′Nazi Grandma′ loses appeal in top German court over Holocaust denial sentence | News | DW | 03.08.2018
  1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

News

'Nazi Grandma' loses appeal in top German court over Holocaust denial sentence

Germany's highest court has thrown out an appeal by Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck, saying her rights had not been violated. In a separate case, the court found that downplaying the Holocaust wasn't always a crime.

Notorious Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck will remain in prison after Germany's Constitutional Court rejected her appeal on Friday.

Haverbeck, dubbed the "Nazi Grandma" by German media, is currently serving a two-year prison sentence in the city of Bielefeld after a regional court found her guilty of eight counts of incitement in May.

Germany's highest court reaffirmed on Friday that Holocaust denial is not covered under the constitutional right to free speech.

"The plaintiff's remarks fall largely outside the protective scope of freedom of opinion," the court wrote in a statement.

Holocaust denial 'disturbs public peace'

Haverbeck has been convicted several times in various German courts for denying the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were systematically murdered by the Nazi regime between 1941 and 1945.

She's repeatedly claimed that Auschwitz was "not historically proven" to be a death camp, claiming it was a labor camp instead. An estimated 1.1 million people were murdered at the camp in Nazi-occupied Poland; 90 percent of the victims were Jewish.

Ursula Haverbeck sits in court (picture-alliance/dpa/P. Zinken)

Haverbeck is currently serving a two-year sentence for incitement over her remarks denying the Holocaust

The court ruled that knowingly spreading falsehoods "cannot contribute to forming opinions" and therefore isn't included in the freedom of opinion. They also ruled that denying the Holocaust constitutes "disturbing the public peace."

Haverbeck has also been named as the leading candidate for the far-right Die Rechte party for the 2019 European Parliament election. Hundreds of demonstrators with Die Rechte protested for her release in May.

Downplaying Holocaust sometimes allowed

In a separate case on Friday, the Constitutional Court ruled in favor of a man who challenged a fine he was given for incitement over his remarks about the Holocaust.

The court ruled that a conviction for downplaying or trivializing the Holocaust is only legally valid if it can be proven that the statements posed a danger to public peace.

If public peace is not threatened, then a democracy must also be able to withstand "disturbing opinions," the court said.

The man in the case had been fined €3,000 ($3,479) in state court for comments posted online that both denied and downplayed the role of the German army in the Holocaust.

rs/kms (AP, AFP, dpa, epd)

Watch video 00:57
Now live
00:57 mins.

The German Basic Law: freedom of expression

Every evening at 1830 UTC, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

DW recommends

WWW links

Audios and videos on the topic

Advertisement