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Former SS soldier charged with hate speech

Joshua Stein
July 24, 2019

Karl M. was an SS member complicit in the murder of over 80 people in France in 1944. He had disputed whether the Nazis murdered six million Jews in the Holocaust.

Karl M.
Image: NDR/Panorama

Prosecutors in the German state of Lower Saxony said Wednesday that they have charged an ex-SS guard for questioning the extent of the Holocaust and offensive comments he made about the victims of a massacre of civilians in France during World War II.

Karl M. admitted last year in an interview with German TV broadcaster ARD to being part of an SS troop that massacred 86 villagers in the town of Ascq in northern France in April 1944. He denied shooting at the victims, some of whom were as young as 15.

But prosecutors charged him with hate speech and slandering the memory of the deceased by claiming that the Ascq victims were responsible for their own deaths and separately questioning whether the Nazis had killed six million Jews during the Holocaust.

Denying or belittling the Holocaust is a crime in Germany.


Plaque at Ascq, France
Karl M. was one of the SS soldiers involved in the massacre of 86 people in Villeneuve-d'Ascq in North FranceImage: Getty Images/AFP/D. Charlet

Karl M. will not be charged for his participation in the massacre of Ascq villagers, after it was ruled he could not be found guilty of the same crime twice. The former soldier was sentenced to death in abstentia by a French court in 1949 for his role in the mass slaughter.

Read more: Should the EU Make Holocaust Denial a Crime?

He could face five years in jail if convicted. Multiple ex-SS soldiers have faced trial in recent years over their actions during the Nazi era.

Editor's note: Deutsche Welle follows the German press code, which stresses the importance of protecting the privacy of suspected criminals or victims and obliges us to refrain from revealing full names in such cases.

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