German Court Orders Book Burned; 100 Intellectuals Protest

Published: 1996-07-01
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Yes, you read the headline right: the present tense for "orders" is correct; the book is to be "burned" as well as banned; and so far as we can tell, no more than a hundred Germans protested publicly.

The book is Grundlagen zur Zeitgeschichte: Ein Handbuch ueber strittige Fragen des 20. Jahrhunderts (Foundations of Contemporary History: A Manual on Debatable Questions of the Twentieth Century), which was edited by German chemist Germar Rudolf (writing as Ernst Gauss), published by the well-known revisionist house Grabert Verlag, and consists of nearly a score of articles on every major aspect of the revisionist critique of the Holocaust, authored by a galaxy of revisionist researchers including Robert Faurisson, Fritz Berg, Carlo Mattogno, Ingrid Weckert, Rudolf and others. In scholarship, style, format, appearance, and up-to-dateness Grundlagen is as close to an encyclopedia of Holocaust revisionism as there is.

That, of course, is what led German prosecutors—and the politicians from whom, ultimately, they derive their mandate—to bring up editor Rudolf and publisher Wigbert Grabert on charges of Volksverhetzung (popular incitement), one of the various charges German D.A.s have available in their ragbag of repression and reaction.

Grabert and the offending book were duly arraigned before a court, but since Rudolf, who has endured the loss of his job, expulsion from the renowned Max Planck Institute, arrest, fines, and numerous other indignities for having dared to defend Germany's honor through the scientific method, had chosen to flee his homeland for Spain, his trial was severed and an order issued for his apprehension.

The trial began on May 7 in Tuebingen, an old university town in Swabia. The prosecution argued that the use of words such as "allegedly" (angeblich), “supposedly” (vermeintlich) and “so-called” (sogenannt) was tantamount to denying the Holocaust and thus, evidently, to rushing through the streets screaming, "Kill the Jews!"

The testimony of an expert military historian in the employ of the federal Research Office for Military History, Dr. Joachim Hoffmann, that the book is a scholarly product and that suppressing such works was only the next step before burning them, evidently caused Judge Burkhart Stein, presiding over this Volks(verhetzungs)gericht, to prick up his ears: he fined Grabert thirty thousand marks (the equivalent of almost $50,000 [correct: $20,000; ed.]) and ordered that all copies of the offending book be confiscated and burned.

Meanwhile, a hundred concerned Germans, most of them professors, scholars, editors, publishers and booksellers, placed an ad in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, perhaps Germany's most influential newspaper, decrying the intensifying repression of revisionist research and calling for freedom of speech in Germany, this half a century after the victor nations had supposedly reintroduced it following the Second World War. This, to my knowledge, is the most encouraging expression of solidarity with the ideals of free research and open exchange of ideas, including revisionism, yet to appear in the German press.

The one hundred persons who signed the appeal pointed to the recent rejection, by Britain's Tory prime minister, John Major, and by leading Anglo-Jewish politicians and commentators, of a proposed law similar to those of Germany and France, which outlaw challenging the orthodox version of the Holocaust. Left unstated, as it always is by all but the bravest champions of free speech, was the fact that such laws, and the range of other tactics and techniques aimed at preventing free expression to all points of view on the Holocaust, derive from misguided efforts to placate those Jewish groups, including Zionists, which unwisely strive to benefit from censorship and suppression on this issue.

Despite the efforts of Germany's latter-day bookburners (to quote once more David Irving's erstwhile editor, Thomas Dunne, "Goebbels must be laughing in hell"—or wherever he is), the Smith/CODOH Web site is in the process of posting the entire manuscript of Grundlagen in German. Of the 18 articles in the book, we already have four on the site. So while the Germans are burning the printed, bound copies of Grundlagen, CODOH is uploading them on to the World Wide Web and shooting them electronically right back into the Fatherland.

So, from the flames and ashes of these beautifully printed, attractively bound, so carefully and perilously researched volumes come, via the electronic miracle of the Internet and the Web, electrifying, liberating knowledge and truth. Not all the book-consuming fires in the Bundesrepublik shall prevail against it.


Editor's remark: In similar ads published a little later, first 500, than 1,000 Germans protested against this barbaric act of book burning &ndah; to no avail, though. The German mainstream simply labeled those protesters as Nazis and right-wing extremists deserving no public forum but rather being put on trial themselves.

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Author(s) Bradley R. Smith
Title German Court Orders Book Burned; 100 Intellectuals Protest
Sources Smith's Report, no. 34, July 1996, pp. 3f.
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Dates published: 1996-07-01, first posted on CODOH: Sept. 26, 2015, 5:34 a.m., last revision: n/a
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