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Germany Moves to Tighten Laws Against Neo-nazism

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Draft legislation to tighten laws against neo-Nazi activities has been completed by Justice Minister Juergen Schmude and sent to all state governments in the Federal Republic and to various ministries and major social organizations for review. The measures will be submitted to the Cabinet next April.

They would empower state prosecutors to bring to trial any person who denies publicly that the Holocaust occurred or that the Nazis committed genocide. It would also ban the import and distribution of Nazi emblems and other propaganda material in West Germany.

The need to close loopholes in existing anti-Nazi laws was stressed in a statement by Schmude released Nov. 8 by the press service of the ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD). The release coincided with charges by Heinz Galinski, chairman of the Jewish community in West Berlin, that the Federal authorities were not taking sufficient measures to combat neo-Nazi activity.

The draft bill does not include a ban on the distribution and sale of Nazi books and records originating in Germany, such as Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.” The SPD wanted such a ban but dropped it under pressure from its junior coalition partner, the Free Democratic Party (FDP) and various lobbying groups.

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