Deckert 1, Deckert Gunther

Intro: The German government and Jewish community leaders are
criticizing a German court for its handling of the case of a
far-right party leader who denied the Holocaust ever took place.
VOA’s Dagmar Breitenbach reports from Bonn.

Text: A Mannheim regional court gave Guenter Deckert, head of
the far-right National Democratic Party, a one-year suspended
prison sentence, and the equivalent of a six-thousand dollar fine
after his conviction of incitement to racial hatred.

The penalty was announced last June. But the judge’s
justification for the suspended sentence — made public only this
week — is what has caused outrage among German government and
Jewish leaders alike.

The court excused Mr. Deckert’s denial of the Holocaust, saying
he was defending his political conviction, which the court
described as a “matter of the heart” for him.

The court said Mr. Deckert was strengthening the resistance of
the German people to Jewish demands stemming from the Holocaust.

The ruling prompted an uproar from government officials and the
country’s Jewish community.

Jewish leader Ignatz Bubis says the court’s explanation has
practically made anti-Semitism by neo-Nazis and extreme rightists
socially acceptable. Justice minster Sabine Leutheusser-
Schnarrenberger called the justification a slap in
the face for all victims of the Holocaust, and a shocking signal.
What good are the most effective regulations to combat
neo-Nazism, she said, if a German court calls the denial of the
Holocaust a “matter of the heart.”

The case arose from a 1991 lecture in Germany by U.S. neo-Nazi
activist Fred Leuchter. Mr. Leuchter insists Jews were never
killed at death camps run by the Nazis. Mr. Deckert translated
the lecture, and told the audience he agreed with Mr. Leuchter.

The regional court had previously convicted Mr. Deckert, and
given him the same suspended sentence. But Germany’s highest
appeals court overturned the lower court verdict, saying the
evidence presented at the time did not prove he was guilty of a
crime. It instructed the regional court to re-examine the case
to determine whether Mr. Deckert really subscribed to Nazi
ideology. The court reached the conclusion that he did, and
handed down the same sentence as before.

State prosecutors, who had called for a two-year prison
sentence, say they will appeal the court’s ruling.

10-Aug-94 9:22 AM EDT (1322 UTC)

Source: Voice of America

Last-Modified: 1994/08/17

Date: Wed, 10 Aug 1994 19:54:46 CDT
From: Dan Rogers
Subject: “Auschwitz Lie” gets suspended sentence
To: Multiple recipients of list H-ANTIS

Source: Voice of America gopher