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Michael Wutton comments, Saturday, August 4, 2007, on the proliference of anti-revisionist legislation in Europe.


Photo right: David Irving goes on Trial in Austria's biggest courtroom (below), February 20, 2005

A proliferation of anti-revisionist laws

I'VE RECENTLY sent some very comprehensive information on "Holocaust denial" laws to the webmaster of the Jailing Opinions website. Can I just ask as to whether you were specifically prosecuted under section 3g of the Verbotsgesetz (identification with or reactivating the N.S.D.A.P, or under 3h which is against denying, approving, justifying or trivialising the Holocaust, as I was detailing examples where the law has been applied.

As your own work has proven though, you have to do the field work and go the extra mile. It's not hard to find the text of the laws themselves (which are now in place in thirteen European countries and Israel) but it is much harder and - at least at first - shocking to find the circumstances in which the laws were promulgated. The German law against defaming the dead, for example, had its powers limited by the Bundesgerichtshof (supreme court of appeal) in early 1994 when they ruled it couldn't be used against Holocaust denial in general, but had to specifically defame those who had died in a camp or as a direct result of National Socialism, so can it really be a coincidence that they had a sweeping law against denial passed six months later

Vienna courtroomIt's the same in Austria and in 1992 when Holocaust denial was expressely criminalised the sentence was amended because it allowed for 5-10 years prison, so by winding down the penalty to 1 year but increasing the maximum to 20 years the Austrians were openly aiming at preventing jury reluctance to pass harsh sentences. It's an example one sees time and time again, like in Romania, the most recent country where 'negationism' of the Holocaust has been criminalised, and how for years the senate debated over whether or not the law should exempt the denial of Romanian involvement in the Jewish persecution.

Lastly it's extraordinarily hard to find out when the laws were actually passed, as before it requires the prizes for guessing where it started:

  • Israel -- July 8, 1986
  • France -- July 13, 1990
  • Austria -- March 19, 1992
  • Germany -- October 28, 1994
  • Switzerland -- January 1, 1995
  • Belgium -- March 23, 1995
  • Spain -- May 11, 1995
  • Portugal -- November 11, 1995
  • Luxembourg -- July 19, 1997
  • Poland -- December 18, 1998
  • Liechtenstein -- March 2000
  • Czech Republic -- December 1, 2000
  • Slovakia -- November 1, 2001 (repealed May 8, 2005)
  • Lithuania -- November 29, 2003
  • Romania -- May 10, 2005
  • European Union directive -- April 19, 2007

Michael Wutton

 David Irving answers:

I WAS prosecuted in Vienna under section 3g; on the day that the court ordered my release (right), December 20, 2006, the prosecutor was frantically trying to get a second prosecution active under 3h, because I had spoken with the BBC Today programme a day or two after the February 2006 trial. Maximum sentence under 3h is twenty years or even life imrpisonment for a repeat offender.

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