“She Is A Lost Cause”: 87-Year-Old German Grandmother Jailed For Denying Auschwitz Was A Death Camp

220px-Auschwitz_entrancehaverbeck-panoramaWe have been following the rapid decline of free speech rights in Europe and Canada. Germany has long been the subject of criticism from the free speech movement. The country has long criminalized speech dealing with World War II and the Nazis. While the real benefit of those laws has been questioned given the long existence of a neo-Nazi groups in the country, prosecutors continue to bring troubling charges against those who voice unpopular or obnoxious beliefs in prohibited areas. The latest is Ursula Haverbeck, an 87-year-old German Neo-Nazi grandmother who has been sentenced to 10 months in prison after being found guilty of denying the Holocaust. She does not believe that the Holocaust was real but, rather than leaving the matter to open debate, the Germans are imprisoning her for either not changing her mind or not staying silent about her views.

Haverbeck was charged earlier this year after giving an interview outside the trial of former SS Sgt. Oskar Groening claiming Auschwitz wasn’t a death camp. She challenged the presiding judge in Hamburg to prove that Auschwitz was a death camp. However, the judge responded that he said he wouldn’t debate someone who “can’t accept any facts.” Magistrate Bjoern Joensson added “Neither do I have to prove to you the world is round,”That would seem a fine response and the matter should have been closed.

However, the government then proceeded to arrest her. I have little sympathy for Haverbeck who appears and ardent Nazi. However, free speech often requires us to fight for the rights of people who we dislike or even despise.

While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, I have long been a critic of the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases, I view it as not just a violation of free speech but a futile effort to stamp but extremism by barring certain symbols. Instead, extremists have rallied around an underground culture and embraced symbols that closely resemble those banned by the government. I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone or forcing companies to remove the number “88” from products is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications. What it does do is given people like Haverbeck the status of victims. It allows Holocaust deniers to argue that the government will not allow people to utter what they claim is the “truth.” History can take care of itself as can free speech. The criminalization of unpopular views only fuels the ignorance and claims of persecution by this small minority.

Judge Joensson said in the most recent case “It is deplorable that this woman, who is still so active given her age, uses her energy to spread such hair-raising nonsense . . . She is a lost cause.” It is nonsense but the government has made it a serious matter by criminalizing views deemed nonsensical. That is more than nonsense it is dangerous. It is free speech that seems the lost cause in Germany.

78 thoughts on ““She Is A Lost Cause”: 87-Year-Old German Grandmother Jailed For Denying Auschwitz Was A Death Camp”

  1. The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was an American initiative to aid Western Europe, in which the United States gave $13 billion (approximately $130 billion in current dollar value as of August 2015) in economic support to help rebuild Western European economies after the end of World War II. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1947. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-devastated regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, make Europe prosperous again, and prevent the spread of communism.[1] The Marshall Plan required a lessening of interstate barriers, a dropping of many petty regulations constraining business, and encouraged an increase in productivity, labour union membership, as well as the adoption of modern business procedures.[2]

    The Marshall Plan aid was divided amongst the participant states roughly on a per capita basis. A larger amount was given to the major industrial powers, as the prevailing opinion was that their resuscitation was essential for general European revival. Somewhat more aid per capita was also directed towards the Allied nations, with less for those that had been part of the Axis or remained neutral. The largest recipient of Marshall Plan money was the United Kingdom (receiving about 26% of the total), followed by France (18%) and West Germany (11%). Some 18 European countries received Plan benefits.[3] Although offered participation, the Soviet Union refused Plan benefits, and also blocked benefits to Eastern Bloc countries, such as East Germany and Poland. The United States provided similar aid programs in Asia, but they were not called “Marshall Plan”.

    The initiative is named after Secretary of State George Marshall. The plan had bipartisan support in Washington, where the Republicans controlled Congress and the Democrats controlled the White House with Harry S. Truman as president. The Plan was largely the creation of State Department officials, especially William L. Clayton and George F. Kennan, with help from Brookings Institution, as requested by Senator Arthur H. Vandenberg, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.[4] Marshall spoke of an urgent need to help the European recovery in his address at Harvard University in June 1947.[1][5]

    The phrase “equivalent of the Marshall Plan” is often used to describe a proposed large-scale economic rescue program.[6]

  2. Nothing better than a dialog between hskip, Hilde, and Schulte.

    Where’s the popcorn?

    1. The proper legal term is apparently “a state of emergency”. They must not like the term “marshal law” but us common folk no what it is. The rich folks trying to keep the poor folks locked down, from “steallen” back what they have stolen from us through taxes, fines and regulatory fees.

  3. If Americans have the freedom of religion, they may believe whatever they choose.

    If Americans have the freedom of speech, they MUST have the freedom of thought.

    If Americans have the freedom of thought, they may think whatever they choose.

    If citizens of other countries don’t have the freedoms that Americans have,

    there is something wrong with their countries.

    Looks like more work for the world’s policeman.

    Let’s roll.

  4. No one would bother with this woman if she wasn’t making sense. Unfortunately for those who want to shut her up, she’s too intelligent to be written off as a lunatic.

    I haven’t actually seen this entire video but after hearing her this woman’s story about 6 months back on the “beforeitsnews” website I bookmarked it. You may want to watch it before it’s banned.

    ‪’Adolf Hitler – The Greatest Story NEVER Told’ Parts 1-27 @TGSNTtv‬

    1. Hildegard – in an effort to keep the money in the non-family, the Foundation that owns the rights to Anne Frank’s Diary has announced they are adding her father as a co-author. In doing so, they will keep the copyright until 2045. And to make it worse, there is an editor they used a few years back where they could use the same technique and keep the copyright until 70 years after the death of the new editor. Otherwise, the Diary is in public domain next year.

  5. H. Skip Robinson; Hear hear! I’m with you 100%. Perhaps you’ll have better luck than I in arousing many of these people from their slumber.

  6. Germany has great respect for their freedoms??? Evidenced by what, locking up grandma for talking trash. Another bunker buster from the flyboy. Germany has some of the most pernicious anti free speech laws in Europe.

  7. Oops, it was a homonym mistake, not synonym. I was actually thinking of the Marshall Plan and conflated it w/ the martial law the flyboy wants invoked in perpetuity.

  8. I made a synonym mistake, flyboy. I own up to it. Your mistakes are profound and consistently based on flawed thinking. But, you caught a mistake I made. Maybe you won’t need Viagra tonight.

  9. I see the flyboy is extending Marshall Law for 70 years now. I laugh @ the stupid bombs he drops here. This one is a bunker buster! Thankfully he just flies in and out on occasion.

    1. Nick, I usually ignore your rants, but you got my curiosity with the phrase Marshall Law. I know what martial law is which can be declared by the President or other civil authorities in rebellion or riot. I can only guess that you must think it is like Matt Dillon running his town. Maybe you can expand on your novel English usage.

  10. Too often, the arguments focus on whether we agree or not with the controversial opinion stated, when this is immaterial to Free Speech.

  11. randyjet:

    Do you consider this wartime for Germany? Because I do not. We had restrictions on revealing information that could get our soldiers killed during wartime. “Loose lips sink ships.” But they were temporary.

    I disagree with her, but I would rather sit her down and make her watch some Simon Wiesenthal Foundation movies to educate her than throw her in jail.

    Permanently restricting Free Speech is a slippery slope. This gives the government authority to determine which speech is criminalized, whereas in our country, it is actions that can be criminalized. We have very strict standards governing slander and libel, which can be very difficult to meet, because we do not want to make it too easy to criminalize speech.

    WWII was a heinous tragedy. It caused so much damage. It is offensive to hear any adult claim the Holocaust is not real. But making being wrong or misguided illegal is anathema to me.

    1. Karen, you are speaking from the perspective of the USA, and I agree that such laws would be wrong here. The Germans have great respect for their freedoms as well, so I will leave it to them to decide what laws are appropriate in their country and circumstances. I would guess that in a few more years when all living persons of that time are gone, the law can be repealed. There is no need for laws banning supporters of the Kaiser there since that generation and controversy is long gone. The same will happen with this law.

  12. Ninian:

    People are not jailed in America for being mistaken, misled, ignorant, racist, or completely unreasonable. You can think what you want and say what you want (unless you slander or libel). That’s why people are not jailed for either believing or disbelieving in Anthropogenic Climate Change, being chauvinistic (as long as you do not break labor laws), being racist against any race including Caucasians (unless you break labor laws), conspiracy theories against Israel or the US, conspiracy theories against the lunar landing, or any other number of controversies.

    Women can be just as intelligent as men. This is a proven fact. A man can say that all women are stupid. He will be wrong. But here in the US, he will not be jailed. He will just be the butt of jokes. There is a whole history of the subjugation of women that occurred in every culture globally, and yet he will still not be jailed for his misguided opinion.

    1. Karen S. – I do think people should be jailed for fiddling with data sets, like climate.

  13. And it is my understanding that inciting to riot does not mean saying offensive things, or causing rage amongst those around you. People are still responsible for their actions even when they’re mad.

    Inciting a riot means, “You – go torch that building right now!” It’s very specific.

    Otherwise, a KKK march would never be permitted because just the sight of Klan robes and hoods makes me feel enraged, and I’m Caucasian. Merely their presence would be considered inciting a riot. Rather, it is protected free speech, and an example of when the 1st Amendment is hard.

  14. I vigorously disagree with Haverbeck, as well as 9/11 Deniers, but I support Free Speech, even when it’s hard. Free Speech does not mean Accepted By The Majority Speech, or even Kind Speech. People have the right to say utter nonsense. Our own 1st Amendment was intended to protect speech that might otherwise be banned or criminalized, because our founders had already fought against tyranny.

    The best dense against Bad Speech is Good Speech.

    1. Karen, Free speech does not apply in case of invasion or civil insurrection according to our Constitution and by common law and sense it does not apply in wartime either. This is unfinished business from WWII in the nation that started it. As I said, it is too bad the UN did not do a more thorough job of cleansing and punishing Nazis like this right after the war. I also pointed out this would not be relevant in the UK or the USA. Germany is a special case as even they acknowledge which is why they did right in this case. In general, I agree with Prof Turley, with this exception.

      Lincoln did a lot worse during the Civil War which he had the LEGAL basis for it in the clause suspending the writ of habeus corpus. Also flying the Confederate battle flag after the war ended was not allowed either. There are legitimate measures that can and must be taken in such extreme situations.

      1. randyjet, really, since when have inalienable rights differed from nation state to nation state. Just because nation states get away with it doesn’t make it just.

        Lincoln had no right to unilaterally suspend habeas corpus as did Hiller, Stalin, Mussolini or any of the other scumbag politicians who have created such atrocities as they did.

        I consider Lincoln a murderer. He and his fellow warmongering despot killed or maimed over 700,000 people because of power and greed. The history books have been updated and now tell what really went on in the War of Northern Aggression. You might want to catch up on you history that the statists have been trying to hide for so long. The cat is out of the bag and will never go back in. Statist and those who justify the usurpation of inalienable rights need to be jailed. Not this women for giving an opinion.

        Let’s jail somebody for their opinion but not for taking away their property rights? You have a very odd sense of right from wrong.

  15. The real question involves the context of the country and its crimes and her encouragement to those who would support those crimes and see similar actions done again. Encouragement, incitement, free speech, Nazis, Holocaust, slaughter of many more civilians throughout Eastern Europe, etc. How huge can these crimes be and still support free speech? That is the crux of the issue.

    The Jews were singled out in a methodical manner. The many, many more other innocent non-arayans who were slaughtered should not be forgotten. The continuity of the persecution of the Jews throughout history, the fact that they were easy to separate from the mainstream as they, for the most part, kept separate, and their high level of achievements, achievements that produce resentment in those who can’t, made them more identifiable than the peasants of Eastern Europe who were only there on land that was required by the Nazis. There was something much more vicious in the Jewish holocaust than the removal by death of many more peasants of various religions, nationalities, and ethnicities. The identifying and hating of Jews was the ingredient that allowed Germans and some of other nationalities to pull them out of a society in which they prospered, to which they contributed, and which was their home as much as anybody’s.

    The first step in warring is to dehumanize the enemy. The dehumanizing of Eastern European peasants was done by select groups of murderers unbeknownst to the average German for the most part. It was pushed out of sight as collateral damage. The dehumanizing of the Jews was done through philosophical arguments, clinical arguments, historical arguments, arguments of every sort, facet, and part of a supposedly advanced and civilized culture. This is what takes the issue beyond the idealistic world of absolute freedoms of speech and other rights.

    Germany performed unspeakable acts for ten years +. Germany as a nation and a culture was caught, imprisoned and remains partially imprisoned however evolved as a present day peaceful society. Arguing for free speech is much like arguing for early release. One thing is consistent with the crimes committed by countries, its citizens with all their patriotism tend to refuse to understand them or even recognize that they happened. A brief review of the histories of most countries will illustrate that clearly when contrasted with what actually happened in France and Vietnam, the US and Vietnam, Great Britain and India, the US and North America, etc. To an Iranian Alexander the Great was a brigand.

    When you place free speech up against the fomenting of this level of hatred, in a country that was so evil and did so much damage, then perhaps, as with other rights such as those seen necessary to curtail from time to time in this country, free speech is not that holy at that moment.

    1. issacbasonkavichi – What you’re missing is the slaughter aspects. Many, many more also died of starvation and were incinerated instead of buried in mass graves. Democracies and democratic republics all die for the same reasons. They basically bankrupt themselves. A $19,000,000,000,000 dollar debt, and that just the Federal governments debt, as an example. The central bankers cause wars and profit from them. The central bankers cause “depressions and recessions” and profit from them. The central bankers cause boom and bust cycles and profit from them. Why do you think there have been exactly five presidential assignation attempts of presidents, and they opposed central banking. Only Andrew Jackson survived his.

      Once you figure out how they do it, then we can debate how they try to hide some historical truths.

      randyjet, so when the southern States seceded, was that legal or was that treason or insurrection? Should I be forced to remain in a contract with others, you I not wish to remain in that contract with them any longer?
      Let’s say Florida wants to secede right now from the Union – In 2015 should they be allowed to. Remember, they were legally overthrown and were required to enact another State Constitution.

      You all seem to be statist worshipers and no matter how devious or corrupt, you are willing to go down with the ship.

      You all seen to like force as long as it benefits you, but when it doesn’t ohhh, that wrong.

  16. Is it reasonable that we hear no end of the Jewish Holocaust and its justification for the establishment of the nation state of Israel, when it was Russia that suffered the most deaths of the war? But lets just focus on military deaths. If I say it was the 1993 ministry of defense number 8.8 million dead and MIA Russians, a lot of historians will debate that.

    But if Mr Putin decides he doesn’t like that and the historians are “defaming” the Russian dead, and he throws them in prison, oh the civil liberty advocates will whine and cry and wring their hands! And call for “Regime change!” But the vaunted “Democracy” of “free” Germany throws an 87 year old lady in jail for her ideas?

    THEY are the fascist pigs, the government of Germany RIGHT NOW, that makes GERMANY into a big hotel for migrants without the approval of the German people! Merkel is the one who belongs in prison!

  17. Let’s not even consider the views of a tenured professor of electrical engineering, from Northwestern U, Arthur Butz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=spdQovYaPiU

    Most people with a PHD in electrical engineering have, how can I say this, pretty serious training in observation and analysis, but one is only to respect that if they are talking about circuits I suppose. Of course Northwestern U condemns his odious viewpoints, of course

    That statement was made in 2006 long before the Jewish Pritzker family endowed the largest gift in American law school history last year, so, certainly that was not the cause of the condemnations.

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