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Spain’s high court overturns conviction on Nazi propaganda

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MADRID (JTA) — Spain’s Jewish community has slammed a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that overturns the conviction of four people connected to a Barcelona bookstore that sold Nazi literature.

The four connected to the now defunct bookshop, Kalki, had been found guilty by a lower court of fostering xenophobia and anti-Semitism through the selling of Nazi literature. The acquittals include a publisher in the nearby town of Molins de Rei.

In 2009, the four were each sentenced to 3 1/2 years in jail after being found guilty of selling publications that justified the Holocaust and praised the Nazi regime.

In the Supreme Court’s ruling, Justice Miguel Colmenero wrote that the selling of Nazi propaganda that promotes genocide is only a crime when there exists a danger that it could create a climate of hostility that would incite violence. 

"Jews in Spain view with extreme concern the fact that the Spanish judiciary, so sensitive in certain situations, does not consider as criminal conduct the sale of books denying the Holocaust and promoting racism, in spite of standing criminal legislation to the contrary," the Federation of Jewish Communities of Spain said in a statement.

The Israeli Embassy in Madrid in a statement said that Israel was "sad and concerned" to hear of the acquittals, "allowing for the circulation of books that incite hate and deny the Holocaust."

Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants, called the ruling "a grievous blow" to Spain’s "laudatory efforts to confont its historical fascist past."

"The court has insulted the memory of all Nazi victims — Jew and non-Jew," Steinberg said in a statement.

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