MANNHEIM, Germany - A German court on Thursday convicted far-right activist Ernst Zundel and sentenced him to five years in prison for Holocaust denial in a case that underlined Germany's determination to prosecute people who claim the Nazis didn't murder six million Jews.
The 67-year-old Zundel, who was deported from Canada in 2005, was convicted on 14 counts of inciting hatred for years of anti-Semitic activities, including contributing to a Web site devoted to denying the Holocaust — a crime in Germany.
Mannheim prosecutors were able to open a case against Zundel because his Holocaust-denying Web site is available in Germany.
Neil comments thusly:
We are very close to deporting & imprisoning people for saying that the Srebrenica massacre was faked (it was) or that we don't face catastrophic global warming (we don't). Particularly chilling is the refusal to look at the contrary evidence (I believe the evidence for the disappearance of millions of Polish Jews is overwhelming but that is not the point). We are seeing an example of truth being not what the facts say but what government says. Everywhere.
This, of course, is the point: that history becomes what the government say it is, not what the facts tell us. I think that it is right to condemn Holocaust deniers, but it is also right to condemn Germany (and Austria) for their disgusting disregard for free speech.
Lest anyone here get too smug, when the EU's Framework Decision on Combating Racism and Xenophobia is implemented in this country, as it must be by 30 June 2007, we will be required to prosecute any Holocaust deniers in this country too.
We are seeing an example of truth being not what the facts say but what government says.
I, and others, will be writing more on this framework in the next week or so but, in the meantime, consider the above sentence and look forward to 30 June 2007 when the above will be true, EU-wide.