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Man faces charges over Holocaust denial

August 13, 2019

A man who allegedly spread hate speech at the Sachsenhausen camp memorial near Berlin is to face face criminal charges. He was part of a group visiting from the constituency of Alice Weidel, leader of the far-right AfD.

The gates of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp
Image: Monaz Haque

A man who reportedly denied the Holocaust during a visit to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp memorial near Berlin is to face criminal charges, prosecutors confirmed Monday.

The man has been accused of hate speech and disturbing the peace of the dead during a visit to the memorial site in July 2018.

The memorial site's staff had reported him and others for playing down the significance of the location and denying Nazi crimes, suggesting manipulation and incompetence.

The suspect, who is from the state of Baden-Württemberg in the south of Germany, was part of a group of 17 visitors from the constituency of Alice Weidel, co-leader of the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD).

How children escaped the Holocaust

Holocaust denials

The visiting party was instructed to leave the area that was a Nazi concentration camp from 1936 to 1945 after some of them began denying the facts of the genocide carried out by the Nazis. The guide asked the group to leave after some of the participants denied the existence of gas chambers.

Tens of thousands of internees died in Sachsenhausen as a result of hunger, disease, forced labour, medical experiments and mistreatment. In the autumn of 1941, the SS murdered at least 13,000 Soviet prisoners of war, among whom many were Jews. Approximately six months later, in the spring of 1942, an extermination unit was built in the industrial yard, with a crematorium and a neck shot unit, with a gas chamber added in 1943.

Several prominent AfD leaders have been accused of relativizing Nazi crimes and the suffering of their victims.

Holocaust denial and denying crimes committed by the Nazis is a criminal offense in Germany.

jsi/cmk (dpa, EPD, AFP)

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