A German court has found Ursula Haverbeck, also known as ‘Nazi Grandma’, guilty of inciting hatred by saying that Holocaust is fiction and there were no gas chambers in the Auschwitz concentration camp. The octogenarian was handed a six-month jail sentence.
Haverbeck, a notoriously fervent denier of the mass killings of Jews during Holocaust, received yet another conviction, this time for claiming at an event in Berlin in January last year that Holocaust did not happen and nobody was gassed in the infamous death camp in Auschwitz, that claimed lives of 1.1 million people between 1940 and 1945, mostly Jews.
Haverbeck who pleaded not guilty, alleged that she was citing from a book when speaking at the event. However, upon studying the half-a-minute footage, the court determined that it “was her own speech” and found her guilty. Her lawyer’s argument that prosecuting her violates Haverbeck’s right to free speech, failed to score any points with the judge. Moreover, while on trial, the accused repeated the statement, Der Spiegel reports.
An author for Neo-Nazi magazines, Haverbeck has never minced words in expressing her more-than-controversial beliefs no matter the consequences.
Next month, she is set to stand trial on similar charges in the town of Detmold, where she is appealing the eight-month jail sentence the court handed to her last September. The charges revolving around her letter to Detmold’s mayor in which she insisted that Auschwitz was a plain labor camp. The letter was timed with the trial of a former SS guard at the Auschwitz death camp, Reinhold Hanning, tried in Detmold. The court eventually sentenced Hanning to five years behind bars “for accessory to murder in 170,000 cases.”
In August, Haverbeck lost an appeal in the district court of Verden in Lower Saxony, which increased her jail term from 10 months to two years without parole. The court found her guilty of inciting to Holocaust denial.
Under German law, incitement of hatred constitutes not only encouraging hatred or violence to a particular group of people, but also approving of, denying or downplaying Nazi crimes. Those found guilty by the court face up to five years in prison. However, Haverbeck is yet to serve any jail time, as the decisions in her cases are still pending.
Haverbeck has also received two fines and a suspended sentence for sedition.