Mein Ringtone: Man Arrested For Having Hitler Speech As Ringtone

A German man may go to jail for six months over a ringtone. The man has been using a Hitler speech as his ringtone on his cellphone. In Germany, it is a crime to display Nazi symbols or Nazi works.

The 54-year-old man was reported while riding a train in Hamburg. He was using the speech in which Hitler pledges the “destruction of world Jewry.”

Upon his arrest, police found swastika stickers and a photo of Hitler on the telephone with the words: ‘The greatest commander of all time’.

One can well understand the German prohibition given the destruction that Hitler brought on that country and the world at large. However, as always, I come down on the side of free speech in such matters. As discussed in this column, the West has increasingly engaged in restrictions on speech that constitute a growing and dangerous trend.

Source: Daily Mail.

10 thoughts on “Mein Ringtone: Man Arrested For Having Hitler Speech As Ringtone”

  1. Now it is so easy to make your own ringtones. All we need to select our favourtie MP3 song, and upload it on AAfter Search by typing ‘ringtone:’ (without quotes) in the search box. It will split the MP3 into 20 secs ringtones. Select the interesting section of the song/music from 20 secs segments. Please, only use the music that you own.

  2. Isabel Darcy,
    the Horst Wessel Song is legally a “symbol” of the NSDAP. I.e. it would’ve been another instance of a violation of StGB 86a in concurrence with the swastika stickers.

    It thus wouldn’t have changed the charge, but would have made it easier to get a conviction, because it would’ve clearly demonstrated public usage of that symbol.

  3. Hey Herr Berliner. What if he programmed his cell phone with the Horst Wessel song (melody AND lyrics, the melody I think is a pre Nazi era German tune)?

  4. Blouise,

    If you outlaw stupidity you’ll have to wait for congress to be out of session as they have immunity from arrest while in session…..Then again, maybe, just maybe, they could be arrested on the floor for treason. Treason is an exception to the rules of immunity……

  5. Even the German press gets this wrong, but this is a law blog, so:
    the charge is the possession of several swastika stickers, not the Hitler speech ringtone.

    According to German law Hitler speeches are “pre-constitutional” and can therefore not be considered “anti constitutional propaganda.”
    (Unless they’re so heavily commented and/or edited that they become a new message, which doesn’t seem to be the case here.)

    The case is very shaky, the prosecution will argue that several swastika stickers are indicative of an intent to disseminate them publicly.
    Which would be sufficient (StGB 86a(2): “… produces, stocks, imports or exports objects which depict or contain such symbols for distribution …”), but of course pure intent is rather hard to prove.
    (“I just wanted to decorate my fridge with a pattern of swastikas. Honest.”)

  6. ID is mostly right. “You can repress expression but not ideas.” And I say mostly because she didn’t go quite far enough. The attempted repression of speech has one of the two following outcomes in re repression of ideas:

    1) Either historical revisionism that prevents people from learning from past errors or

    2) it gives the idea credibility as it is an idea repressed by the state and will thus be attractive to people who may have other, legitimate gripes with the state and thus fuel “underground” propagation of the meme.

    The only way to learn from history’s lessons is to be as open and honest about them as possible. If the price of that exacts a toll on those in power – thankfully not the case in Germany anymore, but very much the case in America after Bush – then those in power must pay the price even if that means prison for them lest their bad example be misconstrued by the simpler members of the species as a good idea. By not punishing Bush and Cheney for their blatant illegalities we are being dishonest about history much like Germany and to the same net effect. Criminals are criminals. Not talking about them is just another form of whitewash.

  7. I was in Germany 3 years ago visiting a German family who live near the Black Forest. If you go into the Black Forest you will see many houses flying WWI German flags, which I was told are surrogates for the Nazi flag. You can repress expression but not ideas.

  8. And exactly how difference is his rein that W’ and Cheney’s? Oh yeah, we are still in control. You know some of the same tactics that Hitler used, were implemented under “W’s” watch. Hmm…..

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