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Landmark Decision by German Supreme Court on the Holocaust and Jews

A recent decision by the West German Supreme Court flatly rejected the canard circulated by neo-Nazi elements that the Holocaust was a fraud and stated specifically that it was, in fact, a part of the consciousness of Jews and entitled them to special regard and respect from their fellow citizens. It is considered a landmark decision.

The details of the case on which the judgement was based were described by Dr. Stephen J. Roth in the course of a report an European anti-Semitism at a meeting of the World Jewish Congress American Section here last week. Roth is director of the Institute of Jewish Affairs, the WJC’s London-based research organization. He hailed the decision.

He said the Federal Supreme Court in Bonn passed its judgement on Oct. 29 in the case of a non-Jewish German student born after 1945 whose one Jewish grandfather was killed at Auschwitz. The student was offended by a poster put up by a neighbor which stated that the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis was a “Zionist swindle.” The complainant could not avoid viewing the poster on his way to and from his apartment and sued for an injunction for its removal.

UNIQUE FATE OF JEWS CITED

A lower court upheld his right to sue but an appeals court rejected it on grounds that his relationship with his grandfather was not sufficient to give him legal standing to bring action. The Supreme Court, however, declared otherwise, Roth reported.

It held that the unique fate of Jews gave them a claim for regard and respect on the part of all German citizens, that the Holocaust was part of the consciousness of Jews and a matter of their personal dignity to be perceived as the group who suffered persecution and to whom other citizens bear a moral responsibility.

The court said that respect of these feelings had to be regarded as a guarantee for the non-repetition of the past and was an essential condition making it possible for Jews to live in Germany. Whoever denied the truth of past events denied to every Jew the respect to which he is entitled, the court declared. It said that any attempt to justify, to gloss over or to dispute the facts of the Holocaust showed contempt against every person identified with persecution. Finally, the court affirmed that the evidence of the facts of the Holocaust was overwhelming, Roth reported.

The court upheld the student’s standing as an injured party on grounds that the Nazis would have classified him as a “second grade racially mixed” person and he would have been subjected to persecution.

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