Date: 02-Nov-94 07:38 EST
From: Executive News Svc. [71370,1562]
Subj: APn 11/02 0018 Nazi Haven Copyright, 1994. The Associated
Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in this news
report may not be republished or redistributed without the prior
written authority of The Associated Press.
By JAN M. OLSEN Associated Press Writer
KOLLUND, Denmark (AP) — In his haven across the Flensborg fiord from
Germany, Thies Christophersen has been quietly publishing magazines
and books for years denying that the Holocaust ever happened.
The presence of the former German SS officer was long ignored by other
residents of Kollund, a pleasant town filled with nearly identical
bungalows and colorful front gardens.
But revelations about his international propaganda network and efforts
by other German neo-Nazis to settle in Denmark exposed old wounds
dating back to World War II, when the German army occupied the
Now, residents want Christophersen expelled to Germany. Protesters
have staged at least two violent rallies to demand that Denmark
tighten its liberal press freedoms law, a backlash that has put the
government in the position of defending the right of Nazis to speak
“We’ve tolerated (Christophersen) because he was an old man and was
alone. Now others are coming,” said Karen Heesch, a retiree in
Kollund, a town of 1,500 people a few minutes north of the German
Christophersen came to Denmark to avoid charges in Germany of
incitement to violence and racial hatred in 1986. Denmark has turned
down Germany’s requests to extradite Christophersen because he holds a
Danish residency permit. His work is protected by Denmark’s press
Attention focused on Christophersen after another immigrant Nazi had
troubles. In mid-September, Meinolf Schoenborn, who heads Germany’s
banned Nationalist Front, fled from his home in the southern Danish
village of Kvaers after Danes attacked his house.
Press reports said Schoenborn had moved to Denmark with plans to set
up a training camp for right-wing activists.
“What happened in Kvaers sent a shock wave through the country,” said
Peter Rasmussen, who owns a bar in Graasten, a mile from Kvaers.
He predicted that if Christophersen stays and the press law is not
changed, “protests will multiply and may get out of control.”
Two weeks after Schoenborn was driven from his home, about 2,000
people protested outside Christophersen’s house five miles from
The 76-year-old German has told reporters he could no longer stand the
pressure and would surrender to German authorities. But Danes say
Christophersen is bluffing.
“He can’t leave. He’s the spider in the center of an international
web,” said Siegfried Matlock, editor in chief of Der Nordschleswiger,
a German-language newspaper in Denmark.
In recent years, Christophersen has held meetings with leading
European right-wing figures. The Copenhagen newspaper Det Fri Aktuelt
said he printed the neo-Nazi publication Liberty Bells for
distribution in the United States.
He prints a quarterly called Die Bauernschaft, which means “the
peasantry” in German. Under the name Nordwind publishing, he has
produced his own book, “The Auschwitz Lie,” and others denying that
Germany exterminated millions of Jews during World War II.
Christophersen, who says he was a guard at the Auschwitz concentration
camp during the war, produces the publications from a small,
yellow-brick house with shutters, boarded basement windows and a
security camera to monitor surroundings. The house is just four miles
from the Froslev camp, the German-run prison in Denmark during World
When Schoenborn bought his house in Kvaers, he told the seller,
Karsten Pedersen, he was setting up a business to sell toys.
“Strange toys indeed,” said Pedersen, a car mechanic who says he did
not know the buyer’s identity “until it was too late.”
After Schoenborn fled the house, T-shirts and stickers emblazoned with
swastikas and other Third Reich emblems were found inside along with
Today, the house is sprayed-painted with anti-Nazi slogans and the
surroundings are littered with barbed wire, broken glass and broken
Schoenborn’s whereabouts are not known.
Other neo-Nazis have tried to make a home in Denmark.
“In one case, the seller retracted his offer when he discovered who
was buying it,” Deputy Police Chief Bent Rungstrom told The Associated
Press, refusing to identify either party.
The government has been reluctant to take harsh action. Legislators
have promised to review the law on racism, but stress that freedom of
speech is sacrosanct in Denmark.
Germany repeatedly has asked its northern neighbor to tighten its
legislation, saying neo-Nazis produce hate propaganda in Denmark and
then export it to Germany and other countries.
Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal appealed to Danish consciences, recalling
how Danes smuggled 7,000 Jews to neutral Sweden in 1943 after learning
they were to be sent to concentration camps by the German occupiers.
“These neo-Nazis do things which are against the Danish people’s
sentiments,” Wiesenthal told Danish news media.