German neo-Nazi on trial for denying Holocaust
8 November 2005
MANNHEIM, GERMANY – The trial in Germany of a neo-Nazi whose U.S. website has glorified dictator Adolf Hitler and heaped abuse on Jews came to a halt Tuesday only hours after it began, with defence lawyers for Ernst Zuendel, 66, accusing the judge of bias.
Zuendel, who has lived in North America for most of his life, is accused of denying the Holocaust.
Presiding judge Ulrich Meinerzhagen of the state court in Mannheim, southwestern Germany threw a prominent German far-right lawyer, Horst Mahler, out of court on the grounds that he had been disbarred. Mahler moved under protest to the public gallery.
A second lawyer, Sylvia Stolz, was denied state legal-aid funds. The judge said she had herself incited hatred towards Jews in a 100- page court filing that sought to have the case dropped.
Zuendel’s lawyers responded with an application to have judge Meinerzhagen removed from the case on the grounds of “bias”.
The court was adjourned before the charges – of incitment to ethnic hatred, criminal insult and disparaging the dead – could be read.
Fellow judges from the same court will hear the challenge against the judge and issue their ruling on Tuesday next week.
Neo-Nazi Zuendel, who emigrated from Germany to Canada in 1958 and later moved to the United States, was deported back to Canada in 2003 for alleged immigration violations. Canada put him on a plane to Germany in March this year.
His book, “The Hitler We Loved and Why”, and U.S. online shop distributing Nazi posters and tracts have outraged Germans.
The court is to hear details of his website and how it attacked Jews and encouraged persecution.
Because of U.S. constitutional free-speech rules, he was not charged in the United States. But as a German national, he can be prosecuted in his homeland for crimes committed on foreign soil.
After Stolz was informed that she was not eligible to appear as a legal-aid lawyer, Zuendel told the court he would engage her as his number-three private counsel for the trial. Stolz accused the court of trying to “muzzle” the defence.
Another lawyer, Juergen Rieger, contended that Mahler, whose former clients include the far-right Nationalist Democratic Party (NPD), was only in court as a legal clerk to marshall the evidence.
But the judge warned that Mahler was committing an offence by appearing with the legal team after a tribunal had withdrawn his licence to practise law. The judge told Stolz that she too could be prosecuted, for incitement to ethnic hatred.
Subject: German news