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Verbeke, Siegfried

For years Siegfried Verbeke has been an important European revisionist publisher.

He was born on June 21, 1941, in Antwerp, in the Flanders region of Belgium, where he has also lived for most of his life.

Together with his brother, Herbert, he established in 1983 the revisionist publishing center Vrij Historisch Onderzoek (“Free Historical Inquiry”), or VHO, which soon became the leading European publisher of writings skeptical of the orthodox Holocaust story.

Over the years VHO published a range of books, booklets and tracts in Dutch, French, German and English, and, for a time, issued the VHO-Nieuwsbrief newsletter. VHO publications have included a 125-page booklet, issued in 1991, by Verbeke and French scholar Robert Faurisson, that presents a critical look at the Anne Frank diary, and Auschwitz: Nackte Fakten (“Auschwitz: Naked Facts”), a 179-page work issued in 1995.

For more than ten years, government authorities, with support from Jewish-Zionist groups, have repeatedly harassed, fined and jailed Verbeke for peaceful expressions of dissident views -- that is, for activities that are entirely legal in most countries. Belgian authorities have seized and destroyed tons of books and other writings produced by Verbeke.

In 1992 a Belgian court imposed on Verbeke a one-year suspended prison term for distributing writings that play down or belittle the Holocaust. He was also stripped of his civil rights for ten years, including his right to vote.

In 1992 four Netherlands organizations -- the B’nai B’rith, the Center for information and Documentation on Israel, the Anne Frank Foundation, and the National Bureau for Combating Racism -- brought a joint civil lawsuit against Verbeke and a colleague for circulating material, including the Leuchter Report, that calls into question the official view of the Holocaust. In late 1992 a Netherlands court ordered Verbeke to pay 10,000 Dutch guilders (about $6,000) for each “violation.”

In 1993 the Anne Frank Foundation in the Netherlands and the Anne Frank Fund in Switzerland brought a lawsuit in the Netherlands against Verbeke and Robert Faurisson, along with a VHO colleague, for having published a booklet on the Anne Frank diary. The defendants were charged with slander, outrage, abuse toward a group, and incitement to hated, discrimination or violence. “It must be remembered,” the lawsuit charged, “that for years Anne Frank has been the symbol of the Jews who were victims of the Holocaust. In this way, her name and her diary assume an additional value. Therefore, one has to expect that in this connection oral or written arguments will be subjected to a greater prudence from a social point of view, than Dutch law generally requires.”

In 1994 Verbeke made headlines again for distributing a Dutch-language edition of the Rudolf Report.

In 1995 Belgium’s parliament approved a new anti-revisionist law, similar to those already in force in France and Austria, making it a crime to dispute the official Holocaust story. According to the new statute, anyone who denies, plays down or seeks to justify “the genocide of the German National Socialist regime during the Second World War” may be punished with a fine or a prison term of up to one year.

In late 1997 and 1998, Verbeke’s residences were repeatedly raided by Belgian police.

In 1998 the public prosecutor in Frankfurt, Germany, launched criminal proceedings against Verbeke for mailing a booklet on “Goldhagen and Spielberg Lies” to many thousands of individuals in Germany. In April 2000 a Netherlands court ordered Verbeke to stop distributing the VHO booklet on the Anne Frank diary.

In May 2001 the Belgian Minister for Culture ordered all libraries in the country to remove from their shelves all works by Verbeke. Accordingly, revisionist writings were removed from libraries and quietly destroyed. During the year 2002 Verbeke’s residence was again repeatedly raided by Belgian police. On September 9, 2003, a court in Antwerp, Belgium, sentenced him, and his brother, to one year prison sentences, suspended, and to pay a fine of 2,500 euros. In late September 2003 Belgian police again raided his residence

On November 27, 2004, Verbeke was arrested at his residence in the Flemish town of Kortrijk. In April 2005 a Belgian Appeals court sentenced Verbeke to one year in prison and fined him 2,500 euros.

In early August 2005, he was again arrested, this time at an Amsterdam, Netherlands, airport, on the basis of an international arrest warrant issued a year earlier in Germany. After being held for three months in the Netherlands, he was transferred to Germany. After being held for six months in an isolation cell in a Heidelberg jail, he was suddenly released on bail.

In November 2006 Verbeke was arrested again in his home town of Kortrijk, on the basis of an earlier Belgian court sentence, and thereafter was held in prison in Belgium. He was released in July 2007, only to be arrested again in June 2008 due to a verdict of another year imprisonment for distributing various revisionist writings.

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