German authorities accuse Zundel, who was deported from Canada in March, of decades of anti-Semitic activities, including repeated denials of the Holocaust – a crime in Germany – in documents and on the Internet.
Zundel will go on trial in the western city of Mannheim on Nov. 8, court spokeswoman Bettina Krenz said. It was unclear how long the trial would last. Jewish leaders hope it will spread awareness of the Holocaust.
In Prague, the Czech Republic capital, dozens of right-wing extremists rallied Friday in front of the German Embassy, demanding that Zundel be tried quickly or set free.
“We are here to support Ernst Zundel… How long will he be in prison before he is either sentenced or released,” one of the speakers said, declining to identify himself for fear of police persecution. “We are here to support a man for whom spreading the word of freedom is more than personal freedom.”
The speaker said he represented “National Corporativism” – a fringe group of activists aiming to set up a political party – and urged other demonstrators to send Zundel letters of support and financial contributions for his defence.
Prosecutors charged Zundel, 66, with incitement in July, four months after his arrest on arrival in Germany after a long legal battle. He remains in custody.
He had been detained in Toronto since 2003 under anti-terrorism laws and deported after a Canadian judge ruled his activities a threat to national and international security.
Born in Germany in 1939, Zundel emigrated to Canada in 1958 and lived in Toronto and Montreal until 2001. Canadian officials rejected his attempts to obtain citizenship in 1966 and 1994.
He moved to Pigeon Forge, Tenn., until he was deported to Canada in 2003 for alleged immigration violations.
German prosecutors obtained an arrest warrant for Zundel in 2003. Because Zundel’s Holocaust-denying website was available in Germany, he is considered to have been spreading his message to Germans.
Zundel has said he is a peaceful man with no criminal record against him in Canada.