Home > Civil liberties > A point in our favor

A point in our favor

For one reason or another I’ve been reading some holocaust denial related materials today. One thing, which I did know beforehand, that has really struck me is the laws against holocaust denial in other countries:

In most countries of the world, however, this is not the case. In Canada there are “anti-hate” statutes and laws against spreading “false news” that have been applied to Holocaust deniers. In Austria it is a crime if a person “denies, grossly trivializes, approves or seeks to justify the national socialist genocide or other national socialist crimes against humanity.” In France it is illegal to challenge the existence of the “crimes against humanity” as they were defined by the Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. In Germany, where the legal precedence began, the Auschwitzl¸ge, or “Auschwitz-Lie” Law, makes it a crime to “defame the memory of the dead.” This was the result of a judgment by the Federal German Supreme Court on September 18, 1979, when a student whose Jewish grandfather was killed in Auschwitz sued for an injunction against an individual who had posted signs on the fence of his house proclaiming that the Holocaust was a “Zionist swindle.” The Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff: “In calling the racist murders by the Nazis an invention, the statements complained of deny the Jews the inhuman fate which they have suffered on account of their origin. . . . This means an attack on the personality of the people who have been singled out by the anti-Jewish persecutions in the Third Reich. . . . Whoever tried to deny the truth of past events, denies to every Jew the respect to which he is entitled.”

Switzerland, Belgium, Israel, Italy, New Zealand, Sweden, and Australia have similar laws and statutes on the books. These laws are all ambiguous enough to allow courts to interpret various Holocaust deniers’ activities as illegal. Irving, for example, has been banned from numerous countries around the world.

All that, of course, is a travesty. While denial of the holocaust is vile and those responsible for such laws mean well, it makes a mockery of the principle of open debate and free speech. Even having known about it for quite a while, it’s still shocking.

Categories: Civil liberties
  1. October 8, 2005 at 10:01 am

    “for one reason or another.” HA! :p

  2. October 8, 2005 at 12:42 pm

    I though about linking to the thread, but it’s not like there’s much of a debate on the subject there.

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: