|Tuesday, July 17, 2001|
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Never Happened' ad prompts lawsuit and
By Toby Axelrod
BERLIN, Aug. 1 (JTA) -
A German Holocaust
to stop a controversial fund-raising
campaign for a planned national Holocaust
memorial in Berlin.
He says the ad campaign - which is
appearing across Germany and features the
phrase, "The Holocaust Never Happened" -
fuels Holocaust denial.
Jewish leaders have been divided about
the ad, in which smaller text underneath
the headline reads: "There are still many
people who make this claim. In 20 years,
there could be even more."
The plaintiff, a Berliner who lost
family members in Auschwitz,
said the clarifying statement does not
stand out enough to counteract the
negative effect of the opening line.
The man, whose name has not been
released, filed his suit with the Berlin
police on July 18 - one day before the
campaign was officially unveiled.
According to a German law in effect
since the early 1990s, Holocaust denial is
punishable by a fine or jail sentence of
up to five years.
The head of the foundation responsible
for the fund-raising campaign, Lea
Rosh, rejected the claim as
"laughable" and said the campaign,
launched in July, has already brought in
more than some $500,000 in donations for
Designed by American architect Peter
Eisenman, the memorial will include
some 2,700 cement columns resembling giant
gravestones, to be erected on an area as
large as a football stadium in the heart
The foundation hopes to raise $2.5
million to fund a document center that
will lie beneath the monument. The entire
project is expected to cost about $25
While the new president of Berlin's
Jewish community, Alexander
Brenner, took part in the unveiling of
the fund-raising campaign on July 19,
others in the Jewish community have not
been as supportive.
Michel Friedman, a vice
president of the Central Council of Jews
in Germany, expressed doubts about the
campaign, calling it a "public relations
Moische Waks, a vice president
of Berlin's Jewish community, told
Berlin's daily newspaper Tagesspiegel on
Wednesday that the lawsuit is an
Though he called the campaign
questionable, it is not defamatory, he
Artur Susskind, head of the
board of representatives of Berlin's
Jewish community, said he understood one
might have mixed feelings about the
"But I find it good," he added.
At the campaign's unveiling in Berlin,
the city's new mayor, Klaus
Wowereit, defended the ad.
"Provocation leads to discussion," he
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