THE HAGUE, Netherlands (Oct. 26)
In what may be the first such suit to cross international borders, Dutch human rights groups have filed a civil suit here against a Belgian society that has published pamphlets denying that the Holocaust occurred.
The suit is enabled by a European Community regulation that permits a resident of one E.C. member state suing a resident of another.
Belgian law makes it difficult to prosecute someone for a printing offense and offers almost no legal recourse against Holocaust revisionists. Holocaust-deniers in the Netherlands, however, have been fined.
Two Jewish groups, B’nai B’rith and the Center for Information and Documentation on Israel, are joined in the suit by two other anti-racist organizations, the Anne Frank Foundation and the National Bureau on Combating Racism.
The suit charges the publishing house, the Belgian Society for Free Historical Research, its publisher, L. van den Bossche, and its spokesman, Siegfried Verbeke, with disseminating pamphlets that claim the Jews were sent to the gas chambers only to be cleaned of lice.
The pamphlets, “American Expert Destroys the Gas-Chamber Legend” and “The Six-Million Holocaust,” also charge that the Jews have perpetrated the Holocaust as a hoax in order to reap continual financial benefits.
They also say the Anne. Frank diary is a falsification.
The pamphlets have been sent to homes in the Netherlands.
Ronnie Naftaniel, director of the Center for Information, said that “the actual senders are difficult to trace, but the Belgian publishers are not.”
The plaintiffs are asking the court in The Hague to rule that the parties be stopped from further publishing and spreading denials of the Holocaust. The case is scheduled to be heard Oct. 29.
The lawsuit charges that the publications hurt Holocaust survivors and their families, falsify history and pave the way for a society in which racism once again becomes accepted.