89-Year-Old Holocaust Denier Sentenced To Prison After Losing Appeal

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By: Jay Syrmopoulos/The Free Thought Project  Detmold, Germany – An 89-year-old German woman was sentenced to 14 months in prison for incitement of racial hatred after losing an appeal on a prior conviction.

Ursula Haverbeck, often referred to in the German press as the “Nazi Grandma,” is known for extremist views that have run afoul of German hate speech laws in the past—with courts having previously given her fines and another suspended sedition sentence, according to Fox News.

In Germany, anyone who publicly denies, endorses or plays down the extermination of Jews during Adolf Hitler’s regime can be sentenced to a maximum of five years in jail for incitement of racial hatred.

According to a report by German state-run broadcaster, Deutsche Welle (DW):

In the United States, incitement of violence is criminal but “assaults against human dignity of others by insulting, malicious maligning, or defaming segments of the population” are considered an exercise of free speech, and thus protected under the First Amendment.

Essentially, German law has criminalized speech as a means of controlling political discourse—meaning the government will tell you what is acceptable to say, and who is fair game to malign, and what groups and classes are protected.

While some speech may be extreme and repulsive, the prohibition on certain ideas, even the most repugnant, being put into the public marketplace of thought is a fast track to totalitarian governmental control—essentially legitimizing the “thought police.”

According to DW:

Haverbeck has been sentenced on similar charges on five other occasions but has not yet served any jail time as she appeals the cases.

In October, she was sentenced to six months in prison by a Berlin court after being found guilty of inciting racial hatred for claiming the gas chambers at Auschwitz concentration camp “were not real.”

Prior to that, in August, she was given a two-year prison sentence by a regional court in Lower Saxony, according to DW.

The 89-year-old has appealed the rulings passed down against her in each case and claims she has been merely been repeating an opinion.

The most recent appeal verdict is not final, either, as Haverbeck’s attorneys plan to take the case to the Higher Regional Court in Hamm – which will serve as the final opportunity to challenge the prison sentence.

As Hall wrote in The Friends of Voltaire: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”


This article 89-Year-Old Holocaust Denier Sentenced To Prison After Losing Appeal by Jay Syrmopoulos, originally appeared on The Free Thought Project.

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