88-year-old German grandmother Ursula Haverbeck has been sentenced to two and a half years imprisonment for having the wrong opinion.
That’s right; the state of North Rhine-Westphalia has determined that this elderly woman is to be sent to prison for questioning certain historical events.
Those who have followed the case of Ursula Haverbeck will not be surprised however, for this is her 7th conviction in the last decade for the same “crime”. Her first experience on the wrong side of the law came in June 2004, when she was ordered to pay a €5,400.00 fine for an article she published in Stimme des Gewissens (Voice of Conscience) in which she simply revised the numbers of Jews who allegedly died during the Second World War.
After all, it is not just “denial” which is a crime. Under Section 130 of the German Constitution, it is illegal to, for instance, claim that 5 million instead of 6 million Jews were gassed during the Third Reich, thereby minimising the seriousness of the Holocaust.
Her subsequent encounters with the law have been of a similar nature; in 2007 she was again convicted of the crime of “sedition” (inciting hatred and revolt) for an article published in the same magazine, simply for suggesting readers view Hitler for his domestic achievements as opposed to the war.
Then in 2009 she received yet another fine for an open letter penned in the Mindiner Tageblatt. The letter was in response to Charlotte Knobloch, President of the Central Council of German Jewry, who had been heavily campaigning for political censorship. Knobloch claimed she took offence at being accused of dishonesty, so the court gladly obliged in handing down yet more fines and restrictions on Haverbeck.
Ursula Haverbeck’s latest string of convictions centre around a series of articles she wrote for Die Stimmes des Reiches (Voices of the Reich) in which she has asked probing questions of the official Holocaust narrative. She also wrote to the Mayor of Detmold, accusing him of dishonesty in his repetition of unproven aspects of the Second World War. For daring to hold certain beliefs and having the audacity to share these beliefs, she will now spend the next two and a half years in prison.
Whatever your opinions with regard to the Holocaust narrative, surely any sane person must realise that this kind of censorship and persecution of elderly folk is a grossly over-inflated response to simply posing difficult questions. Equally, the same sane people must ask themselves why only one event in the entire 200,000-year history of mankind is illegal to investigate?
Consider this; is it not the job of an historian to investigate historical events, even when that investigation poses difficult questions for the proponents of said events?
In Germany, that particular remit of an historian is prohibited by law. The same is true in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, the Czech Republic, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland. In these European countries, it is legally impossible to be a holocaust historian, because by definition an historian must investigate and contemplate the evidence that supports – or otherwise – a particular theory.
Could you imagine, for argument’s sake, if denying the existence of Christ was also illegal? This particular religious belief and the holocaust share parity in terms of the evidence that supports their existence as stated by the advocates, but to criminalise denial of the former would seem utterly ridiculous to the vast majority of people. Just picture the scenes of elderly folk or inquisitive children being hauled before a judge every time they denied the existence of or minimised the powers of Jesus.
I think I can speak for the majority of people in saying that is not the sort of intellectually restrictive world we want to live in.