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Poisoning the Web: Hatred Online
Internet Bigotry, Extremism and Violence
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Holocaust Denial:
Ernst Zündel / Ingrid Rimland

Another longtime "revisionist," Ernst Zündel has been the leading Holocaust-denial propagandist in Canada for more than two decades. In the early 1970s, Zündel penned pro-Nazi materials under the name Christof Friedrich, including the book The Hitler We Loved and Why. In the late 1970s, ads for his Samisdat Publishers Ltd. in George Dietz's neo-Nazi Liberty Bell magazine (based in West Virginia) offered Holocaust-denial books for sale, and Zündel wrote articles for Liberty Bell and another Dietz publication, White Power Report. In the early 1980s, the German government named Zündel as one of the world's largest distributors of neo-Nazi material.

Mid-1995 marked the debut of the Zündelsite. Though Zündel, a German citizen, lives in Canada, the site has been hosted by an Internet Service Provider in California. Zündel has denied that he operates the Zündelsite. Rather, he claims, the site is run by his "webmaster," Dr. Ingrid Rimland of California. Currently, the site is called "Ingrid Rimland's Zündelsite" and declares, "the Zündelsite, located in the USA, is owned and operated by Dr. Ingrid A. Rimland, an American citizen."34 Regardless of who actually maintains the Zündelsite, its agenda is clearly that of its namesake.

From its first appearance on the Internet, the Zündelsite made its Holocaust denial agenda unambiguous, challenging assertions that there "was a Fuhrer order for the genocidal killings of Jews, Gypsies and others"; disputing the fact that gas chambers were "designed for the express purpose of targeting groups of human beings," and refusing to believe that "the numbers of victims claimed to have been killed are anywhere near the number of people who actually died in concentration camps of whatever cause." The site rejects claims that "World War II was fought by the Germans to kill off the Jews as a group," arguing that these are "deliberately planned, systematic" deceptions "amounting to financial, political, emotional and spiritual extortion."35

Early editions of the Zündelsite provided readers with Zündel's writings on "revisionism," including the text of his newsletters, book reviews and editorials.36 The site today focuses mostly on other sources of Holocaust denial propaganda, though it continues to sell audio and video tapes featuring Zündel.

The Zündel site contains an archive of daily "ZGram" E-mail messages sent by Ingrid Rimland to the site's supporters; almost a thousand messages are archived, dating back to early 1996. A passionate admirer of Zündel, Rimland shares his views on the Holocaust, seeing it as an extortion "racket" run by Jews for the purpose of financing Israel and humiliating Germany and Germans.

Both Zündel and Rimland lived through the defeat of the Nazis, and both lament it. Rimland holds high hopes that Holocaust "revisionism" will help revive the image of Hitler as a man who made Germany "the most progressive and advanced Nation of its time."37 In her view, teaching the facts of the Holocaust is emblematic of a systematic assault against people of German descent. "Holocaust teaching," she writes, "is...child abuse. It is adult abuse. It is ethnic abuse. I want to go on record that it is soul-abuse."38 Additionally, unlike many other Holocaust deniers, who go to great lengths to deny the anti-Jewish sentiment that fuels their views, Rimland has openly voiced her approval for anti-Semitism, calling it "a responsible and, indeed, unavoidable response to relentless provocation against the gentile culture and tradition conflicting with a Jewish culture and tradition."39

In recent "ZGram" messages, Rimland promoted her privately published fictional trilogy of novels, Lebensraum, available for sale at the Zündelsite. Michael McMillen, a friend of Rimland's whom she portrays as a "mainstream editorial writer," describes her purpose when he writes in reference to Holocaust denial: "If a movement is to gain popular must be embodied in art."40

In spite of McMillen's claims that "the anti-Judaism expressed by some characters" in Rimland's books does not reflect the author's feelings about Jews, Rimland's anti-Semitism clearly infects her books. The heroes of Lebensraum, like Rimland herself, are Ukrainians of German descent who "fight to preserve their own race" and look to Hitler as "their liberator and protector from Communist terror." Like Rimland, her characters trace evil and suffering to a Jewish conspiracy; they consider the Second World War a "fratricidal" conflict where "brother killed brother for alien interests," namely, those of "international Jewry."41

The Zündelsite also reprints a book originally published by Zündel's Samisdat press: the infamous "Leuchter Report." Despite the fact that he has publicly acknowledged his lack of scientific credentials, Fred Leuchter claimed to have taken scientific "samples" from death camp gas chambers that prove they could not have been used to exterminate people. Notwithstanding the discredited nature of Leuchter's work, deniers like Zündel still pass his report off as fact, and the IHR continues to market it as "essential revisionist reading." Also posted at the Zündel site is the fallacious "Rudolf Report," by German "scientist" Germar Rudolf, which defends Leuchter's work. Rudolf also claims to have taken "samples" from masonry in gas chambers and found no trace of poison gas.

Another Web site that presents "proof" that mass gassings did not occur at Nazi death camps is Air Photo Evidence, created by Canadian John Ball. Ball's site is unique in that, unlike most Holocaust-denial sites, it utilizes the Web's audiovisual capabilities. Based on aerial photos of Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, and Majdanek, Ball declares it "irrational to believe mass murders could have been conducted for even one day in the visible corners" of these "busy work camps." To convince readers of his position, he presents extensive photographs, diagrams, and video clips of such camps accompanied by an audible, spoken narration. The distortion of visual evidence has long been a tactic of Holocaust deniers.

Next: David Cole / Roger Garaudy

34 Zündel site homepage, retrieved November 1998

35 Mission Statement from the Zündel site, retrieved November 1998

36 Zündel Chronology (part 10), from the Zündelsite, retrieved November 1998

37 "ZGram," Ingrid Rimland, June 26, 1996, retrieved from the Zündel site November 1998

38 "ZGram," Ingrid Rimland, June 5, 1996, retrieved from the Zündel site November 1998

39 "ZGram," Ingrid Rimland, June 20, 1998, retrieved from the Zündel site November 1998

40 "ZGram," Ingrid Rimland, December 1, 1997, retrieved from the Zündel site November 1998

41 "ZGram," Ingrid Rimland, December 3, 1997, retrieved from the Zündel site November 1998

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