- On Tuesday morning, roughly 80 supporters of Ernst Zündel
and 35 representatives of the media met at the Regional Court Mannheim,
a court notorious for its zeal and fervour in persecuting Revisionists.
The atmosphere was extraordinarily pleasant, the supporters having come
from as far as Canada, the UK, France and Switzerland. Following the usual
security procedures by the police, who were very friendly indeed, the hearing
began shortly after 09.00 when the judge, Dr. Meinerzhagen, his two colleagues
and two jurors entered the courtroom. Ernst Zündel, wearing a blazer
and tie, made a healthy and confident impression; he was represented by
Miss Sylvia Stolz, whom Ernst Zündel had appointed as his mandatory
lawyer, as well as Jürgen Rieger and Dr. Herbert Schaller (Austria)
as his lawyers of choice. Miss Stolz' assistant was Horst Mahler. Ernst
Zündel was thus represented by possibly the most experienced and highly
qualified team of lawyers for dealing with Holocaust persecution and nationalism.
- The judge opened the hearing by taking down Ernst Zündel's
name, date of birth, profession and address. Having done so, Dr. Meinerzhagen
proceeded to attack the defence team, by first reading out aloud Horst
Mahler's prohibition to practice his profession that had been passed by
the Local Court Tiergarten, and extensively quoting Herr Mahler's remarks
on Revisionism, the Jewish Question and the status of the German Reich.
He then demanded that Herr Mahler be relieved of his appointment as Miss
Stolz' assistant. Sylvia Stolz pointed out that owing to the fact that
Horst Mahler was not acting as a lawyer but merely as her assistant there
were no grounds for dismissing Herr Mahler. The judge retorted that it
would seem that Mahler's influence on the defence is considerable, to which
Sylvia Stolz replied that it is alone her business which writings she makes
use of in her defence and that this is her responsibility. Upon this, the
judge threatened to have Herr Mahler removed by force and put into custody
for a day.
- The public shook their heads with disbelief at hearing
this. At this point, Jürgen Rieger pointed out that such attacks against
the defence had not even taken place in the Gulag. As Sylvia Stolz continued
to be persistent in having Mahler as her assistant, the judge ordered the
police to remove Mahler from the courtroom, at which point (the guards
were already standing behind Horst Mahler) Miss Stolz stated that as it
was her decision, not the court's, and that seeing as they were being coerced
by force, she would herewith relieve Mahler from his duty as assistant.
Mahler then took a seat in the public area. All this caused an uproar from
the public provoking the judge to threaten to lock the public out.
- Dr Meinerzhagen, however, was merely warming up.
- The judge then read out the court decision from 07.11.05
where it was decided that the petition of the defence to have Zündel
released from custody for the time being until the Federal Constitutional
Court decides whether §130 Penal Code (Holocaust muzzle) is congruent
with §5 Basic Law (freedom of opinion and speech) was refused. The
judge then made it clear that all "incitement to hatred" by the
defence would be vigorously suppressed and then stated that the defence
was using terms and stating matters which where endangering the defence
of being itself accused of violating §130 Penal Code. He here said
that he would not listen to "pseudo-scientific views since the Holocaust
is a historically ascertained fact" (this caused the public to roar
- Dr Meinerzhagen continued by saying that he was not sure
that Sylvia Stolz is suited to being Ernst Zündel's mandatory lawyer
as she was likely to make herself guilty of the violation of §130;
furthermore, since Ernst Zündel was thus likely to lose his mandatory
lawyer, which would slow the proceedings down, the status of Miss Stolz
as his mandatory lawyer is to be revoked.
- After Zündel made it clear that he wishes to be
represented by Miss Stolz, the court took a break to deliberate on this
issue. After its deliberation, the court revoked Miss Stolz' appointment
as Ernst Zündel's mandatory lawyer. Dr Meinerzhagen then proceeded
to say that Jürgen Rieger was not suited as the mandatory lawyer of
the accused either, because it is known that Herr Rieger is of Revisionist
opinion and it is to be feared that he would not be properly objective
in the matter. The judge here cited examples from Jürgen Rieger's
past - facts which he obtained by breaking the data protection laws as
Rieger then pointed out.
- Moving on to Dr. Schaller, the judge stated that he too
was not suited to be Zündel's mandatory lawyer either, since owing
to his old age it could not be guaranteed that Dr. Schaller would be up
to the job. In his ensuing, powerful and brilliantly delivered statement,
Jürgen Rieger drew the judge's attention to the fact that Konrad Adenauer
had been well into his 70s when first elected as chancellor of Germany,
this as well as many other statements again causing the public to voice
their approval, giggle and laugh.
- The purpose of the Judge was all to obvious: by eliminating
Ernst Zündel's brilliant defence team he would be able to appoint
a mandatory defence lawyer of his own choosing, one who would not make
any petitions or place motions to hear evidence, but who would act in accordance
with Dr. Meinerzhagen's designs. The defence, however, refused to be intimidated
by these actions.
- After having eliminated the possibility of Zündel
having a mandatory lawyer of his preference, the judge asked how the matter
was to be continued, to which the accused stated that he would dismiss
his third lawyer of choice (Bock, not present at the hearing) and would
take Sylvia Stolz, Jürgen Rieger and Dr. Schaller as lawyers of choice.
(Note: In hearings before a regional court, German law requires that the
accused have a mandatory lawyer; the accused may also have up to three
lawyers of choice). Rieger then pointed [out] that such a decision ought
to be left to the bar, and Miss Stolz added that since the court desires
to have a mandatory lawyer who has Ernst Zündel's trust, the court
ought to act accordingly, unless, of course, the court has other things
in mind. At this juncture, the hearing was interrupted for 90 minutes to
allow for lunch.
- During the lunch break, the defence lawyers as well as
the public prosecutor gave interviews to the media. During an interview
with the latter, one of Zündel's supporters, Dirk Heuer, asked the
public prosecutor in front of the cameras: "How can you sleep at night?"
The police led him away on the spot.
- After lunch, having again been through the security screening
(the police officials becoming increasingly amicable), we returned to the
courtroom. Jürgen Rieger then proceeded to read out a petition that
the court is prejudiced. The eloquence and emotional power of Rieger's
statements can only be hinted at. After Rieger finished, Sylvia Stolz made
a statement, saying that the defence was being publicly threatened not
to state anything forbidden by the court, and that this is an outrage and
that such thoughts could only be the fruit of a sick mind. Miss Stolz then
petitioned to exclude the public from further hearings on the grounds that
the defence was being threatened by the court of being persecuted for violation
of §130 Penal Code. (Note: This paragraph only comes into effect when
the "crime" is perpetrated in public; by excluding the public,
the defence would be able to voice "forbidden thoughts" without
being liable for persecution). Sylvia Stolz continued by saying that should
the court wish to have a public trial, the defence team would be in grave
danger of persecution.
- The court then decided to go into recession until Tuesday
- On leaving the courtroom, the sympathy of the police
who had been present throughout the hearing was extraordinary - expressions
of support, pats on the back, etc.
- All in all, the day was a huge success. Dr. Meinerzhagen
clearly showed his prejudice and his will to destroy Ernst Zündel's
defence as well as his will not to accept any evidence the defence lawyers
might present in order to defend the accused. Furthermore, the judge clearly
broke the most basic of judicial norms by publicly threatening the defence
before they had even started defending the accused, as well as by forcing
Horst Mahler to leave the floor and revoking Sylvia Stolz' appointment
as mandatory defence lawyer. It was blatantly obvious that this was to
be a show trial.
- The defence team put up a brilliant fight; Jürgen
Rieger with his powerful, witty comments and Sylvia Stolz with her quiet,
calm and perfectly determined bearing. The two final petitions by the defence
team were excellent strategic moves: a) the court will have to deal with
the petition that it is prejudiced, i.e. it will have to analyse its actions
and account for them, this being something the court dreads, and b) by
petitioning to exclude the public, Miss Stolz gave the court a choice:
to either exclude the public, in which case the court will be confronted
with the evidence from Germar Rudolf's "Lectures on the Holocaust"
and Horst Mahler's "Motion to Hear Evidence on the Jewish Question",
which would be devastating for the court, as well as creating waves both
in the judicial world as well as in public (why the secret trial?), or,
to include the public in which case the defence team would be tried itself
for presenting its evidence nonetheless, causing both the public and the
judicial world to ponder what is going on. Either way, the way things look
it seems highly unlikely that the court can reach a decision that truly
benefits its plans to lock Ernst Zündel up.
- The show trial continues on Tuesday, 15 November 2005
at the Regional Court Mannheim, 10.00. [I believe it is 9:00 o'clock,
as previously announced.]