Disorder in the Courts (1990-2000), Part 2
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The late Joseph Bellinger had intended the current article to be a chapter in a book that remained unpublished at the time of his death, The Prohibition of “Holocaust Denial.” Part One was published in the last issue of Inconvenient History. — Ed.
The Case of Abbé Pierre
In a non-related incident, 83-year-old Abbé Pierre, a highly popular, outspoken French Catholic priest who tirelessly campaigned on behalf of the homeless, ignited a similar controversy in France.
The French cleric provoked Jewish outrage when he stated during the course of an interview published in the Swiss daily Le Matin that “according to the Bible, the Jews committed genocide comparable with the Holocaust when they entered Palestine 11 or 12 centuries before the birth of Jesus.”
Expanding on his theme, the Abbé declared:
There were not 6 million victims because of Hitler, there were 50 million. And of what importance is it that there were 6 or 7 or 5 million persecuted Jews? All my life I have been intrigued by the people of Israel, and reading the Bible I note that when Joshua crossed the Jordan to enter the Holy Land, he killed everyone down to the last chicken. It was the Shoah before the Shoah.
As a result of his outspoken criticism of Zionism as a form of racism and his unabashed defense of accused “Holocaust denier,” Roger Garaudy, the Abbé was “punished” by being excluded from the “International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism.” Facing mounting criticism from his colleagues in France, Abbé Pierre was forced to seek refuge for a time in a monastery in northern Italy. During the Abbe’s self-imposed exile, Roger Garaudy rose to his defense and drafted a thirty-eight-page treatise entitled, “Response to the Media’s Lynching of Abbé Pierre and Roger Garaudy.”
Abbe Pierre, Founder of the Emmaus movement. Born 5 August 1912 in Lyon, France, died 22 January 2007 (aged 94) Paris, France
By ABBE_PIERRE-24x30-1999.jpg: Studio Harcourt derivative work: Manu (ABBE_PIERRE-24x30-1999.jpg) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Garaudy’s case attracted the attention of Muslims throughout the world when the 84-year-old former Catholic and convert to Islam was arraigned before a Paris court on February 27 1998 for statements made in his book Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne.
Garaudy, a former Communist, was subsequently found guilty of “denying crimes against humanity” for expressing scholarly doubts over the “Holocaust” extermination story and for “racist defamation” related to his candid exposé detailing Jewish influence and domination in the Western media.
Immediately following the announcement of the court’s verdict, at least eight revisionists were assaulted and injured by thirty thugs representing the militant Jewish Youth Organization “Bethar.” Elderly revisionists were compelled to escape possible harm via an underground passage located below the building.
French writer Roger Garaudy
See page for author [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Renewed Attempts to Outlaw “Holocaust Denial” in the United Kingdom
In Great Britain, a renewed drive to outlaw “Holocaust denial” erupted in 1996 at the behest of the usual instigators. The suggestion of enacting a “Holocaust-denial” bill similar to others existing in Israel and Europe was enthusiastically hailed by the Labor Party, and a motion was introduced to that effect by Labor legislator Michael Gapes, who declared, “There is no such thing as absolute freedom of speech. It is a question of balance.”
Labor leader Tony Blair, during the course of a speech given during the opening of an Anne Frank exhibition, immediately lent his support to the bill, remarking that there was a “very strong case that denial of the Holocaust should be a specific offense,” and vowed to give “active consideration as to how this should be achieved.”
Britain’s prime minister at the time, John Major, declared that in his view a “Holocaust denial” law was impractical, but voiced affirmations of empathy for the hurt and distress felt by those who “suffered at that time.” While not committing himself on the issue either way, the prime minister expressed his desire to first consult with members of the Jewish community in order to hear their opinions on the subject as they were the ones “most concerned with this matter.”
David Cesarani, a professor of modern Jewish history at Southampton University and director of London’s Wiener Library, was among the first to proclaim his enthusiastic support for the suggested bill and Blair’s offer to prosecute ‘deniers.’ In an article published in the Guardian on January 30, 1997, Cesarani cackled, “This is cheering news to the Board of Deputies of British Jews and others who have been calling for such legislation.”
Cesarani stressed the necessity of avoiding any open dialogue with revisionists, because “Debates simply give them credibility and offer a platform for a vile brand of racism.” In an astonishing statement Cesarani went so far as to proclaim that prosecuting individuals for thought crimes actually “strengthens free speech!”
Obviously failing to recognize the irony inherent in his own statements, Cesarani postulated that “Holocaust denial,” rather than despotic laws and legislators who seek to prosecute and imprison individuals for freely expressing their opinions after conducting fully legitimate historical research, constitutes “an attack on truth and democracy.” Artfully employing all the usual catchphrases and buzzwords so often used in the media to elicit the proper emotional response in their intended audience, Cesarani liberally invoked words such as “racism,” and “rehabilitating Nazism,” whilst pleading “If we protect children against violence on TV, control pornography and outlaw racist acts, why should Holocaust survivors be left to the mercy of hate-mongers?”[8 ]
Cesarani’s emotionally laden appeal naturally overlooks the fact that adults are not children, and should not be treated as children by the paternal, disciplinarian hand of the government. Historical revisionism is in fact a valid method of historical methodology. Neither does “Holocaust” revisionism constitute any threat to octogenarian “Holocaust” survivors; unless he means to imply that they are somehow threatened by the truth. Thus, Cesarani’s attempts to equate “Holocaust” revisionism with racism, hate-mongering, child-endangerment, pornography, and threats to the elderly can only be described as a rather lurid example of what is usually known in the trade as “yellow journalism.”
Interestingly, when prodded by a reporter for his own views relative to the matter, David Irving, in contrast to Cesarani’s effusive outburst, pragmatically retorted, “I have never allowed the law to affect my research into history.”
Neville Nagler, Chief Executive for the Board of Deputies of British Jews, apparently disagreed with Irving’s definition of unhampered historical research. In a letter that was sent to the London Times and published on October 6, 1996, Nagler wrote:
We are delighted that the Labor party has voted for legislation to make it a criminal offense to deny the Holocaust…The Board of Deputies believes that the unique nature of the Holocaust justifies exceptional measures to prevent the willful and malicious falsification of history by neo-Nazi supporters…Denial forms a part of a political agenda which regards the Holocaust as a Jewish fabrication calculated to gain the sympathy of the world. Postwar societies have a duty to resist Nazism in all its guises and to reinforce the message to future generations. Holocaust denial is a spurious trap. It has no redeeming merit…Parliament should recognize the harm caused by Holocaust denial and support the creation of a specific criminal offense.
In a well-reasoned editorial response to Nagler’s diatribe against revisionism that deserves to be quoted at length, Jeffrey Turner wrote:
It is quite true that some of the people who promote Holocaust revisionism are National Socialists, but a great many are not. [Among the many prominent names cited by Turner are French socialist and anti-Nazi Paul Rassinier, Robert Faurisson, Michael Hoffman II, Roger Garaudy, Fred Leuchter, and David Cole.]
But even if it could be proven that all Holocaust-deniers are motivated by a desire to resurrect “Nazism,” that would not justify their suppression. In a democracy, the exponents of every political viewpoint are supposed to be entitled to their rights and their freedoms. To deny these to people merely on the grounds that they are Nazis would be to practice the very methods of totalitarianism of which the original Nazis stood accused and which is cited as a major reason for rejecting their doctrines.
Mr. Nagler of course would not seem to agree. “Post-war societies,” he says, “have a duty to resist Nazism in all its guises.” Well, if he means that post-war societies should oppose Nazism by free discussion and debate, convincing people by superior argument that it was wrong, very few would question their right to do so. That, however, would not appear to be what he means; what he means, from his manner of approaching the subject, is that Nazism should not be tolerated in any shape or form, and that intolerance should include outright suppression and the locking up of anyone who dares to express a Nazi viewpoint!”
Does anyone seriously believe that Holocaust stories are pounded into our minds every day and sometimes for hours a day for no political motive? Indeed just such a political motive is made clear by the frantic urgency by which this practice is pursued, and by the quite fanatical zeal with which Holocaust affirmers try to prevent the expression of any contrary viewpoint.
If it is insulting to Jews to claim that the Holocaust never occurred, could it not be argued that it is insulting to Germans to claim that it did? Indeed, if Holocaust denial is to be forbidden on the grounds that its effect will be to stir up hatred against Jews, might not Holocaust affirmation be forbidden on the grounds that it will stir up hatred against Germans?
The article concludes with a very sensible appeal to the public for reason to prevail over demagoguery, based upon the idea that any government confident of the inherent principles of justice and fair play on which it is founded should not fear open debate on any subject relevant to those fundamental principles and policies.
Turner’s views were more or less shared by Chaim Bermant, a Jewish journalist with his own weekly column in the widely read London Jewish Chronicle. Bermant authored an eloquent appeal in support of free speech shortly before his death in January 1998, writing,
If the freedom of speech means anything at all, it includes the right to be wrong and tendentious, and the right even to cause offense. And if we, as Jews, now live in comparative security, it is largely because we have the good fortune to live in societies where such freedom is taken for granted. The whole process of historiography is one of revision, not only because new facts and documents come to light, but also because even established facts can be reassessed and reinterpreted, for one generation rarely sees events through the perspective of another. To demand laws that the received wisdom surrounding the Holocaust should forever be insulated from the process goes against every dictate of reason. Such laws are wrong in principle and are ineffective and possibly harmful in practice.
On the other side of the coin, Bermant rather arbitrarily accuses revisionists of approaching the subject of the “Holocaust” with “preconceived views, selecting evidence to support their case and suppressing evidence which might contradict it.” Bermant claims to have arrived at this general conclusion based upon his discussions with a few (unidentified) revisionists he had personally met with and later assessed as “confirmed anti-Semites.”
After specifically isolating revisionists as the primary reason for the proposed enactment of “Holocaust-denial” laws, Bermant nevertheless possessed enough good common sense to warn:
Any attempt to stifle their work, however, will always be open to the suspicion that one has something to hide. And nothing such people can say is quite as damaging as the suppression of their right to say it.
In the midst of these controversies, European Union Commissioner Sir Leon Brittan, who is himself Jewish, came down hard on the suggestion that “Holocaust denial” should constitute a criminal offense throughout Europe. During the course of a speech addressed to Jewish community leaders, foreign diplomats and members of Parliament, Brittan warned that such laws represented a dangerous threat to civil liberties:
If we have a law to stop people saying things, even though they are palpably untrue, then God help us. I do not favor a law against Holocaust denial in the EU or in Britain either. It is one thing to incite hatred and another to express views, however disagreeable, on historic events.
Eldred Tabachnik, president of the European Jewish Congress, voiced his displeasure over the commissioner’s comments and wailed over Britain’s perceived isolation from the rest of Europe, which had subserviently fallen into line by enacting “Holocaust-denial” legislation.
Tabachnik insisted that “Holocaust denial” was a matter of grave concern, “not only for Jews and other victims of Nazism, but for all democratic forces determined that neo-Nazi ideology should not be allowed to acquire political legitimacy in Europe.”
In a letter specifically addressing the points raised by Eldred Tabachnik, who also happened to serve as the president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Prime Minister John Major argued that adopting Tabachnik’s suggestions would be tantamount to “suppression of opinion.”
Peter Simple, in a column published in the London Daily Telegraph, added his voice of support for the prime minister, stressing his conviction that “freedom of thought is indivisible: a free people must be free to hold differing opinions, as on other matters, on those events, great and small, and occurring at different times and places which have come to be known collectively as ‘the Holocaust.’ Historians should be as free to conduct impartial research into the details of those events as they would be with any other historical phenomenon. If we make them conform to a previously ordained conclusion, we shall be adopting totalitarian methods of thought- control ourselves.”
Nettled by the persuasive arguments and warnings of free-speech advocates, the irrepressible Board of Jewish Deputies nevertheless vowed to continue to pressure the British government to outlaw “Holocaust denial.”
Board Chief Executive Neville Nagler opined, “Our view is that this is not a matter of free speech. Denying the Holocaust is an anti-Semitic stance that is intended to cause offense.”
To the great vexation of numerous Jewish organizations, British Home Secretary Michael Howard, whose Jewish family emigrated from Rumania to Britain in 1938, vigorously blocked attempts to introduce “Holocaust-denial” laws in the United Kingdom. For his efforts, Howard received the enthusiastic support of many grass-roots British organizations.
In an attempt to placate critics, Howard proposed a compromise whereby “each of the organization’s 15 member states would seize racist literature published with the intention of inciting racial hatred.”
Editorials published throughout the British press generally praised Howard’s initiative, as is reflected in the following passage excerpted from the Daily Express:
To oppose the EU policy is not to show oneself soft on racism, but to show oneself passionate for freedom…Mr. Howard, a much-maligned minister, has done the right thing in vetoing this plan. Free men and women through Europe should thank him for it.
For the time being, Great Britain had weathered the storm to assail and dismantle its civil liberties. England’s rich heritage guaranteeing free speech for all had prevailed, but Jewish efforts to undermine these rights and pressure the government into compliance with their agenda would continue unabated, with renewed determination and intensity. Jewish organizations continued to look toward Tony Blair’s Labor Party as the most adventitious means of effecting compliance with their agenda.
The year 1997 raised new challenges to civil liberties throughout Europe. In Paris, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the popular leader of the National Front, was charged with and convicted of “the crime of denying Nazi crimes against humanity” when he dismissed the gas chambers of World War two as a “detail in history” during the course of an interview in Munich, Germany.
After nine alleged ‘civil rights groups’ filed a formal complaint against him, Le Pen was ordered to pay $50,000 to publish the court’s judgment in a dozen French newspapers.
Le Pen accused the French government of malicious prosecution and justified his statement by remarking “if you take a book of 2000 pages on this war, the concentration camps fill two pages and the gas chambers take up 10 to 12 lines. That’s what you call a detail.”
In 1987 Le Pen had made similar comments and was convicted by the same court, which ordered him to pay $200,000 “restitution” to each of the nine complaining “civil rights organizations” that had filed suit against him.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center was in the forefront of organizations clamoring for Le Pen’s prosecution. Shimon Samuels, head of the center’s “European branch,” brazenly called for “the waiver of Le Pen’s European Parliamentary immunity in order that he be liable for prosecution and declared ineligible for further European election.”
Samuels also dispatched an irate letter to Bavarian State President Edmund Stoiber in which he demanded that Le Pen be banned from re-entering Bavaria, as “his presence in the shadow of Dachau [concentration camp] is a desecration for all victims of Nazism.”
All histrionics aside, the more prosaic fact remains that Le Pen’s hefty court-ordered payment of $200,000 to each of the nine complaining ‘civil rights organizations’ seemed to indicate that ‘desecration’ proved to be a profitable venture for all concerned, with the exception of Le Pen.
Profits continued to accrue for the “International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism” when in March 1997, Gabriel Andreas, the editor of a periodical entitled “Rot un Wiss,” [Red and White], received a suspended six-month jail sentence and a fine of $5,200 to be paid to the “League against Racism’ for publishing articles which questioned the existence of homicidal gas chambers at Struthof, a former concentration camp situated near the French-German border. Despite the fact that mainstream historians do not claim that six million Jews were gassed at Struthof, and that Andreas neither claimed nor implied that the “Holocaust” never occurred, he was nevertheless found guilty of “denying the Holocaust.”
Pedro Varela Convicted
In Spain, just two weeks prior to Christmas 1996, book confiscations and arrest were the order of the day when police raided the bookstore Librería Europa in Barcelona. Police seized the entire inventory of twenty thousand books, taking into custody bookstore owner Pedro Varela, who at the time of the raid was 39, on suspicion of “defending genocide.” Deprived of his freedom and livelihood, Varela was left with no other option than to close down his book business.
Professor Fernando Savater of the University of Madrid decried the police raid and the laws that had made it possible, warning that such arbitrary actions constituted a palpable threat to civil liberties. The professor intoned that such laws were setting a dangerous precedent and voiced his dismay over the fact that the raid was generally hailed in the liberal media as a “victory for progress.”
Two years passed before Valera’s case was finally adjudicated, after which the hapless book vendor was sentenced to five years’ imprisonment. The Jewish community organization of Barcelona [ATID] assisted the prosecution in preparing its case against Valera.
During the course of the two-day trial, Valera’s two attorneys vainly argued for an acquittal and implored the court to declare the law under which their client had been charged unconstitutional.
The defendant had been charged and convicted of offering thirty books for sale that presented Adolf Hitler in a favorable light, defended the policies of the Third Reich, and presented revisionist arguments with respect to the “Holocaust.”
In attempting to defend himself against these accusations, Varela drew the court’s attention to the fact that he had never provoked or encouraged racial hatred and that as a historian, he “has the moral duty to tell the truth.”
In support of his personal integrity, Varela stated, “Every historian must be skeptical of everything and must also review what has been said thus far. Revisionists question the scope and degree of the alleged persecutions of National Socialist Germany.”
In his concluding statement, Varela reiterated his innocence before the court, reaffirming that he had never committed, advocated, or otherwise promoted genocide or any other form of violence directed against innocent people.
The court took no apparent notice of Varela’s impassioned protestations of innocence and fined the accused the equivalent of $5,000 in addition to the five-year sentence. In addition, the court ordered that his entire inventory of 20,000 books be consigned to the flames, in spite of the fact that only 30 titles out of 200 had been deemed to be in violation of the law.
It may be reasonably inferred that Varela’s unapologetic admiration for Adolf Hitler and the policies of the Third Reich played a crucial role in his prosecution and to date Varela is the only known individual to be tried under Spain’s ambiguously worded ‘genocide law.’ One will search in vain for a similar case being filed against left-wing activists who deny, minimize, apologize for or trivialize Bolshevism’s murderous persecution of Christianity or Stalin’s program of mass extermination of the Ukrainians.
Professor Robert Hepp
In yet another bizarre example of German jurisprudence, Professor Robert Hepp, a University of Osnabrueck professor of sociology, was found guilty in 1998 of contravening the law by writing a sentence in Latin, appearing as footnote number 74 in a 544-page book lauding the career of German historian Hellmut Diwald.
The book under investigation, Helmut Diwald: His Legacy for Germany, had been scoured by state prosecutors for passages that might constitute a violation of “Holocaust denial” laws. The offending footnote condemned by the court referred to claims of systematic extermination of Jews by means of cyanide gas at Auschwitz as a “fable” [fabula].
The court ruled that this sentence constituted ‘incitement’ and vilified the memory of the [Jewish] dead, thereby resulting in a breach of “trust in legal security of Jews living in the Federal Republic [of Germany], and considerably diminishing their mental-emotional ability to live in peace and freedom.”
On the basis of this one sentence written in Latin and buried in a footnote, the court ordered all extant copies of the book confiscated throughout the length and breadth of Germany, thereafter to be destroyed in a garbage-burning facility. This would be “democratic” Germany’s legacy to Helmut Diwald.
The 1990s might well be described as the “decade of book burnings in the name of democracy.” That the good name of democracy should be so vilely abused in this regard constitutes a scandal which would undoubtedly cause the former propaganda minister of Nazi Germany to blush with envy. In the final decade of the 20th century, thousands upon thousands of books were confiscated by the authorities and quietly consigned to destruction. The names of revisionist authors whose books have been confiscated, banned or destroyed by the authorities in the finest totalitarian tradition are Ingrid Weckert, (Feuerzeichen), American author John Sack, (Eye for an Eye), Ernst Gauss, et. al., (Foundations of Contemporary History), Serge Thion, (Historical or Political Truth? The Power of the Media: The Faurisson Case), Steffen Werner, (The Second Babylonian Captivity), John C. Ball, (The Ball Report), and miscellaneous titles by Germar Rudolf, Arthur Butz, Roger Garaudy, Jürgen Graf, and Otto-Ernst Remer.
In the July 1997 issue of his Action Report, under the heading “Books banned and burned,” British historian David Irving succinctly described the methodology employed by the German government in stifling free speech and historical inquiry. Irving writes,
All property is abandoned when a magistrate orders the Seizure and Destruction of a title. Police raid the publisher at dawn, search the premises and seize any other banned books they find as well…The police seize the publisher’s computerized customer database – a violation of the country’s data protection laws. Any customers found to have purchased two or more copies of the now banned title is also raided: his computers are seized and searched for names, and his bookshelves are scoured for further prohibited titles. The customers are fined or jailed for possession of titles which were not even banned at the time they purchased them. It is easy to get a criminal record in the new democratic Germany.
The confiscation and destruction of indexed books in the “new democratic Germany’ is in many respects merely a continuation of Allied occupation policy in Germany during the period 1946-1950. The victorious Allied powers in the western zones of occupation based their censorship policy upon a prior order issued by Soviet authorities on September 9, 1945.
Eight months later, the Allied Control Council issued Order No. 4 on May 13, 1946, which concerned the confiscation and destruction of literature “of a military nature” as well as select titles published prior to and during the National Socialist era.
Detailed lists of indexed books, authors and publications, which had been originally compiled by the Soviets, were adopted by the western occupying powers and distributed amongst specially created bureaus specifically formed to identify, seek out and destroy Nationalist Socialist publications or literature deemed to be militaristic. It is estimated that in 1946 alone 34,000 titles were confiscated and destroyed, including all schoolbooks printed from 1933-1945.
By way of contrast, book titles banned by the National Socialist regime were usually secreted in libraries and various archives, whilst Allied policy in all four zones of occupation dictated that all confiscated literature was to be utterly destroyed. The Allied occupation forces ordered that all state and local libraries, universities and higher institutions of education and learning, research institutes and academies, scientific institutes, elementary and secondary schools, privately owned bookstores as well as publishing houses, were to be scoured for all books that, in the opinion of the Allies, “constituted National Socialist propaganda, propagated race theories, preached incitement to violence, or directed propaganda against the United Nations.” When found, all titles were to be set aside, confiscated and destroyed.
This unprecedented ransacking of schools and libraries by government decree unquestionably qualifies as the most relentless obliteration of books and literature in contemporary human history.
Outside Germany, Jewish organizations rebounded quickly from the setback in Great Britain and launched a new offensive calculated to refocus public attention on the subject of revisionism.
On June 28, 1998, an article published on the front page of the Athens News underscored on-going efforts by the International Association of Jewish Lawyers and Jurists, who pressed for a unified response to Holocaust revisionism worldwide. In part, the article stated:
An international conference of Jewish jurists, held in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, warned that the international revisionist movement, using the Internet and an orchestrated propaganda campaign, could warp the historical memory of younger generations.
Itzhak Nener, an Israeli national and deputy president of the Association, alluded to the California-based Institute for Historical Review as an organization “whose real aim is to deny the Holocaust.” Moreover, Nener warned that the “denial movement” has ‘tremendous sums of money” at its disposal.
The stated aim of the conference was to convince more than twenty European countries to enact more-stringent “Holocaust-denial” laws to punish revisionists. Voicing his displeasure over the current sentences provided by law, Nener recommended that more countries “crack down on people claiming the Nazi slaughter of Jews never took place.”
Another participant of the conference, Isidor Wolfe, a lawyer from Vancouver, Canada, exclaimed, “This growing revisionist group is using web sites to make amazingly ridiculous claims, like that they measured the gas chambers and found they were not big enough for people.”
The Jewish jurists were also highly critical of Bradley Smith’s Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, articulating their displeasure over the fact that the organization regularly sends “information packets” through the U. S. mail to college newspapers and “takes out advertisements for videos and books that claim Allied soldiers faked evidence of the Holocaust.”
Emphasizing the scope and urgency of the matter under discussion, the legal experts referred to these efforts as “historical manipulation,” and declared “No one should have to prove that the Holocaust took place.”
Mark Weber, director of the Institute for Historical Review, characterized Nener’s allegations regarding the financial resources of the international revisionist movement as “absurd.” In addition, the jurist’s statements “grotesquely misrepresent revisionist arguments and findings…If revisionist arguments were really as absurd as these Jewish legal experts contend, there would hardly be a need for laws to punish anyone espousing them.”
In Weber’s view, the convocation of the conference itself served to “confirm the tremendous importance of the “Holocaust” story for Jewish-Zionist interests,” and underscored their “inability…to respond to revisionist evidence and arguments with compelling evidence of their own.”[36 ]
Based upon their past record, the director of the IHR predicted that the call for harsher anti-revisionist laws was likely to be successful, in that European governments “have generally been unwilling to resist Jewish demands for money or legal measures directed against real or perceived enemies”
In Poland, events related to “Holocaust denial” proceeded along a more-sinister course when Professor Dariusz Ratajczak was suspended from his job at the Historical Institute of the University of Opole after state prosecutors received complaints about a book he had authored entitled Dangerous Themes. In this book, the author presented revisionist arguments claiming that the gas chambers in Nazi camps were used to kill lice on clothes and prisoners and refers to testimony from eyewitnesses as “useless.” In addition, the book made reference to mainstream researchers of Nazi crimes as “followers of the religion of the Holocaust” who impose on others “a false image of the past.”
Prosecutors subsequently charged Ratajczak with violation of Polish law, which bans public denial of Nazi and communist crimes. Prosecutor Roman Wawrzynek stated that if convicted, the popular professor could face up to three years’ imprisonment.
During the trial hearing that followed, Ratajczak defended himself by stating that he had merely summarized the opinions of historians who deny the existence of homicidal gas chambers and protested that his own views were not in line with all the opinions cited in his book.
In his opening statement to the court, Ratajczak proclaimed:
Historical revisionism is a historical and social fact. A historian must not close his eyes to it…my only intention was to present the problem…without author’s commentary.
The Polish historian also emphatically insisted that approximately three million Jews died during the course of the “Holocaust,” and not six million, as is generally maintained by most mainstream “Holocaust” historians, and underlined his conviction that the Nazis possessed no systematic plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.
Although the charges preferred against him were eventually dismissed, Ratajczak was deprived of his livelihood and his book was withdrawn from circulation. A Jewish community leader referred to the verdict as “outrageous,” and “a poor testimonial to Polish democracy,” and vowed that the Jewish community would protest.
Swiss educator and revisionist author Jürgen Graf, a man personally acquainted with the forces of repression and censorship, offered insightful observations in respect to the case of Darius Ratajczak:
There is concern that Ratajczak’s acquittal will be overturned on appeal as a result of pressure from the Jewish Lobby, which is extraordinarily powerful in Poland. Especially vicious in the hate campaign against him has been the Jew Adam Michnik, who was a prominent “dissident” during the communist era.
Dr. Dariusz Ratajczak is a man of firm political and religious convictions, a man of character. Such men are disliked by the government of “liberal democratic” Poland no less than they were by the government of the Polish “people’s democracy.
In his book, Ratajczak himself clearly understood the consequences ultimately faced by those who decide to risk their entire livelihood and reputation in the service of truth. Living under the sword of Damocles, with no further opportunity to support himself and his family in Poland, the highly gifted Ratajczak retreated to England where was he reduced to earning a scanty living by means of menial labor in fulfillment of his own prophecy:
The results are often tragic: social exclusion (everyone has the friends he deserves), muzzling of journalistic and publishing activities, and, finally, professional ruin.
Further Examples of German Injustice
In Germany, the wheels of repression continued to grind inexorably when Mannheim attorney Ludwig Block was arraigned before a court on charges of “denying the Holocaust” as a consequence of his too-vigorous defense of his former client, Günter Deckert. The hapless Block was cited for his use of fifty arguments presented for the consideration of the court during Deckert’s trial. Although many of Block’s arguments were tossed out of court by the presiding judge during the course of the trial, he was nevertheless charged with having had the temerity to present them in the first place!
At about the same time, German right-wing activist Manfred Roeder received a sentence of two years’ imprisonment on a charge of “Holocaust denial,” and “incitement of the people.”
On the first day of his trial, the flamboyant Roeder, attired in knickerbockers and checkered jacket, strode into the courtroom at Grevesmuehlen flanked by scores of enthusiastic supporters.
Responding to the clicks of multiple cameras, Roeder proclaimed that only his Christian faith would be able to help him resist the overwhelming preponderance of Jewish influence which threatened to squeeze the life out of Germany. Brandishing a Bible in his hands, the 72-year-old Roeder obligingly held it aloft at the request of media photographers and proclaimed: “The Bible is my last defense against Jewish tyranny, since other recognized forms of evidence are not permitted.”
During the course of an NPD meeting which he had hosted in August 1998 Roeder was alleged to have publicly denied “the genocide of the European Jews by the National Socialists.” Prosecutors charged that during this meeting, while speaking to his audience on the subject of the “Holocaust”, Roeder imprudently added the phrase, “as you well know never happened.”
Roeder disputed the statement attributed to him and contested a taped recording of the speech that was introduced into evidence, claiming that the item had been tampered with by a member of the “Jewish Reuters Press Agency.”
In turn the prosecutor called three witnesses to the stand who testified that Roeder had made the comments in question. The prosecution raised additional objections to Roeder’s comments in respect to the “Holocaust,” when the latter asserted that he had spent time in the same cell with the former commandant of Auschwitz and asseverated, “Therefore I know what I am talking about.”
State prosecutor Wulf Kollorz later referred to Roeder’s statement as an ‘evil outburst,’ and made a motion to the court to confine all further statements from the accused to writing, in order to “spare the court any further painful theatrics’ on the part of the defendant.
Roeder brusquely responded by remarking, “I as a German have less rights here than the smallest minorities.”
Manfred Roeder fully recognized that he would not walk out of court as a free man, and therefore brought his case to the attention of the public by the liberal use of provocative tactics.
For example, Roeder requested that the Israeli ambassador be called to the witness stand, along with former German chancellors Helmut Kohl, Gerhard Schroeder, and other prominent individuals. In like manner, accused attorney Ludwig Block compiled a similar list of prominent witnesses in order to “consider the fact that massive political interests are hindering the breakthrough of the Holocaust’s historical truth.”
One of the highlights of his trial occurred when Roeder turned to the judge and declared, “Nothing against you, judge, but even you are suspended 10 centimeters above ground, just like everyone else in this country.”
At these words, the spectators in the public gallery burst out with cries of “Bravo!, and “Hear, Hear!,” whilst members of the press shook their heads in disbelief.
Unsurprisingly, the media evinced nary a shred of sympathy for the accused and a reporter described him as,
…a dinosaur from a past age - a slobbering 70-year old with a pompous face. An observer is tempted to view him as a tragic figure – which would be a fatal error. In 1982, Roeder, who was sentenced to 13 years as the ringleader of a “terror-group” knows exactly what he is doing. “We want to provoke,” he says in the direction of his young supporters, “even with such trials.
The curt media description of Roeder’s past ‘terrorism’ is a reference to Roeder’s pivotal role in founding the Deutschen Aktionsgruppen [German Action Groups] in 1980, who were said to have initiated attacks upon buildings offering sanctuary to asylum seekers and illegal aliens living in Germany. Roeder was released after having served eight years for good behavior and perceived social rehabilitation.
In fact, Manfred Roeder has come into frequent conflict with the German authorities, primarily due to his conviction that Germany continues to be an occupied country still under the heel of the Allied conquerors. In 1996 Roeder was charged with vandalism after taking offense at an exhibit in Erfurt that detailed the alleged crimes of the German Wehrmacht in the Second World War. In September 2004 he was charged in Frankfurt with ‘contempt of the state,’ and again in February 2005 for the same offense by a court in Schalmstadt. On May 12, 2005, he began serving his sentence in Giessen.
At the announcement of his verdict in 1999, presiding Judge Robert Piepel agreed with the prosecutor that it was the solemn duty of the court to punish the accused with “necessary severity” and ordered that Roeder be imprisoned for two years for the crime of expressing his opinion.
With respect to “necessary severity” it should be mentioned that Germany’s “Holocaust-denial” laws are so bizarrely formulated and interpreted that, for example, whosoever should publicly declare that the First World War never took place, would perhaps provoke in people a few smiles or chuckles, and certainly would not find themselves tossed into a prison for five years. By comparison, if one were to state, under present German law, that the Second World War never occurred, an energetic state prosecutor could draw from that statement the conclusion that one was also implying that the Holocaust never occurred, and for that reason the hapless culprit might soon find himself handcuffed by the police and charged with “Holocaust denial.”
As might be expected, as the final decade of the Twentieth Century came to an end, the number of individuals prosecuted for thought-related crimes reached a crescendo.
In Germany alone, the list of victims of increased exponentially. Many of the victims were elderly and in various stages of declining health. Among the few names among many that might be presently cited, some will be familiar to us, although most will not, yet each and every one of them shares similar trials and tribulations: Udo Walendy, who at the age of 72 was still languishing in prison serving a three-year sentence, suffering with progressive heart disease, Günter Deckert, 57, served five years for expressing his opinion, Erhard Kemper, 70, arrested, released, recharged and re-sentenced. Fritz Rebhandel, 80, a former journalist and historian, who was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment in spite of the fact that he was seriously ill. Herbert Schweiger, 73, author, sentenced to 25 months in jail. Engineer Emil Lachout, who found himself in a similar situation as American poet Ezra Pound, who was railroaded in a political show trial and declared by court-appointed psychiatrists to be of “unsound mind.” Franz Radl, a student, received up to three years' imprisonment for passing out flyers. Jürgen Graf, teacher, author, historian, linguist, sentenced to 18 months, now living in exile. Arthur Vogt, 80 years of age and ailing, one year’s imprisonment. Tiudar Rudolph, 92, repeatedly incarcerated for expressing unpopular opinions. General Major Otto Ernst Remer, 85, sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, succeeded in fleeing to Spain with the help of friends, where he died whilst confined to a wheelchair after living four years in exile. His crime? Seeking to come to terms with his nation’s past and determine what did or did not occur in the concentration camps during the war years.
As the world prepared to enter the 21st Century, public attention was once again riveted on the issue of “Holocaust denial” when Germar Rudolf, who had sought asylum in Great Britain, fled to American shores after an article published in the Sunday Telegraph revealed the fact that he had been secretly hiding in Great Britain under his wife’s maiden name. The “expose” duplicitously referred to Rudolf as a “neo-Nazi,” who had “absconded in 1995 rather than serve a 14-month jail sentence for breaching Germany’s Holocaust-denial legislation.”
Revealingly, the Telegraph completely sidestepped the issue of the German government’s irrational persecution of an incorruptible researcher whose only “crime” had been to apply the same standards of evidence to the “Holocaust” as are applied to any other alleged crime of this magnitude. Instead, the newspaper groaned over the fact that Rudolf had dared to question the allegation that millions of Jews had died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
Many independent observers felt at the time that Rudolf had been victimized, denounced and fed to the media wolves. As if on cue, a second pack of wolves commonly identified by their determination to squelch free speech and historical inquiry, vented their rage over the fact that Rudolf had been openly living as a free man in Great Britain over a period of three years.
Rudolf’s case provided the usual suspects with the pretext they needed to try and reintroduce legislation outlawing “Holocaust denial” in Great Britain.
Andrew Dismore, the Labor MP for Hendon and a member of the Council against Anti-Semitism, said: “I think a case like this can only strengthen the case for Holocaust-denial legislation to be introduced in Britain. I hope the German authorities will take immediate action to deal with this man. I intend to refer the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust, threatened to refer Rudolf’s case to the Home Secretary.
In fact, such public fanfaronades constituted an act of bathos that amounted to much ado about nothing while British authorities and media pundits acted as if they had nabbed Adolf Hitler himself. As a consequence of the hysteria whipped up by the British press, Jewish organizations and supportive politicians, Germar Rudolf fled to the United States and applied for political asylum.
Thus, those revisionists who were still able fled from political persecution seeking refuge in the few bastions of free speech remaining in Europe and North America.
Conversely, the determined opponents of free expression resolutely sought to seal off these few remaining sanctuaries, tightening a noose around the necks of the exiles, as otherwise-enlightened European nations succumbed in turn to the combined pressure of international Jewish organizations and the German government to outlaw “Holocaust denial.”
This phenomenon, essentially unique within the 20th and 21st Centuries, constitutes a form of mass hysteria similar to the outbreak of Tarantism and the witch-hunts so closely identified with medieval Europe.
Revisionists, skeptics, truth-seekers, intellectuals and free thinkers throughout Europe have been relentlessly persecuted, prosecuted, reviled, beaten, exiled, ostracized, imprisoned, hounded, harassed, hunted, pursued from nation to nation, deprived of liberty, family, livelihood and sustenance, turned into pariahs and outlaws, calumniated, slandered and libeled as “racists, bigots, heretics, liars, hate-mongers, deniers, neo-Nazis and anti-Semites.”
Neither appeals before the Court of Human Rights, Amnesty International, nor the Vatican has resulted in relief or succor; all alike have turned their backs on the plight of revisionist scholars.
|||“Abbe’ Plays down Holocaust Figure,” International Herald Tribune (Paris), June 8, 1996.|
|||An English-language edition of Roger Garaudy’s book has been published by the Institute for Historical Review under the title The Founding Myths of Modern Israel.|
|||Mark Weber, “French Courts Punish Holocaust Apostasy,”The Journal of Historical Review Vol. 17, No. 2, March / April 1998, pp. 17-18.|
|||“Blair Favors Holocaust Denial Ban,” The Guardian, (London), January 30, 1997, p. 8.|
|||“Why we must outlaw these race lies,” The Guardian, (London), January 30, 1997, p. 19.|
|||“Rationale for Suppression,” Spearhead, Nov., 1996. p. 4|
|||“Wrong way to combat those in the wrong,” Jewish Chronicle, (London), May 10, 1996, “Opinion Section.”|
|||“Brittan opposes Euro-law against Holocaust Denial,” Jewish Chronicle, (London), May 10, 1996, p. 9.|
|||“Leaders Blast Britain over Holocaust Denial,” Forward, (New York), March 29, 1996, p. 9.|
|||“No,” Daily Telegraph, (London) October 22, 1999, p. 28.|
|||“Brittan opposes Euro-law against Holocaust Denial,” Jewish Chronicle, (London), p. 9.|
|||“Leaders Blast Britain Over Holocaust Denial,” Jewish Forward, March 29, 1996, p. 9.|
|||Daily Express, 25 November 1995, Opinion section.|
|||“French Far-Right Leader Convicted of Slighting Holocaust,” The New York Times, December 27, 1997, p. A5.|
|||Agence France Presse, (Bonn), Dec. 8, 1997.|
|||“Journalist Fined For WW II Story,” The Christian News, March 31, 1997, p. 2.|
|||David Irving’s Action Report, No. 12, July 1997, p. 23.|
|||“Spanish Court Sentences ‘Thought Criminal,’” The Journal of Historical Review Vol. 17, No. 6, November-December, 1998, p. 21.|
|||“Prof. Hepp ein Volksverhetzer?,” Nation und Europa, (Coburg), July-August 1998, Heft. 7-8, p. 37.|
|||David Irving’s Action Report, AR no. 12, July 1997.|
|||“Jewish Jurists Fight Holocaust Denial,” Athens News, June 28, 1998, p. 1.|
|||“Fight Over Holocaust Denial,” International Herald Tribune, June 29, 1998, p. 30.|
|||“Jewish Jurists Fight Holocaust Denial,” Athens News, June 28, 1998, p. 1, cited above.|
|||“Fight over Holocaust Denial,” International Herald Tribune, June 29, 1998, p. 30|
|||“Jewish Group Demands More Anti-Revisionist Laws,” The Journal for Historical Review Vol. 17, No. 4, July-August 1998, p. 22.|
|||“No Punishment for Polish ‘Holocaust Denier,’” The Journal of Historical Review Vol. 18, No. 5-6, Sept.-Dec., 1999, p. 47.|
|||“Rechtsextremist Roeder nutzt den Gerichtssaal als Buehne,” Die Welt, November 26, 1999.|
|||“Freedoms under Attack,” The Spotlight, (Washington, D.C.) 23 August 1999, p. 11.|
|||“Rechtsextremist Roeder nutzt den Gerichtssaal als Buehne,” Die Welt, November 26, 1999, cited above.|
|||“German neo-Nazi fugitive is found hiding in Britain,” Sunday Telegraph, (London), October 17, 1999.|
Additional information about this document
|Author(s):||Joseph P. Bellinger|
|Title:||Disorder in the Courts (1990-2000), Part 2|
|Sources:||Inconvenient History, 8(1) 2016|
|First posted on CODOH:||March 14, 2016, 7:45 p.m.|