Charges have been brought against a German man who allegedly disrupted a tour at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp with what one federal official called “anti-Semitic and historically untenable remarks.”
According to Deutsche Welle, the unnamed man visited the site last July and consistently interrupted a guided tour with Holocaust denial rhetoric.
The man was one of several people from Baden-Württemberg who also made remarks denying the Holocaust during the tour, but only he was charged.
Officials at the camp asked the group, to leave after they denied the existence of gas chambers, Deutsche Welle reported.
The German broadcaster reported that the man, who is believed to be affiliated with the far-right AfD party, is being charged with hate speech and “disturbing the peace of the dead.”
Holocaust denial is illegal in Germany.
Located some 20 miles north of Berlin, Sachsenhausen was established in 1936 and stood at the center of a network of 61 satellite forced labor camps. According to Yad Vashem, the camp had a gas chamber but it was rarely used and many of those killed were shot to death, including 13,000-18,000 Soviet prisoners of war.
Jews, political prisoners, Gypsies and members of the LGBT community were all interned there. Yad Vashem estimated that some 200,000 prisoners passed through the camp and 30,000 people (not counting Soviet POWs) died there.
The camp was also the site of gruesome medical experiments.
In January 2019, a survey conducted by Opinion Matters, on behalf of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust found that 5% of UK adults did not believe the Holocaust took place and one in 12 (8%) believed its scale has been exaggerated. One in five respondents incorrectly answered that less than 2 million Jews were murdered, and 45% couldn’t say how many people were murdered in the Holocaust. Speaking in light of the survey’s findings, Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said: “One person questioning the truth of the Holocaust is one too many, and so it is up to us to redouble our efforts to ensure future generations know that it did happen and become witnesses to one of the darkest episodes in our history.”
The BBC Radio 4 More or Less programme, specialising on statistics, investigated the survey finding it was unlikely to be accurate. Participants were incentivised to complete the online survey by shopping vouchers encouraging speedy answering, and the principal question was a “reverse question” with most participants having to give the reverse answer to surrounding questions requiring careful answering. Another question asked how many Jewish people had been murdered in the holocaust with only 0.2% of participants giving the answer zero, which was considered to be a closer estimate of the number of UK adults that did not believe the Holocaust took place.
In some post-Soviet states, such as Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, or Romania, Holocaust deniers do not deny the very fact of mass murder of Jews, but they deny some national or regional elements of the Holocaust. The post-Soviet radical right activists do not question the existence of Nazi death camps or Jewish ghettos. Instead, the participation of local population in anti-Jewish pogroms or contribution of national paramilitary organizations in capture and execution of Jews is denied. Thus, denial of the antisemitic nature and participation in the Holocaust of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists has become a central component of the intellectual history of the Ukrainian diaspora and nationalists