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No criminal charges have been brought against Zündel. His supporters are having a field day with that, and I don't blame them.

Toronto Sun

Toronto, Canada, Sunday, January 25, 2004


Dictates of freedom

By Marianne Meed Ward
Toronto Sun

HOLOCAUST denier Ernst Zündel will continue to "enjoy" the hospitality of the Metro West Detention Centre for the forseeable future. A judge ruled last week that he must remain behind bars until it's determined whether he's a threat to national security. If so, he could be deported to Germany.

Zündel has been in jail since last February [2003] under a special security certificate. No criminal charges have been brought against him. His supporters are having a field day with that, and I don't blame them. When we are willing to trade off personal freedoms (as in the freedom to be released or charged) for security, we're getting pretty close to -- dare I say it -- Nazi Germany, the regime that committed the very wrongs that Zündel denies.

How ironic. It's also ironic that Zündel and his lawyers are appealing to notions of justice that were patently absent to citizens in Hitler's Germany. National security

From a national security point of view, though, it may not matter where Zündel ends up. The concerns about him are based in part on the contents of a Web site Zündel ran. He could run the site from anywhere.

Besides, there are many people like Zündel in Canada with a lower profile (so they're still on the streets) but with views just as vile. I know, because every time I write about the Holocaust, or anything related to Jews, I hear from them. All their twisted theories about what did and didn't happen in those dark years of Hitler's Germany, about how many really perished, about whether there even were gas chambers, and about an ongoing global Jewish conspiracy.

The best defense against people like that is not banishment but education. Unless we know our history, we're much more susceptible to the distortions, twisted logic and outright lies of those who deny history for their own purposes.

If you really want to know about Nazi Germany, the best place to start is The Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich by William Shirer, a journalist who covered Hitler's Germany. The book is based on millions of pages of documents recovered after the war. Those, as well as extensive video and eyewitness testimony, prove the truth of the Holocaust.

But supporters of Hitler also rely on a number of lesser myths and distortions to build their case that the Holocaust itself is at best an exaggeration. These myths are intended to persuade us that Hitler wasn't all that bad. Here are just two:

  • Myth No. 1: Hitler was democratically elected. Here, context is everything. Democracy then isn't what it is now. Throughout it's short life, the Reichstag was hopelessly divided among a half-dozen or so parties. In the 1930s, national elections were called every few months because Parliament was deadlocked. Each time, Hitler's private police -- the S.A. (brownshirts) and later the S.S. (blackshirts) went to work, breaking up meetings of opposing political parties, and harassing opponents. When the Enabling Act -- giving Hitler supreme powers -- was passed March 23, 1933, members of other parties had either been arrested, refused admittance to the Reichstag or terrorized into voting with the Nazis. Some "democracy."
  • Myth No. 2: Christianity supports Nazism. Unfortunately, the writings (more like rantings) of German theologian Martin Luther, the founder of Protestantism, were virulently anti-Semitic. He wanted Germany purged of Jews, and advised that their possessions confiscated, "their synagogues or schools be set on fire, that their houses be broken up and destroyed ... and they be put under a roof or stable, like the misery and captivity as they incessantly lament and complain to God about us." That advice was literally followed four centuries later by the Nazis.

But many Christians fought the Nazis. About 3,000 pastors formed a Confessional Church in opposition to Hitler's racial theories, treatment of Jews, and attempts to dictate doctrine.

One minister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, participated in a failed assassination attempt against Hitler, and paid with his life. Hundreds of pastors in the Confessional Church were arrested before and during the war, including [Martin] Neimoller who spent seven years at Dachau before being freed by the Allies.

By 1941, one of Hitler's aides said, "National Socialism and Christianity are irreconcilable." That's one of the few true statements to come out of Nazi Germany.

When we know the real history of Nazi Germany, the words of people like Zündel can't hurt us.



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