BERLIN (Reuter) – The lawyer of a German on trial for
denying the Nazis had carried out mass killing of Jews demanded
acquittal Tuesday for the man who once dismissed the memorial
site of Auschwitz concentration camp as a giant farce.
State prosecutors want Bela Althans, 29, jailed for three
years for inciting racial hatred and denying the Nazi genocide
of six million Jews — a crime under German law punishable by up
to five years jail.
But Althans’ lawyer, Axel Krause, told a Berlin court that
the statements he made in the film “Profession: Neo-Nazi” were
not enough to convict him.
“He is finished — a man without a political future,”
Krause said of Althans, who has already been sentenced to 18
months by a Munich court for incitement to racial hatred and has
renounced links to neo-Nazi groups.
He argued Althans had left the neo-Nazi scene before making
the documentary in 1992. His comments were therefore acceptable
under the constitutional principle of freedom of speech.
Althans appeared in the film saying of the Auschwitz
memorial site, scene of the most notorious concentration camp:
“What is happening here is a giant farce.”
At the opening of his trial in the first week of July
Althans denied he was a neo-Nazi or that he had ever cast doubt
on whether the Holocaust actually took place.
“I am not a career Nazi and I do not deny the Holocaust or
the annihilation of Jews,” he told the court.