Law Drafted to Prohibit Import of Neo-nazi Material in Germany

The ruling Social Democrat Party (SPD) and its junior coalition partner, the Free Democrats, have reached agreement on a draft law prohibiting the import of neo-Nazi propaganda material into the Federal Republic.

If endorsed by the Bundestag the law is expected to make it difficult for the neo-Nazi movement to spread books and periodicals denying the existence of gas chambers during the Hitler era. Another side effect could be the banning of some propaganda material provided to the neo-Nazis by the Palestine Liberation Organization which has been keeping close contacts with rightwing extremists in this country.

Under existing West German laws it is largely forbidden to circulate Nazi propaganda. But the law can be evaded easily by maintaining that the prohibited material is imported. The popular neo-Nazi weekly “National Zeitung” has been publishing for years articles by well-known American and other “experts,” who present allegedly scientific evidence of the non-existence of the Nazi death machines during World War II and before.

DIFFERENCES OF OPINION REMAIN

The two coalition parties still have differences of opinion on how far the glorification of Nazi crimes can be tolerated by German lawmakers. The SPD is seeking an amendment to an existing law that will enable State Prosecution to take to court the authors of anti-Semitic publications. At present, this can be done only by private complainants who feel themselves insulted on the ground of their origin or their background.

The Free Democrats are said to have reservations. But a spokesman for the parliamentary factions said “We fully agree on the aim of the proposed legislation and are looking forward to examine the detailed formula suggested by our coalition partners.”

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