- Yesterday, I received my first letter from Ernst since
he was deported back to Germany - what a relief! I did not know what
to think or to expect - I must say that this letter has pretty much succeeded
to put my mind at lease.
- I am translating portions of it for my readers as best
as I can, but this is not a word-for-word translation - I don't have time
for a careful translation, and could not do a good job in any case, having
only a limited grasp of idiomatic German. I just wanted to let my readers
know how they can now contact Ernst - and what the rules and regulations
are so that he does not get in difficulty over careless correspondence.
- I kept private comments out. I noted above all that
there is not a word about Ernst's legal situation, and I assume he has
been told he can't discuss aspects of his upcoming trial. Please respect
that - and refrain from any sensitive political comments. Keep your letters
strictly on a personal level, just to be on the safe side.
- But do let Ernst know that he is not alone and not forgotten
- that millions care about him and watch every move his enemies will make
to somehow do him in.
- You will be able to read much between the lines in this
letter, as I have. When I think about how he was taken in style to Europe
after the hell-hole of Toronto and the abuse he had to endure in Canada,
I for one draw a conclusion or two. I am sure you will, too. If you have
comments about that, send them to me - not to him!
- Here is Ernst's letter...
- My temporary address:
- Ernst Zundel
- JVA - Mannheim
- D-68169 Mannheim
- Herzogenried Strasse 111
- March 4, 2005
- My Dear Ingrid -
- I write to you in German, even though I know that you
prefer and are more fluent in English, but the judge has explained to me
that letters in foreign languages take longer until they are read by the
censors because there is a dearth of (in our case) English-language prosecutors.
Germany is not a classical immigration country like Canada or America
where you find foreign speaking people on every corner and in every walk
- Also, dear Ingrid, try to write your letters in German.
You don't have to be embarrassed if you make mistakes because our destiny
does not hinge on such mistakes except in cases of court documents. In
that case, send them to [our lead attorney] because the rules for correspondence
are very, very strict. Also, no inserts in letters!
- I don't want to have any mistakes happening because here
we have different laws and habits. Speaking of correspondence, Toronto
was a dream compared to what is NOT allowed here - save your Priority Post
missives until further notice. Listen carefully to [the attorney's] advice
because I want to feel my way first [until I know what is allowed and what
- Listen and read carefully, Ingrid! (underlined)
- If I understood the judge correctly, while I am still
in investigative detention, I am not allowed to telephone with anybody
- not even you or [my sister], or my boys. The kind of lively correspondence
I enjoyed in Toronto is impossible here for the time being. Please, Ingrid,
tell that to my siblings and friends, also impress upon them to add nothing
[no inserts] in their letters. An exception are three [European] postage
stamps for standard letters, but no more. Otherwise, they will get confiscated,
and no one is helped that way.
- Now you will want to know what happened to me since we
talked for the last time the evening before my departure. A dramatic story
that fits perfectly into the snow storms of my dreams and into the movie
[you are working on].
- While I was still in the Detention Center in Toronto,
everything dissolved without a hitch, very efficiently, thanks to [one
of] the security chief[s] who fussed over me like my mother and treated
me with courtesy. Even my pencils, big and little, colors and all, were
allowed to be taken out by Joe [a friend] and Paul Fromm. Please request
them immediately via registered letter, as well as all those torn envelopes
and addresses from all corners of the world received during the week preceding
my departure. I received correspondence from Mongolia, Egypt, Tahiti,
and even Reunion, a small island near Madagascar. The letter from Mongolia
was from an international businessman who described how he had done a program
about my case in Seoul, South Korea, where the business community hadn't
heard about it yet.
- My being kicked out of Canada was not without its high
points. I had spent the entire weekend with letters and calls saying good-bye.
I called all attorneys from coast to coast, in Canada and in America -
even our "hillbilly" attorney. [Private joke!] Be sure to thank
him again! In case there are legal questions, have Anneliese [our translator]
take care of that because our cases in the US and Canada will proceed as
planned. According to our attorneys, our chances are still excellent there.
- I had not been told what time I would be picked up.
I worked throughout most of the night and even had somebody wake me after
only two hours of sleep so I could continue writing letters. I knew that
both Lufthansa and Air Canada were leaving about 19:00 p.m. and therefore
I assumed I still had time until noon. Well, as my mother always said,
we plan and God steers!
- At five o-clock in the morning there stood two uniformed
guards in front of my door to take me to the security chief for good-byes.
They kept hurrying me, but I wasn't ready! Thereupon, several of my guards
who had taken care of my needs for these past two years telephoned the
chief and told him that I needed additional time - and even helped me pack
- and away we went to check out!
- The day before, one of the captains had unleashed a rumor
that I was going to be deported back to the United States, which of course,
I did not believe, even though apparently the gullible ones did. Only
at that point did I realize that something strange was going on - my additional
body guards were all in civilian clothes!
- Outside there raged a typical Canadian blizzard. Only
with difficulty did we move along the road in several vehicles. I was
in a mini-bus with three civilian-clad officials. When I saw that we passed
the regular airport and aimed for the government/ministers' planes and
charter/executive jets, even several Lear jets - the kind the CIA uses
to fly its victims to the torture chambers - I made a weak joke to my RCMP
companion: "This looks as though we are talking about an Arar-type
rendition" - and at that point a big, impressive-looking man, mid-fifties,
informed me that for security reasons the government had rented a two-turbo
executive jet [?] for the enormous sum of $50,000. That's right! You
read right! Including two pilots and a Purser [?] who was responsible for
food, drinks etc.
- Normally these smallish bomber-jets [?] , 35 seats, are
in regional service and have a Europe-wide reach. For the convenience
of government executives there are built-in club-type swivel chairs, more
beautiful and convenient than first-class airline seats, with two pull-out
couches, a bar, television, DVD and CD players for approximately 12 persons.
- The plane flew flawlessly, without any noise. After
two years, I had my first real, heavenly coffee, lavish, magnificent food,
everything top notch, big fat strawberries, grapes as big as plums, all
kinds of southern fruit, chocolate, cakes, pies - it was just like Schlaraffia!
The Chief of the Canadian Deportation Department, a Mr. Morris, as well
as Mr. Mitchell, and an RCMP official, Shawn, who had accompanied me often
on the way to court as Chief of my seven-head body guards, were present.
The atmosphere was harmonious. We had fine conversations. They all knew
of my case. I was known to them since childhood, or they had learned of
me in high school and at university where my freedom of speech case was
part of the curriculum. They had all heard of me and studied me - there
was no lack of conversation topics. One of them mentioned that he would
tell his children and grandchildren that he was the one who had accompanied
me to Europe.
- We landed. Mr. Morris thanked me that I had caused no
trouble being picked up and boarded, whereupon Shawn, the RCMP man, added
that I had told the judge I would leave Canada under my own steam, should
the government decide against me. Awe all around! Averted eyes and uncomfortable
silence! I took that opportunity to make a little speech, thanked them
for their considerate treatment of me and shook everybody's hand, holding
their glance and giving them one last, firm what you call the "Zundel
- Looking out of the window, I saw police cars and "Bundesgrenzschutzautos"
[?] blue lights flashing, encircling and surrounding the jet from every
which direction. I was given a piece of paper from the JVA Mannheim with
the following: Zundel, Ernst. 24.4.39. Sex: Male. Religion: None.
Family status: Married. Nationality: Germany. Profession: None. I
tried to add, "Professional Prisoner", but that was not accepted.
"Retired" didn't count either.
- I was arrested on the soil of the Frankfurter Airport
on March 3, 2005 - one minute after midnight, one step removed from the
airplane ladder, again away from the main terminal, in the area where the
expensive executive planes are parked. Off we went, with blue lights flashing,
to the immigration screening area which I already knew from previous experience
- with one exception: most of the male and female officials could have
been my children or even grandchildren. Through my decades-long activism
on behalf of my homeland I have become a part of living history.
- There was much media attention. Everywhere there was
filming and photographing. Throughout, the officials conducted themselves
correctly - I would say even solicitously. I spent my first night in a
cell at the Mannheim Police station, a building with a magnificent entry
and an enormously hefty wood and iron door, reminiscent of an old German
castle. Generally, the architecture is wide-ranging and you can easily
infer which buildings were constructed before World War I and even before
the turn of the century, 1880-1910, to which this prison belongs as well.
The style of architecture is very close to my grammar school in the Black
Forest, which was started 1898 and finished 1902. I assume that this prison
was built around that time.
- The building itself is huge and massive, of sandstone,
and so precisely done in masonry that it is a joy to see such solid German
craftsmanship. The roofs are of tiles. Entryways are beautifully enhanced
and decorated, as are door and window frames. A feast for the eye, which
I enjoyed this morning during my one-hour walk in the yard. Prima! Finally
to be once again able to breathe fresh air outside on a sidewalk framed
on both sides with lawn! A relief in comparison to the cement and steel
of the past two years - only it was bitterly cold!
- A few pointers as to my accommodations. My cell - here
it is called a "holding room" - is as large as it was in Toronto,
with one magnificent difference - the window can be opened wide! I can
really air out my room! Magnificent! I have a white porcelain commode
with a plastic cover, like in a private German home. I have a huge porcelain
sink. Unfortunately only cold water. There is a real mirror, not the
barely functional strip of stainless steel in the shower in Toronto. I
have a real tooth brush with a real handle, I have regular soap, a wash
cloth, towels on hooks, my own shaving kit, even my own shaving soap (just
like in my youth, I shave cold) and I have a curtain enclosing my toilet.
It's not like in Toronto or the USA where there was no privacy whatsoever.
Also, apparently there is no peeping hole where one could be observed
24 hours a day like an animal in a cage! What I have seen so far here
in the JVA - I would say that the Americans and Canadians might take a
lesson from the Germans! I would think that it could get very hot in the
summer, for I have not seen any air conditioning; however, the walls are
almost three feet thick and ought to help to keep the place cool. Fred
Leuchter was imprisoned here for four weeks and was extremely unhappy because
of the old condition of the building. I must say that went on my nerves
even then, because old buildings are part of one's soil and culture, and
if one has to adjust a bit, I would say that is preferable to the hodge-podge
match box buildings of America or Canada!
- As the police were taking me through the city, I observed
easily more than one hundred different designs and styles - architectural
gems - across doors, gates, windows and even corners. Even different styles
in churches and an architecturally beautiful train station. All that is
- They have strange habits here about the food. For breakfast
you don't get coffee, tea, bread - nothing. All that is handed to you
the evening before. Most of the prisoners have a little gadget to heat
the water in a pot of stainless steel, about a pint in size. Twice a month
you can buy your own coffee and tea and, I assume, condensed milk, and
then you make your own breakfast. Since there is no refrigeration, it
is reminiscent of my childhood and youth after the war. Even the closet
that holds my clothes and the few food items looks a bit like the furniture
I remember used by us poor folks in those times. Many spoiled city clickers
might not like that, but for me it adds a touch of nostalgia.
- Lunch is interesting as well. It is being served, again
like in the war, in stacked stainless steel containers that keep everything
nicely hot - my first hot meals in two years. For supper we get wheat
or multi-grain bread, cheese, sausage - unfortunately no greens. However,
in ten days I can go shopping. I brought some Euros along; they suffice
for now; and I read in the prison paper that one can buy carrots etc.
- Regarding medical treatment: I was told that I will
get the same high blood pressure pills. Regarding my periodontal problems,
the prison doctor immediately prescribed the herbal products [I wanted].
That means that within 16 hours I was given something that I could not
get in two years in the US and Canada. I was even allowed to take it with
me to my cell. That was a relief!
- Fax this letter to my sons and siblings, Dr. F., Yvonne,
Klaus, etc. Save your time! I think of you! Steadfast in loyalty!
- Ernst Zundel