For the second time in a month, police have arrested Frank Eckhardt, a controversial land seller and survivalist who advertises his advisory services to German-speaking “new settlers” in Cape Breton, and who featured in several German and Canadian media articles in the past two years because of his far-right views and alleged gouging of German clients.
Eckhardt, 56, was first arrested on December 10 on extortion charges, and an RCMP media release today says that he was arrested again on December 23, and this time charged with a long list of weapons offences. They are:
Careless Transportation of a Firearm (3 counts), Careless Storage of a Firearm (4 counts), Unlawful Possession of a Firearm (2 counts), Possession of a Firearm while Knowing Possession is Unlawful (2 counts) and Possession of a Weapon Obtained in the Commission of an Offence (2 counts).
According to the media statement, on December 20 police received a report of shots being fired near a residence on the West Bay Road in Cape George, north of St. Peters.
That led to an investigation led by the Inverness and Richmond RCMP Street Crime Enforcement Unit, and three days later Eckhardt was arrested in a vehicle stop on Highway 4.
Following the vehicle stop, police searched Eckhardt’s residence on Smith Road in Grand River, during which they “seized firearms, including handguns, ammunition, gun powder and cash.”
Eckhardt, who operates what he calls an “Eco-village” on Smith Road about 20 kilometres east of St. Peters, has featured in German online interviews promoting his prepper lifestyle and property development in Canada.
In an online show hosted by Luis Pazos in April 2020, Eckhardt says his “arms dealer” in Canada — the person he buys his hunting guns from — is a Czech.
The Halifax Examiner reported here and here about Eckhardt, whom the prominent German weekly Der Spiegel describes as an adherent to the Reichsbuerger [Reich Citizens’] Movement, which rejects the modern German state and government that has developed since the fall of Nazi Germany. Der Spiegel also alleged that Eckhardt sends out emails that deny the Holocaust and promote Nazi ideology
After the negative media coverage of Eckhardt’s political views and business dealings appeared in 2020, his property signs were vandalized and the window in his St. Peters office was broken.
Eckhardt then sent belligerent emails to both the CBC’s Tom Ayers and the Halifax Examiner, asking if he should send the bill for the damages to them.
In his email, he compared the vandalism of his property to “Kristallnacht” of August 28 in St. Peter’s. Kristallnacht — the “night of broken glass” — is the name given to the first of a series of pogroms against the Jewish population in Germany that was unleashed on the night of November 9 to 10, 1938, when Nazis killed close to 100 Jews, vandalizing and destroying their homes, businesses, and synagogues, and in its aftermath, arrested 30,000 Jewish men who were sent to concentration camps.
The Examiner has emailed Eckhardt for comment about his recent arrests, but as yet has had no reply.
Today’s RCMP statement says the “investigation” into Eckhardt “is ongoing” and will continue to be led by the Inverness/Richmond RCMP Street Crime Enforcement Unit, with assistance from the Richmond County District RCMP.
As when he was arrested the first time, Eckhardt has been released on conditions and will appear in Port Hawkesbury Provincial Court on February 9, 2022 on the weapons charges, and on February 28 for the extortion charges.
Strong reaction from the German-speaking community in Nova Scotia
Several people from the German-speaking community in Nova Scotia contacted the Halifax Examiner after learning that Eckhardt had been arrested a second time.
Without exception, they all said they think Eckhardt, whom they believe is a permanent resident but not a Canadian citizen, should not be permitted to stay in Canada.
Two members of the German-speaking community who have interacted with Eckhardt and asked to remain anonymous because they are afraid of him, described him as a “psychopath.”
One expressed fears that he may still have more weapons on his property on Smith Road.
“We don’t want this Nazi shit here in Cape Breton,” the person said. “We want to live here in peace and without fear. He threatens people here.”
The same person said the Examiner could ask hundreds of people in Nova Scotia with their roots in German-speaking European countries — Austria, Germany and Switzerland — for their reaction, and every one would be in agreement that Eckhardt has greatly harmed their reputation.
“I am deeply concerned that someone like this Hitler-worshipping Reichsbuerger would have these firearms,” said another. “After Portapique, how can a psychopath have a licence for weapons?”
The Examiner was unable to confirm whether Eckhardt has any firearms licence.
“If he wants to be a German neo-Nazi, he should go back to Germany where it is illegal to promote this ideology, and not be spoiling the reputation of Cape Breton for tourism and business,” the person added.
The Examiner will update this story as more information becomes available.