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Dear President Putin:
You probably are not aware of my husband, Ernst Zündel - but hundreds of thousands of people all over the world know his name. Ernst Zündel is the man who, under vicious siege by a powerful political lobby, sent an investigative team from Canada to Auschwitz in 1988 to test forensically if "gassings" really happened - and found that they did not. Science does not lie, and scientific findings can be verified. His evidence must stand or fall in the free market of ideas. My husband has pleaded for a safe, impartial global forum ever since to make his findings known.
The Canadian Holocaust Lobby has never forgiven Ernst Zündel. Recently, he was arrested on US soil - allegedly because he missed an interview with Immigration and Naturalization Services officials. No judge. No hearing. No recourse. Instead, leg irons and handcuffs - and brutal incarceration in four maximum detention prisons, first in America and now in Canada. False news was spread in mainstream media that he had "overstayed his visa". Not so. He was married to a U.S. citizen, and we have irrefutable documentation that he was legally entitled to be here. His "punishment", just for a starter? Banned from the U.S.A. for 20 years!
My husband's brutal treatment by government officials in what many vainly hope are still two of the West's most law-abiding democratic countries is reminiscent of the darkest days of the Stalinist years. I know whereof I speak. At the age of five, I lost my father in a very similar arrest in 1941 - never to see him again!
I am a Russian-born, German-descendant, award-winning novelist, best known for an early novel, "The Wanderers", a fictitious account of the life of my Russian-born Mennonite grandmother. More recently, I wrote a trilogy, spanning seven generations and 200 years and all the major political upheavals of the last two gruesome, bloody centuries. My people, living peacefully in the Ukraine since 1789, were ethnically cleansed in the Stalinist purges, and only a handful of us could save ourselves, escaping with the retreating German Army in 1943 to Germany and, then, in 1948, to South America.
I grew up in the jungles, functionally illiterate and knowing little of the political realities of dictatorships that transformed and decimated countries like Russia and Germany. As an adult, I emigrated to Canada and then to the United States, always thinking of the country of my birth, Russia, as a place out of the depths of hell - until I learned about an intellectual movement called Revisionism.
My now imprisoned husband is globally known as a Revisionist pioneer. Ernst Zündel has a profound geopolitical understanding of the moneyed interests that would set brother against brother, causing rivers of blood and tears for the gains of a handful of oligarchs who fattened themselves on our pain. Today I know that Russia was as horribly victimized as Germany was. Russia suffered as much as Germany did - and as America will suffer, unless America wakes up and comes to understand today's events in light of what was done so cruelly to law-abiding people yesterday. The people of America MUST urgently try to understand today's events and dramas in historical perspective. Today's Russia is far ahead of the United States in that respect - in fact, I am the one who sponsored the first ever Revisionist seminars in Russia in a Teachers College, a feat I have not been able to accomplish here in our so-called "free speech" country. Russia welcomes conscientious scholarship and does not fear controversial historical findings.
Referring to my husband's brutal arrest, one of my Russian Revisionist correspondents called Ernst and myself "America's Refuseniks" and pledged his intellectual solidarity. It is an apt description of who we are and what we do. We refuse to believe in historical lies. We refuse to be dictated to and told who are our friends and who should be our enemies. We refuse to surrender our Freedom of Speech. We refuse to swallow manufactured history such as the "Holocaust by gassing" - a lie that has become an intellectual stranglehold on every Western country. If our findings are deemed "wrong", then let's have a civilized debate in a respectable national forum where both sides can offer arguments and evidence - and let the people judge!
Recently, I read an essay by Russian General Anatoly Wolkow, titled "People, Listen To The Signals!" Here is a former enemy of Germany who stretches out a hand of friendship to soften the political mistakes of the past and bring long-needed healing to both Germany and Russia. I believe there are millions of Russians who would identify with what he says. I know there are millions of Germans all over the world who would like nothing better than to bury the hostilities of World War II and once again be known as Russia's partners, friends and scientific benefactors. America would benefit from such a reconciliation. America is not in need of yet another war.
We need to find ways to each other!
I plead with you to send a message to those millions, Germans and Russians alike, as well as millions in America and Canada, that we are kin, not enemies. A Russian leader of courage and vision could tell the Western world that the Russia of today has finally become autonomous, living by democratic principles, abhorring censorship. There is a way to shame short-sighted Western bureaucrats for their repressive laws - and wake up people globally to the realities of vested interest power plays that move us ever closer to a frightening abyss.
A simple gesture, even if only symbolic, would telegraph around the world that Russia, emerging out of decades of repression, has thrown away her dictatorial shackles - declare Ernst Zündel, Prisoner of Conscience, in broad daylight kidnapped "legally" by his nefarious enemies on U.S. soil, to be the West's most notable "Refusenik" - and offer him asylum and a passport.
Ingrid Zundel, Ed.D.
"Every Russian, faced a Jew as his executioner."
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