German Court Backs Protest Against Film by Anti-semitic Director

The First Senate of the West German Federal Constitutional Court has reversed a lower court decision and ruled that protests against the showing of a film by a notorious anti-Semite, Veit Harlan, were not an offense punishable by law.

The protests were made by Erich Lueth, Hamburg’s Press Chief and an active member of the Society for Christians and Jews in West Germany Dr. Lueth made his protests at the opening of the Berlin German Film Festival in October, 1950, urging film producers and distributors to boycott Harlan’s new film, “The Immortally Beloved.”

In response, the Dominick Film Producers and Herzop Distributors filed suit and the Circuit Court of Hamburg declared in November 1951 that Dr. Lueth’s boycott proposal was an offense against fair business practices and against “moral standards.”

Dr. Arnolf Arndt, a Social Democratic deputy serving as Lueth’s attorney, appealed the ruling, contending it was a violation of the right of free speech. The Constitutional Court, in reversing the circuit court, declared that Dr. Lueth was not obliged to consider Harlan’s professional interests nor the economic interests of the film companies.

A court in Frankfurt today sentenced Hans Dieter Klinehoeller, a book salesman, to three months’ imprisonment and then suspended sentence following his conviction on a charge of selling a book listed officially as Nazi propaganda. Last year, the publisher of the book, “Adolf Hitler, Struggle Against the Minus Soul,” was given a two-year sentence for publishing and selling it. The publisher is Freidrich Lenz.

NEXT STORY