The Trial of Guenter Deckert
By Sylvia Stolz
Translated from the German language
by Christine Miller
“A prison sentence will not force me into believing.”
~ Guenter Deckert
“When I have doubts I demand the right to express them …They talk about tolerance, but mean the inquisition. … The hunt to find incorrect literature pretending to fight crime. For a short time people can be intimidated by the threat of punishment, but the brain continues to reason.”
Thus spoke Guenter Deckert in his final comment at his sentencing February, 2012 in front of the state court Mannheim. The report of his trial follows.
Since January 2, 2013 Guenter has been in prison on account of aiding and abetting so-called Holocaust denial. We accompanied him on his journey to prison and took leave of him at the Mannheim prison gate.
We expressed our thanks for his courage and his commitment to freedom, justice and truth. We will always remember that. The day will come when the Germans and other people will appreciate his zeal.
He is supposed to be released May 2013. We will be there waiting for him starting at nine o’clock.
Address: Herzogenriedstrasse 111, 68169 Mannheim. Whoever wants to be there and greet him is cordially invited.
A prison sentence for doubting the “Holocaust.”
No probation for expressing one’s opinion in these times of alleged “right wing terror.”
In these times of the “resurfacing” of right wing extremism which, without question, is due to the criminal deeds of the alleged “NSU”, Holocaust denial constitutes a considerable danger for public peace.
Guenter Deckert, former high school teacher, on February 2, 2012 was sentenced by the state court of Mannheim to a prison sentence of six months without probation on account of aiding and abetting so-called Holocaust denial. As well, because of the “radical” law and in spite of high evaluations he was dismissed from his high school teaching job in November, 1988 in the State of Baden-Wuertenberg and was denied his pension.
He is charged with having cooperated in the translation into German of the book by Carlo Mattogno, Auschwitz – the First Gassings, Rumors and Reality (December, Castle Hill Publishers.)
On July 28, 2010 Guenter Deckert had been sentenced by the lower court of Weinheim to a prison term of 4 months with probation. The charges were: promotion of incitement of the public by means of Holocaust denial and defamation of the memory of the dead. (&&130 III, IV, 189 STGB-BRD. Aktenzeichen: 2Ds 503 Js 14219/08 – AK 579/09).
The prosecutor appealed and on February 2, 2012 the sentence by the state court of Mannheim was increased to six months without probation. Guenter Deckert’s appeal was thrown out (Aktenzeichen: 12Ns 503 Js 14219/08)
Many people in the BRD (Germany), the BRO (Austria), Switzerland, France, Spain, Greece and other countries have been sentenced because they denied or doubted the Holocaust when defined as systematic genocide. At times very high prison sentences have been handed down. For example the sentence against lawyer Horst Mahler.
The Holocaust is not defined
During his appeal Guenter Deckert wanted to know the concrete facts which he, according to the accusations, deliberately ignored and the truth he contested. He received no answer.
It is especially telling that the so-called “Holocaust” is not legally defined (This is against the principal of the penal law). In the first trial no concrete facts as to the place of the crime, the methods of killing or other proofs, directly or indirectly presented in the findings of other trials, were presented.
Concerning his denial the court pointed to &130 section 3StGB , &6 section of the international penal law which defines genocide as being when a member of an ethnic or religious group is killed with the intent to destroy or partially destroy the whole group. According to &130 section 3StGB i.V.m &6 section VStGB people can be punished who deny that under the rule of National Socialism, without knowledge or intent of the German Reichsregierung, a Jew, by someone or another (even by a none German), had been killed with the intent to partially destroy Jewry as an ethnic and religious group.
“Known to the court” to be challenged”
Guenter Deckert at the beginning of his appeal made the following motion:
“I move for the court to discuss point by point the principles on which the court rests its “known to the court” facts which, since the beginning of the Seventies of the Twentieth Century, generally go under the notation “Holocaust.”
The court should establish if and how far the persons who are called to judge have knowledge of these “facts” or only base their judgment on hearsay or secondary literature.”
Before coming to a decision about this motion the court should take into consideration the resolution by the petition caucus of the German Bundestag (upper house) Pet 12-4-07-45-5699 Deutscher Bundestag 12. election period – print 12/2849.
An excerpt: During a main trial the court is duty bound to discuss those facts of which the court has taken judicial notice in order to give the accused the opportunity to contest them. In addition it has to be acknowledged that “known to the court” does need to exist in perpetuity or has to remain unchanged. New information might have been gotten and new events might have happened which will bring about a different conclusion. If the accused presents such circumstances which in the past have not been mentioned or discussed the “known to the court” can be challenged and new proofs concerning these facts have to be considered. In this way the accused and his defender have the possibility to counter “it is known to the court.”
The decision concerning “it is “known to the court” & 244 lies therefore exclusively in the hands of the court in question and is subject to the principle of independence in respect to judges. It is also possible that in individual cases a different judgment may be the result.”
Judgment based on the media
Concerning “it is known to the court” the following decisions have been made: (…)
The county court Bernau presided over by the female judge Kroh rejected the motion to discuss the principles of “known to the court,” stating that the facts and the legal situation were the same. She simply gave judicial notice that during the National Socialist (NS) period, the genocide of the Jews in gas chambers located in the concentration camps happened.
The 3. Senate of the Bavarian state court rejected the motion concerning “the Holocaust is a fact, known to the court” with the pronouncement that it does not have any doubts as to the reality of the Holocaust, referring to the accessible and common information in words, pictures, and sound. (decision 1/14/2011, Bay AGH II – 27/09). The motion of the defense to challenge which material the senate based its certainty of “known to the court” was denied citing material in newspapers, on TV, in reference and history books (decision 2/8/2011).
The judiciary degrades itself to a grotesque caricature if it bases its judgments on the media and TV. Judiciary contains the word justice. It does not deserve its name.
No actual facts
It is worthy of notice that the so-called Holocaust is not legally defined and facts are avoided. In & 130 StGB-BRD which is used to convict “Holocaust deniers” the so-called Holocaust is not defined. It is not even mentioned.
The sentencing of Guenter Deckert in the first instance at the local court in Weinheim contains no determination of the crime of “Holocaust denial”. In other words there is no determination of the Holocaust in regard to the place of the crime, the methods of killing, the number of the dead, the time frame, the perpetrators, the bodies, no deposition taken of the witnesses, no proof of the intent by National Socialism to completely or partially exterminate the Jews. There is no determination about decisions, planes, orders or documents not even in the form of references to other judicial sentences.
In addition there is no determination of the knowledge the accused had, or is supposed to have had, or must have had, or could have had.
As long as the courts do not name the location on which the mass murder was suppose to have happened; as long as the courts do not describe how the killing was done; as long as the courts do not mention any proofs; a judgment that mass murder has occurred is not possible. The same is the case for “it is known to the court.”
Without submitting proof as to actual facts a sentencing for Holocaust denial is not valid.
Without the determination of what knowledge of the so-called Holocaust the accused had or could have had, the charge that he acted against his better knowledge is void.
If the above mentioned points are not addressed a sentencing for the denial of the Holocaust is arbitrary and a corruption of the law.
A defense is not possible
The refusal by the judiciary to bring up for discussion the principle of “it is known to the court that the holocaust happened” makes any defense impossible. Not knowing the concrete facts on which the accusation is based emasculates the defense. The law used to sentence an accused without the defense being able to challenge “it is known to the court” defeats the ends of the law.
“The Holocaust as fact is known to the court.” Which facts however the court knows are not stated.
For example: Dr. Martin Broszart, director for the federal Institute fuer Zeitgeschichte published the following: “Neither in Dachau, nor in Bergen-Belsen, nor in Buchenwald were Jews or other inmates gassed.” (Die Zeit, 8/19/1960, p 16). On the other hand there are publications which talk about the gassings in Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald. Which of the two is, according to the judiciary, “…known to the court?” Is it “known to the court” that inmates were gassed at Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald, or is it “… known to the court” that nobody was gassed at Dachau, Bergen-Belsen and Buchenwald? Both cannot be “… known to the court.”
An entire event such as the so-called “Holocaust” can only be undisputed (facts known to the court) when the individual events are undisputed (facts known to the court).
The history Professor Dr. Gerhard Jagschitz of the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna wrote the following expert opinion: “Substantial doubts about the trials in question have been raised by the presentation of expert opinions to national and international courts. The relentless repetition of judgments using “ facts known to the court,” namely that the Jews were killed by gas in the concentration camp of Auschwitz, will not be enough on which to base sentencing in a democratic nation which is supposed to be founded on justice and right.” (letter to the state court Vienna, 1/10/l991, AZ:26b Vr 14 184/86)
The Ruhr –Nachrichten (Bochum) No. 277 (11/29/2005) printed a citation by the Israeli writer and musician Gilad Atzmon: “The historiography known to us about WWII and the Holocaust is a complete falsification initiated by the Americans and Zionists.”
Is the Holocaust indisputably “a fact known to the court” or is it indisputably “a fact known to the court” that the Holocaust is frequently challenged and therefore can not be “a fact known to the court?”
It is therefore illogical to call a certain alleged historical event which is frequently contested as “a fact known to the court”, a concept which the authorities then use to persecute and penalize the “deniers.”
Abuse of procedural rights
After reading the motion Guenter Deckert wanted to know what he has to accept as “facts known to the court.” The prosecutor, Andreas Grossmann replied (11/14). “That you will find out during sentencing.” During the sentencing however nothing was said.
The chairman, Ross, decreed to postpone the decision concerning the motion. He said: first principles have to be established. Prosecutor Grossmann remarked (January 13, 2012) that the motion only will be dealt with after the pleading. The purpose became obvious when (January 13, 2012) the motion was denied. In the meantime Guenter Deckert took up his case again. In order to show that the “facts are known to the court” must be fully discussed he described in detail circumstances and facts which made him doubt the “Holocaust.” For example he mentioned Dr. Benedikt Kautzky who, for seven years, was in German concentration camps among others, in Auschwitz-Birkenau, and who wrote that in no camp did he ever see a gas chamber.
The chamber denied the motion to discuss “facts are known to the court“ (chairman – Roos, jurors-Wolfgang W. and Helmut M.) using, among other arguments, the reason, “the Holocaust defined as mass killings of Jews especially in the gas chambers of the concentration camps during WWII is “a fact known to the court” (January 13, 2012). The Holocaust as historical event is considering evidence beyond discussion.”
“The facts are known to the court” is not to be discussed because “the facts are known to the court” is a circular argument incompatible with logic and beyond reason and the principles of justice.
The resolution goes on to accuse Guenter Deckert of abusing procedural rights. The need for proofs is not applicable since Guenter Deckert’s demands in that regard, during the main trial, are only designed to involve the court in order to spread his revisionist ideas. This is obvious from his presentation in which he declared that “facts known to the court” needs to be discussed.
According to the court it is an abuse of the justice system when an accused, before being sentenced, tries to move the court to examine the facts of which he is accused.
The resolution furthermore implies that the chamber considers the discussion which forms the basis of the accusation as “court research” to which the accused is not entitled.
The court in this resolution has obviously ignored the laws of reason.
On one hand the court looks at the motion to discuss “the Holocaust, a fact known to the court” (contrary to what Guenter Deckert has said) as a move for proof, on the other hand, in contradiction to this, as a motion to obtain “court research”. The motion however implies neither one nor the other.
Historical facts are deliberately ignored
The resolution further states that Guenter Deckert deliberately ignores historical facts and obstinately refuses to accept the truth.
Reacting to the resolution (January 13, 2012) Guenter Deckert moved (February 2, 2012) that the chamber communicate the following:
According to the court’s knowledge “the ‘Holocaust’ is a fact” in which concentration camps and gas chambers existed.
According to the court’s knowledge in what ways did additional killings take place?
According to its knowledge what were the number of victims?
According to the court’s opinion which facts of the so-called Holocaust have I ignored and accepted?
Since the prosecutor and the court have not produced any facts in regard to the accusation I cannot know which facts I supposedly ignore.
I made the motion to discuss the principles of the “Holocaust is a fact known to the court” in order to be able to defend myself against the accusation of Holocaust denial. I stated in detail that the court is duty bound to discuss their determination that the “Holocaust is a fact known to the court.”
In addition I have pointed out that there is no concrete definition of the so-called Holocaust.
Furthermore no determination has been made about which knowledge of the so-called Holocaust I had or was supposed to have had or could have had.
In the resolution of January 13, 2012 the so-called decision does not contain any determination to the circumstances and “it is known to the court,” nor are there any references.
Without defining the deed in question a sentencing for Holocaust denial is not possible.
Without determining which concrete knowledge the accused had about the so called “Holocaust”, or could have had, an accusation to have acted against his better knowledge is void, and therefore a sentencing for denying the truth is not possible.
What is “fact known to the court”
During my argument I presented facts which show that there is a need for a discussion about “fact known to the court.”
“Known to the court” are historical facts which by means of historical research are considered proven and everybody therefore without specific knowledge can inform himself from history books, encyclopedia and similar reference books (Alsberg/Nuesse/Meyer, proof in a trial, 5. edition, Carl Heymanns publishing house, Berlin 1983, p.539.
The acceptance of “the fact is known to the court” rests on the preliminary condition that the fact is not challenged (vglAlsber/Nuesse/meyer, a.a.O., p. 568.
If however in historiography the truth of an event is contested it does not become accepted knowledge just because much has been written about it and disseminated (Alsberg/Nuesse/Meyer, a.a.O.,P. 540).
In my motion to discuss “the Holocaust happened is known to the court” I cited examples of publications, especially non revisionist publications which prove that the Holocaust historiography is not in agreement, does not speak with one voice, is not unchallenged, and contradicts itself. The Holocaust therefore cannot be claimed as “a fact known to the court.”
A sentencing for denying the Holocaust on the basis of “the Holocaust is known to the court” is therefore not possible. I made the motion not in order to spread revisionism, as maintained by the chamber, but for the simple reason that I have been accused of Holocaust denial and that I want to use my right to defend myself.
To dismiss my motion because I intended for the court to deal with “the Holocaust is known to the court” is arbitrary. Before sentencing it is an essential duty and the task of the court to deal with the underlying facts.
It is factually and judicially not understandable why in a trial for Holocaust denial a motion is supposed to be abusive which is meant to bring clarity in regard to “a fact known to the court.”
“Fact known to the court” is in need of discussion
When a French historian, Jacques Baynac, a proponent of the Holocaust writes that for the existence of the Nazi gas chambers only the lack of documents, traces and other material proofs can be confirmed (Le Noveau Quotidien de Lausanne, Switzerland , September 2, l996, p.16 and September 3/l996, p.14) then this means that there is a need to discuss “the Holocaust is known to the court.”
Michel de Bouaerd, professor for history and dean of the faculty for the Arts and Sciences at the University of Caen (Normandy) states that the documentation concerning the Holocaust is rotten, that the documentation about the system of the German concentration camps is permeated by a mass of invented stories, relentless repetitions of falsifications, especially in regard to numbers, and confusion and generalizations (Ouest-France v. 2-3 August l986, p. 6). This again proves that there is a need to discuss “the Holocaust is known to the court.”
Historian Professor Ernst Nolte seconds the need for a discussion of “fact known to the court. “The testimony of witnesses rests to a large part on hearsay and mere surmises; the testimony of the few eyewitness are in part contradictory and create doubts in regard to their veracity.”
The director of the Yad Vashem memorial, Shmuel Krakowski, in the same vain states (Jerusalem Post, August 17, l986): “Most of the 20,000 witnesses’ testimony concerning the Holocaust are unbelievable, falsified, cannot be verified, or in other ways are not true.”
On January 13, 2012 during a pause in the proceedings (around 16:30) the chairman Ross directed the following words to me: “You would be surprised at the knowledge of history by the jurors.” But judges have to make an unencumbered decision, based on their conviction which they formed during the proceedings in question (& 261 StPO). In addition “facts known to the court” in order to be useable have to be introduced during the main trial in order to give the participants the opportunity to take a position.
It would therefore be useful if the members of the chamber would reveal their knowledge of history to the accused before they convict him on the basis of this knowledge.
If not it will remain obscure on which facts the members of chamber base their views. It (the Holocaust) is supposed to be a wrong removed from common categories and therefore &130 StGB is an exception to the prohibition of having a special law. (motion of cessation of the trial on account of the special law & 130 which is contrary to the German basic law. The motion was denied January 13, 2012)
The chamber misrepresents my motion. It considers it a motion for proof which is obvious from their choice of words. “The chamber is supposed to furnish proof,” “makes proof unnecessary.” “proof is also inadmissible,” “a motion for proof is inadmissible (p.2 of the resolution).”
But it is unequivocally clear that the motion was not a motion for proof.
The motion to discuss the principle of “the Holocaust, a fact known to the court” does not mean, that the Holocaust did not happen (p. 2 of the resolution), but was a motion to examine the facts on which “fact known to the court” are based.
The chamber maintains that I contested “facts known to the court.” The chamber is mistaken. I did not contest facts, but demanded the discussion of facts.
What is a circular argument?
A circular argument is to deny the motion for discussion of the principle of “fact known to the court” with the argument that a discussion is not necessary since the Holocaust is “a fact known to the court.” (p.2 of the resolution.)
The chamber misunderstands not only the meaning of a “circular argument,” but also the concept of “an established fact known to the court.” What is frequently contested can’t be “an established fact known to the court” since “an established fact known to the court” is defined as undisputed, unchallenged (see above).
It is a circular argument if I would say “the holocaust is not “a fact known to the court” because “it is not known to the court.” It is, however, not a circular argument if I say: “the Holocaust is not fact known to the court” because “known to the court” is equivalent to conformity and indisputability. The historiography of the Holocaust is not in conformity and is not unchallenged. The resolution stated by the chamber shows a lack of capacity to reason.
It is inconsequential if it happened or not
My motion of January 13, 2012 in which I stated that the incriminating book is scientifically correct was denied. The following reason was given: It does not matter if the book is scientifically correct. I am guilty since I assisted in the formation of the book.
It looks as if the chamber agrees with the view of the Mannheim court who convicted Ernst Zuendel. “It does not matter if the Holocaust did or did not take place.” The “tageszeitung (February 9, 2007, p.6)” writes about the Zuendel trial: “At the end the court denied all the motions with the lapidary reason (a shock to some of the antifascists among the audience): “It does not matter one wit if the Holocaust did or did not take place. Its denial is punishable under German law. Only this is what counts.”