Germans Convicted for Burning Anne Frank′s Diary | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 08.03.2007
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Germans Convicted for Burning Anne Frank's Diary

Five Germans were given suspended jail sentences and fined on Thursday for tossing a copy of Anne Frank's diary onto a blazing bonfire at a far-right summer festival.

Anne Frank's diary

"The Diary of Anne Frank" is one of the most famous books on the Holocaust

The defendants, all men aged between 24 and 29, were convicted of inciting racial hatred and disparaging the dead by a district court in the eastern city of Magdeburg.

Each received a suspended sentence of nine months and fines of between 1,300 and 2,200 euros ($1,700 and $2,890). Two suspects were acquitted for lack of evidence.

The book burning occurred last June during a summer solstice party with about 70 guests organized by a far-right group in the town of Pretzien. The group also fed an American flag to the flames.

Presiding judge Eike Bruns said the men had attacked Anne Frank's memory and dignity in a symbolic attack against the Holocaust's six million victims.

"They all knew just what they were doing," he said.

"An evil chapter of German history"

Demonstrators at a neo-Nazi protest

Eastern German states are particularly troubled by right-wing extremism

One of the defendants, 25-year-old Lars Konrad, testified during the trial that he had wanted to free himself "from an evil chapter of German history" but said he had no intention of denying the Nazis' crimes.

The case sparked outrage in Germany and abroad, fuelling concerns over neo-Nazi ideology spreading in the economically depressed states of former communist east Germany.

Published after World War II, "The Diary of Anne Frank" chronicles the two years Frank and her family spent hiding in a cramped attic to avoid detection and deportation to a Nazi death camp.

They were eventually betrayed and captured in August 1944. Anne Frank died of typhus at the age of 15 in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in March 1945, shortly before its liberation by the Allies.

Now translated into over 60 languages, the diary has borne witness to the Holocaust for millions of readers.

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