NEW YORK (Aug. 22)
American neo-Nazi Gary Lauck has been convicted of illegally distributing hate propaganda in Germany and sentenced to four years in prison.
The state court in Hamburg, Germany, found Lauck, 43, guilty Thursday of inciting racial hatred and distributing propaganda of organizations that violate the German Constitution.
Lauck heads the National Socialist German Workers’ Party-Foreign Organization, a name derived from the official title of Adolf Hitler’s party. Lauck has said his group is heir to the Nazi Party and that Hitler was “too humane.”
After the verdict was announced, Lauck shouted, “The fight will go on!” According to news reports, he also yelled in German, “Neither the Communists nor the Nazis ever dared to kidnap an American citizen!”
The Anti-Defamation League hailed the conviction.
“While we are gratified that Gary Lauck of Lincoln, Neb., whom ADL dubbed the `Farm Belt Fuhrer’ several years ago, will be spending the next four years in a German prison, we are disappointed that the court did not impose the five-year prison term demanded by the prosecution,” said Abraham Foxman, ADL national director.
“Nevertheless, Lauck’s conviction and sentencing puts all neo-Nazis around the world on notice that their anti-Semitic and racist hate propaganda will not be tolerated by a democratic Germany,” Foxman added.
Lauck’s lawyer pledged to appeal the case and said his client’s actions were legal under U.S. constitutional guarantees of free speech.
But the pro-Hitler, anti-Jewish publications that deny that the Holocaust occurred are illegal in Germany.
Lauck was arrested on an international warrant from Germany when he attended a March 1995 neo-Nazi convention in Denmark. He was extradited in September to Germany on the basis of an obscure Danish law that bans racist statements.
The prison time he has served since March 1995 was deducted from his sentence.