German Given Eighteen Months In Jail For Posting Picture of Auschwitz With An Offensive Caption

Coat_of_arms_of_Germany.svgWe have been discussing how Germany has led the West in the criminalization of speech, an anti-free speech trend that is now raging in England, France, Canada and other Western nations.  Germany has continued its plunge into censorship and criminalization despite the failure of its speech laws to curtail extremism. The most recent case involves a 32-year-old German neo-Nazi who has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for incitement after posting picture of a miniature of the Auschwitz death camp on Facebook with an offensive caption.

I have been a long critic of Germany’s criminal speech laws, including its long criminalization of Nazi symbols.  While I am certainly sympathetic to the Germans in seeking to end the scourge of fascism, there has been little evidence that the German laws prohibiting certain symbols and phrases have achieved anything other than expanding government power over political speech. It has also created an insatiable appetite for censorship among German citizens.  I fail to see how arresting a man for a Hitler ringtone is achieving a meaningful level of deterrence, even if you ignore the free speech implications.

Judge Manfred Weber at the district court in Hohenstein-Ernstthal in eastern Germany fulfilled the stereotype of a censorship court with the simplistic declaration  “you made fun of Auschwitz survivors — that’s very bad.”  Yes it is but so is the effort to instill civility or decency but locking up those who do not adhere to your values — much like our recent discussion of Egypt’s effort to instill faith in God through punishment.


I do not know what this man posted but imprisoning people for their expression of thoughts have never worked in history to actually change minds.  What does succeed is the expansion of government power over citizens.  What is perverse about speech crimes is that the government creates an insatiable appetite among citizens for limiting speech . . . of others.

130 thoughts on “German Given Eighteen Months In Jail For Posting Picture of Auschwitz With An Offensive Caption”

  1. As best as I can make out the German constitution was not written by idealists who believed in “natural rights”. Everything is enumerated. Furthermore Germany had been united for quite some time so there was no need to specify “states’ rights” in the same sense as in the USA.

  2. One would have thought that on a legal blog those claiming some expertise on the law would go to the trouble of determining whether or not the Federal Republic of Germany has Freedom of Speech before lamenting the lack thereof.

    Well, it doesn’t and Section 130 of the constitution is the basic law governing this case.

    I don’t claim to know much about the law but I do know how to research a new topic. In this case Wikipedia sufficed. Turley and others are to be castigated for failing to do even that much.

    1. One would have thought that on a legal blog those claiming some expertise on the law would go to the trouble of determining whether or not the Federal Republic of Germany has Freedom of Speech before lamenting the lack thereof. Well, it doesn’t and Section 130 of the constitution is the basic law governing this case.

      And there you have it. Anecdotal evidence that the anti-Federalists had it exactly right.

        1. Let me clear it up for you. The Federalists argued that no explicit language needed to be added to our constitution regarding our rights. Since no power was given to the government that would infringe those rights, it was considered redundant to add a separate Bill of Rights. The anti-federalists argued without explicit language identifying what rights the people had, then there would be no security of those rights.

          Since our founder’s believed the self-evident truths in the DoI pertained to any government, the demand by the anti-federalists to add the Bill of Rights would apply to all governments.

          1. It’s amazing how well they understood the nature of man. We argue over those same rights to this day. They knew it would happen.

            1. Absolutely right! The real insanity comes from those that deny the existence of natural rights. They don’t realize that argument empowers others to determine what rights you have. Ask the slaves how that worked out for them.

              Of course if one believed that way, then that would explain the panic attack when an election is lost. Not to worry though, classical liberals will still defend their right to be completely ignorant.


    2. The American Founders revealed that every conceivable, natural and God-given freedom and right existed before government was established. They delivered all freedoms and rights to the People and severely limited government. That which is God-given exists throughout God’s infinite universe by definition. I presume that includes Germany. Europeans and people throughout the world will ultimately recognize the freedom of people with the inexorable corollary of severe limitations on government. People desire freedom which, by definition, limits government. Denial of freedom of speech in Germany is as egregious as unconstitutional redistribution of wealth and “Affirmative Action Privilege” in America.

      Next question.

      1. Unless one is a liberal atheist. Rights are given government. No wonder they hate our Constitution.

        1. Why don’t you just make a reference to it instead of telling others to go read it. I’m sure we’d all like to know how you backup the claim that he his wrong.

          1. I prefer a discussion among the at least moderately well informed rather than with the ignoranti.

            1. That’s not an answer to the question, as I’m sure you know. Avoidance is not a common trait among intelligentsia.

              1. In the narrow gutter format available on my mobile device, it will have to suffice.

        2. Mr. Benson,
          Your comment stated the Federal Republic of Germany does not have Freedom of Speech as evidence of Section 130 in their constitution. I don’t believe your comment was intended as a statement that the right doesn’t exist if the constitution doesn’t explicitly say so. Section 130 would be evidence that the Federal Republic of Germany gutted this natural right.

          Do have I have that correct?

          1. In Germany some speech acts are legal and some are not. German law does not stem from English common law but rather other sources. Maybe Nepoleonic code?

            1. German law does not stem from English common law but rather other sources.

              That may explain their constitution, but is that intended to be a defense for them not securing freedom of speech? What about other regimes? Does any government have a legitimate right to deny freedom of speech if their laws don’t stem from English common law?

              1. Olly, I am not a historian, especially not of the law.

                From my eexperiences in Germany the vast majority are satisfied with Germany’s laws.

                This narrow gutter format is hardly conducive to a serious discussion. Start with a comment, not a reply to a reply…

        3. David Benson,
          Capriciously, you deemed George’s comment- “American founders… egregious …in America” tied to “unconstitutional redistribution of wealth and affirmative action privilege…” to be “on topic”! Whereas the comment below at 10:59, which addressed an arrest for exercise of free speech, was deemed by you to be “off topic”. Thank God, you are not in law enforcement, prosecution nor a judge in the American legal system. And, thank God, you aren’t in a legislative body able to write discriminatory law.
          View the other comments in the thread and identify how many comments matched the 10:59 comment in distance from the post, all of which you chose not to comment on, singling out only one.

          1. With this format, impossible to follow.

            I don’t claim perfection.

            I do recommend reading about Section 130 of the German constitution.

            1. Classic don’t care if I discriminate attitude, “I don’t claim perfection”… “If you were offended”, that’s on you.

              1. I can attempt to answer a question in a comment, but not in a reply due to the narrow gutter format on my mobile device. Start over again from the top.

        4. So you’re saying there is no God in Germany, ergo, there cannot be any natural or God-given rights there.

          I get it. Germany should and does deny citizens their God-given rights as it awards more power to the government. Wait. Wasn’t that putsch instigated in Germany circa 1933?

          You’re a genius!

  3. There have always been neo Nazis in Germany – the numbers may have increased after the Wall fell. Punishing people is not a deterrent – it pushed them underground. Much better to allow free speech so they can be monitored.

  4. If Share Blue’s reporting from Vermillion Parish, La. is accurate, how much time is the teacher who was arrested for a comment at a school board meeting going to serve?
    She asked the elected GOP board how the superintendent’s raise could be justified when it came at the cost of the students and employees, who had class sizes increased by 30% and whose employees had received no wage increases.


    1. i kindda thought about this as well and I thought I was the only one here…that is why I do not check his blog as often as i used to ….

    2. Dude, your caps-lock key is on. You should fix it, lest someone think you’re one of those clueless shouting internet trolls.

      1. The only clueless trolls are idiots who think capitalization is shouting. The written word has been around for centuries, yet only in the past 10 years snowflakes have decided they must protect their feelings from words in uppercase. DON’T WASTE MY TIME. Or maybe I should only hurt your feeling half as much: DoN’t WaStE mY tImE.

          1. No, it’s another attempt at control by liberals. They attempt to control the language, therefore thought. I won’t live with it. Shame on you.

            1. I and others won’t read your shouting.

              In fact, it is highly conservative to recognize that traditional forms of printing are the more readable.

              1. That’s good news. Perhaps you’ll also stop trolling me. That was the reason for my DON’T WASTE MY TIME. I find it interesting that you are now changing rationale. Before I was shouting, now it’s about traditional form. I’ll just take that as being purposely argumentative and without defensive merit. Regardless, I’m just happy you won’t be reading my posts. Thanks! Maybe I’ll post in uppercase from now on so you know to skip right over.

    3. Parasites operate under the erroneous presumption as delusion that everything is theirs. It’s the “Entitlement Complex”.

      “Free stuff”, “free stuff”, “free stuff” everywhere!

      You are on Professor Turley’s private property at his pleasure.

      James Madison defined “private property” as

      “that dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in exclusion of

      every other individual.”

    4. Boy….the stupid is deep with this one.

      Does Turley toss violators in prison? Censorsing a private blog is absolutely consistent with decriminalized speech.

  6. In Germany and some other countries, it’s illegal to question the truthfulness of the Holacaust. Revisionist historians are reviled for pointing out questions and evidence that undermines claims that six million people were targeted for mass murder at so-called death camps.

    Many Vietnamese, Arabs, and citizens in so many countries around the world believe that there countries were little more than American sponsored death camps for adults AND children.

    1. There is extensive physical evidence of the death camps. There is probably some old person living near Bill McWilliams who witnessed a death camp and escaped. There were Americans, mostly of German heritage, who were pro Nazi up until the war started and then they had to shut up.

      1. Scientists have provided good and reliable evidence that the “plumbing” alleged to have delivered the gas at certain death camps could not have performed the task described by the authors of Western history post-WW2.

        Here is video of actual MSM newspaper articles telling the original lies of “6 million dead innocent Jews.” The unfortunate problem for perpetrators of “holocaustinity” is that the articles are dates 1915-1938: Of course, the YT community is “offended” by this history lesson, duh!

        It took Hitler to finally make the lies stick, in concert with the West and Russia who apparently assisted with the lies by building make shift plumbing to perpetrate the hoax. Remember that Russia, for it’s part in the war, received most of Eastern Europe as a reward.

  7. The neo Nazi here could have been tried for crimes at the Nuremburg Trials. That is when Tyranny On Trial took place. There is a book out with that name by Whitney Harris. He was one of the American prosecutors.

  8. Who gets to say who needs psychiatric help. The democrats, the republicans, conservatives or liberals. You don’t agree with me politically so you must be unstable.

  9. Jonathan Turley, again you fail to understand the situation in Germany. It is obvious that you have never been there, except perhaps as a tourist.

    Far worse suppression of speech occurs in the PRC. Yet you never have a thread on the abuses of the PRC constitutional right to free speech. Try that instead. The government there is thoroughly repressive.

    1. And you fail to comprehend that it’s hardly news that the PRC has a repressive government. Germany, on the other hand, is held out as the most successful free country in Europe (and one that the US did a lot to protect and help rehabilitate after WWII, eventually freeing the entire country from the USSR) — so combined with Germany’s prior, unfortunate history which it has managed to overcome, what makes this issue newsworthy is that it’s happening in Germany and sounds alarms about Germany backsliding.

      1. “Germany” did not overcome its prior unfortunate history by itself. The suppression of Nazism was imposed. it still needs to be imposed. This is the nation state and these are the people who rounded up millions (yes millions) of Jews, Gypsies and others and killed them. The death camps were a symbol of Nazi power back in their hayday and now.
        Germans have to be repressed of free speech when it comes to anti semetic and antil Roma (gypsie) hate.
        Germany cannot have free speech.

        JT does not get it. Someday they will be coming to a theatre near you.

        1. How is it that Germans are so different from US Americans when so many of us have German ancestors?

          1. Chris –

            Trump’s German father changed his name from its original (Drumpt) because Jews in NYC didn’t want to rent an apartment from a German landlord.

          2. Up until the beginning of WWII in the 1930s and until December 7, 1941, there were a large number of German American Nazis. The German American Bund. Look that up on Google.

        2. Don’t worry, sir, you’ll have your precious “hate speech” laws here in another 10-15 years and will be calling JT “nazi” for merely opposing them.

      2. “Backsliding”?

        These limited and targeted restrictions on some public (not private) political speech are common to virtually every country in Europe, and have been for about 50 years or more.

        I can’t see any “backsliding”. And Europe has not slid down some slippery slope into Fascism, either. To look upon Europe’s free speech laws as backward or inferior seems to me the height of American exceptionalism and/or provincialism.

    2. David,
      How does JT’s post reflect someone that does not understand the situation in Germany? What is the situation that makes criminalizing speech understandable?

      1. There are plenty of neo-Nazis, mostly found in eastern Germany where the standard of living in the west has yet to be obtained.

  10. Rubal says meritocracy and “color-blindness” are ideological precepts that work against minorities. What she means is “we” are intellectually inferior to Whites no matter the academic background or schools we attend. I disagree. W E B DuBois
    In his writting called the talented tenth is accurate. Rubal refuses to acknowledge that “All men are created equal” thus the idea that anyone not White. (minority) needs Special help to compete academically with Whites or anyone else is offensive.

  11. The headline and the text disagree on the length of the sentence by the factor of two.

    Sloppy, Jonathan Turley.

  12. Germany has nothing on one of the comment “moderators” working at The Hill, who will regularly remove posted comments that are completely civil and break no published rules but merely state a political opinion different than the opinions preferred by the hired DNC trolls that have taken over The Hill’s comment pages since the election of 2016.

    1. This is the most recent comment that was removed by The Hill’s “moderator” after I posted it at The Hill just 18 hours ago concerning the article titled “Trump attorneys discussing options for potential Mueller interview: report.”

      Can anyone explain to me what reasonable basis (aside from blatant political censorship) there might be for a “moderator” to remove this comment?

      “For every question Trump is asked, he should be allowed to ask one of Mueller — answered under oath — and a good one to start with would be if Mueller has any explanation for why Paul Manafort’s residence required a pre-dawn, no-knock search by the FBI, compared with Hillary Clinton — who was KNOWN to be in unlawful possession of tens of thousands of government records that she’d concealed from the national archives by re-routing them to her own unlawful basement email server — actually being allowed to maintain unlawful possession of those records long enough to destroy them.
      I’m STILL waiting for some current or former FBI official to explain that one to me.”

      1. All capital letters is considered to be shouting and is extremely impolite. Use italics for emphasis or *asterisks*.

        1. That you would criticize a single word in my statement, and only because I used caps instead of italics, say more about you than I need to know. You really don’t need to TRY to be such a jackass. It appears to be a natural talent, so just let it ooze out of you.

          1. Two words. Learn to count accurately. Also learn to be polite if you want anyone to pay any attention to your efforts.

            1. Do me a favor and stop paying attention to my efforts if you think I’m being impolite. You post utter nonsense nonstop — trite and trivial remarks of little or no value — as if you’re just talking to yourself, or like one of the teenaged trolls hired by the DNC to mess up the comment pages where adults are trying to have conversations. Aren’t there cartoons or something you should be watching?

              1. Trite and trivial indeed.

                I have to scroll past it all to get down to the new comment space.

            2. @davidbenson
              Just admit it, you favor the censorship and prosecution of people you deem guilty of hate.

              I would respect you more if you did so.

  13. Instead of criminal law and punishment, use the mental health community to assist in modifying behavior.

        1. That’s right. It’s the exact opposite of funny, and it’s what Josef Stalin did. Political opponents were regularly accused of mental illness, and psychiatrists took over the duties of the police. And that’s what you’re suggesting that Germany does, and what you’re really suggesting is that the same procedure be applied here in America — much the way democrats have now changed course and are calling for Trump’s removal from office due to mental illness.
          Josef Stalin would have LOVED you.

          1. Absolutely not. Unless you personally observe the situation in eastern Germany, parts of Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and I am told Hungary, you will fail to understand the hatred, internal hurt, that many of those people feel.

            Learn something of psychology and social sciences. Then comment.

            1. You think governments should use mental health professionals to punish/modify the behavior of people with whom they disagree. Through that process, we would know longer need to hold elections, because everybody would be mind conditioned to accept the current government.
              You’re a Stalinist at heart. At least be brave enough to acknowledge it.

              1. The USSR was notorious for using the mental health system to persecute dissidents until the Gorbachev era.

                And I assume Mr. Benson would approve. I mean how could ANYONE disagree with multiculturalism and mass immigration unless they were a “nazi”, right?

            2. Let me guess, you think the people of eastern Europe are “evil” because they don’t want to accept mass immigrants and end up like Paris, Brussels, Hamburg, London, etc. And you probably want to put them in jail for expressing it.

              1. This is not eastern Europe but rather central Europe, except for Ukraine where the problems are in the western part.

                This has nothing to do with immigration but rather hatred of Jews, i.e., neo-Nazism.

          2. Trump will be lucky if he gets out on a mental and doesn’t face serious blowback related to Russia. Feinstein released the GPS Fusion testimony this evening. Under questioning Fusion GPS stated one person had already died over the Steele dossier. Speculation on the web is that the dead man is Russian, Erovinkin, found in his car trunk after a “heart attack” (sure). Why didn’t the Republican chair on the committee conducting the investigation want GPS Fusion’s testimony released?

            1. Why didn’t the Republican chair on the committee conducting the investigation want Fusion’s closed session testimony released unilaterally by Feinstein?

              Because now any other witnesses called to testify will know exactly what the Fusion GPS boss said in his testimony and they can all plan accordingly to line their testimony up with his. How’s that for starters?

  14. There is the possibility of a black market forming for the transmission of information and speech. The speaker/author conveys their thoughts to a third party in an open country who by proxy posts the information on the Internet. I doubt it is a marketable strategy in terms of financial reward, but there certainly are likeminded individuals more than willing to pass along the information.

    I guess we will have to wait until history repeats itself in Germany before censorship comes to another temporary end.

  15. Keep spending your 401(k) money on your BMWs, Mercedes-Benzs, Audis, and Porsches America.

        1. The companies might have established some assembly lines in eastern Germany without my seeing an announcement.

          I, at least, attempt to be accurate. Others just Make Stuff Up.

          1. I can’t believe I have to explain this to you. It’s one thing in the middle of a large comment to offer a fact and acknowledge that it might not be accurate. That’s reasonable. But when offering the “fact” constitutes the entirety of the comment, it’s moronic to simultaneously state that it might not be accurate.
            If all you have to offer is a single fact, it really should be accurate and offered with confidence in its accuracy. Seriously, there MUST be cartoons for you to watch somewhere on TV.

            1. I don’t have a telly; never have.

              You are being the fool again; look at the context.

      1. There is a Mercedes factory in Alabama and a BMW factory in South Carolina.

        1. Also a Mercedes Sprinter Van factory in Charleston. And many German component factories including Bosch, Siemens and Baehr…

          Germans love the Palmetto State – secret corporate incentives, right to work and tax payer funded job training.

              1. Yes, anon, you are absolutely correct. David, your reply to my comment is irrelevant. Now thank you both for inserting your unnecessary opinions into others’ conversations.

                1. @TheMistakenPresident44:

                  It’s a blog. If you want to have a private conversation — excluding other parties — find yourself another forum. Ever heard of a chat room?

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