc. who apparently didn’t do enough to stop the slaughter; the Swiss who earned out of the slaughter and the entire Christian world who, it seems, created the faith-traditions and ideologies in which the slaughter could take place – and now the Palestinian, Arab and Muslim peoples who seemingly want to perpetrate a new slaughter – in fact, the Holocaust oppresses the entire non-Jewish world and indeed much of the Jewish world as well.”
And not only that, it legitimizes the assaults on Palestine, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Iran - you name it. So there you go.
I'd read about Ernst and I'd written about him but it was only two years ago that I met him. He was soft-spoken, kind and gentle but every so often you could see the flash of steel. He'd just been released from prison and was engaged in rebuilding his ancestral home. It's a peasant's house in the Black Forest, in the heart of Germany - been there for two-hundred and fifty years - and it had housed his woodcutter father, his large family and the young Ernst. Never have I seen an edifice so rooted in the land. Like Ernst himself, it seemed to grow out of the soil.
Anyway, here's the first episode of the film. It was made by Ernst's wife, soul-mate and fellow struggler, Ingrid. Watch it and then watch the other episodes.