Zimmerman Trial  23.10.09

Dear all,

today the long awaited trial against Dirk Zimmerman, who had sent a copy of Germar Rudolf's "Lectures on the Holocaust" to the mayor of Heilbronn as well as to the Catholic and Lutheran minister of his community, took place. In short: He was tried before a magistrate's court (Amtsgericht).. The court room was absolutely packed, many visitors having to bring in chairs from other rooms in the building so that they could still get a seat. The supporters were all fabulously behaved - no laughing, sniggering, moaning, fidgeting, whispering, etc., absolutely nothing. All were well dressed. The judge - Frank Haberzettel - opened the proceedings at about 13.45. He first verified Dirk's personal details, then the prosecutor read the indictment. The usual stuff: Rudolf's book is full of anti-Semitism, he incites to racial hatred, etc., etc. Zimmerman is endangering the public peace by distributing said book, and furthermore, Zimmerman wishes that the addressees spread this book. He demanded 9 months jail, no suspension of the sentence.


After Dirk's defending council pointed out that they would not be bothering the court with motions to hear evidence, Haberzettel proceeded to question the accused. The questions were very direct, why had he sent the books? does he agree with the content of Rudolf's book? has he read other, mainstream history books on WW2 history? why had he sent the books to these specific people? in case he were convicted, would he continue along this path after having served the penalty for his crime? etc., etc. Dirk answered all questions truthfully, calmly and clearly, mainly pointing out that he doubts the veracity of the Holo story and demands the right to the freedom of opinion and speech. The last question posed was problematic, however, since Dirk was unwilling to lie. Haberzettel repeated the question numerous times, Dirk finding it difficult to answer truthfully without blowing all hope for an acquittal, yet at the same time finding it imposible to lie.
After the questions had been answered to the judge's satisfaction, Haberzettel called in a witness - the police officer who had initially questioned Dirk. The officer told the court that Dirk agreed with the contents of the book, and that he had made a polite and decent impression on him. The statement given by the officer was interesting in as that he corroborated everything Dirk had previously told the court. The witness also told the court that Dirk had crossed out the word "Deutsch" in the section of the protocol declaring the person's nationality, and had replaced it with "Deutsches Reich". Asked why he had done so, Dirk pointed out that "Deutsch" is an adjective and cannot correctly be used to describe nationality.


Then came the closing statements. The prosecutor highlighted the danger of denial and dissemination of such literature, referred to Rudolf's book as a load of evil tosh, and described Dirk as a confused and twisted fanatic. The usual stuff. The defending council then made his final statement, saying that even though he thoroughly believes in the Holo, Dirk was a decent, polite chap who had done nothing wrong and that he must be acquitted. Finally, Dirk made his closing statement, where he showed that the prosecutor was lying when he said that Dirk asked the addressees of the book to disseminate it, something Dirk had not done, and also showed that being cast as a fanatic was absolutely ridiculous as he was only interested in freedom of speech. All in all a good, solid short speech that came from the heart.


Haberzettel then withdrew for 40 minutes to consider how to rule in this matter. At 15.35 he read out the verdict: 9 months jail, sentence will not be suspended. As reasons he stated that even though freedom of speech is granted, this does not extend to the Holo. There is no debating the Holo because it had taken place. Again the usual stuff. As for the severity of the sentence the judge pointed out that Dirk had not taken the "golden bridge" he had extended him, i.e. that Dirk had given the wrong answer to the final question: would he continue on this path in the future? Haberzettel said that Dirks social prognosis was indeed good, as he's married, has two children and does not have a criminal record. And then literally: "Your criminal prognosis, however, is shocking, and I'm confident that we have not seen the last of you here."


And that was that: for sending Rudolf's book to three people, Dirk Zimmerman, father of two, no criminal record, in a steady job, was given nine months prison.

Markus Haverkamp

 

 

 

 

 

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