The David Cole Affair: A Study in Duplicity and Treachery


This is a slightly  abridged version of an article that appeared
in Veterans Today under a different title in August 2014

My new husband, Ernst Zundel, felt that David Cole was a genuinely idealistic youngster who was barely twenty years of age when they first met. Enamored with his role as a fiery “free speech advocate”, David Cole had started doing useful work in investigating the history of Auschwitz.

Ernst and I had barely met in 1994 and I was still a novice in these matters. Ernst told me of this young Jewish friend of his who had been introduced to an alternative view of history by a young Irish revisionist scholar by the name of David McCalden.  The latter had been instrumental in founding and promoting the California-based Institute for Historical Review.

One incident particularly impressed Ernst as to David Cole’s sincerity and courage—at any rate, as David Cole told the story.

There had been an altercation between McCalden and Irv Rubin, then the head of an American-based terrorist group called the Jewish Defense League. McCalden was viciously beaten and thrown through a plate glass window – and David, still a teenager and slight of build, had heroically come to McCalden’s aid.

It was a vivid, touching story, totally believable, as Ernst recounted it to me  – and as David retold it to me in every small detail when I got to meet him a decade or so later.  Imagine!  A little Jewish kid fighting for a besieged revisionist leader!  What a courageous deed!

Well, that was then, and now is now.  As David tells it in his subsequent memoir Republican Party Animal, here is what really happened:

The first time I had to face the possibility of my interest in revisionism becoming public was in 1989. McCalden told me he was going to a debate at a Beverly Hills temple. Irv Rubin, lovable and murderous head of the Jewish Defense league (JDL) was going to debate a Jewish leader who didn’t approve of killing people. I’d seen Rubin on TV slapping around anti-Semites (the guy was built like a golem).  It sounded like a fun evening.

Check out this picture of Jewish thug Irv Rubin [LD]

Sitting in the rear of the temple where some of my childhood friends had been bar-mizvah’d, I anxiously awaited the invigorating back-and-forth.  I saw McCalden enter the temple, quietly, from the lobby.  Within five seconds, a half-dozen JDL guys piled on him.  They dragged him into the lobby and put his head through a glass-plate window.  He was tossed onto the sidewalk.  Of course, I immediately stood up and said, “That was uncalled for!  This is a house of God!” 

Well…actually, no.  I just sat there in a meek, cowardly silence. The debate went on as planned, but after Rubin told the crowd that the guy he just beat up was a “Nazi,” he won over the audience for the rest of the night.

The next day, McCalden called me. He asked if I saw the fracas. I didn’t call him back.

Then I saw reports on the incident in two local papers. “Neo-Nazi David McCalden burst into a local temple during services and attempted to rip up the Torah, while shouting ‘Heil Hitler!’  Security escorted him out.”  

Until I read this second version about two week ago, I still believed the first version.  I called Ernst and asked him if he had ever heard this entirely different version.  Ernst said it was all news to him.

David further expands on his early interaction with McCalden:

I read that McCalden was a militant atheist, an Irish nationalist, and a Holocaust revisionist (the term denier had not yet been coined, so revisionists were called revisionists, even by their foes.)  McCalden had co-founded the largest revisionist publishing house in North America, the Institute for Historical Review, in Orange County, California.

I found McCalden’s ideological mix fascinating, Atheist, Irish nationalist, Holocaust revisionist.  Racist?  Maybe, but he had a non-white wife.  And there were rumors that he was a closeted gay.  It was a mix I’d yet to encounter as I profiled ideologues.  I wrote to him.  I asked for some info, some literature.  Instead, I got a personal visit.  But he didn’t come to proselytize, he came to fight. 

He thought I was a ”Jewish infiltrator” trying to cozy up to him for nefarious purposes.  He already had that suspicion when he drove to my house, and when he saw the mezuzah on my door, he went totally apeshit.   I tried to convince him that I was not working with or for anybody.  I just wanted to know what motivated a guy like him.

I must have been convincing, because he believed me.  He gave me some literature and took off.  And I read it.  Incredibly amateur stuff.  I took everything and put it aside.  I had no interest in revisiting it. 

A little sidebar here, McCalden was an intellectual and a truly gifted writer, but it is possible that the revisionist material at that time was still amateurish.  Remember, revisionism still barely existed.  Only in 1985 and then 1988, after the two Great Holocaust trials, alternately known as the “Ernst Zundel False News Trials” galvanized the movement, was there solid, documented evidence available globally that not all was as claimed in the traditional Holocaust version.  David Cole acknowledges this as he describes his progression as a revisionist activist below:

I went back to see McCalden, but just my luck, the poor bastard had upped and died of AIDS after giving it to his wife as well.  I guess those gay rumors must have had merit, not that there’s anything wrong with that (well, to be fair, I think the whole “giving AIDS to your wife” thing was pretty wrong.)

McCalden’s social circle consisted of his Holocaust revisionist buddies and his atheist buddies (there was a fair amount of crossover).  The atheist guys were a pretty decent bunch – not racist at all.  Plus, I used to self-identify as an atheist in my youth, (I don’t anymore), I fit in very well with them. 

One of the atheist guys, the man entrusted with dealing with McCalden’s massive collection of books and files (maybe three thousand books, and at least a hundred huge file boxes of papers), decided they should go to someone a bit more rational than some of the well-known names in the revisionist field. So, overnight, I inherited one of the largest libraries of Holocaust books in L.A.  And lots and lots of correspondence – almost twenty years worth.  

I read through the revisionist literature.  It provided no answers, but it left me with several questions.  The problem was, mainstream historians would never address revisionist concerns and the revisionists, for the most part, were sloppy and (mostly) ideologically motivated.

I also happened to enter the Holocaust history field at just the right time.  Several things were in play.  The freedom of travel and research in Poland, not possible during the Cold War years.  And the amazingly inept, self-defeating criminal trials of Holocaust denier (yes, denier, not revisionist) Ernst Zundel in Canada, throughout the ‘80s, which made a lot of people who would have otherwise ignored revisionism think twice about the reliability of the Auschwitz story.

Blame Canada!

Here’s what I want to say:  As yet, no doctorate in revisionism exists.  I don’t know just how one earns one’s laurels as a “revisionist” – but there exists even today not one single human being on the face of the earth who has done as much as Ernst Zundel in responsibly revising history.  He and his trials have brought an entire alternative view of history under one hood and given it visibility and authenticity.

—   §   —

I asked Ernst to write me a synopsis of his interaction with David Cole. Here is his detailed account:

In the early 1980s, Canada was still an Anglo-Saxon country adhering to the “majesty of law”.  There was still respectful decorum observed in the courtrooms.  It was true that I was under siege politically from many quarters even then.  For one, the post-war Germans, always willing to demonstrate subservient compliance to please the Allied Powers still ruling Germany, refused to extend my passport, and I was effectively “grounded” in Canada, not being able to travel anywhere.  I was in a Siberian Gulag-type situation, besieged by government-initiated criminal prosecutions for what was called “false news”. 

I was beaten, spat at, the target of arson and pipe and parcel bombs by terrorists of all stripes, including terror acts initiated by Irv Rubin and his hoodlums [in the Jewish Defense League] – yet I had become increasingly effective with my worldwide information outreach – its main message being that the guilt heaped on the German people for crimes alleged to have happened might not be warranted.  I pleaded for a neutral global debate – all facts, such as they were, on the table!

I was sending my monthly newsletter to 43 countries in German and in English.  I was broadcasting in both languages via shortwave radio stations from America, various stations in Africa, the Middle East, via Christian missionary shortwave stations in Israel’s South Lebanon-occupied area, and also broadcast eventually from Radio Moscow’s Königsberg/Kaliningrad AM station which could be heard all over Western and Eastern countries, loud and clear, without the usual distortions and customary poor reception of shortwave. 

Simultaneously, my supporters and I were rapidly expanding our Public Access outreach on 145 to 160 US TV stations with the help of thousands of volunteers.  The Zundel media juggernaut was awesome to behold.  This unnerved my detractors to the point that they set up a “flying squad” of Simon Wiesenthal/ADL-like pressure groups who were burning up the telephones to enforce the traditional Holocaust version across the USA by putting pressure on newspaper editors, station managers, advertisers etc.

That’s when David Cole entered the picture.

I had heard from the people at the IHR that a young Jew frequently visited them and borrowed and watched every videotape of the Zundel/Samisdat Publishers productions.   Since I could not leave Canada for visits to the US or Europe to lecture, David came to Canada, and we became fast friends.  I presented him to the public via lectures, press conferences and private gatherings, making him also available to various political intelligence organizations with whom I had developed friendly working relationships. 

Thus, these police and intelligence officials could get first-hand information on what I did, said, and wrote.  I always shared our venues with my police and intelligence contacts.  I sought out attorney generals, justice ministry officials, and even parliamentarians from various provinces.  There was nothing clandestine about my political outreach.  This was my standard operating procedure for decades in every country I operated.  It paid good dividends for an alternative view of history the public was entitled to hear. 

I followed the same procedure with David Cole.  When he came to Canada, I toured the country with him.  He spoke in packed hotel ballrooms full of cheering crowds of not only Zundel supporters but also the public in general.

I am told that in his recently released book David portrays our outreach in a less than flattering manner.  That is his view now, but David Cole knows perfectly well that in his very young years he fully and enthusiastically participated in this outreach campaign for Truth in History.  He truly gave it his all.  He was young, good-looking, eloquent, well-mannered – no gutter language then!  We were on a roll, and he helped to legitimize the image we tried to project – that we were not some low-brow idiots who ran around with swastikas and hated Jews and Blacks.  It was a pleasure to work with him in private and in public at the time. 

The legal struggle around the Zundel outreach even then was fierce, but I won numerous important court cases in Canada and Germany.  I had been banned from the mail – and in an epic public tribunal hearing I won my mailing privileges back.  I could once again flood the world with my historical information material. 

I also won a court case in Germany against the infamous Paragraph 130.  The state had to give me my bank account back.  I used that money to go into information overdrive.  At the same time, my German attorney, Jürgen Rieger, won an astonishing victory against the German Federal Authorities who were forced by court order to issue me a new passport – “forthwith!”

David Cole and I kept in close touch throughout the 1990s.  After my Supreme Court victory in 1992 he told me he was going to Auschwitz and other camps in Poland to make interviews for documentaries for use in the U.S.  As fate would have it, David was filming in Auschwitz exactly when I was issued my brand new German passport.  I immediately contacted him via phone at the Auschwitz Holiday Inn and flew to Europe at once, meeting him the next day on-site to make interviews with him there in the actual locations – a sensational opportunity! 

I took my own cameraman along and David brought his own camera woman.  By the time I arrived, David had been there already several days interviewing Polish Auschwitz officials and touring the camps with them.  I decided to let David be my “tour guide.”  Two documentaries resulted – one in English and one in German.  They are still worth their weight in gold.

Ernst Zundel and David Cole at Auschwitz (PICTURED)

 While still in Europe, I organized several talks and press conferences and meeting with German intelligence officers in Munich and elsewhere. 

David was a sensation, lionized by the Germans and even the police and mainstream media when he told them of the many irregularities in the official Holocaust tale.  My enemies were shell-shocked by it all!  This was in 1989; right after the Berlin Wall fell.

Since I could now travel again, I roamed the world to my heart’s content.  I met David several times in the US – where by that time, he himself was under assault quite literally by terrorist and arsonist thugs, and where eventually a US$20,000 fatwa/reward had been offered by the Jewish Defense League’s Irv Rubin for David Cole’s head – “dead or alive.” 


He allegedly committed suicide in his prison cell in 2002. We say “allegedly”, because how can we be sure that the body buried under the tombstone of Irv Rubin in Los Angeles (see PICTURE) is the actual body of Irv Rubin? (LD)  

Under such dire terrorist threat, David Cole issued his famous “recantation”.  During his travails, I kept in constant touch, privately – by telephone, fax, and in clandestine meetings in California, where he was always accompanied by huge, black bodyguards.  It looked like the terrorists had won.  I myself became the target of abuse and derision all over again because I had worked so closely with this young, brilliant Jew. 

It did not take long, and my life took several turns for the worse.  I was arrested and expelled from the US to the Gulag in Canada in isolation, treated by the Canadian spy services as a “danger to the security of Canada.”  I battled deportation for two years, wearing an orange, Guantanamo style uniform, handcuffs and leg irons. 

In my second year of detention, my wife Ingrid told me that David Cole, revisionist Bradley Smith, and some Mexican friend were going to make a documentary about my life.  I got permission from prison authorities to be filmed by them – a big surprise to me! – but when the so-called “film crew” arrived, it all fizzled out because they were a sorry bunch of incompetent, lying crooks.   The whole unsavory episode is part of David’s book.  I haven’t read it yet, but Ingrid has told me enough for me to form an opinion. 

How do I feel about this mix of literary brilliance, pornographic sleaze – and truths, half-truths, and brazen, bald-faced lies that leave me simply speechless?  I understand he is a serious alcoholic.  God only knows what inner devils plague David Cole these days. 

As for myself, I feel detached.  I am sad for so much talent laid to waste by booze and lack of sexual restraint.  I also feel betrayed, because some twenty years ago I thought in all sincerity that David was my friend.  But this betrayal does not touch my inner core about what happened then and what is being said today. 

How does David Cole view his erstwhile friend and mentor today? Here is David Cole in his own words:

Ernst Zündel was a German who immigrated to Canada in 1958.  Zundel loves Hitler.  I mean, he really loves Hitler. But, and this is the point I have a hell of a time communicating to people, he loves Hitler because he’s certain, he knows, that sweetie-pie Adolf was framed.  That mustached little munchkin couldn’t hurt a fly.  Zundel really, sincerely, believes that.  He’s nuts, but he’s not dangerous.

With gritted teeth, let me put it this way and leave it at that:  Cole certainly is right to say Ernst is not, and never has been, “dangerous” … but would three, possibly four Western governments have conspired to the tune of millions and millions of taxpayers dollars to run down, kidnap and furiously try to silence a “nut”?

David knows better – that’s all that I can say!  Whatever else you might think about David, he is a very bright man.  He even sheepishly admits he knows what happened to Ernst Zundel as he expands his version in the following few paragraphs:

Zündel’s name would not be known if he hadn’t been subjected to two criminal prosecutions by the Canadian government. 

In Europe, if you’re arrested for being a Holocaust revisionist, you can’t mount a defense of “but I’m right.”  You can’t use “truth” as your defense.  You can’t argue your beliefs in court.  Essentially, you can only beg for mercy, plead guilty, or plead insanity.

But every time the Canadians put Zündel on trial, they put no restrictions on his defense.  He was allowed to plead “not guilty because I’m right.”  And so, throughout the course of his trials his legal team was allowed to grill Holocaust historians, survivors, and “experts” of all kinds.

This is one of those moments in which I fear that I lack the language skills to properly express the completely self-defeating lunacy of what the Canadians did.  Their desire was to silence Holocaust revisionism.  To do that, they gave Zündel the opportunity to do something that no one else had ever had – the ability to grill historians under penalty of perjury. 

In its attempt to silence revisionism, the Canadian government ended up putting it on the f…ing map.  Zündel and his exceptionally able and well-funded legal team took the Canadian blunder and ran with it.  Thanks to the Canadians, it wasn’t Zundel on trial, but the Holocaust. (…) The story was that the respected experts and the survivors had to make humiliating admissions under oath.

The result of all this tumult was that Holocaust revisionism became “a thing.”  In its desire to destroy revisionism, the damn Canucks had put it on the map, with daily breathless headlines in every Canadian paper, carried by wire services around the world.  And I thought that as long as revisionism was going to be “a thing”, with or without my participation, the “thing” could probably benefit from having a guy with no ideological fanaticism enter the field to sort the wheat from the chaff and take the wheat out of the hands of people like Zundel.

My reaction?  Why, that sneaky little twerp!  Image the chutzpah!  And marvel at the ease with which a Jewish switcheroo is done.  David had a private plan that did not match the image he so carefully projected, and he proceeded to put it to use.  He put on his yarmulke and played the Jewish bonus to the hilt, allowing him enormous media leeway not open to serious revisionist scholars.

And he is right in saying that Ernst was not a bean-counting revisionist in the conventional footnoting sense.  His role was that of what he himself has called a “radical revisionist” – a street-smart global populist for truth in history, arranging dozens of lectures for David, where David enlightened the masses on the discrepancies of the conventional Holocaust tale, as often as not to thundering audience applause.

David seemed utterly credible then.  He wrote sharp, imaginative letters, trouncing the media, pleading with dignitaries on behalf of the revisionist cause. David and Ernst gave joint media interviews.  David and Ernst toured the ruins of Auschwitz, together.   And, much to his amazement and surprise, the Jewish wunderkind called David Cole became a media star, invited to popular talk shows like 48 Hours, Montel Williams, Morton Downey Jr., and Phil Donahue, to name but a few out of many.

—   §    —

It must have been in 1994, at my very first revisionist convention put on by the Institute for Historical Review where David was one of the speakers, an opportunity for me to observe him first-hand.  I came to this scene without the slightest prejudice.  I knew of Ernst’s fondness for David, and I was prepared to be duly impressed.

As part of his lecture, which was quite good, David was showing a network media clip – it might have been The Phil Donahue Show – where either the host or the audience took umbrage at Ernst and David touring the Auschwitz in tandem, and where David defends himself thusly:

“Zundel visited Auschwitz.  I visited Auschwitz.  We met.  What was I to do – kick him in the balls?” 

And David turned to Ernst, who sat in the back of the room, put on a rueful smile, and said, “Ernst, I’m sorry…” and Ernst replied in his gentle, grandfatherly way:  “It’s okay, David.  It’s okay.”

That’s not how I felt.  I felt nothing but rage at this two-faced little snit shamelessly playing both sides to reap favors from opposite camps.  At the break, I sat outside by myself in the hall on a small hotel settee, and David spotted me, plopped himself right next to me and looked at me expectantly.  I don’t know if he knew who I was, but by his facial expression I could tell he wanted me to say something to him – maybe a compliment for that off-color comment at his lecture?

When it comes to smutty language, I am the biggest prude on earth, and no apologies.  I felt such an instinctive revulsion at his mendacious comment that I could not bring myself to say a single word.  Side by side, we sat there for maybe ten minutes, in silence.

She refused to talk to the “two-faced little snit” sitting beside her.

I asked Ernst later why he had been so calm with the slick liar on the stage, and Ernst said in his easy-going way:  “What do you expect?  He is of the tribe.  He could not help himself.”

I know a useful fable to illustrate the above – and what followed:

A frog and a scorpion sit by a river, trying to get to the other side.  The scorpion says to the frog:

“You know I don’t know how to swim.  Permit me to ride on your back?”

The frog looks at the scorpion and says:  “No way.  Why would I do that?  You’d only sting me, and both of us would drown.”

“Why would I do a foolish thing like that?” argues the scorpion.  “That would not be in my interest.”

That argument makes perfect sense to the frog.  “Ok,” he says.  “Hop up!”

Predictably, as they both reach the middle of the wildly raging river, the scorpion readies his stinger and rams it into the spine of the frog.

“Why did you do a foolish thing like hat?” screams the frog, struggling against the treacherous current, in vain attempting to rid himself of the scorpion.

Whereupon the scorpion replies, as both drown in the currents:  “I could not help myself.”

There’s great wisdom in folklore as cultural shorthand, explaining life’s absurdities that cause so much destruction and death.  The autobiographical story that David tells in this book is like a mirror image of that fable.

The rest of this gripping article can be read on Veterans Today

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