Article 2, Deckert Gunther


MANNHEIM, Germany (Reuter) – A German court Wednesday convicted a
Nazi apologist of denying the Holocaust had happened, three months
after his original sentence on the same charge was overturned on
appeal. Guenter Deckert, head of the far-right National Democratic
Party, again received a one-year suspended sentence and was fined

Germany’s highest appeals court, the Federal Court of Justice,
provoked uproar in March by revoking the penalties. The appeals
court said then that propagating the “Auschwitz lie” — the claim
that the Holocaust never happened — did not in itself constitute a
crime and told the Mannheim justices to examine whether Deckert
“subscribed to Nazi ideology.”

Handing down the one-year suspended sentence and the fine for the
second time after brief deliberations, the district court in
Mannheim said Deckert had done precisely that. Deckert had been
charged with inciting race hatred, a count often used to prosecute
neo-Nazis. The case stemmed from a lecture in Germany by U.S.
neo-Nazi Fred Leuchter, which Deckert organized. Deckert
translated the Leuchter lecture into German and sold videotapes of
it. Leuchter, who designs execution chambers for U.S. prisons and
is due to stand trial in Germany on race hate charges, told the
National Democratic Party he had visited Auschwitz death camp and
established that it had never had gas chambers.

The earlier decision by the appeals court to overturn Deckert’s
conviction was seen as a reversal of previous legal interpretation,
which had always considered spreading the Auschwitz lie to be in
breach of race hate laws. The ruling outraged Jewish groups and
led to calls for making denying the Holocaust a specific criminal

A government bill which would have criminalized Nazi apologists
was rejected last week in Bonn’s upper house of parliament because
of opposition objections to other aspects of the bill.


Last-Modified: 1994/07/23